I Miss My Mommy!

I don’t have a fitting quote to begin today’s entry with as I usually do.  I think I can just say that she [Mom] did the best with what she had while she could.  Choices were made, lives were lived as such.  She was great, then she lost herself and ultimately pushed me out. Did she have regrets?  Did she really still love me or did she hate me the way it seemed?  I will never know, she’s gone.  I write this today to remember good times and deal with some of the bad.  I honor her today for wanting me, adopting me, giving me a home, loving me in the best way she could and keeping a roof over my head (most of the time).

Remember when you were little and you’d get sick and only mommy could make it better?  Well, I am sick as a dog this week and man do I wish I had my mom to take care of me!!  My early mom, that is.  I have a lot of laying around time and I am upright long enough to do some writing.  I essentially had three moms in one.  When I was little, my mom was great and today I write about that mom, and as she began morphing into the next stage – which was not so great.  As far back as I can remember, I was Mom’s little buddy and I was by her side all the time.  I remember standing on a chair for hours in the kitchen with her doing everything she did right by her side.  I did dishes with her, I helped her cook, she always let me cut out the biscuits, I would weed the garden right next to her.  She would dig the trench I would drop the seeds and cover them.  Harvesting was my favorite time!  She loved to play tricks on me with the corn…saying that if you watched close you could see the sprout pop out of the ground!  I waited and watched as she giggled and finally told me she was teasing me.  Those were the good days.

My parents were foster parents in Corpus Christi, TX when I was born in 1971 and after being in the hospital for 8 days with jaundice, I went home with them as one of several foster children in their home in addition to the 3 boys of their own.  Mom had recently miscarried and had been devastated by the miscarriage and wanted a little girl so badly.  She said that as soon as I came home with them, she knew she wanted to adopt me and felt like God sent me to her after her loss.  She didn’t know the gender of the lost baby, it was too early but she was sure it was a girl in her heart and I was meant to fill that void for her.  Back in that time in TX, the laws were such that if you wanted to adopt a foster, you had to give up your right to foster any more kids; so they traded their foster license to adopt me.  That always made me feel so special.  I was chosen!  Most of my life (with exception here and there) I looked at myself as being chosen, not given away.  As a small child I didn’t feel any different than the boys, I felt like part of the “family”.  It wasn’t until a little later that this changed, but I’ll get to that.

Mom was a good mom when I was little, as far as cooking dinner, keeping the house clean, regular housewife chores.  She was never one to get up and fix my hair for school, or walk me to the bus.  Only on the first day did she fix my hair, then she was back to sleep for the rest of he year.  Dad got me up and ready every day and I fixed my own hair and picked my own clothes.  But she was great when I was sick.  She would rub Vicks on my chest, give me a hot towel and stroke my hair.  That was my favorite.  To this day, I love to be held and have my hair stroked, especially if I’m upset or don’t feel good.  But as an adult, that’s rare, it’s a little weird.  Haha!  Sometimes my daughter does it for me which is sweet because I always did it for her.  I put her to sleep that way every night.  Her hair grew with a little bit of a cowlick and I think it’s because I rubbed her hair that way so much!  Anyway, I digress; back to the story!  She sang to me a lot and I thought she had the best voice!  I remember asking her why she wasn’t a singer on the radio because she had such a pretty voice.  In hindsight, it wasn’t that great, but she was Mom and I thought everything she did was great!  I would get to lay in her bed or on the couch when I was sick.  I would get to watch Captain Kangaroo which was my absolute favorite which I rarely got to watch because I was at school!  Also often, the antenna didn’t pick up the channel, but she would try real hard to place it right when I was sick.  That’s what a mama does…whatever it takes to make their baby feel better.

Outside of being sick, I have many other fond memories of Mom as a young child.  Snow days were especially fun.  We lived in Southern Missouri by this time, so we had a lot of snow and ice in the winter.  Dad would pull us on an old car hood behind the tractor which was so fun!  We had a sleigh he hooked up to the horses to pull us and a huge field we could ride in, it was a true winter wonderland on our farm!  Lots of sledding took place, we had a steep hill driveway, but a lot of rocks.  We had the Red Ryder sleds and would wax up the tracks good and fly down the hill!  Steering those was a trick…but a lot easier than the plastic toboggans!  We wore break sacks on our hands and feet to keep dry, mom didn’t want us getting frostbite, we would stay out for hours!  When we came in she made the best hot chocolate ever.  Nothing we had was ever from a can or jar…so it was not a mix, it was the real thing!  Homemade everything.  I guess that’s where I get my love for cooking and the challenges of homemaking everything.  It’s rewarding to see people enjoying my home cooking!  I didn’t appreciate it as a child because I didn’t know any different.  Now I know how much work, time and effort it took for her to feed our family.  These were the good days!  These were the fond memories I have of childhood.  To me, this is what being a mom is and that this is how it is as long as you and your child are alive, no matter their age.  Before I got sick this week, Ali was sick last week and even at 20 years old, I treated her like she was 5.  I waited on her hand and foot and got her anything she needed.  Once my baby, always my baby.  This was a concept that I wish my mom had known.  Unfortunately, this didn’t last.

I’ve written before that age 8 was the magic year, or age that life went to hell.  A lot of things had changed since our hot chocolate snow days.  My oldest brother had moved out by the time I was 4 (my brothers are all much older than I am) and married when I was 6.  My middle brother was my favorite, he is 12 years older than me.  I have so many amazing memories of him.  He took such good care of me and loved me so much.  He got me out of the house as much as he could because he knew I wasn’t treated right even when I didn’t know it myself.  I can remember him taking me on dates with him, which I’m sure his dates truly hated!!  Ha!  We were a package deal.  He wasn’t treated the way he should have been either and had also now moved out of the house and I missed him so terribly.  My third brother was awful; the one that produced the majority of the abuse I endured throughout my life at home.  He was sick, and not just mentally.  He had hid first open heart surgery as a toddler and had heart problems his entire life living with a pacemaker in prison today.  I don’t know all of the details of what was wrong with him, but he had a lot of issues which made him “special” because Mom considered him her miracle baby.  He always got special treatment and he got away with everything.  With this being my only companionship in the house now, I became very sad and lonely, and scared.  The abuse became much greater once Brian was gone.  Andrew knew that there was nobody there to protect me because Mom was oblivious and turned a blind eye and Dad was running the farm and farming the fields from dawn til dark.  I tried to spend as much time as I could in the fields or helping Dad in the garden or with the animals but often I was just in the way so I had to be at the house.  I was actually 7 during this particular year I am speaking of and when a lot of the trickery began from my brother.  That year I was hit in the ribs with a baseball bat resulting in a cracked rib and the wind knocked out of me and a head butt that resulted in a swollen black eye, bloody nose and a chip in the bone just under my eye socket which remains today.  It was such trauma to my body that I got incredibly sick and was out of school for two weeks but never once got a visit to the Dr.  Both were looked at as “accidents” and this was my first time knowing that I was not truly safe in my own home.  It became painfully aware that mom was going to choose Andrew over me no matter what he did, and Dad would follow along to keep the peace.

Over the years, the choosing of Andrew over me grew and grew and the abuse got more violent and unnatural.  Mom and Dad were fighting a lot and I know that often they would fight about us and who was on whose side.  Mom was a force to be reckoned with and Dad was very much a peace keeper.  This was the beginning of Mom’s mental instability, or at least when it became visible to me.  Dad would often have to hold her down because she would just go crazy.  She went to the doctor and I remember Dad forcing her to take her “pill” and she would calm down and go to sleep.  When she would wake up she would act like nothing happened and everything would go back to “normal” for the time being.  But I was scared.  I never knew when she was going to go off and when she was going to love me.  I stayed in my bedroom a lot and played with the animals on the farm a lot.  Everything went downhill from here.

My 8th birthday, I spent with my Aunt Francis and Uncle Paul in Blue Springs, MO and I have no idea where my parents were.  I remember that my cousin Bobby made me a cake and they had a little party for me because I was missing my parents.  They weren’t perfect, but they were my family and I loved and missed them on my birthday.  They were all I knew.  We had moved into Blue Springs and off the farm at this point.  These were the final days of any “normalcy” in my home life.  My parents showed their love for their boys during this time and I was along for the ride.  Andrew became very sick for a while so he was bed ridden with in home care and a tutor so Mom was with him round the clock.  After he got better, the next crisis was Brian’s and it was a doozy.  I will save that for another day because it leads into another chapter of our life completely.

