Photo courtesy of Red Fox Market, downtown Big Rapids, MI
Last night we got to enjoy one of the many great events our little town has to offer. It was the annual Parade of Lights that always kicks off the holiday season. I probably say this about a lot of the events I go to around here, but this one might be my favorite. It's just the most beautiful, well attended and magical event. With the lights, and the spirit, and the crowd and the excitement to see Santa Claus at the end, it's all just what makes it a great small town tradition.
This had me thinking last night and this morning about how wonderful it is to live in a small town that provides us with so much including these traditions and ways to make memories with our friends and family. Nick and I both grew up in the small town life and we chose to give that life to our kids too. Right after we got married we moved to the city together and we lasted there just six months. We never felt like we had neighbors or a community there. It wasn't that it was bad, it certainly had many perks, it just wasn't what we knew home should feel like to us.
Home to us is having neighbors that pop over unannounced and are always up for a last minute drink on the back deck. It's both friends and strangers that are willing to drop anything to help you when you need it. It's being at an outdoor event among hundreds and knowing faces on each of the four street corners. Home to us is an announcement on a business sign that prayers for one of our own is needed or that a celebration is in order. It's walking into any restaurant and feeling welcomed as though we've just sat down at a family's kitchen table for dinner. It's entering a local boutique and proudly supporting them knowing that you are making an impact. Home is growing up the same and raising kids together. It's trusting that we're all looking out for each other and that everyone else's kids are the same as our own. It's where everyone's funerals are packed in and weddings are like family reunions. It's where streets get blocked off to share a meal and roll pumpkins or to determine who makes the best chili. It's where you know your local firefighters and police officers and teach their children.
I know some people think that the small town life makes your life small, but that's not the case in the least. Small town life has made my life rich in blessings and relationships, safety and opportunities. It has allowed for my family to build supportive connections and it has given our kids the chance to grow deep roots in a town that is truly proud of them.
Small towns give you small town values and big hearts. I wouldn't trade one single day here in small town USA and besides, the sky in a small town is always the prettiest.
I have been struggling a little bit lately with my own self worth. My perception is often skewed or influenced by others around me, on social media, other bloggers, coworkers, friends, etc. None of that is anyone else's fault, I take full accountability for choosing to compare myself to others.
Recently and even as recent as today I recognized that the thoughts consuming me are all thoughts of what I can't do, what I don't do and what I need to be doing. I can't take great pictures or videos with great lighting, I can't blog as much as I truly want to, I can't be in my classroom teaching my kids as much as I truly want to, I can't spend nearly enough time at home, I don't spend nearly enough quality time with my kids, I am not thin enough, I don't style clothes the way I should, I don't kiss my husband enough, I don't connect with my family enough, I don't talk to my friends enough, I don't spend enough time on lesson plans, I don't clean my house enough, I don't go to enough of the boys' practices, the list (as you can see) can really go on and on.
The truth is, I know that I am not alone in this, I know especially for working mothers, the struggle with mom guilt is real. The pressure a woman feels has been created by this society that expects for us to be the best mom, the best cheerleader, the best teacher, take the best care of ourselves, take the best care of our families, be the best friend, look good, feel good, keep a good house, be a good wife. The society that has created these expectations though, that society is us. We do this, we put this pressure on ourselves to be the best at all the things.
I have put this incredible amount of pressure on myself to be the absolute best at everything I have taken on in my life because I am terrified to fail and be rejected. When really all that I am and all that I can do has always been enough for the people who love me. Do our kids sometimes ask more of us? Yes! Do our husbands need us during times we aren't available? Yes! Does work ask for more when we feel like we just don't have anything more to give? Yes! BUT we don't have to do any of it, those expectations are fostered by us always saying yes when really what we do already is enough. We only fail because of the expectations we set out for ourselves.
