Consistency Really is the Key

The accomplishments I’ve had in my life can be attributed to consistency. I haven’t won a Nobel Prize. I’m not a doctor. I haven’t innovated the latest and greatest new technology. And some days I don’t even match, but damn it I am consistent.

I believe this is the only reason why I am still here writing today. There isn’t always an overflow of insightful information coming from my mind (or sometimes even information that makes sense), but I show up every day to write consistently. This is how I eventually got better at volleyball as a teen. This is the way I graduated college. This is how I stumbled upon writing my first book. This is the way I raise my kids every day. I showed up. I show up.

So if there is someone out there who is struggling with life being “sucky” lately, don’t give up hope. Just show up. Show up every day and do one more good thing today than you did yesterday. Maybe that’s making a better food choice to a healthier option. Maybe that’s applying for a yet another job that’ll get you out of the dead end one you’re in now. Maybe that’s simply not taking a drink today. Whatever the case may be, just show up today. Be intentional with your life today.

Summer is Finally Here

It’s funny how life changes. When we were kids growing up, we got so excited about summer. No more homework. No more early mornings. No more class everyday. We could usually just hang out with our friends, go to the pool, maybe the lake if we were lucky, and every few years we got to see the beach. Yeah, summers as a kid were amazing.

Enter parenthood…

Now, I look forward to summer break because we won’t have homework; no more early mornings; we can have play-dates with friends; we get to go to the pool; maybe we can have a lake day if we’re lucky; and maybe we’ll get to see the beach one of these years.

So, wait, what has really changed?

Well, for starters I have to keep these 3 tiny humans alive all summer. That’s definitely new! But also I get to watch the magical times of summer through the lens of a parent. Yes, the days pass by quicker for me than they do for the kids (whose hours and minutes drag along at a snail’s pace during the summertime – I do remember that), but I get to be part of new adventures in my kid’s lives. I get to partake in endless hours of board games, water fights, zoo trips, and maybe even a cool museum or two.

So, why am I sharing this?

Because I wouldn’t be able to do any of this with my kids had I not stopped drinking. Sure, I could still go to the pool, the zoo, the lake, the beach, or wherever the destination may be, but how can I be responsible for these little people when I can’t even responsibly take care of myself?

These trips would probably still be fun as I chased down chardonnay after chardonnay, but then who drives us home responsibly? Who takes us to the urgent care when someone falls at the pool? Who is able to care for my babies when they are solely in my care daily this summer?

Me…this sober mama right here will take pride in being able to do all of the mundane and sometimes boring things I’ll be doing this summer. I’ll do them with pride. I’ll do them with perspective. I will gladly play monopoly so many times my head will explode! Because I get to…

Don’t Fall into Fear’s Traps

There are landmines lurking everywhere. One wrong move and you can land on the one live explosive that is able to derail your entire existence. No, I’m not talking about actual bombs here. I’m talking about fear and the stupid lies it tries to tell all of us.

“You’re not ready. You’ll never be ready. You aren’t old enough to do that. You’re not young enough to do that. Why would they pick you for that job? Why wouldn’t she cheat on you? Of course you’ve gained weight. You aren’t as good looking as you used to be. You’ll never be enough.”  

I have to admit, I became infuriated simply typing those statements and lies out. These thoughts have crept into my mind, almost daily. And when I’m really weak, sometimes every hour. Fear tries to tell us everything that is wrong with us, all of our flaws. There isn’t any mention of the things you’ve done right in your life or the goals you’ve already accomplished. Fear wants to focus on the bad, the negative, and the impossible rather than give you any glimmer of hope or confidence.

Don’t fall into fear’s traps. Those things you hear fear whispering to you isn’t reality. Maybe if you let fear control you long enough it becomes your reality, but that’s when you need to fight like hell to get your life back. You are in control…not fear!

Now, watch your step today. Be sure to step over those landmines hiding in the shadows. And for goodness sake, don’t let fear direct navigate for you anymore.

Scared, Frightened, & Terrified…

Taking a leap of faith can be scary…maybe even terrifying for some people. Will it work out? Will I get everything I was trying to get out of the situation? Will I fail at this venture? Will people laugh at me and judge me when I do fail? Will I be completely wasting my time?

These are just a few of the questions that run through my mind daily.  I’m constantly coming up with new ideas for my writing, my personals goals, things to try, and for exciting new hobbies I’d like to pursue. But in comes Doubt, follow by Fear.

They both creep in like two burglars planning a sneak attack on an unsuspecting victim. Just when you think all of your plans are laid out, they knock on the door just to ask, “And what do you think you’re doing?  You can’t try something new without telling us.  We’re here to help you.” (Yeah, I wish those two would just go play in oncoming traffic sometimes.)

But instead of cowering down to these two thieves trying to rob us of our joy, let’s push back and tell them to get the hell out of our house! Why are we listening to them anyway? We are bigger than they are! We know we can take them down and kick them out. Push back and tell them to hit the road.

“You’re not welcome here Doubt and Fear. We are working on a project that doesn’t need your input. You are welcome to sit in the corner and eat chips quietly, but if you so much as say a peep to us while we’re working, you’re getting tossed out with the trash. Got it?”

Good. Now we are ready to take on the two things that hold most of us back from doing things that we love or that we need to do. Stand up to Doubt and Fear today. Don’t take their crap anymore!

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!

 

Those Major Events Sure Do Change Us

Do you have any significant events that have changed your life? I mean, of course you do.  You may have your graduation day. The day you moved out of your parents home. The day you welcomed your first child into this world and officially became a parent. Maybe the day you purchased your first home. You may still have lots of these wonderful things still ahead of you in life.

But then there are those major events that aren’t so pleasant to talk about. Maybe that wreck you had as a teenager when you were drinking and driving. What about that time you were caught up in an argument with a friend and things have never been the same since? Maybe consider that time you said something really hurtful to someone after you had been drinking, but then the next day regret was the only word that came to mind.

Yes, we all make mistakes. We are all human and there will be times when we must suffer the consequences from our actions.

But I just keep thinking about how all of these events shape us into who we are. Sure I’ve done some pretty stupid stuff in my life (who hasn’t?), but if I don’t learn from those mistakes that’s when we have an even bigger problem.

What if we continued to do the immature, stupid things of our youth well into our middle-age adult years? Do you really want to be the dad sneaking a flask into the 4-year old’s birthday party just to “get through it?” Do you want to be the mom who has a minivan full of teenagers when she drunkenly swerves off the road into oncoming traffic?

I know these examples are “dramatic,” they are meant to be. These things happen all of the time, all over the place. I just hope and pray that you decide today not to be one of those people.