Yesterday was awful. Yes, it was a classic "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” It wasn't so much the day itself, although it was in fact quite terrible; but more so, it was simply a representation of a difficult season, a season that is testing the measure of my faith. After I had my pity party, I asked myself, "What good can come from this experience?" After my HEART immediately said, "NOTHING," I disciplined my MIND to write a list of possible gifts that can come from this experience. My list didn't take the pain away, but it did allow me to see the light amidst the darkness.
As C.S. Lewis states, "only a real risk tests the reality of a belief." I believe that struggle and suffering can make us stronger, that God can produce profound beauty from ashes, and that often times the bigger picture is for our greater good. BUT, this is so much easier to believe when things are going my way.
So, my friends, let's continue to build our muscle of resilience. That muscle can only be strengthened through exercise, weight and tension. How much do you trust your beliefs?
This picture hangs in my office as a constant reminder to “never give up” (words at the bottom of frame). Over 21 years ago, when I got married, I asked my mother-in-law to teach me to cross-stitch. Well, I started, but never finished—I didn’t realize how one could work hours upon hours on just a small section and see very little progress. I was in my 20’s and definitely wanted a hobby that produced more immediate satisfaction. Fast forward almost 15 years and the cross-stitch remained covered in plastic in my closet. Then, with an unexpected weekend without children, I worked on this project and finally finished! I decided to frame it as a reminder of perseverance.
Life can be hard. We make mistakes. Other times we are impacted by the mistakes of others. There are so many circumstances beyond our control, like illnesses and loss. We carry a full plate of responsibility. We get tired of doing the right thing. We may often feel like we are running a race but no one seems to be in the bleachers cheering us on. We may feel like our blood, sweat and tears go unnoticed. Well, my friend, you are not alone. One of my mantras in life is “never give up.” Although our journey can be riddled with pain, we can always choose joy, purpose and meaning. We can choose to rise above, to think beyond the present. . . to never give up!
11 years ago today, my son, Isaiah, was admitted into the NICU for a severe feeding disorder. For one month, Isaiah was poked and prodded in hopes to discover why he stopped eating entirely. After an NG tube and numerous tests of his brain, heart and gastrointestinal tract, his feeding disease and oral aversion were confirmed. Life after his diagnosis, unfortunately, did not get better and we found ourselves in a pretty dark season. After approximately 3 years, Isaiah showed some improvement and now, at 11 years of age, Isaiah is thriving and has a voracious appetite.
Although I celebrate Isaiah’s healing and improvement, I remember July 24th and that month vividly. For 30 days, I wondered if there would be any improvement. For 30 days, I came home to an empty nursery. For 30 days, I woke up in the middle of the night to an empty bassinet. The memory of those days are forever etched on my heart and mind. But, with that, the memory of hope and faith are also imprinted. My faith in God, my hope for better days, the connections with those who loved us and loved Isaiah, the courage to ask for help when we desperately wanted to be self-sufficient—those, too, have become dear memories. “Much of the beauty of light owes its existence to the dark, “ Brene Brown says. It’s been enlightening to realize how much of the beauty of his healing and progress is a product of the darkness. The light is seen amidst, in spite of, and because of the darkness.
Now, let’s be real. I’m not romanticizing those dark days. I would trade that darkness HAPPILY—but, I wouldn’t trade the hope, the courage and the connection. I am who I am today because of those days. And, those days have prepared me for the many bumps since then. So, today, I remember the darkness and pay homage to its role in the light, in me, and our story. How have your dark moments proved the light?
Have you shared a part of yourself to only have another invalidate your feelings . . . or worse, try to one-up you? I think many, if not most of us, have been there, either as a witness or a recipient. It wounds as the recipient and makes me cringe as a witness. I’ve learned and will continue to learn the life-long lesson—it isn’t about me. Ultimately, the attack, the disparaging words, the eye-roll, the sigh . . . it’s not about me, it’s about them. It’s not about you; it’s about them.