I decided to take this blogging hobby public because it's something that I love to do and sharing it makes me love it even more. Today however, I was caught beating myself up for not being the best at it, for not having enough of a following, for not being as good as the gurus. After a long drive alone with my thoughts and a mental pep talk I remembered why I am doing this. I am doing it because it's what I love to do and those that choose to follow along this journey with me will love me for me and the way that I do things and if they don't they won't follow, or at least I don't want them to. My hope in all of this is to be real and genuine and relatable and approachable and not perfect. I do this to share what I love and to make others feel great. So I decided today to just keeping going with it, to tell myself that I am enough and that all of this will be a learning experience along the way.
I talked myself out of all of the pressure and have decided to wake up each day telling myself one thing I CAN DO or reflect on the things that I do well. We're all going to make mistakes, we're all going to fail, we're all going to have those moments that make us want to smack ourselves in the middle of the forehead, but that's not because we aren't great and awesome, it's just because we aren't perfect...no one is. The challenge isn't to obtain perfection, the challenge is to convince ourselves that we are enough, because we are!
It's been on my mind a lot lately and really a topic among my friends with kids the same age as my boys. We struggle with fostering independence, and knowing what's appropriate and not appropriate as far as what they should be responsible for at home. It's so easy as parents to just get into a system or routine, all of which helps our household run productively and efficiently. However, I have come to the realization lately that my boys are capable of helping out at home much more than what they actually do. We have been fostering dependent behavior.
That realization slapped me in the face the other night when I asked my 8 year old to grab a dish cloth from the kitchen. I watched him walk into the kitchen and look aimlessly around. He had no clue, after living in this house for 6 years of his life, where the dish cloths were. When I finally directed him to the right drawer, he proceeded to wet the cloth and then instead of ringing it out, he just carried the wet dripping cloth across the floor to me and thought nothing at all of it. He had never been given this experience before, therefore it was not apart of his schema.
That night, the pillow talk in my house was all about what we can do to prepare these little boys of ours to be independent, capable and helpful men. Don't get me wrong, they definitely do help us with some things, they drag their laundry baskets to the laundry and they help us sort their laundry a few times a week. They help us put their clothes away when the laundry is done and they help to feed the dog every day too. There is so much more that they could be doing though, or at least experiences we could be providing them so that they are prepared to accomplish tasks independently.
What we need to do (Nick and I), is to be conscious all the time while we are taking care of jobs around the house thinking of how we can include the boys in the execution. How can they be helping? This is the question that just needs to be on our minds at all times throughout the day. They may not be able to actually pack themselves a healthy, sufficient lunch but they sure can participate in the process by getting out the containers, pulling food out of the fridge and actually physically putting their lunch bags in their backpacks each day. They can also be in charge of emptying their backpacks after school and putting things back where they belong. They can be helping to fold laundry, starting with things like socks and towels (the easy stuff). They can set the table, clear the table, empty the dishwasher and help with every day household chores.
We also need to put it on them 100% when it involves an extracurricular activity. Take hockey, for example, why we have been setting out wet and stinky hockey equipment that we don't use or play with is beyond me. That is now on them, if they want to play the sport, they need to be in charge of the equipment and gosh dang it remember their own water bottle before a practice or game!
I am finding myself now thinking of so many ways they can be helpful contributors in our household and it makes me excited for them! I don't want to come across like a super tough parent, and I don't want to be too hard on them, but I do think it's important for them to be independent, problem solving men and some day if they are blessed enough to share their lives with significant others, those lucky significants will be very grateful for them and their abilities to take care of things and be equal task performing members of their households. And if they choose to live a life of sole independence, then they'll be prepared to do so.
I want them to be proud of themselves for what they can do and I want them to be able to do it on their own because not only is it rewarding but it feels good too! I don't want them to need anyone else but it would be great for them to be needed. So here we go, we might be taking more time on tasks but that's because our little boys are becoming men! Wish us luck!
We're so lucky at my school to have a principal who motivates us all the time with positivity and self love. She encourages us all the time to "do something for YOU" and to "be THE one". She encourages us to look past the stuff that doesn't matter and she especially reminds us all the time that we have been given an incredible opportunity in our line of work to be able to have positive impacts on so many little lives.