As parents, we do the best we can with what we have at the time and our capacity is only so much.  Some are better equipped to deal than others.  My mom was mentally ill, my dad was lost I think.  I’m not sure I understand it yet and I never truly will since they’re both gone.  I can’t ask them questions.  I can only work through the details in my head and draw the best conclusions possible from what I know.  I know they loved me, especially Dad.  Mom, I believe she was jealous of me and my independence (as if I had a choice).  Most of all, I believe she was jealous of my relationship with Dad.  She chose Andrew time and time again and turned her head when he abused me so I didn’t want to spend time with her, I wanted to be with Dad because at least he attempted to protect me!  So I would be in the garage with Dad while he worked on the car or help him with yard work or just run errands with him.  Mom really started showing hatred toward me at this point.  The little things that a mom does for her girl were no longer of interest to her.  She became completely belligerent and angrily jealous of Dad ALL the time.  She accused him of so many crazy things and accused me of covering for him when we went somewhere.  It was pure insanity.  She had lost her parental feelings for me at this point, I feel.  She never lost it for the boys, but I was an outcast even though I was a young child and did nothing wrong, ever.  I developed a nervous stomach condition which by age 8 I was in near constant pain from.  Finally at 15 I was able to see a doctor and get medication for it.

Each of her children were very different, we all had our own personalities and desires.  As the picture at the top states, each situation is unique.  Mom had her own challenges and different skills and abilities or DISabilities as the case my be.  She wasn’t perfect and sometimes she was down right awful.  I have often wondered since she died if she really still loved me or not.  We hadn’t spoken in years and I will tell you friends, that is a hard thing to swallow.  I’d like to think that through all the abuse, blind eyes, hurtful words and just plain not being there for me, that she did still love me.  Maybe I just want to believe that but I do.  Maybe it’s what I need to get through the days.  As a mother, I cannot imagine ever falling out of love with my daughter.  Alex is the best thing that ever happened to me and while some days I want to strangle her, (hehe) no matter how old she is, you’ll find me at her bed side if she’s sick or right by her side any time she needs me.  I will love her more than anyone or anything for LIFE.  How could you not?  Food for thought…anyone else have parents that passed while you were estranged?  I would love to hear anyone else’s perspective.

As always, thank you for reading, please share my site!  I appreciate your following me and reading my story.  There is a lot to it and my life has not been a fairy tale by any means.  While it saddens me, it has made me who I am and I am stronger for it in the end.  In spite of everything, I love and miss you Mom.

Back To the Basics, the Beginning

“It doesn’t matter what you did or where you were…it matters where you are and what you’re doing. Get out there! Sing the song in your heart and NEVER let anyone shut you up!” – Steve Maraboli

Ahhh, the peace that follows the holiday season is upon us.  The beginning of a new year, one that I think will be my best in some time!  I’ve had a lot of ups and downs the past few months (well, actually years) and continue to make headway in my life.  I have figured a lot of things out, set some tremendous goals for myself and have nothing but happy intentions this year!  I love the saying that “this is blank page 1 of a 365 page book, write a good one.”

Let’s go back to the beginning, the reason that I started this blog to begin with and the name. Finding out why. A lot of things have happened since I started writing this blog and I’ve had multiple losses and blows, yet a lot of breakthroughs as well. Sometimes I am sure you wonder where I am going with all of this and I seem to bounce all over the place! Well, lately I have been very down as you can read in the sparse posts that I have put out as of late. What I realized today is that I am really not serving anyone the way I originally intended with some of my posts. It’s been more of an outlet, if you will.  I have tried to always end what is not necessarily a pleasant message with some sort of positive, lesson or hope.  What else I have realized is that sometimes life just stinks and it is up to us how we handle it.  Do we handle it ourselves or give it up to God to handle for us?  I know that I, personally, like to say I have great faith in God but when it comes time for those big life choices or decisions, I make my own way instead of praying on it and listening to what he has to say.  This is because I usually know that I won’t like his answer and I want to create my own way, not follow his!  Earthly desires are in us, he knows that and he forgives us for that.  I have really been trying recently to change that and pray on things and pray differently.  I pray for others in a given situation, not necessarily for the outcome that I want.  Figuring out our lives is not an easy thing!  Knowing our purpose here on this earth is a mystery for the majority of people I would say.  I know my purpose and always really have, I just didn’t realize I already knew it!  Many of you are probably the same way.  I went inward for the past few months to find out what’s going on in my body, mind and soul.  Focusing on rehabbing my body has been so beneficial, time away from work has been amazing for my mind with all of the stresses that I had and a lot of books I’ve read and praying time and being in touch with other Christian/faith based friends has developed my soul in ways I forgot were possible.  It’s been amazing to begin refilling myself.

I was raised in church in a very strong Christian household.  Very strict parents, church 3 times a week plus Sunday school and choir.  It was not an option for me to “not” go, it was mandatory.  In the summer, I always went to vacation bible school when I was young and then away to church camp for 2 weeks as I got older.  By age 11 or 12 I was beginning to truly understand and open up to what I was hearing, and ultimately asked Jesus into my heart and began my walk with him.  While none of us are perfect and never will be, having Him has kept me grounded and has always been my home base when I’m struggling through hard times.  I always know that Jesus is there and will hold me when I need it, pat my back when I’ve done something he’s proud of and I know I’ll answer for my sins when we meet in heaven.  So to say he knows every hair on our heads, our every move and thought, is sometimes a scary thing!  It certainly makes you want to be a better person knowing he is watching.  God is the ultimate Father, have you always wanted to make your parents proud?  It can be overwhelming sometimes to look at it that way because we are human and we are sinners.  I am learning to take my days one at a time and do the best I can with that day.  I start my day with a devotional, gratitudes and a short prayer to bless my day and those I love.  This is helping me to become more grounded and realize what life is about and more about my purpose here on earth.  It’s helped guide me to many places I otherwise wouldn’t have made it to and helped me to guide others to places they may not have made it to.  I’m proud of that.

I said I know what my purpose is, but we never fully know anything.  It’s His plan that we have to follow, but I believe his plan for me is to lead other people to Him and their happiness through our community of health and wellness as well as the ministries I have been working with.  Having this time off work has been such a blessing I cannot even explain.  I had originally hoped that I would be able to stay out of corporate America and retire to my health and wellness business alone, but that’s not His plan for me yet.  I have prayed about it a lot and I believe that there is still a lot He has in store for me and my journey is far from over.  I am close to being released to work again I believe and I can’t wait to do so.  As much as I don’t like the idea of going back into corporate America, this is where I am being led and it is what I will do for a couple more years.  The awesome thing is that I can see it all very clearly right now!  It may change as I go, in fact I’m sure things will change as I go along, but for now I have the direction and the heart to go on and that’s what I was lacking for so long.  I am not ashamed of the state of mental being I have been in, although it has not been good and is a bit embarrassing, we all go through our trials and tribulations and I hope that we all make it out the other side with His help.  Nobody can do this successfully on their own.  Don’t be afraid to seek help.  Don’t be afraid to pray, there is no specific way to do it, just talk to Him.  He, once again, has saved me.

I have a very long road ahead of me because I have uncovered a lot of toxic things in my heart and life that I didn’t know existed.  I am currently working through those things one by one.  You know my only remaining family member from my adopted family cut me out of his life and I am fighting for him.  I am attempting to visit him in the next month and understand and repair whatever the damage is.  I can’t say I fully understand it right now and that’s ok, I don’t have to.  Something hurt him and I need to correct it and let him know how much I love him.  I hope he will respond to me.  I also realized that I have a lot of anger inside toward ALL of my parents, adoptive and biological.  I only have one of those people that I can actually speak to and clear the anger and hurt, and that is my biological mother, Linda.  I have gotten so far as to tell her I need to talk and clear some things up, but no details and we don’t have the talk scheduled.  Luckily, my therapist has really helped me with how to handle some of these situations so that they won’t be confrontational, but loving and productive so we can move on with no hurt feelings on any part.  (I hope!)

