Thankful, grateful and blessed …

I am heading into this Mother’s Day weekend feeling pretty good so I want to write all of this now. It’s always unknown how the actual day will hit me. I can feel fine going to sleep the night before Mother’s Day and then BAM a blanket of sadness is there in the morning. But right now I feel overwhelmingly blessed and I want to stay focused on what I have, not on what I have lost. I truly have SO much to be thankful for. I’m thankful because I am a mom with the best kids in the world. I am thankful that I have been allowed to share so much of their lives with them. I am thankful I have watched almost three of them now grow to be adults. I absolutely LOVE watching them chase their dreams! And I am thankful that God entrusted me with Reese. I think I needed her just as much as she needed me. Of all the things that I have become in my life, MOTHER, is my favorite. Yes, I lost my mom, and that still hurts after 25 years. But being a mom has healed me so much and has eased my grief in a way that nothing else can. So, I want to give a BIG shout out to Sid, George, Libby and Reese (and, of course, Trevor Sid’s boyfriend too). Thank you. Thank you for taking the broken parts of me and putting me back together again. Thank you for understanding my grief and helping me grow through it. Thank you for readily seeing and honoring grandma’s legacy that has been weaved into each of your lives. You are truly my greatest joy. You are the reason I smile so much and why I laugh so hard. You are my hopes and dreams come true. I couldn’t possibly be me, without all of you. And there is absolutely nothing in this world that I love more than all of you!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel thankful, grateful and blessed!!!

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Young at heart …

Last night some of my sorority sisters and I went out to celebrate the life of our dear sister who passed away two years ago. It was a nice night reminiscing and just being together. We all needed it. I know that I certainly did. In our discussions we talked about our younger years, the struggles we have faced, the decisions that we have made along the way and happiness we have chosen to find. It’s funny, despite the years that have passed and all that has changed, so much of me has remained the same. And I like that. I still feel like that college girl on most days. The one with hope in her heart and a smile on her face. The one who wanted to look back across her years and be able to tell epic stories to her grandchildren. As a 50 year old woman, I can honestly say that YEARS and NUMBERS mean nothing to me. And what does matter to me is my health, making sure that I walk through life with genuine and authentic souls and not letting bitterness take ahold of me. If I can sneak in some fun in there, find some joy, follow a few passions and gain some wisdom from lessons learned along the way, then I don’t see how I can ever complain.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel young at heart!!!

Remembering a friend …

Last night Libs and I went to see Come From Away. I won’t give any details about it other than to say it was a wonderful story about some very good people. Is that vague enough? HA! Anyway, I loved it. And it was a nice distraction to help me get through today a little easier. You see, today is the second anniversary of my friend Pam’s passing. I think about her every day but as this day was approaching I felt my emotions building. I woke with a heavy heart. I grieve for her. DEEP. Tonight a few of us will get together to reminisce about our life with her and to celebrate our friendship. I need it. This will be good for me and my broken heart … because I miss her and this really hurts.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you remember a dear friend!!!

Choosing joy on Groundhog Day …

Twenty-five years ago today I lost my mom. I cannot believe how bad this day still feels. I was 24 years old when she died and I was completely broken. And still, at 50 years old, I find myself just as shattered as the day she passed. I guess real love just works that way. Every year I try my hardest to get out there and enjoy my day. I know that she would want that for me. Some years I am decently successful. Other years, DEFINITELY not. This year I’m really going to try to have a nice day. I even have plans to leave the house! This hasn’t always proven to been the best idea. Random crying in public gets a lot of stares! I know that everyone who loves me gives me a pass on “people-ing” today. And trust me, I appreciate it! But there was one life lesson that my mother taught me that has been more important to me than ever before. It’s like each year that has passed has only fueled my commitment to it. It is a lesson that I have gone on to teach my own children. It is part of my mother’s legacy. And the part of her that will truly live on forever.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you CHOOSE JOY on Groundhog Day!!!

Authentic …

In 2016 I survived. BARELY. In 2017 I recovered. THANKFULLY. And in 2018 I lived. HAPPILY. I feel like I loved and found peace and contentment in every moment that I was given this year. I felt joy and found happiness even on my toughest days. And for some reason this came easier than it ever has. I let go of A LOT. Sometimes maybe more than I should have. But I make no apologies. It’s what felt right in the moment that I was sitting in. Sure there are things that I wish I could change and things that I wish I had done differently, but for the most part, 2018 was exactly what I needed it to be. It was life, my life, unfolding and evolving in the most normal of ways. I needed a year like this. BIG TIME. And I am grateful that God blessed me with it. As each day passed I tried to cherish each moment as a treasured gift. I think I did a pretty good job of that. I took each situation and circumstance for what they were and stayed in the moment. I was PRESENT feeling my way through and learning what I could. It was not a year full of change or movement or victories, but it certainly was a year that was packed full of wonderful memories. Memories that were made with some incredible souls. There is no doubt that 2018 was a good year for me.

