Overflowing with Blessings

This Holiday season, I’ve felt motivated to give more. Give more time. Give more money. Give more service. I’m not sure if it’s gratitude or perspective that’s got a hold on me, but I feel extremely blessed.

I feel blessed to have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. I feel blessed that my husband has a good stable job, that he actually enjoys. I feel blessed that both of my parents are alive and very involved with our family. I feel blessed that the few friends I have are there for me when I need support. I feel blessed that my children are all healthy. I feel blessed that my husband and I work together as a team, no matter the obstacles we face as a married couple. I feel blessed to be loved. I feel blessed to be alive.

Blessings, gratitude, and perspective don’t come from material things. I hope that you can find the blessings already present in your life today.

One day at a time…

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Gifts of Gratitude – Disguised as Bad Service

Let me tell you, finding gratitude when you’re hungry, tired, and impatient is an extremely hard thing to do. How do I know? Recently, I attended a birthday dinner at a nice restaurant (with three kids mind you). The thing lasted three hours, when we could have been in and out of there in an hour and a half! Talk about testing your patience.

There were tantrums, melt downs, complaining about the food not being ready, and those were just from me. The kids really did an excellent job of eating bread and throwing crayons around the restaurant, but I quit caring about forty-five minutes in. It was almost like an ultimatum to the wait staff. “Okay, you get these kids fed or else I’ll be forced to give them each a bread stick and have them reenact a light saber fight by the bathrooms.” Zzzzzsssshhhhhrrrrroooooom….zzzzsssshhhhrrrroooommmm.

Anyway, the point of this whole thing is to say I’m grateful for the people I was stuck with for three hours. There were people I’d never met, people I hardly get to chat with, and my immediate family (minus one brother) was all in one place. I couldn’t think of better people to be stuck with. (Especially the sweet lady sitting next to my son claiming she has six grandkids and she knows how kids are. Thank God for that lady!)

You can find something to be grateful for in every situation. Every single one. You may have to look harder when it’s cold, wet, rainy, and you’ve lost your umbrella. But I promise you they are there.

 

Another Sober Thanksgiving in the Books

Anyone else feel weird when you’re at a holiday event and everyone’s sober? I mean, it is only my 4th year of sobriety. But it still feels weird. I was waiting for someone to fall down and start laughing from their pitiful attempt at sliding down the hallway in their socks too fast. Or for someone to start being totally obnoxious with their political rants.

But it wasn’t like that at all. There was fun, board games, a comedy special on Netflix, the Cowboys game, and lots of good food.

All in all, we had another great sober holiday.

There’s no need to start drinking wine when you start cooking everything first thing in the morning. There doesn’t have to be power naps when your buzz gets too overwhelming. You can still have great conversations, a good time, and be able to enjoy yourself all while staying true to the person you are working your best on becoming.

But most importantly for me, I can show my kids what the holiday truly is about…spending quality time with the people you love. Even if they’re terrible at board games!

Please Don’t Struggle Alone

A friend recently told me she was struggling with a case of identity. Her sexual orientation came into the conversation. She told me how much she struggled with this aspect of her life, especially with her family.

Some of them know. Some of them don’t. Some have told her to be happy. Some have told her they love her, but it’s unacceptable in the eyes of God. Some may never find out because she’s scared they will completely disown her. This is some deep stuff she’s going through.

But I’ll be honest, I’m overjoyed and honored that she told me.

I can’t imagine carrying that burden alone. Whether you agree with how someone else lives their life or not isn’t the big picture here. The big picture in this scenario is that someone reached out to me and told me they were really struggling.

I would much rather a friend reach out and say that they’re not sure what’s going on in their life or that they are having a very difficult time rather than read about a fatal mistake they made.

The same goes with someone struggling with addiction. The “easy button” choice is to hide it and not tell anyone there’s a problem. But this decision will only burden us all further down the road. Whether it tears apart our families or the side effects eventually tears apart our bodies, we can never fully be whole again living in secret with such a disease.

Please get help if you need it. Surround yourself with people who will love you no matter what you struggles are in life.

Don’t Lose Your Spontaneity!

