Another Birthday Blessing

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Today is a special day. I am filled with gratitude that I am blessed enough to celebrate 47 years of life. Not long ago my mom asked, what are you doing about your wrinkles and I smiled and said, absolutely nothing. So many people I know haven’t lived long enough to even experience a wrinkle. Today, as I look in the mirror I am filled with love and gratitude for the amount of living that have contributed to each line. Each year I live better and my priorities have come into focus. I am greedy with my time and I do my best to use it on the people and things that I love. I’ve learned to obsess about those things. I focus on the things I have and spend more time feeling grateful than anything else. The rest doesn’t matter. I use my feet to walk by people and situations that rob me of the limited energy I have and I don’t ever look back. I am focused and excited for what lies ahead. I really do believe the best is yet to come because my mind and my heart are in such an amazing place. As I reflect on this past year, the word that comes to mind is happy. I have made living intentionally my purpose and my life has changed and improved in ways I have no words to even explain. There’s a favorite song of mine that has these words. I believe that days go slow and years go fast and every breaths a gift, the first one to the last… I don’t feel sad for the time that has disappeared but rather grateful for each day I get to wake up and live all over again. When you know better, you live better, you love better and you stop taking yourself and life so seriously. Today reflect on who you are in this moment and love yourself unconditionally. Your life is a celebration. Embrace this day and make up your mind to live it passionately. The secret to life is your attitude backed by a ton of gratitude. Party on.

I Never Knew Parenting Would Grow Me

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19 years ago I imagined how amazing it would be to watch my daughter grow. I looked forward to having a little girl and dressing her up in fancy dresses and putting curls in her hair. I had no idea that this tiny baby was going to change my life in ways I never imagined. That tiny baby began to crawl and walk. She went off to school and learned to drive. This year she went off to college. She has been a blessing in so many ways. She has taught me to be myself without apology and to own every single part of myself. She has taught me never to hide in a corner or allow anyone to make me fell shame because of a mistake I made. She made me learn to continue to love and respect a person whose ideas do not match up with my own. She has taught me that my actions have consequences and if I want people to respect me then I too have to treat them with respect regardless of how frustrated or angry I may feel. She taught me to be silly and to appreciate someone who can break through the serious to make others laugh. She taught me that while I watched her grow, I too would grow right along with her. She is my heart and soul. She is my inspiration on the darkest days and a smile on my face that shines through the darkest pain. This little girl was chosen just for me, to change me in the most significant ways so I could be this person I am today. Happy birthday to my silly little Kayleigh who no matter how old she becomes, will always be my little girl. Happy birthday to my little groundhog who always rushes into everyday full speed ahead, excited about the future and never looking back to catch a glimpse of the shadow of who she used to be. You are beautifully you, truly unique in the most amazing ways. May this year be your best year yet. I love you more than you will ever know.

Unwrap Your Life

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I celebrated another birthday yesterday. As each year passes by, I become more grateful for time. Like it or not, each day I am alive is one less I have to live. I realize how senseless it is to waste precious moments on the things I will never be able to change. Learning to live in harmony with those same things has been my greatest challenge but slowly, I am getting there. This is your reminder to enjoy today before these minutes tick away. Even on your worst day, find a reason to smile and celebrate your blessings. Every day is a gift and each and everyone of our lives is a gift too. Happy Friday! You’ve got this.

A Birthday I Will Never Forget!

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I did it! I turned the big 45 in the happiest place on Earth. Yes, I know I was just at the Magic Kingdom a month ago but I must say, celebrating my birthday there was absolutely amazing! I had lunch in the castle embracing my inner child surrounded by smiling princesses. And wrapping the day up with the electric parade and fireworks left me with goosebumps from head to toe. One thing I have spent the last year understanding is that life is just way too serious. Maybe actually, I am way too serious and there is so much opportunity in my life to allow for some fun. That is my word for the year to come…fun! Laughter, love, smiling, giggling, fun. All those other dreams and goals and pressures to be more, have more, do more can wait. This year will be about finding my inner child and experiencing more happiness than I have ever known. Here are some memories of my special day!

