Tag Archives: life

Guide To A Life Of Balance

Guide To A Life Of Balance….

There are days when my security and confidence is replaced by a wave anxiety, shame, discontentment or frustration. Like clouds, they roll in off the horizon predicting a coming storm. Time and time again I ignore them. I push back the feelings and charge forward. I don’t have time for the rain. I have a child I need to nurture and teach. I have a career I need to manage. I have a house that needs to be cleaned and dishes that need to be washed. I need to exercise and find a new way to sneak four servings of vegetables into a meatloaf. I need to just keep going. The sky darkens, the clouds grow heavy, and the downpour begins. I am left drenched, in my yoga pants.

Isn’t this the story for all of us? Despite reprieves, here and there, we have our hands full much of the time. Emotions seem to come at the most inconvenient moments and threaten to disrupt the intricate balancing act we have in progress. We label them “negative” or “bad” to imply they are something to get rid of or avoid. We ignore them or gloss over them with tip #4 from our guide to self-care. We can try, but our efforts to shoo back the clouds are futile. In and of themselves emotions aren’t good or bad. They alert us to something happening under the surface. With great effort we teach our children to stop and name their emotions. We guide them in handling sadness, anger, tiredness, frustration, and so on. We don’t call them bad, rather, in our little ones we can see them as they are- truths to be dealt with. Our responses to our emotions hold the value of positive or negative, not the emotions themselves. It’s nothing revolutionary, but often we extend wisdom and grace to others while failing to apply it to ourselves. We tireless work to run from or ignore the coming rain and end up overwrought or completely shut down from what has become an undefinable ball of feelings. Thus, fears of being overly emotional can become self-fulfilling.

I spend more time telling myself I shouldn’t feel something than simply acknowledging that I do. As elementary as it may seem, I have begun to retrain myself to stop and feel my feelings. I hate crying, but I have had some good cries. Locked in my closet, I have let emotions of fear and loneliness burst forth. Then knowing what I need, I have been able to deal with them and authentically engage in self-care. There have been times when I have begrudgingly faced my feelings of shame and “mommy guilt”. They have served as important indicators that I am prioritizing things that aren’t truly important. Shame and guilt have highlighted areas where my value and worth has been tied to the appearance of good parenting, optimal health, and spirituality. They have beckoned me to examine if there is depth beneath the surface. Frustration, being rooted in my desire to control something I was simply not meant to, calls me to let go of undue pressure that will leave me drowning in stress. These feelings urge me to come inside and take the needed steps to stay dry because the rain is coming. They protect me from getting off kilter when life’s stresses head my way.

Emotions are beautiful indicators toward balance. They can be quite messy. Demanding to be seen, they will leech out in unexpected areas if they aren’t acknowledged. However, they aren’t bad for existing and we aren’t bad for feeling them. After long periods of running from them, facing deep-seated emotions can seem dangerous. It may take help from a friend or a professional. I have needed, and still need, both to help me decipher tangled feelings. Balance is the reward for doing so. There is peace in realizing emotions aren’t waiting around the corner, ready to create havoc in life. Let them guide you toward balance rather chase you into chaos.

`Shon W

Love Loudly

Love Loudly…

I think we all have moments that serve as epiphanies. Game changers. Sometimes they come at the happiest moments sometimes they don’t.

Those moments that make you take a step back.

This past weekend I attended the funeral for the mother of one of my oldest friends.

The love in that room was bursting.

To the gills.

So much so, they had to put more chairs in the cathedral.

The constant message was love.

Letting people know you love them.

Showing them.

Telling them.

Being there for them.

Always.

150%

Loving them for all that they are.

This should be a given, but I think sometimes we take things for granted. We take people for granted. We assume people know. Or we are afraid to share how we feel. We are scared to show the love we feel or ask for the love we need.

The sad reality is life really is too short.

My friend’s Mom had cancer – for three years, and she didn’t change how she loved or how she lived during that time.

She made sure everyone in her life knew always.

