Admittedly, I’m not entirely sure which direction this particular post will go in. Maybe that’s because I’m still coming into awareness as to how grief and fear have captured my light for the past couple of weeks. This is most definitely not my usual bloggity-blog direction and I’m moving through new ground here, so forgive me as I just write for the sake of writing. If nothing else, the very best weapons in my arsenal against grief and fear are my words. Normally I would write this in my journal, but so many friends and family have been such steadfast supporters as I have walked through this rough season of life that I’m realizing that the more of me I share, the more of me I love. And that’s definitely something worth clinging to and a pivotal choice as I move confidently into this new life.
The past two weeks have been a true test of my character and courage. In truth, I thought I was holding my own pretty well. I had this all under control, right? Even though I could see some writing on the wall that made me question where certain parts of my life were headed, I didn’t recognize the fear that was seeping into my head. Maybe I chose not to see it. My anxiety reached all time highs and I’ll be the first to say, in hindsight, a lot of people suffered as I clung haphazardly to my usual control and even spirit, and instead careened through my personal relationships and professional projects like a ship lost at sea.
It wasn’t until yesterday, when my lawyer looked at me and said “That’s it. It’s ok. You can go home now. Breathe.” that I realized the weight of the burden I had been carrying over the last several days. It literally felt as if a fog had lifted and I was seeing clearly for the first time in days. The solid rock that had been sitting on top of my chest lifted and I took a deep breath. It was right then that I realized how truly scared I had been and how crippling that had been. As joy and gratitude filled my heart, I felt an overwhelming relief and peace. And then I started thinking over my actions from the past several days. How I had acted with the kids, how I had treated the most important people in my life, the lack of luster I had for work and all things related. Oh man. Regret.
I realized my actions had been fueled by fear. Fear and grief. Maybe better said – fear OF grief. I had cried and cried for days without really understanding why. I sat in the back row at church on Sunday and tears flowed as I desperately tried to grasp some sort of peace and preparation for what was coming. I literally begged for release from the grief, even when I didn’t know what it was. I couldn’t wrap my head around the pain that would come with potentially losing another child. It was there, stirring memories and moments of demise in my marriage. This was a completely different circumstance, and yet it was the same. Loss. Powerlessness. I didn’t see it or understand it. All I could feel was the gripping pain and the overwhelming fear that this was just the beginning. It was a very dark day for me.
I’ve learned a lot about myself in the past couple of weeks. I’ve learned that as much as I have healed and progressed and am thriving in this new life, I still have a long, long way to go. Apart from the challenges I face as I build a new life for myself and my kids, I still have wounds and scars from past battles that cloud my vision at times. I learned that I need to trust myself enough to know that there is another explanation, hope and circumstance than what my crazy brain is projecting into my nightmares. I need to recognize when grief and fear challenge me to battle, enlist my faith and friends, and take care to not let the important things in my life suffer because I’m stuck in a fog. The last thing I want to do is stir up more loss because I’m giving power over to the fear and grief of past losses. But the most important thing I learned…
It’s ok to make mistakes and not have it all together just yet. It’s ok to say you’re sorry. If they’re worth their salt, they’ll say there is nothing for you to apologize for.
They saw what was happening to me, didn’t fear it and stood resolutely by my side, encouraging me and crying along with me. I am truly blessed. Those friends who pick me back up, dust me off and go “Ok, those few weeks sucked…let’s go and kick the dirt off. Things are getting better from here. Shake it off.” I don’t even really have words. Yesterday I cried and cried, but for a different reason. I was humbled and overjoyed. Grateful and relieved. I finally felt me come back. I missed me. I feel like I was just starting to really find myself and embrace the life that I want, and in the last two weeks, I took a major detour. I’m back on track now.
I doubt this is the last time I’ll wage war against grief and fear. It’s probably not the last time I’ll totally fail, overlook it again, and come crashing and burning to my knees once I finally realize what I’m up against. There’s a definite reason why my next tattoo is going to be a giant phoenix on my back, coming up out of the flames and ashes. I will keep seeking restoration and keep coming up out of the darkness better than I was before. I refuse to let grief and fear dictate my path, my loves or my life. And by the grace of God, my friends and family refuse the same. I will be made new and shed the pains of my past, knowing they contributed only to the person of strength and character I aim to be in my future, and that each stumble is one step closer to grace.
Give Thanks: It’s Good for Your Health!
As a busy mompreneur, it is important to make time every single day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. This time for reflection is not only good for the mind, but for the body as well. Studies have shown that individuals who possess a grateful attitude have better overall health than people who tend to be negative or pessimistic. When you take the time to give thanks, especially amidst chaos, not only do you resist the urge to just give up, but you also set your intentions for forward momentum with a “go-getter” attitude.
Better health just from being thankful? Yes. You read that correctly. Let’s look at the facts.