Birthday Party (Meet and Greet)

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Another meet and greet and make sure you stop by and say happy birthday to http://ajourneywithyou.com/

A Journey With You

It’s my birthday tomorrow and I am taking the day off to have a party. What can you give me as a present?

Leave a link to your blog in the comment section and visit a few new blogs.

And if you really want to make me happy, have some chocolate.

See you later in the week when I will be older and wiser.

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All Lives Matter

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Today my nephew is two years old. It’s so hard to believe, that not so long ago, he wasn’t even thought of. It’s so amazing how one tiny person can grow a family so big. One single person can make such a significant difference in the whole picture.

Today I am reminded that we all have value. Each and every one of us is so special and contributes to a family, society and the world in our own unique way. 

We all matter. We all serve a purpose. Make your purpose a great one and let your mission in life be to leave this world a little better off than the moment you entered it.

Namaste

How Do You Forget Your Birthday?

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It’s 3:30 in the morning and I am awake. I decided instead of tossing and turning, I would get up and write my A-Z Challenge post. I have been up for at least an hour and it just dawned on me that today is my birthday. When I went to bed I knew it would be my birthday but somehow today I just forgot. Every year I pick a word, one word that will define the 365 days to come. Last year I never got around to doing it. As I reflect back, the year was filled with some great moments but those great moments were quietly snuffed out and the flames of sadness were all that remained. My word is insignificant. As sad as it sounds, that is how I felt for most of the year. Sometimes to heal, we have to feel and boy do I feel the sting. I’ve been hiding for a long time and this year I asked myself the questions I have long been avoiding. Have you heard that quote;  You can’t get to the next chapter if you keep re- reading the same page? Sometimes it’s time to let go and move on. The past will drain the life out of our future if we let it. And what gets left behind are the moments you miss fighting the constant pull of the two. I have learned that to truly love yourself and others you must first accept them exactly the way they are. That means accepting and loving yourself as well. It took revisiting some painful times to be honest with myself about who I am and who I want to become. I’ve been numb, lost, removed and it’s time to get back to living and feeling. I want to wake up excited and look forward to how life will unfold. For now, I am working hard to practice forgiveness. As I work through my own issues, I realize I have been carrying guilt for so long. Not living up to people’s expectations, not living up to my own expectations became one in the same. I became lost in the ideal of what I thought others expected me to be. I expected me to be perfect.  Crazy huh? I think so too. I had to grab myself and shake myself and ask, who are YOU? And the answer became clear. I am starting to remember and the healing has begun. I have a new word for this year, actually two. Forgiveness and happiness. I will send those intentions out to the Universe and like a boomerang they will find their way back. Here’s to a new year, a new start and a healed heart. What word will choose?

A Letter To My Daughter

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16 years I have watched you grow. I remember the very first night the nurse wheeled you into my room. Dad was asleep in the chair but I stayed up all night long and watched you breathe. You were the most beautiful little baby I had ever seen. You were mine, all mine. The beat of my heart, that’s what you became. The smile on my face, the words to my song.

Before I knew it you were crawling, walking, running, flipping. Your feet were never planted firmly on the floor. You loved to push limits and take risks. You would crawl in the cubby of the entertainment system and hang out there, you would pile books as high as you could and stand on them. You always set your sights higher than most kids your age. Do you remember how you would climb the basketball post during cheerleading practice and sit at the top the entire time refusing to come down? You were only 5 and I was the coach and still you knew the cheers better than anyone else. You nearly scared the mothers at the pool to death when your tiny two year old self would jump in the pool without me there and you would actually swim all by yourself.

