A New Opportunity

I have always seen the first day of the month as an exciting opportunity. A time to start a new routine. A time to try a new “thing”. A chance for a redo when necessary. A time filled with hope and possibility.

Now of course the world works best when there is balance. So the first of the month also comes with bills due and responsibilities to take care of. Obviously bills don’t usually elicit excitement, but they are a part of life. And quite honestly lately I have even shifted the emotion I give to those items. I thank God and the universe for the item that brought me the bill, happily pay it and move on from it.

As the first of September is a mere few hours away, I am filled with pure hope. Hope of not only the new month upon me, but hope of the new season that will be ushered in this month. It feels as if things are coming into alignment in my life. I’m not saying I expect a smooth ride and no obstacles this month. But rather I am more prepared than ever to quickly conquer with determination and focus whatever obstacle may come my way.

I look forward to the challenges and opportunities this new month will bring. I am designing a few new activities into my life this month to foster growth and wellness. I walk into September with goals to achieve and faith to see me through.

~ C ~

It Gets Better

Life is a journey of ups and downs. Life is a collection of experiences and emotions. Life is the totality of all the small and big things.

So even though I am moving forward in life in the right direction, I still experience not-so-great days and small detours.

But in life now when I feel uneasy, have a bad day, become full of sadness or feel anxiety begin to creep in, I stop and remind myself it gets better. Because it does.

I am living proof of it gets better.

And it’s my life long goal to share this with others. Because sometimes we all could use a little reminder.

~ C ~

My First Acupuncture Session

In my quest for a stronger state of wellness, today I had my first acupuncture session. After a suggestion from a trusted counselor, I knew I needed to give it a shot. I didn’t know what to expect at all but I went into it open-minded.

Most of the initial appointment was just discussing with the acupuncturist my past and current state of health. Although I am new at this (obviously), I can already tell that one of the real keys of the entire acupuncture process is the relationship building process between the client and the acupuncturist. And I was so relieved to have an almost instant connection with my acupuncturist. I could tell she was very knowledgeable not only about the practice but about how to meet her clients where they are in life.

As far as the actual needles going into the body part, there is nothing to write home about. For me, it didn’t hurt and I barely knew they were there. Once they were all situated and I was laying in silence, I must admit that I did feel an energy flowing through my body. Nothing painful at all, but rather more like a heightened awareness of my body during the treatment. Could the energy I felt all have been in my head? Sure. It was just the first time so I’ll have to see how I feel post treatment and in the days to come.

Now if someone would have asked me even a year ago if I could imagine doing acupuncture, I would have said no. Not that I was too scared of the needles, but rather I just wasn’t in control of my health and wellness. And it wouldn’t have made sense to incorporate acupuncture into my life if I wasn’t eating right, drinking right or exercising. Honestly I wouldn’t have even found the energy to schedule my day to incorporate getting to the office.

But here I am after completing my first session. Another example of how this is a new and welcomed season in my life. I look forward to continuing on this acupuncture journey. I expect nothing but am open to whatever may come my way.

~ C ~

There is light at the end of the tunnel…

Eight months ago I couldn’t even imagine the light at the end of the tunnel.

Life really has been (and will continue to be) step by step.

With time and faith as my teachers, I can say with 100 percent certainty that I previously was not prepared to get to that light.

I am a completely different person than who I was standing at that dark end many months ago.

I stand confidently today knowing that I am now ready for whenever I make it through this tunnel.

It won’t be the end. It will be the beginning.

~ C ~

Preparing for a New Season…

The word “season” has come up in my life recently over and over again. How the past brutal season has fostered such growth in my life. How this current season has pushed me to be better. How there is such optimism for the season on the horizon.

Now obviously I believe deeply in how seasons, of all types, impact our lives. There is something so powerful about seasonal shifts that we go through. Even when they are bumpy or painful at times, it is all part of the new beginning.

As I begin preparations for this coming Autumn, I can’t help but wonder what is in store for me. I don’t know what’s around the corner but I am preparing and welcoming it with open arms.

~ C ~

Relearning Discipline

Not too long ago I lacked discipline in almost every aspect of my life. Prior to my life crumbling to pieces this past winter, if I’m being brutally honest, I was just a hot mess. I was eating terribly. I was working out basically never. I was late to everything. I woke up every morning exhausted due to a lack of quality sleep. Stressed out was a constant state of being. Somehow over the course of my mid twenties, I just allowed small poor decision after small poor decision to snowball and affect every aspect of my life. Then one day the rug was pulled out from under me and I was fatherless, motherless, childless and a shell of the woman I always hoped I would be.

I’ve always heard that when you are at life’s lowest point you find out who you are and what you are made of. I can now attest to this.

After hanging out in that dark place for a while, I knew I had to put a plan together to pull myself out of it. I knew for the first time in years I would have to be incredibly intentional about every choice I made because I was just too emotionally fragile to handle further failure and loss. Even though I had an incredible support system of my husband, countless family members and friends, I knew I needed to rely on myself to climb this mountain. And I knew I had to become disciplined again.