Every story I heard said so.

 

I struggle with that sometimes.

Telling people I love them.

My daughter I tell her more than she probably wants to hear.

My friends… I love yous are said instead of goodbyes.

My family little gestures and notes.

But I still struggle.

I want to do better for the people in my life. I don’t want them to doubt how I feel no matter how scary it is to say it out loud.

Because the lesson I learned in one of the saddest moments is tomorrow is not promised- you need to love loudly.

I have joked 48 is my year of no filter and  no resolutions.

Let’s add loving loudly.

 

Much love to you Mommas.

Always

<3 Caprise

The Trim

Just a Trim….

 

“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.”

Coco Chanel

We all know someone who has had the same hairstyle for eons and wham they change it. It usually is a red flashing light that something major happened or is about to happen.

For the record I am that person.

There is also a joke about every woman having a red hair phase… yup.

My reality is a lot is changing in my life and cutting my hair short has been something I wanted to do for awhile.

A conversation about me not ever changing my hair kinda got me here.

To be clear I’ve been sporting an undercut bob like haircut for the last two years so I’m not afraid of short hair.

Except I am.

The unfortunate reality is while we ooh and aah when a celebrity goes for a chop, we feel compelled to say please don’t give me a “Mom cut” or cut it too short.

Like it or not, our appearance and our hair inadvertently can become our calling card.

For me the reality is I have incredibly fine hair. It gets to a certain length and it stops growing. It is stick straight. Every morning I torture myself for almost twenty minutes trying to convince it to be something it’s not.

As a lady who likes to wear makeup that’s twenty minutes I could do that.

So I consulted with my trusted circle, I compiled some pictures and I scheduled my appointment.

As I type this, it is day two with hair that is maybe two inches long at its longest. I can’t stop touching it, it’s so soft. The color looks better and the irony is I didn’t have to wear mascara because my eyes pop.

It still is an adjustment and this morning while brushing my teeth I looked in the mirror and was a bit shook at the lack of hair around my face.

I got compared to Charlize Theron today which I’ll take.

It’s not an accurate comparison but I’ll take it.

I wish I had done this sooner. I wish I had not been so worried about something that grows back. There are bigger things to worry about. Although as a person who lives in the Midwest, I do now worry about always having a hat.

My hair doesn’t make me any less. Any less of a Mom. Any less of a friend. Any less of a teacher.

I just have less hair. As with everything I acknowledge I am still learning to leave self doubt at the door or in that suitcase under my bed.

My point Mommas, don’t let a haircut define you. Let you define you.

At the end of the day that’s what really matters.

<3 Caprise

The Heat

The Heat…

Last night my son and his girlfriend came over for dinner, as they do every Wednesday. We had steak (cooked in a well-seasoned cast iron pan) and potatoes & asparagus, (baked in the oven), and Pastina (simmered on the stove). Talk about YUM. It really was a delicious dinner.

Where am I going with this? Well he seasoned the steaks with a few different spices he brought over. One was Coriander. I asked him….what on earth do you use that for? I had never used it never mind it has never lived in my spice cabinet. I smelled it….mmmmm…. and tasted it….oh so good. It’s nuttiness was what I liked most. So along with some salt and pepper…he sprinkled the coriander.

“Not too much”, he said, “it’ll take over the steak, and it won’t taste very good at all”.

I thought, cooking our dinner is just like life. A little of this and a dash of that and some of this mixed in….and WALLAH, the end result is wonderful.

Remember though….in between, there will be some heat. To have this dinner turn out edible, it had to be cooked. Your life experience could be just like a low simmer for quite awhile which you notice but maybe don’t pay attention to because it’s bearable. It could be a jolt of high heat that sears the edges and wakes you up in your deepest sleep and continues to keep you up at night. It could also be an extensively grueling bake…. for longer than you anticipated and nothing like you imagined or thought you could handle for that matter.

