Year of Firsts

One of the things that stands out in my mind, after losing my dad 6 years ago, was how hard that first year was after his death. I refer to this in my head as the Year of Firsts. With both the approaching dates of our daughters first birthday, as well as the one year mark for when we lost our nephew, my family has once again found ourselves in a Year of Firsts. How bittersweet it has been. IMG_0235
There is truly nothing harder than that first year after loosing someone so close to you. Holidays especially hold a bit of an emptiness to them, as you find yourself going through the motions with nothing to fill the space where a loved one used to stand. Traditions change, lights remain dark, as we stumble around trying to find our new normal. I ran across this statement today, which sparked the urge to write this:

If we don’t transform our pain we will just transmit it.

How profoundly true, and what a hard truth. Everyone grieves and rejoices differently and needs to be allowed to do so. However, I know I am guilty of passing my junk on to the ones I love most. It has been a learning process but I feel I truly am on a path of learning to be at peace with who I am and where I am at. This is something we can all do and I fear that if we don’t, we are just going to continue transmitting the junk we have to others. This world does not need anymore junk!
We have in turn, been fortunate this year to have had to clear out some junk to make space in our lives for a new person. Charlie has kept me grounded and given me purpose over this past year; a year that has tested my marriage, my friendships and more. I am so grateful for her place in my life! She has filled a hole in my life that I didn’t even know was there. Her big heart and strong personality just flow from her little body.
I am also blessed to be in touch with my faith. To a point that I feel I can rejoice a bit in both my blessings and my sorrows. This is the season, so many years ago, when our Father sent his Son to save us all! To give us someone we could see and touch, to lay our path to heaven; where we we will be able gather as a whole family again. Where all of our lost loved ones are waiting. Where we can celebrate together forever as kings and queens. What a gift this is! The true meaning of Christmas is so often lost in what our society has become.
I invite you all to take a moment, regardless of your religious beliefs, and stop telling yourself that “you will be happy when….” To reflect on the giving you are doing this season. To stop seeking happiness in materialistic things and rejoice in the good that is in front of you. To take joy in your children, your spouse, your family and friends…the loved ones who are still here. For they might not be here tomorrow.
Take a moment to think about what you will want from your deathbed. Are you going to wish you had more time to spend on Facebook? Or maybe watch one more episode of your favorite show? Or are you going to wish you had put down your phone and read your child more stories? Or that you had slowed down and taken the time to hug your spouse? I already wish I had more time with my loved ones and I try to remind myself of this often.IMG_0890
So to all of you out there suffering or rejoicing in a Year of Firsts; May your hearts be open to see through the holiday stress to find peace and happiness in the moments that are right in front of you. To those of you who are specifically suffering a loss; I wish I could tell you that it gets easier. But that is not the right choice of words. I feel more like you just get used to it. You do find and settle into your new normal. And to those of you who are fortunate enough to believe in the wonderful Christmas gift our Father gave to us, then rest assured. You know you will see them again.

 

 

100 Days of Gratitude continues…10-18

mayaangelouDay 10: So grateful today for my job. Not only do I love it, but it makes me flexible enough to work from home if I need to and to accomodate crazy babysitting hours! For anyone who is miserable in their job, I too have been there. What did I learn? It is NOT worth it, especially if your health is suffering. There IS something better out there if you are brave enough to never settle and get out and look for it!

Day 11: I am grateful for my friends today! I am also fortunate to be able to call many family members friends. I remember hearing something along the lines that people come in and out of your life for a reason. I feel like I have accumulated a very eclectic collection of friends over the years! I have someone I can call for no reason other than being bored, someone who will listen to me if I just need to vent, someone I can share nerdy nutrition ideas with, friends who keep me grounded, friends I can share my faith with and friends who will best comfort me when I need to cry. I have friends I sometimes won’t talk to for months and when we finally reconnect it was like we were never apart. I believe you should tell people how you feel about them so most of you should know who you are! And I apologize to the ones who fall into more than one of these categories…as I probably call/text you often…

Day 12: My hubby Kevin…today I am feeling grateful for you. As your week long trip to Canada draws to a close, I find myself eagerly anticipating your return. Tomorrow, I plan to hug you so long I may never let go. I don’t know how all of you single moms out there do it! Kev, I appreciate you (and the extra set of hands and feet that you bring to my life) more than I can say right now. I survived the week…barely…and am so grateful that it was a temporary situation! p.s. I am sorry the house is not clean, that I may not be clean and the dogs may need a walk…but the pets are still here, the baby is happy and kicking, well fed and (kind of) clean.

