Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Hauntings!

Happy Halloween friends!!

This year Little Dude chose to be Puss in Boots and we are getting ready this morning for the big day at preschool! Let's just say I'm not the best at drawing whiskers on his face... :) I'll post pictures of his cute little self on Saturday.

Whatever you are doing today, I hope it's a day filled with good memories and WAY TOO MUCH CANDY!

Bwahahahahahaha!

Here's a few pictures of the Little Dude's costumes from years past:

Year 1: BAT DUDE
Year 2: COUNT DRACULA
Year 3: COWBOY KID
Year 4: SPIDEY














































Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Getting Married for the Second Time

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Many of you have inquired about wedding plans via comments and emails... and I haven't responded, not because I'm not excited, but because I haven't had any time to sit down and tell you all about it!

So!

For those who care to know... here are the wedding plans I have so far:

We are using the motto LESS is MORE!

We are getting married in Arizona near the end of December.

We are having a simple, casual get together with just family and our very closest friends.

We are not sending out invitations with our picture inside.

We are not having a cake.

We are bagging bridal pictures.

I guess it'd be safe to say that we are going pretty low key.

***

Getting married for the second time is so much different than the first time around. I mean, the first time you spend your whole life dreaming about the big wedding day. From the perfect dress to the most amazing flowers to the most scrumptious food and desserts to the best photographer out there, you want it all. And now with Pinterest and its thousands of ideas, it is SO hard not to get sucked into every last detail that you think you should have... but I'm realizing that that's not what really, truly matters.

Don't get me wrong, when I was getting married the first time, planning the wedding was a blast! And it was a spectacular party to be sure! But this time, it is entirely different. A very good different. A less stressful different.

I still don't have a dress yet.

I still don't have a photographer yet.

I still haven't decided colors for a bouquet yet.

I still have no clue how to wear my hair yet.

I still haven't even thought about the ceremony yet.

And really, I'm not too worried about it.

All I know is that I am so excited to GET MARRIED! The particulars of the day are just fluff. Fluff is fun and can definitely make thing really beautiful but I'm more stoked about the symbolism of it all. That and actually becoming the Mrs. Man Friend and finally blending our lives together.

Yaya!

But I do have a question for you... just to ensure that I don't forget anything or leave anything out on such a special day...

**If you could relive your wedding day, what would you do differently? What did you forget that you wish you hadn't? What would you add in? What would you take out? ANYTHING?


Monday, October 29, 2012

Humble Pie





























I think we've all been there.

That awful moment. The moment when something seemingly  harmless exits your mouth, only seconds later you realize it was rude, hurtful and totally inappropriate.

Yeah, I did it. On Saturday. It was an attempt at a joke, but it turned out to be far from anything funny... it was an insult.

The dynamic in Seth's eyes changed instantly and I knew I had messed up.

Ouch.

My heart pumped fast. I was frozen. I didn't know what to say.

Why did I just say that? Did that really come out of my mouth? Jacy, SERIOUSLY? What were you thinking?

In an effort to keep my life somewhat private, I'm not going to get into what I said, but just know that it wasn't my proudest moment. And of course, it just so happened right after two very crucial posts last week that talk about maintaining dignity and having empathy. Serves me right.

I sat across the table from Seth and my arms tingled. I felt so stupid. But instead of sitting there in silence and letting his hurt, and my own personal tension, linger and fester, I decided to humble myself and own what I had done.

"I'm sorry, Seth. That was a horrible, mean, pathetic thing to say. I don't know why on earth I said it or thought it. I am so sorry. Will you forgive me?"

And then I started to cry. Because I could never take those words back. Even if I said I was sorry a million times, those words were still said and the man I love the very most heard them, processed them and had to figure out what to do with them.

He hugged me tight and repeatedly told me not to worry about it- that it was okay- that he knew I was sorry. But still.

***

Saturday refreshed my memory of some very simple truths:

1) Think before I speak.
2) Own my mistakes.
3) Try to make things right immediately after the offense has been made.
4) Use the very humbling time to remind myself that I am so far from perfect.
5) Once the apology has been accepted (however long it takes), there is no reason to rehash it. Instead, move forward with a better understanding of myself, and being more aware of those around me.

Image Credit

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

Hello!

Yesterday I had a little medical "procedure". An Endoscopy. Nothing serious... just to check some things out in my tummy. I left the hospital feeling woozy and extra gassy but, other than that it all went smoothly and I was so grateful my team was there to keep me company :) 

Little Dude was a champ for over 3 HOURS (Dr. N was running behind) and he kept asking the whole way home,

"Mom, are you okay? Are you okay, mom?"





























