Making The Cut

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The choices we make determine the quality of the life we live. It’s so easy to get caught up in the things that trip us up. It takes an immense amount of focus and dedication to keep the bad from creeping into our hearts and making us cold. There are so many things, so many people that can leave us feeling nothing but bitter and only with determination can we overcome the bad and focus on the things that make the real significant difference in how we view the only life we will ever live.

I’ve spent months letting things that are out of my control determine how I feel. I have become consumed by the nagging cruelty of a small number of people I am forced to share this world with. I have given them the power and have left myself powerless along the way. The truth is, life is too short for that kind of nonsense. There will always be someone who will try and pull me down but it is up to me to  make sure they don’t succeed. There are so many wonderful things I can focus my time and attention on. I have so many beautiful blessings in my life and I am no longer willing to sacrifice my happiness as a result of the manipulation of someone who has such little importance in my life at the end of the day. I can no longer be a puppet once I cut the strings and that is exactly what I plan to do. The secret, the way to win is to eliminate the people in our lives who rob us from our inner peace. No one has the right to take that from us and we need to make sure we don’t provide them the opportunity. So I am grabbing the scissors and making the cut that is long overdue. 

We are meant to be happy. We are not here to struggle but rather to love and heal and make the world a better place a long the way. What is it that is holding you back? Is there someone or something you need to cut out of your life so you can finally enjoy it the way it’s meant to be? 

Exactly Where I’m Meant To Be

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Do you ever stop and wonder how different your life could be? Today we celebrate my husbands 51st birthday. I can’t help but pause and think how different my life would be without him in my world. Our lives can take so many different twists and turns. There are so many different decisions we could have made, different roads we might have taken but right now I am grateful for where I am standing. The ride hasn’t always been perfect or comfortable but I can honestly say I have a wonderful life. As we threw the ingredients into the bowl and finally poured that cake batter into the pan, I was just about to call my son out for the remnants of chocolate on his face when I felt a little drip from my own. Yes, like is good and we are exactly where we’re meant to be. Take time to enjoy the journey, especially if you get lost along the way.

When Things Go Wrong

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When some things go wrong, take a moment to be thankful for the many more things that are still going right. -Annie Gottlier 

I’m going to give it a try, how about you? It’s so easy when something goes wrong to get a bad attitude and wallow in self pity. Focusing on the things that are going right can make what is going wrong seem much less bothersome. I was tested today. 

I am starving and everyone is losing weight in the house. We have been battling those nasty little pantry moths for a few weeks now. There is not a single thing in my pantry and still today, I saw a tiny worm crawling across the top of a drawer. I got the Clorox out and cleaned again the best I could. I have completely removed their food source except for a couple things I finally committed to throwing out today. It kills me to waste food but I am determined to get rid of these dispicable little creatures living in our food.The way I see it, I have a choice. I can wallow in the horrible way that tiny little worm made me feel or I can choose to focus on all the other wonderful things that happened this week for which I feel very grateful. I don’t know, tough choice. Which would you choose?

Today, Choose Love

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We have to remember how connected we really are. Whatever we do to someone else, we do to ourselves. It is explained so clearly in this explanation that it is hard to ignore.

“A Course in Miracles says that everyone we meet will either be our crucifier or our savior, depending on what we choose to be to them. Focusing on their guilt drives the nails of self-loathing more deeply into our own skin.”

Excerpt From: Williamson, Marianne. “A Return to Love.” HarperCollins. iBooks. 

We think things like our hatred, our criticism, our anger are only feelings toward someone else but the truth is, whatever we feel toward someone else, we turn inward and feel more about ourselves. 

It is so important to pay attention to your feelings and thoughts. It is time to heal your mind and the relationships that are holding you back in your own life. Remember, when you choose to look for the good in someone, even when it’s hard, when you choose to forgive and see underneath the flawed person who obscures the perfect soul that is underneath, you will love and forgive yourself. You will discover those parts of yourself that have been buried for far too long  and you will finally be blessed with the freedom to live the life you have always wanted. The greatest gift you can give to yourself is self forgiveness and self love.

Before you speak to anyone, before you react or respond, repeat this mantra silently to yourself.

Today, choose love  

Let every word, every feeling, every interaction come from a place of love and your relationships will transform before your eyes.

Today is a new day. I pray you will take advantage of the opportunity to start today to change your life. I pray you find the courage to reach out and grab the happiness and joy that you truly deserve. You always have a choice. Pride or love? Today, choose love.

