Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Live your life

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here. 
Today - I simply want you to live your life.

  • Call up an old friend & meet for lunch. 
  • Lay outside and look at the clouds. 
  • Go for a hike. 
  • Go explore the woods. 
  • Go climbing.
  • Go bike riding. 
  • Go shopping.
  • Take a walk.

Whatever you do, just live. You get an extra day this year. Make it count.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dance in the rain

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.  

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about getting out there and dancing in the rain."

We all go through hard times - extremely hard times or semi hard times. We all have bad days & heck maybe even bad weeks. I could easily dwell on everything bad - {we never have enough money, I don't have a car, I'm stuck in the same walls everyday, etc.} and that would lead me into depression. I know because it's happened once before. But when I flip the situation and look at it from a different viewpoint I can accept it.

I've learned that everything that happens or is happening is for a reason, weather I know the reason or not. I know that this is God's plan even if I don't understand it. I know that the road to where were going is going to be something I look back on and can appreciate.

I no longer wait for the storm to pass to be happy. I get out there & dance in the rain.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Be proud of who you are

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here. 

We all have those moments of self doubt. Those moments of denial. Those moments that make us question ourselves and bow are head in shame. It's unnecessary - be proud of who you are. Be proud of what you can do. 

Be proud that:

  • You are care about people too much. {it means your compassionate}
  • You still wish upon stars. {it means you still have hope}
  • You don't have an insane amount of balance. {it means your human}
  • You may not always text, call or e-mail your friends and family but you are always there. 
  • You love to take pictures. {it means you want to hold onto memories}
  • You speak your mind. 
  • You have fears.
  • You have faith. {it means you believe in something much bigger than yourself.}
  • You live with all of your heart. 
  • You sing when you want and dance like crazy.
  • Your unbearably strong. {It means you know what it's like to be weak.

No one can be you - better than yourself. No one knows you like you do. You are a wonderful person who has flaws and I'm going to bet that you have a million more good things about you then there are that make you not proud of yourself. You have a purpose here.

Be proud that you are you. Because you were made perfectly imperfect. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Meet Sarah

Embracing life.

This is something that has become near and dear to my heart.  In over 11 years of marriage, my husband and I have walked the journey of stillbirth and miscarriage.  We've been through three separate events which nearly cost me my life.  We've had two daughters, the youngest of whom {age 5} has multiple special needs and is medically fragile.  Since 2009, she has been battling chronic respiratory illnesses.  2010 was a particularly difficult year for her.  

My faith has been shaken to the core repeatedly on this journey.  I spent a lot of time and energy placing blame where it shouldn't be.  I spent a lot of time in tears and building up an anger inside that I just don't ever want to revisit.  I learned along the way that sometimes you need to be broken down completely in order to be built up fully. In 2010, when we were facing repeated illnesses with my daughter, we came to a point where her very life was at stake each and every time.  I came to lean on my husband, church family and friends like never before.  I began to accept that God wasn't angry at me for something and He wasn't punishing me for anything by putting us through all these trials.

Once I stopped blaming God and being angry with Him, I began to learn how important it is to embrace this very life that we have been given.  He has given each and every one of us but one life to live.  He desires that we embrace this opportunity to make the most of our lives with what He has given us and in the circumstances He has placed us in.  Our pastor has often said that God has created each of us for a purpose and we are all uniquely placed where we are, in the time we are in, for a purpose.  

I now fully believe that it is up to each of us to embrace our circumstances and to try to find the joy and blessings in them regardless of what they are.  I believe when we really look, we will find blessings.  It may not be easy to see, but they are there!  When we find the joy and blessings in our circumstances, it helps us to look at them without fear {or with less fear, anyway} and without regret.

As I have discovered on my life journey, our very existence is fragile.  We have no idea how long or short it might be.  We must live our lives to the full - not with wild, reckless abandon, but according to His will and plan for us - through whatever situation we may be in.  It is a mission of mine to blog about the places where I find the joys and blessings in my life in the hopes that they might help others to see that there is joy and there is blessing to be found, even in the midst of struggle.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Let go and Let God

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here. 