When you feel unwanted, unloved, and unworthy most of your life, it creates a resentment deep in your soul that you don’t really even know is there.  I always thought I was “fine”.  Little to no residual from being given up or from a difficult childhood.  Boy, was I wrong!!  I have harbored feelings and kept them buried for so many years that when they all came pouring out, it hasn’t stopped.  There has been so much to deal with.  So many feelings I denied for so many years.  I am just starting to realize the damage done by being given up for adoption, being treated poorly by my adoptive mom, being abused two of my brothers and leaving home so young and fending for myself before I was truly an adult.  I have done things and been through things that seem more like a Lifetime movie than a child’s actual life, and most people have no idea.  Just a sampling that I will write about in time to come…kidnapping my infant nephew; packing up overnight and running from the law; my brother going to jail; driving cross country living in a van; three schools my 4th grade year while on the run; living in the National Forest in a camper hiding from the law and bathing in the river; my parents being arrested right in front of me when coming out of Woolworth’s after having a root beer float; listening to my Uncle tell me my parents didn’t live in the “real world”; living between two brothers to avoid abuse at home; my parents journey as jail ministers; my parents turning our house into a half-way house for criminals and addicts; and ultimately leaving home two days after graduation just to get away.  Does this sound like a real life to you or some crazy story written for the Lifetime channel??  I would never believe most of the stories had I not lived them.  Sadly, I didn’t know just how crazy it all was at the time because I just didn’t know any better.  I rarely got invited to birthday parties or sleep overs; we weren’t in one place long enough to make friends, and even when we were, everyone knew we were “weird” so I was often an outcast.  This creates a pretty tough exterior and it certainly makes it hard to accept that somebody actually loves me.  From that, I have made it very hard for people to love me and I know that now.  And wow, do I appreciate the people that love me!!  I have so many great people in my life and such an amazing support system who without, I would not have been able to make the progress I have made.  As I said, I am nowhere near there yet, but I am on the right road and really excited about 2017!  I think this is going to be the best year I have had in a very long time!  I hope that this has got all of you thinking about what your purpose is and what you might be lacking or needing improvement on in your life.  Find out WHY!!  I would love for you to share some of your “why’s” with me in the comments!  Do you know your purpose?  What is it?  What do you want it to be?

I think my cold medicine is wearing off, so it’s time to lay back down…but soon I’ll be telling some of these stories I mentioned, and while I know it will upset some particular people if they read it, that’s too bad.  It’s my story and I will tell it!  Much love to you all!  Until next time…

Realizing and Accepting Unrealized Feelings

“People will forget what you said.  People will forget what you did.  But they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”

When I began writing this blog it was to tell the story of my life, my struggles and share my feelings with those of you interested in following and learning about me.  I can’t believe what I’ve learned about myself in writing some of these passages.  I’m actually not sure that “learned” is the right word.  It’s probably more of an acceptance or realization as opposed to learning.  I’ve learned that I have been too strong my whole life because I had to be.  I’ve realized that I am angry about it.  I didn’t realize this before!  Did you bury feelings so deep you lost them?  I have always been the one to just accept what has come at me and move along.  Over the past few years that has been harder and harder. When my ex-husband left in 2009, I was hurt and I was angry.  I don’t typically talk about him and I won’t give details of our relationship, but let’s just say there is a lot more to the story than has ever been let on.  Wouldn’t you say so, ex-husband?  I find myself in several situations currently that could have been avoided had I made better choices.  Had I stood up for what I believed and what I wanted instead of doing what I’ve always done and let my need for people to love and like me rule my behavior.  Don’t rock the boat, someone will get upset.  Just go with the flow and keep the peace.  Well, that’s not realistic and it never should have worked that way.  I, unfortunately, have taught certain people how to treat me and also unfortunately younger eyes followed in those patterns.  This changed as of last night.  The final straw was placed on the camel’s back and I am DONE with that behavior.  I make my own choices, I make my own decisions.  Period.

In addition, and probably even more shocking to me, is that I have realized that I am angry with my parents – ALL of them.  My biological father and mother and both my adoptive parents who have passed.  Not a lot I can do about any of it, but I have to deal with it for the first time ever.  Growing up, I always knew I was adopted.  I was never angry about it with the exception of one short period when I was about 12 and that was more confusion and hurt than anything of an anger sort.  Now, I realize, that I am angry!  I have so many insecurities because I grew up believing I was not wanted.  My dad and one of my 3 brothers treated me with love – the others including Mom, did not.  This is where the abuse comes in and the pain I endured physically and mentally.  I have always said that I wasn’t angry with my biological mother because she did what she had to do.  I have always felt and shown anger toward my biological grandmother (who took her own life when I was about 3) for pressuring my mother to give me up.  Lately, I realize, I am angry at Linda too.  I have not yet discussed this with her and am not sure how to but will have to since I am making it public knowledge.  And frankly, she deserves to hear it from me directly so I hope she does not read this before we get to talk.  If you do, I’m sorry, I will explain.  The problem with this is that I haven’t figured out exactly how I feel about all of this yet myself, so how do I explain it to her?  How do I bring this up without hurting her further?  I know that giving me up was one of the hardest things she ever did, but she did it.  And while she was terribly depressed every year when my birthday rolled around, she wasn’t there.  Would I have been any better off with her?  Who knows.  I doubt it honestly, but we will never know, will we?  Being given away, being raised in a family where I was partially wanted created more insecurities and hiding than I can ever explain to you.  I cannot understand it all myself yet, but through reading, writing and therapy, I am learning to accept some of these feelings that I never wanted to feel, let alone share with anyone that might hurt anyone involved – even though I was dying inside and didn’t even fully know it.  I have always hidden from these feelings.  That’s not fair.  I deserve to say my feelings without being condemned or having to hear explanations or apologies or regrets or worst of all being made to feel bad about my feelings that are not self-inflicted.  My feelings are my feelings and I have been saying a lot lately – I am entitled to them!  Do you have people that have hurt you and you’ve never truly explained the damage they did to you?  I think we all have this to some degree.  A lot of these feelings have contributed to the inability to stabilize myself lately.  The past few months have been sheer hell and I can’t count the number of days that I have not even wanted to get out of bed, talk to another human being, or even eat for that matter.  Emotional pain is the worst kind of pain there is.  A bruise will heal.  The 6 inch needle that went into my knee a couple of days ago – it is already feeling better.  You can’t heal a bruised heart.  The heart bleeds until somehow somebody stops the bleeding, and if you ignore the bleeding – it never stops.  I want mine to stop.  I want to be “normal” for the first time in my life.  Like truly normal, not just pretending.

This is not easy, because in order for me to do this, I am going to have to hurt people that I love with all of my heart by telling them how I truly feel and what I have uncovered.  My prayer and hope is that they will understand and love me for my honesty and not make it about them.  I find so often that when I talk to people about things, it gets turned into something that is wasn’t meant to be.  Sometimes, you just need to say what’s on your mind and let it all process; then discuss further at a later date.  And WITHOUT alcohol, may I add.  I don’t want to hurt anyone.  My mother, my ex-husband or even my ex-boyfriend.  But these are the people (still living) who have hurt me the most that I can speak to about these feelings and move on.  I don’t expect to continue relationships with some, but Linda and I have been in each others lives now longer than we were apart.  With that on our side, I believe we will come through this with our relationship in tact and stronger than before because I will have been honest and can respect myself and her knowing that I said what I needed to say.  My ex-husband, I am not sure if that conversation will ever happen again, Lord knows I’ve tried.  We all know the definition of insanity.  My ex-boyfriend that I speak of in here, hurt me worse than I’ve ever been hurt by a man by walking out on me in a day, after nearly a year of what I considered bliss.  Out of the blue, 2 days before Christmas 6 years ago.  I was there for him time and time again afterward as his friend and he always ended up hurting me more each time.  A stop was put to that nearly a year ago and while I miss my friend, I do not miss the pain he put me through.  The fact is that all of these hurts have built up and formed a volcano that erupted and I am trying to figure out just how to get the hurt to stop flowing now that I have allowed it to start coming out.  Trust me, these are not the only people who have hurt me – in fact I haven’t even mentioned the worst one of all.  My brother Andrew, who is in prison where he earned a spot for life.  He has the biggest words coming.  Through therapy the past few months, I have realized more and more that went on that I had totally ignored or just didn’t want to think of.  Pain is pain friends.  Emotional pain is the worst.  If you don’t do something about it, you may never recover from it and you may never be able to have healthy relationships again.  Do you want that?  I certainly do not!

I have lived the first half of my life for other people.  Caring about who thought what and who would be upset by what.  The second half of my life – I intend to live FOR ME.  I pray every night and day for God to heal me.  Take the burden of the hurt out of my heart.  Allow me to trust, allow me to love again fully and help me to make the decisions I should be making for myself.  Teach me to be the person I used to be and to care and love others the way I need to.  I want to be a good mother, a good friend and a good girlfriend.  Lord, I cannot do these things without you!  I cannot be who you desire me to be without letting you in my sealed off heart.  I am working to break down the walls and those that don’t like it can exit my life with others that have gone before you – I don’t need you if you aren’t on my side.  I am sure you know who you are.  This is my time.  So many things are coming to a head in my life and I am nearly over so many humps in my life that I pray God will just get me to the finish line where I can start again and be and live healthy and happy.

