Tag Archives: strength

On Being In Love

In one of my other blog posts, I wrote about the feeling of limerence, or basically, the “in love” feeling. It may have seemed that I downplayed the emotion, and the truth of the matter is that I meant to at the time. I have tossed it around in my head quite a lot lately and have reframed it some. I think it is important, in life, that we reassess and reevaluate our thoughts and beliefs. Otherwise, we would stagnate.

So, on being “in love:” you see I add air quotes when talking about it. I think I’ve reframed the emotions so much in my mind that I do not believe in using the term anymore. It is confusing because love and in love are not the same, yet they contain the same word. Just think about how many times you have heard people say, “we still love each other, we are just not in love anymore.” Is that not confusing? Also, how is it that I can date someone for a while and know without a doubt that I love them, but be unsure about whether or not I am in love with them? The emotions are different, they just are. They have similarities and goodness knows we need both in the world. I think that in my head though, I’ve given limerence a bad rap. It got me into some trouble in life and I have let that experience color the whole chemical filled emotion. It turns out, I don’t think that is fair.

I am a writer, not a scientist. I don’t look at my life objectively very well. I assimilate my experiences and try to ascribe theories to what I am going through. Then I watch others to see if their behavior supports my conjecture. When it does, I tend to think I’m onto something. And I did, with this. Don’t get me wrong, I still think the theory is correct, I just don’t think it is right to outright dismiss being in love.

You will find I am big on movie and literary quotes. Truthfully, this is because I am not arrogant. So many people have said things so much better than I ever could. Sometimes you may laugh or roll your eyes at the ones which have stuck with me, but there is always a reason. So, though I went slightly on a tangent, my point is this; I really love this quote from Armageddon because it completely proves me wrong. In the movie, a young woman’s boyfriend is going into space and the two of them are having a picnic before he leaves.

Grace: Baby, do you think it’s possible that anyone else in the world is doing this very same thing at this very same moment?

AJ: I hope so, otherwise, what the hell are we trying to save?

If you saw the movie, you would know they were in love and they were talking about being in love. And if they weren’t, that is how I interpreted it. The thing is, after considering it for a long time, being in love is one of the best feelings on Earth. The problem is that we want it to stay exactly how it feels in the beginning. Because the beginning is so great. I am sure in the future I will write on why it isn’t possible for those feelings to stay exactly the same, but for now I want to expound on the giddy feelings.

People deserve to feel those feelings. They are some of the best in the world. The euphoria you get when you look into someone’s eyes with whom you have a deep connection is honestly the stuff that makes the world go ‘round. I wish we could bottle it up and put it on a shelf for a rainy day. I wish all the bad things in the world did not happen, but with that feeling, the world cannot be all bad. I truly feel this way. And I truly understand why people chase it at all costs.

I have plenty of advice on love, but this is not about that. This is an acknowledgment that I was wrong to roll my eyes. I was wrong to dismiss being in love. I was wrong to act like it is an unwelcome visitor. It is wonderful, and fun. I’m lucky to have felt it, and I hope if you haven’t, you someday will.

Just remember, though it is wonderful, it comes with rules just like everything else. But I think maybe it takes strength to realize that you were wrong and admit it, and it takes strength to understand where you were right as well.

Stronger than yesterday,

Alice

Look Up Look Out

Look Up…Look Out…

This morning was a tough one. The darkest thoughts that come along with living alone started to rear their ugly heads and take over my thinking. I felt myself going down the rat hole. That is NOT a good place to go. I know that for certain. I started to oppose the deep dark voice.

“Ohhhhh…. NO…. Not Today!!!”… “This is NOT happening today!” and then immediately, it bit back with, “You will always be alone”. I reminded myself that those are the fearful words of the liar when I look IN. I dug my heels in and proclaimed with some gusto in my tone… “Nope! Nope! Not Today!!”. And another lie crept up….“Friends” What friends?”. The argument went back and forth for a little bit. I stood strong, reminding myself of what is right and good and beautiful in my life. I reminded myself of my wonderful friends and my talents and what it is that brings me joy every day.

I know for me… when I listen to the liar in my head, I can sometimes get overwhelmed with what I don’t like about my life. It can quickly take over, pull up a seat next to me & stay for the afternoon.

