Saturday, November 2, 2013

Here's to 4

I can't help but cry when I think of 4 years ago today.

Big belly.  Aching back.  So exhilarated from being at my sisters birth the very night before.  Same room you'd be born in just 36hrs after your cousin, Josiah.

This beautiful story is only more beautiful because of the person you are to me, Leland Ryan.  You see you are such a communicator of love & affection.  You are almost always talking to me, touching me, or telling me something you love about me.  You might carry the genetic exact likeness of your introvert father, but you are all about the party, the life, the laughs.

It's ironic, Lee, because just a few years before you joined us, your Mama was in a sad sad place.  Lost baby Miller #2 and only Jude saw all those tears I cried - and he quietly sat on my lap watching little einsteins over and over so I could just sit still and grieve.  God healed my heart with each passing week but a true joy finally replaced that sorrow when I heard your cry, held your tiny body and lifted your face to mine.  I will absolutely never forget that moment.  The moment I first met you. It was like a door closed to intense pain and another opened to joy & laughter again.  You came in and healed my heart and made me believe again.  You, Leland, my teeniest boy, are living proof that a mustard seed tid bit of faith can move a mountain. Your Dad even told me, 'Wow its good to have you back again...' and he was right.  I was back.

Your Dad took this photo of me - it's my favorite of us and always will be.  I can close my eyes and be here in a moment.  Remembering your warmth and your sweet little face...and seeing your Dad hold your hand on his finger.  Nursing you was like wiping away tear after tear.  You were and are my joy.

Today, you're 4.  You're completely hilarious.  We laugh constantly because of you.  I am sometimes nervous in public with you because you're impossibly direct.  You are also a big big BIG fibber.  Flat out, you make things up.  You've told strangers the craziest stories and we're working with you on being a truth teller but gosh, in the meantime, we're also really impressed with your imagination.

Today - I am thankful for your light and your beautiful spirit.  You're a terrific friend and you will be loyal to your friends as you grow - that is easy to see.  Your eyes are the most gorgeous shade of blue - so bright and big.  You give the best hugs out of the family so far.  Seriously your hug could heal diseases.  I love how you touch people.  Physically, emotionally and even through humor.  You're funny because you're not even trying to be funny.  That's the best kind of funny there is.

Last year, you became a big brother and that is when I was blown away by you.  I remember you looking down at that baby and wondering if you were excited or if you were sad that you weren't the littlest anymore.  I felt sad for you and excited for you.  Sad because I knew my attention needed to be with this little brother of yours...and excited because I knew we'd given you a big gift in the form of a brother.
image by April O'Keefe

In the last 6 months, we've seen you go from sabotaging Simon to protecting Simon.  I know you were really affected by Simon's seizure and you've prayed nearly every night since that he would be ok and he would never get fevers.  I am in awe by your care for this baby (who is only 2lbs less than you but anyway) - you have truly arrived and have mastered the art of the 'little brother' and the art of the 'big brother' and you're rocking at it.  Half your day is caring for this little bro who needs care and supervision....and the other half you're driving Jude insane by hiding his lego guys and demanding to watch your favorite show over his.  You're pretty much the perfect middle kid and we love you more than life.

Looking forward to celebrating you....eating cake with you...building legos with you...and hugging you  and kissing you, sweet son.

I could not be more proud to be your Mom.

Happy Birthday!

Love always,

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

a quick video shoot

So, I had a video shoot yesterday.  Nothing major or difficult.

It was at the Cleveland Clinic.  The main campus.  No problem.  Sitter was set.  Makeup brushes washed.

Was not prepared for the emotion I would feel pulling up to this clinic.   The one we were just at 6 months back....with our Simon.  The moments I had hoped to forget.

I walked in, trying to keep my cool.  All the while I had a lump in my throat.  We were shooting in the same wing we stayed on.  The one where I was hoping to hear from neurologists that we'd be able to get home by Mother's Day so I could wash my Mexico clothes...and just be with my baby.

The smell reminded me of my emotions and watching child after child being wheeled around....and then watching their Moms.  So tired.  So done.

I put on my makeup artist hat and tried to just get through it.  I did, of course.

