Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How Can You Help Others?

"When you drop the guard that you have up to protect yourself and the image you are trying to project to others, the kinds of people that are drawn to you are beautiful, open, often aching people.... but that's where the most intimate and fulfilling friendships develop."~Aimee A.

*****

A few months back, I asked my friend Aimee, how others could have helped her in her time of need.

The first thing she replied with was,

They couldn't have.

I asked her why?

Because I didn't allow anyone in. No one knew of my reality; for years and years and years. I projected to have it all together, when in reality, my world was crumbling.

We talked about this (Aimee's experience) on a deeper level and here's what I walked away with from that awesome conversation:

It's hard to genuinely help other people in their hard times without being open and honest about our hard times, too.

No one wants to approach, let alone talk to, the person who seems to have it all figured out and perfectly pieced together.

Often times, those who are suffering (for whatever reason) already feel like failures to some degree. We already feel weak to some degree. We already feel crazy to some degree. And if everyone around us "appears to have it all together" what do we do? We hibernate. We retract. We suffer alone. We fret. We stew. We compare. We envy. We slowly melt into puddles.

Everyone around me has this perfect life, except me. Why me?

This is hurtful. To all of us. The world. Our existence. It all becomes lonely and scary and very, very, quiet.

But if we work on opening up a little bit more and expressing our realities and our hardships, we are essentially allowing ourselves and others the rare and awesome opportunity to connect. We are essentially saying:

You are not alone. And I am the perfect person to talk to because guess what? I've got my own hurt, crap, sadness, anger, feelings of worthlessness, disappointments, failures, too! I may not feel exactly what you feel, or understand exactly what you are experiencing, but I have my stuff, too. I imagine that, together, we can support one another, help on another, and love one another through our hard times.

When we do this, when this tender connection happens, no matter what the situation is, I believe that my friend Aimee is right....

The most intimate and fulfilling friendships develop. 

Photo Credit: Steve Thomas




Monday, October 28, 2013

It's Working For Us!






























Seth and I are so excited to announce a little something we've been working on together!

We're going to publish a weekly mini-series about how and why it's working for us.

We hope to write about what is helping to make our second marriage work, how we've gotten to such a great place as individuals and together as a couple, why we don't take any of it for granted, the many reasons it is so fulfilling, and various other topics about love and life.

We've already started composing the "meat" of the series, but before we start posting, we wanted to open up the discussion first and invite the readers of this blog to ask any question(s) you might have. In the last 2 plus years of our being together, and more specifically in the last 10 months of being married, we've had numerous people ask how we make it work, why it's so good, and any relationship advice we have to offer.

We are by no means relationship experts, and we don't (and won't) pretend to be. But we LOVE to offer our perspective on life and love after betrayal and hardships.

So!

If you have any specific questions you're curious about i.e. trusting again, marriage (first or second), intimacy, divorce, blending families, betrayal, love, triggers, etc. and you want to know how Seth and I have managed to make it work thus far, please ask away in the comment section below or email them in at jacyleeclemons@gmail.com. Please title the subject of your email as {Relationship Questions}.

We will post Part 1 next Monday.

We are SO excited about this!


Friday, October 25, 2013

A Toothpaste Debacle

Last night, after I had showered and brushed my teeth, I came downstairs to catch up on some emails.

My phone buzzed.

Who on earth is texting me at this hour?

I grabbed my phone and the screen said "SETH".

Weird, he is right upstairs. I just saw him. Why is he texting me?, I thought to myself.

I opened the text and picture attachment and this is what I saw:

"Not cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"














I busted up laughing, because earlier that very morning (and in conversation a few weeks prior) Seth had very kindly told me that if I wanted to share his toothpaste, there was one simple rule: I had to close the lid. You see, we have two sinks in our bathroom and when my paste ran out two weeks ago, I have been too lazy to run downstairs and grab a new one. So, I've taken the easier route and used his :)

My face turned bright red and I wrote back,

"Hahahahahahahahahahahahah!"

He replied,

"Seriously, J. You need to get your own toothpaste or start closing the lid. Wow."

I ran up the stairs to our bedroom. I was laughing so hard the tears were basically dripping.

Seth looked at me with the most bewildered look on his face, but I could see he was trying to hold back the smile. I saw right through this firm attempt in the "toothpaste debacle".

I fumbled for words and could not explain myself any further. I was utterly speechless. I had no excuse whatsoever.