So…I recited scriptures that give me strength and courage and it reminded me WHOSE I am. I sat and remembered how important it is for me to look UP.

…..I opened my affirmation journal and started to read:

New friendships are developing now.

Meeting people and making friendships is easy and effortless.

Women want to know me.

The way is made ready for relationships to grow.

I create relationships with people….for our highest good.

Perfectly wonderful people appear to spend time with me.

Perfect relationships come to me now.

I am in the right place at the right time.

My circle of friends expands.

The way I felt as I was reading my journal went from sadness and desperation to exuberance and love. I picked up the phone and reached out to others. I invited conversation and shared laughter. I sat and remembered how important it is for me to look OUT.

When I feel like I am alone I am reminded that not only do I have an abundance of friends who love and adore me but also that I am God’s Beautiful Child….all is good.

XOXO

Your God Girl

Tracy

Why I Wear Pink

There is a reason why I wear pink in October…

“It’s cancer, but I’m going to be okay”, she said as she moved around the kitchen making dinner.  My brother and I stood there speechless.  In typical fashion, my brother went on about his business of the night, while I, being the emotional basket case I am, immediately burst into tears.  My mom came over, wiped my tears, hugged me tight, and like a true mom does; comforted her daughter when in fact she was probably the one in that moment, who needed comforting.

My mom was 46 years old when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  The original course of treatment was for her to have a lumpectomy followed by radiation treatments.  After the lumpectomy, the doctors realized that the margin zones were too wide of an area so plans then had to change.  My mom then had to undergo a mastectomy and opted to have tram flap reconstructive surgery, where they took tissue from her abdomen to reconstruct her breast.

During her surgeries, treatments, and hospital stays, my mom was the epitome of strength.  I don’t recall ever seeing her cry, complain, or ask anyone for anything.  Throughout it all, she continued being…well, our mom.  The questions kept coming.  How were my classes going in college?  How were things going with my new boyfriend?  Was my brother doing his homework or going to his job?  Had someone, anyone, washed the towels or done a dish?  In true mom fashion, she was still more concerned about us than herself.  Friends and family came to visit and she would ask about their days or their lives; never focusing on the fact that she was sick.

Some people get a diagnosis like breast cancer, accept that they are sick, mope, or get angry at the world.   Not my mom.  She worked hard and did what she had to in order to become strong and healthy.  She researched natural healing, dietary changes, and exercised even more regularly.

I don’t know where she drew her strength from. Maybe from watching her own mother, my grandmother, be diagnosed and beat the same disease just a few years before.  Wherever it came from, she was an inspiration.

My mom has been blessed enough to have remained cancer free for 13 years now.  After her diagnosis, she became an active volunteer in the breast cancer community, and has spent even more time working with these organizations since she retired a few years ago.  She works with the American Cancer Society working at events like Bark for Life or the Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk.  She donates her time to work with two local cancer organizations in our area, Hope Club and CRAAB; whether its performing administrative work, helping a cancer patient choose and get fitted for a wig, or just sitting with someone while they receive chemotherapy to provide comfort and moral support.

Almost four years ago, the cancer returned and yet again she fought like a warrior to beat this nasty disease and triumphed. My mom accepted her diagnosis both times and fought her illness with grace, dignity, positivity, strength, and determination.  During it all she continued babysitting her two small grandchildren and helping me, her single mother daughter, deal with my own breast cancer scare. Knee replacement and a broken femur followed later that year and again, not once did she complain or whine. She fought, worked hard and did whatever was necessary to get better as soon as possible all while taking care of her family and putting all of us and our needs first.

I urge everyone out there, young and old, to perform self-exams regularly and get their annual mammogram.  Know your family history and know your body.  Early detection is one of the best ways to fight this disease until we can find a cure.  Breast cancer is a terrible disease.  It doesn’t discriminate.  It can affect us all, young, old, black, white, rich, poor, etc.. It affects mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, friends, etc… But it can be treated and you can fight against it.

My mom accepted her diagnosis and fought her illness with grace, dignity, positivity, strength, and determination.  She is my hero.  She is why I wear pink.  My mom didn’t just beat cancer and get better…She kicked Cancer’s butt!

-Chrissie <3

The Muscles We Don’t See

When I look at mothers, I value the muscles you can’t see…

If we are fortunate, we have friends or family members that tell us how strong we are. I have someone in my life that champions me. And, I appreciate that. But those on the outside looking in only get a glimpse. Because until you are a mom, you are not able to comprehend what it takes to survive.