Then after the 7-hour day, I went to call for my car from valet.  Watched my car pull up in front of me and I remembered that day I held Simon as they wheeled us out.  I was so afraid the moment we'd get home, he'd start seizing.  I slept with him for a month.  Literally.  I didn't sleep in my own bed....only next to him.

The time it took for the valet to bring my car seemed like an eternity.  I saw a precious man wheel his father out.  He lovingly took his fathers arms and placed him arms underneath and lifted his Dad into the seat.  He put on his seatbelt and put back the wheel chair.  He came back and seemed to check in with his Dad to make sure he was OK and drove off...

I saw so many sick children.  So pale and washed out.  Some looked like they had been receiving treatment.  No hair and their parents seemed all too familiar with this place.

The valet FINALLY arrived and I let go.  I cried hard.  Cried hard for those families whose lives are surrounded by countless trips and treatments....

We always say how glad and proud we are to live in Cleveland....Home to the globally renown Cleveland Clinic but if you walk inside....the pride turns quickly to humility at what the next person is facing.  Their journey is different and difficult.  There are days with good news and hope...but also days like today when I saw a family huddled together over their uneaten lunch crying.  Crying over something awful.

We shot a nurse in the Pediatric department who works weekends...has 3 sons....and is an all around normal girl.  The part that inspired me was how much she lives for those 2 days/week when she's at work...helping little ones get well enough to go home.  She spoke about purpose and her ability to see her skills at use in this job in every way: emotional, mental, physical.  It made me so grateful for people in this industry who don't just care for their family  (like me, most days) but strangers...and who calm scared parents and who help a little one to get a shot with a teddy bear and a popsicle.  It's beautiful to see those with such gifts serving us but so humbling.

Had to share....hope this made sense.  xoxo Jess

Monday, September 23, 2013

Welcome Monday!

Last week was bad.

Like constant car repair, debit card hack, & appliance breakdown all in a 48hr period.

Never a good time for any of those, but especially not all at once.  It starts to mentally shake you.  '

'Why is this happening?'
 'Why did God allow it?'
 'Haven't we been faithful with what we have?'

Had to resort, eventually, to the idea that its just life.  Life can just really bite sometimes.

Typically when I post something on social media, it's of the funny/positive nature.  To me, negativity is everywhere and I don't like to contribute to it.  But, life certainly takes on its hills and valleys....and it seems like the valleys are so much darker....

This weekend was jam packed.

Joel and I connected last night and decided this week would be better.  We'd be intentional about conversation.  We would love through action.  We would listen harder to the cute things our kids have to say.  We would read more.  We would tickle them more.  We would kiss more.

So, welcome Monday.  I am filling you with many tasks that need to be done - starting with this tornado of a house situation.


First off, I'm thankful.  I'm grateful for:

-My husband who works HARD s o o o H A R D.
-My eldest son who is occasionally the man of the house - who inspires me and cares for me too.
-My middle son who is director of comedy & affection.  His touch makes me feel like I'm doing something right.
-My baby boy.  Who I adore but is suddenly acting like a boy and not a baby.  Planning to swaddle him today to tell him 'That's NOT OK!'  ;-)
-My wonderful family - supportive parents who pray and who help us get our broken fridge out to the curb.
-Beautiful friends - ones who text/call/write/pray or even ones who give us a new 'used' fridge.  I'm thankful I can be real and still be loved.  That's amazing.
-A job that is something I so enjoy - yet I can put my family first.

Heart is ready for a new week.  Do you have something you are thankful for?  Encourage my heart by sharing with me what you choose to be grateful for this morning.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

hello little neglected blog

This summer has been FULL of challenge, joy, & life.

I've not gotten around to all the jobs I set out to do in my home.
I did not cross off every item on my bucket list.
I did not manage to keep to my 'do 1 load of laundry a day' goal


I did have some amazing conversations with my husband in the back yard over a glass of wine....swing in the hammock reading a book over and over to my baby take his first steps - TOWARD me with a smile on his face....

I've been savoring moments but truth be told, I've been healing.  My heart was broken watching my Simon walk through what he did back in May.  I didn't realize how much a trip to the beach watching him play in sand could heal my heart from that trauma.  I had no idea how whole I would feel seeing my husband make him bust a gut laughing by just throwing sand on his toes or handing him a wiggly lightening bug.