As humans I think we have this natural urge to try and figure out our life. To plan it and to make sure it goes according to plan. We panic when we don't know exactly where our life is going to take us. It took me years to grasp the fact that God's plan for me is much bigger than the one I have for myself. That I need to trust him with my life, with my husband's life, with my boy's lives. It scary to let go - but it's amazing you when you do.

I love this picture. We were getting ready to take the boys to my sister's house, she was going to watch them for a bit while the hubs and I went out to dinner. We pulled into sonic to get the boys a bite to eat and my anxiety started to rise. We were fixing to get on the highway - something I hate. I was going to be without my boys which always causes me to worry. As were sitting there waiting for their food I look up at the sky. I see this beautiful sunset in front of me and I notice the shape - they look like wings.

It reminded me of Angels which reminded me of God and then I heard the whisper Let go and let God. He calmed me down, reminded me that I should not worry because he is there. He is watching over us, because he has plans for us that I couldn't even dream of. When I Let Go & Let God, I feel more at ease because I know that no matter what happens, where life takes me; where it takes us - he will be there.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Just Enjoy The Peas

By Digger - Her blog is Digging Deeper. You can read about her here. You can see all posts by Digger here. 

Repost From My Personal Blog
This is the actual view that I could see from my spot in the garden. That's the mountain I remember.
My very first memory, and I'm already willing time to move faster.

You see, for as long as I can remember I've been the type of person who wants to get to the next step. I'm always rushing to see what's on the other side and never fully in the moment at hand. Don't get me wrong, I'm present. I take pictures and make connections, but in the back of my mind I'm always preparing and planning for "the next step".

In high school I took AP and concurrent enrollment classes and graduated with several college credits so that I could "get through faster". Two months after graduation (ok, a month and a half) I got married so that "life could really begin". Our first year of marriage was great, but secretly I couldn't wait to start having kids and raising our family. And as soon as Bruiser was born I began hoping that naps and bedtimes would come faster today than they did yesterday.

Why do I do this? Why am I always in such a rush?

As I'm sitting here thinking all of this through, I realize that I'm missing soo much. Although a handful and at times I headache, Monster will only be 2 once, and he'll only say these things once. He'll only want to be held and cuddle for now. Bruiser is only going to be in first grade this year. He's only going to be learning these things once. He'll only be 6 right now. And Hubs will only be the Hubs that I know right now, right now. Time changes all of us. Time teaches us things and takes things away. Why am I living just to learn the lessons and then move on? It's like I keep waiting for them all to change into something better, something different, something that better fits my life and my schedule.

I need to learn how to slow down, to relax. I need to learn how to be fully present in the moment. Stop worrying about tomorrow and focus less on "the next big thing". Right now, I just need to focus on right now.

I need to just sit back, enjoy my peas, and marvel at the beautiful mountain in front of me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Perfect day

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.

I couldn't tell you the last time we had a family day; all day long, before Sunday. It was small things that made the day perfect and I very much believe it's the small things that matter most.

1. We went to our favorite restaurant for breakfast. We haven't done this in so long, the kids were seriously so well behaved and the food was great. It was a great start to our day.

2. We attended church as a family for the first time ever. I was super nervous about going to a new church and nervous about how the kids would react in a new place. But the pastor was great and so was the service. Everyone was completely friendly and the boys had a wonderful time!

3. We spent about an hour in the book store. The boys once again were good. They loved the amount of books they saw. It was nice for all of us browsing & choosing the books we wanted.

4. We relaxed at home. After all the running around we did that day we came home and just simply relaxed. It was sooo nice.

5. Hubby took me on a date. My sister so kindly watched the boys for us and hubs took me to this little Italian place. It was the best Italian food I had ever eaten.

You may be thinking - really that was your perfect day? Yes, yes it was. Because all those small things added up and I enjoyed the day, I was completely happy. Pay attention to the small things, because those small things can add up to one amazing day. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

13 days

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.

