Burden-free …

One of my biggest hopes for myself right now is to feel free from the stressors that others bring into my life. I don’t mean the normal ups and downs that come with life and sharing it with the people you love. I mean unnecessary drama that is not mine to own. If it is not part of me or was created by me, in part or in whole, I don’t need it in my life. These situations can come in many forms and from many different sources. Displaced anger. Negative energy. Or my favorite (NOT), making a mountain out of a molehill. Whatever it is or how it shows up, I’m politely bowing out. Not that I haven’t before, but I could definitely feel the pull these circumstances have had on me in the past. I know that I usually felt engulfed in them out of sympathy or empathy, but in the end it usually was not worth my effort. So now, I am choosing to not engage in anyway with the pot stirrers, the pessimists, the attention seekers and the meanie weenies. I am living without the weight of their actions, thoughts and feelings. And I have to say that so far, it feels GREAT!!!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you fell burden-free!!!

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Unfiltered …

My favorite color is pink. It always has been, ever since I was a little girl. If something comes in pink, I choose that one. I’ve owned a pink bowling ball, pink golf clubs and pink pepper spray. If you can think it, I’ve probably owned it in pink. HA!

Early this morning I stumbled across some pink landscape photographs. I was instantly drawn to the color. Then I had to “google”. Of course none of the pictures were real. Don’t worry, I knew this going into my google search. PHEW. I was just curious about what the pictures looked like in their original forms. They were stunning! And this really got me thinking. Probably too deeply, about life.

I try to live an honest life. I will tell you how IT is. If I feel a certain way, you will know. If I like something, you will know. If I don’t, you will know. If I’m sad or frustrated, you will know. And when I’m happy and overjoyed, you will know. I’m simple like that. And I’m pretty sure I’ve been this way my whole life. The effort to hide or fake my life never appealed to me. It also sounded exhausting. Like SUPER exhausting! This blog and the one I originally started on Facebook came out of all that. Being real. And still being happy and hopeful in that REALNESS no matter how yucky it may get. Maybe being “matter-of-fact” and “head in the clouds” isn’t a combination that works for others. But it’s worked for me this long, so I guess I’ll stick with it … and secretly keep hoping that someone discovers a real pink forest.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you live unfiltered!!!

2018 and Free …

2017 was a year filled with so much LIFE … and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I started 2017 in full recovery mode. My second round of meningitis at the end of 2016 was no less devastating than my first ten years earlier. I knew the healing process I had laid before me. At times that knowledge made it worse. Other times it made it better because I knew what to expect. I think in a way it made me more compassionate to myself. A rarity, indeed. But I wasn’t myself and I loathed it. I spent months in a fog. My days were filled with naps to combat the unrelenting fatigue and lists because my memory was so poor. My anxiety was at an all time high. I dealt with a significant amount of PTSD that came with an intense amount of anxiety. I was frightened I would have another recurrence. And that pain is NO JOKE. Understanding the severity of my encephalopathy was unnerving. No one can figure out how I was functioning “normally” with the amount of brain swelling I had. But I believe that the terrifying drug reactions I had after I got home really pushed me into a whole new level of fear. I literally thought I was dying. I don’t think I had ever been that scared in my life and sadly it has stuck with me. I can still get to that level of panic with even the smallest of triggers. Yes, healing is a long process. But I am happy to have to the opportunity to do it all again. This could have gone a different way for me and my precious family. And I refuse to be anything but grateful. Refuse.

In January 2017 I somehow convinced my doctors to let me train for a marathon. I truly believe that this was a huge part of regaining my strength again. As the days passed I got stronger and stronger. My memory improved and my fatigue got better with each passing day. If ever there was a time in my life to redefine myself, this was it. And it was incredibly liberating. Who could have ever imagined that the very illness that confined me gave me so much room to grow?!?! Definitely, not me!

When I look back on 2017 it is with mixed emotions. My illness and recovery made it hard. But life still happened. And that made it WONDERFUL. I was able to celebrate George’s high school graduation and watch him plan out his future. I was in awe of the growth that I saw in all of my children. Being a part of their daily lives is a gift from God that I will never take granted. NOT EVER. Summer was just straight up FUN. Having all four kids home for the entire summer was something I needed more than anything. Family heals folks, family heals!

Traveling was also a huge part of my 2017. We took lots of little trips and I was blessed with an amazing trip to Alaska. We celebrated birthdays and accomplishments. YAY, I was there and healthy enough to enjoy all of it! In 2017 I even managed to complete all 16 CEUs to keep my nutrition certification. Now THAT was a miracle having struggled with memory issues, HA! There was so much more too. The privilege of having these experiences and all the others often left me feeling overwhelmed. Like “WOW, thanks God! I’m here, alert and actually living this life!” Words can’t capture how I have felt time and time again. “Humbly blessed” comes to mind but it still falls gravely short.

Anyway, my point of writing about all of this is that regardless of the underlying need to heal and recover, life amazingly still engulfed me and took me with it. Despite the tough times I faced I felt an abundance of joy. I loved every difficult and fantastic moment of 2017 and everything in between. And surrendering to my new journey released me and allowed me to redefine who I was … again.

2017 was hard, but it was also beautiful. THAT sums up life in a nutshell. And as long as I have breath I will cherish every moment of it. If 2017 has taught me anything, it was that I do not have to remain tethered to unpleasant circumstances. That my mind, body and soul can still seek and find the freedom that hope gives us even in our darkest of hours.

So I guess that brings me to my 2018 New Year Mantra. Here goes …

Well, I hope you all have a year where you feel FREE!!!

Home for the holidays …

There is a term that is used around this time of year that I didn’t quite understand until I had older kids who left home. I thought I understood the words, but I didn’t. At least not on a mom level. Now it is a term I use as frequently as life allows. And they are words that fill my heart with a joy I have never known.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get to go HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!!

The same but different …

Change … it ain’t easy! As my kids have gotten older and two have gone off to college, I’ve been worried that my younger girls wouldn’t have the same types of experiences we did when their siblings were home. Especially this time of year when we are ALL ABOUT family. I’m realizing now that’s just silly. Of course my girls are having the same experiences! Our traditions and adventures still happen they just don’t look the same. For instance, there are fewer people in the car and a lot less noise, HA! But in all seriousness, this took me a while to see. I had to grow into these changes and understand that everything was going to work out just fine. And it did. We still have fun and do everything we did before (and sometimes my big kids are able to join us via FaceTime) so this makes my mom heart very happy!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you see that everything is the same but different!!!

Vibrant …

I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps the weather. The air quality. The season. My mood, HA! But the past few days have been utterly gorgeous. Colors seem to be more vivid and intense. Everything just seems so crystal clear. I love noticing things like this. I don’t want busyness and life to get in the way of appreciating the world around me. That would be a shame!

Well, I hope you all had a vibrant day!!!