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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

You Can Make a Difference

People will hurt you.

But always remember: two wrongs don’t make a right.

I remind myself of this golden rule countless times throughout the week. I don’t know about you but I find myself frequently feeling disappointed or sensitive towards the actions of the people around me. It is not because I think I am perfect or that I believe I always do right. I know I don’t. I think it is more because I am very observant and aware of how the decisions and behaviors of one person can affect another human being.

Whether we intend to or not; people do hurt people. This is a concept I have never really understood. Why do we hurt people… especially the ones we love? There is so much hurt that already exists in this world. Couldn’t we just be a little more careful about protecting one another? That is something I continuously hope for. When I say my prayers I ask God to help the people in this world to find more kindness, peace and love. I think the world would be a much better place if people focused more on positive actions.

However, as well all know, we only have control of one person; and that is you. This brings me to another point; I have heard people say “one person cannot make a difference.” I call bullshit on that one. I know that one person can make all the difference. It can take one act of kindness to turn around someone’s whole day. It can take one message of hope to encourage someone to not give up. I have people in my life that it simply takes being in their presence to give me the peace and happiness I desire to feel. That, my friends, is making a difference.

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I have been in an all-time low. I have been in a place where peace and happiness did not exist.  My world felt upside down. It took beautiful people in my life that made a commitment within themselves to continue to remind me that peace and happiness would come. It took me making the decision to want to find that peace and happiness in my life again, but it didn’t happen overnight.

I recall a very sad moment for me. It was the summer after I lost my mom. I had anxiety racing in every part of my body. I felt claustrophobic; in my mind I was trapped within a state of pain and was desperate to feel some sort of relief. However, no matter how much I cried or screamed…no matter what I tried to do to comfort myself from losing my mom; I couldn’t find relief.  I had been sitting in her closet surrounded by her clothes; I had her pictures on my lap and was sobbing into her bath robe when I felt like I couldn’t take the pain for another second.

I got up and ran downstairs and out the door. It was the middle of the night and I began running down my driveway. I continued on down the road, running and screaming. Every part of me hurt. I kept running and running until I almost couldn’t breathe. Maybe I thought I could run from and escape my pain. It didn’t work like that.

I look back at this moment and tears fill my eyes. I can feel the intensity of pain I had in that very moment. But I can’t help but look at where I am now and almost smile because I know how much I have had to overcome to get to where I am. I cry thinking about my journey, even the days to come without my mom. But I will always rejoice in the strength and peace I have found within myself.

Having to face such a tragic time in my life at a young age has helped me to form a very unique outlook on life. I have felt pain and suffering. I know what serious hurt feels like. Feeling the deep emotions I have has given me a better appreciation for the people around me and the way I choose to treat them. You never know what other people are facing, how difficult it might be for them to get through the day or how desperately they need to feel some sort of relief, like I did.

I never want to intentionally be the individual who adds negativity to another person’s day. That is why I feel it is so beneficial to always be aware of your actions and how you are treating others. You can make a difference.

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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.

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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.

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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! 🙂

 

 

What is Hope?

I have finally come to a point in my life where I believe in a bold statement that I’d like to share with you. It is my hope; no cliché intended that someday you might believe in these words too. Please take a moment to truly think about the deep significance of this sentence:

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.

The words are strong and for some the six words might be incredibly difficult to believe that they could be true. But I can tell you from my own personal experience, the words “once you choose hope, anything’s possible” can be real and true. It may take the toughest fight you’ve ever experienced and I think you have to be willing to let hope exist in your life no matter what you are facing. You also must make the choice to believe that with hope there is no circumstance, amount of heartache or darkness you cannot overcome.

I was in a place in my life, shortly before losing my mother where I could see myself losing hope. Watching the person I loved the very most suffer with immense pain and heartache knowing there was nothing I could do to take away the physical and emotional pain became very trying after the many years we faced this together.

I wanted to believe more than anything that we would get through it; that we would come out better and stronger from this battle. I really wanted to. But it became so hard and people began to doubt us and doubt her. Having hope was almost a chore. It was extremely exhausting. However, I will tell you that until the day I lost my wonderful mom, I never lost my hope.

The night I lost her, my life truly came crashing down. I felt nothing but emptiness, confusion and heartache. I couldn’t understand how we could have struggled for this long remaining faithful to reach this point. That point that we would no longer be side by side; fighting this battle together. She was now in a better place, in peace and paradise. But I was left here, to suffer and pick up the pieces of my heartache and life. I didn’t want to. I had no desire to fight the battle without her. The moment I knew she would no longer be living with me in my world, I honestly lost hope.

With time (months and months) that included a lot of crying and soul searching. With great friendships, my faith in the Lord and my incredible family (my dad and brothers), I found a way to choose hope. It wasn’t easy and I would never want to relive that period of time in my life.

This is a complete understatement, but I was left with two choices: I could give up or I could continue on.

