A Promise to Me in 2019

Early in life, i set my eyes on goals that others had for me.

Achieving success on a path not mine caused great struggle and deep grief.

Days of trying to find my way when I felt so out of place.

Not seeing that what was missing was the beauty of God’s grace.

Too much time spent striving for approval when I needed my own love.

I realize now that what I sought could only be felt from the Lord above.

My heart completely shattered when others left me feeling abandoned.

Not realizing then what a precious gift lied in the freedom I’d been handed.

As time passed by, I started making choices that were my own.

And a path I could’ve never fathomed, God’s plan for me was shown.

The gifts I’d held so deep within were finally being exposed.

And when I felt most afraid, it was then that my inner strength arose.

I do not hold resentments for pain nor shame for past regrets.

For now I can see that all of my past was preparing me for a great test.

To be a loving, patient Mom who gives it all she has.

And share my vulnerabilities with the true love I’ve found, at last.

No matter what life throws our way, we all hold each other’s hearts.

And find a way to make it through even the toughest parts.

This kind of joy and peace cannot be sought or forced to appear.

It took the detours in our journeys to ultimately lead us here.

Enormous gratitude abounds, I thank God every day.

For giving me the pieces of my soul that were missing along the way.

If I could tell my younger self a secret to finding peace,

I’d tell her to be cautious with her catch and free with her release.

Those who belong in your circle somehow always find a way.

And being unconditionally loved beats an artificial circle any day.

In this new year, I vow to remain focused on hope and to have faith.

Remembering the gifts that I’ve received when patiently I’d wait.

The greatest challenge we often face is honoring the truth of our hearts.

While sharing our gifts with others, and giving our all, doing our part.

I’m learning that to guard my spirit is a necessary part of being alive,

Doing so doesn’t make me selfish…it’s something for which we should all strive.

Forgive me if my goals sound harsh, I’ve learned so much from pain.

I realize now it’s up to me to focus, and peace I must regain.

Giving is a blessing, a help to those who are in need.

But we must make sure first that our soul’s hunger we daily feed.

Moving forward, I will strive to love me more and preserve my energy.

Because at the end of the day, it’s my loved ones who deserve the best of me.

Facing My Fear of Joy

Fear is a common challenge many of us face throughout life…fear of pain, fear of heights, fear of loss. However, there’s a fear that I’ve only recently uncovered that seems so, well…taboo.

I’m afraid of experiencing too much joy. There, I said it. Yes, you read that right…I have a fear of feeling JOY, of all things there are to be afraid of in this world.

Six years ago, my world was turning beautifully. I had a precious daughter who was my everything. I was feeling the warmth of a new and very real love like I’d never experience before. My career as a teacher had hit a comfortable phase, and I was finding new ways to challenge myself professionally. I was even quite happy with how I looked, able to see my own true beauty for the first time in many years.

Then, it felt as though the ground I was standing firmly on started to crumble as breast cancer threatened to take away all of the blessings in my life. The many surgeries, chemo, radiation, medications, and hormonal therapies seemed to slowly rip out each page of my life’s plan book and tear them to shreds before my eyes.

I found myself lacking many qualities that I’d once been able to take for granted. My brain didn’t operate the same way it once did. My nerves were so raw that the basic daily routines of life caused me to become overwhelmed, and many times, paralyzed. The exhaustion I felt by just going through the motions of life hindered my ability to keep up relationships that I’d once cherished. Life became a daily dance that started when my eyes opened each morning and discovered which intro music would be playing. Some days, it was the kind you’d hear at the end of a tear-jerking movie; others, I’d wake to hear the soundtrack that accompanies a fantastic fight scene. Never knowing how long the energy for that day would last, I was reluctant to get too comfortable in an energetic place, fearing that I would be too disappointed when it would inevitably pass.

Now, I’m past all of the treatments, surgeries, and physical healing for the most part, and I actually feel good on most days. (Minus the end of the week as a high school teacher kind of tired that my colleagues are quick to remind me is NORMAL). But this year, I found myself feeling anxious as the holidays approached. I was unable to put my finger on exactly why until now.

The anxiety I’ve felt can only be attributed to a fear of truly feeling joy. You know, the kind that can only be felt through loving connections with others…friends, family, loved ones. It seems I’ve been subconsciously avoiding that type of interaction due to the fear of losing it. There is no heart-break like the one experienced when life deals you a hand that takes you out of the game. When life goes on for those all around you, but you lack the strength and energy to be a part of it, a hole is created that can only be filled by clinging to the daily promise of God’s never ending grace.