{I first posted this on my blog - but I felt it needed to be shared on here too}

I remember when I first read Fran @ a small bird's studios story about losing their first baby. A sweet beautiful little girl who is now an angel. The first time I read it, my heart broke.

I just read it again & my eyes were opened in a new way.
13 days.
They had only thirteen days with her.
I can't even begin to imagine.
I've had almost four years with Jay & over two years with KJ.
They don't have that with their sweet angel.

I don't know why this post hit me so hard today. Maybe I needed it, because the boys have been driving me up the wall today, but God showed me I should be thankful for that. As mother's we love our children, but we also have a tendency to complain about nap tips & bed times, toys strung on the floor and spills on the carpet. Never making it anywhere on time or having to bring an extra shirt wherever you go because those sticky hands are sure to ruin it.

In the midst of this chaotic day - God led me back to her story to remind me & I hope to remind you, to be thankful.
I am thankful for the messes.
The tantrums.
The spills.
The times they don't want to sleep and they want to stay up with mommy & daddy because they can't get enough of us.
I'm thankful for their kisses.
Their hugs.
Their laughter & their tears.

I've had years with my children. What if you only had 13 days left with yours?
Whatever you would do in that amount of time.
Do it now.
Don't wait. 
Embrace every smile, every hug, every laugh, every tear, every spill, every mess. Because there are woman who don't get those moments.

I vow from here on out to embrace every part of parenthood, to cherish every single second with my little's.

To fran & to anyone who has lost a child.
My prayers are forever with you.
My heart aches for you & if it were possible. I would give you a hug and never let go.

Cherish your little one's ladies. 
Hold them close.
Because you never know if you will get tomorrow with them.
& that my friends is something that breaks my heart.
Embrace the little blessings that God gave you.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

It's The Small Things

By Digger - Her blog is Digging Deeper. You can read about her here. You can see all posts by Digger here.

Part of my new "Non-Depressed Me" Plan is to find everyday things that just make
me happy. Things that no matter what I'm doing just happen and I need to
focus on those things more. So here's a small list of what I'm talking
about so you get the idea:

  • Finding money you didn’t even know you lost (ie, a $5 bill in a pair of old pants)
  • Picking up a "q" and a "u" at the same time in Scrabble
  • Catching some unsuspecting driver picking their nose
  • Putting the toppings on a hot dog bun before the hot dog
  • A random high-five from Bruiser
  • Sleeping in new bed sheets
  • Strategic trick-or-treating (obviously this is just once a year)
  • Using Rock-Paper-Scissors to settle everything with Bruiser
  • The smell of rain on a hot sidewalk
  • The first scoop out of a jar of peanut butter or just butter really
  • Wearing sandals when you shouldn’t be wearing sandals
  • Watching ‘The Price Is Right’ when you’re at home sick (or on your anniversary in Vegas.)
  • Old windows where the glass has settled and vintaged
  • The sound of scissors cutting construction paper
  • Using all the different shampoos and soaps in someone else’s shower
  • Roasting the perfect marshmallow
  • Playing old-school video games
  • Getting something with actual handwriting on it in the mail
  • Taking your shoes and socks off after a really long day
  • Finding out Parking is free
  • The smell and sound of a campfire
  • Taking your bra off after wearing it for hours
  • Facial hair experiments (not mine of course! lol but some people really get creative!)
  • The Five Second Rule
  • Finding out your birthday is on a Friday or Saturday next year
  • When you get the milk to cereal ratio just right
  • Playing with a baby and not having to change its diaper
  • The other side of the pillow
  • Crying (don't you just feel better after a good long cry)
  • When your microwave pops microwave popcorn perfectly
  • Curling up with a good book, even if just for a few minutes
  • Old folks who sit on their porch and wave at you when you walk by
Life is hard. Sometimes the storms seem to last forever, but there are a few little things that happen every day that make the winds calm and the skies clear, even if just for a few minutes. :) What happened for you today? What made you smile? 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Always Remember

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.

