Awareness, Grateful

Why I am Grateful

There was a time in my life where I felt very envious of those I’d worked with or those I’d see online. I’d see someone who got a free ride to college, kids whose parents were still married, or someone who didn’t share my struggles. Since it looked like their life was so much easier, I started to resent them — even if I didn’t really know them.

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And I was miserable. I was miserable because I was constantly comparing, constantly wishing for more, and constantly feeling like I was going to have a subpar life.

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But one day, I realized how miserable I’d really felt. And I had this realization that God had truly blessed me and my family. So even though I was going through a tough time, I decided to be grateful. It was a tough decision but a choice nonetheless. I chose on purpose to be grateful for whatever I could find.

My health.
My family.
My close friends.
My work.
My warm bed and food in the fridge.
My education.

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When I started doing this, something amazing happened. As I became more grateful, I became more joyful. It started to become infectious and changed me. As time went on, and I thanked God for the simple things, I found more came my way. When I had complained before, I was miserable and it seemed less good came my way. But as proclaimed what I was thankful for and had a new attitude of gratitude, the more blessings flowed.

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As we enter the holiday season, make a decision to be grateful. Even when it hurts to breathe, when it’s hard to see the good, do it. You’ll be amazed at how it’ll change you and your life.

#grateful #blessedlife #loveyourlifenottheirs

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Awareness, Family, Female Entrepreneurs, Mom Life, Persevere

Best Days

“Oh, honey… enjoy this. These are the best days of your life.” Falser words could not have come flowing from anyone’s lips than these did when they hit my ears. And yet I heard this, all. the. time. My ears still ring when I think about it. Talk to any new mom, any mom at all, and tell her how awesome new motherhood is, go ahead, I dare ya. Then just watch her face. I promise you, if she’s anything like me, she’ll twitch. And I hear ya, these well meaning folks, they want you to treasure your time and your family. But statements like these, feel about as awkward to me as putting on last years’ bathing suit.

I guess what bothers me most about the sentiment is how dishonest it is. New moms hear a lot of weird garbage if we’re being real, and we are pretty thick skinned. After all, we did go through 9 months of beyond awkwardness and unwanted belly-touching. But to have a place of candor to talk about how weird it all is, really refreshes me and maybe you too. When I think about the truth of new motherhood–I think of massive changes. Every change that could possibly happen, your marriage, your money, your work, your friendships, your body,  your home, your career… it is ALL different. You wonder if you’re doing it right, you wonder if you’re co-workers will think less of you, if you’ll get fired, if your spouse still feels the same way, if you’ll lose those final and stubborn 10 pounds of baby weight… it just keeps going. And all day, every day, there’s a television screen in your mind just swirling with all the changes and things you need to do. And when we tell that same mom who underwent massive changes in such a short period of time, the woman who can’t remember if she brushed her teeth today or who just cleaned up a massive blowout diaper in her car on the way to work, “These are the best days…” no wonder she doesn’t get it — she’s a finalist in the series of Survivor. She’s the zookeeper to the animals– making sure they stay safe and no one throws any poop.12141658_1026342174076669_3828444627179536575_n

So in the spirit of being truthful, tell her something different perhaps. Say something like, “It’s hard to be a new mom–I remember, but it will be worth it,” or maybe, “Is there something I can do to help?” Better yet, ask to get her some coffee. Because when you’re brand new to all of this change, and it hits you like a truck full of bricks, all you really want is to be understood and for some genuine heart-felt help.

Awareness, Passion, Personal Development

Why We Can’t Quit Netflix

We’ve all been there… whether it’s Hulu, Netflix, or buying a full series on Amazon Prime, we just love our series. There’s something so addicting about following a crime show or a major drama all the way through to the point where you think you almost know the characters. It can be the same with books, the Twilight trilogy the Harry Potter series. We form attachments to these story lines and beg for more.

Why is it, that we love our series so much? Is it the connection to the story lines, interesting plot twists? Or could it be something more… something like escapism? I don’t think it’s intentional, but sometimes we really crave a fantasy. Life can be hard, it can be monotonous and even though we are adults, we all have that inner child that would like to live in a “Peter Pan Neverland” world, one where anything is possible. As an adult, in our own ways, our addictions to TV series are our way to escape our regular, mundane lives. We can be detectives, royalty, or survivors on a lost island conquering whatever feats may come our way.

When the series ends, or the book is over, it many times feels troubling or like a let-down. It’s as if closing those last few pages, or watching the series finale means that our fantasy is over, and it “wakes” us up. We get out of the dream-like slumber, the comatose state we were in, and realize we are back to the “real world”. Back to the kids, the obligations, the dishes…life. I think that’s the real reason why people watch Netflix and get lost in series.

