Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Easy Ways To Be Happy

In the monotony of daily life, chasing after happiness can seem like an endless, really big project. And sometimes, it is. But sometimes it's simpler and more easily attained than we make it out to be. Sometimes no big changes need to be made, no big trips need to be taken. Sometimes you're just a few minutes away from happy. 

Some simple ways to find your happiness today. . .

Go for ice cream. There's a reason everyone loves going for ice cream when they're a kid...because it's a happy thing! No reason that should stop just because you're an adult now. 

Watch the sunset. Getting outside in any way helps put me in a good mood, but being outside and watching the sky wind down for the night in the most beautiful way, it's hard to not feel happy. 

Make your favorite kind of cup of coffee, tea, anything!!. Iced coffee or a cappuccino or a shot of espresso, frap, tea -- hot or iced...make your favorite and then take a few minutes to just enjoy it. 

Watch your favorite movie. It's your favorite for a reason! 

Take a bubble bath. It's my personal belief that bubble baths can right most wrongs in life; especially with some nice music, a cold drink, and a good book. 

Cook your favorite dinner. 

Or, order your favorite dinner instead. 

Go for a drive and listen to the music that makes you happy. Bonus points if you hit up Wendy's for a frosty while you're out.

Look through the pictures on your phone. I take so many pictures of the kids just on a whim or during a funny moment and then forget about them. Looking back at them always puts me in a good mood.

Plan a vacation. Even if it's not one you can take this year (or even next year), there's something inherently happy about vacation planning. Dream a little, look up the places you've always wanted to go, and start planning!

What are some easy ways you add happiness to your day?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

If I Could Tell You Anything

If I could tell you anything -- I mean anything.....and you would believe me, here's what I'd say.

You are enough. You are so enough. I know that you probably don't think so, and when you look at your life as a whole, the first thing you notice is the places where you don't feel like you are enough. But listen to me, you beautiful creature, you: You are enough. I think that sometimes we feel like we're not enough because we keep forcing things on ourselves that were never meant for us. We try to wear hats we were never meant to wear, try to fill positions we were never meant to fill, try to be things for people that we were never meant to be. But the things that were meant for you? Oh, babe. You are more than enough. 

You are loved. More than you know.

You are a force to be reckoned with. You're gifted in such specific ways. When you recognize those areas and use those things, watch out, world. 

Sometimes the right choice and the right feelings come at different times. So if you're feeling crappy about that decision you had to make because you know in your gut it was the right thing to do, hold on just a little longer. Emotions are fickle things, and it can take them awhile to catch up. 

The small steps you're taking are adding up. So keep up the work. I know it's hard to not see instant results when you feel like you're working hard. It sucks to not see a big paycheck or a toned stomach or a restored relationship right away, but I promise, the work you're doing will get you there. Those small steps are leading you to the right place. Keep taking them. Keep working hard. 

Happy Tuesday, friends!  I am sending much love your way today.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Believe in YOU!!!

Have you ever been faced with a daunting, insurmountable situation that made you feel like no matter what you did, you just weren't going to make it out? Or a dream that you really, really wanted, but seemed nearly impossible from all angles? 

If you have, and have had a friend come alongside you and say, "oh my goodness, you were made for this! You're amazing, you've got this, I believe in you, I love you" then you know just how powerful it is to have someone believe in you. 

It's so important to surround yourself with those kinds of people. It is essential that the people you allow into your inner circle are the kind of people who will cheer you on, who will go to war for you,  who will believe in you, who will remind you of your own greatness. Those are the best types of friends. 

But for the love of muffins, please be your own friend. Please believe in your own self. 

There's a special kind of magic that comes from believing in yourself. It comes with a sort of power, because no one other than you can give it to you, so no one other than you can take it away. 

You are amazing. It's true that you've got this. You were made for that dream that's burning in your heart. You are worthy of success and love. All of those things are already true. But when you start to believe them for yourself? Ooh, girl. Gamechanger. Stand-back-world-because-here-I-am-kinda-gamechanger.

You are magic. Time to start believing it.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Don't Apologize For Who You Are

I say "sorry" entirely too often. It's something I'm working on, but I have a long way to go. A friend told me this that when you say "sorry" all the time, it cheapens your apologies, and that was really thought-provoking to me. I want my apologies to mean something, so I started looking at the types of things I apologize for. 

Wanna know what I found? I apologize a lot for who I am. 

Sorry, I shouldn't have gotten my feelings hurt over that. I'm too sensitive. 

Sorry, I'm a mom, so I can't go out with you tonight because my kids have a football/volleyball/basketball game.

