Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Art of Giving Thanks ... (Gratitude)

Lately life has seemed fairly chaotic.  As most of our lives get and it appears that with age we obtain more wisdom, but it isn't for lack of working for that wisdom through chaos and a minor amount of hair-pulling (note to self to trim hair to decrease pain from maximum yankage).

But today, in a day that is "supposed" to be filled with thanks, I am sitting here pondering all of the chaos in comparison to the sea of thankfulness that is in my heart.  Life has hardened me quite a bit.  But I have been able to cling to the areas of my heart that are still big and squishy thanks to the Lord and my two children and a few friends I hold near and dear.  Because sometimes we need reminders that the squishy may seem soft and weak, but it is actually more durable and much stronger than the areas that are hard and breakable.  Because ... squishy actually bends, folds, flaps, mushes, bounces and  curves around the other crap that builds up like decay.  So ... I am building a small thankful list that encompasses not just today but my every days.

1) Thankful that I am a blood bought daughter of Christ.
             * Seriously, does this need a description underneath it?  I may not be the perfect Christian, but then again none of us are.  I may not swim in scripture as much as I should, I may not quote the bible like I honestly should be able to, I may not preach, I may not minister, I may not do a lot of things that I could improve on in this department ... BUT, that does not take away that I am imperfectly perfect in God's eyes and that He knows my LOVE for Him through all things.  God and I have a past that only we know about ... we have a survival story that only we know the details of (quite a few of them actually) and we have an understanding of life and love and faith for myself and the journey that He has me on.  I am thankful for every single bitter ugly piece of my life because it shows me the love that He has for me pulling me through them when so many others left me for "dead" in the sea of it all.

2) Thankful for my children.
            * These two littles that have such a large piece of me within each of them are my heart and soul of life.  I learn from them daily.  I need them in my life as much as they need me in theirs.  They are so amazingly different yet so much alike and I love every single mili-second of being their mother.  I reiterate my #1 because He blessed me with being their mommy.  He chose ME to raise these precious souls.  They are quirky, fun, stubborn, creative, talented, athletic, uber intelligent, well-spoken, compassionate, sympathetic, caring, giving, playful, LOUD and proud.  They are confident without being conceited.  They are striving for greatness and push themselves and each other daily.  They are AMAZING in every single way possible to me.

3) Thankful for my parents.
             * The two beautiful people that gifted me with life and have raised me to be the "no bullshit allowed" leader that I am ... well, I have no words.  My mother has instilled in me compassion, creativity, a giving spirit, a loving heart and an outgoing "never meet a stranger" friendly mentality.  My father has instilled in me to guard my heart and mind and protect those that I love dearly.  The process of "never gamble anything you are not willing to lose" part of life and to stick by that mantra.  He instilled in me strength and survival.  To be strong and believe in myself.  To be confident without coming across as a jerk.  To be intelligent through all things ... use my mind as much as possible and to really see things for what they are without judgement.  To stand up for what is right, even if I am standing alone.  Each of these qualities are the best of my parents and I am so happy that I see these pieces within myself.  I love having the best of both of them.  I am so thankful for how they have stood by my side when so many other's walked away.  I am thankful they love me with a Godly unconditional love because Lord knows at times I have not deserved it.  I am thankful that when I was a stubborn teenager that literally knew everything and anything that they taught me through it all so that I would simply know more. (haha)  I am beyond thankful for them as grandparents.  They are the BEST the kids could ever ask for.  Playful and spoiling yet respect my parenting wishes as well.  Because even though I have the best of them I am still raising my children with the pieces of me that are my own.

4) Thankful for my truest friends.
             * I do not need to list names here, but those of you truly know who you are because I do not go long without reminding you how fantastic each of you are and how much I love each of you.  You may be my seester/sister/kindred/prayer warrior/febfff/or long time confidant.  Whatever you are in my life I revert back to #1 because God blessed me with you.  Each of you.  I am thankful for your prayers.  I am thankful for your shared laughter.  I am thankful for your listening ear and your shoulders that have been dampened by my tears.  I am thankful for our stories that only we will ever know.  I am thankful for you sharing your joys and pains with me.  I am thankful that I have a strong backbone and squishy pieces of my heart so that when you need me to merely hold you up as you have me, that I am able to do that in return.  I am thankful for "Gratitude Friday's" and for inside jokes.  I am thankful for a shared love affair with pumpkin and for moments of silence when the music speaks between us ... for us.  I am thankful.  For each of you ... our past and our present.  But I am uber thankful for the moments we haven't even created yet.  For the joys and the losses we will share together. Because there is absolutely NOBODY else on this planet that I want to share any of it with than each of you.

5) Thankful for provisions.
             * I am so thankful that I have a home and am able to provide for my children as an independent woman.  I am thankful that I can provide for them what they need and still be able to spoil them a little along the way.  God has blessed me with intelligence to obtain an education and the will and drive to work hard for what I need and what I want.  Hard work and dedication pays off.  I am so beyond grateful and blessed to be a provider.

6) Thankful that I am ok with being independent.
              * As I stated above.  Life has hardened me.  Quite a bit.  I know who I am as a person.  I am confident.  I am strong.  I am a survivor of things unimaginable.  I am tough.  I am abrasively blunt.  I am a fighter and I am independent.  I am not easy to love and at times not easy to like.  But ... I am ok with these pieces of me that are entangled with the good, soft, squishy, lovable pieces.  Because I know that I am thankful deep down for my independence and ability to walk away from things that do not strengthen me as a person.  Weakness is not an option for me.  It never has been an option for me.  I was not born to be weak and through that which should tear me down I have found the innate ability to conquer and move forward like a boss.  I am thankful for this part of my personality.  And although it is merely a SMALL fraction of who I am as a person it is still a part of me.  Which brings me back to #3 and #4 ... you lovers tolerate me at my worst and laugh through it with me knowing that I am who I am.  And as for #2 ... I am thankful both of my children have this same personality trait of independence.  They are born leaders.  Strong in virtue and faith.  Mmmmmhmmmm ... AMEN Jesus for that!