So what then, can I expect from 2019? The last few days of 2018 I spent a lot of time trying to come up with my New Year Mantra. I have done this for so many years now that it should be easy. But it never is. I really put a lot of thought into it because this one word will follow me for the next 365 days. It is a reminder of what I choose to accept and bring into my life. Last year I chose the word “Free” and I can’t tell you how accurate that became. In 2018 I allowed myself to be freely me and I loved it. Even the messy parts. I didn’t push too hard to grow. I didn’t push too hard to succeed. I didn’t cling to or reach for much of anything. I was just grateful to have the moments God felt I needed. I guess years like this come when you overcome some ugly things. Well, at least it did for me. And again, it felt right.

I remember after my mom passed away, I asked God for some time to JUST BE. I didn’t want to grow or change or mature or be anymore than what I was. Basically I asked for a life break! But it wasn’t what I wanted long term. I just wanted enough time to allow what happened to me to sink in so that I could move gracefully into my future. And He graciously let me have it.

I feel like that was what 2018 was for me. A break. A time when I got back to the basics of ME and nurtured the NEW me that I became after being sick again. This me is different for sure. But I wouldn’t necessarily say it came from growth. It is more along the lines of acceptance. In a good way. Like finding peace over things that I cannot or won’t change. Being content with less. Processing more. Seeing situations clearer. Thinking harder. Appreciating more. And loving deeper in every day that passed and in every experience I had. And never wanting more.

So after a year like 2018, what one word could possibly hold the meaning to all I want 2019? I absolutely loved everything about 2018 but I believe that it’s time to feed the passions that God has poured into me. Again. To do this I need to feed my soul with beautiful things and avoid toxicity as much as possible. I need to make sure that the people who I walk through this life with and the people who I choose to expose myself to are genuine, kind and live with good intentions. I want reciprocal and loving connections with humans who are REAL. I truly feel that God has been calling me for more and to accept less from others could hinder my reply to His calling. To deny the fire that He has placed in my heart would be innately wrong. I see it as squandering the days that I have been given and living disingenuously. But this is a tough one for me. Putting myself out there again, taking chances, setting goals, and chasing dreams is especially difficult coming out of the year I just had. I was comfortable and safe. But I cannot deny that God is moving me to live my truth. Oh boy, is He ever! So I guess I just have to trust Him and know that I’m ready for whatever my future holds. I need to believe that I am capable of whatever He places on my heart and I need to live faithfully, genuinely, passionately and bravely in their pursuit.

Well, I hope you all have a YEAR where you live authentically!!!

Libs and here we go again …

Yesterday Libs took the PSAT. She took one last year, in her sophomore year, and did well. We also arranged to have her take an unofficial SAT about two months later just to see how she would do. The test evaluator was pleased to see her score since Libs was technically about 18 months out from taking the official SAT. When the evaluator found out that Libs had forgotten her calculator she changed from “pleased” to “shocked” that Libs did as well as she did.

Telling you all of that is not to brag about my smart kid. Trust me, she IS smart, but it’s because she works so hard. Heck, Libs welcomed all the testing last year just so she could see where she was AT educationally. She’s always thought this way. She is the kid who checks her student portal obsessively after a test or big project. So much so that we had a year when we had to implement a time cutoff to check grades because she would get upset if they weren’t posted. It would ruin her whole evening. That limit really helped her balance fun and work and helped her to see that there is a time (and importance) for both. Anyway, Libs has some lofty college goals and when she started verbalizing them to me we had a long talk (several actually) about what it would take to achieve them. She knows it won’t be easy but she knows what she has to do to make it all happen. When I saw her commitment to her goals and saw how it was all effecting her I went to her counselor, coaches and favorite teachers to let them know what she wants. All of them were on board. Libs has the support of MANY. An army of people who see that she CAN achieve the goals that she has set for herself. As a mom, I couldn’t be more thankful. But I have to say that yesterday has been a stark reminder of times that are soon to change. Again. I’ve been down this road twice before. It is a beautiful road but it does have its’ thorns. The reality of my third baby growing up is creeping in. As much as it all fills my heart with joy, I find (ONCE AGAIN) that my heart can ache at the same time. I have no doubt that when it’s time for Libs to head to college that she will be ready. She will embrace the new life laid before her. She will thrive as an adult. But until then, I will cherish every last childhood moment that I am blessed to share with her.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you see it all happening again!!!

A mental health day …

I am a big proponent of self care. Having lost my mom as a young adult I learned VERY QUICKLY that if I didn’t take care of me, no one would! As an adult, no matter how young, there is an assumption that you will self-regulate your needs. But this DOES NOT always come naturally or easily. We are often consumed with very real stressors and self-imposed expectations that literally run our lives. I have tried to teach my children that taking care of themselves, mind, body and soul, is an absolute necessity. I remind them that they are precious beings and that investing in themselves will only leave them better equipped to tackle their goals and meet their responsibilities. I tell them that there will be days when they just need to “push pause” on their normal daily routines. And I assure them that rest, nourishment and a little bit of laughter go a long way.

Well, I hope you all take a mental health day!!!