Sorry, I'm a blogger, so I really want to go back there and take a picture of that so I can use it in a post. 

When you apologize for parts of who you are, it's like you're intentionally cutting yourself down. And it's really, really hard to love someone who is always cutting you down. And if anyone should be able to love you, it's you. 

I'm extremely imperfect. I'm very bad at making decisions, they take me forever. I get really emotionally invested in silly things, so I sometimes cry over stuff that is unimportant, in the grand scheme of things. 

Do you know who I owe an apology to about these things? 
Not a single person. 

If you're like me and say "sorry" without even thinking about it, I want to challenge you to start paying attention to the things that get your apologies. And I want you to stop handing them out when it comes to who you are. 

You are amazing, flaws and all, and you should never apologize for who you are. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

To My Max on Your 18th Birthday

Dear Max;

We made it, Buddy!  Happy 18th birthday!  Do you feel any different than you did yesterday?  Maybe you should.  Today marks the day that you can legally vote (Please do so deliberately and carefully), purchase cigarettes (Please don't ruin those perfectly healthy lungs.  I invested 9 months in their creation!), enter into binding contracts (Beware of unnecessary debt...which pretty much means any and all debt), and fight and die for your country (Let's hope it never comes to that).

Since this is such a momentous occasion, I thought I would write you a very personal letter (and then post it on the internet for the whole world to see).  Today is both a wonderful and miserable day for me.  I've found myself vacillating between exuberant celebration for having successfully birthed, raised, taught, nurtured, and released out into the world a productive and thoughtful member of society...and getting lost in a bottle of vodka,  drunk with sadness because my baby is all grown up.

Some days I miss that tiny baby...and the sweet chubby toddler...and the trusting innocent child that you were.  You see time is in ways a mother's worst enemy.  It in small stages robs her of her babies.  It seems as if one day I reached out to kiss you on the cheek and suddenly had to look up instead of reach down. And in the place of my precious baby boy stood a grown man.  It's humbling and beautiful and exciting...even if it is somewhat bittersweet for me.

I know that I often view you through mom-colored glasses, seeing only your best qualities and elements of your nature...the rougher edges  made foggy as they are viewed through love.  But I do know that you have grown into a thoughtful, respectful, intelligent, and freethinking person.  I am proud and humbled to have in small ways helped you on that journey. 

The journey hasn't been an easy one.  I was really still a kid when you came along, already trying to raise one crazy toddler.  I still knew very little about being a parent (although I was sure I had it all figured out.  I mean...I hadn't completely screwed your older brother up, yet.  How hard could it possibly be?) and we had to grow together.  I apologize for my many mistakes and shortcomings.  And while there were many times I understood why in some species of animals mothers eat their young, I am mostly grateful we weren't born guppies or hamsters or polar bears.  Because had I devoured you in some moment of frazzled motherhood exhaustion and desperation, I would have missed out on so many moments of deep joy and friendship.

Yes...friendship.  I count it as my greatest success and reward as a parent to have helped raise someone so wonderfully witty and caring and profound, that I would seek you as a friend even if we didn't share DNA and hormonal bonding.  I am as proud to call you my friend as I am to call you my son.

You've stretched my heart in the same way you once stretched my body.  Those silvery lines of stretchmarks are lasting signs of how you grew too big for my body to hold.  I imagine similar silvery stretchmarks on my heart  (metaphorical of course, because....OUCH.)...which also wasn't big enough in the beginning to hold all of my love for you.  Sometimes it still feels like it isn't big enough, and that I might just burst open (But then who would have to clean THAT mess up?).

I've been thinking for several months now about all of the wonderful cliched grown-up advice I should give you on this, your first day of legal adulthood.  Things like:

  • Remember who you are.
  • Be confident, but stay humble.
  • Don't forget to floss.
  • Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.
  • Never make eye contact while eating a banana.
  • Be a voice not an echo.
  • Please, please, please don't get in an accident if you aren't wearing clean underwear.
  • The grass is only greener on the other side because it's fertilized with bullshit.
  • You were born an original.  Don't die a copy.

And most importantly:


But I tossed out the list.  I've always been the kind of mother who doesn't tell you what to do (unless it's the 10th time I've asked you to take out the trash...or do the dishes...or to absolutely not under any circumstances kill your little brother!).  Instead I've let you figure most things out on your own, to make your own decisions and mistakes, to give advice and boundaries in ways that still let you seek your heart's desire.  Why should I start telling you what to do now?  I know you are going to be just fine, probably much more than fine.