Moms have the endurance of long-distance runners. Every day is a marathon. It feels like a sprint but it is a marathon. As soon as she is out of bed – actually, before that…as soon as she is awake – she is going. There is so much to do and life demands a consistent pace if there is to be any hope of getting even a portion of it completed. If this marathoner appears to be breaking stride or shortening the distance, don’t be fooled. This woman is always moving swiftly – thinking, planning, preparing, and plotting the entire time.

Mothers are incredible jugglers. You have not seen someone multi-task until you’ve seen her handle a day. Yes, we all know what studies say about multi-tasking but she proves them wrong and takes it to a new level. Making dinner, while correcting homework, starting the laundry, answering a teacher’s email, signing a permission slip and answering the phone, all while asking the kids about their day and while still wearing her work clothes. And, dinner makes it to the table on time, and the kids feel none of the effects of this whirlwind because her focus is seemingly only on them. Now that is impressive, and it is only one hour of her day. That juggle is nonstop and requires incredible muscle.

Mothers are tremendous containment specialists. When there is no one at home to confide in, to share the burden of decision making, advocating and disciplining, she needs to contain that frustration, struggle and self-doubt and put it aside as best she can.  Mom has grit. There is not enough time or energy to let that doubt and fear creep in. But it is there. It is always there. So, she shoves it down or back or into a box and moves ahead with her head high, knowing (or at least hoping that) she is doing the best she can.

No one sees all of this. And, yet, it takes a more strength than most can imagine. Not even the mom’s closest confidant truly sees the triumphs and tears, the disappointments and the dance parties, the hard days and harder nights. But in all of those moments, the real muscles are formed and refined and flexed. Mom doesn’t worry about who sees. She isn’t looking for sympathy. She doesn’t have time for that. She might need a little understanding and a little grace, or just a knowing smile from a fellow mom. She might not know where the strength she needs comes from. But it is there. Quietly growing and building, depleting and then building again.

It is those muscles, the ones no one sees, that help moms push through, carry on and strive for more.

 

Samantha

Fire Seasons

There are times in your life that quite literally bring you to your knees and erase all sense of having something to stand on or back you up—at those times you MUST rely solely on FAITH. FAITH that GOD is good all the time, no matter what it looks like, Faith that you will get through whatever it is, Faith that you are stronger than you think. I call these FIRE seasons…periods of time when you must rely on Faith and strength and Grace to get you through…I find that once we are out the other side of these times the lessons and the skills gained are invaluable.

The first one of these times for me was in 2001 when my Grandfather passed…I don’t think that I have ever shared the details of that time with you guys and so I wanted to do that now…as I continue the approach to my 51st birthday, I continue my evaluation of lessons learned and FIRE seasons that I have emerged from and how they have created who sits here now….

Often the things that we are sure will break us turn out to be our testimonies that go forward to help others walk successfully through their FIRE seasons…may the sharing of this time help you in that way now….

In March of 2001 my grandfather died and everyone in my large family came unglued and went kind of crazy and we all scattered…I moved to the South, so unusual for a Boston girl. I realized this past Christmas as I was driving to Cape Cod why I moved away from there …as I was driving past my grandparents exit where I grew up, I was overcome with sadness knowing that our family home was sold and gone and that I could no longer go back to the place and the people that raised me…

A year after he died my Nana sold the house and I remember sitting on the front steps with my mother crying and crying over the loss of the house and every, single thing it stood for—I see now that I moved away only months after that…I’m not sure that we always recognize what grounds us until it is gone for awhile.