Last summer was just hard.  I felt like that woman who is out in the middle of a body of water just trying to keep my head up.  This summer, I was the one who sat on a raft and enjoyed myself a bit more.  It was a little less work and a little more play.  I think I can forever call it good and call it time well spent.

In all the madness of school prep, I slowed down to write Jude a '1st day' note for his lunch box.  There was so much I wanted him to know.  Just didn't want it to be a '1st day novel' as I know he would not have time to read it all.  So, I summed it up and kept it sweet but had to include how much our God loves him...and created him for so many wonderful things.  I started to cry as I wrote that.  I realized how powerful it is to mother.  To care for a child inside of you and then from the moment they are begin to lose control....little by little.  Sometimes it's nice (like when they don't need you every hour through the night) but then sometimes its hard.  (Like when they prefer the bus over waving goodbye after closing the car door).

I sat there with my 3rd cup of coffee....tears streaming down....just grateful for a healthy boy who still kisses me when he wakes up and hugs me before bed....who notices when I wear lipstick (and then asks where we're going-haha) and who reads and reads and then shares in detail what he's learned.  I love that he's a talker (usually) and I'm trying to slow down more this school year so I can really listen.

Cheers to all you Mamas out there...say adios to little ones for the first time....or perhaps missing those '1st days of school' as those years have passed.  Clinking my coffee mug with yours!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

carpe diem

I remember learning this phrase at the Teen mania Honor Academy.  Maybe learning it a little too much.

It was all I could think to call this post, however.

It's summer.  Nearly the 4th of July.  We've celebrated Simon's life....his 1st birthday.  His biggest bro's 8th birthday...his Dad's 33rd birthday.  (SO done with all the bdays btw)

Now, we simply live.  Except it's different.  I've been writing down on our chalkboard wall all the special things we're doing:

1-Beach trips
3-Picnics in the park
4-Visiting a new puppy

Because it all just matters more than it ever did.  Simon is here and alive.  I feel like every color is more vibrant and every sound is more intense.  Life just seems more valuable than ever.  Like even dancing in the kitchen feels really special.  Laying on a blanket in the yard is such a treat.  Going out for ice cream makes the weekend.

You get it.

In other news - not only is Simon alive and well but he's eating everything.  He ate his first pb&j.  His first pasta with meat sauce and his first strawberry this week.  Exciting stuff.  When the big boys come to the table for a meal, he goes and takes turns begging like a pup to each brother...waiting for a morsel.  Even if he's just stuffed himself with his own meal first.  This failure to thrive baby is turning into a hulk baby and I love it.  Man boobs, big ole white belly and chunky thighs.  Simon is here, alive and well.

Thought you'd like to know.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

close call

Venturing through emotion - especially pain is always more fruitful when I write about it.  When I get it out of my head.  I feel less 'stuck' and less 'trapped' this way.

To those of you unaware of the trauma we've just come through, while on our final evening on a week long trip to Mexico for our anniversary, we got the 'call' - the one you hope to GOD you will never get.  The call that your child is in danger.  Not just 'gashed his head and is going to need stitches and some ice...'

Real deal danger.  Like....he's on a ventilator and they hope he will be breathing on his own soon.


Was I not just skipping through Riviera Maya....bartering for hand painted maracas to bring home to this very baby?  Was I not JUST about to get together and go grab dinner with my husband and celebrate our final night in Mexico?  Weren't we just at a Starbucks that had a Mariachi band singing at it?

And in a moment.  We panic.  We fear.  We freeze.  I couldn't even cry yet.  I just sat there wide eyed wondering if there was any way to feel any more helpless than I did at that moment?

My Dad and Mom were with our children while we were away and it was my poor Mom who had to see the entire ordeal take place.  An 11 month old.  Having a seizure.  That would not stop.

Just like we do, as women, we rise to the occasion and we act.  She swiftly called 911 and they were to our home in moments.  Off they went and he went on to have 2 additional seizures.  The 3rd one would not stop.  20 minutes....finally they had to put him into a coma that slowed everything down, including him needing to be on a machine that would breathe for him.  11 months old!  Tiny!

