Category Archives: family

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful entrance into the new year. I actually wanted to go to sleep, but Jack stayed up, so I didn’t really have a choice. But we had a very enjoyable evening with the family.

I used to hate new year’s eve. It always reminded me that I wasn’t with anyone, which was always very lonely at the time. It reminded me I wasn’t where I wanted to be in terms of figuring out/following my career. I was really, really good at looking at all of the things that I didn’t do or didn’t happen for me in the past year, and assuming that the next year would be just the same.

It’s funny, because as I look back on it now, some of my favorite memories come from those new year’s eves that at the time I felt so lonely and frustrated in. I really did have good times with people I still love and have as friends today, though it didn’t always seem that way. But, I have had the fortune of having some really amazing new year’s memories since having Jack. But even moreso the past few years I have had a great new year’s because I was happy. Because even though I didn’t get to all the places I wanted to get to, and even though everything didn’t go the way I wanted, I was trying. I was trying to become the person I want to be. I was putting effort (flawed as it may be) and that made the difference. I failed, but I also succeeded. Even if the successes were small, they were real. And small steps when added together turn into giant strides. And looking back over the past few years, I have actually made much more progress than I thought I had. I’ve chased a few dreams, made a few improvements, made a few mistakes, and worked really hard. And it turns out that is a recipe for a good year. A year that has ups and downs, highlights and low, but certainly more good than bad.

So I hope everyone has the chance to do just that this year. Make some plans, chase some dreams, work hard, let the failures drive you harder, let the successes lead you forward and find your way closer to whomever it is you want to be. The you that makes you proud, the you that gives you hope that your future will truly be bright. That’s how you light the way for all who will follow you. And someone is always looking to you.

Happy new year everyone! Thank you all for your kind words and support, and I hope you feel the happiness and love I’m sending to you all!

A quick trip to the pumpkin patch and other stories…


Well, hellooooo! It’s been a while!  A long while! But I get to write again some now, and that’s exciting. I hope everyone has been well. I’ve missed you guys! School is in full swing, but hopefully I’ll get to write more often now.

Today we stopped by a pumpkin patch. Jack had fun, but all of the pumpkins that weren’t insanely ginormous had already started to go bad, so we ended up not getting one. Well, Jack got a baby one that he was very excited about. It didn’t seem to matter to him, so we are going to paint that and try to find one to carve elsewhere.

Over the past few months as life has been changing in very extreme ways both very positive and very negative, it’s been a frustrating and exciting quest towards the future. The thing that I realized the most was that life really is hard. When you don’t know how to make a way for your family to survive, it’s hard. When you can’t see past your bills, it’s hard. When you can’t find things that make you happy, it’s hard. When you look around and it seems everyone has someone but you, it’s hard. Life is hard. The things that we are trying to accomplish in our lives, even the simple things can be hard. And when I was watching one of my favorite movies, “A League of Their Own,” I heard one of my favorite lines, and it goes like this: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.” It’s hard. Life is, but it’s also great. Every day we have new chances, new opportunities. We have the chance to do something that makes us feel a little more like the person we want to be. And sometimes that involves just getting through the day. But we can work to make sure that we build something into our time, into our days to be able to say to ourselves each night, I am a little closer than I was when I woke up. And as time goes forward, we will have become the person we want to become, and we will be doing the things we want to be doing, because we took the time when it was hard to make sure that the hard was worthwhile.

(As a little side-note, I LOVE this movie. LOVE it. It’s one of the first movies that ever made me cry. That’s weird, I know. And I cried because at 10 I realized that my time playing softball was limited. I would graduate high school and I wouldn’t get to play anymore. And I really loved softball, and sports in general. One of the things I miss most about being young is that comradery that accompanies a group of people with the main goal of working together, getting better and building each other up in order to achieve something great. We wanted to win and we were willing to fight, even when it was hard. In fact, we cheered each other on to work even harder when it was hard, because we wanted to win. We wanted to succeed. And I think if we continued that type of thinking and working together into adulthood the world would be a much better place. And hopefully, even though it’s been a while, hopefully when you come to this site, it’s a place where we build each other up, and inspire one another on our journeys, especially when it’s hard.)