7) Thankful for my love of art.
             * This comes in many forms and fashions.  I am thankful for literal art.  On canvas, on streets, on sidewalks, on paper, on post-it notes.  I am also thankful for the art of tattoo's.  Yup, you heard me.  Some of you think I am crazy, but guess what ... re-read #6.  I am independent and I am who I am.  Each of my eight tattoos has personal meaning and are very sentimental to me.  I love them.  I have stories behind each of them.  Stories that will never go away ... that I will cherish and hold dear even when my body sags and they are wrinkled up.  They are a part of me permanently AS THEY SHOULD BE.  Written on my heart and creatively and artistically written on my body.  I am thankful for music.  Dear God am I thankful for music.  Seriously ... PRAISE you Daddy Upstairs for the gift of song and dance.  I glorify life in itself through song and shaking my ass.  My mind may literally be 90% lyrics ... and I am okay with that.  When words fail, music speaks.  Which brings an addendum of thankfulness to this beautiful #7: I am thankful that my daughter knows me so freaking well that when I graduated from college with my BS in Behavior Psychology and that graduation date was my 34th birthday ... she dug into her personal savings and bought me a set of Skullcandy's which I have on my head right now listening to my favorite jams as I write my thankful list.

8) Thankful for flowers in cracks.
             * You read that right.  I am thankful for flowers in cracks.  Have you ever walked along and noticed the scenery was beautiful and the pavement was cracked and thought to yourself, "They really should fix these roads? This sidewalk needs a repair really badly?" Well, have you ever looked and saw a crack and noticed a flower growing through?  You may see a cracked foundation from what is supposed to be a built structure for your clean shoes to walk along, but I see it as beauty cannot be held back.  You cannot contain natural beauty and you cannot contain life.  No matter how much weight, dirt, scum, decay, concrete, gravel you put on top of something, if it is beautiful and meant to survive it will.  Like my heart ... with it's hardened decayed areas ... the squishy spots folding around it like a cushion ... one day, a flower is going to burst through.  Because no matter that weight.  No matter that hardened area.  Life and love and beauty will break through.  I know this.  I am a work in progress, like anyone else is.  God's timing is a breath in comparison to my ticking time clock.  When He is ready for me to bloom ... I will.

Jackee Harry said, "Right now I am trying to be in a place of calm, a place where I can chill out and then handle the chaos of life better.  you don't just get it overnight; you have to work at it.  It's a daily struggle."  Be thankful people.  We all have downers, and struggles and chaos and decay.  BE THANKFUL through them.  Have gratitude.  Find joy in life.  LIVE for the love of God.  Be YOU.  Be true to YOU.  When writing the story of your life, do NOT let someone else hold the pen.

Thankfulness.  Gratitude.  Life.  Each and Every Single Day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

16 Perks of Being Fun Sized

Being a "short girl" definitely has a few downers.  For instance.  When you are like me, and only a mere 13 years old and thinking after being taller than most kids in your grade for a few years that you are going to one day have long beautiful legs instead of short stumps attached to your feet, the realization that you have actually maxed out in the height department and have actually stopped growing is a bit of a Debbie Downer.  Seriously ... at 5'3" you may think that I am an average height, but I am here to tell you that there is actually an entire world above me that I will never know about.  (or at least it feels that way at times)

But ... there are so many perks to being a fun-sized gal.  So, this blog is for my fellow shorties, because we may be further from the sunshine but we still glow my friends.

Perk #1:  This is a perk that I thought of this morning when I got home from work and was too tired to clear the bed before taking my half-day nap.  When you are blessed with shorter legs, you can leave stuff on the foot of your bed and NOT kick it off in your sleep.  Seriously.  Nothing moved while I slept.  This is truly a fantastic perk.  Just sayin'.

Perk #2:  Your kids outgrow you.  Yes, this is a perk.  Why?  So many reasons people.  Think about it. My eleven year old daughter can reach things that I can, and some things I cannot because her wing-span is longer than mine.  So ... I can now say, "Hey sweet cheeks, would you please be a peach and go get (insert object) for me?"  Little does she know that one day she will be dusting the top of the bakers wrack, the china cabinet, the entertainment center, the picture frames, the refrigerator, etc.  (mwahahahaha ...)

Perk #3:  Nobody bothers your stuff.  Why?  Because people who are blessed with long legs do not want to squat down to grab anything.  That means that every single shelf from our waist down is free for the taking.  Claim it!

Perk #4:  Our legs are stronger than yours (yes tallies, I am speaking to you).  Why?  You doubt me by simply just stating that fact?  Well, consider the source.  While you do not take the shelves and cabinets available (re-read perk #3) we are still squatting even if it is not as far as you would have, we are still standing on our tippy-toes to reach the stuff on the top shelves, and we wear heels everywhere we go in situations that we dress up.  Why?  Because it sucks to be the girl on the front row all the time sitting down in our pretty dresses and rocking pant suits just because your head is in front of  us if you are sitting and we are standing.  So heels by default let us show our entire OOTD (outfit of the day) in some pictures, too.  So, yes, our legs are squatting, stretching and elevated.  Boom!  Killer legs in the muscle department.

Perk #5:  We fall a little more gracefully with a little bit less collision.  Which comes in handy in the heel department after a long night of dancing and keeping up with your tall butts taking double and triple steps to your one large stride.

Perk #6:  People like to invite us to picnics.  Not that your company isn't wanted.  Because you are hilarious beautiful people.  But our legs take up less space on the blanket.  Just sayin'.

Perk #7:  Our perspective on life is always great.  Why?  Because we are literally always looking up.

Perk #8:  Being told you are "thick" and it is a compliment.  Some of us were born with a natural ghetto booty (and I love mine btw) but ... some of us obtain that junk in the trunk because whatever we eat literally instantly sticks to our butts because there is nowhere else for it to stretch out.  So yes, fun-sized gals are luckily curvy because of our diminished height status.

Perk #9:  Our world is bigger than yours.  Yup, when you are shorter that means the world is a bigger place to conquer.  So ... we are constantly on a quest to conquer the world.  That means we have a HUGE drive for success.  Have you ever met a short person that didn't have a big/abrasive/extroverted personality?  I bet they are far and few between.

Perk #10:  Being short means that you can always squirm your way into a corner, the best seats and the front row ... because you tall people are nice.  You always say, "Here, get in front of me so you can see."

Perk #11:  Being short means you are always thought of as younger than you are.  Seriously ... people always by default think I am still in my twenties and I think this is (although in part to inheriting good skin) the fact that I am the same height as a teenager.  Perpetual youth.

Perk #12:  We snuggle better.  At least it feels that way.  You other short babes know this is fact but we will let the tallies feel how they feel and not take that from them on this one.  But when you are fun-sized you literally fit into a "nook" much easier for the total best snuggle/snoozle time ever in the creation of all snuggles.

Perk #13:  We can walk through spaces without hitting our heads on door frames, hanging lamps, shower heads, etc.  Yup, no need to duck.  And if someone is throwing something, we just have to slightly bob our heads down and it will automatically land behind us.  Or if you are the nice person in perk #10 then we apologize in advance because it is going to hit you.  Ooops!