We also have challenges in our line of work, however, that become speed bumps in our road to success and obstacles that we have to overcome in order to persevere. One of her motivational "rah rah" spiels, addressing the very topic of positivity and success was about how important it is to not let anyone get your "good". Your "good" as in your self-love, your confidence, your positive attitude and anything that you do well or have going on that's just darn right awesome.
So often it happens that just when we've put in that hard work, or we've persevered and are finally reaping the benefits of that, someone comes a long and tries to squash it with negativity or undermining words that make us feel that what we've accomplished or how we are feeling isn't justifiable. We start to second guess ourselves and what we have achieved.
It's interesting too how sometimes we can be that person to ourselves. We can be the person who gets into our own head and starts giving self chats that essentially downgrade any victories or accomplishments. Take for example, when we lose weight. If someone else notices, or we get a compliment, it's so hard to just simply say "thank you" and accept that compliment, pat ourselves on the back and keep plugging away. Instead we credit the weight loss to something else like "it's just these pants" or "it was the lighting in the picture", etc.
My point is, that we have a hard enough time keeping our own minds positive, keeping ourselves motivated and feeling rewarded and deserving, let-a-lone allowing for someone else to come in and bring us down too.
This happened to me this week, I (almost) allowed for someone to get my good. This person, feeling unhappy in their own life and insecure in their own decisions, decided that they needed to take that negativity out on me. They said some horrible things (that are still haunting me) with the intentions of downplaying all that I have worked hard to accomplish. For a few hours, I allowed for that to happen. I started second guessing myself and questioning any of my successes. I started wondering if I really was any of the things that this person told me I was. Those hours felt like days and really it was an exhausting way to start my week.
Fortunately, I surround myself with a lot of love, family and friends who support unconditionally and love me for me. These very people were there to talk me out of giving away my good. They did a fine job of assuring me that it's ok to be me, to do me, and to feel good about it. While no one is perfect, and I am in fact the opposite of that, all we can do is try our best every day to be our best self and with that will come triumphs and successes and so much to be proud of .
It's up to us though to create that good, to recognize it, to fuel it, to share it, and to hold on to it for dear life. Our good, is all ours, it's what we have worked hard for, it's what we have done, it's what we have overcome, it's what keeps us pluggin' on day after day. It's what we have to be proud of and it's what we use to make those that love us, love us even more.
Be the good, keep that good and own it!!!
So about a month ago I did my first 'big" thing of the summer. This was something that really was being planned (in my mind) since last summer. I knew that I needed to get myself in the annual Celebrity Harness Race that occurs as a local fundraiser in our community each summer. This race has now raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities and I am proud to have been involved in the party planning for this event for almost, if not already, ten years now. Each year the racers always proclaim that this is the greatest adrenaline rush and that all should do it. Well last year I made that decision. I knew that I would regret it forever if I didn't do it now.
I am a self proclaimed control freak and I am sure those closest to me can see that. So doing something like this is far beyond my comfort, to say the least. I wasn't able to bid on this race at the auction I wanted to purchase it at until late May, early June, so I had a lot of time to simmer the thought of racing in my head. I am pretty proud of myself honestly, that with all that time to think about it, I didn't back out. Funny though, once I did seal the deal and purchase the race, I just planned on not sleeping until the race was over.
Practices started right away a few days a week and I very quickly fell in love. I would go after school before the school year ended and it turned out to be the most wonderful way to decompress. There is something about horses that is so majestic and methodical. The way they move, the way they smell, the way they sound, it's all so beautiful and allowed me to forget about everything else in the world while I was on that track. I honestly felt sad as the actual race got closer because I knew my time to decompress in that way was coming to an end.
The night before the race I got the chance to ride in the gate car which was an experience in itself. I felt so close to the horses, I could see their breath and feel the determination in their eyes. It was a great way to gauge positioning and to develop strategies for my own race, which now in hindsight I know, the horse already had that part taken care of.