So in this stage of my life, I no longer strive to be spontaneous anymore. Yes, every once in a while I’ll get a wild hair to order pizza for the kids on a Friday night (I know, CALM DOWN!), but that’s about as zany as we get these days.

I feel as though “spontaneous = reckless” in this season of my life. I don’t believe that’s 100% true, but I find myself being less and less spontaneous the older I get. Maybe routine is to blame. Maybe my need to be responsible is to blame. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown so comfortable in our little cocoon at home that venturing off to anything new kinda scares the crap out of me.

Yesterday, I took my kids to audition for a movie…3 hours away! We never do anything on a whim like this. If something requires us to travel on the weekend (especially 3 hours away), I’ve had it planned out for weeks with the well-stocked snack bag and drinks needed for the entire trip ready to go before we ever load up the car.

No such thing happened yesterday. I had a friend who was excited about taking her own kids (granted they were only 30 minutes down the road from the audition) and her excitement about it got the best of me. I thought, “What the hell? Why not? All I was going to do today was laundry!”

We have no idea if anything will come out of going to this audition, but I did learn one important thing yesterday…try new things even if they scare you. My kids did it. They actually had fun too!

You can be spontaneous and responsible at the same time. My kids didn’t miss school. Nobody missed work for us to go. And we made it home just in time for our nightly routines. Don’t lose your ability to be spontaneous!

Looking Back to See

Have you ever tried to recall a drunken memory? Not one where you were the life of the party and everyone had a great time getting home safely. I’m talking about one of those memories where you question your judgement entirely, or that of someone else. One where you think, “I never want to remember what happened that night again!” It’s in those moments of pure reckless abandon that we find where it all went wrong.

For example, have you ever been in an argument with someone while you are intoxicated? Did it end well? Did you realize how ridiculous you were being before things escalated to the point of no return? Was someone able to calm you down and help you walk it off? There are countless ways to make bad decisions while you’re drunk, but I believe reflecting on the moment when you lost control is crucial to change.

I was in an argument with my brother once. We both had a lot too drink and although it was a playful and stupid fight, I knew with our friends surrounding us one of our ego’s was going to win. I had a tendency to pick fights a lot when I was drinking. Not physical fights, well, not physical fights with random people. I tended to pick on people whom I knew would never really hurt me. (How about psychoanalyzing that?) Pushing my brother’s buttons almost became a pastime to my drunken self and I felt childlike in this alternative world were I could be mean and say shocking things and he couldn’t retaliate against me because I knew he loved me and would never hurt me.

This might all seem absurd and you’ve never in your life made any mistakes because you are a responsible drinker and are normal. Well, sorry to disappoint here folks, but I was a hot mess! It’s only in looking back at these memories that I can see all of the wrongdoings, the immaturity, and the lack of self respect. This is where I go back to when I need to grow. When I need to reassure myself that I have made progress and I’m not a total monster anymore. This is where I go to in my mind when I have a moment of weakness thinking I’m not enough. I am enough. You are enough too.

Being Who You Never Thought You Would Become

There were many ideas I had growing up of how an adult was supposed to be. I honestly didn’t want to be any of them. I wanted to be that kid that graduated high school, went to college, traveled the world, met an exotic foreigner, and lived a life of travel and adventure.

I did graduate high school and college. I married my neighbor that I met in college, who is also from the same state as I am (so out goes the foreigner concept). But, oh the adventures we have been on! I have done things and traveled to places that I couldn’t have imagined growing up. I have experienced things that my former self wouldn’t even be able to comprehend.

I know these same adventures may not be the life of travel and luxury I had imagined as a naive college student, but they have been so much better! In a weird way, those old dreams and ambitions seem ridiculous to me. Don’t get me wrong, I still have big dreams and big ambitions for my life. I’ve simply adjusted those to better fit who I am today than who I wanted to become years ago.

“Adulting” can be hard and grueling work some days. I mean I still feel like an impostor when I’m filling out paperwork for my kids’ school. (Shouldn’t like an adult be filling these out and signing them? Oh right, that’s me…) Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I would enjoy parenting and the life that comes along with it, but Baby, bring me the keys to my mini-van and my travel mug…Mama’s on a mission!