Perk #14:  Nobody ever tells us to "suck it up, buttercup!" when something physically straining is occurring.  Why?  Because we are automatically sympathized for being short and climbing stuff is perceived as more difficult.

Perk #15:  The last perk is the best.  When you are fun-sized ... you are always considered to be adorable.  People love to look at us and say "you are just too cute for words!" or call us things like "little mama" and "short stuff".  Yes they are adorable things to hear as long as they are not said in a demeaning way ... in which I will add one more perk --->

Perk #16:  We may be small but we are MIGHTY.  Be warned.

So see ... although one day my daughter will be one of those beautiful tallies that I feel I have perks above (which just means I will one day need to blog the perks of being a tallie for her benefit), I love my fun-sized status.  Just please be warned that my head is in fact NOT a shelf for your arms when you are tired from your long legs wearing you out ... because perk #16 can come without warning.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

To Be Compassionate ...

The definition of compassion is simply read as having a deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune which is accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.  Biblically this is understood as Christ was compassionate for us.  In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 we read, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 

Pause for a moment, soak that in ... Mmmmm, nothing gets better than that people.  Nothing.  HE COMFORTS US IN ALL OUR AFFLICTION SO THAT WE MAY BE ABLE TO COMFORT THOSE WHO ARE IN ANY AFFLICTION!  Do you see the key words in that?  In all OUR affliction so that we may be able to COMFORT those who are in ANY affliction.  

This is a struggle for us all.  Is it not?  We do for those we love.  We do for those we care about.  We do for those we work along side.  We do for those in our church and in our school.  But do we do for those who are in any affliction?  God calls us to love as He loves us.  God calls us to witness to those who need witnessing.  God calls us to be a testament to our faith in Him and to share His love for others as he has shared His love with us.  This comes in many forms and fashions, people.  Seriously.  Something as simple as helping someone reach an item on a shelf in a store that they cannot reach.  Bringing someone a bottle of water when you see they are thirsty.  Saying hello to someone who you see look at their feet every single time that you see them.  Compliment each other.  Help each other.  Cheer for each other.  Pray for each other.  This is not just important for individuals in need but for fellow Christians as well.  

Just last week I was eating lunch alone in Taco Bell in Vernon.  There was an elderly couple that came in and I was admiring the simple affections between them that had been obviously a long standing routine of love between them for many years.  It was refreshing to see.  And then I see the wife sit down at the table while the husband gathered napkins and forks and so forth.  Then he sat with her.  After he got their tray of food when their number was called and he sat back down joining his wife, he gathered his hands in hers and he prayed allowed for them, for their lunch and for their travels ahead.  There was so much going on around them.  But in that moment, whether they watched for a split-second or until the prayer was complete (as I did), everyone in that establishment noticed.  They heard prayer and recognized it different from natural conversation over their own and they stopped and were silent and recognized that prayer that this gentleman was praying over himself and his wife.  Then life went on amongst us all.  But it touched them.  This couple had no idea that they were affecting others around them (whether in a large way or a small way), they were simply being Christians and thanking God for their meal and safe travels.  When I was leaving and throwing my trash away I smiled at them and told them thank you.  They have no idea what I was thanking them for, or maybe they did.  I was thanking them for reminding me that people watch, people see our actions, people see the compassion we have for each other.  I noticed that gentleman taking care of his wife, both physically, emotionally and spiritually.  If I noticed, so did others.  

You see, compassion is contagious.  Is it not?  The Pay it Forward Movement proves that, right?  Someone buys your coffee in the drive-thru at Starbuck's and you in turn at a random moment either that day or the next few days, pays that kindness forward.  But does that continue?  For most people it does not.  For some it does.  And yes, there are people who do not pay it forward at all.  But that is what makes it interesting and challenging as Christians, right?  What fun would it be if witnessing were so easy ... haha, yeah right?!  

Some people take more compassion than others do.  Let me ask you this way ... if you have a child and they are struggling with learning how to read.  You work with them 15-30 minutes every day after school.  But they just continue to struggle.  Do you throw your hands up and say, "Oh you just are not catching it as fast as I want you to so learn yourself." ???  NOOOO, I should hope you would not do that to a child.  The same is for our compassion towards others.  If you show kindness to someone every single day you encounter them and they are just a sourpuss back to you, are you going to throw your hands up and tell yourself or them, "You just aren't a nice person so I give up on you." ???  Maybe, maybe you feel that is a warranted reaction ... or maybe, just maybe you should ask God how to handle that situation.  Maybe you should ask yourself if it is possible that this person has never had consistent kindness that was dependable.  Maybe they do not know God like you do.  Maybe they just need that ONE MORE day of kindness to break through their wall and then their light will shine back to you.  

“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.” 
 Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

If we stop simply hearing what is going on around us and start listening we will eventually learn what others need in the ways of compassion to serve them the way that Christ wants us to serve.  There is a difference between hearing and listening.  Anyone can hear.  It is an automatic reaction to noise.  But listening.  That takes a psychological effort to process the noise.  Listen, people.  Listen and learn and act.  It is pretty exciting to receive opportunities to serve Christ through our actions of compassion.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” 
― Anne Frankdiary of Anne Frank

Deuteronomy 16:17 "Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you."

Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

Galatians 6:2 "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

1 Peter 3:8 "Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind."

Each of these scriptures not only instruct us of God's plan for us as Christians but they also encourage us to continue our path of compassion towards others.  

This week I challenge each of you ... be compassionate where you normally would not be.  This does not make you a bad person, this makes you human ... and as humans we have the freedom of will and choice.  Choose to do at least one extra act of compassion this week.  Share it under this post if you would like.  Be encouraging to someone else to do this as well.  

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” 
― Mother Teresa

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” 
 Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” 
― Leo Buscaglia

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Trusting Through the Scum

Joshua 1:9 tells us, "Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

Simple, right?  For me ... not so much.  By fault I do not trust people.  Why?  Because I don't.  For me it is as simple as how directly this scripture reads to us.  

Some people are shy, while others are painfully shy.  The difference?  The shy people are simply quiet and slightly uncomfortable in large populations or in groups of people that they do not know well.  But they typically warm up and the shyness dissipates.  The painfully shy individual suffers in a variety of extremes internally.  It is so painstakingly hard for them to communicate on a day to day basis with the simplest of others and situations.  Even checking out at a grocery store is difficult for them and they even can lose their ability to breath easily and their heart-rates increase at such a rapid rate they can experience chest pains until they are out the door and in the safety of their vehicles.

The same goes for people with trust issues.  Some people are just distrusting and once they get to know you they let you in and you become friends or at least acquaintances that share stories openly when you are around each other socially.