My father and I were estranged for 25 years so my grandfather was in all practical ways my father…he was the strongest person I have ever met and his level of loyalty went beyond anything I have ever seen. He was my base, my childhood was soooo crazy and I always knew that he would never let anything really bad happen to me, he was always, always watching and silently stepping in to make things right when needed. He wasn’t overly affectionate and he was nothing like Andy Griffith or Ward Cleaver and when you screwed up he was by no means gentle—he was hard on us and hard on himself…if he couldn’t bounce a quarter on your bed, you re-made it—if any of the dishes you were drying were damp the whole cabinet came down and got re-washed, if you lied you paid the consequences…

When I was really little I was afraid of him, when I was about 16 I finally GOT him and we were thick as thieves after that, I was his first grandchild and his favorite girl…and he took it so badly whenever I did stupid stuff and boy, did I do a lot of stupid stuff in my early 20’s and until about 30…

I was always the one that took him to the doctor and I was the one that got the call in the middle of the night that he had taken another stroke—I am not even sure what force drove me to the hospital that night, his training I suppose…he trained us to operate in the face of ANY difficulty and GET THE JOB DONE, no crying, no whining, no excuses—just get it done. This is a way of being that too many people neglect to practice these days…

During the recovery of that stroke they found cancer in his liver and in his stomach, his response to suggestions for treatment was for everyone to F— Off…he was going home and that is where he would stay, they gave him three months, he lived a year…

That year was the year that changed all of our lives, it made us better and stronger and it made me more compassionate and understanding. I was in the middle of finishing a degree and I left school to move into their house and help take care of him even though my then husband and I were expecting my son…everyone told me that it was too much to be pregnant and try to care for a dying man…I told them to F—Off (see a likeness here?)There were some tough days and I spent a lot of time crying, but there were some really good days that I wouldn’t have missed for anything in the world…the rest of my family couldn’t really handle the deal, except my Uncle Mike another rock, he was there with me every step of the way—a really good man.

We went past Christmas and the New Year and I thought he was going to hang on until the baby came…I had four weeks to go…And then all of a sudden he took a turn and went into a coma…Hospice was helping us and they came with morphine, they taught us how to administer it every hour…it was my mom and I that last night taking turns in 3 hour shifts, I was sooo pregnant and sooo uncomfortable on all levels. Nobody else could stay in the room for more then 20 minutes…it was too sad for them…I just sat in his recliner by the bed and I held his hand and I said the Rosary over and over and over…I must have said 300 Rosaries that night…

The next day, March 31st he waited until the house was full of people, we are Italian so there were LOTS of people and the Priest came and went, it was about 10:30am and I decided to make ravioli…as my mom and I sat down to eat they started screaming for us from upstairs…took those stairs pretty fast for a pregnant chick…

So now there you are in the room watching what you know is the last run…all of a sudden I freaked, I ran into the other room and I thought, “I can’t, I can’t possibly handle this, can’t deal with this…” and then I thought I don’t want to miss him leaving, so I went back in like a big girl and watched him pass with the rest of my family…it was the most profound moment of my life thus far…he taught us how to live life out loud and he taught us how to die with grace on his terms, on his schedule…

So many people live with regrets; I can honestly say that I live with none. I had to file bankruptcy from cutting my work schedule down for that year while he was dying and I caused trouble in my then marriage, however I have never regretted one, single second. I did what was right for me to do. I did what he would have done for me.

As I have said before, after he died I felt like I lost my base and it took me awhile to learn how to become my OWN base…how to strengthen my FAITH enough to get me through ANY FIRE season…

My grandfather was my base for a long time, he was the rock and I still feel him with me every day …the life that I have built has his influence written all over it. I am of the opinion that when people leave here after a life well-lived they are still out there somewhere watching over us and checking up on us…and I think from time to time, when we are ready to receive them they send us some really great miracles with the help of God’s Grace…

Today may your miracle be the GRACE and STRENGTH to get through your next FIRE season.

-XO, Noelle

Warrior Training

Warrior Training

When did my skin get so damn OLD looking??? These are the things that I am thinking as I look at last night’s video…51 that is how old I will be in about a month, 51 years on the planet with an 18 year old son.

18 years…where the hell did that GO??? 18 years of being a working single mom, 18 years of being solely responsible for every freaking thing—- how the hell did I even DO that???? Yet, here I sit…out the other side and in fact, I did do it and I did a pretty good job. The kid turned out pretty exceptional even in the face of my many shortcomings…

So what have I learned and what wisdom can I impart to help you through whatever stage of this adventure you are in?

Here we go…

*STOP worrying so much, it isn’t helping anything. All it does is make you crazy and honest to God shit DOES work out. We hardly ever can see how, yet it does and you simply HAVE TO TRUST THAT IT WILL.