I don’t think people intentionally choose to waste time watching TV or reading fiction books. I think it’s a way of dealing and maybe even hiding from pain and the world. As long as you’re in a fictional world, escaping it all, you aren’t dealing with real life or living out your own dreams and goals. You can mask pain, or unfulfilled dreams with fiction and live vicariously through characters, those that aren’t real.

So, where do we go from here? Do we stop watching the series we love? Stop reading fairy tales? I don’t think so. I think the mind does some of it’s best work when it can dream and go on imaginary trips. I think there is value in the fantasy world, and room for creativity. But I do think we need to be aware of what we are doing and realize that escaping forever isn’t okay.

Instead of clamming up and shutting out the world incessantly, I believe we should spend more time creating our own dreams, reaching our own goals, making our own imaginary ideas come to life. And I think we need to stop being afraid of doing those things that we only watch on TV. Whether it’s to travel to a place we have never been, taking on a new sport, or investing in a relationship we’re afraid to dapple in…we should stop fearing and start living. We should aim to create lives that we don’t feel the need to constantly escape from, and we should be honest with ourselves about why we feel the need to do so.

 

 

 

 

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Awareness, Change, Empowerment, Forgiveness

Why We Resist

Do you ever find it difficult to get along with people? Not your close circle of friends or the happy bank teller, but with the difficult boss or the cranky spouse? It’s so much easier to tell these people “off” or to resist them.

We are seeing it all the time in our world. Rebellions and resistance efforts all advocating for their side of the way things should be. Whether it’s right or wrong, done righteously or self-indulgent, it’s so much easier to rebel than to unify.

I remember as newlyweds, I had a real fire inside. It wasn’t in a bad way all the time but I was much less gentle and a lot more demanding. I was a compulsive complainer and tended to be anxious about everything. I was pretty sure the way I was doing things was the right way and my spouse was just a pain. But over time, I realized that this “going against the grain”, it gets you nowhere.

It was so easy to get mad. It was easy to feel I was right and someone else was wrong. It was easy to not get along with others and to sit quietly in a self-righteous stew. And most of all, to succumb to unity felt like I was giving up my identity and my own ideas. To sit quietly felt like weakness instead of strength. But I learned quickly that sometimes the one that’s quiet, the one that admits they’re wrong, they are truly the ones with all the strength.

We went to the state fair a few years back and I saw they had a set of ox that were yoked together. If one ox tried to go in the other direction than the other, it was near impossible. They would start to flail and buck in place. The yoke forced them together and to move around, they had to go together, step by step in unity.

This observation is not only a great picture in marriage or working relationships, but for our country and world. We can choose to kick and buck under the yoke but ultimately we will get nowhere and be more frustrated than when we started. It is imperative that we work together. And working together doesn’t mean we always agree. But it does mean we are walking together toward a common goal for a common purpose.

There is infinite power in unity.

 

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Awareness, Self Help

For Perfectionists Like Me…

I used to think that I was a procrastinator… always putting off something important. For instance, I’d clean my house and spend hours on that, instead of reaching out to customers or calling the cable company. Sometimes it’s the tasks that we know we can handle that we do first to avoid the less desirable ones. I could scrub a toilet more easily than focus on my manuscript or talk to my boss–it just felt easier.

It took some time and self-reflection, but I found that my procrastination was NOT about laziness. I would work hard at what I did, but it just might be in the wrong order, so much so that I would have no energy left when I finally got around to the “hard” tasks at the end of the day. The reason subconsciously why I would put off those harder tasks was really rooted in a need to have them perfect.

What I would do is instead of just completing the more challenging activity and getting it DONE, I would overcomplicate it. Instead of organizing my closet and just doing it, I’d think well I’ll need to have a donation pile, color code this, and iron all my items in the same day! Instead, all I needed to do was just, refold some items and donate a couple shirts. But in my mind, I’d already mentally created a roadblock, so then I never would actually get around to doing it.

We do that with a lot of things in life. We overcomplicate them in our minds, and never execute. We have good intentions, but never pull the trigger. I found that what I need to do to overcome this hurdle, is to just do it! I think many times it’s because we fear the failure, or think it needs to be perfect the first time around. But most things in life aren’t and require drafts and edits and revisions.

The blog post might have errors in it and might not be my BEST writing, but I did one today. The database I created might not be perfect yet, but I started it! My closet might not be thoroughly spic and span, but I’ve got a start on it.

