Be Mindful of Your Needs

Do you ever just feel like you need a day to yourself? A day in which to escape reality or the everyday life of being an adult. Maybe you just want to stay in bed or spend the entire day doing whatever it is that YOU like to do. How about the possibility of utilizing the entire day to catch up on; rest, chores or even some reading. I think these days are referred to as “mental health” days. And boy would I like to take one!

A part of me is wondering why they aren’t a “real thing?” Why it isn’t acceptable to have one every few months or so? It sure would be nice wouldn’t it? Can you imagine the difference it would make in our health?!

I have started to really evaluate myself lately. Daily. I think about how my body is feeling and what its needs are. I also think about how my heart is feeling and what my emotional desires are. I evaluate my personal goals and the outcome of my hard work and determination to reach them. These are really just a few of the examples I have learned can be very beneficial to not only my physical, but mental well-being.

But why is it so hard to take a few minutes throughout the day for ourselves? 

This is a question that most likely doesn’t have a miraculous answer, but if it did the world could truly be a better place. We are not giving, expressing or doing are best if we are not at our best. By this I mean feeling, looking and performing to the fullest of our abilities.

Before you get down on yourself, I think it is critical to acknowledge that really it isn’t our own fault. There is so much pressure in this world and within society that can overpower and take such a toll on us as human beings.  The expectations we have and set are far too high for anyone to feel rested, caught up or achieved.

We are always longing for more or to be better. The house can never be clean enough, we can never spend enough hours at our jobs or how about at the gym. Not to mention feeding our body healthy meals and taking care of our families. The list goes on and on.

One message I’d like to strongly encourage is to ALWAYS take those few precious moments throughout your day to evaluate yourself. When your body is sending you signs that is aches, is tired or needs reprieve…Listen to it. We will never get ahead and be where we want to be without fulfilling the needs our minds, bodies and hearts. Nothing is worth the sacrifice of your own well being. Be mindful of that.

caring for yourself

Hello October!

Well, whether we are ready or not, it is now the beginning of October. It is hard to believe how fast time passes by. Isn’t it? I feel as if each time I write a post I find myself expressing a similar statement.

October

Fall is such a wonderful time of the year. The leaves are changing, there are many wonderful scents to enjoy and yummy things to eat…oh, and of course it is football season. Suddenly, it’s time to pull the sweaters out of the back of your closet and start wearing your cute boots. There isn’t a better time for warm coffee or fuzzy blankets. You can explore fun activities with your friends and family such as carving pumpkins (one of my favorites). There are just so many joyful things about this time of the year.

However, tied to all these beautiful things, there can be sadness too. Fall brings holidays, memories and traditions. For me, this can be a real struggle. As much as I love to enjoy all my favorites about this time of the year, my heart aches for what I am missing. My mom. As today, I am working at the office; I can’t help but feel distracted with my thoughts. My mind wonders and wishes so badly that I could spend this first fall weekend with her.

She loved this time of the year too. She always made the most of what the season would bring. She was full of life, generosity and love. How blessed am I to learn from her incredible behavior and to now in some special way walk in her footsteps? I continue to remind myself that is what she would want for me. Life, generosity and love.

I came across this verse today and felt very inspired by it…

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. -2 Corinthians 9:11

What an empowering verse! God is really speaking to me right now. He continues to enrich me in every way so that I have the ability to give to others. And that is exactly what this fall season is about. We should be consumed with having generosity on every occasion and giving no matter what the result may be. Through God all of our giving will be rewarded with good.

Through the smile and tears, he has truly continued to be by my side. With happiness and with sadness, the Lord has been so generous to me. I feel humbled by 2 Corinthians 9:11. I feel motivated and ready to make the most of this fall and to walk with generosity in the guidance of my Lord and of course, my mother, so that they may lead me down the paths that I need to follow.

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Don’t be ashamed of your tears

“We need never to be ashamed of our tears.” –Charles Dickens

If you are anything like me, you wear your heart on your sleeve. You can’t help but be an emotional person because of how much you care. Even the little things get to you. I love those famous words above from Charles. It brings me to the question of: “why should we be ashamed of our feelings?”