*Be honest with your kids, let them see you be REAL…acting like you are OK when you are NOT OK just screws them up because they can FEEL that you aren’t right and you are usually all they have—-so let them see the warrior that you are, let them see that you can be afraid and do it anyway…let them see that you can not feel well and do it anyway…let them see what it is like to overcome things—it is only going to make them stronger, better adults.

*Kids KNOW, whatever it is that you think you are hiding from them, they already know—-so just be honest. Life is hard and we prevail, show them that—don’t make them think that there won’t be challenges—-show them what it is like to be real.

*Take care of yourself, if you go down there is no one to cover for you—-your health and your well-being are a PRIORITY. PERIOD.

*KNOW YOUR WORTH —- I can’t say this one enough…I made so many mis-steps over the years because I didn’t understand my worth…don’t do that. Don’t settle, don’t ‘put up with shit’— know your worth.

*The kids are gonna be OK, they are going to make it. As long as you are doing your best and you are being authentic then they are going to be just fine…stop worrying.

*We are not perfect, we are not meant to be perfect—- we screw shit up, it’s human nature—- just keep doing the best you can.

*Don’t let fear stop you, have the fear and do it anyway—that’s all there is—just keep going, doing the next thing in front of you.

*Help as MANY people as possible, always.

*Give back everywhere you can, be generous of Spirit—everyone is fighting their own battles that we know nothing about—be kind.

*Take the high road, it isn’t crowded up there and don’t sweat it, karma never loses an address—let the Universe handle the people that were less than kind to you, you have better things to do.

*Always keep learning, reading, pushing yourself—-as I said before don’t settle—-keep pushing yourself, it’s how you grow.

*Talk to your kids, listen to them—-don’t be so busy trying to survive that you forget to LIVE.

*Have GRACE for yourself and others—not everything has to be perfect all the time—cut yourself some slack…I am telling you it all works out at the end of the story…

*Acknowledge the small miracles and have gratitude for how far you have come, we often are so busy just trying to get through the day that we forget to give thanks for the progress—there is always something to be grateful for.

It’s funny to be sitting in this place 18 plus years later, looking back on raising this boy on my own. At the beginning it seemed insurmountable, in the middle it was the hardest thing I have ever done, at the end it was the BEST training that I have ever had. I can produce results that nobody else can, I don’t let anything stop me, I don’t make excuses and my mantra has become “whatever it takes”—- I don’t accept ‘impossible’ as a descriptor and I KNOW from walking through FIRE and HELL that you can and you WILL get through whatever you are facing.

You know me, I am always straight with you guys and this was the hardest thing that I have ever done, raising this child with no child support and being the sole source of everything that he required for 18 years plus:). However, it taught me skills and strengths that I would never have learned any other way and it built me into a warrior that now helps other people——that part is my greatest blessing. Let my testimony become your inspiration—- if I could get out the other side successfully so will you…

Here’s to my approaching 51st birthday…let’s see what God has planned, it’s bound to be an adventure and you guys will be along for the ride.

Much Love,

Noelle

You Don’t Need A Cape, You Already Have Wings

I am here to tell you that you don’t need a cape, you already have wings…I am sitting in a silent house after a week-long spring break trip that I haven’t taken since “The Trip” back in April 2016. One would think that I would feel rested, recharged, rejuvenated. Well…. I was. Sort of.

Let me tell you about the flight home after an amazing trip with my two favorite teenage humans. Picture this, tribe… 3 solid hours of turbulence. I even considered if the pilot was on his maiden flight. This was enhanced by one terrified teenager who has a legit fear of flying and one teenager who does what all teenagers do best, slumped – passed out cold… the entire flight. Mix that in with several (and I mean SEVERAL) sick children who were projectile vomiting from the turbulence (Yep, you are absolutely correct – there is NO fresh air on an airplane) and the overwhelming and recycled stench of kiddy vomit… Is this real life? Yes. It was. It happened, and I lived through it this past weekend. Eventually, I ended up getting home and feeling like I needed a vacation all over again. Please do not get me wrong here… I am 100% grateful that I got this experience and quality time with my kids, and that I had the means to go on such a trip with them. I am blessed beyond measure, and I do not take one of those moments (or any for that matter) for granted.