Last night Hubby & I sat down and talked -- really talked; about life. About how Jay was going to be starting school in August. Our little boy grew up so fast. The realization came all to fast and I started spilling out my fears to Hubby about Jay starting school. About bullying & how school's aren't safe like they were when we were kids. How he was going to be around other kids. How he was going to react to not being around us. I told Hubby that I wanted Jay to hold strong to his faith; while he is little & always. Which brought me to this post.

To my boys:

1. Always be kind; Even if you don't get along with them, don't befriend that person, treat them how you would want to be treated. 

2. Use your words carefully; Don't just say what you want to say -- think before you speak because words will be remembered forever.

3. Stand up; For yourself, for each other & for others. If you see someone getting picked out don't stand back and blend in with the crowd like everyone else, help that person. Show them they have a friend. If you are getting picked on, talk to us we want to know everything, even the small stuff. 

4. Hold onto your faith; in school these days - faith isn't allowed. Hold onto it and hold onto it tight, because God loves you. Don't let the pressure of those around you make you stray away.

5. Don't judge others; You don't know someone's story. You don't know why someone is the way they are. Don't judge them - instead offer a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold & an ear to listen with.

6. Love; others & love yourself. I believe the world would be a better place if more people loved one another.

7. Care; take the time to care about other's feelings. Care about your life & theirs. Don't take any part of it for granted. 

8. Be happy; Your happiness will radiated to others. Choose happiness and if you ever feel down don't be afraid to talk about it.

9. Share your feelings; Daddy & I will always want to know how you feel. Don't ever be afraid to come to us.

10. Be yourself; I can't stress this enough. Be true to who you are, do not follow the crowd. Know who you are, love who you are and be the best version of yourself because their is no one like you.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blue eyes cryin in the rain

By Skye - Her blog is Neathering Our Fest. You can read more about her here. You can find all posts by Skye here. 

mom and i at the wedding
here are some things you need to know.
my mom was a hippie. she loved willie nelson. until the day she died (and it is still there to be honest) she had a poster behind her bedroom door of willie nelson surrounded by stars with the word "dream" painted above it. this is the honest truth. i promise. her favorite song by him was blue eyes crying in the rain.
in a lot of ways i am like my mom. i look just like her. we both have a crooked nose that came from her mom. we were both a little high anxiety. we are both learners and dreamers and doers.
there is one specific way that we are not alike. my mom embraced life in stuff and things. she kept everything. every card we ever gave her. every picture that was ever taken. socks from when i was a baby. my great great aunt's glasses and sugar pills.
i am not a liker of stuff. that isn't where i hold my memories. don't get me wrong there are some things that bring the memories of my grandma and grandpa alive for me, like their antique china cabinet, dining room table and pie safe that i inherited. every time i sit at that table i remember all the family dinners when we ate there.
i prefer to hold my memories in the intangible. things that i can't hold or touch... or that collect dust. ;) i embrace the memories that come flooding back at a smell or a landmark...
or in the case of this story - a song.
i was taking chris to the airport a couple of weeks ago for a flight to washington d.c. a couple of weeks ago. he was a little nervous about traveling alone and having to navigate the city by himself once he got there. i'm not much comfort in a situation like that because i get a little stressed myself! :)
it was a beautiful, sunny day with a few clouds in the sky. there was zero rain in the forecast (trust me - we had checked several times!) and all of the sudden, out of nowhere, it started raining. drops of rain fell from the sunny sky and chris and i looked at each other and kind of laughed.
then it happened.
the xm radio changed songs and the first few chords of the song rang out on the speakers. my mouth fell open and chris said "really??"
it was blue eyes cryin in the rain.
and for the length of the song, chris and i held hands and cried. i sang what words i knew and the rain continued to fall on us from the sunny sky above. when the song was over the rain stopped.