With a fantastic NICU at the hospital he was at yet not as much by the way of helping a 22lb baby, they felt he needed even more precise care and proceeded to life flight him to the downtown Cleveland Clinic campus.  My poor Mom is handling this all like a pro - and with a dear friend of ours (who happens to be a NICU nurse and stayed by her side) but still - who wants to be the one dealing with all of this with SOMEONE ELSE'S baby?

My sweet Dad cried over the phone explaining how awful a sight it was to see.  He was worried and when you are a girl and your Dad worries, it's scary.  This was truly my nightmare.  Joel's brother and sister (who were with us on the trip celebrating THEIR anniversary) started getting the ball rolling - securing an earlier flight home, helping us pack, speaking life over us and trying to keep things light.

Alarms were set for 2:30am to catch a 3:30am cab to catch a 6am flight out of Cancun.  From the moment we left the hotel, we no longer had a wifi connection and had to wait 7 hours until landing in Miami so we could switch on our phones and find out if our boy was breathing....had brain activity....or not.

He did.  He was breathing.  His brain looked awesome.  We sighed.  We cried.  We just wanted to hold him.  The planes seemed to go in slow motion.  I tried to eat and I tried to sleep but how do you do anything that could seem pleasurable when you are away from your suffering child?  I couldn't.

Finally, we arrived in Detroit - sweet friends actually drove our vehicle to the airport so we could just leave from there - and off we went.

I remember holding him the first time and he was restless but sleepy.  He just didn't look like my Simon.  He looked so pale and so exhausted.  He'd been through so much.  All I could feel was, 'I should have been the one that was with him.'  So.much.guilt.

Hours went by.  They kept him a bit longer in ICU as he was just not coming out of his groggy state well.  He wouldn't make eye contact and only slightly seemed to know us.  I freaked out. I tried to keep composure but it was in THAT moment, I lost it.  Worrying over every thing that could have happened.  Did he lose oxygen long enough that his brain will forever be affected?  Is he even going to be the same boy I knew?  I felt like I was suffocating under all this worry.  I told Joel I needed to walk around the clinic a bit.

I went down to the chapel.  A quiet man was on his knees praying and I went to the back corner and knelt down.  I thought, "I'll just be real quiet and offer my prayer up...."  and I loud I couldn't control it.  Body shaking, tears flowing and gasping for air in between.  I wept.  I truly wept. I didn't even know what to pray at this point.  My child was alive but what if he wasn't going to recover?  What if What if What if What if.............every sentence I began to think started with those two words.

After about 8 minutes of this.  The sweet and small little man spoke, 'Excuse me, can I help you or get you anything?"


I looked his direction but couldn't even look him in the eye and said, 'Please pray for my son, Simon." He said he would and I threw my head back down.  Embarrassed at what a mess I was.

I saw him write in a book and shortly thereafter leave.  I finished my prayer and got myself together.  I noticed the prayer book he must have written in.  I decided to leave my own prayer.  I don't even remember what I wrote but I do remember what others wrote.  I looked back at the entry just before mine and it said, 'I trust you, Jesus.' and that's it.

That's all he wrote.

I looked at the page prior and a woman prayed for her husband - ending with 'I trust in you God."

The one before that....someone praying for strength for that day and for results they would receive.  They wrote, 'I trust in you.  I put my hope in you.'

I felt so feeble and small.  I could have written blog paragraphs but that sentence would have been found no where in any of them.

I sat still and asked God to forgive me for my lack of trust and my incredibly large fear.  I told Him I knew He must adore Simon and care for Him since He made him....and added one last sentence to my page.  "I trust in you."

Easy to write.  Hard to do.

The morning after, we noticed our Simon started to smile.  I sang him 'You are my sunshine..." (or as much of it as I could get through) and he smiled at me like he always had.  He was as wobbly as a 3 month old and couldn't hold any body parts up but he smiled.  I saw him in there finally.

The following day, he was holding his head and babbling...'Dadadada....mamamama....babbababa...."

The next day, he was sitting up and acting SO close to himself.  That day. The day before Mother's Day we were told we could go home.  I wanted to cry and jump around all at the same time without yanking cords off of him, of course!