Ah but without the heat. Without the tragedies, the trials, the sorrows. Without the mishaps and misfortunes and upsets. Without those hard times…. you would not come out on the other side stronger, sweeter, and more wonderful than you ever dreamed.

At my age, I welcome the fire and long to see who I am when it’s burnt out.

XOXO

your God Girl,

Tracy

Dum Spiro Spero (While I Breathe, I Hope)

I get it. Sparkles, rainbows, sprinkles and all that jazz. Sounds dreamy. Is it realistic? Nah. Not even close. BUT – Every single day, if we’re fortunate enough, we get another 24 hours. Another day. Another chance to live and while we do so – in the midst of life’s turbulent waters (struggles, despair, defeat, etc.) we’re looking and searching for “hope”. Hope for better days. Hope for a greater future. Maybe it’s hope for a loved one to have a good medical outcome, for a marriage to be saved that is on the brink of no return, a child to take the right path, or maybe even hope to pay the bills that month. There is ALWAYS hope. I’ll be honest with you… I tend to teeter on the “pessimist” side of life. Consider it erring on the side of caution or being conservative rather than just outright negative – that seems more accurate. Absolutely and without doubt, I have a million and seven things to be grateful for. My two children are healthy and safe. My parents are alive and well. My bills are paid. I have an amazing job that I enjoy going to each and every day. I have some stellar humans that I am lucky and honored enough to be able to call friends and family. The list can go on and on for the things I am surely thankful for. BUT…. (there’s always a “but”) I hope too. Just like everyone else.

I hope to forgive those who have hurt me deeply. I hope to look forward to better days and to move away from past hurts that haunt me daily. I hope to have solid, kind, thoughtful, loving people in my life who care for me and love me the way I deserve to be loved. I hope to be financially stable well into the future and leave behind a legacy both for my children and theirs. I hope I’m being the right Mother to my children, and that they have absorbed “some” of what I’ve tried to teach them along the way. I even hope to not yell at someone in front of me on the freeway driving like an idiot (slight road rage is real, people.)

So, it’s true. While I breathe, I hope. There. I admit it. You got me.

I guess I’m no mystical unicorn after all.

I’ve been taught and told that God “always” answers our prayers, even if the answer is simply “no”. I get the context, but it’s not something that has ever sat well within me. I have felt at times (more than I care to admit) that I’m forever being told “no” like a toddler trying to have yet another juice box. It angers me at times because I feel like I’ve done the right things, been the right person, stood my ground, and made concessions when necessary (even if I maybe didn’t wholeheartedly agree). So – why almost every time, for whatever it may be – I’m told “no”? This, I cannot answer – but what I can say is this… Eventually some of your “Why no to this?” questions do get answered. You will sometimes blatantly see why you were told no in the midst of something you thought you wanted so desperately. Sometimes not. In those times you just sit in the unknown of it, “hoping” that one day, down the road somewhere, it will all make sense.

Does it deter me from hoping? Sure. Sometimes. Who wouldn’t get worn down after repeatedly being told what you’re hoping for just won’t be happening anytime soon, if ever? The point I’m trying to make here is – eventually, you continue to hope, whether you want to or not – it’s like it auto-magically just happens and then all of a sudden you catch yourself hoping and you’re like “Dang it! I wasn’t going to do that again!”. You pick it back up and continue to carry on, because in all fair honesty, we “hope” for things to change.

I don’t know what all of you are hoping for. My words may not give you any substance and they may or may not be a complete waste of your time. However, I “hope” not. While I put on a brave face daily to face the world and it’s uncertainties….

 

Dum Spiro Spero.

 

  • Jenn

What Is My Mission?

Do you ever ask yourself, what’s my mission, what’s my purpose, what is my life for?

Have you found the answer?  Maybe a teacher told you one day you’d be a great writer.  Maybe a family friend told you that you would go places.  Maybe your BFF acknowledge d an amazing talent you have.  What have you done with this information?  Maybe you just finished cleaning up the edges, tightening up the skills and sharpening your mindset.

