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.

giving-2

Gifts Come From Above

Messages from above seem to come at the perfect time for me. Just as I need a message of hope the Lord is so good to me and in some mysterious way he provides me with the encouragement I need.

I wanted to share this verse on my blog because I think it is a perfect reminder. As bad things happen throughout your day and in your life it is so easy and almost natural to want to assign some sort of blame. I am guilty of it, too! However, we must remind ourselves that God does not want bad things to happen to us. Rather, he is our refuge and strength for when the inevitable happens and we are forced to face difficulties.

“Every good and perfect gift comes from above.” – James 1:17

This verse hits the spot for me lately. Even through our struggles he provides us with relief, comfort and joy. He is the one responsible for all of the good and perfect gifts. I encourage you to allow yourself to accept that the ‘bad’ is not from our Lord and savior. Don’t get in a place of anger or hatred with God. He is our father and friend, he only wants to help us and lift the weight off our heavy shoulders.

Let this verse enlighten your day and week. God is good! 🙂

gift - above

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.

trust yourself 2

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.

trust yourself 1

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.

life is short 2

Be Vulnerable for the People You Love

Death is such a hard concept. I have learned something: no matter how experienced you are with dealing with the circumstances tied to death or rather how inexperienced you are with all of the emotions attached with the unavoidable, it hurts. Losing someone you love is painful. Watching others lose someone they love is also painful.

It is tragic adjusting to having a person’s physical presence to not. No matter how young or how old, when you lose someone it is impossible to comprehend why. Why now? Why did it have to happen the way it did? As human beings we are never ready to say goodbye. Change is not a comfortable feeling. Being forced to stray from a familiar routine is uncomfortable. It just doesn’t feel natural.

The past week has sort of been a whirlwind for me. I have watched people I love and care about suffer. The mourning and grieving has been from two different families, both of which are near and dear to my heart.

One family forced to putting their sweet loved one into hospice; forced with coming to acceptance that from this point on each day will be consumed with the painful wonder of if their loved one will make it through the day. The other family, waking up on Sunday morning to learn that their loved one has passed on to Heaven, a better place.

How is it that even if we have faith, we know that heaven exists and we also believe that all that belong in heaven are free from any sort of pain, it still hurts us. If death is unavoidable, why does it have to hurt so badly?

At some point in our lives we will all have to deal with people we love passing away and in time leaving earth ourselves; it seems to me it should be easier to cope with. Though, through my own experiences I can reassure you there is no easy way to handle death. It never feels fair.

After losing my mom I never imagined having the ability to be a part of other people’s loses. I felt so broken from my own loss that I thought I would never build the strength to be strong enough to comfort and grieve with others. I was wrong. Faith is such a powerful thing. With puddles of tears, sleepless nights praying, and time, I have found it within myself to do so. It doesn’t make it easy, but as I’ve said, I don’t think it can ever be easy.

trust in the lord

Someone I deeply care about is grieving this week. His heart is sad because he has lost a person he looked up to and loved. I have spent hours this week talking with him about all of his thoughts, feelings and memories. We have been put in a position to lean on one another many times throughout the course of knowing each other. But this week, it’s been different.

For the first time, I think he’s had a glimpse of what it feels like to lose someone you love. I would never wish this pain on him or on anyone. But we have learned how to grieve with each other. We have learned how to communicate about things that are never easy to discuss. And I have learned that when you care for someone there should be no pain you aren’t willing to take in order to give the gift of guidance and comfort through a difficult time.

For twenty-two I have lived through a lot of moments of darkness. I have had to deal with and experience many difficulties tied with death. I am very familiar with the feeling of losing someone you love. I live with it every day. This week I have been blessed to comfort two very different groups of people who are dealing with death; one family who is preparing to lose their loved one and another who has already lost theirs.

God is good. He puts us in the right places at the right time.

My advice: Never be afraid to be vulnerable for the people you love, it can be painful but worth it.

 

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.”

 

Utilize Your Gifts

This morning at work I noticed a familiar smiling face in which was not smiling. It was abnormal to me to see this sort of expression on this individual’s face. With a feeling in my gut that something was wrong I proceeded to ask the person how their weekend was. I actually received the response I was expecting; something was wrong.

This person had been informed just yesterday that a close friend had unexpectedly passed away. I could immediately relate to the feelings attached to death. It might be the hardest concept to comprehend and accept. I know that it is for me. Nothing about death has ever seemed fair to me. However, I know that it is a natural part of life and often times it is something we just cannot control.

It bothered me seeing this person in pain. It bothered me knowing I could relate so much to the heartache of death. In part, that is why I decided at some point in my day I needed to make an attempt to reach out to this hurting person in order to express my condolences and concern. More importantly, I wanted this person to know, that they were not alone in this feeling.

I am hesitant to become personal with people in my work setting. I am very comfortable with the concept of keeping my work and my personal life separate. I think it just helps to remain professional and productive while at the office. I do believe there are exceptions for this behavior and this time, today, would be one of those.