The diagnosis of all he had been dealing with was called a complex febrile seizure.  If you're unfamiliar, I highly recommend reading this article as it clearly explains it and how common it is. The main risk he has from this point is having another febrile seizure.  So, we're doing all we can to avoid him having a fever but ultimately....we are learning the difference between 'trusting in God' and saying we trust in God.  It's really really different and we're not super great at it.  We're trying, though....and thankfully a mustard seed is small which means, I can't be far off. (Luke 17:6)

I have SO many people to thank - as it was remarkable to see how a family stretching across the globe came together for this one little Simon boy.

To all of those who prayed, shared the image I posted....or just wrote/texted to encourage.  Thank you for making me feel like I wasn't alone.

To the beautiful staff of the CLE clinic...from docs to nurses to the guy/gal who flew the helicopter...I'm trying hunt you down so I can bring you muffins or a pie or something....

To my sister inlaw's family who helped secure our flight change....arrange our vehicle coming back to us, you moved fast and you loved us through your actions!

To our precious neighbors who watched our sons and tried to help them not be afraid.  You were there. We will never forget that.

To our friends who have/are bringing us meals....dropping off coffee...calling, texting.  Thank you!  Means more than you know - to a Puerto Rican, food is LOVE.

To the amazing staff at Twist Creative - for offering to send us our favorite meal from anywhere in the city....what a treat - we loved our Greenhouse Tavern to-go....

To those 3 friends I facebooked right away - you prayed.  you paced.  you cried.  you made me feel like I wasn't alone because that was the truth.  You've since visited, cooked and been such a blessing to us with words and faith.

To my brother and sister: Ryan and Kim - you are more than family, you are the people who can see the pain, the ugly, the lack of faith and speak life and beauty into it.  Thank you for coming and being in CLE when all you had was Mexico luggage and it snowed here.  Thank you for loving my older sons and giving them a great 'bacation' at the hotel were such a ray of light in a dark moment.

To Karla...our friend, NICU nurse, angel.  You stayed by my Mom's side and you spoke to Simon even when he was stuck with a million tubes and probes...and simply told him you were held my Mom through a dark night and you were a presence that gave us all strength and peace.

To Dad...I'm so sorry you had to make that call but I am so thankful those boys were in such good hands....and that you kept the older ones safe and protected from fear.  I always looked to you for that growing up and you gave them that in this time.

To Mom - words won't do it.  The action.  The prayer.  You were by his side and you kept my son alive with your faith.  I will always love you because you are my Mom but you are SO much more than that to me.  You are truly my hero.  I am so blessed that this happened when they were with you - and that your knowledge and experience could provide you with wisdom and perceptive ability to move quick.  I have thought of a million 'Omg what if he had been here....' and I truly believe he's here alive, smiling, giggling and getting stuck under the piano every hour or so....because of you.

There is the story.  I was encouraged by several of you to write it down.  Truth be told, I just wanted to forget it all but I think there is purpose in writing it all down.  The next time I write it will be about the fabulous 6 days PRIOR to this event.  I am trying to separate the two as we really did have a remarkable vacation - more on that later.

All our love and thanks.....

Joel and Jess

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


We've all heard the saying that perception is reality.

I'm finding that such a barrier to doing my job as a makeup artist.  I mean, I'm here to bring out the most positive assets in a woman.  To help her understand that I'm not lying when I say her eyes are such a radiant shade of green or that her skin is really so flawless or that her lips make me want to try on a million different berry-colored shades.

I wouldn't say that if it weren't true. 

Just the other day, I was helping out at a Bobbi Brown counter only to have these 2 really cute sisters come up.  They appeared to be in their late 40's or early 50's.  The one was celebrating her birthday and wanted to treat herself to some makeup or a skin care product and had already loved Bobbi Brown for years.

We sat her down and took off what makeup she already had on.  We talked over her concerns and at one point I had to stop her.  She wouldn't stop telling me everything she hated about herself.  It broke my heart.  It was her birthday.  She couldn't tell me one thing she loved.  One thing she wanted to accentuate.

Want to know what was worse?