Dad and I were talking the other day. We were wondering how to properly answer the question WHO AM I? I dont exactly have the words but I cant even remember who I was before you. Even through the most difficult times, my best memories were watching you turn into this young woman who is becoming more independent every day. Those days are the best, every single one. They are just moving way too fast. To be honest, in a few days, you will be driving on your own and my heart will break as you pull down the drive. No matter how old you get, you will always be my little girl, my little buddy, the little girl I would pull in the wagon everyday on the way to the park. The girl I would push on the swing for hours and who would only let me hold her when she was finally exhausted at the end of the day. The little girl who slept in my bed until she was 8 with her little arm shoved firmly underneath my body to make sure I was never too far away.

You are beautiful and grown in so many ways. I am proud that you have the confidence to think for yourself. You are never afraid to speak your own words. You know who you are and you never waste a single minute trying to be anyone else.

For 16 years I have watched you grow and I had no idea the time would go by so fast. It seems like just yesterday you were holding my hand, pigtails in your hair, staring at me with your big brown eyes singing Barney over and over until I was sure that silly tape would break.

Happy sixteenth birthday. No matter how old you get or how far away you go, you will always be right here in my heart. I am slowly learning to give you wings and although its hard to let you fly, I know we will both be okay.Maybe okay will be our always, isnt that what you often playfully say? Maybe there is more truth in that than even we know. There is not one relationship any stronger than the one between a mother and daughter. That is the one relationship that will never let you down. Sure the teenage years will bring a special set of challenges but at the end of the day, we will always have each other and a safe place to land at the end of even the hardest day. Whether you believe it or not, someday you will think of me as your very best friend. I love you more than words, maybe I dont say it enough because love is something that is felt but is not always easily spoken. My love goes beyond the comprehension of words. I will always love you and I will forever be standing on the sidelines cheering you on with each and every step you take on this journey of life. My wish is that you will live a happy life and live in a way you will have few regrets. You only get one life sweet girl so make this one count. Be the best version of yourself and always do the best you can. That will always be enough. Success should be measured by the love you feel in your heart and the happiness that rocks you gently to sleep at night. May you always love and be loved and may you discover your own little island of happy where you will always be washed in the waves of peace and gratitude. Count your blessings each and every day and dont forget to play. Life is serious but you dont have to be. Live, laugh, smile and be silly. Dont grow old, just continue to grow. May this day, your sixteenth birthday always be a memory that brings a smile to your face. You are so very special, unique in your own beautiful way. I am so proud to be your mom.

Do You REALLY Know?

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I was reminded today how much we love to assume that we know exactly how we will feel in a given moment. I used to say things like “when I’m a mom, my kids will never behave that way” or “I will never be like my parents”. You probably know those moments well, when what your say or believe seems so absolute. The truth is, there is no way to ever know how we will feel in a given moment until we are laced up in our favorite pair of boots and standing knee deep in the moment as it is happening to us. So many times I have said if that happened to me, then I would do this…. Well, THAT has happened more times than I care to mention. If I am being totally honest, the situation did not always pan out the way I was sure it would. Sometimes I was even surprised by my own response, my strength, my fear, my desperation or whatever other feeling was delivered to my doorstep.

My husband turns the big 5-0 next week and I ran in the party store to buy him something silly. As I got to the register, the girl at the checkout made a remark that someone was turning 50. I proceeded to tell her it was my husband and that he is not very enthusiastic about his big approaching day. That is when her all knowing ego kicked in and she looked me dead in the eyes. This is what she said. “I know when I turn 50 I will feel blessed that I have lived that long.” Hmmmmm….how could I possibly respond? I smiled at her and asked how old she was. “I’m 24 mam.” I chuckled to myself and told her that I really do hope she feels that day on her 50th birthday.

