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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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.

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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

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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Embracing the Challenge of Change

It is hard to believe it is already the beginning of June. How fast time flies. Through the good and the bad; time still continues. And we are here to face each and every day we are fortunate enough to spend on this earth.

I thought this would be a good time to take some a few moments to reflect. I wanted to post a writing that could reach out to those of you whose summer may or may not be going as planned.

Why do we plan?

Is it to keep ourselves organized or could it be to keep things rolling in the direction we think they should go. Or could we consider it somehow a way we set ourselves up to be let down. If we fall short of what we expect to happen then we are left with disappointment. But does it have to be that way? I don’t think so.

I can tell you first thing, my life is far off the path I had planned it to take. Yet somehow in its own unique way it is working, I am breathing, and I still find beauty daily in my life. In fact, a lot of beauty.

I will admit to you, I am a planner. I like to have each day of the week in advance. I want to know exactly what is on my agenda at the office, what activities will be taking place after work, and I even like to plan the meals I eat. It keeps me feeling organized and on top of things. In addition, I feel flustered when I do not know what is going to take place in my life.

I would like to think that this can be a good thing, in most cases. I know an employer would think so! There are many benefits to being organized and have a distinct plan. But in terms of a more personal aspect, when coping with life and the unexpected events that occur this may have not been a good quality for me to have. Micromanaging can be exhausting, especially when things don’t go your way. And if your life is anything like mine, often times they just don’t.

There are several times in my life I can recall almost throwing a fit when things did not go my way. Not in a bratty way or anything, but more of an emotional fit. I could completely unwind and fall apart over a change of events or lack of control. I lived most of my life with “things” going my way. Whatever that may mean to you. I felt in a very comfortable place with my life, my plans and what I wanted. It would be fair to say that I had not developed much coping skills. I never had to, praise God for that.

However, I had a major turn of events. Despite my planning and desire to have control over the situation and my everyday life, I now had none. Within days my life changed around the age sixteen. It was time to grow up quickly. It was time to face heartache; intense heartache. Whether I wanted to or not. And it was time to realize that life does not always go as we had planned. Which is almost unbearable to accept, isn’t it? I wasn’t sure how much life was going to change for me and never in my worst of nightmares would I have imagined it to change to the extent it did.

Unfortunately, it happens and I’ve had to learn that a very hard way. As I am sure many of you have as well. However, I do believe we can use these major trials of heartache as tools to guide us in the direction we need to continue in. Even if it isn’t the path we originally intended to be on and even if it takes fighting each day to move forward in that direction.

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Life does go on, no matter how hard it is. The lack of control of events in our life can seem unbearable. However, we must learn to deal with changing our plans and find it in ourselves whatever it will take to continue forward with a good attitude. If not, what is the point of living? Each day is a gift and as the days pass you realize you can never go back in time to embrace what happened yesterday.

Finding control of your attitude can be much more beneficial than maintaining control of your plans and what you want to happen each day. For as I’ve learned, we have little control over our plans. No matter how hard we attempt to hold onto them.

EMBRACE life as each day comes to you, no matter how much your heart aches. As you learn to find beauty in the change of events that occur in your life, you will grow stronger and you will find joy throughout the journey. I promise you this. change pic 1

Time.

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Time is a funny thing isn’t it? Sometimes we find time that passes by very quickly; too quickly. Yet, time can also drag on and things around us can make it seem as if time is passing by extremely slow. I am certain we have all experienced a moment we wish could last forever. On the flip side, who hasn’t experienced a day (or days!) that feels as if it’ll never end. Or what about when you are waiting for something that you’ve really been looking forward to? Time sure feels slow then too; doesn’t it?

Regardless, one thing I have had to learn the hard way is that time is invaluable.

The time we once had we will never have again. There is no price tag on time. There is no amount of money in this world that can ever buy us the time we desire; no matter how bad we want it. Trust me, I’ve wanted time desperately. I have cried and screamed for it and I’ve even found myself begging for it. The hardest one for me was praying for more time.

But why? Shouldn’t I have found it easy to talk to God about anything? Honestly this concept is one I have felt hung up on and struggled immensely with. It has even made me angry…very angry at times.  I could not understand why and how if I wanted something so desperately that he could not just give it to me.

“Didn’t I deserve to have more time with her?”

It is very possible that I still haven’t found the answer to my questions; maybe I never will. However, I have come to a place where I am beginning to realize that I have to be okay with not having an answer for everything. No matter how bad I want it. And trust me, more than anything I’d like to have the answers…

I have spent hours, days and sleepless nights searching for the answers in hope that somehow in some way they could ease my pain. But truthfully, could they? Would ANY answer ever be good enough?

Thinking this way is easier said than done and is in part one of the reasons why I have waited to start this blog. As soon as I lost my mom, I knew that I would need to find a way to keep her alive through me. I knew that I would have the desire to use my testimony and heartache to reach out to others.

However, it takes time to even begin the steps of processing when facing a life changing experience like I have. For so long I knew I wasn’t ready and realized that I had to cope with this devastating loss at my own pace. I questioned myself countless times: if I could not process the feelings I was experiencing and how it was truly impacting my life… How was I going to be in a place to share my story? I wasn’t.

I knew that I needed to find a way to grasp what had actually happened to my life; that process took months for me. I then needed to learn how to accept that she was not coming back to me. Truthfully, for the first year I could not bare to admit this to myself. For some that might seem a bit outrageous, but for me it almost seemed normal. I was waiting for her, whether anyone knew it or not, because I could not cope with the feelings of being without her.

Dealing with this experience I had to learn self-patience. I have now realized that patience is a divine necessity in this life. I have found that having patience is truly a requirement and at the same time a blessing to the characteristics of a loving human being. I gave myself patience in order to process, grieve and begin the steps of healing so that I was completely ready to fully embrace what I was determined to do. I am very thankful for the deep reward that came from the commitment of having patience with myself. I learned more than ever who I was as an individual and that I was capable of more than I could have ever imagined.

It is my hope that now that I have I have taken some time to truly reflect on the past two years of my life that I am able to share the experiences I have gone through, the emotions I have felt and the battles I have fought. One of the hardest parts for me during this journey was feeling alone. This is something that in part I should probably take some blame for. I felt as if no one could possibly understand me. I had lost my mother and best friend. I was bitter and I did NOT want to show this side of me to the outside world. For me, it was easier to feel alone. But the truth is, I never was alone and that is exactly why I have come this far.

I want my blog to become a place of refuge for people; a place to read words of encouragement. So if you happen to feel a little like I did and you feel as if you are alone. I want to be your reminder that you are not alone.

This world can get so busy. People have jobs, families, and responsibilities. It is often times a struggle to make time for the things and people who need us most. But I am here to reassure you that whatever it is that you are experiencing, what you feel is real and it is important. It is my goal to create Hope of a Butterfly to become a support system for those in need of one, for whatever the reason might be. It will continue to be a priority of mine to reach out in ways that come to my heart so that you are never alone.

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