Wait, wait, wait…. You’re wondering what I meant by “The Trip” that I mentioned above back in 2016. Ah. Yep, That. Well, I think its time to get over my paralyzing fears, stare it directly in the eye and decide today is the day that I keep looking forward, and quit looking back to see if the past is still there. It’s there. It hasn’t left. I can still feel it. I can still see it. I can still hear it. I can’t unsee it, unhear it or unfeel it. It’s now part of who I have become.

It was around this time three years ago (almost to the day) that my world completely fell of its axis. No, literally. My entire personal world that I lived in completely blew up. In an instant. It was the day I became a working single mom.

I’m not going to dig into any of the details, much of which even after three years are still very fresh to my heart and soul, and the cuts are still very deep and still bleed on occasion. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I was absolutely blind-sided and was not in any way, shape, or form ready for what was going to happen to my life. It was never something I had signed up for or wanted. EVER. After all, I had been the living fairytale. I married my high school sweetheart and at that point had spent 20 years of my then 36 years of life with him. We had been married for 13 years at that point and had two beautiful children. Was our life glitter, rainbows and unicorns? Absolutely not. Was it perfect? No way. But, it was MY version of perfect. It was my world. My life. My everything – – until it just wasn’t any longer. I came back from spring break with my kiddos (he did not join us on this trip) to my then hero, lover, best friend, my person, and love of my life… telling me he no longer wanted to be in our marriage. He wanted out, and he left me. MIND BLOWN. EARTH SHATTERED. To make it worse, I was told in public. In a bar. Yep. That happened.

Let’s take the 35,000 foot detour for a second, and get you caught up to speed – and get off the backstory train. I spent three long and painful years desperately trying to hold onto my marriage and save my family. I pleaded with God. I got angry. I got spiteful. I cried millions and millions of tears. I felt abandoned, hopeless, jaded – any feeling you can come up with – I assure you I felt them and I mastered them. I lost weight and shrunk faster than washing a 100% cotton shirt in scalding hot water and putting it in the dryer on high heat for an hour. Some days, I literally begged to die – because the pain inside of me was so much, so deep, so hard – I couldn’t stand another minute. Failure was not a word that was ever in my vocabulary – and here I was – the picture of failure right next to the word in good oleWebster’s.

Long story short, we divorced right before this past Christmas – and the holidays, well – let’s just say they were pretty much a blur. Kind of like when you squint and look at the lights on the tree. They are there, but you really can’t make out what it is, but you obviously know.

I have a point here, trust me – and stay with me because hopefully – there is someone out there just like me who was right where I was or is even now. I look at the day-to-day and I still hurt. I hurt when I look at my kids when we are now a party of 3 that used to be 4. I hurt when I go to bed in a king sized bed alone and hover on the far side of the bed – and wake up in the same position, barely had moved. I have good day and bad days.

When looking at it by the “days” or “moments – I have felt like I haven’t moved an inch much less a mile. However, when I look back at the last three years as a “whole” – Tribe, let me tell you – I have moved mountains I didn’t think could be moved. I have traveled so far that I can’t see where I started even though I know it exists. I have grown, stretched myself, and learned more about myself and have undoubtedly proved myself wrong every single step of the way. I have survived 100% of my worst days. TRUE STORY!

I am alive to tell the tale. To not only myself, but to my two beautiful children and any one of you that are reading this. I have cried myself to sleep. I have eaten completely alone in a restaurant. I have gone to a wedding solo. I have wondered how I can make it another day. However, I have smiled. I have laughed. I have found strength in the deepest places I never knew existed. Hell, all of this brought me here to all of YOUright here and now. I am walking side by side with you. Our arms are linked, and we are in lock step. I am one of you. We’re a tribe and let me tell you – we’re strong. We’re not going anywhere and despite what you feel (or don’t feel) inside – we got this, and not only do we – we’ll do it twice and take pictures to prove it. (Insert “Amen” here!)

Humor me and consider this for a few moments. I want you to look in the mirror. I don’t want you to worry about the bags under your eyes from the lack of sleep you got last night because your child was up sick all night or because your teenager had their first heartbreak. Don’t look at the extra curves that may surround your waistline because you have been working so hard to provide, you haven’t gotten the chance to get to the gym. It’s not necessary to look at the dry shampoo residue in your hair. What I want you to do is look past the refection staring back at you, and for God’s sake, don’t judge the woman staring back. Only you know what storms she has been through. Only you know where she has been, and where she is going. You’re the only one who has lived her life. You’re the expert of the person you see in the mirror. No one knows her better than you.