Day 13: I am grateful for so many things today, picking one was hard! I am going with yoga. I love taking and teaching yoga! Today, one of my gratitude 1friends in the class I taught asked me if I get anything out of teaching the class, since she felt like she got so much from it. The answer was yes, to a certain degree! I really feel like yoga inspires love, positive energy, presence and peace and I really can feel it radiating off of a class. While teaching is an entirely different experience that taking a class, I do feel like I get a whole different reward from it! And this morning it was a MUCH NEEDED reward! So thank you to my yoga class this morning, Namaste!

Day 14: Couch day, Netflix binge. Enough said.

Day 15: I am grateful for my garden full of veggies that are paid for and made into delicious dinners! Grateful for the knowledge I have gained about food, and super grateful for the healthy body I have gained from it. I have developed such an appreciation for food and the vibrancy good real food brings. I can’t wait to pass this onto my child!

Day 16: Amidst a stressful day, I found gratitude in spending the morning with Charlie. I am grateful for a noon workout and the fatigue in my arms that followed, as this means I did it properly! I am grateful for a husband that loves to workout, and the chance to do it together today. Things like this make me feel more connected with him! Now, at the end of my long day, I am grateful for a warm bed to sleep in. (even if only for a few hours.)

Day 17vibramsw: VIBRAMS! I love them. I don’t care how much people (my sisters) make fun of me. And nothing beats a new pair, especially my new pair…which I think are super cute…so if I have to wear shoes, it will be Vibrams. That is all. #gratitude

Day 18: I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with Kevin yesterday and honestly, until I was nominated, I was not even sure what ALS was. After the challenge, I was compelled to look into and donate what I could to the research fund. This stuff is some scary stuff! Now I am always pretty leery of the causes I donate my money to, but it seems that ALS is something that affects a fairly small percentage of the population, and I decided that helping to find out more about something that has not gotten a lot of attention is not a bad thing at all. This has all made me reflect on how ever grateful I am for a healthy body!

 

Lessons in Love

I think it was four or five days ago when Kevin said something along these lines: “Our anniversary is next week…and we didn’t request the night off or anything.” My reaction was something like: “Wow, it’s like this Wednesday right? Or is it Thursday?” It is crazy how life seemIMG_9520-2s to run away from us sometimes. I have noticed that over the years I seem to care less and less about celebrating my birthday. But I honestly don’t think anniversaries should fall into this category! So I would like to take the time on our nine year wedding anniversary to share some things I have learned (and am still learning) about love over these years.

Love is not something you fall in and out of, it is a choice you make every day. The love we have for our spouses can only become unconditional love when we choose to put them in the highest priority, second only to our relationship with God.

When you put your spouse in this postion, above kids, above friends, above activites, EVERYTHING underneath that relationship benefits and falls into place. (Easier said than done, as demonstrated in the opening conversation.) This is the relationship that sets the standard for our children for the rest of their lives, and I fully intend to continue to grow and be the best wife I can be so Charlie can learn from this. I try to remind myself of this everyday.

The grass wouldn’t be greener on the other side if you took care of the lawn you already have. Nurture your relationship! You have to spend time together to grow together. Learn from each other, don’t say things to intentionally hurt the other and don’t engage in hurtful conversations that arise. Don’t be afraid of change! If something is not working, work to change it! (Move the sprinkler, so to speak.)

But don’t try to change them. Any changing that will be done is not in your hands, it is in Gods hands. I pray all the time for patience and acceptance, and my belief in the power of prayer has made all of the difference in the world.

And now dear readers, feel free to tune out…but the rest is for my husband:

Kevin, thank you for always being there for me over the years. I have seen the furious devotion you have for me arise in even the darkest of times. I know that you truly love me with all that you have!

Thank you for always supporting me through some of the crazy ideas I have had over the years. I know I am one stubborn girl and there are always the things you have fought me tooth and nail on from your end, but you have never tried to stop ME from trying and that has made all the difference. (How can we ever forget the bakery “career”…epic fail…)

Thank you for making me a mother! Since our daughter has entered the world, I have felt the happiest times of our marriage and gone through one of the darkest times of our marriage. That little light in the center of our world has been more incredible than words can ever describe and I know that whatever trials enter our life we can always endure together, as a family.

Thank you for being such a great father! It has been incredible to watch you with Charlie. There are so many stories I hear about how some fathers won’t change diapers or are not even really involved with their kids at such a young age. You are the exact opposite and I am pretty sure I have fallen even more in love with you over the last six months.

And lastly for now, thank you for being YOU. You make me laugh, you make me smile, you always keep me on my toes, you make me crazy, you helped make me into the ME I am today.