This article acknowledges that the healthy and natural way to deal with and reduce emotional stress is in fact crying. At first, this may come across alarming. I think that’s because our society has created an illusion that crying is a sign of weakness. I disagree.

The article [at the bottom of this post] offers 5 reasons as to why crying actually means you’re mentally strong:

  1. You meet your emotions head on.
  2. You don’t care what others think about you.
  3. You know that crying helps you release pent up feelings.
  4. You know that crying makes you healthier overall.
  5. You help others feel more comfortable expressing themselves.

The five reasons mentioned truly make a lot of sense to me and I hope that they do to you as well. I am confident to say that I am extremely mentally strong, but will admit that I’ve asked myself before: “how I could be that strong, yet cry so often?” Seems to me like it is VERY possible and that allowing myself to be vulnerable and liberate to myself and others about my feelings actually contributes to my strength.

PLEASE, check out this fabulous article!

http://www.powerofpositivity.com/why-crying-a-lot-means-youre-mentally-tough/

vulnerable -  strength

Trust Yourself

I debated on exactly how in-depth I wanted to get with this post based on my own privacy, I suppose. After giving it a lot of thought for a few days I decided to just begin writing to see where my words would take me.

My thoughts begin with the word honesty. If you can’t be honest with yourself, how can you ever expect to be honest with anyone else? For those who know me well, they understand one value that I hold incredibility high is trust. It is impossible for me to be involved in a good friendship or even more so relationship without the feeling of mutual trust.

Your word is only as good as your actions.

Trust can be very complicated. It takes a while to build, but can be broken within a matter of seconds.

Throughout the past five months I have been dealing with debilitating pain. My body has felt trapped within a state that feels extremely unhealthy. I have felt fatigue, along with an assortment of chronic pain that has been capable of controlling my life both physically and mentally.  And at times it has. However, I’ve felt determined to overcome this sick feeling no matter how much it would take out of me.

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I had to trust myself. I would remind myself of this daily. There were multiple times I recall crying out to myself or some of the close people in my life… “Am I crazy?” I wasn’t even sure if I was asking myself or if I was waiting for someone else to declare it. I had to be crazy. I’ve felt physical pain before, as losing my mom took over both my mind and body for a while, but this was something much different. I almost felt in some ways like I couldn’t manage to function.

I knew something was going on with my body, I just wasn’t sure what it was. As I went from doctor to doctor, I would find myself in tears recalling the same story. I would read my journal to them where I kept tabs of what I ate, how many hours I slept, the medicine/supplements I would consume and what I was feeling. I took multiple tests where minor abnormalities would pop up but nothing explaining the deep and controlling pain I knew I was experiencing. It quickly became a nightmare.

I could feel myself losing patience; but that wasn’t even the worst part. I could also feel people, who meant so much to me, pushing away from me because it began to consume me. I wasn’t fun, I sure wasn’t happy and it’s very possible, it was quite difficult to be around me.  People at work began to recognize I was in pain. They would complement me with how well I was coping. They’d even make mention of my positive attitude and devoted energy to my work. But inside I could feel that it was fake and draining me. I was giving it all I could just to make it through a day of work. One day at a time.

Finally one night I was absolutely hysterical. I was crying out to my father and friend, “I am in so much pain, I can’t do this anymore.” And in spite of what they may of thought, I truly felt this way. I was losing hope because I was trying desperately to find some sort of answer and relief. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t happening.

Very shortly after that night, I think God heard my cries and answered my prayers. I met with an extremely talented and generous doctor. For once, in this journey, I felt that he actually wanted me better as much as I did. I knew he was determined to help me and lead me to recovery. Within a few long months he connected me with a very special lady. She was a specialized in the area he felt I needed to be connected in. He was right.

Within a month of my first visit with her I was getting put to sleep for surgery. I went into the surgery nervous, but anxious with some sort of excitement. I was looking for answers that I so desperately needed. My first memory after recovery was the voice of the sweet lady doctor. She held my arm and said “Randi, my dear, you are not crazy.” It turns out something had been taking over my body and was causing me intense and terrible pain. If they wouldn’t have found it, it would have only gotten worse for me and could have resulted in a lot of permanent damage that would have been devastating for me.