After all that, do you have an answer?  Or are you left more confused because nothing ever seems to come your way.  Doors don’t appear to open and you’re just not sure what to do or where to go.

I used to ask all the  time…. every day…. where does God want me to go, what does He want me to do, who does He want me to meet.  When I was a young mother, I never understood why, if I was so willing to help and serve and volunteer, why didn’t opportunities fall in my lap.

I was reminded ‘my son is my mission’ .

I would offer to help with THAT project, I would ask to be on THAT committee, I would offer to HELP that program.  And nothing EVER moved forward.

I was reminded ‘my son is my mission’.

Over and over I was reminded of this and finally in a very serious AHA Moment, I embraced it.

YES!!  My Son Is My Mission

Onward we went……every week we volunteered at the Homeless Shelter by setting tables and serving so meals and  also helped in  KidsTown at church in a classroom of little ones by teaching the lesson, working on a craft and engaging them in conversation & playtime.

Your mission could be right in front of you, staring you in the face, showing you signs that you’re not seeing.  Take a moment and listen to that still small voice inside, it just might have the answer.

xoxo

Your God girl,
Tracy

The Choice Is Yours

The Choice Is Yours…

I recall vividly one morning when the phone rang and it was a dear friend of mine…her mother had died unexpectedly in the middle of the night…I just kept saying over and over “Oh my God” and then I started to cry. My friend said she loved me for that…she has a hard time with emotions, and it is difficult for her to ask for help or support…my greatest gift to her has always been to express whatever is there…

I talked with her for a long time and I told her that people would say a lot of different things to her over the next days and weeks…most of it kind but meaningless as the majority of folks can’t handle death and they will do whatever they can to avoid it…those are the people that say things like, “she is in a better place now”. Those of us that have experienced death and not run away from it will tell her the truth…it is horrible, there is nothing more awful, you will have some very dark days and then the shock will fade some and the tears will come less frequently and you will get up and move through your days…you will laugh again and you will be less sad, however there will not be one day that you don’t miss the person you have lost and there will be some days where it seems again unbearable.

In the midst of it all if you are a fully functioning person there will be laughter mixed with your tears, there will be some anger at the loss, some “this isn’t fair” conversations in your head, some doubt of God’s plan…however those of us that have faith in something bigger than ourselves trust that life has a natural order to it and that things happen as they should even if we don’t agree.

Mostly people suffer greatly from a death when they are incomplete with the person that died…when they are still holding a grudge or the last words they had were in anger or they didn’t say that “I love you”…or they didn’t call enough or visit enough…or take time enough to tell people what a gift they are. Those are the undelivered communications that bring you to your knees when someone leaves in an untimely and unexpected fashion. Undelivered communications are what guilt and remorse are made of, I don’t recommend them. I was taught at an early age to be complete in every moment…for some people close to me that means an “I love you” almost every time we speak…I think they tire of that, but I don’t care much because I know that if anything out of the ordinary happens I have delivered my message.

Walking my friend through her initial shock jerked me back to when my grandfather died…that is another reason people don’t deal well with the news of death because it causes them to momentarily relive whatever loss they have experienced and for some folks that is an unbearable thought. People do strange things with death…which is funny because we are all going to leave this planet one day, one way or another…so it seems like there should be less fear and more acceptance.

People might leave this place, however the people that we love are never, ever gone…they are as alive as we make them. My grandfather’s pictures are on my bedroom wall, in my hallway and on my desk…I think of him every day and often I can hear his voice in my head still advising me…and I am confident that he has sent certain people into my life to keep his watch…there are pieces of advice that he gave me that continue to shape my life…so for me he is still very much present.

Granted there are several people that I feel like I couldn’t live without, yet I don’t live in fear of them dying…life has a way of taking care of us if we let it…however we have to let it, which means a certain amount of trust in the process must be present…for many of us this isn’t the case.

Fear comes from thinking thoughts that scare you…you always have a choice…you can choose to think about things that keep you moving forward or you can choose to think about things that stop you.