In a 2003 study known as Counting Blessings Versus Burdens, participants recorded less physical pain and symptoms, more restful sleep, and more time spent taking care of their bodies. A separate study in 2007, individuals who counted their blessings once a week experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure. And in another study, people who focused on being thankful were more likely to have healthy immune systems.
Mental & Emotional Health
Taking the time to give thanks can actually reduce depressive thoughts and attitudes. While major depressive disorders are often treated with prescription medications, incorporating a gratitude journal in your wellness routine can help to ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Feeling grateful can also block toxic emotions such as envy, jealousy, and anger. Since gratitude and envy, jealousy, and anger are opposite emotions, we are not able to experience them at the same time. By focusing on the things in your life that you are grateful for, you can proactively block these negative emotions and feelings.
Gratitude can also help you to feel more self-aware, allowing you to increase your self-esteem, boosting humility and pride at the very same time.
Gratitude can also have positive implications for your social life. Gratitude allows you to be more optimistic, focus less on material things, become less selfish, and friendlier. And guess what? All of these qualities will make you a better friend and family member. Having an attitude of gratitude turns you into a helpful, beautiful, attractive human being.
This is proven with a simple question – Who would you rather be around? A friend who is constantly complaining or a friend who is consistently happy and positive? The Golden Rule, tried and true!
Grateful attitudes can open the door for meaningful development to your career. Gratitude increases your decision making ability, your ability to effectively manage a team, as well as provide and receive constructive criticism and praise to and from your colleagues. Our simple question applies here as well – Who would you rather hire? An employee who is constantly complaining or an employee who is consistently happy and positive?
Gratitude also helps you to network and expand your ability to be productive. Being grateful in your career sparks creative energy, keeps your perspective fresh and maintains alertness for powerful opportunities and new relationships. You will feel thankful for the opportunities presented to you in your career, you will be open to how they can positively impact your environment and you will utilize those chances to increase your professional prowess as your grateful attitude magnifies the power in your present situation.
Demonstrate your Gratitude
One way to demonstrate gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. Write one thing you are thankful for in your journal daily. This could be done in the morning shortly after you wake up, or it can be completed before you go to sleep at night. Just pick an opportunity to give thanks.
Another way to demonstrate gratitude is to write it in a place where everyone in the family can see it. I have a chalkboard calendar in which I write one thing that I am grateful for every single day. Not only does this help me to slow down in a busy day, it cultivates an attitude of gratitude by demonstrating the importance of giving thanks to my entire family.
This is the season of gratitude. Thanksgiving is upon us! But let’s commit to give thanks every day, embrace humble hearts and watch as we collectively grow into good health, mentally, physically and emotionally. Will you give thanks with me?
I’m Going Live! Weekly Periscope Schedule
Are you on Periscope yet? I talked about why your blog needs Periscope just over a week ago, and we chatted why businesses need Periscope over on The Hampton Roads Creative too! Now I have a whole new reason for you to hop on the Periscope bandwagon. Chaos & Kiddos is going live! Below you’ll find the weekly Periscope schedule for August and September. I picked popular blog posts and fun topics that will give you a little peak into my home and real time access to the methods behind my madness!
I decided to formally schedule these sessions so that you can plan ahead and mark your calendars. As busy working moms, I picked a weekday evening, when hopefully most of us will have kids in bed and will be ready for a little chat to unwind with other working moms. I know the likelihood of you hopping on randomly at different times of day probably won’t happen, so the weekly Periscope schedule will help you set a routine, keep me consistent and accountable and hopefully help us all make the most of our time together.
I can’t wait!! I’ll be releasing a weekly Periscope schedule for future months too! Stay tuned and follow closely!
Share-Network-Grow Link Up
Wow! Another week has come and gone already!
Thank you to everyone that showed up last week to make our very first Share ~ Network ~ Grow social media link up a success!
This party is all about building and fostering a community of bloggers that actively support each other in their blogging journeys.
And, as you all know, one of the best ways for bloggers to connect with one another, is through social media.
So the Share ~ Network ~ Grow social media link up was born! We’ll be featuring 2 different social media networks on the link up each week and hope that by focusing on 2 rather than all of them every week, you will have more of a chance to connect and engage with some amazing new bloggers!
Now, let’s get this party started!
This week’s featured social media networks are TWITTER and INSTAGRAM!
The rules for this link up are very simple! (Seriously, we don’t like a lot of rules either!)
1. Please follow your host and co-hosts! We’d love to connect with all of you!
2. Grab the button if you’d like! Not mandatory at all, but we would sure appreciate it 🙂
3. ENGAGE! No one likes a link and run blogger. If you add your link, try to engage with at least one other blogger.
That’s it! See, told you it was simple!
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Now, for the party! Brought to you by your host:
And our fabulous October co-hosts!
Becka from Probably Crafting
Katy from Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy’s Survival Guide
Interested in co-hosting for a month?
It’s a great way to network with other bloggers and grow your social media following! Just fill out the form and we’ll email you with the details!
Now, grab a button and get hopping! Link your Twitter and Instagram profiles and get to know some fantastic new bloggers!