(And as a final side-note for the night, my goal is to get up early with Jack tomorrow and exercise, because I am still using him as an excuse not to, so instead since he’s interested in running and yoga, I’m going to try to do those with him. Because, in all seriousness, I should not be this out of shape.  So, I’m going to start the week off on the right foot, by exercising, cooking something healthy, and writing! I’m in a better mood just having written this! Happy start to the week everyone!!! )

Walking on the wire




Many people watched a few weeks ago when Nik Wallenda walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Not long after that a man walked across the Beau Rivage, a casino on the coast here on a tightrope, as well. I went with my brother, my son and my nephew to watch the event. You don’t realize just how high up it really is until there is someone walking across it on a rope!

As we watched him I thought about how difficult it must be to keep so many things in balance all at once. I’ve talked a lot about focus this week, and in this case it truly does take an immense amount of focus. You are standing up higher than anyone around, out over the edge (one of the only people crazy enough to try this) and you have to keep looking forward while remembering what you need to do to keep yourself in check. You have to stay calm, make sure your steps are on track, change them accordingly to ensure the rope you are walking on doesn’t get too loose, and make sure not to look down.

When we are up high and walking across the rope looking down can be hard to avoid. It’s one of the biggest pitfalls we make. When we start looking at just how high up we are and how far we’ve come, it’s easy to get disoriented. Looking down and losing focus is confusing. We become inundated immediately with thoughts that take us off track. We stop paying attention to our walk, we stop paying attention to our goal, we aren’t sure anymore what our next step should be, and it’s all because we looked down.

There are lots of people down there waiting on us to fall. There are lots of reasons that we might actually fall. But we are just as capable of standing on the wire and walking our way across. The choice in the matter is ours. Do we give in and look down? Do we go ahead and give up and take the easy way? It’s a whole lot faster getting to the ground that way, but the ground isn’t really where we want to be. And falling almost always results in injury. It may be fast, and there may be lots of people at the bottom who will be happy we’ve joined them, but is it really worth it? Fighting the urge to look down is hard. We have to know the steps we are taking. And remember that the hard road, (or the tight rope) is the only way to get there. So why not take the time to stay in check while walking on the wire.

A bit of good news I hope!!

The kindle version of my book is now just $.99! (it started at midnight, I am excessively uncomfortable with self-promotion!) Which is very exciting!! One of the reasons I opted to make a kindle version was to keep prices low. I think that we all have to pay attention to how and what we spend our money on, so I’m really excited that I get the chance to do this!

So, if you are interested in changing your life, following your dreams, understanding your relationships, sharing the difficulties of parenting, feeling inspired, motivated, encouraged, and understanding why you really are worthy of all of the wonderful things life has to offer and learning how to achieve them, it truly is a dollar extremely well spent. It’s a short read (it is 260 pages, but it feels so much faster, honestly!) It’s written in the same format as my blog. It’s like we sat down in my living room to have a conversation about everything worthwhile that I’ve learned in my years studying psychology and in my personal life. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry (except those of you who are manly enough to hold it in, but you’ll want to), It’s a chance worth taking, and it costs next to nothing. Give it to someone as a gift. You don’t need a kindle to read it. So please share it with everyone you know. It’s time and a tiny bit of money well spent.

Between Fear and Love – Kindle

And I want to thank all of you for creating such a wonderful and supportive community here. It really is impressive, this blogging community. Thanks for letting me in, encouraging me, and helping me accomplish my dreams. I hope I help you all do the same!

I also want to thank the following people for nominating me for awards this past week. I appreciate the thought. It means a lot, because I really want people to enjoy this blog and to feel inspired when they read it. So thank you. Check them out:

Invisible Effort: The greatest talent of all! (for all the dreamers out there)


It’s frustrating when you have “nothing to show” for what you do. People fail to see the effort you are putting in, because there is no immediate pay off for doing the work you are trying to do. Sometimes it seems like no one understand just how much you are doing to try to make your work a success.

It’s akin to being a stay-at-home parent. People assume you do nothing all day and that it’s easy when in reality you spend the entire day never having a break, constantly alert to the needs of someone else, trying to remember everything you need to get done, whilst having a helper or two who aren’t necessarily helpful, but at least in between major meltdowns, accidents, and spills they are trying.

It’s hard not to get overwhelmed and frustrated and snap. Or to become isolated because it really feels like no one gets it. No one sees the effort. They only see the outcome. And sometimes that takes a while. It can make you feel underappreciated and negative in general, BUT there is good news!