My instinctive response to this isolation was to separate myself even further, preventing any additional suffering. However, I know now that it is my deepest responsibility to acknowledge this fear, so that it might release some of its impact on my life.

I will begin again, exposing my vulnerabilities, pursuing peace, and allowing myself to feel the joy that I’ve missed for so long. Fear will not win, and whatever the cost or the pain of future loss, the blessings of allowing life’s beauty to unfold will be the greatest gift of all.

True Beauty Radiates From Within!

Everyone is beautiful in their own way, and how we see others reflects exactly how we see ourselves.

You can ask me about what those around me were wearing on a given day (including myself), and I won’t be able to recall. For many years, I wondered what was wrong with me that kept me from remembering details that seemed to come so easy to others. I’ve always been an empath, but didn’t realize to what extent that dominated my outlook until recently. Now, I recognize that this quality has always allowed me to see people’s souls rather than their appearance. It also allows me to recognize those who’s complete energy is dedicated to basing their judgments of self and others solely on the exterior, and every time I recognize that, my heart hurts for those individuals.

We are all so much more than the looks of our “petals”. We are strong, courageous, determined, and resilient stalks, long before our petals emerge. Today, I feel compelled to urge those of you who struggle with insecurity and feelings of inferiority based on achievements, looks, and belongings (because that is where your energy is focused) to spend a little time nourishing your soul, and looking for the beauty in those around you. You will be amazed at how forgiving you can become, and how your outlook changes when you stop focusing on the “stuff” that disappears when we leave this earth.

In this life, I truly believe that for the most part:

  • People are good
  • We are all doing the best we can with what we have to do it
  • Acceptance is the key to relationships
  • A little forgiveness can heal our most complex issues
  • Trying and failing is better than giving up…always
  • God wants us to all to experience connection, unconditional love, deep joy, and peace of mind.

No amount of focus on our exterior will ever replace the beauty that radiates when our souls are properly nourished. Do one thing for yourself today to increase the beauty and kindness you radiate to those around you. Those efforts will multiply infinitely, and last many years after your life on earth is over.

Blessings to all, and wishes for a life that’s peaceful ahead.

A Little Bit of Sunshine Goes a Long Way

We often get so busy with schedules and daily tasks that we forget to pause and take in the beauty of God’s precious creation. The soul nourishment provided by the sunshine, a breeze, or the twinkling stars exceeds any caffeinated beverage or energy drink available. Starting today, I vow to spend a few minutes each morning and every evening taking in the glorious energy available to us every day.

I am certain that it will provide the sense of calm and balance necessary to accomplish the tasks of daily life. Will you join me?

Dear Mom: You MUST Let Them Fail Early🙏🏻💙

Difficult parenting moment of the year… Today, I attended the annual awards ceremony for My Girl, who is 13 and finishing up the 7th grade. She received an award for a piece of literature she submitted for a contest. And every year up to this point, she has received “A” Honor Roll certificates. Seeing the disappointment she felt (😢) when she realized that this year, she missed “A” Honor Roll by 1 point…in P.E.; she made an 89 for one six weeks was one of the toughest things I’ve witnessed.

I’m not a huge fan of grades that end in “9”. However, I am a fan of letting My Girl face real consequences (in this situation, of her “don’t want to’s” during a rough patch of the school year) of her actions. So…I let her feel what an 89 felt like, and today, she knew she was one point away from achieving all “A’s” for the year.

I am definitely going to give her the kudos she deserves though. She did manage to make all “A’s” in all other classes (4 pre-AP) for the entire year. She’s super smart, she’s wise and strong, and I see in her a great deal of leadership potential. I can now add determined (more so than before), as I can see her setting her sights on doing whatever it takes to avoid feeling the disappointment of being so close to achieving her personal best again.

So, I am sharing this experience to encourage all parents to LET YOUR KIDS MAKE MISTAKES, and make them when the effects are not life-altering. Let them know that you LOVE THEM NO MATTER WHAT, and that any mistakes they may make DO NOT change that!

I know it’s hard! I know you want to call that teacher and ask questions. But it’s so much better to learn these lessons when the stakes are not too great and the pressure is bearable. Sometimes, experience truly is the BEST Teacher! 💙🙏🏻