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There were points where giving up felt like the better option. There were moments that no matter what anyone said to me, no matter how much hope they had in me that I would get through this that I felt there was no possible way. In part, I think that maybe hitting that “rock bottom” is a way to solidify the true hope we need as human beings when our world has changed and our hearts are left feeling devastated and broken.

I can’t exactly explain what did it for me. What made me reach this exact point, but I will share with you that it took several rock bottom moments. I had a few moments where I almost scared myself with how terrible and empty I was feeling to reach the opportunity of choosing hope. I came to realize that if I didn’t choose hope and wanted to live I was going to be very miserable. Not only was I going to be miserable but so were the people around me. This is something I never wanted.

I have two amazing brothers who are younger than me. They looked up to me and depended on my strength and love to continue on without our mom. I knew that I needed to find the strength for not only myself but for them because they needed me. I couldn’t give up because I couldn’t give up on them. What an incredible love that is to feel. To love someone (in my case my two brothers) more than I could ever love myself. That was a huge motivator for me to overcome this dark place that almost became comfortable for me to be in.

I would encourage anyone who has ever felt or dealt with something similar to do the same as I did. Find something/someone, whatever/whoever it may be and let them be a reason to not give up. Allow yourself to feel the love and joy that exists for the reason of that person or thing and make the decision to not give up on that feeling. That is exactly what I did. I reasoned with myself that “yes I had lost my mom and it was miserable,” but that I had other wonderful things in my life that made it worth living. But not only that, it made it worth living with hope. Someday, with patience, healing and a lot of work I would feel love and joy again because it did still exist in my life. I believe the same can happen for you.

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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…

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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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Good for Your Soul

One month from today will be my 22nd birthday. One month from today is also mother’s day. This will be the third birthday and mother’s day I have spent without my mom. One month from today will also be the day after my college graduation. And then I made it. Four years straight I buckled down and made it. The commitment wasn’t easy with the adversities I faced but it is finally really happening. So much coming up so very soon. It feels very surreal typing this.

It seems to me like I should have started to see the light right? I should start to feel some sort of weight lifting from my little shoulders… That’s what I’d hoped.

There were many times I recall asking myself “how can I keep doing this?”

The end of my college journey has been anything but easy for me but then again what part of the four years was easy. The past few weeks have been trying. I thought I could share with you a little bit of what I have been going through.

The past few weeks, I have been sick; very sick. One virus after another and mono. Dreadful mono. What a bummer and terrible timing. I was already over my head and exhausted finishing up my last overwhelming semester of college. At the same time I have been working hard to start off my career and become comfortable at a new job. Only one month to go and the past several weeks I have spent feeling hopelessly drained.

To start, two weeks ago I took a day off work. Yes; a full work day. For anyone who knows me, this is definitely not the norm. I slept all day long. My body was exhausted. It happened to be on a Friday and I ended up sleeping away the whole weekend. However, I still did not feel ANY better. From there things went down hill for me. As I am typing this post, I have still not been back to work but I hope to be after the following week.

I had to learn a couple valuable lessons these past few weeks. It was a little bit of a reality check!

People do have limits. Our bodies do need rest. And one person can only take so much.

Four years had come crashing down on me. I was anticipating a break, some sort of relief but was also scared for it. What happens when I slow down? Will I be okay? What will I do with my time? What will make me happy? The questions consumed my head.

And I miss my mom; oh I miss her terribly. And with it coming up on two years after her death, my 22nd birthday, another Mother’s day, my college graduation… all WITHOUT her it was too much. I was tired… my body was sick and I needed a break.

The real kicker is I am no good at breaks. They just haven’t existed for me. But this time something was different, I could feel it in myself that I desperately needed this break because I wasn’t willing to give up everything I had worked so hard to achieve. Of course giving up is always an option for anyone but it has never and will never be my choice.

butterfly dont give up

As we all know life is full of choices. We are forced to make decisions throughout the course of our lives. Some of those choices may bring us repercussions, satisfaction or even consequences.

That all said, a piece of my mother’s best advice was to always follow your heart and to be willing to accept wherever the place is that it leads you to. And that is the exact advice I decided to follow. Even my heart felt weak. All I could do was cry. I went to my doctor’s appointment and she asked me what was wrong. I replied something like every part of me hurts and it was the truth. Of course then I proceeded to explain to her medically what was going on with my body but it was confirmation to myself that I really did need some time to rest and refocus.

So what is the purpose of this post? It’s simple.

The purpose of this post is to reach out to the people who can relate to the feelings of not knowing when enough is enough. The people who don’t exactly know their limits (and I do not mean that in a bad way). I actually think it is a gift. I think that throughout each of our individual journeys we must take time for our mind, heart, body and self. I will be the first to admit, I am not good at that. But maybe together we can work on it.

I have made a new commitment to myself, I can’t wait to share it with you…

“Whatever is good for your soul, do that.”

I’d like to end this post by asking you what is good for your soul? What keeps you going and brings you an abundance of joy? Please share with me!!! 🙂 I hope this week you will take some time for yourself and enjoy whatever it is that is GOOD FOR YOU.

You deserve it!

Until next time,

Randi

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