When all of this happens take a step back and remember, the people who take the chance to follow their dreams are few and far between. Most people won’t know. Most people won’t get it. Most people won’t see what you see. That just means you’re on the right track. So don’t lose heart. Don’t lost faith. Don’t give up.

Unacknowledged effort is often a key ingredient in achieving one’s dreams. So you’re invisible effort is really just your greatest talent of all!

Part 2 of forgiveness continued from yesterday

And I think with each realization, I began to release that fear a little bit more, and a little bit more. I tried it again the next day and the next. Until I finally felt like I was able to really let go of all of the angst that I felt about school and the way things happened when I was younger. I decided it was time to try something bigger.

Figuring out a way to forgive someone who I didn’t know, as my uncle’s murder case had gone on unsolved, was a very hard thing to do. I didn’t know his face or his name. I just knew that in a matter of seconds he sent more fear through me than anyone I had ever met. He took away the most precious gift we have. He was callous and cruel. And forgiving that seemed an impossibility and probably not a necessity. But somewhere in me, I knew that I had to find a way to stop letting fear rule over me.

I honestly don’t know that I have completely let go today, although I feel that I have. I’m fairly sure that since forgiveness like most things is probably a continuous process the fear will reemerge from time to time. But what I was able to do by saying that I was letting go of all of the hurt and fear that you’ve caused me over my life was to take back control of who I wanted to be. I was no longer going to be scared with so much of me stuck in place by the actions of that person. I wasn’t saying what happened was okay. It was not. It was and will always be a horrific, unnecessary act. But letting that act interfere in my life by continuing to worry, hate, and fear was no longer going to happen. My uncle was not living in fear and hate anymore. He is no longer bound by such human emotions. He simply exists in love, and to honor him, I should try my best to, as well.

Maybe it’s easier not knowing who to blame. But there was a time when I would look at everyone and think, “It could have been you.” Or I would refuse to look at anyone, because I was completely unwilling to let anyone in at all. To be in the place I am at now, where I’m no longer afraid to live and look people in the eye is amazing to me, because sometimes I was worried I’d never get here. The place I am at would have never been possible without the option of forgiveness. Forgiveness gave me the means to take my life back. It was able to help me restore my joy and my ability to love. It has truly made all of the difference in the world.

Even when I do have moments where I go back and I feel like I did back then, they are fleeting. I know they won’t last even when I’m experiencing them. That is the most wonderful change of all I think. Living in happiness, feeling worthy of what I have is something I hope I never trade in for fear again.

As for the boy I loved, I forgave him initially a long time ago. Maybe it sounds pretentious and maybe sometimes it didn’t seem true, but the day I asked for the rainbow, I had also asked for forgiveness. I wanted it for me and for him. And my experiences with him are the most prominent reminder I have that those moments of unforgiveness do reoccur, but I always have the capacity to utilize my self-control and refuse to allow any of the things either one of us have done in the past to keep me down.

At my very core, I wish him the best. I want him to believe in himself and to experience all of the wonderful things there are to experience here. And although for a time it felt like it was necessary for me to be there and see those things through with him, I did finally get to a point where it doesn’t matter if I ever know. I don’t want those things because I want to be with him. I want those things because I refuse to be angry and upset with him. That only stifles us both. I want them because he’s worthy of feeling this joy and chasing his dreams, too. With forgiveness I can choose love over fear.

When it comes to forgiving myself, it really is a challenge sometimes. What we have when working internally is the insight that we knew better ahead of time. When I made choices that were not consistent with the things I wanted in my life, it was always hard to feel like I should be forgiven for those choices. But when it came to forgiving myself for putting Jack in the position he is in, that was the hardest thing for me to do. We label someone a liar after only one lie, but how many truths must a person tell to be labeled honest. The negative is just so easy to hold on to.

Sometimes I still go back and note that I really did know ahead of time that I could do things differently. I didn’t have to listen to what the people around me were saying. I didn’t have to listen to what his father was saying. I had the chance to say no. And I didn’t. I gave in. I let go. And I hurt the person whose life I was responsible for. I cried many, many times trying to think of how it could even be conceivable to forgive myself for that. I wasn’t asking Jack to. I knew that was far too much to ask of him. But I also realized that keeping that guilt and holding onto that self-contempt was unhealthy for both of us. We both needed me to be the mom he deserved, and the only way to do that was to choose to let go of that pain.

