Back to Life, Back to Reality

Hello friends! I’m so happy to be back with you today after a week of travelling. I was in another country for a dear friend of mine’s wedding. While we were gone, my husband and I had time to reflect upon many things in our lives.

One of the more notable mentions is the fact that we weren’t 100% ready for a wedding/party type atmosphere. We were in a country in South America where the liquor and beer flows freely during any kind of celebration. My friend’s family in particular likes indulging in drinks just as much as any American family.

We didn’t even think (or I guess I should say I didn’t think) about the rehearsal dinner and the reception being that much of an issue. But then they brought out the serving trays of beer and shots that kept rounding our noses every few minutes. (I mean, the waitresses were really doing their jobs in making totally sure we really didn’t want any.)

We tried to find the just the right amount of time between staying at the party and not being rude by leaving too early. Finally, we had all of the water our bladders could handle and enough temptation to feel like we’re playing with fire.

We left the party early as well as the wedding reception because we had served our purpose. We were there to celebrate our friend’s wedding, meet the people important to her, and enjoy the party. We were not meant to linger around tempting fate to see how long we could really stay before one of us accidentally drank the champagne sitting right next to our water glass.

We made it! We did it! We grow stronger every time we venture out to another uncomfortable social atmosphere and I’m proud of us. My husband even salsa danced with me…SOBER! I feel more in love with him at that very moment!

 

Grateful for Today’s Day

Do you ever wake up grateful to just be alive? No, seriously…you roll over, hit the alarm, and stare up at the ceiling fan and think, “Man, I’m so lucky to be alive today!”  Well, that’s not really how it works for me either. After my first cup of coffee and some life contemplation in the morning, I do feel this overwhelming sensation some days to say Thank You to my Higher Power for allowing me to wake up one more day. (If you can’t already tell, today is one of those days.)

But shouldn’t we be grateful every single day to be alive? Why are you telling us that we should only be grateful every once in awhile to still have a pulse? 

Nope, that’s not what I’m saying. While I’d like to sit here and tell you that I thank God every day that I’m here in this chair typing and breathing, the truth is I’m usually too self-centered. There, I said it. I’m usually too selfish to say, “Thank You,” to God. How terrible is that? Maybe that’s something I shouldn’t actually admit. But we’re here to be honest and to not be ashamed, right?

I’m usually too worried about what I need to do for the day. I’m too wrapped up in my little world to sit back, take a deep breath, and say the two words that can change the entire course of my day – Thank you. 

Now that I am more aware of this self-centered flaw of mine, I’m going to intentionally be more mindful to say “Thank you” every day to my HP. Thank you for allowing me to breathe today. Thank you for the roof over our heads and the food in our bellies. Thank you for the tiny humans in my life I get to take care of. Thank you for the man you gave to me to journey through this whole “life” thing.

Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

When Life Throws You a Curve-ball

Recently, we moved our family 3 hours away from where our children had gone to school for the past 3 years. We were established in our community. We knew people when we went to the grocery store. We had friends to talk to at little league games. We knew our neighborhood pretty well. And I was on a first name basis with the principals and teachers at each of my boys’ schools.

Then we moved.  We moved to be closer to family. We knew this was going to be challenging, but being closer to family in a good school district was a move we were willing to make.

Then it happened…

This past Friday we were thrown an unexpected curve-ball. While we are still in the middle of unpacking boxes and sorting through all of our recently moved home, we were told my husband’s company would once again be relocating us, along with the rest of their company headquarters, to another location 3 hours south from where we just moved.

“Really? Why couldn’t they have just kept us where we were and moved us from there? Why are we having to move twice? Do we want to move? What other options do we have?”  These were just a few of the questions my husband and I tossed back and forth on Friday as we were in disbelief this was actually happening.

But, like anything else, we will get through it. I’m not 100% sure how easy the new transition will be, but I do know that as long as we are sober and we stick together we can accomplish anything.

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

Just Show Up

Half of the daily battle, or the “daily grind,” is just showing up. If you wake up and don’t hit the snooze button today, you’re ahead of the curve! If you got up and went to work, school, took care of your family, or simply did something productive, you are already heading in the right direction.

This idea may frustrate some people who have high expectations and are usually highly-motivated individuals ([hand raised] ME!), but the truth is as long as we keep putting one foot in front of the other each day, then we are still making progress.