I found that action is better than delayed perfection.

I can’t fix a piece of writing I never started and I can’t improve a goal that never existed. I need to start somewhere. And it may not be my destination, but it’s a beginning. And a beginning in action is better than a thought unexecuted.

 

 

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Awareness, Growth, Healing, Loss, overcoming

MY MISSED MISCARRIAGE: PART TWO

I sat in the old white whicker chair in the waiting room. As I looked around anxiously, I saw women of all stages of life. I saw a lady coming in with her newborn in a carrier, a young teenager, and an older lady waiting patiently across from me. I brought a book with me but in my nervousness I just couldn’t bring myself to read it.
 
Eventually the ultrasound tech opened the door, “Christina!”
 
I got up and walked toward the entrance…
 
“How are you today?”
 
“Good as I can be, I guess.”
 
She led me to the ultrasound room and had me get into the gown from the waist down. I watched her look at the screen so stoically.
 
“Anything change?” I asked, hoping for the best but ready for the worst.
 
“No, sorry. It looks like the sac has filled with debris and it’s shrinking in size.”
 
I was still processing, still upset, but somehow knowing for sure, that the twins were gone, gave me peace. I could let go.
 
I walked into the doctor’s office, the one who had told me about the miscarriage last week. She asked what I wanted to do. I couldn’t quite deal with the idea of delivering what was left of my kids at home, whenever that would happen. So I chose the D&C option.
 
“I know it’s the week of Christmas… can you guys still schedule the surgery before Christmas Day?” I asked but figuring it would be post-poned.
 
“Let me check with the surgeon. I think we can do that for you. I want to do whatever will make this easier for you,” she said, with such compassion.
 
“Dr. Smith, can we do a D&C this week before Christmas? Christina sadly, miscarried so we are trying to help her by getting her in quicker.”
 
“Sure, honey…I’m so sorry…” And I think she truly meant it.
 
I completed the forms for the surgery and went to get more bloodwork done. I called my mom, asking her if she could come with me for the surgery to drive me back home.
 
That night, I went home and couldn’t eat anything for the coming surgery. I called my co-workers and requested the week off to heal. When I went in for surgery the next day, I was greeted with more bloodwork. Since I hadn’t eaten for the surgery, they couldn’t locate my veins properly, having to stick needles in both arms and my hand. Normally that doesn’t bother me but I cringed all the way through it. They then led me down a narrow hallway where I was given a room and a gown to wear. I was given an IV to give me fluids since I had nothing in my system.
 
While I waited for the anesthesiologist and the surgeon, I watched some Christmas movies on ABC Family. It seemed to take my mind off of things.
 
The anesthesiologist came in and explained the drugs they’d use during the procedure. I mostly just nodded my head, not really knowing why it mattered, just that I wouldn’t be in pain.
 
Now it was starting to get more serious and I felt my nerves start to rise. They carted me to the surgery room which was felt like ice. Warm blankets were placed on me and my head was set in a set of foam blocks. The lights from the surgical spot-light were blinding. The anesthesiologist did his best to say a joke…I appreciated the effort. In a few moments, I drifted to sleep.
 
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When I woke up I felt no pain, just a groggy feeling and a need to urinate. Nurses helped me when I came to, and I couldn’t believe how much blood was on my bed. It just reminded me of what happened, what I’d lost. I looked over and mom was sitting there with an iced tea reading an Angel magazine, as always.
 
“How’s it going kiddo? Feeling okay?”
 
“I want some ice cream.” I told her and the nurse.
 
They went and found me some. Once I was done, I was helped up and into my clothes. I sat with some more IV fluids for a while and waited to feel a little more normal. My nurses were angels and comforted me as I recovered. I was wheeled out of the hospital and went to the Olive Garden with mom, and ate more than I should. As moments passed, I felt less and less upset and more at peace. After I ate, mom drove me home and helped me to the couch and prepped it with blankets where I stayed waiting for Greg to come home from work.
 
After the bleeding subsided, which went on and off for a while, I went to the hospital for weekly bloodwork, which is hard for someone who’s trying to move past their loss. But eventually it was over… eventually after three long months, my body had healed.
 
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I say all this not for myself, but for so many women who suffer or cry in silence as new life leaves them. It’s the taboo subject… don’t tell anyone you’re expecting until post 1st trimester, you could miscarry! As if you should have to live in that pain by yourself. Many women have miscarriages and, somehow, have the strength to try again, to believe it can work again. This story is for all of you, the ones that persevered and suffered alone. Your grief and story is real.