If you find yourself in these same shoes, pray.  Our God is there for us and will lead us where we need to be.  My cousin, Amy, reminded me tonight to just take a moment of stillness in his presence and just “be”.  I am learning but it takes a lot of reminding for me.  I get overwhelmed easily and it takes time to settle me down because I am not trusting in Him to do this with me or for me.  Join me in asking for forgiveness, giving forgiveness and being true to yourself.  This is the way to freedom, I know it.  He is the only way we are going to reach it.  He and a lot of work from ourselves.

Stick with me, things as I say each time are getting closer and closer to better…happier. More coming soon, until then, goodnight.

Back to the Beginning, Why? Hope.

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  – 1 Peter 1:13

I know I said I was going to take a short break because of a couple of haters – but I feel like that is a cop out.  I don’t care about those haters, nor do I care about blocking them.  Their sad lives are their sad lives and have zero bearing on me or my life.  So I am back and ready to take this to the next level and back to where the original intention was headed.

Lately, my blog has taken much more of a negative and sad direction than I ever intended. My first inclination was to apologize, but I’m not going to. I am going to accept it and say that what I am really seeing is this: E+R=O. Event plus response equals the outcome. This is where I am and this is what I accept and vow to change. Depression, anxiety and pain have taken over my mind, body and ultimately my life. I have been trying, but it’s not easy. I’ve really lost site of why I started this blog because things went from bad to worse after I began.  So I am back to the beginning; how many times to we have to re-start?  Doesn’t matter as long as we eventually get running and move toward our destination and desires.  I’ve read through so many notes today looking for my own inspiration and so many quotes that I have written down over time and so many that applied to my recent journey.  We always find those things that are critical to us at the right time.

A few of my favorites today:
Blaming steals your control.
Free your victim.
What choices are not loving you back?
Be in a committed relationship with your happiness.
Worry is a prayer for chaos.
We either make ourselves miserable or strong. It’s the same amount of work.
If you’re feeling helpless or hopeless, help someone else.
Fail Forward.
Every thought is an affirmation and a confirmation.
Everything we want is on the other side of fear.
If you’re living in the past, you’re depressed; if you are living in the future you’re anxious and if you are living in the present, you are grateful.

Yesterday, I broke a promise to a close friend who has been trying to be there for me and help me through these hard times.  My problem – I isolate.  I don’t want to share my problems.  There is a difference between writing about them and truly sharing them one on one.  I was supposed to attend church yesterday, something I haven’t done in quite some time.  I don’t love the church I currently have and I miss my church on the other side of town!  So lazily, and unfaithfully, I just don’t go.  Have you ever read the book of Peter?  Know anything about it?  We all get something different from the bible, but I believe we should all be getting the basic same idea.

1st Peter is one of the most hope filled books in the new testament.  It talks about new (and seasoned) believers and their reasons for hope, even in times of hopelessness and persecution proven because Christ was raised and living, showing that God is at work in the world!  This book tells how to live your life in Christ and helps you to understand what it means to live faithfully among people who ridicule and harass them.  There is hope if you show your faith.   Jesus Christ’s life and especially his suffering is used as an example of how they are to understand and bear their own sufferings as they seek to do God’s will.  Leaders are to care for their congregations (family and friends), all are to humble themselves before God and resist the devil and God will restore and establish you at the end.

My best summary for the beautiful words of the bible that don’t do it any justice.  I write this from reading scripture, together with many other things I have read today because I have lost hope although I always believe I still have faith.  It’s hard to have one without the other though, they go hand in hand and one relies on the other.  I didn’t attend church yesterday because I was scared of what I was going to hear and feel and that I might actually move toward progression.  I know what I NEED to hear and feel, but the fear of the reality of it is mortifying.  I am a believer and my Lord and Savior will be forever my comfort.  There have been many times in my life I have turned FROM Him and many times I have turned TO Him.  I am ready to let Him back into my heart, I am begging him to come back into my heart.  Soften it.  I am ready to open it up and let it bleed and let Him mend me. I am ready to lay this at his feet and take the advice so many have been giving me and I have been refusing because plain and simple, I wasn’t ready.  I have wallowed in self pity and haven’t known how to handle the anxiety and depression on my own and have been so blind that I couldn’t see the answer that was in front of my face.  This won’t be an overnight fix, I know, but every time I have ever opened up my heart and prayed for God to come in and heal me, He does.  I trust that He will help me through this and will bring me back to the happy, loving, faithful ME.

I got a great piece of advice from a girlfriend tonight that I called for advice on a homeless gentleman that I have gotten to know during my volunteer time and she knows me so well!  Dammit – how do these friends I hide from get to know me so dang good??  Haha!  She advised me to work on only what I can control.  NOT to get over-wrapped in something else I have no control over.  Meaning, don’t go from one thing I couldn’t control – my relationship, to another – a homeless group that I want to save.  This takes me back to one of the sayings I wrote above:  If you’re feeling hopeless or helpless, help someone else.  Well, I have always been a bit of an overachiever and I will take that the nth degreel if I am not careful!  I have to control my feelings and only focus on what I can control.  Something HUGE to remember.  Stop being a control freak, let life happen.

This message has been on my keyboard tray for 7 years.  Phil 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Jesus Christ.”   I have read this daily for many, many years and this is literally my favorite scripture next to John 3:16 which is the scripture that allows us to enter into the kingdom of God.

I am on the rise my friends.  Maybe only an inch at a time, but like I wrote before this is about progress, not perfection.  My story is FAR from over and is not going to continue being the same sob story.  Don’t get me wrong – nothing is “fixed” and there will be a lot more tough times before the good ones come, but I am ready to fight again.  I am ready to be me, the fighter I was my entire life.  Not this pathetic whiner who can’t deal with life.  Life is life.  I will deal with it again.   I am seeing the path that I need to be following with my Lord and HE will heal me and get me to the right place in which I belong in my life.  Thank you goes to my family and friends.  Lexie Hawkins, Amy Bragaw, Brooke Berndt, Jen Theisen, Phillis Shimamoto and Erica Shields.  Your kindness, your support in each of your specific arenas in my life and your love is more appreciated than you know.  Thank you for sifting through the “crap” to get to a positive message and know that I am going to come out of this better than I have been, maybe ever.  I love you all!  God Bless!!










Loneliness is a Disease

“I still think that the greatest suffering is being lonely, feeling unloved, just having no one…  That is the worst disease that any human being can ever experience.”  -Mother Teresa.

Is this not the truth?  How many of you have ever felt unloved?  Lonely?  Completely and utterly alone?  This is something that I have suffered with for years.  Sometimes one, sometimes all of the above together.  The thirst for love is one that is not easily quenched.  Human beings were not made to be alone, God made us to love one another, to be companions for one another.  Yet, unfortunately a good portion of my life I have felt unloved and very much inadequate and alone.  The mind and heart are very tricky things!  You can KNOW in your head that you ARE adequate, you ARE loveable and what you deserve from others; yet in your heart, somehow, you feel something that causes you to accept things that you know are not ok.  I personally have allowed people to walk on me, to treat me with WAY LESS respect than I deserve for fear of being alone.  Being treated poorly was better than the alternative of being alone.  The fear of loneliness is paralyzing.

I have tried several times over the years to be realistic – knowing my relationship would probably never be what I wanted no matter how much I hoped and he promised.  I would try to meet other people in hopes I would fall for somebody that wanted the same thing I did.  It never happened, nobody has ever compared to Jason since the day I laid eyes on him.  That is to current day.  These people that I met, were just that – people I met.  Nothing ever came of any of it.  I exchanged phone numbers and then would never even return a text or a phone call.  Even years ago, when he lived with another woman or we were “broken up”, I felt like I was cheating on him.  I couldn’t and didn’t want to pursue anything with anyone else.  Boy did this annoy some of my friends!  Hahaha!  (Rightly so.)  And while we have had some amazing times, incredible passion and love like I’ve never felt before, he has also caused me more pain, anxiety, doubt and isolation than I ever knew possible.  I felt more alone with him that I ever did without him!  My love for him is much like an addiction.  I have not been able to walk away until now.  And even now, it’s going to be much like a rehab and I am not totally sure how I am going to do it.  Each day is hard, I miss my best friend.  I miss everything about him honestly, his eyes, his smile, his kiss, his smell.  It is hard to learn and accept that something you thought was for the rest of your life, is over.  I guess actually I shouldn’t assume what I, or our relationship meant to him, but the reality is that it’s over.  He could have stopped me from walking away but he didn’t – that said everything I needed to hear without a word being said.  I will tell you I am heart broken and this will be one day at a time.  And I will miss him every day for the rest of my life.  But what I will not miss is the misleading statements, broken promises, the distance between us in the closest relationship I’ve ever had, the hope that never came to fruition and being sad – and hurting.  When I have a decision to make, I always weigh the pros and cons.  Writing this list out was the worst pro/con list I’ve ever made.  It’s not fun to write negative things about the man you love.  Even as upset as I am, it still hurts and I still love him.  Keep your judgements to yourself, these are the facts.