I highly encourage you to choose to deliver your undelivered communications—unfinished business is bad mojo especially when people die unexpectedly…

Tell people how important they are to you all the time…tell them how they have contributed to you…tell them that you love them…forgive people for whatever harm you think they caused you, walking around holding grudges will only make you sick and depressed…that kind of stuff will suck the life right out of you.

Like it or not folks we are just here for a visit…seems to me we should be filled with gratitude for lives well lived and make the best of it and we should make it our business to make the best of it for other people too…it is always better to give…

XO, LOVE you guys….truly…Noelle

Why Is It So Hard To Be You?

How do you just be you? I do not know where to start with this one without sounding like a crazy… I have not never felt more like myself than I do now. I am not sure why… or how… but I finally feel like the person I was years ago. This might be hard to explain..

I was married for many years and throughout most of my marriage I did not feel like I could be myself. I was trying to be perfect. What is it about being perfect and why do we feel we need to be perfect at times… perfect job, perfect body, perfect life…

I loved my life, however I was just not myself. I always felt like I was trying to live up to someone I was not. I felt like I was always trying to please someone. I am not a perfect mom or person. I tried to be perfect for many years.. I mean I tried to make homemade baby food, I tried to make craft projects off of Pinterest, and I tried to throw the best kid birthday parties.. The truth is, none of that is me.. I love my kids and I would do anything for them. But I am not the perfect mom… nor do I want to be.

I was a stay at home mom for many years and I did love it, however I might sound crazy or like a bitch, but I feel you also lose a part of yourself. I volunteered for Sunday school, PTA, field trips, etc ..thinking this is what I should be doing. I was even on the PTA board and it was definitely not for me… After many years and my kids were older, I was bored. I would try to create projects. I felt like I didn’t know what I wanted to do or that I didn’t really do anything important. I was trying to find myself again and didn’t know where to start. I wanted to feel important again.

I have no idea why I thought I had to be perfect all the time. I did not grow up that way, but I think over time I changed to be someone I wasn’t. I think it took years to get back to my old self or the person I am…I have just learn to let things go. I do not get worked up about all the things in life that don’t really matter. I do not feel like I need to make it to every event or have my kids go to every event. Sometimes we just need to stay home.

Slowly, I started to make my own decisions without feeling guilty. I had to learn to just say no to things I really did not like. Maybe they were things I had pretended to like for years. I realized I am more comfortable with a smaller groups. I do not like crafts. I do not like cooking. I do not like home projects. I like music. I like concerts. I like sitting outdoors…. So many of these things I neglected for many years. Mostly because I felt I would just go along with everyone else and not speak up for what I wanted. Or I felt guilty for wanting to do something I wanted. I finally realized that I didn’t have to live up to anyone or their expectations. I was myself.

I have learned that I do not get worked up over things now..I am late for everything and I have accepted it. Years ago, I would be yelling over and over again because we were

late. Then I realized, I have 3 kids and we are just never going to be on time for anything.

I am myself with my kids now. I probably let them stay up later than they should. I do not have them involved in every activity. My daughter wears the same clothes everyday almost, we wash them at night and she wears them again. Why? Because it’s easier and what does it matter…

It’s hard to learn to feel comfortable just being yourself. It’s hard to not worry about being the perfect mom, or wife, or perfect everything. I have learned that I do not worry over as much anymore. Somehow it works out. Maybe not how I wanted it, but it works out. I have learned to let a lot go, and I can be myself.

Thank you for reading…

Megan

Snarkydivorcedgal

Who Has Your Steering Wheel?

God’s got mine. Does the thought of it raise the hairs on the back of your neck? OR Do you welcome the thought and take a deep breath knowing you can relax on your journey of life? I find it to be very comforting.

Especially growing up in a home where all the details had to be explained, all the plans had to be set in motion, all the unknowns had to be questioned. There was no room for spontaneity or last minute interruptions…. without a grumble. There were no wrong-doings, excuses, or changed stories without sighs of anguish & upset. The plan was the plan was the plan.