It started off slow. Eating bone broth and spinach for lunch. Reading a personal development book for an hour a day. Walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes twice a week. Recognizing when I became stuck in a cycle of negative self talk and taking steps to move out of it. I painstakingly analyzed every decision I made each day and if it didn’t support my physical, mental or spiritual healing, I didn’t do it. Although it was not easy at first, slowly but surely I was practicing self control, daily positive decision making and discipline. Here I stand 8 months out from that devastating period in my life and I honestly can say in every way I am completely a different person for the better.

But this brings me to last week. After weeks and weeks of healing and growth, I suffered my first relatively significant set back. I tweaked my back during one of my workouts at the gym. It wasn’t a terrible injury by no means but I was in some serious pain at the time and knew working out for several days was out of the question. Now no big deal right? Well to me, who had for the first time in years incorporated discipline in my life, I was terrified. Would this break in working out throw me completely off my positive track? Would I revert back to the weak person I once was and lose all those hard earned gains? Would this begin to negatively affect other decisions in my life? I know it may sound silly but this was so much bigger than a missed workout or two for me. I knew the extremely dark place I had crawled out of months ago and I just couldn’t afford to go back there.

But I decided to give myself grace and although waiting impatiently, give my back some time to heal up. After several days down and out, my pain subsided and I finally started feeling almost back to full speed. I decided it was time that I could try a light workout to get myself back in motion. And to my delight the workout went well and I felt amazing after it.

As I was walking out of the gym I realized something important. Discipline can’t be lost in a day or a few days. A lack of discipline is the conscious decision to make poor choice after poor choice (or poor excuse after poor excuse). Discipline is all about choices and when we have power over our choices, we have discipline. It was in that moment I knew I would never be in that dark place of a complete lack of discipline again. Life is too short and I want to live my best life for as long as possible. Although I will undoubtedly have setbacks in the future, I can always choose to reset and forge ahead.

~ C ~

Bonus: Below is a picture from my early twenties at my very peak of discipline. Although I don’t aspire to get back quite to the same place (that season has passed and I am okay with that), I use this as motivation that I can do anything I put my mind to, including winning my first figure show.

For The Journey

I came across this nearly a decade ago in the Lake City Reporter. I tucked it away in a box and forgot about it until I stumbled across it again this week.

“…it’s those moments where you took the biggest risks in life that will always remain timeless.”

That is what I needed to hear then …and now.

~ C ~

A New Type Of Vacation

After the most brutal year of my life, my husband and I were finally able to take a long and critically needed vacation. Now normally we aren’t the type to count down the days to vacation but after losing my father to cancer, losing our son in miscarriage and an enduring a painful surgery all in a matter of 6 months, we were practically counting down nanoseconds until we could finally get away and relax.

In the past I would always look forward to vacations but then they would seem to just fly by so quickly and I always felt kinda empty when I got home. Even though we would do fun things throughout the trips, if I’m being honest I often wasted more time than I would ever like to admit. I would spend my previous vacations doing work (that could wait), thinking about doing work (if I wasn’t doing it), scrolling endlessly on social media, working to take the best pictures I possibly could (for my future social media posts), figuring out what I was going to wear for the next vacation event, thinking about what we were going to do next, etc. Always moving but never really taking the time to enjoy it along the way. And I would often get home from the trip feeling as stressed out as I was when I left for it.

But when we finally embarked on our long awaited trip, I instantly recognized something was very different this time. Although this vacation was logistically similar to ones we’ve taken in the past (we traveled to some of our favorite spots in Florida), this one was profoundly different in many ways. I couldn’t quite figure out why at first, but it didn’t take me long to put my finger on it.

See life changes after experiencing loss. We survivors are forever changed in every way after going through the loss of a loved one (or of multiple loved ones). We experience joy and sadness much differently than we did before. We can easily decipher what’s important to us in life and what’s not. We understand in a very real way that our moments on this earth are finite. We recognize that whether we like it or not, we will never be who we were before the loss. It just is what it is. And this takes me to our recent summer vacation…

Like a message straight from the universe, I realized this vacation was more unique than I had ever experienced before because I was completely and totally present in each moment. Probably for the first time ever, my husband and I spent time together completely focused on each other in the moment and nothing else. I wasn’t worried about scrolling and keeping up on social media happenings. I wasn’t worried about answering emails as soon as they came in. I wasn’t worried about what crazy thing this or that “celebrity” was doing that was “newsworthy”. I just wasn’t worried about the distractions that far too often in life take us away from the moment. I even realized that for the very first time in our relationship, I didn’t concern myself about making an anniversary social media post to my husband as I always would have in the past (it happened to be our third in marriage and fifth of our engagement, both of which usually occur during our summer vacation). Honestly this was our vacation, our time together, and after our year of hell none of that stuff mattered.

Despite all of this hell I have been through, I have been blessed by the gift of this lesson learned. To not waste a single additional moment of my life (and vacations) giving precious time away. Being truly present in our moments add up to a life well lived. My husband and I got home from our vacation more connected together, more relaxed, more refreshed and ready for the future ahead. And this is how I plan to spend every vacation from now on.

Through my immense loss in life, I have gained so incredibly much and changed in every way possible. In addition, I have taken back my time and my vacations. And for all of those things I will forever be grateful.

The first (and possibly only) picture we’ve shared from our vacation. Cheers!