Her sister chimed in and echoed each negative thing.  'Oh yes, her lines are SO deep now....her lips just disappear so don't put any dark lipstick on her...oh yea, I would just keep it simple so you don't draw attention to her forehead wrinkles!"


Finally, the woman I was assisting did me the biggest favor and offered to do the 'other sister's' makeup just to shush her up for 10 minutes.

I finally had a minute with the birthday girl.  I told her what I really loved about her skin and we addressed her concerns with some tips and products.  I showed her a new palette that would help her do a 5-minute eye and be her 'go to' for both daytime/evening eyes.  I even purposely aligned myself between the two sisters so they couldn't see eachother or make any remarks.

A few moments went by and I was really happy with how fresh her skin looked and how much we popped her sky blue eyes.  I showed her a mirror and her expression was priceless.  She didn't say she loved it but she was shocked.  'Oh my gosh.  My eyes look so big!"  (That was the first positive thing she had said about herself since walking up)  Once the sister was done, we moved out of the way and let them look at each other.

It was such a beautiful moment hearing them compliment each other for the firs time in our entire encounter together.  "You remind me of Mom right now with how blue your eyes look!"


My prayer is that we would all understand how important it is to compliment ourselves.  Not in a weirdo psychotic way in the mirror a million times a day.  Just simple.  "I really DO like my lips.  I am going to try and play up these cheek bones."  Ah. I am not really great at this - just working on it and finding it really really powerful.

Hope this finds the women who need to hear it.  All my love.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

impossibly big joy

Do you write down when the good things happen?

Sometimes I use this little blog to help as free therapy during the tough times?

Like when my baby wouldn't grow. And when we thought he might not ever grow.  Like when my husband would secretly call the Pediatrician to get more information because he didn't want to scare me with his fear of our baby dying.

Or like when your son sits with you at a table for the 2nd time having to hear his parents retell another story of a school shooting while simultaneously assuring him of his own safety at school.  When, really, you are so afraid too.

Or like when you have a crappy Christmas and everyone is sick and you ate too much and you feel rotten about yourself.

I usually blog then.

I blog today a bit differently.

To boast about how life's ebb and flow turns just slightly to offer refreshment, serenity, and a dash of joy around several corners of the day.

From the look in my (now chubby) baby's eyes the moment he sees me each it's the greatest thing he could ever see.

Or when my 3yr old holds my hand and tells me he loves me out of nowhere or that he is proud of me for going potty like a big girl just like he goes potty.  ;-)

Or when your oldest picks up around the house just so you can relax after dinner and not worry over it.

I must say this is not because of me or anything I've done but because I truly believe in the power of being a child of God and being being a daughter first, in being a friend, a lover, a mother, a sister.   I've been hearing and listening to my own heart lately and that has required intense focus.  A focus I wasn't granting myself because this last season was just so intense and hard.  Preferred sleep over 'me time' - normal completely normal, I know.

I just have to say I'm grateful this year is spinning around and looking differently.  My husband and I are heading towards our 10 year celebration of marriage - I am so grateful we found one another.  A boy from Michigan.  A girl from Ohio.  Who met in Texas.

But that's another blog post.

G'Nite.  Write down the good.  It helps.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the real deal

Joel and I have been on a quest in the 12 years of friendship and (almost) 10 years of marriage for something:  A U T H E N T I C I T Y

Whether it was in each other - choosing truth over half truths

Whether it was in church - refusing the types of leadership who self-serve or perpetuate their church by looking for the wealthy patrons and giving only 'those' people their love and care.  Instead, we sought after the types who laid their own lives down for others.

Whether it was in work - giving our 100% even if, at the time, our boss never cared or noticed.

Whether it was in friends - choosing safety in friendships over quantity

Last night, I went to the gym where I've been working out since the beginning of 2013.  It was a workout I had done before and I was looking forward to doing it better than I had last time.  I had energy, felt well, and was excited to feel like I accomplished something.

There is a move we did - it is this plank move where you have your feet on these 'sliding' type pads and then you bring your legs toward your chest and then out again over and then once you're strong enough you start to move them to either side, really working all muscles in your core.