Me ... well not so much.

Scum ... here is the fun part.  We all experience this in our lives.  The scum of a bad friend, the scum of an ex-lover, the scum of the enemy dragging us down by our fears, the scum of life experiences like loss of a loved one, loss of a child, loss of our innocence, loss of our health, loss of our faith (even if momentarily) all at the hands of ... what?  Typically another person, right?  There ya have it.  Scum.  It comes in all sizes, all forms, all angles, all times of the day and any day of the year.  It. Just. Happens.  So ... if it happens to us all ... why do some of us develop trust issues where others have the ability to sluff it off?

If this blog has any other purpose it is to state that I am imperfectly perfect.  Yes, I said imperfectly perfect.  I am imperfect, but I am perfect in my Father's creation.  He created me how I am.  He knew before He created me that I would struggle with scum ... and man did He know I would deal with A LOT OF SCUM.  But, Big Daddy also knew that I would have the ability to move forward.  To survive.  And I am here to tell you right now that my scum required survival.  All of it did.  Not just emotional or spiritually but physically as well.  If I were to count the most severe scum I have encountered between the ages of 14 and 34 ... twenty years ... I have literally survived fourteen bouts with scum.  Hardcore, wouldn't wish it on my worst enemies kind of scum.  You do the math on how often that occurred over the course of twenty years.  For those of you that do not know the public knowledge of a portion of my scum, a few things include the loss of a child, being kidnapped when pregnant with my daughter, surviving violent rape, my daughter suffering from two disorders including Celiac and a rare blood disorder called Von Willebrand, hearing that my daughter will never have her own children, having a surgery and waiting a week to hear if I had cancer or not, comforting my daughter when she had to bury her father as a 9 year old, discovering my son suffers from the same rare blood disorder as my daughter, watching my daughter slip away in my arms before going into surgery, waking one morning believing that my life was ending and being rushed so quickly to the hospital that I didn't get to kiss my children goodbye ... these are fairly public pieces of my life, but the pieces that are not public are equally terrifying and fearful and have caused a deep rooted pain that has to be dealt with ... for example: physical/emotional/mental abuse and living with someone who suffered with addictions.  Let me tell you something about addictions, you cannot beat them for that person, you cannot heal them you cannot make them wake up and see the world for what it truly is.  You can only pray for them and choose to stay or leave and allow God to work, if the person seeks Him and sluffs off that enemy at play.  Let me tell you something about abuse. Do not - Do Not - DO NOT judge someone who has survived abuse of any kind.  The strongest of wills can and will cower to an abusive personality.  It just happens.  Do not judge them.  Do not force your opinions on them.  If you suspect abuse, seek help for them but in a SAFE way, do not endanger them.  If they begin to speak out to you after they have survived and left, LISTEN to them.  Hug them.  That is all they need until they ask you for anything different.

The best way I have been able to describe how this has felt is like falling off of your surf board in the midst of oncoming waves.  Just when you come up for air, another one pushes you under.  My dad says they are character builders (which he says to perk me up when something happens), which I typically retort back with "I believe I have built enough character, Dad."  (haha)  I have a friend who told me once, "If all that happened to me I would kill myself.  How do you do it?"  Well, simple.  I just do it.  God created me to be a warrior, a survivor.

I had another friend at one time tell me, "You have a testimony that will speak to thousands.  Literally thousands.  One day you will open your mouth and God is going to place the perfect words to be heard in your voice and the world will listen to you.  When this happens, it will be His timing, because to us a year seems forever but to Him it is a mere second in His timing.  Be prepared to be His instrument when He is ready for you to speak."  THIS IS THE one thing I have listened to ... THE ONE thing that has stuck with me.  This was said to me almost six years ago.  Guess, what ... in the past six years ... more scum.  (go figure) ... but do you know what I say to that?  Well, after the initial "Seriously, God?  More?"  I follow it with a "Thank you God.  Thank you for creating me strong enough to survive.  Thank you for creating me so that when Your timing has arrived ... my voice will be heard."

Where do my trust issues come into play with this?  I do not trust other people easily.  At all.  I do not trust people but I trust my God.  I trust that one day, that unconditional love will pour down so fervently that it will literally wash away the scum, every single moldy piece of it and my mouth will open.  And honestly, I am okay with that.  I am okay with knowing that it may only be one person that hears my voice, I am okay with His timing, and honestly I am okay with scum.  My scum makes me who I am.  It makes me a better person, more empathetic and open to HEARING what others have to say to me.  It makes me a perfect fit for my passion in life with psychology (especially the forensic world) because I see things differently with my scum-vision.  It makes me a good mom.  It really does.  I am able to love on and protect my children differently because of it all.  However, it makes me a hard person to be with/in a relationship with/friends with.  But, God is working on that, too.  Because He is faithful to me in my journey and He sees my heart.  My scum comes with fear, and fear is not of God.  So ... I work on that, too.  But we are all a work in progress, right?  I know I sure am.

So ... welcome to my scummy world.  Welcome to knowing that (more than likely) like some of you, I wait for the Man Upstairs to painlessly remove the scum that causes trust issues.

This blog isn't to give you insight to myself ... but more of a reach out to those of you that have trust issues, that have experienced the pure NECESSITY to survive in life (whether it is once or fourteen times) ... our experiences effect us differently.  I realize my fourteen may not be near as bad as your one.  But God knows you.  He knows who He created in you.  He knows your heart.  He knows your mind.  He knows your soul.  He is JEALOUS of you and wants you to LOVE and TRUST Him.

My faith is what has caused my survival instinct to kick in.  If you are struggling.  If you are trying to survive.  Look up.  Seriously, right now LOOK UP.  Lift your head, look at the sky, close your eyes, take a deep breath, be silent ... SILENT.  Once you have settled you will hear the whisper of God.  That is when survival begins.  That is when HEALING begins.

Because survival is followed by healing.

Psalm 9:10 tells us, "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek you."

Seek Him.  Survive.  Heal.

Then wait ... for one day God will use perfect words when you begin to speak and your testimony will reach the masses.  Their ears will open and they will hear your words as He wants them to hear what is spoken.  Be His instrument.  Be His.

(A great song for inspiration) -- "What I Know" by Tricia Brock

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Running Mascara and a Heart Filled with Praise

Today's blog is going to bring you a feeling of sadness and then an overflowing feeling of praise and thankfulness and all at the hands of my precious daughter.