Every single day is a new opportunity to start again. Reinvent yourself. Try something new. Spread your wings. I encourage you to do so, even when you’re paralyzed in fear, or have no idea where to even start. If you want to lay in bed all day, hide from the world, and pretend that you are non-existent; go ahead, do it for a day or two. But remember, you don’t live there. You don’t belong there anyway – and it’s not a destination. Here’s why…

If I have learned anything, it’s this. You have smaller humans that are watching your every move. Your attitudes, your composure, your strength, and endurance. They are building their character traits based on your examples. We’re helping shape who they become. Albeit – there is this saying but man oh man is it a good one…. Show your daughters how to be treated by a man and show your sons how to treat a woman. You’re showing them this tribe… and guess what… you’re doing an amazing job. No matter what yesterday’s mascara has to say about it.

Keep chugging the lattes. Keep being that laundry warrior. Be who you need yourself to be for you and for them. We’re all here to cheer you on along the way, and to pick you up and carry you when you feel like you can’t. That’s what tribes do.

Until we meet again…

Jenn

It’s Time to Thrive, Not Just Survive

Time to thrive and not just survive..
Today was my son’s first day of preschool. I am divorced, and his father, and I co parent. His father brought him to school, and I had texted him that I would meet them there to wish him a great day.  My divorce was final two years ago, but I am still healing, and I never know when certain moments may trigger me.  I pull up, and I see my ex husband with his partner and my son. I immediately felt angry and anxious. I parked my car, and I had a pep talk with myself. “Amy, you’re loved, you’re special and you can do this.” I kept my composure, and I walked over to them. I said good morning, and I thought it was really nice when his partner went to wait in the car while we had our time with our son.
I am mostly ok in his presence, but not for long periods of time as our marriage was abusive, and I left three years ago today to create a healthier life for my son and I.
I sent my best friend a video, and I told her how happy I was that I was going to begin counseling again this Friday.  The thing is, I removed myself physically, and I have overcome a lot, but many emotions are still raw, and seeing him with his partner reminds me of the deception in my marriage, and how I feel robbed of the genuine partnership I had wanted; the real love that I fought so hard for, but it was never reciprocated.
It has been three years, and I realize for three years, I have put myself on the back burner. I have been going through the motions but not truly living. I am done with just living, I want to thrive. My marriage was fraudulent, but my son is the gift God gave me from it. I cannot be anything to anyone unless I am ok. Last night was the first night in a while that I went to bed at a decent hour. I am often haunted by nightmares, but last night I slept peacefully. I can choose to stay stuck or I can choose to face head on the issues that plague me often.
I want to be whole, I want to be who I was called to be. Yes, my marriage was a lie, but I have chosen to pick myself and do the hard work to walk with God and truly heal.  I am taking this special time in my life to do just so. I know many others have failed dreams, and are in pain. I too hope you will find the strength to be the best you and start thriving………not just surviving.
I hope you will join me as we thrive together!
~Amy
A Rhode Island native who moved to Ohio in 2004 mother to an amazing 4 year old son and 2 doggies. I love writing, reading, music, hanging out with my friends, French fries and animals

Damage and The Inspiration We Can Find Within

Damage….

Generally speaking, I try to focus on finding the good in bad situations…looking inside yourself for strength and finding your own way towards a better tomorrow.  Some days, though, I find myself struggling a little with that perspective in parts of my life.  Can you relate?

At some point, I realized that there are some things in my past that I will likely never fully recover from.

There are things that I have experienced that can’t be erased from my mind…can’t be erased from my heart…can’t be erased from my soul.  They may not affect me every day of my life, but there are certain key times that they rear their ugly little heads and cause me to re-live certain nightmares all over again.

There are certain sounds that trigger these memories…sounds that are common to television, movies and even some events with friends.  There are also certain stories and scenes from the same sources that cause the memories to flash through my mind.  I can’t very well run away and hide from life, but there are, without question, times that I would love to do just that.  I have come to realize that the proper support system in this arena is so very important to us all.

And the beauty in that is this:

I have always tried to reach out to the so-called unlovable.

I have always tried to have compassion for the bully.

I have always tried to hold understanding for those whose stories I do not know.

I have always tried to live my life with a healthy dose of grace.