chris and i didn't speak for a few minutes. we just held hands while the tears left paths on our cheeks. it was a moment i will never ever forget. it was a split-second in life that embraced me and told me not to worry - that chris and i had at least one angel watching over us.
one of the hardest things we are asked to do in life is to embrace the painful moments. as humans we are scared. we run away from things that might cause us pain or perhaps make us fear what is coming next. it is in our very nature to avoid things we know will make us hurt, turn our insides to much or reopen a wound that we have been working to repair.
but sometimes those things blindside us. and thank the good Lord they do. because even though for those few moments of sheer pain and anxiety i don't know how to contain myself or hold it all in. i get angry with God all over again for taking my mom from me and leaving me here to go at life alone.
but after the anger and fear has its way with me and i let the pain destroy me for a minute, God is always there to rescue me and pick me back up. even though the wound has been reopened, God brings the sutures to heal me again.
he gently reminds me that i am not alone. he shows me how strong i have been and makes my heart just a little stronger for the next time.
embrace the painful moments in life. let them overwhelm and overtake you. cry. be angry with God. reopen that wound just a little. it makes you stronger and gives you a new sense of purpose. it brings you closer to the God who loves you.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mommyhood Game Plan

By Digger - Her blog is Digging Deeper. You can read about her here. You can see all posts by Digger here. 

For the last 6 months or so of my life I have been fighting some serious
depression. Everyday I've just been trying to make it from one moment
to the next. Things got better, and now they're getting good. That
process wasn’t instant, however. For me it took figuring out a game
plan: something that would make the life I was living not only doable,
but allow me to be successful at it. I compiled a list of a few things that
work for me:

1. Treat household duties as I would a career. My mom gave me this
advice and I love it. Sometimes we think that since running a household
isn’t exactly brain surgery, we should be good at it. I have discovered
this is not the case. Trying to juggle everything from cleaning,
cooking, food storage, finances, etc. – it is much more than a full time
job. I’ve started scheduling my weeks just like I did when I was in a
career. I even have deadlines. Meals are planned out, naps are penciled
it. When I have a plan and I can see that everything is going to get the
attention it needs, it’s much less stressful.

2. Make sure my “work day” ends. When I was first staying home with
Bruiser I was working until everything that needed to be done was done.
As a result I was totally crashing at the end of the day and, of course,
I never got everything done. I chose a time when my work day needed to
end. For me it is 9:30pm. After that, if it’s possible, I relax, read a
book, blog – whatever I want to do.

3. Add some glamour to my life- It’s easy to let things go a little bit
when your clothes are constantly covered in ketchup and boogers.
Sometimes my conversations with Hubs go something like this: "Hey honey,
I just ate a quiet lunch at my desk and now I'm off to design something
on the computer... how are the kids?" "Oh everyone is fine, I ate hot
dogs off the floor, Monster peed his pants and has been crying
for an hour straight.” Yeah. Motherhood isn’t the most glamorous
profession in the world.

4. Strengthen bonds with other women – I see other mothers as my
co-workers. We just happen to have private offices (our homes). Keeping
in touch and getting out together keeps me from feeling so isolated.

5. Enjoy my children – For me, the words I hear more than any others are
“Come here Mommy, come here!” My boys constantly want me to play, to
read to them, to chase them. I do these things throughout the day, but
other things have to be done and I sometimes have to tell them “not
right now”. I have found that having “Bruiser Days” and "Monster Days"
are a fantastic way to focus. Bruiser/Monster Day is a day I focus
totally on doing things that I know they love to do. Spending such a
concentrated amount of time with them reminds me how fun being a mom can
be. A day of no housework isn’t too bad either.

6. Never forget I am a woman, too. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the
idea of being a mother and wife, I forget that I have an entire
existence that entails neither of these two titles. I love to read, to
write, to study, to travel. I love to be alone and just breathe. Even if
I just escape to my car to listen to a Great Big Sea CD – I need some
down time. I need time away. Often. Not just token time. REAL time away.

7. Focus on my own goals. If I don’t have some sort of personal reserve, I forget real fast why I am doing all of this.

8. Know when I have reached full capacity. I don’t know who started the
idea of the “Super Mom”, but if that women exists, I have a feeling I
wouldn’t like her very much. Motherhood is hard and I like being around
other women who get that. I also realize that I have to say no when I
just can’t do anymore. I have to have days when things are just not
going to get done, when fast-food is the dinner of choice, when I crash
on the floor while my son watches whatever action hero DVD is closest. I
work 100 hour work weeks. I need to maintain some semblance of sanity.