Somewhere along the way… things changed for me. The rug was pulled out from under me and everything changed. I was humbled that’s for sure. I was sharpened, recreated, and filled with grace. I had a new way of being, planning, thinking and doing. I had created a new reality for myself. It was beautiful & it worked.

There were times when I wanted something, wanted to go somewhere, wanted to plan a the next best thing for myself. And I remembered… I was not driving the bus. I was not at the wheel. God was.

I know that if it is not to BE, doors will not open for me, no matter how bad I WANT it. If it’s not where I’m being led, if it’s not how I’m being molded, if it’s not where I’m headed…. It is NOT happening. And I’m at peace with that.

I’m grateful every day that I don’t have to have everything all figured out. That I don’t have to have all the answers right now. In the storms and in the sunshine, in the trials and in the triumphs… I turn to Him for answers and trust His Ways are far better then mine…. any day.

Your God Girl,

Tracy

Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and mirrors…

I spent some time – (can I add a big hooray to that by the way) with one of my favorite humans this weekend helping her find a dress for a wedding. We started talking about relationships and appearances.

We are both on the later and earlier side of our 40’s and 50’s respectively. She was sharing conversations she had with another group of girlfriends all in different phases of relationships and how their partners talked to them.

If I’m being honest – this is fascinating to me. We live in a society that definitely plays both sides. Pinterest is FULL of inspirational quotes around loving yourself. When a magazine cover features a model who isn’t a size two, it’s revolutionary. YET the backlash is REAL. Even from those who love you.

Little comments… you’re going to wear that? That’s an interesting color. All those tattoos make you look tacky.

I have written about this before but I was picked on. A lot as a kid. I was the smallest, had problems with my teeth, glasses, and a skin condition. So even though I’m not that little kid anymore, I’m always going to be that little kid.

Which makes me super sensitive and very aware of how I look.

Throw in a marriage where EVERYTHING about me was picked apart. Followed by a long term relationship with a guy who scrutinized my appearance.

The internal struggle is real. I am a big hearted person who wears my heart on my sleeve. So unfortunately at 47 I’m still putting bandaids on some hurts.

But you know what? It’s unfortunate but it’s ok. We all have our stuff.

Here’s mine:

I am the lady who only recently started wearing leggings in public. I just bought my first pair of sweatpants. I also, always at a minimum wear lipgloss and mascara when I leave the house.

I realize as I typed that it’s pretty crazy pants. You want to know the even crazier part?

I don’t push any of this on my daughter.

Thankfully she doesn’t read these because I’m about to truth bomb…

Showering – umm do twelve year olds feel it’s not necessary? She has BEAUTIFUL hair, which she refuses to even put in braids! Please let your Mom style it? No. Ok. Doesn’t want earrings. The last time she wore a dress was for a play. She loves lipgloss however- ok that might be me a little. She has only mentioned her weight once and it was never mentioned again when we talked about how it’s about being healthy. She is so tall. Her favorite thing to do is show anyone and everyone she is taller than me.

She is solid in who she is.

And it’s magical. I love it and want to bottle it and spray that on me.

So even though inside I’m continuing to fight the age old battle of not feeling like I’m enough

because of how I look or even sometimes who I am, yes I realize how ridiculous that is. The smoke and mirrors are working and I’m somehow magically showing my daughter she is more than enough. No matter what she looks like, because that is absolutely not what it’s about.

Sidebar my magical creature recently had a birthday and donated almost all her birthday money to charity. And FYI this was the first year she got birthday money but felt that strongly she needed to help.

#proudmom

Mommas we are more than our outsides. We are Moms. That’s a hard job.

On my end I’m trying. I have a magical twelve year old who can get things off shelves for me looking at me and how I handle things. I gotta show her I really am the badass I pretend to be.

Much love Mommas

<3 Caprise