Just Another Day

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It’s finally Friday. We survived the first day back to school and it couldn’t have been too bad because they are working on the second. As for me, I feel like I can breathe again. All the anticipation of getting back into a schedule, shopping for school clothes, working out schedules was actually not that big of a deal. I have to laugh at how many times my mind makes something seem like it is going to be so much harder than it actually is. Why does that happen so frequently? It’s like the mind loves to show you the worst possible dream but while you are awake and directly through your thoughts.

I just woke up. Looks like I can finally sleep again too. Sometimes I think all that thinking is more exhausting than physical exercise. Time to get back to meditation but not today because I slept through it. Tomorrow is my anniversary. I am looking forward to a glass of wine and a slow paced dinner. I am looking forward to celebrating the enormous amount of time, patience and work it took us both to get to this day. Wow, it’s been a ride.

From time to time, I wonder if I could go back to a younger age and have the chance to do it over, would I do it the same? I guess it doesn’t matter because there’s no way I’m going back. I am in a good place. I am happy with the way my life is unfolding. There is no reason to look back, go back or even teeter with the thought that this isn’t where I am supposed to be. This is where I am and it’s a beautiful place. I am going to have a lazy day and just enjoy it. No need to do anything more. How are you feeling today?

Do You Limit Your Own Life?

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My entire life, every thing I have ever done has been influenced by what I believe. Now I find myself in my mid forties, questioning everything I once held sacred. I can’t help but wonder how many of those beliefs have limited me in some way? How different would my life look if I had been open to the things I wouldn’t consider before? The older I get, the more I realize how little I know. The older I get, the more willing I am to learn. This year I am going to do my best to be open to all possibilities. No more limiting my own life because of a couple random thoughts in my own crazy manipulative head. What do you think? Have your beliefs limited you in any way?

Do You Buy Into The Happiness Myth?

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There is a happiness myth that many of us buy into. 

Happiness is being someplace else. 

Happiness is being someone else.

 Just today I was thinking, if only we had a few more weeks of summer vacation. If only I could lose these 5 pounds. It only it was a couple of degrees cooler. 

Our inner voice loves to complain and remind us that the conditions around us are imperfect. We are imperfect. Everyone around us is imperfect. It’s okay to accept we are perfectly flawed. Almost everything is and isn’t that okay? 

Isn’t this idea we have of perfection make believe in the first place? Perfect is what we tell ourselves perfect is so if we make the decision to believe our life is perfect just as it is, than maybe we can start to buy into that one too. We cannot let our level of happiness ride on our perception of perfection. Believe me, we will be let down every single time. 

It’s time to stop defining, comparing, measuring and just start living in the little moments between our misguided thoughts. If onlys will rip the happiness out of each and everyone of us every single time. It is only when we choose to be happy right now with the way things are right now that we ever learn to embrace true happiness. Happiness is not conditional. It is a choice we have to make time and time again if we really want to feel a smile from the inside out.

What Do You Do All Day?

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My daughters friend was hanging out at our house the other day. We talked life, politics, characteristics of good role models. It was nice to have a conversation with 16 year olds about topics with substance. They were really interested and had strong opinions of their own. As I was making dinner, the girl looked at me and said, “I don’t know how you stay home all day. I could never do it, I’d be so bored”. I took a deep breath and realized I had a choice. I could either sink back and feel bad about myself, I could just blow it off or I could educate her on the value of having one spouse/parent stay at home. I told her about the way things used to be when I was a kid and both parents were not outside the home working. I explained how the person at home kept everything, everyone connected. I explained that when less people were in the work force, there were more good paying jobs and opportunity. I believe families have to do what is right for them. For me, for my family, the choice to be home was the right one. I no longer feel the need to explain what exactly I do all day. I keep things ticking and moving like a CEO in a corporation. I oversee everyone and everything. I am here when someone forgot money for lunch or accidentally left a paper home. I am there to transport the basketball team when there is a mix up and the bus leaves without them. I Make sure the house is always clean, the clothes are always washed and most of the time there is dinner on the table. I am the rock that sits at that table and encourages family time and communication. I am the one who stays up worrying about my kids when I am sure that there is something wrong. AND, sometimes I admit, I do watch a soap opera or two. My value and worth does not reside in the position I have or the work that I do. Women and men need to understand that although a job is important, it is just a job and doesn’t define who we are. Young girls need to know that being a mom and raising kids and organizing the home is important too. It may not pay well but the sacrifice is worth the benefits in the end. There will be plenty of years to fit it all in, to create a home environment and to have a career. Volunteering at Hospice and making a difference is an important part of nursing as much as working on a floor in a hospital. People can use their education and their skill set to do so many things, open so many doors. I may not be technically working but I am applying and contributing to what I know. At the end of my life I won’t ask myself what did I do, how many years have I worked. I will ask myself, how have I served and did I use my gifts to make the world a better place. I do believe I have. I don’t have to hold a job to feel good about who I am. I know many people who do need that position to feel they have worth. What happens when they lose the job? What happens to the person then?