She is in her third year of voice lessons and typically I can hear her muted words as she practices closed up tight in her room all so that I can hear the finished fruits of her labor at the recital that she performs at each year.  So, to my surprise today she walks into the kitchen with a sheet of paper that has lyrics printed on it and says she wants me to hear the new song she is working on in voice.  Of course I am thrilled because I love any opportunity to hear her voice in song.  It is important to know that her voice teacher is the most amazing person.  She not only has an extreme talent in music but is phenomenal in teaching.  She was actually my daughter's kindergarten teacher and since has become her voice teacher in the years that have followed that initial year that has thrived into the most beautiful friendship between a teacher and a child that is growing into a young woman of God.  Lexi's voice teacher is kind-hearted, caring, loves unconditionally, is respectful and mostly a woman of God herself.  Her faith shines through her and she loves to incorporate that faith into her students music.  This song that Lexi brought to my attention today is a faith-filled song titled "Walk on Water" by Britt Nicole.

Before I purchased this song in my iTunes so that I can play it for her to sing for me, she explains to me that she watched a video of Britt Nicole telling her personal testimony of writing and performing this song.  Lexi informed me that this artists mother was struggling with the idea of becoming a foster parent and that this song reflects her mothers feelings and actions through that questioning and on into making the choice to foster.

Now, that story alone is heartwarming ... but insert my daughters mentality behind that in her saying, "Mama, I know that one day my choice to have children is not going to include having children of my own.  And that is okay.  I am going to foster and adopt children that need a Mommy and I am going to love doing that.  This song is going to be me one day.  Like how my Nana was adopted.  Like how Stacey adopts and fosters children.  I wonder what that baby will be like."  Okay, now you can insert tears and total heartwarming Godly love that is pouring out of my ten year old child.

My daughter, in her infinite wisdom of the world and her own health, has found a desire that is bigger than this Earthly place that we call home.  I seriously learn daily from her.  Daily.  She makes me a better person.  She shows me what love truly is.  She brings light into the darkest days.  She is love.  She is a walking testament to faith itself.  If you do not know God, all you have to do is meet my daughter and you will meet him face to face through her.

Lexi's voice teacher, Anne Marie, is always thinking of Lexi and her life experiences and is understanding of how through discovering her Celiac Disease and burying her birth father and struggling with her health through the discovery of her having Von Willebrand's Disease and having to quit her basketball team and learning the limitations of her little body at such a  young age, that music soothes her soul.  Singing brings her life.  Anne Marie sent me a quote not long ago that says, "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."  This is what music does for my Lexi girl.  It cleanses the gritty nastiness from her and replaces hope and love and understanding.  Just as "Walk on Water" has done for her.

Enjoy the song.  Go ahead and cry.  Feel every emotion that is not understood to the most raw.  If you have never listened to lyrics please begin with this song ... (copy and paste this link for a video of the song and the lyrics in print).

"Another wave of doubt ... will it pull you under?  What if are overtaken?"

"What if no one is there, will you hear my prayer?"

"Know that He won't let you go."

"What are you waiting for, what do you have to lose?"

"You know you are made for more, so don't be afraid to move."

"Your faith is all it takes and you can walk on the water, too."

"Everything you were made for, I know you are not sure, so you play it safe, and try to run away."

"If you take that first step, into the unknown, He won't let you go ..."

"Step out even when it is storming, even when you are broken, even when your heart is telling you to give up.  When your hope is stolen, you can't see where you are going ... you don't have to be afraid.  So what are you waiting for?"

SOAK that up people.  Life lesson from a ten year old miracle.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Being Passionate About Your Passions

As we shift and alter throughout life it becomes obvious that our passions grow with us.  Oprah Winfrey is quoted as saying, "Passion is energy.  Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you."  Passion can be defined in so many different ways according to who you are speaking with.  This varies from someone being passionate about saving animals to decreasing the world's pollution.  Passionate about their faith and spreading love and understanding around the globe.  Passionate about helping the needy.  Passionate about their career.  Passionate about having a clean house or even the most beautiful yard in their neighborhood.  Whatever the passion is, to that person it is beyond real and very personal.  Passions are personal.

When we are children our passions lie within our parents.  We begin by never wanting our parents out of our sight.  They keep us safe, secure, fed, clothed, snuggled.  As we begin to grow that passion transcends into a blankie, a stuffed animal, a specific sippy cup, our favorite cartoon.  On into early childhood that passion again transforms into our favorite after school snack, our new best friend, learning to read, getting good grades and going to the treasure box at school for good behavior.  As a teenager our passions become being good at sports, maybe trying out for cheerleader, getting straight A's, being popular, having a boy/girlfriend, being asked to prom, being nominated as team captain or homecoming queen, being president of the class, obtaining big scholarships, applying to colleges or even being passionate about not getting grounded another weekend in a row.  In college, or even early adulthood without college, the passions again transforms into having a great GPA, making enough money to not have to move back in with mom and/or dad, having a boy/girlfriend, maybe planning a wedding or being passionate about learning to juggle work/school/house keeping/friends/family and realizing that our parents were rockstars afterall for doing this for us all those years.

Whatever the passion is, it fits that part of our life.  It is a lifeforce for us.  "Passion rebuilds the world for the youth.  It makes all things alive and significant." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

As I have grown - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  It has become apparent to myself that my passions transition with me.  Although some of my passions from childhood have permanently stuck to me, I have gained new passions as well.  The most amazing milestones in my life has birthed the greatest passions within my soul.  Having my children.  Being a mom.  Being responsible for two young beings and watching them grow into their own amazing, passionate creatures.  With children that passion is an overlapment to unconditional love.  I am passionate about my children.  I am passionate about loving them unconditionally.  I am passionate about being passionate about my children.

But, being a Mommy is not necessarily who I am it is something that I do and I believe I do well.  I am also passionate about school.  I am passionate about music, any and all kinds of music.  "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." - author unknown

I am passionate about having the perfect blanket.  I am passionate about peanut butter and mustard (but not necessarily together).  I am passionate about singing and dancing, even if I am not good at either one.  "Great dancers are not great because of their technique.  They are great because of their passion." -Martha Graham

I am passionate about treating my dog like a child.  I am passionate about learning how to loom bracelets, win on Madden 13, baking a new Celiac friendly creation, preparing the perfect meal for a picky eater ... or whatever else my children need or want or desire.  I am passionate about allergies and heart problems and taking care of our bodies.

I am passionate about being a good wife.  I am passionate about loving my husband.  I am passionate about supporting him EVEN when I hate that his job keeps him from home weeks at a time.  I am passionate about loving him EVEN when I do not like him and I am equally passionate about him loving me EVEN when he doesn't like me.  I am passionate about our marriage.