Welcome to the adult world, Buddy.  I assure you it isn't quite everything that it's hyped up to be.  But it isn't as bad as some people make it out to be, either.  In fact, it's pretty much what you make it.  I know you'll make it a beautiful one (in much the same way you've made mine beautiful).  So your life is no longer in my hands...it's in your own. But remember that no matter where this adventure might lead you...I will always be your mother, and your friend...and your number one fan.


Your momma

Friday, May 4, 2018

You Are Enough


You are enough. 

That big dream you have, the one that seems far too big and bold and grand to ever really be yours, you are enough for that. 

The days you wake up and look at your to-do list that has grown miles long, but ish has hit the fan and it's time to get to work, you are enough for that. 

The days where life comes at you in all directions (none of them good), and you have to be your own warrior, you are enough for that. 

The days you have to be not only your own strength but someone else's, too, you are enough for that. 

You are strong enough. 

You are smart enough. 

You are worthy enough. 

You are brave enough. 

When you wake up one day and realize you aren't in love with your life and desperately want a fresh start, you are enough to stand up and start over. 

When little daily worries and big life disasters feel like they're going to drown you, you are enough to stand firm and hold on. 

On the days you feel inadequate, the days you're sure you'll never be a good enough
worker/mom/friend, you are enough. 

You are not perfect, but you don't have to be. Because you are enough. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Being a Better Person

I am 100% of the belief that you can become a better person. Just like you can become a better writer, or a better tennis player, or a better cook. If something is important to you, you'll put the effort in, and being a good human is important to me. Here are some ways I'm trying to get better at it. 

1. I'm trying to let little things bother me less. The other day, I burnt a piece of chicken I was cooking and then knocked over a glass of water. I said, out loud to myself, "What a crappy night." And then actually laughed at myself, because, seriously? If I'm going to be the kind of person who lets some spilled water ruin their night, I'm going to have a pretty miserable existence. So none of that! 

2. Saying less of "here I am" and more of "there you are!" I heard a saying recently that there are two types of people: People who walk in a room and say HERE I AM! And people who walk in a room and say, "There you are!" I want to be the second person. 

3. Eating better and working out. Plain and simple, this is making me a better person physically. It's important!

4. Making space for people. When I first started my spring cleaning this year, I would say to myself, "The goal here is to create space".  Then I would drive me crazy. Because there's only so much space, it already exists, and I cannot make more. What kind of hippie nonsense is this? But the more I said it, the more I got it, and the more I see how it translates over to real life. 

You only have so much space in your life, but you get to move it around and manipulate it to fit where you want it and choose who gets to take it up. And I want to choose to create space for the people who matter. I want to create space for my friends to call me if they're having a bad day. Space for people to be able to ask for my help. Space for canceled plans in order for me to be there for my people. 

5. Consciously choosing kindness. I consider myself to be a pretty kind person. And yes, it would be awesome if I was always automatically kind without even thinking about it, but that's not always the case. So I'm working on thinking about it. Actually waking up and deciding to be kind. Taking a breath in the heat of a frustrating moment and actively choosing kindness. 

6. Less judging. Period. This year has taught me that very, very few things are black and white. I have no idea what someone is going through, or where they're coming from, so my judgment has no place here. When I feel judgey in a situation, I'm trying to notice it and replace that with love. 

7. Trying, even in the seemingly impossible situations. Maybe a few dollars isn't going to change a homeless person's life around. Maybe calling your city councilor isn't going to change their mind. Maybe offering your support isn't going to break someone's addiction. But I, for one, want to be able to say I always tried, no matter how hopeless a situation seemed. 

8. Listening. How often do we say, "how's it going?" in passing without really caring about the response? Or how often are we in a conversation, just nodding but also scrolling through our phones? I'm working on becoming a better listener instead. 

9. Responding to my texts and emails. Goodness gracious, I am so bad at this. Some of it's due to getting anxious over things, but some of it is due to pure laziness/procrastination. I'm working on responding to things in a much timelier matter, even if my response is just, "I'll have to get back to you."

10. Learning the best ways to love my people. We all feel most loved in different ways. I have a friend who's whole month is made by sending her a 99 cent greeting card saying hi, and one friend who feels appreciated when someone acknowledges her hard work. I have a friend who feels loved by phone calls. Another friend hates talking on the phone, but loves funny texts full of inappropriate memes. I'm working on taking the time to learn these little things so I can show love better. 

How are you trying to become a better person?

Easy Ways To Be Happy

In the monotony of daily life, chasing after happiness can seem like an endless, really big project. And sometimes, it is. But sometime...