After I slept off the sedative in the afternoon, we had a pumpkin carving party, where we actually didn't carve any pumpkins. Cool, eh? We were too busy eating dinner and chatting with our friends (while the kids played rambunctiously) that we totally forgot about the holiday festivities that brought us together in the first place. Ha!

So, that's what we're doing tonight. A little pumpkin party with my two favorite peeps, a pepperoni pizza, some hot cocoa and the World Series in the background. FUN!

Are you watching some baseball tonight?? Seth is Giants guy... so I guess that makes me and Little Dude built in Giants fans from now on... even though I could really care less :)

Have a SPOOKTACULAR weekend everyone!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Empathy





















A few months ago I received a phone call from Seth. His voice was quivering. I could tell something was wrong immediately.

"Jacy" he said.

"Remember my friends? The ones I've told you about? The really cool dentist and his awesome wife?"

Oh no, I thought.

"They just found out she has brain cancer. Brain cancer. She's 33. She has 5 kids (ages 8-6 months old). She's been given a number... an amount of time... They had no idea anything was wrong... I am sick to my stomach."

My insides felt an immediate burn. I remember exactly where I was that day.

I didn't even know this woman or her family personally, but after I hung up the phone with Seth, I called my mom. I told her everything I knew- about a perfect stranger. We talked about the sadness and confusion and everything that must be happening in her mind and her family's too.

I thought about her often.

***

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to meet this really cool dentist and his awesome wife (Matt and Jen). As we were driving to the restaurant, eager to spend time with them, Seth said,

"I haven't seen or talked to either one since I learned of the diagnosis from a friend... what do I say? Do I start the night off with 'We are so sorry to hear of the news...'? I just feel so bad... it's so hard!"

I quickly said,

"All we can do is speak from our hearts. Both of us. We know of her diagnosis... she knows of her diagnosis... we need to be open and honest and genuine."

But I didn't want to screw up, saying the wrong thing. I didn't want to avoid the topic, pretending that I didn't know (seeming uncaring or uninterested), but I also didn't want to barrel in there acting like I knew everything (seeming insensitive and overbearing and totally ignorant).

I have been at the receiving end of both, even as a betrayed/divorced woman, and I'm honestly not sure which one is worse.

So, I decided that I'd just be myself. I didn't worry about what to say... or what not to say... I just let it go... and I went in ready to meet a new friend whom I'd heard many wonderful things about- cancer or not. After all, she wasn't nervous to meet me because she was sick, so why would I be nervous to meet her? Her illness does not define her; just as my being a betrayed, divorced and single mom doesn't define me.

When I saw this vibrant woman, I was truly taken back. You would NEVER know that she was dealing with brain cancer... that she was enduring the scary reality that she is.... that she was literally fighting for her very life. In that very moment, she was fighting for her life. But the smile on her face beamed, her eyes were bright, and she was kind, inquisitive, thoughtful and just down right sincere.

Soon after we meet, she mentioned her condition. I told her that I already knew and that she had been in my thoughts and prayers. I told her I didn't know how she was maintaining such a positive attitude and demeanor through it all and she said with the most genuine smile,

"I have to. For my kids and my husband. I have to."

And then we just talked. I told her about my trials (so minimal in comparison) and we talked of hers. I got a little teary eyed, she did too. And then we talked and laughed about a lot of fun stuff.  She was a new friend... and I was so happy to get to know her better... and I'm so looking forward to getting to know her even better.

***

Ever since that night, not only has this remarkable woman been on my mind, I've been thinking about empathy and how powerful it is.

And then I read some great stuff from a wonderful book called "I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from "What People Will Think" to "I Am Enough" by Brene Brown.

Empathy is a powerful ability

Empathy is so much easier said than done.

Empathy is different than sympathy.

Empathy is so much more than just words. IT TAKES HARD WORK.

Empathy is a skill.

Empathy is more than sensitivity.

Too often we think that if we haven't been in someone else's shoes exactly, we shouldn't say anything at all. We don't know what to say or how to respond. We feel awkward. We are afraid to mess up and hurt feelings and offend and so, we say things (or don't say anything at all) that actually skip over the reality of the difficulty. And then it does become weird... because as a result, there is this big elephant in the room that is only weird to you, because you make it that way.

Three years ago, I wouldn't have had the slightest clue as of what to say to someone who was newly divorced, or who was grieving the loss of a child, or who was dealing with addiction in their marriage, or who was just diagnosed with something as serious as cancer. The anxiety of screwing up and saying the wrong thing kept me from acknowledging a lot of important times in people's lives. And before I knew it, I had missed my chance to be compassionate which, in turn, kept me from building stronger, more meaningful relationships. 