I thought about it.... and honestly, I have no idea why it is almost inhumanly possible for me to close that freaking lid. For some reason, a reason that I cannot explain, I just don't think I can responsibly use toothpaste.

I spend more time than I'd like to admit trying to get toothpaste out of the tube because so much crusty toothpaste has hardened around it. I spend more time squeezing, crunching, twisting the tube in ineffective ways to get the paste out, instead of just nicely rollin it from the bottom up.

My family has always been amazed at my inability to properly use a toothpaste tube and I think that now Seth has finally experienced sharing a tube of toothpaste with me, he is realizing just how bad it really is ;)


**Okay, I think it's time to lighten the blog up a little bit :) Let's not bash on our partners/spouses and their little annoying things, but I do think you should tell me what annoying little habits YOU have. Humor me and spill it. Surely I can't be the only one who lets toothpaste drip onto the counter :) Ha! *facepalm*





Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Whatever You Put Your Mind To













As I type this, my eyes are heavy and are growing increasingly tired by the second. I'm pretty sure it's taken 72 hours for every ounce of anticipation and every stress of the last 5 months to finally catch up and hit me like a ton of bricks. After all the adrenaline rushed through me, I am now physically and emotionally ex.haus.ted. Unlike I have ever been before in my life.

But it's a wonderful exhaustion. A rewarding exhaustion. The type of exhaustion that I would experience all over again, as long as it meant that I could be surrounded by so many of you.

Thank you for your love.

Thank you for your example.

Thank you for your support.

Thank you for your calls, emails, texts and well wishes along this most unexpected and AWESOME journey! Compassionate and truly caring people are what make it all so worth it.

If I have taken anything away from this whole experience, it is these two things (oh! but there are so many more, too):

1) I would never trade what I have been through because had I not experienced all of that adversity, I would have never met all of you. And had I not met all of you, I would have never been able to experience this special type of growth, connection, happiness, and love.

and

2) I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to.

This morning I woke up. Seth was brushing his teeth. Very tiredly I walked into the bathroom; my hair a matted mess (I haven't washed in since Saturday (is that gross? ;)). I hugged Seth and whispered,

"Babe, it's over. I can't believe it's over. It happened. It actually happened"

He said back,

"You did it, J. You did it. I'm proud of you."

Our hug didn't last very long (the more I think about it, I am now guessing that he was hinting for me to go brush my teeth... haha) but for a minute there, I felt so triumphant. My weak body, tired feet, and fried mind felt so relieved that I actually followed through and did what I said I was going to do.

But I think Seth said it right and I'd like to say it to each and every one of you of who contributed, who spent hours helping, who presented and who attended The Togetherness Project,

We did it.

WE DID IT!

And I am so proud of ALL of us.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you a million times.

I hope this is a gentle reminder today that whatever you might be going through in your life right now, you can do hard things AND you can do whatever you put your mind to! All things are possible. You just have to try.

I love you.

So much.

Thank you for being so accepting and loving.

I could not have done it without you.

We are ALL in this together.

Something amazing is happening.

And this is just the beginning.


(photo credit Steve Thomas)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

An Heirloom and 12 Marbles






















Over the weekend, Seth and I were able to spend an entire afternoon with his Grandma and Grandpa in California. This was this first time Little Dude was able to meet his "new" grandparents and boy! was he just thrilled about that!

It really is amazing how much love there is between people who were strangers just two short years ago. But Seth's family has taken me and Little Dude in and has showered us with so much love. So much sincere love.

As Grandma and I talked on her billowy sofa, I took special notice to a most vibrant quilt hanging on her quilt stand. It looked like a stained glass window almost. Each pocket is hand sewn and sits on top of the actual fabric. It's almost 3 dimensional.

Grandma set the heavy quilt on my lap and I told her of its beauty. I asked how long it took?

She stared off into the distance,

"Oh...."

She let out a big sigh.

"About 3 years, I'd say. It's probably 25 years old by now."

My eyes widened.

"Really? This is the most stunning quilt I've ever seen!"

"Well, Jacy" she said "Every single square you see in there is a fabric scrap of something I have made in all of my years of sewing. Every scrap has a memory."

I delicately touched the quilt and admired its workmanship.

Grandma looked at me and said,

"You know, I would really like you to have this, Jacy. I've always wanted to give it to someone who would cherish it as much as I do. It is yours. Please, take it. I would love for you to have this quilt."

My jaw dropped. My heart raced.