This is not the first time that I have had a problem with trying to quench the thirst for love.  Most of my life has been a challenge with love, whether I wasn’t feeling loved or not accepting it. lt has made me crazy my entire life wondering why people don’t love me back. As a child, I was a very good child.  What’s not to love of a child; especially a good one?  I was scared to death that they wouldn’t want me anymore (because as discussed previously, that’s what abusers tell you) so I was an extremely well behaved child!  Now, as an adult, I am such a giver, still trying to please everyone and live by God’s word, even though I am far from it.  I love with all that I  have; I love with all of my heart.  My love is the biggest award I have to give to somebody, in my opinion.  Yet it’s like the elusive “A” that I would seek in biology class.  (I sucked at biology.)  You get so close, you may feel like you’ve got it locked down, but then poof.  It’s not what you thought it was; and you are suddenly confused by what has taken place, the crappy result that came from all of your efforts.  Here I am six years into a situation finding myself feeling this exact feeling.  What did I do wrong?  What is wrong with me?  How can these other people find what I’m looking for but I cannot?  I often doubt myself instead of just trusting.  I have so many amazing friends; so many people in my corner and an amazing maternal family.  I had a brother left, but apparently he’s decided to bail as well, so I have what I have and that’s that.  I will NEVER beg anyone for their love again.  EVER.  Love me or don’t, but dammit – I am amazing and you’d be luck to have me.  I am a good hearted, loving and giving person.  Those that want to read for the “dirt” on me for whatever reason and there are a couple of you that have contacted me – I feel sorry for you.  Get a handle on your own life, quit looking at mine.  If you started at the beginning, one of my conditions in sharing and being vulnerable with you was no judgement.  People have abused that, and think that they are better than me and a couple of messages I have gotten are unbelievable.  May God have mercy on your soul.  HE is the judge and jury, not YOU.  And believe me you will answer to Him.  To my caring, loyal friends and readers, I hope you’ll leave some comments letting those people know what this is about and what my sharing does for you.  Because that it is really why I started this.  How can the pain of my life be of betterment to somebody else?

This is a short blog post, I feel a lot of negativity from a lot of things that have been happening in my life lately and since I know there are people out there using this information against me, I will stop here for now until I get these IP addresses blocked.  I only have room for positive in my life.  If you don’t want to participate in that, you will hinder the progress for me and everyone that uses my blog as a way to deal with their own issues.  So you should be ashamed of yourself!  Do not bother me or get on my blog again.  You’re sad, sad souls and I want no part of you or your comments and I would bet you that my readers would feel the same way.  Until some clean up can be done and I can block some negativity, I take a SHORT break.  I shall return!  Soon!!  Thank you for all of my devoted friends that read my story and understand, empathize and relate.  I love you!  Your positive messages would be greatly appreciated so that these negative, pathetic souls know what damage they are doing.

Happy beginning of the holiday season to all of you – I plan for this to be my most positive holiday season is six years.  Period. This IS going to be amazing.  Watch, read and follow!!  Love to you!

Progress, Not Perfection

We all aim for perfection.  Some of us take action to reach for that perfection on a daily basis, some of us are paralyzed by the fear of never making it there and let it be our procrastination.  You can’t fail if you don’t try, right?  The only way TO fail is to NOT try.  This is the reality of life and it is incredibly difficult to face some days; but others, I’m seeing that life doesn’t look so gray and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

If you’ve been following my blog you know that I have had many struggles lately both physical and emotional; yet I’m trying to make the most of what’s happening in my life.  Let me be completely transparent with you in case you are just starting to follow me.  I went from being an athlete, competitive fitness, 2 hours a day in the gym to a promotion that took 70 hours a week and non-stop travel leading to chronic pain from my back problems and being totally out of shape physically and mentally.  I have been off work for ten weeks now, working on my body and mind.  Some see the problem and the value in my time off, some don’t get it at all…and that’s ok.  As long as my Doctors agree I need the time to get right, I will take it, I am up for the fight with the insurance company.  About 3 1/2 months ago, my work was out of control, I had multiple deaths in a very short period and my anxiety went off the charts, my pain increased and I started getting migraines which had only ever happened on rare occasion prior.  This is cyclical.  Depression comes from chronic pain which I’ve had for nearly 3 years, and stress increases chronic pain; they feed off of each other.  It’s so hard to get out of the cycle!  My disability consists of chronic pain, nerve damage, migraines, anxiety and now depression.  In spite of things happening, I am beyond hopeful that I will be better than my previous “normal” and better than I have been although still not perfect, I’ll never be perfect!  My goal is to improve day by day, week by week.  Last week is the first week that I have not been scared to leave home, the first week I have not had daily anxiety attacks, I was able to actually be a productive member of society besides a couple of hours of volunteer work!  (Although I love that work.)  I am improving.  I am feeling better!  I say that with caution, because here is my struggle…depression and anxiety is not like having a casted bone.  You don’t just immediately “recover”.  When you break a bone, your doctor reviews and removes the cast when it is strong enough to be walked on again.  My mind and my heart and my emotions…they aren’t ready for the cast to be removed yet.  A “cast” around me is the easiest way I can explain the treatment I am getting.  Do you think this is easy to share?  NO.  It’s not.  It’s actually incredibly embarrassing, humiliating and humbling.  I have been strong my whole life…I have taken care of myself since I was 8 essentially, but truly since I was 17.  I broke.  I was full…too much stuffing of emotions causes an overflow.  My doctor says if I don’t handle this properly and completely – the “next” time this happens, because it WILL happen again, it will be worse and it will be a much more difficult recovery.  I can’t handle more difficult.  I need to recover!  I NEED to feel better!!  I need to BE better.  Can I tell you what a scary experience this has been for someone that has always been accused of being a stone hearted person?   I never let things affect me.  I repeat – I WAS STRONG!!!  I still am strong, I am just a little defeated at the moment.  The great thing is, there is nowhere to go but UP from here.  I just want to be better than yesterday and the day before.  I want to be back to the place where I can help people and not be the one that needs so much help.  But gosh, can I tell you how much I appreciate all of the help that I HAVE received from friends, doctors and my therapists?  I am blessed beyond belief to have the people in my life that I do.  Even my shaky relationship – I am thankful for it.  I have made a lot of mistakes, as has he.  The bottom line is, there is something between us that hasn’t gone away no matter how we try for 5 1/2 years.  Someone recently said that they didn’t see a basis for our relationship.  That person is NOT part of our relationship and has no clue, nobody does but us.  There is a basis whether it works out or not.  That will be up to us and nobody else.

My relationship with this man plays a huge role in my recovery, make no mistake. Being loved and wanted is something beyond just affecting to me.  I have had a fear of abandonment my entire life.  I was given away at birth!  I was a “problem” before day 1.  I was a foster child.  My name was “Cynthia” in the hospital because I had no name until somebody took me home.  My adopted mom rejected me by 8 years old.  I have been rejected and hurt over and over again throughout my childhood, teen and adult life.  Losing love is the most painful thing on earth.  I will not lose this again.  I will fix things and make it right.  I wrote before about regrets…I have many.  Trust me, it’s not ALL  me, but I’ve done a lot lately that I’m not proud of and I am ashamed to admit it, but not too ashamed to own it.  Love is love.  Everybody just wants love, right?  My favorite love…my girl.  Alexandra Renee Hawkins.  The best thing that Keith Hawkins and I ever did in our relationship!!  The love of my daughter is the most pure, real love I’ve ever had in my life.  She is my world and I have not shown her that over the past few years because I didn’t know how.  That is the most important place for me to start with restoration.  I get hurt and I don’t know how to deal with it.  Anger is my defense mechanism, always has been.  I take things out on those closest to me and that is something I learned growing up.  So while I have a wonderful relationship with my biological mother and maternal family NOW, and I believe more in nature vs nurture, (because I am just like my blood that I didn’t know until I was 21!) there is still plenty to be said for nurture…or lack thereof.  No matter how much nature takes over, and so many things are inherent in us, nurture has a tendency to form us – whether  good or bad.  Don’t get me wrong, my life wasn’t all bad.  I have some amazing childhood memories.  But that is because that is what I choose to remember.  With therapy over the past 9 weeks, I have uncovered things I haven’t considered or remembered in many, many years.  This isn’t easy, but it is necessary.