Race night was incredible and really one of the best nights of my life! My sisters and my mom showed up unexpectedly, which was a wonderful surprise of support. The infield party was filled with leopard print (my favorite part), the grand stands were packed with students and school families, and my own family and friends were certainly showing their love, making it obvious who they were cheering for in the race. I was so full of anxiety and adrenaline and excitement but I was determined to take it all in. I met my horse and fell in love with her too. She was beautiful with her mane braided and I could see her story in her eyes.
It was time for the race, to line up at the gate car and my horse, "Lookin' At Lucky", made it clear that she was on a mission. I am still not exactly sure what happened with that first line up, but three of the other racers were not yet able to get their horses up to the gate. So the gate had to pull back and try again. Well, naturally, my horse thought it was time to race when the gates pulled back. This meant that I had to really pull back on her until we met up with the gate again and by then, in her mind the race had already started. The horses all got lined up and the gate pulled away. My horse took a strong lead to start and went ahead by quite a bit right off the bat. I kept looking back thinking "either this horse is going to crush this race or she's going to completely die on me at some point". The problem was that I was holding her back for so long already that I just didn't have the strength and endurance to do it as much as I needed to in order to conserve her energy to win. She ended up leading the race for an entire lap and a half and then she just didn't have enough in her to finish first. She did however, break a record for her first quarter mile and she ran an honest, race of beautiful and perfect trotting.
The adrenaline that I felt during that race was like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. I am used to my hands shaking and my heart racing but when that race ended, I remember my feet shaking uncontrollably, it was the weirdest feeling! Someone asked me if I remember the race and shockingly I remember every second of the actual race. Afterwards A LOT of my friends and family showed their support for me by gathering around my horse on the infield (another record that was apparently broken), so I was feeling the love for sure! After seeing pictures from that time I shared with many of my favorite people on the track, it became clear to me that that was the "blackout" moment. I don't remember taking a lot of the pictures so that must have been when the adrenaline really took over.
The entire experience was certainly one for my lifetime and I will forever be grateful for my trainer and his family for allowing me this opportunity. The time and effort that they dedicate to this race and the impact that they have made on my community by simply sharing their talents and passion, is really unmeasurable and extremely admirable. I now feel very passionate that this is something that anyone would be crazy not to do if the opportunity presented itself. I felt high on life for weeks after that race and thinking about it still makes me smile and wish for just one more jog.
The best dressed kiddos, obviously! :)
It seems like all week we're grinding, racing the clock all day long and not stopping to breathe until the kids go to bed and even then the dishes need to be done, laundry needs to be put away, the list goes on. Then the weekend comes and goes so fast you barely even get the chance to stop and regroup before the race begins again.
We are at that point in our lives where our kids' schedules keep us busier now then we ever could've imagined we'd be and we sure complained about being busy before kids. I've said this a few times this baseball season that I feel like I barely have time to work, my job is getting in the way of my kid's busy schedule. I know I'm not crazy for thinking that because you know it's the truth. Checking off the daily to dos is not easy to do within an hour or two after work, but somehow we do it. It might all be done last minute and coming in hot as we again race to beat the clock but we get it done.
Lucky for us though, and I know this isn't the case for everyone out there, we get two days off every week from work. We get a weekend to recharge, get the stuff done and regroup before the week begins again. BUT we may need to point the finger at ourselves for blinking and missing the weekends though. What so many of us are guilty of is only taking advantage of one of those days. On Saturday we're feeling good, feeling relieved, feeling liberated and feeling like we can conquer the world because we have the time to do it. Then on Sunday we get stuck in this "Smonday" mode and we let ourselves become consumed with the pressures of Monday and we spend our last day off filled with anxiety thinking of all the things to come. We waste the day away ourselves, we make the choice to worry and stress instead of embrace and relax. We're robbing ourselves! We've earned these two days to do with whatever the heck we want. We need to be capitalizing on every minute we have for ourselves and our families instead of succumbing to our daily pressures.
"Don't let Monday ruin your Sunday!", the wise words of my friend Traci. I love when she preaches this. These words always seem to come out of her mouth when she's trying to convince me to do something fun on a Sunday. :) Who doesn't need a friend like that?! Smonday Schmonday!