"Are you serious, Grandma?", I asked.

I interrupted Grandpa's wartime story to get Seth's attention.

"Seth! Your grandma is giving me this gorgeous quilt and I'm not sure what to say.... it is so incredible and special...."

Grandma looked at me,

"Listen, I am two steps away from being dead." She chuckled. "Please, take it. It's my gift to you. You are family, Jacy, and I would love for you and Seth to have this."

Grandpa concurred by saying,

"Oh, yes!"

Tears flooded my eyes. I didn't know what to say. It was such an honor to hear those words from Seth's Grandma, and then to be gifted something that was so meaningful to her was such a special moment in my life.

After we'd eaten our Burger King Whopper's and laughed and reminisced and talked for hours and hours, Grandma let Little Dude pick 12 marbles out of her collection. He carefully selected the colors he liked best and then Grandma said,

"Now Little Dude, I want you to know something. When I was a little girl, some sad things happened to me. When I was just 11 years old, my mother told me I needed to find another place to live-- that I couldn't come home anymore and that I needed to take care of myself (which from that moment on, I did.) But that very first night, I was so scared. I went to my girlfriends house and I cried because I didn't know what I was going to do. My friend hugged me and reached into her pocket and pulled out 5 shiny marbles. She held them in her hand and she said "Here you go, you can take 3 of my marbles." "

Grandma Sophie stared into the distance- almost like she was back in that very moment. After a second or two, she smiled a very tender smile and continued to say,

"Oh, I just love marbles! And it was from that moment on, whenever I was scared, or sad, or felt alone in my life, I'd reach in my hand into my pocket, grab those marbles, clutch them tightly and remember that no matter what, I was going to be okay."

Tears welled up in both mine and Seth's eyes. Grandma and Grandpa had touched our hearts and I feel so blessed to be apart of such a wonderful, loving, family. It was an amazing day to say the very least and we will cherish those memories for a long, long, time.


And now that we made it home and I am looking at this gorgeous quilt, I am realizing that this was one of the neatest things I have ever been given. And you'll never guess what we are going to do with it? We are very carefully going to have it framed and we are going to hang it above our bed and use it as our headboard. It fits PERFECTLY and I cannot wait to get it started! It is so Anthropologie looking, but with massive amounts of love and memories attached to it. And this picture does not do it justice, as only half of the quilt is pictured. Yes, it is that incredible :)

**What heirlooms have you been given? Anything you cherish? What about touching stories from your grandparents? Please share, I'd love to hear!



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wonderful






























I am singing a solo in church this afternoon; a song which is by far, my favorite hymn. Hands down. 

Favorite.

Read the words. Really read the words. 


I Stand All Amazed:

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he profers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!
I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!
I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love, and devotion can I forget?
No, no I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful,
Oh, it is wonderful!
Oh, it is wonderful,
wonderful to me!
Wishing you a very happy and peaceful Sabbath.
Image Credit: PopRocksDesign
**Do you have a favorite church hymn? Or other song that touches your heart?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Have a Fabulous Weekend!

What are you up to this weekend? Anything fun?

We are in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas in Seth's home town. The weather is absolutely perfect here and we are surrounded with family, good food, and some of the most gorgeous views.

After Grandpa took the grandkids out on the lake for a canoe ride, Seth took me. This is basically his backyard. This is where Seth grew up. Isn't it beautiful??!!  (And yes, if you look closely, while I am sporting a life-vest, Seth is wearing a Bieber shirt :)


























Besides being crazy busy with family, I have been tying up loose ends of the Togetherness Project (which is one week from tomorrow!). Once the big day is over, I plan to start posting more on here... I'm so sorry I've been slacking. Seth and I have some good things up our sleeves :)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Love,

Jacy

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Reground


Gravity. The movie. You guys, it was FANTASTIC! Visually stunning, intense, and actually quite touching. I had no idea what to expect going in but leaving the theatre, I had this immense fascination and appreciation for just how miraculous our existence really is.

There's a quote I often see floating around Pinterest and it says:

"For one moment walk outside, stand there, in silence, look up at the sky, and contemplate how amazing life is."

Okay, now I know this quote seems fairly cheese ball-ish. And you might just pass it by and think "ugh... another quote that makes me want to gag. NEXT!"

But honestly... this quote... the movie Gravity... the two together just sparked something within me.