I heard a talk today discussing how many tools we have to fight off things like depression and how to keep going, but not one way to go on truly “living”.  And, when it hurts so much you can’t breathe, that’s how you know you’re alive.  I hurt, with every breath.  I have pain from nearly every person I have ever loved because most of them left me, in one way or another.  But this isn’t the kind of life I want.  I want a life where I can take long, deep breaths and enjoy them.  I want to inhale, exhale.  I want to enjoy our beautiful mountain air, I want to live a life of happiness, peace and freedom; and I will achieve it!

I’ve learned that post traumatic stress is increased by not talking about it.  40 years ago, the trauma started and I have pushed it down, or “stuffed it” for all of these years.  What I have is just like PTSD.  It’s crazy to think of that, but it is!  You consider that in war survivors, accident victims, and trauma victims.  Most don’t know that I am a severe trauma survivor.  For 12 years at home I was abused.  Physically, mentally and sexually.  I survived trauma.  As my doctor said last week, the brain can only handle so much “stuffing” before you overflow.  I overflowed months ago and tried to keep going.  A series of events caused me to break.  I am not broken beyond repair…I’m just wearing an emotional cast for a while.  I pray to God that life continues to progress and I continue to recover.  I also pray that I will be able to take the time to become strong before being forced back into something I can’t handle.  When you get the cast off, there’s usually a walking boot for a while.  My emotional bone is broken, I pray that it improves daily, but I never expect that I’ll be perfect.  There was only one perfect person.

I am beyond grateful for this outlet.  I, as always, hope that my story brings hope and peace to somebody out there reading.  I know it is an amazing outlet for me and I plan to start VLOGs soon!  I am learning to not have so much pride…pride keeps us from getting where we need to be too many times.  I am ready.  I want to be better than I was yesterday, I want to be better than I was today.  And mark my words, I will be.

If you haven’t read my previous posts, please, please…start at the beginning and learn what I am about.  I love helping other people.  I am a giver, I love loving on people.  I love buying presents for those I love; I love making people I love feel good.  This gets me through my days and brings me much, much happiness.  I am ready to have the happiness reciprocated and feel some of the love I give.  I see light at the end of this long ass tunnel!!  I am not giving up on love, life or happiness and I pray to God you don’t either!

How Do Patterns Affect Your Life?

Each time I begin a new blog page, I look for a quote or saying to open with and be the guide of my topic.  Today, I knew what I wanted to write about, patterns – breaking old patterns, creating new habits, learning a new healthy way; because this is something that is mandatory for me right now!  So my quote today, is “Old ways won’t open new doors.”  How fitting is that?  I guarantee this doesn’t only apply to me.  Every single one of us can relate to this in SOME way, no matter how story book your life may be.  Have you ever lost those 5 lbs by eating a box of cookies and sitting on the couch?  Have you ever finished a work project by calling in sick or not showing up?  Did you get out of an unhealthy relationship (of any type) by allowing continuous disrespect?  Have you changed your life by continuing the same old unhealthy habits?   No.

This week I had doctor visits for my disability which I am required to do by the insurance company and frankly, I NEED.  My family doctor oversees my case and care.  I have seen him for 23 years, that’s over half of my life.  He has known me my entire adult life and has been my only doctor since moving to Denver in 1993; suffice it to say, he knows me.  He knows my history, he knows my habits.  He’s not a therapist, but in my 20 minutes with him I get as much input and advice as I do from my hour long therapy visits, also required by insurance, but again, much needed.  I am not ashamed to say that I need therapy.  I have lived quite a life.  Most people have no idea the details of my entire life!  Even the girls I grew up with through middle/high school years don’t truly know the extent of what went on in my house, even though they were right outside my door.  They have no idea what I went through at home during those years, or the years before.  These are just things that you don’t share.  I was already “the freak” because of my family!  I do know that many of them were not allowed at my house because my family was known as “that family”, the weird ones.  It was unfit, not safe, etc.  This was hurtful…and I was honestly clueless.  I had no idea that we were so different.  I was a kid; a clueless teenager and I just wanted to be part of the crowd (which I was) and be “normal” which I tried, but I wasn’t.  I believed it was me.  I thought my friends’ parents didn’t like me.  It wasn’t me…it was my family.  The problem was, I was part of the family and we were one.  There was no differentiation between me and the family.  This enhanced some very unhealthy patterns for me that I had already began to develop years before.

As far back as I can remember, I have always tried to please people.  I have always tried to make people like me, I have cared what people thought.  We should care what people think, but not to the extent that I have.  For years, I based my entire worth on what others think of me.  That is SO WRONG!!!  I know this comes from my abandonment issues, but it’s something we are exploring in therapy.  Inside, I know who I am.  I am a very beautiful, caring, capable and smart person.  When I say beautiful, I mean inside – outward appearance does not matter.  I know what my heart is.  I know how much I love people and how much I want and enjoy others feeling good.  The problem with this, is that I have often altered my behavior to create these good feelings for people and not taken myself and my own feelings into consideration.  Today, one of my doctors asked me how I am filling my days while I am off work.  I explained what I’ve been doing – volunteering, collecting donations for shelters, attending fundraisers, networking events; doing whatever I can to stay busy with positive actions and make a difference.  My doc says while that is awesome and productive, it’s not for ME.  He asked what I do for ME.  It turns out that I do not really do much of anything for myself.  It also turns out that I don’t know what I really enjoy doing for myself because I always do what others want to do.  So this begs the following questions…what DO I like to do?  What do I enjoy?  What do I want to do?  Good questions, right??  I wonder if we all know what that is.  I can’t be the only one that doesn’t take time for themselves and feels this way!

Recognizing the patterns that have put you in the position you are in is so incredibly important.  You cannot make the change if you don’t identify the problem.  This is not an easy task!  I talked early on about this very thing and having this conversation with my trainer, and creating a bucket list.  I have yet to start this bucket list yet I’ve been unable to answer this question of “What do you enjoy doing?” not once, but twice in less than two months!  That’s crazy.  I love to make others happy.  I love to do for other people.  It’s time for me to do for me, and my daughter.  I do a lot for her already, but I can definitely tell you that she has suffered over the past few years and paid the price for my own lack of fulfillment.  Doing for her makes me happy too.  I love her more than any other person on this earth.  BUT, still, this HAS to be about me right now.  No matter how selfish it may feel, if I don’t fill myself back up and start feeling worthy again, I won’t have it for anyone else.  Let that sink in you guys, FILL YOURSELF UP.  It’s not selfish!!  It’s mandatory!!  You can’t genuinely help anyone else if you aren’t 100%!  Nobody will value you if you don’t value yourself.

My challenge to you – I want to see your bucket lists!  Or at least a few things that you enjoy doing, for YOU.  Not like me, something you’ve done for others that makes you feel good, but truly things you do for YOU!  Here are a few things that I enjoy that I vow to do for myself over the next two weeks:

  • Workout – hard!  Time to find my motivation again
  • Yoga, empowering events
  • Crafting, sewing, making holiday items (I don’t want to hate the holidays this year!)
  • Travel, I want to take a trip for myself (besides our family trip)
  • Drive to the mountains and just enjoy the view
  • Spa day – work on myself!

I would love to see your comments, this is hard for me!  Ideas of things I like to do elude me at the time…your ideas may inspire me, remind me of things I forgot about!  And I would love to hear what you will commit to in the next two weeks.  Let’s do this together!!  I know if you are reading my blog, you must have some interest in the work I am doing on myself and also want to do some on yourself.  So join me, share with me!  I will be writing about each of these things as they come along over the next couple of weeks.  First thing on my list, tomorrow I am attending a yoga event at Red Rocks with an emphasis on empowering women – one of my very favorite things to do!!  Major work on myself!  Monday, my sewing machine goes to the shop for a tune up!  From there I continue…

I am changing my patterns, one way or another.  Things don’t happen on their own, you have to make them to happen.  Take a long hard look at your history; determine what has made you who and how you are, if you can, and take hold of your opportunities; move on them.  Nobody will care about you the way you want them to, except you.  This may sound rough or cold, but I choose to make a difference.  I’m tired of being disappointed.  I choose to break the pattern and “fix” my life for the second half.  I want to let go of the history and create a real future.  Who I love can participate or move on.  Period.  I choose ME.

Failure Is NOT An Option

It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, you’re not a failure. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost get it right because you always have another chance to learn from it and try again.  No one is going to remember or care about your failures, and neither should you.  People are remembered for greatness and I believe that I am absolutely destined for greatness!!  I have no clue the number of failures I have had…nor do I have any desire to know!  It’s useless.  Failure is an opportunity to do better.  To that end, some days I think I should be a life expert by now!  Ha!