“But what about determination? What about goals? What about being the absolute best?”  Yes, these are questions that slip into my subconscious all of the time. But there are some things that can only be measured when we look in the mirror.

Let me give you an example: Are you being the best parent you can be? Well, it’s unfair to compare to someone else’s parenting because their situation is probably different than yours. However, we can take a look at how we have parented in the past and see if we have made any improvements. Are we spending quality time with the kids? Are we there for them when they need us? Or are we not even showing up?

You may think you’re just treading water, but I promise you if you’re showing up to do the job, to parent the kids, and to be the spouse you want to be, you’re already winning the battle. The people that don’t show up, well, those people aren’t even giving themselves a chance at living their own life.

How Do You Heal a Broken Heart?

This is one of those questions that will never have a clear cut answer. Your broken heart may be a completely different experience than mine. Yours may involve a significant other, while mine may involve a bratty teenager who said mean things. Your broken heart may consist of fighting and bickering, while mine was a slow death by a thousand cuts from someone continuously ignoring me.

There are endless possibilities on how to have your heart broken, but how do you put it back to together? How do you heal a broken heart? How can you make yourself whole again?

I believe the first step is to believe that you deserve to be happy again. Period…the end. No magical formulas to the equation. No tricks behind a curtain. No “fake it ’til you make it” when it comes to healing. You simply have to believe that you deserve to be happy.

Everything may not fall directly into place once you decide your worth in this world, but it definitely gets easier to arrange the pieces of your heart into new shapes. Maybe we aren’t meant to put the pieces back exactly how they used to be. Maybe we are meant to mold, stretch, shrink, knead, weave, and to create new pieces from the old ones that were shattered.

I’m not a therapist and I don’t claim to be an expert in the psychology of the human mind, but I know that when I feel that I deserve to be happy, life seems easier. Things figure themselves out. People are nicer to me (probably because I’m nicer to them). Not all of the odds are stacked against me.

If you’re suffering from a broken heart today, I hope you can find a way to fit your pieces (old and new) back together again.

Find Someone to Pray with You

There are many things I’m grateful for in my life: our health, my husband, my kids, our home, the financial ability to provide for our family, and the ability to write, just to name a few. But of all of these things, the one thing that has completely taken me by surprise is the prayer relationship I have with my husband.

You see, we both kinda sorta grew up going to church, but we were more or less going through the motions of everything. It wasn’t until we both chose the path of sobriety that we understood just how important prayer can be. When things get really tough (we both have had pretty bad days this week), we can stop and pray together.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a practice that comes easy or isn’t super awkward the first time you do it (even suggesting you pray together can be uncomfortable), but man…what a powerful way to transform a relationship!

Unfortunately we don’t do this as often as we would like (the goal is to pray when times are good too), but at least we know we can lean on one another spiritually to get through those tough days (and it’s a lot easier to get through those days when you have someone there with you).

Find someone in your life to pray with you. Maybe it’s your group at meetings. Maybe it’s your pastor. Maybe it’s your mother. Maybe it’s a best friend. Find someone you can turn to when you need a little help or someone that can pray for you while you’re going through a tough time. I promise that prayer has the ability to transform your life…we are living proof of it!

 

How Come Others Notice It First?

Sometimes I wish I walked around with an emotional mirror I could look into and see what other people see when they look at me. Do they see a happy & “beaming with joy” lady? Do they see a dark, cold irritable woman? Do they see a frustrated and overwhelmed mom just trying to survive the day? (I’ll have to work on inventing one of those asap!)

There were a few instances yesterday when my husband noticed my level of irritability rising. I, of course, took this as a direct shot at my ego and came back with a loud, snarky comment, “What do you mean I’m being rude?” I instantly heard what he was talking about.

Why can’t I see what he sees before it comes out of my own mouth? I guess it’s the old perfectionist inside of me that doesn’t want to have this character flaw. I want to be happy all of the time and not the fake it ’til you make it kind of happy. I want to be rainbows and butterflies singing on Christmas Day kind of happy.

But that isn’t reality. You can’t maintain that 365 days a year. (You’d be flipping exhausted anyway!) What I do know is this, you aren’t perfect…I’m not perfect…no one is perfect. So stop trying to be perfect all of the time. It’s okay that you’re irritable today or feeling a little overwhelmed. It’s okay that you had a really bad day last week. The trick is to intentionally try to stop the pattern so you can have an unforced, real good day again soon.