This is my list. What is on yours?.....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Live Passionately

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.

How does one explain how to live this life with a passion? It's hard because there is no right answer for this, But I hope this helps you. I have five main things I go by to live life passionately:

1. Love. First and foremost. The heart that beats inside you - slow, steady. The heart that is only as big as your fist, that heart can hold more love then you thought possible. You have more love to give then you probably even realize. When I love - it's with my entire heart. I love easily, my spouse & children - friends & family. I love others - it's what I do. I have too much love in my heart not to share it with the world.

2. Passion. Yes - to live life passionately - you must have a passion for this life. I am very passionate about life, I believe that this life should be lived completely. From the good to the bad, happy to the sad - take it in stride. I look at life a little different. I don't think well this is all their is before we die. Oh no I look at it like this This is our one chance, our one journey before we go to heaven, live it beautifully. 

3. Compassion. Being compassionate makes me look at people differently. It makes me see who they are. It makes me hurt when they are hurting - even a complete stranger. I've often thought to myself before that I am too compassionate -- I care too much about others & then I laughed at myself because I wouldn't have it any other way. Yes I may overly care about people & yes it breaks my hurt when people are hurting - but God made me a compassionate person, he wanted me to help people - I wouldn't change that for the world.

4. Faith. Oh sweet faith. Faith is that feeling when you take that next turn that you aren't going to fall to the ground, it's believing. Faith is when you have been strong for so long but you feel week, it's God being your strength. Faith is that feeling when you don't know what else to do, God takes your hand and leads your through it. Faith is taking a leap. Faith is knowing that your going to be okay. Faith is knowing that where you are in life - is where you are meant to be & Faith is knowing the journey that lies ahead is going to be an amazing ride.

5. Embrace it. One of my favorite ones. I find myself telling a lot of people to do this. To embrace their journey. Embrace those hugs & kisses from your sweet little ones. Embrace the love from your husband. Embrace your family. Embrace your friends. Embrace your life. Take a hold of everything & live it, love it, embrace it. YOUR LIFE is important - don't hold back. Take your dreams & run with them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

From the ladies of EYL.
Here's to hoping you take the time remember all the reasons your fell in love today. or if you are single remember why you love yourself. :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

The next turn

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.

I picture a Ferris wheel when I think about life sometimes.

When you first step up to it, you get a bit of excitement and a hint of fear. You cautiously step up, sit in your seat and the bar closes -- there is no turning back now. 

The ride starts slowly and you feel that excitement build at what lies ahead, isn't that how life is? When your old enough to understand it -- you become excited by the possibilities that are ahead. Your life start to climb -- you slowly overcome the first turn.

Then it happens, things start to speed up -- that next turn that you see approaching is coming too fast and this time when you start falling -- your stomach drops. This time you weren't excited about it, you were afraid. That relief you feel as your stomach calms again, knowing your safe before the next turn, hold onto it.

But that next turn is coming, weather it's fast and exciting or slow and easy -- it's going to come, because that is part of life. No one's journey is straight - there is many turns, good or bad, happy or sad. Take hold of those turns, take hold of the excitement, the fear, the rush. 

Because life is too short not to embrace the journey ahead. Because one day life will slow down, your ride will be complete. I want you to step off that ride knowing you embraced every minute you could of it -- knowing that you LIVED it instead of strolling through it.

So today I ask you, Are you ready to embrace the next turn or will you let the next turn hold you back?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Masquerading As A Mom

By Digger - Her blog is Digging Deeper. You can read about her here. You can see all posts by Digger here.

Occasionally, I will catch myself doing or saying something very
grown-up (“Don't make me tell you again.”, “Not so loud, I'm on the
phone.”) and I’ll wonder how it is that I look and act exactly like a 26 year old woman when I still feel like a very un grown-up kid a lot of
the time.