I had to forgive myself, because holding onto something I couldn’t change was irrational and detrimental to our progress. I was determined to love him. I was determined to be the best mother I could for him. And to do that I had to choose to forgive. Sometimes I do still get a little overwhelmed, but I know how to bring myself back to where I need to be for us both. Back to forgiveness. Back to self-worth.

I promise not to publish such long posts again. But I had a lot of people asking me about forgiveness and if they thought it was real, or if it could truly happen, and I felt it would be good to just go ahead and post the chapter, because it does matter. It does happen. It is real. And it makes all the difference.

Chapter 16 – Freedom in Forgiveness

This post is a little long, I apologize. And it’s the first of two posts on forgiveness, because I’ve had a lot of people asking me about the subject lately. And I touched on it a bit yesterday, but decided to go with the long answer today, and that comes in the form of the first half of chapter 16 which is dedicated to the subject in my book. And here’s the post:

I think there is probably nothing that I have learned that has been as helpful as learning the importance of forgiveness. When I used to look back over my life, the list of people who had treated me unfairly was pretty long. I remembered everything, every conversation, every mean look. I knew who said what, who did what, even back to elementary school. I could go through them in my head, which I did somewhat often while I was in middle school and high school. I held on to the anger and the fear, and I would sit and remember why I was holding onto it.

These were people who were mean to me for no reason. I hadn’t done anything wrong. Or in the case of family incidents, I was right and they were wrong (I can’t help that this is ALWAYS the case – please note my sarcasm here). But there were people and times where our interactions made me feel like absolutely nothing at all. I felt so overlooked, and at times so betrayed, that forgiveness was nowhere on my radar. The things that happened to me were wrong. And I should be angry. I should hate them. But what holding onto that hurt and anger did was keep me right where I was.

Every time I thought about the things that had happened I was that girl, in that moment, feeling that hurt and scared. I never really snapped out of it. I let those things rule over me. I let my emotions get overrun, because I became too afraid to even want to be close to anyone. I felt unworthy, because all of those people on my list wouldn’t have treated me as they had if this weren’t the case. And it wasn’t until I was removed from the situation, I graduated and left for college, that I came to realize that the stuff that happened, for the most part, really did not need to continue to affect me.

As long as I let those thoughts and those actions rule over me I was letting the fear win. I allowed the treatment of kids who felt just as awkward and fearful (otherwise the interactions would have never taken place) to make me feel like I deserved to be treated that way. I had a small, but wonderful group of friends, all of whom I still try to keep in touch with today, but even with them, I didn’t really understand why they were my friends. I felt like they had so much more going for them than I did.

I was lost, because I was fearful. They all had plans, and I was absolutely certain they would fulfill them. I wasn’t the friend I could have been, because I knew they’d probably leave me behind. It’s not a good way to live your life, being that fearful. And the feelings I had were in large part due to my inability to forgive, because I couldn’t forget or overlook how I felt in those moments where I was hurt. Forgiveness is a continuous process. We have to forgive others and forgive ourselves. I used to think one was more difficult to do than the other, but I think they are fairly equal in their difficulty.

When Dr. Eger came and spoke to our Personality Theories class, she talked about forgiveness. She said that every night she prayed for the Nazi members who took her and her family captive, and who killed all but two of them. She and her sister were the only survivors. She told us that feeling guilty, because we didn’t have to go through what she went through was useless. And she was right, although this was very hard for me to comprehend. Comparing our lives to others does nothing but confuse us and give us excuses to stay where we are. She said we all have the option to be happy. But we cannot be happy if we don’t forgive.

I didn’t know how to imagine her forgiving those men for what they put her through. I didn’t know if she really had done so or not. But I believed that if anyone knew what they were talking it about when it came to forgiveness, it was quite likely to be her. That summer after I made the decision that I wanted to be happy, I decided that at 23, I wanted to start forgiving people for what had happened in my life and just try and see where it led me. I didn’t really know how to forgive, so I remember just sitting in my room praying and saying to the universe silently, that I forgive you. I am letting go of all of that fear and hurt. It doesn’t matter anymore, I thought. What good is it doing me to hold on?