I am still recovering, I have a long ways to go, but I know now how important it is to always trust yourself. You know your own body and needs. Don’t ever sell yourself short by not acknowledging what you feel. Be your own advocate and fight with every ounce of hope that no matter what you are facing there are better days ahead. Healing will come for those who believe.

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Life is too Short

Lately I’ve been on this whole kick of ‘Life is too Short.’ And really, it can be.

I think because of both the many fortunate and unfortunate events that have occurred in my life at a fairly young age, I feel compelled to live every day to its fullest and make the most of my life. As wonderful as it sounds, it is actually a very hard and demanding task to complete. Not only can life be incredibly beautiful, but it can be extremely challenging as well. It is difficult to remain in positivity when at times there can be so much negativity surrounding you.

I’m starting to believe that awareness is the key.

life is short 1

To start, become aware and acknowledge that your mind is powerful. Some of the most gifted and talented minds have taken nothing and made it into something. We can control the majority of what we are feeling and the way we behave by being in tune with our own minds. I come across many obstacles, both big and small, throughout my daily life. My approach towards tackling the obstacles varies based on what they actually are. However, I am fairly certain that I would not be able to overcome a large percent of my own personal obstacles without acceptance.

There are things in this life that seem unfair. I have several examples in mind. One that continuously occurs to me is sickness. I know several beautiful individuals that have battled severe illnesses that either left them in despair or led them to death. It seems like no matter how hard you try to comprehend something like terrible illnesses that happen to people all over the world, it just doesn’t make sense. And it probably won’t. Through a lot of hard work I have come to the acceptance that there are not answers for everything; especially the things we cannot control. Lucky for us, there are so many things we can control. So, let’s focus on that!

In today’s world we are blessed to have the gift of freedom. We are entitled to choices. As we know there were once days when having freedom wasn’t as easy as it is now. But right now, in this moment you are able to decide what you want to do and when and how you’d like to do it. You may choose your religion, your occupation, your education, your spouse and so much more. But not only that you can choose your church, your location, your school, your soul mate and again so much more. If you really stop to think about it, how awesome is that?!

So I have been asking myself a series of these types of questions lately. I have committed to take time to dig deep in searching my soul. I want to develop confidence that I will spend each day of my life the way I truly desire to. This process is just beginning for me and as I am finding out already it can be quite confusing. But in the end, I totally believe it is going to be worth it.

I have awareness of the power of my mind. I have accepted that there will be obstacles to come that I may not understand and I am ready to focus on all the things that I know I can control. I am working to have the confidence I encourage us all to have. Live life doing what makes you happy.

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A Tribute to Nan

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of you is your laugh. It was inevitably contagious. There was always a smile on your face, a cup of coffee on your desk and some sort of yummy treat in your hand. You were passionate, enthusiastic and determined. Most of all you were kind. In the years of knowing you, I can’t think of a moment in time that I ever recognized a mean bone in your body. Yet, I have all the faith in the world that if any stupid boy did me wrong or broke my heart, you’d let em’ have it. Your words, not mine. I loved sharing my stories and shoe fetishes with you. You were a sucker for a fabulous pair of heels. I don’t blame you. Your favorite outfit, a Red Wings jersey. You were so simple, but elegant. I always felt comfort and love in your presence. Maybe it’s because you always genuinely cared to know what was going on in my life. I am so thankful you made it to my college graduation ceremony. I will miss our frequent lunches at Focassia’s. Their lobster bisque was your favorite. It will hard to go back there without you. I know with all of my heart, the ‘Nut House’ will never be the same without you. You were deeply loved by everyone who crossed your path. And will forever hold a special place in my heart. You will be missed. But I remind myself of your faith and rejoice knowing that you are with the love of your life again, Howard. I hope you’ll go visit Hawaii again with him.

I will always love you Nan.

Please give my mom a hug for me.

P.S. I know you both will be watching over the stands on October 10th for the boys’ football game.