I am passionate about my family, outside of my home.  My parents.  I absolutely love my mom and dad and am passionate about the qualities that they instilled in me and how they also gave me the freedom to venture out on my own and learn life for myself and discover myself.

I am passionate about books.  Real, turn the page and smell the ink books.  I am so passionate about them that when I find one I truly like I will read it within a couple of days and then have withdrawals that it is over.  I am passionate about writing.  I may not be Emily Bronte or Edgar Allen Poe but I love to write and I love poetry and I love to write words.  WORDS.  I am passionate about words.

I am passionate about movies.  Action.  Romantic comedies.  Psychological thrillers.  Dramas.  I am passionate about theater.  I love musicals and I am secretly singing all of the songs in my head as I watch them.  (My favorite is Into The Woods)

I am passionate about psychology.  The age old question of, "What makes a person tick."  I have been told different opinions ranging from, "Why do you want to do that?  That is a crap degree." to "Wow.  That is amazing you want to do that." to "Are you sure you want to work with criminals?  That is so dangerous." and even to "Sheesh, Brittainy.  That sounds exciting."  Ultimately it doesn't matter the response because I am passionate about my degree and the future that my degree path may or may not take.  I am passionate about reaching my goals in my own timing.

My biggest passion?  I am passionate about being a princess of God.  I fail Him daily.  I am not blind to the fact that I will continue to fail Him because I am an imperfect person that He created.  However, I am passionate about showing others my love for Him and His love for me through my actions and how I treat other people.  "Faith is the highest passion in a human being.  Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further." - Soren Kierkegaard

These nowhere near touch the surface of my passions but they are the most significant ones ... and I am absolutely passionate about them.  They drive me, mold me, motivate me, empower me, release me, relax me, love me in return and develop me into a better version of myself.

"Man is only great when he acts from passion." - Benjamin Disraeli

What are some of your passions?  Are you passionate about them?


Saturday, January 18, 2014

VW ... Where the Nightmare Began

This blog is going to be about something so very close to my heart.  If you know me well you know what VW means when I bring it up.  If you do not know me you need to know that to be very close to my heart essentially means that it involves my children.  This particular post is about my daughter to be more specific.  It has been a long arduous journey with my Lexi girl for the past few years ... but the light is actually close to the end of the tunnel and we are on our way there (hopefully).

When my daughter was five years old, and after many rounds of antibiotics and treatments the decision was made to remove her tonsils and adenoids.  Simple procedure essentially, right?  Wrong.  The surgery itself went well.  The recovery went as expected and the release from the hospital was routine.  But ... seven days later was a nightmare in itself.  My beautiful little girl began to hemorrhage out.  Literally losing so much blood her life was in danger.  Long story short, after two in clinic attempts to stop her bleeding she hemorrhaged for the third time in less than 24 hours and one call to the emergency number to reach her surgeon and I was told to get her to the hospital immediately for another surgery.  A few hours and lots of prayer later, she was back in the room recovering.  However, she had lost six units of blood and we had no guarantee she would not repeat what caused her to be back in this bed in front of me.  So, the decision was made to give her a blood transfusion and plasma units to cause her blood to clot long enough so she could heal.  This began nightmare number two.  There needed to be enough blood to draw in order to do a cross reference so that the types of blood could be matched and the transfusion could begin.  This began a four straight hour ordeal for her weak and frail little body.  Her veins are low, tiny, roll and blow ... she simply was not blessed with my veins.  Her body was weak.  She was dehydrated and she was low on blood.  So, this literally turned into six different medical staff, seventeen holes and 32 attempts to draw blood out of her little body.  The final attempt was by the anesthesist and was into her groin for a straight hour.  At the moment he was giving up to give her body a break he whispered "Don't move, baby, I just got a flash."  This turned into a moment of tears and relief for all in the room.  You see, in that moment I had my arms on her legs and my head on my arms praying.  Facing down.  My dad was at her side holding her hand and my mom and her surgeon were at her feet rubbing on her feet.  There was the anesthesist and there were two lab techs that were in the room.  But what I didn't know until I lifted my head to see her smiling face was that there were also three nurses and two admin clerks in the room.  All had a hand on the person in front of them and were praying for my baby girl.  Very emotional moment that helped her heal and save her life and keep her here with me longer.

This is her face when the transfusion started.  All smiles, little tiny body, weak and dimples shining.  Those dimples literally light up my soul.  Always have.  Always will.

Fast forward the next four and a half years of massive nose bleeds, large deep bruising that is unexplained, two concussions within a year, what was believed to be an allergic reaction to mosquitos, more massive nose bleeds (literally an hour at a time saturating a small towel) and major headaches and lethargic weekends.  I say weekends because you have to know my little warrior to know that she is a total fighter.  She never shows weakness and puts 150% into whatever it is she does.  You see, five months after her fight for her life it was discovered she has Celiac Disease.  This means that she cannot have glutens, wheat, whey proteins, barley, casein, lacto-albunin, cows milk or chicken eggs.  She cannot have any foods, seasonings, drinks, sauces, etc that have any of these things in them.  Want to do your research go here:

Now, my angel baby is ten and a half years old and still dealing with all of these things for the past four years.  She was hospitalized in December 2012 for what was believed to be her appendix, but what turned out to be severe ovarian cysts (on a then nine year old girl).  This compounded all of the other health problems she had been having.  Fast forward again through the following November 2013 and on into this month, January 2014 ... she has seen a total of 19 doctors in that twelve month period.  NINETEEN!  But, thankfully we have an aggressive family physician who got her into the right channels and we ended up at Cook's Children's Hospital.  The hematologist tested her and we got our first answer (but mind you it was the third time she had been tested for this) ... VW aka Von Willebrand's Disease.  Want to do your research go here:

However, I can tell you in a nutshell that it is a blood disease that is genetic and hereditary (just like her Celiac Disease) and it is not contagious.  It is simply a disorder in her body that means she cannot clot and stop bleeding properly.  There are three different stages to VW and she is luckily stage 1.  However, the statistics of this mean that there are 1% of the United States population that has this disease and I was told when we got her positive result that only 20% of patients respond to treatment.  WOW, right?!  Just wow.  So, we moved forward into another round of testing, to see if she responded to the Stimate medication, which is a nasal spray.  What this spray does is tricks her body.  Lexi being a stage 1 patient means that her body produces the VW protein in her body, but it does not dump it into her blood supply.  So, the Stimate will trigger her body into dumping these proteins into her blood supply to reduce bleeding.  It is important to realize that this medication DOES NOT cease bleeding and DOES NOT prevent bleeding.  It simply reduces the quantity of blood she loses until her body can play catch up or until she can receive medical attention if necessary.  So ... we begin the treatment which includes more blood drawn (remember how hard a stick she is?) and an IV of the Stimate for thirty minutes and then a wait for an hour and then more blood drawn.  (I want to mention this is not one or two tubes of blood, it is eight tubes of blood and her lucky spot is in her wrist if you want to attempt getting blood without digging up her arms all day long.  If you have had your blood drawn in your wrist you know how this feels, if you haven't consider yourself blessed and say a thankful prayer right now before you continue reading.)  Now this Stimate has some pretty severe side effects that are possible.  They can cause water intoxication.  This means that the medication causes your body to store fluids and if you drink too many fluids within the few hours of having one nasal spray you can have a seizure.  Imagine my concern when she had this pumped through her body for thirty straight minutes.  