I haven't had much time to reflect lately because the Spring season just seems to be so crazy. This is always the time of year when I feel like I don't have time to have a job, LOL! We've been on the go with baseball and camping and just all the things that come with life. I was thinking back on the last time I was actually able to relax and be at one with my thoughts and that was our recent girl's trip to Florida a few weeks back (seems like a too long ago now). I wrote about this trip in a separate post weeks ago but there was a part of that trip that just seemed to have earned a whole post on it's own.
The Villages, FL, the place where my girlfriends and I were often the very young ladies at each establishment we entered. It was quite entertaining to see the stares and reactions of the "locals" when we walked in. If you ever want to feel young and sexy again just visit The Villages, they sure do show their appreciation for it. ;)
One night while visiting, we made a pit stop via golf cart for a pre dinner cocktail. We headed straight up to the bar where we were planning to plant ourselves. Sitting alone at the end of the bar was a single man who admittedly didn't "have the strength in his heart to handle being approached by so many beautiful women", his words not mine. We took our party outside onto the patio once we got our desired beverages and after a few minutes we were pleasantly joined by the man from the bar. We learned quickly that his name was Kevin and that he very much wanted to buy us all the next round. Typically when a guy wants to buy you drinks you assume that it comes with ill intentions. Not Kevin though, Kevin stood there and gushed about his wife and how he is the luckiest man on the planet and how he hopes that our husbands appreciate us. It was clear that he absolutely adored her, worshipped her really, and it felt like relationship goals. It was so refreshing to hear a man just go on about the woman he loved and that he was a better man because of her.
Isn't this what we all want? To be adored, loved, gushed about and treated like the queens we are? I am fortunate enough to have someone who does appreciate me and love me a whole heck of a lot. I am not so sure he gushes about me though, not because he doesn't want to but just because that's just not him, he's way too modest to gush about anything honestly.
We all deserve to be treated like the queen that we are and to see our man's (or loved one's) eyes light up when we walk in the room or to be our greatest fans when we are accomplishing our goals. We all deserve to have that cheerleader who fully believes that we can do anything and who appreciates whole heartedly what we already do or have done.
Kevin left us that night with some words that truly resonated with life, words that pertain to not only our significant others, but all of those who we share our lives with. These words are what make Kevin unforgettable to us and what earned him a post in his name. He said so simply to us "if your world isn't worthy, then change your world." That's it, it's just that simple. Those basic and matter of fact words were actually very impactful and lasting to us. They were words we spoke about for the rest of our trip and words we still think about now that we are back to reality. "If your world isn't worthy, then change your world." YOU ARE WORTH IT!
I was driving around town this weekend just running errands with my crew and we drove by a place of business that's sort of known around Big Rapids to post wise words or short inspirational quotes on their message board. This weekend's words of the wise were "choose love over fear". Honestly, the words struck me like a bolt of lightning. Fear, it's amazing what fear makes us miss out on, or allows for us to make excuses not to do or try. Fear is ultimately what holds us back.
The ironic part for me is that I preach this, literally preach this to my kids so often. My kids are very cautious, play it safe kinda boys, which I do appreciate, because I am not sure that I would be able to handle little dare devils. They don't love to try anything new though and if it looks different, sounds different or is just different than anything else that they are familiar with, they won't do it. We've had to be the parents that push them beyond their limits in order for them to discover the things that they love. Rowan, for example HATED skating. He screamed and cried and fought us every single time we took him to the rink. We kept pushing him though, full of guilt, because we knew him and we knew that once he got comfortable with it, he would be OK. Well now he lives and breathes hockey. He thinks of plays in his sleep and makes the plans with his teammates at school. He knows the scores from every NHL game played each night and loves more than anything to score goals, he'll do what it takes to make it happen too.
We still have to remind both of them probably daily, to not choose fear. Anything as simple as trying a new food or joining a camp or club without any of their friends. I can imagine as five and seven year old boys, how difficult saying "no" to fear is. I have to convince myself daily to not choose fear and in fact is something that I have been combating a lot with lately.