As Seth and I laid in bed that night, after we saw the film, we were talking about how it all works. You know, space. Our miraculous galaxy. Our existence. Then Seth began telling me all about this incredible video he had seen about the Hubble Space Telescope and how it had found some of the most humbling and spectacular discoveries nearly two decades ago.  We pulled it up on his iPad and saw this (please watch! It's worth the 4 minutes):


Phenomenal, right?

I am no astronomer and I guarantee I didn't digest half of what was even said in this short film, but it impacted me. So much so that Seth and I stayed up way past our bedtime and we talked about all things space. All things too grand to comprehend. Our minds couldn't grasp what it all really means.

After our deep discussion ended, I laid my head on my memory foam pillow that evening, and I stared at the ceiling. Thinking. A zillion thoughts raced through my brain. I thought about life. I thought about the amazing things in life and I thought about the not so amazing things in life. I thought about my challenges, my imperfections, the things that bug and/or hurt and/or annoy me, etc. I thought about my experience here, on earth. Then my thinking began to shift and I started realize how small I am in such a big, HUGE, space.

Me.

Little ol' me.

Jacy.

A tiny little spec on Planet Earth.

Which is an even teeny tinier spec in the universe.

For a moment there, I felt so small and insignificant. So minute.

But then!

I thought about the miracles in my life; my very life being one of those miracles.

I thought about the reasons I am here.

I thought about the purpose of  life.

Suddenly, everything felt so BIG.

I had this truly beautiful moment that night and I haven't been able to shake it since:

I want to live my life like it's a miracle.

I want to live believing that I am a miracle.

I want to treat those I love like they are miracles.

I want to cherish and treasure it all, like we would something miraculous.

I want to soak it all up.

Because we are miracles.

If you walk outside and stand there, and look up at the heavens, it is MIRACULOUS! Can anyone deny that? When you really think about it... it is MIRACULOUS!

3,000 galaxies in a spec as tiny as a single grain of sand held at arms length? Really?

I may only occupy a teensy weensy microscopic dust spec in the heavens.... but I want my heart and soul to take up as much space as it possibly can!

I'm not sure what this post is meant to do today. I'm not sure why I felt compelled to share this with you. It's really hard to put into words something that is so scientific, yet spiritual, and so incomprehensible and magnificent, all at the same time. I think what I really want to convey is that I have been reground and I feel truly humbled and grateful to be apart of it all. Because when you look at "it all" and every aspect of it, it is pretty darn breathtaking.


** I'd love to hear your thoughts on this video? Did it blow your  mind like it did mine? Does it reground you a little bit? Did you see Gravity? What'd you think? Totally different type of post today... ;)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

People



















I am blessed with some of the world's greatest people.

No, really.

I actually think if there was some sort of weird competition, I might just win.

I have been blessed with people who have been with me through thick and thin. They are irreplaceable. Family and friends (who have become like family).

I have also been blessed with people who have come into my life the last few years because of this blog, support groups, and difficult circumstances. They, too, are irreplaceable and have become like family.

It's strange how humans can just connect- a connection that seems almost destined.

When I stop and truly think about it, I am surrounded by some amazing human beings.

The other day I asked some girlfriends of mine to help me with a project. They stepped way out of their comfort zone and took time out of their lives to help me with something (which you will be seeing soon I hope!).

After the project was done, I text my girlfriends, thanking them profusely and asked them how it went.

I got this response back from one of the women:

"You have an AMAZING network of people."

I responded with:

"Seriously. I do feel very blessed... Amazing people are all around and you are one of them. And it's all because of what I went through. I would never change it."

She wrote back and said:

"I was just thinking that today, too. The most amazing people have come from these hard experiences."

It seems like every single day, I am meeting the most compassionate and passionate of people. People who are real. People who are totally and utterly real. People who are open, people who are kind, people who are just trying to figure life out, without putting on any sort of show.

There's something about it.

Something I just can't put my finger on when it happens.

But it almost feels magical when those special people come into your life; the ones you know you'll keep forever. You may not talk everyday... you may not be BFF's... you may have totally different experiences and ideas... you may live hundreds of miles apart.... but that person brightens your day, and makes you want to be a better person... and you cannot deny that you were supposed to connect.

I am surrounded by truly great people; men and women, alike. I'm not exactly sure how this all came to be... I'm not exactly sure why things happen the way they do... I'm not sure I am worthy of such beautiful people....

All I know is that my people are my biggest blessings.

People are what make it all worth it.