The first time I ever tried this (a few wks back) I was seriously embarrassed that I couldn't even move my legs at the same time.  My mind told my body to do it but when I tried, I would just lose my balance and go to my knees.  So, I started with a basic plank for the last 2 weeks and last night, I tried the move the way it was intended.  I was shocked that I actually did it.  I didn't think too long over it just kept doing it and doing it.  A few minutes later, the greatest trainer in the world steps over and whispers in my ear, 'You are getting so Strong....can you feel it?"

It wasn't until today that I realized something about relationships and authenticity.

We can't be authentic unless we're willing to 'notice' the good about others.  We can't be genuine in our relationships and be insecure about giving a compliment at the same time.  I know not everyone is naturally prone towards giving affirming words but I DO know the power of what they give to a person.  They provide safety and life, they speak power and fill your tank bit by bit.  I do know that we can ALL try it and be successful at it without feeling worse about fact, I believe it builds up the giver almost as much or maybe even more.

I was recently working at a small store with a very small staff.  I was accused of being fake and psycho. 2 things I really really hope I am not.  I had no idea how toxic the environment was hearing that over and over again....until I was away from it.  Sometimes God moves us from place to place simply to purify how we believe and think about ourselves.  Similarly, Jude had a friend who was being unkind with his words on the bus towards him. It made Jude feel awful and it was ME who saw those tears each day after he hopped off that bus.  So, naturally I had him moved a few rows away from this child and each and every day we've seen a happy Jude come home.  I like to think God did the same for me.  He is a Father who hates seeing us hurt.

Woke up this morning to a really lovely text from a friend - one whose been there through thick and thin and just had to write about how powerful I felt the connection was between 'being real and vulnerable' and choosing to GIVE generously with our words.

Hope it sparks something in your own relationships...and encourages you to be the one who begins/continues to affirm those in your life.

Refreshing others is refreshment to oneself...
just loved this poster found here 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February YES!

I can honestly say I am thrilled to wave farewell to January 2013.  I almost feel like I want to throw it in with 2012.  

We bit off more than we could chew in home repairs and didn't spend enough time just being still. 
Had intense work issues in which I was lied and spoken horribly about.  I have come to realize, maybe too late, that some people are just not going to like me.  

For what??

Being me.  Being happy.  Being joyful.  ??

I don't know.  It's such a puzzle in how we interact with human beings.  In some relationships, it flows so beautifully and so naturally.  We believe the best about one another and we cheer each other on in this game called Life. 

I am sometimes naive when it comes to my expectations.  I can have a bunnies and rainbows and sunshine perspective and then really get sad when I see hate, jealousy and plain old catty-ness. 

This quote from beloved researcher and author, Brené Brown, spoke to me:

Want to be happy?  Stop trying to be perfect. 

This also meant to me: It's ok if not EVERYONE likes me.  

I have to laugh at how hysterical I can be - are you like this too?  You could have 10 awesome friendships going lost long friend seemed 'weird' to you at a party and its all you can focus on.  Why do we focus on the one imperfection despite a myriad of beautiful relationships all around?

All this plus a group I'm a part of where we're focusing on 'insecurity' leads me to desire and choose confidence.  It's the accessory I find most attractive on everyone, including myself. 

New resolution - a month late:  Be happy with me.  Just me.  Just the way I am.

It's harder than it sounds.  It sounds so cliche. 

It's really quite imperative to joyful living, I believe. 

Moving forward, knowing that I am valuable enough and worthy enough for love, kindness and respect.  Thankful to God for removing me from a toxic environment in which I was treated less than human.  No one deserves that. 

I am also going to get a little sappy here. 

My husband is so amazing.  Not perfect.  Not always the one who says the right thing all the time. 

He just is amazing.  He works hard.  He plays with our sons like he's got the energy of a 3 yr old.  He does major home repair when I can tell he'd much rather do nothing else other than sleep.  He's faithful.  Let me say that last one again. He is faithful.

On a day that was hard last week, he wrote me an email I will never forget.  While he said many kind things, one thing he said that I won't forget was that he 'believed in my talent as an artist and always had....'  

Sometimes in the face of gossip and strife, all it takes is one who really sees just believe in you.

Here we go February....