Those of you who know me, know that this blog is my baby, but along with this blog comes an Instagram account that is full of pride swallowing outfit of the day pics and stories centered on my life (and JB's). This is so far beyond my comfort zone and is something I have to convince myself to participate in daily. I keep telling myself to just push through, much like we did with Rowan and hockey. Just continue the mission, learn to have fun with it and swallow your dang pride.
I faced my greatest challenge on "the gram" this weekend, my first "try on" session in my stories. For those of you who aren't familiar with Instagram fashion bloggers, this is what matters, this is what people are most interested in as far as clothes and advice on where and how to shop. I made some purchases recently for my Spring and Summer wardrobe so I was obligated to share my finds with the people who have chosen to join us on this journey. I definitely put it off all weekend, kind of dreaded it and made excuses. Then I drove by that message board and read those words "choose love over fear" and I realized that dang it, I was being a total hypocrite with my kiddos and I was letting fear hold me back. So I did it, I tried on all the clothes, tried to pair them with what looked good, make a lot of mistakes, but got so much positive feedback and thank yous from my girls who were ready to shop for the season.
I ended the weekend, after having conquered that fear feeling the love and all sorts of validation and unfortunately for Nick, ready to shop some more just so I can try it all on! :)
When you really stop and think about the times in your life when you changed or grew, it's more often than not, that those times were when you were pushed beyond your limits. I really feel that in order to change and grow we have to make ourselves uncomfortable and feeling hesitant. We have to push through those fear driven feelings and see what this life and this world have to offer for us. MOST of the times when we push past the fear we find something on the other side that we fall in love with and hopefully we fall in love with ourselves a little more having won the battle.
So here I am combating that fear one imperfect selfie at a time.
I love my husband and I love my kids, beyond words or measurement. However, there is just something about my girls, they are my people. What is it about girl time that seems to leave you feeling fulfilled with a cup overflowing?
Girls just get girls, we get each other. We bring each other strength when we are feeling weak, we are there to pick each other up when we think we have fallen. We are there to hold each other's hands during life's most difficult ventures and we are the greatest cheerleaders when any of us have something to celebrate. We are there to laugh until our cheeks hurt and we pee our pants (and totally understand why). No one gets us like us! We understand the uphill battle that life feels like when you're a woman. We relate 1000% to the guilt we feel about not being able to conquer all that is expected of us. We are the keeper of each other's secrets and the ears for all of the must needed venting that comes free of judgement. We make each other feel beautiful and smart and capable. We feel relaxed and free and liberated when we are together. We cry for each other and understand that that's just what we do and that it doesn't necessarily need to be fixed. We give each other permission to do things we'd otherwise feel guilty or insecure about. We know how to have fun! We dance together like no one is watching and sing together like no one is listening. We talk about things we would never talk about with our husbands and not because we couldn't, just because it's not the same.
I was lucky enough to get to spend a four day weekend with a few of my favorite girls over Mother's Day weekend AND we completely justified to each other that it was OK to be away from our kids on Mother's Day. We gave each other the permission to do that and not feel guilty about taking time away to just take care of ourselves.
It wasn't at all an adventurous weekend, unless you consider eating a loaded baked potato from the back of a golf cart without utensils adventurous. It was a weekend spent chatting for hours in our pajamas over coffee, sipping mimosas all afternoon by the pool and #justwearingthesuit.
The highlight of my extended girls weekend was a trip we made via golf cart to Target. I don't care if you have to go all the way to Florida to spend time at Target without kids, that'd be the highlight of any girls weekend for any girl, let's be honest. We had so much fun in the dressing rooms giving each other honest opinions and reassuring each other that whatever it was we HAD to have it because it looked damn fine on us. We filled our shopping carts both in store and online that day with stuff with otherwise likely wouldn't have had the courage to buy. It was my most favorite Target trip of all time.
I missed those girls this week as the normal routine set in. I sure missed my family while I was gone too but man that time spent just focused on me was so needed. Maybe that's what it is with girl time, it's lighter, less stressful, less busy, lacks all the pressures, and is more just about me when I am with MY girls. Girl time is essential and we are all better wives, mothers and people for it.