So, in a world where the hurt is inevitable, what can you do? For me, I try, and at times through tears and pain, remind myself of that truth—and to be honest, sometimes I have to practically tape a note to my head—IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. Now, it is just as pervasive to see others wounded by a callous word or act. What can you do? Here I am reminded of the words of Ann Voskamp, “We aren’t here to one-up another, but to help one another up.” So, when I witness the wound, the sting, the bleeding , I receive my marching orders—give, lend, comfort, encourage, reassure . . . love. Treat the wounded the way I want to be treated. As with most things that matter, it can be hard to put into practice BUT always worth its weight in gold.
Happy Mother’s Day Eve! I have a confession. I used to be a Mom-Zilla on Mother’s Day. I used to wake up on Mother’s Day and expect the Disneyland light show! Yes, I did. 🥴 And, as you can imagine, every year I would be disappointed (even though my sweet husband went out of his way to spoil me). Several years ago, I realized how I was getting in the way of my own joy! I was the only one stopping me from having a special Mother’s Day. So, I created my own tradition of buying myself flowers and making a tea party for my family. I also take family pics on Mother’s Day because, for those of you who know me well, pictures are my love language! So, my dear friend, if you are anything like me and have been disappointed on Mother’s Day, please do something for yourself. Do what you love. Reframe your expectations, celebrate the wonderful Mom you know you are, and enjoy your sweet children! Happy Mother’s Day!!
Can you believe it?! We are already into the 4th--yes, 4th--month of the year! How are your goals? If you are like most, myself included, that motivation is starting to fizzle. I came across this quote several years ago and its truth remains with me: “Be stubborn about your goals, and flexible about your methods.” What once worked may not work now. What you are doing now may not be the best fit. What others are doing may not resonate with you. However, what remains is this: YOU! Your spirit! Be stubborn, my friend. It may take trial and error, but if you can be open to trying new methods, you may just reach your goal.
Do you want to know one of the secrets to success. I recently read in "The Happiness Advantage" by Shawn Achor that, "It turns out that our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive." Do you want to experience more fulfilling relationships? Do you want to perform better at work? Do you want to simply experience more joy? It appears that part of the answer lies in embracing positivity.
So, how can we foster positivity in our lives? One of my go-to's is a gratitude journal. There is so much going on in life. So many hurdles, so many challenges, so many things that simply don't turn out the way I had hoped. One of the ways that I persevere through these ups and downs is through gratitude. When I focus on the positive, it multiplies my joy and creates the habit to see all the gifts amidst the pain. Warm, cozy sheets to look forward to each night. Healthy legs that can hike up mountains and swim through streams. A schedule full of events that are productive and fulfilling. Ultimately, gratitude produces positivity, unlocking the ability to perform at my best. How can you incorporate positivity into your daily life?
I blinked and somehow it’s the end of February! I missed the MOST opportune time to post about a new year and new goals. BUT, I missed it for a very good reason! I was trying to practice what I preach—to live with courage, embrace your gifts and do what you love! For me, coaching and teaching are the ways I live my best self. And, by the grace of God, I taught another class and LOVED it! How are you using your gifts? What goals are you working toward this year?
David J. Schwartz, in The Magic of Thinking Big, states, "The how-to-do-it always comes to the person who believes he can do it." So many of us have dreams and goals. You know, those deep desires that have long laid dormant since you've become a parent or received that new job. Or, maybe the goal is staring you right in the face, like losing 10 pounds or learning to play that guitar that's been sitting in the corner of your room for a couple of years. We don't usually lack the desire or the dream; sadly, we lack the belief in our abilities So, before thinking about "how" you are going to achieve your goal, first focus on ALL that you possess to achieve that goal. Think about your strengths and consider your accomplishments--you didn't get where you are now by accident. YOU were and are the main ingredient. So, as you strive to achieve your next goal, remember that one of the most important aspects of this journey is not the "how to" but the belief in yourself.
We all know that this time of year is busy. Beyond busy. It is quite unfortunate given this is my favorite time of year. It seems to pass by in a blink of an eye, even when I try celebrating in November and throughout January [yes, I do--haters don't hate:)] . . . and then it occurred to me--the only way I can savor this season is to "pause." Pause to savor the twinkling Christmas lights. Pause to taste the warm and comforting eggnog. Pause to hear the sweet children sing Christmas carols. Pause to remember the birth of my Lord and Savior. Pause. How can you pause today?
One committed to processing truth, finding light in the darkness, savoring the simple, and living fully.