Nan

 

Wishing You a Happy Birthday

I stepped outside on my lunch today. The sun was shining so bright and beautifully. The air was still and for a moment I finally felt calm. I couldn’t help but smile because in my heart I knew today would be a sunny day. The sun is shining for you, because this is your day. Though I miss your physical presence more than my words could ever express. I know you are in good hands and that your soul is free. It’s free of any pain, negativity, panic, worry and heartache. It’s full of joy, laughter, pride and happiness. I want all of those wonderful things for you, I promise that I do. I try to fight every waking day to feel joy in my heart. I want to come to some sort of peace because I know that is what you want for me. Some days are easier than others. Today is a hard day. But I thank you, and I thank our glorious God for allowing the warm soothing sun to shine so bright on me today. When I close my eyes I can almost feel your arms wrapped around me. There is nothing like the feeling of your touch. There is no sound as sweet as your loving voice. Please know, for as long as I live, no one will ever take your place.

This is from me, mom, from the bottom of my heart, wishing you a happy birthday.

Birthday butterflies

This is What is Real

I can’t seem to focus right now. So, I am not even going to try. All I can think about today is her. Maybe it’s because this week is her birthday; Thursday, June 23rd.  She would be turning fifty- three this year.

So much life still left to live.

So much joy left to be felt.

So much love left to give.

But instead of celebrating another year with me, with her family, she will be somewhere that feels so far away from me right now. I know that she will be in heaven. She’s there right now. I bet it’s beautiful, painless, something like paradise; but it’s a beautiful place that right now feels so far away from me.

This will be her third birthday spent away from her three children. We are sad…we miss our mom. Not a day goes by that we don’t wish to have her here in our presence. Life isn’t the same when you lose someone you love. Life isn’t the same without a mother around to care for, protect and love on you.

It is so frustrating you know; when you lose someone like her. As time passes on people move on and sometimes you can’t help but almost wonder if they have forgotten. You still feel overwhelmed with the loss. You grieve frequently over what you no longer have. But it seems for most people, life goes on. Their families are still whole and their mom still has life. You almost panic because as the time passes you hear less of her. People stop checking in, they even forget important dates like Thursday and it hurts.

You don’t want to be bitter. You don’t long for pity. You are just sad. You’re sad because no matter how much time passes, for you, the void is still there. The hole is left aching in your heart. You want something simple, something every twenty-two year old girl should desire. You just want to spend your mom’s birthday with her. You want to see her face and hear her voice. Would a simple hug be too much to ask for?

Today I am grieving. I am grieving so bad. I miss my mom and it hurts. I wish I had more to say, but today this is all. Because this is what is real.

From our favorite author, Nicholas Sparks. “Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face – I know it’s an impossibility, but I cannot help myself.”

 

Self-Pity is Our Worst Enemy

Never allow yourself to fall within a state of self-pity.

I think that’s where people start to go wrong. But it really is so easy to do. Especially when things are falling apart and nothing seems to be going your way. It is very tempting to feel as if it might be acceptable to have self-pity. And maybe it is. However, it is important and possibly crucial to stop and think about what types of habits develop for the state of feeling sorry for our selves. Because when we do it can become a vicious cycle.

Self pity pic 2

In part why I am writing this blog is because today I am having a bad day. I couldn’t sleep last night and I couldn’t have been more exhausted. Which doesn’t make sense does it?

Insomnia is something I have became quite familiar with unfortunately. Although I have found some useful aids to assist me with coping with this over the course of the last few years. A few in which I want to share with you: I have found relief from natural oils such as lavender, listening to ambient music and taking the supplement melatonin.

Anyway back to this bad day of mine and how easily I could’ve fallen into a state of self-pity.

I had an important doctor’s appointment this morning. I was really hoping for some answers in which I didn’t get. I have been restless and anxious all day. I am still coping with a long list of symptoms from mono and trying to focus on my exam reviews for finals. Oh, and in the midst of this two days ago I dealt with the two-year anniversary of my mother’s death. AND I should be getting excited for graduation. These thoughts probably seem like a bunch of complaints huh? Well, they are the reality of my day.