The truth is 50 is a big year. Your life isn’t over by any means but there is that gnawing voice that reminds you, at the very least, it is half over. I guess, if I had to guess, 50 is bittersweet. It is a day that makes you reminisce about the life you have had and apprehensive about the life that is yet to come. It is no secret that a 24 year old body feels very different climbing out of bed than a 50 year old body. With age comes experience and knowledge but also pain in the form of stiff joints and easily fatigued muscles. I’m not quite there yet but I know at 43 I do not have the energy or the athletic ability I had in my 20s. I also don’t have the ability to just shake things off. When something or someone hurts me I feel the pain very deeply. I am able to let things go but they leave little scars and those little scars turn into bigger scars. I also see the world very differently. I pay attention to the small things like I did as a child. I cherish the moments when I feel an abundance of happiness or am surrounded by a group of people I love. I can’t help but think about my own death and the future loss of family and friends. It was easy to ignore in my 20’s because I was invincible and bad things didn’t happen if I didn’t pay attention to them. People weren’t starving or struggling to make ends meet, we weren’t killing each other in this nonsense no solution we call war. People weren’t beheading people and flying planes into buildings filled with people. I just see things very different now. I see more. It is a good reminder to myself that I will never know how I will feel or react in any moment. Everyday I am a different person and years from now I may not even recognize who I am today.

I may not know how my husband will feel a few days from now. I just hope that every year of his life is filled with something that makes him smile and reminds him he is appreciated and loved. Life often becomes so exhausting and so busy that we forget to show people how much they mean to us. Regardless of how he feels, I will be there sharing my life with his, celebrating the moments that are big and important to him and holding his hand and offering my support on the days that are difficult. That is really all I can offer and I hope somehow that will be enough. How do you wrap that and how would it compare to opening a silly shirt that he already knows will be waiting there for him to open on that glorious day?

Just remember, next time you think you know how you would feel if somebody else’s shoes found their way onto your feet, remind yourself that the reality of the experience may be very different from what you believe it to be in your mind. It’s okay to not know and figure it out when the moment is yours. Really, that is the only choice we have.

A Token Of Appreciation

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Today is a very special day! It’s no secret I have lived away from family for several years. My heart breaks when I cannot be there to share the special moments with the people I love. I got a HUGE surprise yesterday. I found out my brother booked my mother a ticket to fly out and spend her birthday here with me. What can I do to make the day special enough to let her know how much I love and appreciate her? Everyone deserves a day when the world stops to honor them. Everyone deserves to feel good and happy and special.

As a mother myself, I know all too well the sacrifices me make for our family, especially our children. We put our lives on hold to give everything we have. People forget that we are only human. We do the best we can while we are often dealing with our own personal issues that we don’t bother to burden our families with. We carry a lot. Sometimes it becomes heavy but we put our best effort at a smile on our face and we keep being wife and mom. Life isn’t always perfect for us but we are so busy making life as perfect as we can for everyone else that sometimes everyone else forgets how important we really are. Kids are selfish and immature. They like to blame mom for everything because the day comes when mom stops fixing everything. It’s tough being a mom. It’s tough to love your kids so much that every time you see them hurt, you feel that pain twice as much. You spend hours at night praying that God will take that pain away from them and make it your own. You love them so much that you put up with their disrespect and you see past the things you wish they hadn’t become. You love them unconditionally while at the same time they continue to test and put conditions on you. It is hard and it is rewarding and it is a role many can’t separate from. We lose ourselves in our children and then one day they go away and we are standing there tearfully wondering where the time went while we were busy handing over every piece of our heart.

Again, how can I let this wonderful woman know how very special she is to me? I know it hasn’t been easy but she’s always been there even when I’ve pushed her away. She is my most loyal friend, my most honest critic and I am so very grateful and honored that she is here with me.

Life is short. We have to show people how important they are each and every day. We have to find a way to push our egos and selfishness aside and say thank you to the person who nurtured us from the time we were in her womb. Thank you mom for never giving up on us even when you should have. Thanks for always forgiving through the things we said that hurt deep enough to leave scars. Thank you for being a constant source of love and protection and for providing a place my heart can always call home. Happy birthday and I wish you a day filled with many moments of love and appreciation. I wish you a day to be selfish and important and happy and free of worry. You have always been and always will be my very best friend. Thank you for sharing this day with me.

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