Now, however, I feel so much more connected with the power of empathy. I'm not the best at it and I am still learning how to be skilled at it, but because of what I have experienced personally, I feel like the ability to empathize with other's has become more natural. Now, instead of diminishing the reality of someones feelings by avoiding it all together, changing the subject, or walking away, I am figuring out how to dig in deep so that I can open my heart and be more comfortable with the things that I don't always comprehend.

That being said, don't just reach out to and confide in those whom have had similar experiences as you. If we all did this, we would all be very much alone- limiting ourselves only to what we know and what we're comfortable with. Life experiences are like fingerprints; no two are exactly alike. But together, if we can honestly learn to have empathy, we can connect. And when we connect with compassion, it says to someone "I can hear this. This is hard, but I can be in this space with you." And when we are there, in that vulnerable place, we can not only feel accepted, but we can find a true and safe sense of belonging.


Empathy is the the ability to see, hear and feel the unique world of the other.



**There is so much more I'd like to write about this but I can't do it all in one post. Watch for other posts within this topic like: comparison, shame, things to say and things to avoid saying, sympathy vs empathy, etc.  This will be the feature for the next few Friday's to come and I am so excited about it. The "My Name Is" series is done for now... just taking a little break from that... a big THANK YOU to all the women who participated. You've changed my life!

** If you hope to learn more about and support JEN, she has a blog HERE. Please check it out, reach out and send her your love. As you know, we are all in this together and just because you don't know her personally or may not be able to relate exactly, we are all sisters! I'm certain she'd appreciate your prayers and love and support as she continues on this journey.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Royal Blue Paint and a Ruined Zebra Rug


Little Dude has never really been the mischievous, messy, or destructive type.

Yesterday I was upstairs cleaning.

After Little Dude finished helping me, he asked if he could watch a movie.

Sure.

After I got him all situated, I returned to the daunting task upstairs.

Every 10 minutes or so I'd holler,

"Buddy? You good? You alright?"

"Yes Mom... I'm fine..."

The silence and lack of needing this and that should have been my first clue.

I came down the stairs and there he was. A deer caught in headlights. He smirked- sheepishly- sort of like this:





























His little body was sitting on the counter, hunched over, his hands under the running water.

"Are you getting a drink? Can I help you?"

"Um... No... I'm cleaning up the paint, mom"

Paint?

My eyes very speedily wander over to the living room and there on my favorite zebra rug sat the entire craft box, chucked full of 17 oz bottles of paint.

Maybe he just pulled out the box?

And then I saw it. The studio. Little Dude's art studio on my rug!

Five paint dishes totally filled with every color of the rainbow. Brushes covered in multiple colors barely stood in the dishes. Paint was almost ready to drip off the wooden handles. Two other sippy cups were filled to the brim with murky black paint water and a couple brushes in each- ya know, so he could clean them off.

One masterpiece had been completed and was laying on a glass kitchen plate to dry.

And when I saw the most vibrant patch of royal blue saturating my animal print rug, my eyes widened and my heart cracked.

Nooooooooooooo.

But I kept my cool. I acted fast and I quickly cleaned up the mess. And then the Little Dude and I had a nice talk after he sat in "thinking time" for a while. We talked about how he should never ever try to do a craft like this without asking for help. I explained that painting is messy and that it can ruin our clothes and our furniture because it doesn't come out- our new violet tinted rug was a great teaching tool for that.

He said he was sorry and then I wrapped up the conversation with a hug and asked,

"So... next time you want to paint something, what should you do?"

"Well mom, I will get a few napkins from under the sink and then I will lay them down. That way I won't make a mess next time."

Wow. I guess that'd work, too :) Glad we're on the same page....



**Alright all you MOMMA'S out there... what is the CRAZIEST, MESSIEST, YUCKIEST thing your kids have ever done when you're not looking?

P.S. Picture was taken right after our 'chat'. Cutest little kid ever! And the rug... Walmart special... I've loved it these last 5 years but this is a perfect excuse for me to finally get rid of it and try something new :)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A "Dignified B-Word"





























I have this really amazing and stalwart friend who has been through so much with her 'misbehaving' husband that it would blow your mind. Combined three beautiful children and a pretty intense pornography addiction (involving more than viewing pornography) and you've got quite the dynamic in a household.