I am an adult and have been for quite some time. The birthdate on my
driver’s license says so. The fact that the checkout girl at the grocery
store asks for my ID not because she believes I’m under 18 but to
verify that I haven’t stolen someone else’s credit card in order to
purchase my motherly sized grocery cart full of food. The way my bones
snap, crackle and pop like a bowl of Rice Krispies when I get up off the
couch and the way that I can throw my back out with an out-of-nowhere
sneeze evidences that I’m not in my teens anymore.

I spend my days meal planning and grocery shopping. I vacuum, clean the
toilets and do an obscene amount of laundry. I run errands, and plan a
route that will be the least expensive for gas. I make and enforce the
household rules. I help Bruiser with school time and manage to answer
all of his questions like I actually know what I’m talking about. I am a
wife, mother and homemaker. I’m even relatively successful at it.

I got a vacuum one year for my birthday and I was happy about it. Why?
Because, when asked what I wanted for a gift, it was the only thing I
could think of that I really, really wanted. Because getting down on my
hands and knees to pick up junk off the floor sure does a number on the
old joints.

Sometimes, I just want silence. My idea of finding something fun to
spend extra cash on is buying a cute outfit for the kids at Little
Pampered People. Or purchasing that super cute candle holder that I’ve
been looking all over the place for. I wear flats because they’re
practical. I put a beenie on when it’s cold because you lose most of
your body heat through the top of your head and vanity has no place in
the middle of winter.

Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I still feel like a
kid. I do a double-take every time someone calls me “ma’am.” I sometimes
find it odd that my kids look up to me as though I’m a grown up,
especially when they assume that I have the answers to everything.
Clearly I’m flying by the seat of my pants here. For some reason,
though, they don’t see that. Bless their little hearts, my kids really
do believe that I’m a mature, responsible parental figure. What they
don’t know is that I am a fraud. Here is how I know:

When I was growing up, my parents were grown-ups. They did have the
answers to everything. They did have everything figured out because even
though they claimed to have been children once upon a time, they
weren’t really. Or if they had been, it had passed really quickly. They
did all sorts of parent-y things like run errands, do obscene amounts of
laundry and cleaning, and make and enforce household rules. Obviously,
they had this whole adult thing in the bag. Because, naturally, you must
pass some sort of wiseness and general maturity test in order to become
parents. Right?

Source: via Heather on Pinterest

It didn’t even dawn on me until I became hopelessly entrenched in this
whole parenting thing myself that maybe my mom once felt the same way I
do now. Like she was really just a kid masquerading as an adult who had
everything figured out. That thought made me feel a little bit better
about myself because if my mom ever felt like she was flying by the seat
of her pants sometimes, it’s okay that I do, too. She’s making her way
through parenthood and adulthood in general like she actually knows what
she’s doing and, if I’m completely honest, I think I’m doing a pretty
good job of it myself. It doesn’t really matter that I feel like an
imposter sometimes as long as the rest of the world doesn’t manage to
figure it out.

Maybe being stunted is a good thing after all. I don’t have to have
everything figured out all the time to be successful in my life. I mean,
I’ve come across lots of people who think they know it all and really,
those people are kind of just jerks. Huh....

Friday, February 10, 2012

Road to happiness

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.

Being happy does not require alot of work. Even when the road to happiness is not smooth. Your road will be different then the person sitting next to you. But you are still trying to get to the same place.

Picture a young woman, you see her daily -- maybe you have said hello to her, maybe you have offered her a smile or maybe you have never really done anything to her, but you have seen her smile and when she smiles you can see the happiness in her eyes. But I bet you wouldn't know that her road to happiness wasn't easy. You would never know she grew up poor -- in a bad side of town, in a violent household. You would never know that her parents went through one of the hardest divorces she had ever seen and wound up in another violent home. You wouldn't know that her heart has been broken or that she was betrayed by friends more times than you could imagine. You wouldn't know she struggles daily with anxiety. Because she chooses to be happy.