There are so many different arenas in which we can mess up or fail – it’s darn near impossible not to fail somewhere in your life.  If you’re not failing, I want to know who you are!!  Just kidding – in all seriousness, if you’re not failing in some areas of your life, you’re in a rut.  Guaranteed!  I know because that’s me and where I have been!  We should be out living life, failing daily.  You know why?  Because that means you’re out of your comfort zone trying new things; and when we try new things, we usually suck at them!  Things take practice to learn.  Practice makes perfect.  Don’t quit doing something just because you aren’t immediately good at it.  There are those people that are just “a natural” at everything.  They can play all kinds of sports, run fast, don’t have to study hard and have that winning personality.  Most of us aren’t that lucky – and you know what?   Most of those “naturals” aren’t that lucky either.  They try harder than others do!

In my health and nutrition business, and all of the trainings and conferences I have attended, the most important thing I have learned is that the only way to fail, is to NOT try.  This is the most simple, but profound statement I have heard in some time.  How true is this?!  How many times have you said “no” to something because you were afraid you’d look stupid and be embarrassed?  What’s the worst thing that is going to happen?  You might look silly; you might give people a good laugh.  BUT, you might have fun!  You will likely learn something and guess what – your “first time” is over.  NEXT time you do it, you’ll know what to expect, you’ll do a little better and maybe laugh at yourself next time around!  You continue to grow with each experience, and before you know it, you’re a pro and helping somebody else with their first time!  THAT is what it’s all about!

Failure is not an option for me because if I fail, I know how many people will not be blessed by the many things that I have to offer.  I have talents, I have heart and I have skills.  Most of all, I have desire; I have desire to share my experiences, my health, my hurt and my love with the world.  That’s what this blog is all about – sharing!  I know that there are people on their knees begging God for answers every single minute of every single day.  The answers they seek may be financial, they may be emotional, they may be physical.  Everybody won’t relate to me by any means, but I know I can relate to somebody on each of these levels.  That’s why I write.  That’s why I tell my story of pain, hurt, depression and anxiety.  I know that online I am going to reach people that I may not otherwise ever even cross paths with.  The internet and social media are amazing tools that we should all be using for our betterment.

When I first started to blog, (all of 10 posts ago) I had all of the negative self talk we normally go through when we try something new.  What if nobody reads it?  What if people think I’m crazy?  What if nobody relates?  Guess what – they were all false things I was telling myself!   I am writing this for two reasons, to help me and to help you.  If you’re reading this, then I hope it helps you in some way.  For me, it feels good to just put the words out there.  I know that I have answers for people.  I know that I have answers for myself.  Even a coach needs a coach!  I read motivational books, self help books, books to teach me how to be a better leader and a better person!  I go, I DO things that are going to teach me to appreciate what I have, I give my time to those that need help.  I have found some amazing ways to help my myself, and others, and many of these things are things I am doing for the very first time.  It’s scary!  It’s not always easy, but it’s necessary.  If we aren’t growing all the time, we are stagnant.  If we become stagnant, we are obviously no longer trying new things which means we aren’t failing which means we aren’t trying new things!!  Do you see how this all ties together?  It’s so important to put your self out there and just feel and experience things.  I’m telling you, you cannot fail unless you don’t try.

WOW!!  Can I just tell you how fired up that just got me while typing??  I wish I were doing a video of this one instead of just a blog post!  I let myself be stagnant for so long, crushed by corporate America standards and stressed out beyond belief that it just killed me inside.  This is how I am digging myself out.  Nobody is going to do it for me, I have to do it for myself.  And I tell you again, failure is not an option for me!  This is a battle within myself that I will win, and I will be better off when I do.  I will never allow myself to be in this position again.  I’m not out of the woods yet, but I know the clearing is up ahead of me somewhere.  I will never be so stuck that I can’t see an opportunity in front of my face.  Success is the only option for me, and it should be for you too!  Goodnight!

Happiness…What Makes It?

“Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”  -Steve Maraboll.

If you’re a first time reader, welcome and thank you for being here to share in my story.  I want to preface this post, as I always do – this is NOT a sob story and this is NOT me crying about an awful life or looking for sympathy.  I have an amazing life and I have so much to be thankful for!  I thank God every single day for how blessed I am.  God is my savior, my lifeline and the one who keeps me above water.  That being said, there is a hole in my heart that needs to be filled.  This blog is therapeutic for me and I hope that it shows people that it’s ok to be vulnerable.  Telling my story shows that there is more behind a smile; and what you see on the outside is not always what’s going on inside.  Behind my smile, I am ashamed to say, is depression and anxiety which has recently taken over my life.  I have not wanted to officially share this diagnosis with anybody, until now.  I feel like it’s finally time.  I have nothing to be ashamed of, but really something to be proud of.  I am a fighter and I don’t give up.  Never have, never will.  I have had an incredible amount of loss lately and I am dealing with it the best I know how.  We can’t really know what is right or wrong when trying to handle these things, but just trust in God and pray you’re hearing the right voice!  God has been nudging me to just come out with it and I haven’t been brave enough to do it.  I find that when you follow the nudge, something amazing can happen, so here we go!

I’ve shared in earlier blogs a little bit about my history, where I come from and that my heart has been broken over and over throughout my life and this time I don’t know how to fix it. We all go through heartache, but my story is a little different right now.  This is more than just a little loss.  I have lost 5 people in 4 months (2 family, 3 friends) and the relationship I thought I would be in for the rest of my life.  The man that became my best friend through some unusual circumstances and who I now consider the love of my life.  Gone.  All while working an incredibly stressful job, going through a buy-out  (merger), not being sure from day to day what I would walk into at work or if I would be laid off at any time.  That’s a lot to handle for anyone, even experienced stress handler like me!  I have always been the person that just handled things that came my way and went on.  I’ve been strong, sometimes called cold because I was so strong it appeared as though I didn’t care.  The truth is, if I slowed down long enough to feel, I would hurt too badly and I never allowed that.  I didn’t necessarily “deal” with any of it, I just accepted it and moved on.  Now, I am having a very hard time dealing with the things that I should have been dealing with my entire life.  I think most of us have the best of intentions, and I believe that we make the best of the hand we are dealt.  Lately, I find this to be only partially true; and we have the ability to alter our path.  We have a choice to be happy or not be happy and this comes out in the decisions we make.  I wish I had known this earlier in life and understood the opportunities that truly laid before me!  I wish I had believed in myself enough to know just how strong and capable I was, and still AM!  I have spent so much of my life trying to make others happy that I never stopped to realize how unhappy I was.  As a young girl, my happiness wasn’t on anyone’s priority list, so I guess it never really made it high on my list either.  Until now!

How do you define happiness?  I’ll bet each of us has a different definition. My definition of happy is living a life of abundance, giving back to those in need, donating my time where it is needed most and sharing that with my best friend and partner in life.  Are you happy?  Is there a hole there that you try to fill?  I’ve spent a lot of time going over these thoughts lately.  The amount of loss lately is too much and because I lost that best friend that should have been there with me to comfort me through the losses, the changes, etc. I haven’t had great capacity to do it on my own.  My happiness, unfortunately just as when I was younger, wasn’t on his priority list either.  Yet I was more apt to endure that than to change it.  I didn’t want to lose him and what we had, even though to a lot of people it wasn’t ideal.  It took me 40 years to find what I thought I wanted in a man and the last 5 years have not been easy, but I didn’t want to let go.  As a young girl, we have our “ideal” man…what he will look like, what he will act like, what kind of a father and man he will be.  This man met all of that and then some.  Tall, dark and handsome, a great father, more passion than I’ve ever experienced.  He allowed me take down a lot of walls, I trusted him.  I’ve never been much of a girly girl, but somehow he made me one.  I’m different than I used to be.  He made me feel more beautiful and special than anyone else ever has, but ultimately I wasn’t his priority.  Period.  I tried to make him happy with acts of kindness, taking care packages when he was sick, buying him gifts, buying his children gifts, asking about the family…nothing worked.  He didn’t recognize it for what it was, he felt I was trying to control him when all I really wanted was to be a part of his life.  We all know that our perception is our reality.  So that was his reality and I cannot change what he felt.  I’ll never feel love like that again, he was IT for me and beyond all the recent loss, that one has nearly broken me.