I remember the very first day I met this friend (whom we shall call Sarah). It was at a Saturday morning session of WORTH Group (a bunch of women, with way too much in common, who get together with a shrink and a few clinicians to try to stay sane, heal and make sense of it all). Anyhow, Sarah was a pillar of strength to me. She was the epitome of brave. She was the most solid person in that room that day and I'll never forget what she said,

"Sometimes in order to stand up for yourself, you just have to be, and forgive my french, "a dignified bitch".

Of course, the heavy hearts and tearful eyes at WORTH Group all burst into genuine laughter. We needed something light-hearted to find humor in.... and for some reason, this was the ticket. When these two words were paired in the same sentence together, it made for a pretty fantastic mood change on such Saturday mornings.

To this day, nearly 3 years later, when I think about Sarah and the way she described her ability to detach and ditch the co-dependency stuff with her husband, whilst still maintaining her pride and honor, I chuckle.... and then I think that it's ingenious. Truly.

This catch phrase doesn't just apply to women dealing with addiction or infidelity ridden in their marriages. I think the term can be applied to all of us- no matter what we're dealing with in our lives.

I am the most NON-CONFRONTATIONAL person out there. Serious. Avoiding conflict at any cost is one of my greatest weaknesses to be sure. I hate, hate, hate conflict... any sort of it.... but the last few years have taught me, among many things, how to stand up for myself- no matter what situation I'm in.

I'm learning to respect myself enough to be able to recognize when enough is ENOUGH. To respect myself enough to, in spite of my fears, be able to decipher if I am being treated the way I should be. To respect myself enough to find the courage to say NO when I need to, even though I am terrified to do so. To respect myself enough to pick myself up and remove myself from any situation where I feel I am being taken advantage of, manipulated, trampled on, treated poorly, bossed around, etc.

But most importantly, I'm learning to TRUST myself enough to know that when I do find myself in the "dignified b-word" mode, it is for GOOD and legitimate reason. Whether it be my creepy-guy-detector is sounding, or my inner self is screaming 'Don't take this. This isn't right. If it feels like crap, it IS crap.', or if I really just need to set and stick to specific boundaries (even if it seems mean or may possibly hurt the feelings of other's), I trust myself when I am there.

Sometimes I think I get so caught up and focused on pleasing everyone else around me, that I forget how to actually stand up for myself in times that I so desperately need to most. And this is why, even though I never want to be an actual "b-word" to anyone, ever... I will always keep this phrase close to my heart because 1) it takes me back to such an unexplainable, yet triumphant time in my life and 2) it reminds me that even when I am faced with unimaginable circumstances and may have act in a way that I normally wouldn't do, I can still do so with grace and class.

It's not a matter of whether or not you should stand up for yourself. What really counts is whether or not you maintained your dignity while doing so.

Image Credit

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

YAY or NAY: Sign Guy?
















I've secretly always wanted to be a Sign Guy. Haven't you? I mean, doesn't the dude dancing around on the street corner without a care in the world look like he's having a joyous time? Grooving and waving to the passerby's and totally rocking out. AWESOME! Sometimes it just looks like such a blast!

But I could never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever do it. Not a chance. Even if I was masked and my identity was concealed for life, I'd refuse. R.E.F.U.S.E.

Why is she even blogging about this today? you wonder right now...

Well, last week I saw a dude who was so die hard with his cardboard sign that I couldn't even tell who he was advertising for. Regardless, he made me smile and made me think two things:

1) WOW! He's GREAT! Thanks Sign Guy for winking at me at the red light and for making my routine drive to Preschool so much more enjoyable today! I mean it :)

AND

2) Hmmm... I wonder if any of my blogger friends have been a Sign Guy before OR if they would ever do it?

I have really tried hard to not write about this, but for the last few days, I just keep coming back to the SIGN GUY scenario and I'm dying to know if you would do it? It seriously cracks me up when I think about it... I have no idea why... ha!

So! Humor me today and tell me YAY or NAY: would you be an unmasked SIGN GUY? Even for one day?

I'm going to guess a few of you... just for fun... totally random...

NAYERS:                                          
Ashley C.
Libby N.
Lindsey J.
Jane Jones
Kylie P.
Chantel O.
Jo C.
Wj's Mom
Nichole Y.
Whitney- Drab to Fab
Julie T.

YAYERS:
Nora B.
Eat My Scabs
Crystal S.
Rachel R.
Kenzee P.
Morgan R.
Kari P.
GV
Gabrielle H.
Taisley W.
Ruby Annette

For the sake of not putting your last names, I abbreviated them... but yes, if you are reading this and your last name starts with what I wrote, I'm most likely talking about you :) 

So, am I spot on? Ha!
Image Credit

Oh, and the winner of the LiLash GIVEAWAY is.....  McKenzie Farris! YAY! You will LOVE it! Email me at jacyleeclemons@gmail.com to work out the details :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Life Happens





























Wow. The last few days have been crazy! Lots has been going on- the good and the not-so-good.