In these things that have always been a part of my day, I find motivation to be better…a better version of myself…a better friend to others…a better model for my child.

In these things that I have always tried to live, I find a better understanding of my calling to live them.

So many people in this world get to know each other on the surface.  They come to friendship based on surface facts.  And when some life event unfolds in a way that catches them off guard, they run away before ever attempting to understand it.  So many people in this world define their love for each other in spite of things rather than because of things.
What if…what if we could all learn to love each other because of things instead of in spite of things?
What if…what if our pasts could be used to better know and love and look out for each other instead of as weapons and excuses against each other?
And that…that brings me back to the beauty in this all.
There are moments of pain in my life that I cannot avoid.  There are moments of the same that I cannot erase.  But these moments…are moments of opportunity and moments of potential for greatness.  These are moments sitting right in the palm of my hand, for which I fully control the direction. These are moments that I choose to learn from, that I choose to love from, that I choose to be better from.

We all have our moments.  What will you do with yours?

~Tanya

You can follow Tanya at http://sunshineandbluemoon.blogspot.com and, as always, make it a great day!

Is Being Strong Really A Strength?

Being strong…

Two weeks after I graduated from high school, my dad had a heart attack. I remember the day vividly – I remember my mom waking me up and asking me to sit with my dad while she got ready, I remember going to the hospital and sitting in the waiting room, I remember leaving to go home to get a few things and going in to see my dad, I remember that being one of the only times I can recall that he said “I love you” to me, I remember sitting in a room after his surgery with all of our friends and feeling like I was having an out of body experience, I remember the doctor telling us that he had passed away and I remember sitting outside the hospital with a couple of my friends talking about how my dad would never see me graduate from college, get married or meet my kids.

My dad was a pretty healthy guy – he had just played in a tennis tournament the weekend before, so as you can imagine, we were shocked and devastated. My mom was completely torn up and I remember as family friends would come to visit, they would tell me that I needed to be strong for my mom. Over and over at the funeral, friends gave hugs and condolences and again, told me to be strong for my mom. Didn’t they know I was only 17? I wasn’t even an adult yet. Who was going to be strong for me?

Maybe that’s where it all started…

Lately, I have been thinking about what it means to be strong. Growing up and even as an adult, I felt like it meant not showing your emotions, that even when things are really hard, you stuff your feelings down and just keeping going on like it’s a normal day. I’ve done that for years. I may get upset and cry, but most likely it’s at home by myself or alone while I’m driving in the car, but when you see me at work or at the grocery store or at my kids’ school, you see what you would expect to see – a seemingly happy, friendly person.

When problems were happening in my marriage, most people had no idea. I was strong on the outside, even if I was falling apart on the inside. There were a couple times where I slipped up and started crying at work, but I quickly pulled myself together and kept moving ahead the best that I could. Even now, three years later, I still have my days. Days when I would like to just curl into a ball and stay under the covers for a day or two and cry the tears that I’ve been holding in for months. But, I don’t have the luxury of doing that; I have two girls who need me – they need me to drive them places and make them food and help with homework and comfort them when they have a problem. Sometimes, all I want is to be the one with the problem and have someone comfort me and tell me that everything is going to be ok.

My friend and I talk about this topic a lot. We are both similar – we don’t wear our emotions on our sleeves, we listen to other people’s issues and we find ways to fix them, we don’t like to dwell in negativity. We are considered strong by others, but that also means that people don’t think we ever have a problem or have a bad day and that’s just not true. The truth is, we are both sensitive and take things to heart; we may just not talk about it openly. Thank goodness we have each other; she’s the one I call when I need to talk about a bad day and she’s the one that I can cry to when I’m frustrated or down.

The more that I think about it …. I don’t know that being strong is a strength, it’s more like a mask of your true feelings. Over the last few years, I’ve learned that it’s ok to be vulnerable with the right people and that being vulnerable is more courageous than being strong and holding your feelings in.

That’s part of the reason I started this blog; much of it is for me and to get my feelings out, but it’s also to hopefully help someone else who might be feeling the same way. I hope they can understand that their feelings are valid and it’s ok to talk about them instead of stuffing them deep down inside and that they’re being extremely brave and courageous by doing so.

~Laxmi~

You can follow Laxmi at her blog, https://onedesigirlsjourney.wordpress.com/.