I stop by my favorite coffee shop because I am in desperate need of a ”pick me up” aka caffeine. The cute gal at the counter is making my coffee when she asks: “how is your day”? I smile and reply something like “just studying for finals and then I’ll be graduating, yay! How are you?” She quickly replies… “Is your mom so proud of you and excited that you are graduating on Mother’s Day” (You can tell she’s overjoyed for me.)

STAB. Just like that…my heart hurt so badly. And I know she didn’t mean it; of course she didn’t know any better.

I debated my reaction, but apparently it was obvious enough. Right there in that moment, on this very day I could easily have became angry and I could have justified feeling sorry for myself. And probably rightfully so.

Truthfully, today hasn’t seemed like a very fair day. However, I refuse to have that sort of attitude, although, it didn’t happen overnight for me. I probably haven’t shown the outside world the side of me that truly felt sorry for myself at one time but I lived within that state. It was full of darkness and heartache. And it was lonely.

So as much as I wanted to drop to the ground in the coffee shop or scream POOR ME… I wiped the tear from my eye and I smiled at the sweet girl who handed me my coffee apologizing. I begged her to not feel sorry for me and I told her how blessed I am for the time I did have with my mom and that of course she will be so proud of me on Mother’s Day when she watches me walk at my graduation commencement from heaven.

Life can be so incredibly difficult, but there is so much beauty even in the most difficult of days. Today is just one of the many ways God continues to show me that there is no reason to have self-pity and that is why I wanted to share my “bad day” with you.

Self pity pic 1

Two Years

Two years.

I wondered what today would feel like. I started to really anticipate this day when my calendar hit April. But long before then was I anxious for it. As soon as I had realized she was not coming back to me I became scared for this day because I wasn’t sure how I would make it two whole years without her next to me or if I even cared to. If this sounds dramatic than you may have never lost someone that you loved with ever piece of your heart; A person who made each day a better day for you. The person who made your life feel complete. That was my mom.

Which brings me to explain to you how I am feeling… You wait for the calendar to hit the 26th day of April. Like you need some sort of reminder that she’s gone, that you’ve lost her life and that it’s been two unbearable years without her. But do you? Of course not. You don’t need those reminders because you live with them each and everyday. The reminders are constant and it doesn’t take a certain day or time. They aren’t planned and even if they were it couldn’t possibly make them any easier or anymore difficult to cope with.

Everything feels still. There is no motion around me. I sit in silence. All sounds are mute to my ears. There is simply one thing I desire to see and one noise I desire to hear. It is her. But the reality is, two years ago on this very day was the last time I could wake up on this earth to seeing the beautiful face that I desire so much. It was the last time she would walk around talking to me and distracting me as I was trying to get ready to run out the door for work. I loved our mornings. It was always so hard to leave her. We would get into conversation and sidetracked easily. It became a bad habit that I would regularly leave the house late and speed off to work trying to make it on time. I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything.

If I could go back in time I would make each one of those moments last longer. I would squeeze her a little tighter, listen to her words more closely and embrace all the wonderful things that only she could give me.

I have learned throughout the past two years that I have not faced this time without my mom. That in her own special way she still gives me the guidance and love I desire. It may not always feel like enough because I know what I have had with her but it is something and for that I am extremely grateful.

I look up at the sky and talk to you. What I wouldn’t give to hear you talk back. But sometimes if I am patient and I closely listen I can feel you in my heart guiding me in the direction you believe I should go. You send me messages of comfort when you know I need them the most. But you have also helped me to not only rely on you but to build my own strength so that I know I can do it without you. Because as painful as it is, we both know I have to. I miss your voice. I miss your laughter. I miss your crazy (but awesome) dance moves. I miss everything about you. I wish you could teach me to cook. Someday tell me how beautiful I am in my wedding dress. Help me be a mother when I have my own babies. I am so scared for all of those things without you. But I believe the love between a mother and daughter is forever and that everywhere I am there you will be…

forever

I truly feel as if I am the most blessed young woman in this world because you are my mother. Words cannot express the love I have for you mom. I hope through the way I continue to live my life you will see. The sun is shining for you today. Just maybe I will see a butterfly and if I do, I know it will be you.

I love you mom.

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