I'll start with the good:

  • As of Saturday night, Seth and I are officially "under contract" home buyers. YAY! We found a really fantastic area, with a great elementary school two blocks away, and a really wonderful home in a culdesac-- best part of the whole deal if you ask me! We are thrilled and crossing our fingers that it all goes through :)
  • I am feeling calm and collected and READY to marry my best friend. Things are moving along pretty close to perfectly and as a result, I am losing my anxious nerves.

Now, the not-so-good:

  • Last week, a dear friend of mine from my youth passed away. Even though it's been years and years since we have seen each other or talked, my heart is heavy for the loss of such a wonderful woman and also for all those left behind, grieving, questioning and desperately missing their wife, daughter, friend and loved one.
  • Remember my neighbor, the one I suspected was pregnant but couldn't quite tell? Well on Friday, I learned that two weeks ago, she delivered her sweet daughter at 30 weeks- sleeping. My heart just broke. I wish I would have known sooner... to take in a meal... or to offer help... or just to let her know that I love her... 

In this crazy thing we call life, I am learning how to embrace the good and the not-so-good that will always transpire. Wonderful things happen everyday.... terrible and hurtful things happen everyday... and I'm trying to enjoy every moment of the wonderful, whilst trying to wrap my head around the difficult. It can be a bit of a juggling act at times, but I will always try to stay grounded- learning to have a healthy balance between both.

All I know is that today, I will squeeze my son a little tighter... I will love my family a little greater... I will reach out to my neighbor(s) more regularly.... I will cherish the amazing friendships I have.... and I will continue to thank my Heavenly Father for the incredibly solid man in my life. I am appreciative of all of the "times" in my life:

The exciting times.

The sad times.

The just trying to get by times.

This is life.


P.S. Don't forget about the GIVEAWAY! Today is the last day to enter! Make sure you add yourself as a follower ("FRIEND" on the right hand side) to be eligible to win :)

Image Credit

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Simple Things on a Sunday


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Often times it's easy to slip and become trapped into the victimization of life's circumstances. It's a scary, lonely, depressing and difficult place to find yourself in. But you don't have to be caught in its sticky, toxic web forever.

Work on moving forward. Don't allow specific people or past experiences to control, dictate, define or limit who you truly are. The goal is to become your very best self... and that can't happen if you're continually hanging on, letting your past infiltrate and take over your full potential.

I'm working on it too- everyday.

Happy Sabbath.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Date Night



















Last night I treated the "man- friend" to his favorite place in the world: A MUSICAL!

The Scarlet Pimpernel to be exact ;)

Alright, so it's not the first activity he'd choose to be doing on a Friday night, BUT I think he enjoyed the show. But I'm not so sure what he got a kick out of more- the actual play OR seeing me out of his peripheral, totally sucked into the romance, lip-syncing every line to every song. I knew I was busted when he leaned over and whispered into my ear,

"I get it now... I totally get why you..."

He needn't say another word. I knew exactly what he was thinking and we both busted up laughing (a quiet laugh of course).

"It's all coming full circle now" he said with a cheesy grin on his face.

Good. Now he can FINALLY see where and why I conjure up all my hopeless romantic stuff. What can I say!? I am a drama nerd at heart and I LUFF me a little sappy romance :)

Do you like Musical Theatre? Will your spouse/significant other go with you? NAME YOUR TOP 5 BROADWAY SHOWS! GO! 

I'll start by sharing mine- in no particular order...  (gosh, this is HARD... I don't know if I can actually label these as my top... I have too many I love :)

1) The Full Monty
2) Aida
3) Les Miserable
4) Anything Goes
5) Starlight Express

P.S. If you haven't seen the 1982 non-musical version of The Scarlet Pimpernel, DO! It is sooooooo good :)



















P.S.S. THANKS NEWMAN'S for inviting us along! Twas a blast!

P.S.S.S Have a FABULOUSO weekend everyone!

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Name is SHARON

My name is Sharon and I lived my last year. 



















Let me explain.  