Giving Someone Confidence To Be Who They Are

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I posted earlier on the importance of choosing your own path. Even though it’s hard, there comes a time when it is necessary to live for yourself. As a mom, I really feel it’s my obligation to support the decisions my kids make, even when I am silently dying inside because I want them to do something else. I do believe this may be one of the hardest challenges of parenting but also the most rewarding.

My daughter has been on a swim team since she’s been 5 years old. For 11 years, we sat on the sidelines cheering her on. I have always loved to watch her race. I looked so forward to the start of every season. I couldn’t even breathe when she came to me a few weeks ago and told me she wanted to play volleyball. She contacted the coach who kindly allowed her to try out recently, even though the official tryouts were held at the end of last school year. I felt instantaneous panic creeping inside of my chest. This is your junior year, what are you thinking? There are teammates who are counting on you, how could you do this? Oh my God! How could she not swim? She only has two years of high school left and this has been her sport for so many years.

Today I had lunch with her after I bought her $70 volleyball shoes. She looked me straight in the eyes and with a huge smile on her face, said, “it sure feels good to enjoy a sport again.”. My heart sank and it was in that single, defined moment that I realized for the last few years, swimming has been my sport and not hers. For the first time I was very proud that I stood behind her as she walked in a direction different than I had hoped. All that really matters is her happiness and I need to keep reminding myself of that. What makes me happy, what I think will make her happy and what actually does make her happy are entirely different things. I don’t have all the answers, at least not for her. We are so different, so the chance of living our lives the same way is probably more impossible than even I had ever imagined. You know what? It’s going to be okay. I’ve given her a great foundation and now I need to let her fly so she can gain confidence in making those decisions for herself without fearing or dreading any resistance or disappointment from me. That always has been her best stroke, AND fly she did, right out to her car and off to practice. She barely made it down the stairs her legs were hurting so bad from all the miles she’s had to run.  I watched her pop an ibuprofen to numb some of the pain from the 600 sit-ups and push-ups she’s had to do in the last 2 days to make up for the practices she missed before she joined the team and STILL she left with a smile on her beautiful face. I haven’t seen a smile like that in such a long while. And even better, the swim coach is allowing her to come back to the team after volleyball season is over. She may not be as good of a swimmer as other years but she sure will be a happier one. 

Choose Happy

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There are people who will make you soar and people who will break your wings. It’s important to remember that no one person will make or break you but we must acknowledge that people affect us. Some for the better and others not so much. It is impossible to become completely detached from others. That is not how life works. The truth is, who we have in our lives, and the type of relationship we have with them will directly influence how we feel. After all, we are only human. It is hard to be happy in our own little world if the people we love are living a life of misery. It’s hard to live high on the hog when people around us are struggling to make ends meet. Like it or not, we are all connected and how we handle that connection makes all the difference. I tell my kids every single day that comparison really does rob us of our happiness. We cannot continue to compare the bowl of pasta we eat today with the bowl of pasta we ate last week. The same goes for how we measure ourselves with other people. We just have to take life as it comes, the good, the bad and everything in between. We have to love others with enough restraint, so that what goes on in their lives, does not determine our level of happiness or lack of. We have to care for others but at the same time be brave enough to live the life we have dreamed of without the need for apology or feelings of guilt. We all make choices and like it or not those choices reflect our reality. People don’t have great lives because they are lucky or blessed, they have good lives because they have good attitudes and make choices that will move them closer to the life they wish to live. They have good lives because they choose love over hate, forgiveness over resentment, courage instead of fear. Some will continue to pass the buck and never be accountable for the life they created. Others will make baby steps until they create a life that is fulfilling. They will enjoy the journey and let go of this gripping for the end result. I will be happy when, I will be happy if. Be happy now. Make the choices that will change your life for the better and not continue to hold you back. As tough as it is to hear, only you are responsible for your own happiness. Stop blaming everyone and everything else.