Picture the man you see rummaging through garbage, you pass him on the street and he smiles at you. It shocks you, how can this man who is digging in trash & has on dirty clothes, possibly be able to smile. You wouldn't know that he was a vet. He had a wife and three beautiful children. You wouldn't know that his time overseas tore his family apart, that his wife filed for divorce, took everything -- including the kids. You wouldn't know that the smile he just gave you took him 10 years to be able to do, because he finally accepted his life. Because he finally chose to be happy.

Your road to happiness will be far from perfect, but it can happen. You only have to choose to be happy, you must look at the world differently. Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be unhappy or choose to be happy -- it's as simple as that. Look at all the little blessings in your life and then choose happiness. 

"when life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show the world you have a thousand reasons to smile." -- Author unknown

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Be You, And Speak You

By Digger - Her blog is Digging Deeper. You can read about her here. You can see all posts by Digger here.

You want honesty? Sure.
Over the past few weeks I have been seriously considering unplugging completely and saying "I'm done!" to the online world. But the truth is, this whole process has been like everything else in my life; a stepping stone. It's forced me to step outside my comfort zone and as I did, I've learned a thing or two.

When I first started really writing in my blog back in October, I was terrified about what people would say or what they would think. Would they like me? Would they want to read what I had to say? I know how people have reacted in the past. Would it be the same? I was timid at first, but then… then I realized that I wasn't writing for anybody else. I was writing for me. I had things locked deep in my heart that I wanted to get out. And when people speak from their heart, before the mind has a chance to rationalize and reason, the message is loud and clear. It's a power that can't be argued with.

We are all different. That's no surprise. I'm sure you've all heard it before. No matter what you do in life, you're going to come across people that will dislike you, for some reason or another. It shouldn't shock you. You can't please everybody all the time. I don't have a problem accepting this fact. What I do have a problem with is when people jump to conclusions without bothering to look into why I feel or say the things I do. I have no patience for adults with child-like behavior. They should be ignored and never given a second thought.

My favorite quote in the entire world  says, 
"Be you, and speak you. 
The ones that matter, don't mind. 
And the ones that mind, don't matter."

I find it extremely comforting to see how different we all are. We're all unique. We should celebrate that, not try to destroy it. We are all women, friends, mothers, sisters, daughters… there's no competition. We live in our own corners of the world and see things through different eyes, under different circumstances, with different backgrounds and stories. This, this internet, this blogging, this community, it's a way to reach out and help each other, just by being who we already are. How awesome is that?!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Self Doubt

By Cassie - Her blog is Live.Laugh.L0ve. You can learn more about her here. You can read all posts from Cassie here.

I can't do this.
I'm not good enough.
She's better at it than I am.
I will fail.
I wasn't born to do this.
You really think I can do that? I don't think so.
How is she so happy, I could never be that happy. 
I don't have enough courage.
I'll never make it to the top.
I don't have the strength.

Doubt, is an unbelieveable part of life that can take over if your not careful. I remember when I first starting writing my book, I kept saying to myself, "there is no way I can write that many words. How am I suppose to go from begining to end? They won't accept it even if I send it in, what's the point? I'm not as good a writer as that author."

It could go on & on. But I stopped. I stopped doubting & I just did it. I wrote over 55,000 words from begining and end. Granted I have not sent it in yet, I just finished major edits & so I'm putting in those major edits. But I stopped doubting myself.

Whatever your starting, whatever your doing.
Don't doubt yourself.
God put you on this path for a reason. 
Because he knows you CAN do it! 
I know you can do it.

If you are a stay at home mom & don't think your good enough.
I'm here to tell you, that you are.

If you are a shop owner, don't compare yourself, because that leads to self doubt.
Your shop is about you -- the second you doubt yourself, everything falls apart.

If you are a blogger, again don't doubt yourself.
Don't sit and wonder if what you are writing about is the right thing.
If you want to write about it, then it is the right thing.

Just stop doubting & start doing!

Tell the world you can do it.
Tell the world your going to do it.
Tell the world you were born to do it!