When I turned 40, I started to do a little more soul searching then I had done in my 30’s.  I started thinking about my accomplishments thus far, and what I still wanted to experience before I kicked the bucket. I was very happy and content with most of the areas of my life.  I had a wonderful husband, 4 amazing kids (2 sons, a step-daughter, and a step-son), and a thriving business.  However, there was something that was missing on the personal side.  I had gone on “auto-pilot”, so to speak.  Except for my daily 5am workouts, I didn’t take too much time for myself.  My joy was in spending time with my kids, husband, and work.  All of this was good, however I came to feel that I needed a little excitement and well, to be a little uncomfortable.  I was playing it safe and coasting through my days.

So, somewhere along the way, the idea surfaced that I would live 2011 “as though it were my last year”. I decided that I would push myself beyond my comfort zone, scare myself, and do things I would normally NEVER do.  I wasn’t sure what the year would look like, but knew the general goal.  

As fate has its way, my challenge appeared a week later, when my trainer at the gym suggested that I compete in the next fitness show.  I had been to one of those shows before and had never conceived that I could look like one of those elite competitors, nor have the will power to train that hard.  And, even more, I didn’t think I could have the courage to get up in front of hundreds of people in an ITTY BITTY BIKINI.  I was the SHY girl that wore a towel around my waist at resort pools. And on top of it, I had just turned 41.   How could I be one of those super fit, toned, confident women up there on stage?  The sheer thought of it all, made me want to throw up.  And then it dawned on me, this was the challenge that I had been looking for.  It would force me to face all my fears in one event:
~The fear of not being able to accomplish a goal that I set for myself

~The fear of not being good enough

~The fear of being laughed at…being on stage wearing almost nothing in front of hundreds of people


So I was in! 

The first task at hand was to quiet that little voice inside my head that kept telling me that I would not be able to do it.  I literally had to shut the voice up every day!!  I had to replace the negative thinking with a new positive mindset.  I was 100% committed to my challenge and nothing was going to stop me!  I was a maniac on a mission for the first time.


I started intense weight training 6x a week.  On four of the days, I threw in a second workout that consisted of 30-40 minutes on the treadmill with 5lb weights wrapped around my legs.  My diet consisted of “clean foods” and basically no sugar, no salt, large quantities of protein, portioned fats, and only good carbs (sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, and green veggies).  I logged all my food each day, and had a specific ratio / percentage that I needed to reach each day. The amount of time spent on all the food prep, exercise and logging the food was equivalent to about a half days work!  This was my routine for 4 months.


After about 10 days, I started to see an amazing transformation taking place.  Each week, I could see results from my hard work.  I lost more and more body fat and gained lean muscle.  My kids said I “had six pack abs” and I started to feel more and more confident and strong.  

The weeks slipped by and suddenly it was the day before the show.  I was so looking forward to the brownie sundae that I would have after the show.  I had pictured it in my mind for months.  I was mentally and physically tired!  The last week before the fitness show was exceptionally stressful as I had to give up most of my carbs, and on the last few days, I was basically just eating plain chicken or fish most of the day (depending on what your trainer thinks you need to do) and little water.  I started to think about getting up on stage and all the unknowns of the next day.  That little voice inside my head started getting her voice back.  I started to doubt myself and questioned what the heck I was thinking by trying to do this fitness show.  I tried on my suit and I suddenly felt horrible…fat and untoned.  I had a MAJOR meltdown and decided there was NO WAY I was getting up on stage the next day.  I called my husband crying hysterically and told him that I was not going to go through with it.  He spent the next 20 minutes “walking me off the ledge”.  Looking back now, having this near nervous breakdown the day before the show, was a huge blessing in disguise.  It was the pivotal moment when I finally decided that I would not let fear stop me like I had done so many times before.  

It didn’t matter what anyone else thought…this was my challenge, my time, and my day.  The outcome of the show also did not matter. The only thing that mattered was that I finished what I started and that I did it for me.  

After hanging up with my husband, a strange calm came over me. I decided to look at the show as a way of celebrating my journey and how far I had come.  I was not going to worry about the details, and I was just going to “go with it”.  This was a new thing for me, but what was the worst that could happen?

The day of the show started at 2am with my husband helping me wash my hair.  I had spray tanned the day before and my entire body was an alien orange color that rubbed off on anything I touched.  By 4:00 am I was getting hair and makeup done, and when I finally looked in the mirror, I thought “Who is THAT?”  It was like playing dress up or putting on a costume at Halloween.  It was liberating!

When I finally walked on stage, I still had a great sense of calmness.  I could feel the warmth of the stage lights beaming down on me.  The lights were so bright that I could barely see the crowd, but I could hear my family and friends cheering for me.  I felt so proud and happy!




MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  

The ultimate gift came when the results were posted at the end of the first part of the show.  A list of all the competitors was taped on the backstage wall.  If your name was highlighted, you placed somewhere in the top 5 and would be part of the awards ceremony and go home with a trophy.  I had gone out in two divisions; one for my age category (35-42) and one that included 20-40+ year olds in my height category (5’2).  To my utter surprise, my name was highlighted in both categories!  An hour later I stood on stage two times as they called out 5th place, 4th place, 3rd place, 2nd place.  Each time, my name was not called until the 1st place trophy was given out.  






























I remember thinking as I stepped into the 1st place box on stage, that sometimes you have to push yourself “out of your box” to step into your box of greatness.  A place that YOU choose, one that signifies accomplishment, determination, courage, and pride.  

What I took with me from this experience is that I really can accomplish anything that I set my mind to, and that I should never let age define me or stop me from doing anything!  

**I know that this feature is a little different than most you've seen on here, but I thought it was just way too cool. Please remember the purpose of this series is to love, support and grow. Sharon will be reading your comments and so, you may comment directly to her.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It Starts with You























Have you guys ever read the blog Momastery?

I do.

It's one of my regular reads. I'm not a junkie but I do like to check in every once and a while and see what good Glennon is doing in the world. If you haven't read her bio, do it here... You'll be AMAZED.

Anyway, last night when I hopped on the computer to write this mornings post, I decided to pop over to Momastery and see what's happening in her life. I was devastated at what my eyes began to read. Processing her words my heart pumped fast, my stomach churned resolutely, and my hands began to tremble. A very familiar feeling overcame my body and I sat at my table, my wrists resting on the keyboard, and I cried.

I can relate to the exact feelings she describes and because we are all sisters in the same battle, we also share the same wounds- emotionally and physically- making us even more compassionate and concerned for others; even if our trials may differ from one another.

Instead of blogging what I initially had planned last night, I spent my allotted computer time writing a lengthy email to Glennon. I'm not sure if she'll even have a minute to read my words (she is one of the most popular bloggers, after all) or if my words would mean anything, but I couldn't not share some things with a fellow sister in need. I had to write her and tell her that it was going to be okay... that she was going to be okay... that even though it feels like this hell is a permanent new fixture in her life, it's not.

I encouraged her to become a Pioneer Woman and expressed the truthfulness and reality of hope- especially as she begins this new unfamiliar trek she is about to embark on. After I finished the email, my eyes were watery and my stomach was still in knots, but I cannot deny that there was an intense feeling of gratitude in my heart- knowing that all things are possible and that recovery is real for each and everyone of us.

So, whoever is reading this out there today, please know that whatever you are experiencing in your personal life right now, remember that you can do hard things and that you will be okay. YOU WILL BE OKAY.

No one is exempt from trials... even the people we assume have it all together, have something. And my heart not only feels extremely heavy for Glennon tonight, there are many other women out there whom I know are suffering the same pain and confusion and sadness.

That being said...

Do you know someone who is struggling? Do you know someone who you *think* might be struggling? Do you know someone coping with the loss of a loved one? A death of a marriage? A brutally draining divorce? A lack of self esteem? A troubling time at work? A health complication? A difficult break up? Depression? Loneliness?

I know a few people (if not more) per every single item I just listed and I am certain you do too.

Today, I have a challenge for you!

Reach out to someone you think could use it- even if it's in the smallest of ways: a simple email, a batch of cookies, a text, a phone call, an act of service, or even a note in the mail. Whatever you choose to do, extend your hand, offering your heart and compassion. There are so many women, SO CLOSE TO YOU, in need of your LOVE... and a little bit or recognition and support can go farther than you could ever even think!

Sending my love to you all this morning. To those struggling, I am rooting for you and I keep you in my thoughts and prayers. To those happy and healthy in this moment, I am rooting for you, too, and I ask that you take that positivity and use it to rally around and help cheer those who may be in dire need of a loving friend.

It starts with no one else but YOU.

Girl power is special and it really does rule!

Image Credit

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Little Bit of Anxiety



















Of the many purposes of this blog, one is to honestly share my journey with all of you... in hopes to not only continue on my path to healing, but to maybe help someone else out there.

Today, I'm going to get a little bit more personal with you... as if I haven't enough already? Lol.

Here goes.

I'm slightly nervous to get remarried.

I'm not nervous about the decision to marry Seth one iota. I'm nervous to actually get and be married again. It's almost like I've forgotten how to do it... you know, share a life with someone, share a home with someone, continually work together with someone. Obviously so far Seth and I work together amazingly and we are the best of friends... but it's a whole new ball game once you marry,  join lives and actually share a home together.