This is just another example of the pattern that I followed of trying to get somebody who said they loved me to show me they loved me.  I have been chasing love my entire life.  The only person that loves me unconditionally on this earth is my daughter.  My beautiful, smart mouth brat – Lexie.  Haha, all joking aside, I have watched her heart break at what I am going through and I have not always been the kindest to her when she is trying to help me.  For that I have regrets.  I have allowed people and feelings get in between us and yet she loves me the way I have always wanted to be loved.  It makes me feel good, yet guilty at the same time because I don’t feel like the last few years have been ideal for her.  I’ve put her through a lot while I dealt with my own issues.  I am so thankful and grateful for her.  SHE gives me purpose, love and caring.  I love her with all of my heart and I could never make it without her.  Whether she knows it or not, she is my best friend and the one I count on in this world.

I have been thinking about all the “problems” in my life and placing a lot of blame (on myself and others), trying to figure out what to do, how to help myself feel better and be happy.  I think this is my million dollar question – what is it going to take to make me happy again?  Since I am currently on disability from work, I have been filling my days helping people, donating time to charities and spending time with amazing people that have hearts I admire and learn from.  That is amazing and I am so fulfilled while I am there, and even for a while after I am riding high!  But ultimately, there is still a hole and something is wrong.  My heart has been broken by so many people throughout my life and recently it has been compounded and so many old wounds have surfaced, I have had a very hard time even putting the thoughts into words to create my blog posts.  Things from the past have surfaced that have created even more emotional issues for me.  Some days the pain is overwhelming and some days I don’t want to get out of bed.  Physically I am feeling quite a bit better, although the nerve pain I deal with has been directly correlated with the anxiety and stress.  On high anxiety days, I am more likely to hurt worse. The migraines have become unbearable.  I get shots all over my head every 3 weeks to keep them at bay.  People don’t understand the truth behind anxiety and/or depression and when you have them together with physical pain, some days it’s easier to stay in bed even though that’s the worst thing for you.  If you read this and you are also struggling with these types of problems, I implore you to get out there, surround yourself with people that lift you up.  You know the saying – ‘fake it til you make it’?  Well, it’s right!  People reading my blog had no idea that I am struggling with these problems.  I will find a way to beat this, I will conquer it.  I will get my happiness back and it will be on my own terms, not somebody else’s.  I was told that I am not the same person and they were right…and I miss the old me.  I need the old me to return!  THAT is what is going to make me happy.  I want to be the happy go lucky woman that went with the flow and had fun – whatever we were doing!  Structure is important, don’t get me wrong, but there is nothing wrong with flying by the seat of your pants and having fun once in a while!

One thing I can assure you, my happiness will not be defined by anybody but me.  I have lost my way a bit right now, I have temporarily lost my ability to be the usual problem solver, a fixer and an unconditional lover.  There are so many factors that play into my situation currently.  None of us will ever be without problems in our lives.  It’s how we choose to react to them that will lead us.  I will be placing these issues on the chopping block one at a time and giving them over to God.  It’s easier said than done, but I know whole heartedly that when I need help and guidance, I know where to turn.  My good friend reminded me the other day, God’s got my back.  I know he does.  This is not an easy fight that I am fighting right now but it is one that I will win – that I can assure you!!

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more…and remember, happiness is an inside job!!

Make a Difference with Your Story

If you are reading my blog for the very first time, WELCOME and thank you for being here!  Please follow me by entering your email address and you’ll be notified of my future posts!  You may be wondering what I am all about and what I may have to offer.  Why should you read what I have to say and follow me?  Through this blog, I share stories and lessons of my life.  Happiness, sadness, struggles, and pain.  Yet I show you that happiness and success and new life can be achieved.  It’s not easy to be vulnerable and put our most heart felt feelings out there.  I do it with the hope that it will encourage somebody else to keep going.  Life can be very hard and the feelings can get you down, but you don’t have to let it beat you!!  You can win this thing we call life!  Never be ashamed of your story, it can save somebody else…with that, I share a little more with you tonight.

The past couple of years I have had a lot of health issues and major back problems, nerve issues and chronic pain.  If you’ve ever experienced chronic pain, it can be crippling.  Beyond the pain, it can also be incredibly depressing.  It is life changing, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  I have been on disability from work since mid-August after rejecting my Dr.’s recommendations for months and working anyway, because that’s what I do.  I work.  I have always been dedicated to my job and the most loyal employee around.  But in light of growing anxiety with my job completely changing, going through a buy out/merger and not knowing what would change day to day, my nerve pain worsened and we couldn’t figure out why.  I finally took my doctor’s recommendation and am now taking some time off.  The theory is lessening stress will lessen the nerve pain.  It does seem to be making a difference!  Yay!  Unfortunately, this adds an additional stress because even though I pay in taxes for this exact kind of thing, they sure don’t like to pay when it is needed!  So I am currently going through the appeals process to try and get paid.  Just what I need…more stress.  But that is the least of my worries right now honestly, my health and peace of mind are what is really important.

You can probably deduce that recent months have been incredibly difficult for me.  Five weeks ago I started therapy to deal with the grief of deaths, I have lost 5 people in the past 4 months.  I also lost a relationship that has been a huge part of my life for the past 5 1/2 years.  The relationship has been off and on and never healthy, this is a hard, hard loss and I have never felt like this.  Frankly, the past few months, I have felt completely lost and I have not had the ability to reason properly.  I have had a lifetime of losses and being with a therapist I have really connected with, I learned that there are actually some much more deep seeded pains that I have ignored most of my life because I have always just been that “strong woman”.   Multiple deaths, the end to a long term relationship and worrying about losing my job = STRESS.. ANXIETY.. DEPRESSION.

People judge me daily, and guess what?  That’s ok.  Those people have not walked in my shoes, those people have no clue what is on the inside of me, what I’ve overcome and where I am at now.  They are seeing only the struggle, and the sadness that has been in my heart and showing through my eyes for months.  My friends watch me suffer silently knowing that I am doing everything in my power to change my circumstances.  I am not wallowing in self pity any more and that is the point of this post!!  You are allowed time to grieve, and that time frame is different for everybody.  There is no instruction booklet for grief  or anxiety.  There are, however, tons of resources that I have found useful.

The first lesson, be patient with yourself.  Nobody can tell you when you should feel better.  As long as you want to get better, you will.  Choose to stand up for yourself, make the change and take it one day at a time.  I get very overwhelmed when I think about the big picture, but I can handle day by day!  I made the mistake of going MIA from my normal routine, missing out on many events with my friends which only magnified the problem. The more I isolated myself, the more depressed I got. Trust your friends, take solace in time with them.  They care about you and that is irreplaceable.  I am not only getting myself back out there, I am donating a lot of my time to helping others.  I have met some amazing people and have really been feeling quite a sense of purpose in my life that I haven’t felt in a very long time!  I have actively and consciously been seeking out people and activities that will help me feel better.  I have accepted the things I cannot change and I have been working to change the things I have control of.

Don’t wallow in self pity.  (It’s soooo easy to do!!)  Don’t get stuck in the anger you feel; the helplessness.  It will eat you alive, it’s been eating me alive for months and especially the past few weeks.  That is the most helpless feeling in the world when you cannot control your own thoughts.  This goes back to being patient with yourself, but don’t stay there!!  It’s easy to be mad, upset or even to have no clue what exactly it is that you’re really feeling, just knowing that it sucks!  That’s ok!  Just don’t stay there.  Find the value in your experience.  Make it into something positive even though you may feel like there is absolutely nothing positive to come from it.  You have to search for it, FIND IT!!!  I am finding value in all of the turmoil in my life lately that will change me forever.  I am appreciating things I have taken for granted or completely overlooked.  I have bonded with old friends, I have created new friends and I have found where I can add value to others lives and make a difference which makes me feel great about myself instead of the self-loathing I have done most of my life.  Give back.  I can’t speak to that enough.  Donating your time, feeding the homeless, collecting clothing for shelters – none of this takes anything more than your heart and time.  You should live every day like it’s your last and you must nurture the relationships that you have.  Appreciate every day that the Lord gives you!  Make something positive out of whatever situation you’ve been going through.  I am so thankful for my followers and more importantly my amazing friends, my support system and my sweet daughter Lexie that has had to put up with my ups and downs.

The bottom line, the point of talking to you tonight is to help me, and to help you.  I want you to know that it’s ok to grieve over rough times, I have done a lot of it lately.  It’s ok to cry, to be angry and feel lost.  The most important lesson I have learned is that there is something positive to come out of everything.  Find it.  Don’t let yourself stay stuck.  I have been stuck for a long time and I have a long ways to go, a lot of exploring of my entire life to learn why I handle things the way I do and why I continue the same patterns.  So my journey is just starting but I am really exciting to be taking these steps to change my life for the better, for the rest of my life!  As always, I hope this is helpful for you and I hope you will sign up to follow me and read and share my posts with anyone that you feel could relate.  Goodnight.