People are the point of it all.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend with your people: big and small, family and friends, far and wide. Enjoy them :)

Image Credit

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Betrayal Trauma: A Free Program for YOU!

Addo Recovery has been truly wonderful to me, and to The Togetherness Project. From the moment they reached out to me, I have felt nothing but genuine care and love and concern for the many women whose lives are so unexpectedly changed by the addiction of another. 

They are a dynamic team whose primary focus is to help women. And they are doing just that. So, if you are reading this today and you in need of healing and support, please check out Addo's free 6 week program, HERE

A message from Addo:

"If your loved one has a pornography or sexual addiction, you may be left feeling tremendous anxiety, heartache and fear. It's not your fault, and your feelings are completely natural. This condition is called Betrayal Trauma. We have a free six-week program for you.

Unfortunately many women with Betrayal Trauma aren't receiving proper care, leading to long-term negative effects.

We can help. You can be restored to health and peace. We can't change what has happened, but we can help change how you deal with it. Your future is full of hope."




Joi's Story (Short) from Addo Recovery on Vimeo.

For more inspiring stories by courageous women, please watch them here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Never Be Too Proud!





























Yesterday afternoon I had a brief panic attack.

I'm not sure if it's anxiety.... or if it's just me being the worry wart, paranoid, overly emotional woman I am.... but a conglomerate of life's stuff starting pouring down on me and for a moment, it all just felt like it was too much.

In desperation, I texted my counselor's secretary asking if there was anyway I could Skype with him TODAY?

Miraculously, someone else in his day had just cancelled and I was on the docket.

Wonders of wonders... miracles of miracles...

As I sat in my living room, with my laptop open, staring at my therapist through the incredible technology we have, I had this aha! moment.

I've become a new woman during this process. I am changed.

When did I get to this point in my life where I am genuinely excited to sit down with a shrink? 

I'm not sure when this happened. Probably somewhere in the beginning. But all I know is that my life is SO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT than it was 4 years ago.

I mean, I used to be embarrassed when people said they went to therapists. It's like "ummmmm, something must be really really wrong in their marriage!" or "they must have some serious, weird stuff going on! Who needs a freaking shrink?"

I used to think that therapists were only for weak people who couldn't help themselves. Or for the crazy people.

Boy! Was I ever wrong!

Who knew that 4 years later, I would be waving my hands in the air, jumping up and down, screaming "I DO! I DO! And I LOOOOOOOVE IT!" at the top of my lungs?

I was talking to a friend of mine over the weekend. She's been struggling in her life. Nothing too serious/concerning... just life... just kids... just regular marital stuff... She asked "do you have any suggestions, Jacy?"

Yes, yes I do.

The very first thing I said to her over the phone was "NEVER be too proud to seek out professional help!"

I mean this.

It doesn't mean your marriage is failing... it doesn't mean that you are failing... it doesn't mean that you are incapable to take care of yourself or your own problems. It means that you are wise enough to recognize when you need to seek outside help, and that you LOVE yourself enough to actually go. It means that you LOVE your spouse or your kids or whoever enough that you will humble yourself to get some outside help.

There is no shame in therapy. For whatever reason. There is no shame. No reason is not a "big enough" reason.

In fact, I imagine I will have (what I like to call) "maintenance therapy" for the rest of my life. I go in when I need it. I go in when I need to be revitalized.... because I like what I discover about me in therapy. I like what I discover about about others in therapy. And I like what I discover about life in therapy. Bottom line, I like how I feel after therapy, and I like the fact that I feel more capable and awesome and more empowered than I did before the session. I like that I feel like I can conquer the world. I like that I feel like I can be my true self, sharing the parts that are embarrassing or awkward. I like that I can just blurt it all out.

But what I love most is that it is easier for me to be corrected when my thinking is erred. I'm not right all the time. I do make mistakes. I am flawed. And I can listen when those things are being very delicately pointed out to me. I love that I can take away what I have learned and honestly try to apply it to my life moving forward.

So.... if I can offer any advice to anyone struggling (aren't we all?!)... even if it might just be with normal life stuff... I would recommend you doing TWO things for yourself:

1) Find a shrink!

2) Get a massage!

It might make for an expensive afternoon, but it is worth EVERY single dime! :)

*** Are you open to seeing a therapist? How do you feel about it? Do you go? Would you go? I'm really interested to hear all of your perspectives on this, no matter what your trials are. Do you seek professional help? Why or why not?

Image Credit


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