It's exciting, no doubt.

But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a tad bit nervous.

I think I've just gotten used to (and good at) being alone-- just me and Little Dude. I've genuinely enjoyed our little life together. I've enjoyed becoming independent and not having to answer to anyone really. If I want to do it, I do. It's been me, myself and I running this ship... and I've grown quite fond of it.

I mean, who knew I'd love sleeping in a bed alone? For so long I longed to have someone there beside me and now, I'm genuinely worried how my sleep will be affected once we are married. Ha!

But I've also yearned for that steady companionship, that male figure in the home, that person- the one who in a sea of crowded people, my eyes will always look for-, that family bond and that special relationship. I've craved it.

The second-time is different than the first: different feelings, different dynamics, different ideas, different approach. Different isn't bad... it's just that... DIFFERENT.

I write all the time about letting go of how you think it should be and embracing the change, but sometimes, if we are totally honest with ourselves, that change can be overwhelming and a little scary, too. Which is why I think I've had a case of the volatile emotional head cold lately . I'm up, I'm down, I'm ecstatic, I'm apprehensive, I'm confident, I'm nervous, etc. So much so, I've been driving myself nuts (and Seth I'm sure). So, I squeezed in a last minute last minute visit with my therapist, Maurice, yesterday and it was seriously the BEST hour of self-analyzation than I've had in looooong time.

As I talked it all over with him, slouched in the comfy black leather sofa, he said a few things that put my nerves to rest:

1) This type of feeling is completely NORMAL for a woman who has experienced what I have.

2) My anxious feelings are not because "I have issues", but rather because of "my past-experiences". Two entirely different things.

3) It is totally okay to utilize modern medicine if I feel I could benefit from it. He suggested I take an anti-anxiety pill and use it as a 'maintenance only' source of relief.

4) If I didn't feel any sense of nervousness, he'd be worried about my state of mind. This shows him that I am taking this decision very seriously, as I should be.

5) Courage is being able to make a decision, even if you may be a little scared of the risk(s) involved. As long as I've done the proper homework before hand and have prepared very cautiously and slowly, I'm going to be just fine.

Like I always do, I left Maurice's office feeling a sense of validation, relief and empowerment. I'm not a crazy lady after all... I'm a lady about to embark on a second marriage... with a child involved... and everything I divulged in that office yesterday is more common than not for a woman like me.

Phew.

And like I always do, I feel so blessed to have a man like Seth in my life. It's been a blessing more than I can even describe to have a man I can openly discuss all of my fears, anxieties, hopes and dreams with. He never gets upset or accusatory or insecure, he just holds my hand, hears me out, calms my tension and guides me through it. Which yet again, is proof that he is the EXACT MAN I want to see at the end of that aisle- even if I feel a slight bit of anxiety along the walk, I know I am making the right and BEST decision of my life!

Image Credit

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Best Beauty Tip EVER and a Giveaway!


I'm used to having very short, stubby eyelashes and as you know, I went through an extensive eyelash extension phase. As you also know, it didn't take long to realize that it was way too much maintenance, money, and irritation on my sensitive eyelids, so I quit that really fast.

However, a few months ago, after noticing the eyelashes on two of my gorgeous friends, Nichole and Whitney, I asked if their thick, luscious, too good to be true eyelashes were real? Both looked at me like I was from Mars and said,

"NO! They are mine! It's LILASH! You've never heard of it? Get it... you will LOVE it!"

That very day, I bought the special serum and seriously.... ladies.... IT WORKS! I have been stunned to see how much growth has taken place in the last few months- so much so that I've stopped using it daily because my lashes are starting to seem a little too long. Who knew? And I don't feel the need to wear as much eye makeup anymore either. Yay!

Link

SO! Because I love my newly grown lashes so much...

I'm doing a GIVEAWAY for one tube of LiLash!

It says on the website that it's a value of  $139.97... buuuuuut.... I'll let you in on a secret and tell you that you can get it at Peerless Beauty Supply for cheaper if you have a hookup :)

Alright, so all you have to do is:

Add yourself as a FRIEND on the right hand side of the blog 

AND 

Leave a comment in this post. 

The winner will be drawn at random and I'll announce who the lucky lady will be one week from today. I know it doesn't seem like a magnificently grand prize, but I'm telling you.... THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER!!

GOOD LUCK!

p.s. you can see my results on yesterday's post :)

** For the sake of shipping, only residents of the United States are eligible to win.

** Do you have any BEST BEAUTY TIPS you'd like to share with me? :)


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