So ... we head home after this round and then four days later end up at an additional specialist, and endocrinologist.  Another brilliantly relatable specialist that we are thankful for.  However, this requires my girl to be hospitalized for a twenty-four hour period of treatments and more tests.  Which means more needles, more bruises and more side effects.  This involved one medication every four hours for ten minutes and two other medications every six hours and eight hours.  This also involved more testing on her blood and ANOTHER round of Stimate through an IV which means a repeat of the water intoxication risk that causes seizures.

 My girl is a WARRIOR.  Have I mentioned this?  Well, in case you missed that earlier up this page ... she is.  Totally.  Without doubt.  My hero.  My fighter.  My angel on this Earth.  She came through this twenty four hour period with a decrease in dimples but still a positive attitude and the ability to kick my butt in a game of Yahtzee.  Did I mention the good news we got before we left this hospital stay?  The call that her body responds to Stimate.  Yup, worth repeating.  SHE RESPONDS TO STIMATE!  My daughter is within the 20% of people who can be treated.  Thank you, Jesus and for continually taking good care of Your Girls.

 This does not mean she can be cured.  This does not mean she will not bleed out.  This does not mean she is low risk.  This means that we can head off as best we possibly can any major issues that can take her life.  That is a window of opportunity that I will take any day of any week of any month of any year.  This medicine will help her at home if she is bruised badly, if she has dental work done, if she gets a nose bleed, etc.  You get the idea.  However, if she ever has major head trauma we have to go to the hospital IMMEDIATELY.  If she ever has surgery she has to have a blood transfusion and plasma before and after the procedure and an extended stay to ensure she heals before heading home.  This means that VW is something she will monitor and treat for the rest of her life.  Forever.

Through all of this, what is her outlook?  That everything going on in her little body is genetic and that means there is a Perfect Storm going on inside of her.  Her body may be weak in some areas but her mind is sharp and her soul is pure and her heart is big and her God is BIGGER.

Lexi girl wants to attend Harvard University and become a Medical Examiner.  Why?  She wants to go to the best school for the best education and she wants to give people answers.  My daughter has a servants heart.  Well, a servants heart and dimples that will stop traffic.

What is next?  We continue monitoring her on her new medications (yes there are more than one).  We have regular testing and we continue to watch her for side effects.

AND ... we get her little brother tested.  Yep, you guessed it.  It is genetic remember?  If one child has it the odds of another child having it increase.  Head trauma is an absolute NO NO with VW.  If he has it, no football.  So ... boys will be boys and they play rough.  So, fingers crossed and prayers up that little man is VW Disease free.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Art of Living

"Although time seems to fly by, it never travels faster than one day at a time.  Each day is a new opportunity to live your life to the fullest." - Dr. Steve Maraboli

I absolutely love this quote.  Each time I read it I am reminded that we are given one life to live.  However, another quote reminds me that in that one life we live

"You only live once?  False.  You live everyday.  You only die once." - (author unknown)

I will be the first to tell you that I have conformed in my life, I have settled, I have pretended to be content and I have literally placed my own two feet into the quicksand of life.  But, in that slow sinking I learned to dig deep and pull myself out and in that moment I began to learn who I was all over again and I learned how to fill my life with so many different yummies that I feel I never slow down enough to truly enjoy them all ... and yet I do.  I enjoy them all!

The most important thing that I have taught myself is that there is an art to living.  Each of us are different so that art is going to vary from person to person.  Each of us find this art through different sources and situations.  Mine was found through a living hell.  As subjective as that may be because humans want to judge, mine was real to me.  So real that I literally clawed myself out of it and into the beautiful daylight that I have been living in ever since.

Now, lesson #2.  You are never to young to start something new or finish what you started in the first place.  Total excuse.  You hear me?  EXCUSE!

"At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets."  - Dr. Steven Maraboli

For me this lesson developed my decision to go back to school.  To finish what I started.  I do not look at it as I quit years ago.  I look at it through the ideal that the road divides and the road less traveled, well it took me on a fourteen year detour to get back to it.  When I found that divided road, with the weeds grown back up all around it and it obviously needing repairs because it was cracked and obviously never used ... I also found a flower popping up through one of those cracks facing the sunrise and that flower was the belief and the hope that the road was not a dead end, it had so much life hiding in it that I just had to see beyond the cracks.  That first step was hard.  REALLY hard.  I was terrified if I want to be honest.  But I took it.  And once I started walking I soon felt my feet begin to run.

Fast-forward three years later and I have a degree in children's literature.  I have finished my Associates of Arts in Psychology and I am nine weeks shy of my Bachelor's of Science in Behavioral Psychology.  Overachiever?  Yes.  I am a self-proclaimed overachiever.  Nerd?  Absolutely.  I love my nerdness.  Exhausted?  Abso-freaking-lutely.  I am so utterly exhausted.  But ... the important question is:  Worth it?  YES AND YES AND YES!!!  So much of a YES that I am not finished.  NO where near finished.

I am switching schools in May.  Another scary divide in the road that is no longer cracked and unkept.  I am taking that exit onto a new road that is just as roughed up.  My Masters in Forensic Psychology is just around the corner and the art of living for me continues.

You see, I had a dream as a 14 year old girl to one day work in the field of forensic and criminal psychology.  That dream never went away.  It simply got hidden and I found a way to dig it out and the art of living for me lies in a few simple things:

1) Be the best me I can be.
2) Finish what I always wanted to do because I have one life, to live EVERY day before I die one time.
3) Embrace opportunities that lie in front of me and the drive that lies within me.
4) Teach my children these simple life forces I have learned and let them find their own art of living.