I am fortunate to have several tribes from different walks of life and they all hold a special, very large place in my heart (they know who they are). I am grateful that they are always there to encourage me, empower me, support me, laugh (and cry) with me, that they tell me when I am wrong and that they are always on my side when I am right.
Thank you tribe for making my life so much better every time we're together. I love you!
For Christmas my MIL always gets us girls, my sister in law and two nieces, a gift certificate to get pedis and have a lunch date. We've been doing this for a few years now and it really is a day we all look forward to. We always have great conversation, catch up and reconnect. We got together just recently to cash in our certificates and spend our time together. What's great (or challenging) is that my mother in law has a way of getting us to talk and think about things that we don't normally stop and take the time to do. In fact, the last couple of years on this trip for pedis she brought along her "angel cards". Not gonna lie, I literally sweat even just thinking about these cards. However, I always seem to feel revived and refreshed after these prompted discussions, even if they are awkward and uncomfortable to think about out loud.
Anyway, this time around she got the cards out and we each had to pick a card without looking (ya gotta leave it up to fate to decide which card you need). What's great though, is that every card picked, even if it's not picked by you, seems in some way applicable to everyone. My card was "SHINE" and the words to spark the discussion were "Step into the light. You are a gift to the world". So the pressure was on to divulge on why fate chose that word for me that day. Honestly, I felt that it truly was fate taking over and telling me that this whole leap of blogging faith and acting on what brings me joy is what I am supposed to be doing to "shine" right now. It gave me sort of a permission to keep on typing. That maybe my "shining" goes beyond the classroom and I could even have more than one passion to share with the world.
I was also impacted by the card my mother in law picked which was "WATCH" and although I can't remember what the exact prompting words were, what I took from the card was to watch for those miracles, the miracles that happen in the littlest ways and the greatest. As we got to talking about these miracles we began to merge this "WATCH" card along with my "SHINE" card and the discussion got deep.
You know how when babies are born you just look at them like they are the most miraculous being and that they were just born to sparkle and do something great? Well we were all once that beautiful miraculous baby. We were this perfect, precious being who was going to do amazing things. Somewhere along the way that image of perfection began to crumble away and not by anyone else but by ourselves. We don't ever look at ourselves in the same way that we are looked at when we are fresh and new. We never give ourselves the credit of being capable or worthy. We spend our time focused on what's not perfect and what needs to be better.
I always go back to the time when Nick and I first started dating and I was spending the day out on the boat with his family. His mom (now my beautiful mother in law) took a picture of us, and I was in a two-piece. I remember in that moment feeling so insecure. A few years later that picture was printed and hung on a board at the cottage and I remember looking at that picture thinking "DANG! I LOOKED GOOD!". Looking back I so wish that I would have loved my body then, that I wouldn't have felt insecure in my skin and that I would've just rocked it like I should've.
It's definitely not that things matter less to me now, I mean I am still super insecure and judgmental with myself on the daily, but when I read things like "life is too short to spend it at war with yourself" it really does make me stop and think about it more than I would've twenty years ago. Even now, I spend my time judging myself in a picture or in the mirror but I know that in another twenty years I am going to have those same wishful feelings, that I would've just loved myself more.
We are still that miracle baby, capable of doing wonderful and amazing things. We are still that package full of potential and awesomeness that the world is waiting to see. We are still that miracle who has done miraculous things in our short lived lives. We need to start looking at ourselves with love and acceptance and appreciation and I believe if we do that, girl, we'll shine, because we are a gift to the world!
**I dedicate this post to my gorgeous nieces Brynn and Brett who are twenty something bomb shells and I hope that when they look in a mirror or see themselves in a picture now and forever, they realize that they are worthy and beautiful and truly miraculous human beings.**
My little miracles, Rowan, now 7 & Grady, now 5.
Melissa here! While I'm all about sharing trends, deals, and outfit ideas with you, I have a true passion for writing. I love sharing thoughts on life the most and am excited to share those thoughts with all of you right here!
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