“Whisper words of wisdom, Let it Be”

We were watching the Queen’s Jubilee Concert tonight, and Paul McCartney was singing “Let It Be” and Jack recognized it as the Beatles. He said that was his favorite Beatles song, and I agreed. Normally I just indulge him, but in this case it was true. I love “Let It Be” and though I find it excessively difficult to distinguish favorites most of the time, and even moreso when there are so many great songs to choose from, “Let It Be” has been my favorite Beatles song since I first heard it.

It was written at a time when there was lots of turmoil going on in their personal and professional lives. They disbanded shortly after, and the song is sort of an anthem to the end. And it got me thinking about how life has to move in waves. Things have to end regularly for us to continue on in our lives. Friendships end. Relationships end. Parental roles change. Jobs change. The tide continuously turns and churns. And we have to be able to let go of those things that will inevitably come to an end. And we need to let go of those things that we are allowing to hold us back. When we look back over the years we can see just how quickly life does move. And if we aren’t moving with it, it’s easy to feel left behind. Our friends and family move on to other things. Our focuses change. They grow as life grows. Our interests change. Our habits change. Life in its nature is full of letting go.

Distinguishing between what to hold onto and what to let be can be difficult. We have to work for the things we want to keep. We have to work on ourselves. Work on our relationships. And work on our careers. But we have to be aware of what it is in our lives that we haven’t let go of that may be holding us back. Sometimes it’s as simple as an argument that we are holding a grudge over. Sometimes it’s a turn down a path we didn’t plan do go down. It can be holding out simply because we don’t want to be wrong. Whatever the case, when we are holding on to things that are holding us back it makes it nearly impossible for us to be happy in our lives. We have to learn to let go and let it be. It’s funny, because there is a tremendous freedom in letting go and letting it be. I have never found more peace in life than when I finally let go of the things that were holding me back the most whether it was through forgiveness or simply no longer holding out and giving up who I wanted to be for a relationship, the freedom that accompanied finally letting go was amazing. We can do things to help ourselves. We can do things to learn to let it be. And it’s important that we take the time to do them. Because no matter what you are searching for or fighting for, there will be an answer, if you just let it be 🙂

I also want to thank the following bloggers for nominating me for the following awards…I do appreciate all of the kindness you all have shared with me on this blog journey! 🙂

The Reader Appreciation Award

Thanks for writing award

Friday Favorites Quote of the Day

Today was a bit of an adventure. We started off the morning celebrating the birthday of one of Jack’s friends. Then we took a brief 1.5 hour trip to the ER to get a chest x-ray for Jack. Fortunately three hours later I found out everything was all clear, and his continued coughing should resolve soon. I’m hoping that’s the case. Since it’s been such a long day and there is a Friday Favorite trend, I’m actually going to do a spin on that and pick one of my favorite quotes to talk about.

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier” – Mother Teresa

When I was sitting in the waiting room today I looked around at all the people. And I thought about all of the different struggles that were going on there. Yesterday my 88-year-old grandmother had surgery for colon cancer. We were one of the families that was nervous and anxious in the waiting room. But she is back in her room, and was sitting up today, and outside of a bit of nausea is doing quite well, especially given her age. But I thought about how nice the support is. Even when it’s hard, even when you don’t want to hear it, it’s nice to know someone is trying to care. (don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely irritating when the people we want to care are not the ones who care)

A lot of the time, I actually find it nice when it’s strangers who take the time out to be kind. In those situations there are no strings attached. It’s simply someone taking the time out to acknowledge your existence and in a positive manner, and it’s left at that. I really like this idea. People always talk about the power of a smile. And it’s true. It’s hard to be unhappy when you’re smiling. And that energy will carry on to those who let it in. We can’t force people to be happy, but we can make it a point to do our best to be positive and encouraging to others, even if it’s just a smile. And even if it’s just for that moment. It’s nice to know that we can brighten someone’s day. Because we know it makes a difference in our lives when someone takes the time to brighten our day. Moments are fleeting, and we have to make the most of them. We can choose to be happy. We can choose to let light in. And we can choose to give light out. So with all that’s going on and with the day dwindling down here, I’m going to leave you with this: Make it a point to make someone’s day brighter this weekend. Even if it’s a stranger you see on the sidewalk. Take time to smile, even if there’s no reason to. When that’s the case you’ve got nothing to lose anyway.

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