The moment I walked away from the individual the phrase “Utilize your gifts” came to my mind. It was almost like God was speaking to me as a reminder for me to not ignore reaching out to someone in need…especially someone I knew I could help. I know the good Lord understands better than anyone else that I could relate and offer some sort of encouragement or comfort in this time of need. And so, I didn’t ignore Him or my heart.

Sometimes using our own personal gifts is sort of a hard thing to do. But why is this? They are a huge part of our purpose in this life. They are the best way we can make an impact on this world.

First, I think it is important to clarify what exactly I mean by ‘our gifts.’ I think our gifts can be found by taking the time to recognize something you are naturally good at, a part of your own testimony, something you have been through that changed your life in some form. I believe our gifts can also be something we are extremely passionate about; something that makes us who we are. Sharing your gift is using yourself to provide for someone who is need of whatever it may be that you have to offer.

Unfortunately, sometimes these gifts have required a lot of heartache; for instance, losing my mom unexpectedly at nine-teen years old. It has been the most heart breaking journey, I hope, I will ever have to take. I wish that no other teenage girl in this world would ever have to experience what I have. But throughout this journey I have developed a set of skills in order to overcome the heartache that trapped me in darkness for far too long.

I find myself in a place now where I have hope in peace and I can feel joy again. I understand the true significance of feeling broken; I know what it is like to receive comfort, guidance and encouragement and I also know what it is like to not. But more importantly I have learned how to give all of those three things and more. I understand the true importance of giving when someone needs it the most. It has created this strong feeling inside of me that wishes more people in this world would not be afraid to GIVE. The reward is unimaginable.

gift pic

That is why I now decided in my life to make a commitment to myself and the people I come across. There is no exception to not giving and utilizing the gifts that God gave you to help another human being in need. His purpose for our gifts is to reach out to one another and help each other to live this life to its fullest.

At the end of today, I had a visitor at my office door. The person had a smile on their face as they thanked me for not only reaching out to them on a day they needed it the most, but also for being brave enough to share my own heartache in order to make a difference in the person’s day.

Choosing the Right Mindset

Is the glass half full or half empty? Are you a positive person or do you tend to look at the negative side of things first? Do you have an open mind or is the door to opportunity, hope and happiness usually closed? It has been proven that pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.

These thoughts came to mind when pondering a pretty difficult situation in my own life right now. A very special friend of mine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a little over a month ago. I had just enjoyed her smiling presence at my graduation ceremony and days later received the heartbreaking news of her illness. It almost seemed impossible to me. It didn’t take much thinking to understand why I couldn’t comprehend this wonderful woman being diagnosed with such an awful disease. She was invincible to me. She is one of the most positive and loving people I had ever met.

I was very scared to see my friend for the first time after receiving the news. However, as soon as I was in her presence I felt so silly for feeling that way. She was the same cheerful, smiley and positive person. If anyone could be optimistic through this time, it would be her.

When reflecting on her experience with being diagnosed with cancer and all that have been through. I came across one of my favorite quotes by another incredible woman, Helen Keller:

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

This very quote is the way I long to live my life. And it is surely the way my friend has lived her. But why can it seem so difficult to be optimistic at times? How can I watch a human being who doesn’t deserve to fight this life-threatening illness suffer, yet smile through her journey and still find myself looking at certain circumstances in my life in a negative light? It doesn’t seem right does it?

I think I have come to the understanding that everyone’s life can be difficult. We all endure different seasons that are trying and bring an enormous amount of heartache. How we determine within ourselves to weather the storm is on us.

mindset 1

I find with myself that I not only struggle with weathering the “big stuff” but I acknowledge that sometimes I am guilty of being negative when it comes to the small things in my life too. I’ve been extremely exhausted lately or sometimes I just find myself wanting to have a break. I’ve found myself thinking… Ugh why do I have to go to work? When rather, how blessed am I to have a job! It is things like that.

I am a crazy coffee and caffeine lover. I was recently diagnosed with something that in turn causes me to not be able to drink coffee. This was probably one of the things I enjoy most throughout my day…sounds crazy, I know! I have really struggled accepting giving up my favorite habit. But then when considering what other people face and the things they have to give up and conquer, I honestly feel quite selfish.

One of the many lessons I have had to learn the hard way is that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Life still continues on and we still have to face whatever is coming our way each day. Having the right mind set and attitude will only benefit our situation and help to restore faith in our self and circumstance.

mindset 2

I have made it a part of my daily life to journal five positives in my day, no matter if I constitute the day as a good or bad day. I have found that it easier than I ever expected to always come up with at least five positive aspects or moments in my day. I have also decided when negative thoughts or feelings come my way that I reserve the situation by finding some sort of blessing in whatever the situation is. This activity has quickly become very beneficial to me and my mood throughout the day. As I am sure it impacts the people around me as well. Give it a try! 🙂