"Today I choose to live by choice and not by chance; To make changes not excuses.  To be motivated not manipulated; To be useful not used.  To excel, not compete; I choose self-esteem, not self pity.  I choose to listen to the inner voice, Not the random opinion of others." - (author unknown)

What is your art of living?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Love Is Like Jazz

Why Mascara Convictions?  It is really simple.  I am continually on the lookout for the perfect mascara at the perfect price point.  I have tried so many different ones and continue to try (even though I have found some I really really like).  Our eyes are our windows.  We not only see the world from them but people see us through them as well.  Mascara is like having the perfect window decor.  My favorite and must have makeup essentials are mascara and lipgloss.  So ... MASCARA!  The perfect decor to the windows of life.  Convictions?  Well, a conviction is a permanent view.  A firmly held belief or view.  Each of us have convictions throughout life.  We may change them ourselves (and sometimes at the help of other people showing us different views or options) but essentially it is US who change our VIEWS.  This blog is mine.  It is my heart, my thoughts, my opinions, my beliefs, my morals, my family, my personal convictions.  

So ... MASCARA CONVICTIONS is essentially that.  My (essential) windows to my personal firm held beliefs and views.  So ... 

I originally began blogging thinking it would give me an outlet for the millions of thought processes that go through my mind or even a window to actively put my passion out there (writing). However, I tend to prove to myself time and time again that I am the worlds worst at time management when it comes to things such as this ... and honestly that isn't a bad thing, right?!  Well, that is why I gave two new year resolutions to "time management" because I really need to get better at that.  I am a creature of habit.  I like routines and schedules.  So much that I seldom allow time for MYSELF.  So this is where my story begins ... kind of.  It is where my blog begins.  Faithfully this time.  I dub my time writing now as Blog:30.  

Those of you that know me, truly know what the last couple of years have entailed. I'm not blogging about it. ;-) (lucky you, right?) What I am going to blog about is the new beginning that this year has perked up with.

Time after time I have told myself that I am going to finish school, you know? Finish what I started so many years ago. Well, this year it is happening. I graduate in less than a month with my Bachelors of Science in Behavioral Psychology.  Not only do I graduate with this but I take a seven week "vacay from school" and then jump back in.  I am not going to tell you what for this round until after all registration is complete and things are set in stone because I am switching schools this round.  I was also offered a position in the advanced lit program from where I received my degree for Children's Literature. That is up for grabs ... still praying about that one.  Essentially I am blessed to be a self-proclaimed NERD.  Yup.  In the past four years I have gotten a degree in Children's Literature my AA in Psychology and my BS in Behavioral Psychology.  Now headed into my MA in ??? (wouldn't you like me to slip up here?!)  LOL ... not yet.  I am an education junky.  No joke.  I will not stop.  Headed towards that PhD in due time.

I also told myself that this year would be a healthier year. One that would be not only physically healthy but also emotionally and mentally healthy. Happiness is a topic that many debate over. Some believe that you create your own happiness while others believe that your environment is what creates your level of happiness. I believe that it is a blend of both. I not only believe that if we chose to be happy, we will be, but I also believe that if you choose to be happy but there is negativity around you, then it is time to let go and rid your personal space of the magnetism that pulls you towards it. So I have begun the process of just that. It is absolutely a process, but one that I am working at for myself daily through prayer and positive energy. If there is someone or something negative that is in my life then I am definitely removing it.

People pleasing. Enough said. God is my Father and my children look up to me for guidance and support and faith-filled yumminess. Those are the three entities that I seek to please. <3

Friends. *sigh*  "I didn't know, until I was at odds with the world, how much my friends who believe in me ... mean to me." - D.H. Lawrence

Love. Well, love is like Jazz. Beautiful, chaotic and all over the place. To a fault, I love big or I don't love at all. This goes for my family, my friends and ... well ... it is contained for the one God gave me. The one change that last year brought - is my ability to completely and unconditionally love myself. I began this season in my life with that one simple rule. To love myself ... by doing this I have an even bigger capability within me than I ever thought possible. The unconditional caring and support. Being able to tear down the giant, jagged, unclimbable walls that I had formed into a labyrinth around my own little space. The tendency to not trust. The inability to show another person who I truly am. You know? That quirky, weird girl that listens to any music, dances while she cooks, never retells a joke and gets it right, is OCD unless it comest to laundry, loves LOVES tattoos, can get foggy-eyed over the perfect lyrics to the perfect tune, doesn't like to cry in public, is passionate ... completely and utterly passionate about her passions, is drawn to all things that are far from normal in the psych world ... the girl that isn't the best at putting things into words but loves her GOD with all that is in her and does the Snoopy Dance every single Friday morning (and on special occasions). The girl that has two amazing children that have shifted her from spontaneous to routine, and blessed to be transformed by the very souls that she delivered. ---> You see, by loving every single aspect and detail that pieces together to create the simple me that God created ... well, it is just simply BLISS.  That ability allowed me to open up to the man that kept prying the locked shutters apart until he could climb through and reach my soul.  And honestly, God allowed me to open up to him because He knew my husband would be worth it, and that he would protect me so that I do not have to protect myself (all of the time).

This season in my life is exactly as God intended it to be. Blissful. 

Personality vs Behavior

The thing about therapy is that it is simply about people.  If I have learned one thing, it is that personalities people have and reflect throughout their lives are developed early.  Developed by genetics, parenting and just development all together into the people we are.  Throughout life, these personalities are built upon by life experiences, surroundings, cultures, religions (or lack of) and society views.  These personalities create behaviors.  Now, you cannot blame your behavior on anyone other than yourself essentially, once you become an adult you have to pay the piper (so to speak) and take responsibility for your behaviors/reactions in life.

Textbook speak is that people, as a whole, reflect their personalities in their behaviors.  Through experience a person will learn how to behave and the situations that are best suited for those behaviors.  Brittainy speak is that people, as a whole, reflect their personalities in their behaviors.  Through experience a person grows and learns who they truly are to the core.  And to the core a person is a development of all aspects of life ... the good and the bad.  The core of a person is who they are, not their behaviors.  A personality is developed, a behavior is controllable.  A. Behavior. Is. Controllable.  Which means that a person chooses to act a certain way.  You do not have to change how you feel, how life affects you or even who you are as a person.  But, a person has the complete and utter power to control how others perceive them and are affected by them.  A person has the COMPLETE power to speak life or death over other people.  So, that being said, my daily assessment is that I have the power to control how others behaviors and personalities affect me. 

Lesson of the day ... for me, and from me ... is to NOT allow anyone else to control how you feel, how you react, how you behave, how you think and how you feel with their negativity.  Be the SuNsHiNe you want to see in the world.  I promise you, to the people that you mean the most to, a sunbeam is far more beautiful.  And those that don't matter, won't notice.  And even if they do notice, let them see joy, not a bad perception of your personality because of a mere behavior that could have been controlled.