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Love. Laugh. Sparkle.

Sometimes we lose what makes us shine…here's to finding it again

Music of my soul – The Boxer

We can hear a song a thousand times, know it, love it, but still it is just a song.  Then one day it comes on and time stops, your heart yearns and your soul glows.  The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel just hit me like that.  It tugs at my soul wanting to be heard again and again.  However, I didn’t see why it was speaking to me so loudly until I really listened to this last verse

In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev’ry glove that laid him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains

I used to be a quiet girl, a peacekeeper just a watcher and a listener.  Always ready to help others, but never ready to take a stand.  Over the years though,  I’ve become a Boxer…a fighter by trade.  I’m tired.  It’s exhausting losing more rounds than I’ve won.  I remember every blow that has laid me out and I remember every time I’ve stood back up only to get knocked back down.  I may not know yet how to win, but my heart is strong and I will get up again and again.  Every.Time.  I may cry out in my own anger and shame.  I may want to give in and just stay down, but I am a fighter.  It’s who I have had to become for myself and the people I love most.  I will remain.

What song is speaking to your soul right now?  What song is helping you discover yourself?

 

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Another year closer to my true self

2016 is coming to a close quickly and I realize I have hardly written all year.  I thought that my new life would give me more time to do the little things for me, but I find that just isn’t so.  Not that I regret that at all.  I am busier now than I have been in years it seems, but a busy that leaves me more fulfilled than before.  I have had the opportunity to be with my beautiful daughter every day.  Days filled with laughter, smiles, some tears and some frustration – all completely filled with love though.  I have enjoyed working alongside a woman I truly admire and look up to.  I have learnt so much in this past year from her about not only business, but life and persevering through it all.  I have spent almost every night tucking my daughter in bed and then sleeping next to my husband.  A huge change to get use to from my previously life of lonely day time sleeping.  We spend time together as a family in a relaxed way during the days instead of trying to shove as much ‘quality’ time in together as we can for a few hours a week.  There has been a lot to be grateful for.

 

There have also been struggles, heart break and hopelessness in this last year.  So many fears brought to the fore front for me.  There has been loss and some hard lessons learnt.  Through it all I have found out a little of who the person I am becoming.  And while it’s not all sparkly and joyful it is me finding my way to the surface.

 

I have found that I am a weak person.  A sensitive person.  A person who tries to fix everything even when they should just admit some things mend on their own and in their own time.  I am a person who is afraid to admit when they will break if they take any more or to admit when it is time to ask for help.  I am also a person who has little back bone and will allow herself to be hurt over again convinced she is doing something wrong in some way.

 

It is hard to look in a mirror and acknowledge these things because they are not changeable.  If I am true to myself then this is who I am.  There is another side I have also discovered though and it is that I am so much more than just that.

 

I am a strong woman.  I stay strong even when I want to crumble.  I stand steadfast and take it all and keep coming back because I love.  I am a person that loves loudly, fully and forever.  I am strong because I see beyond the hurt and I stay standing because my love is more lasting than any pain my heart may go through.  And my heart has been through so much this year.  I have had my heart broken by the one I love, I have cried for family wanting to heal their pains and unable to, I have lost friends and had long ago friends come back.  I have had childhood fears come back to haunt me and I have faced old demons I thought were gone forever.  These things and more could have broken me this year, but here I am still standing.  Because, I am a strong woman.

 

So, 2016, thank you for this (rocky) path of self discovery.  You didn’t break me…you made me stronger.  Let’s see what 2017 is made of.

 

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One of the greatest honors I have had

October of last year I was given the honor of performing the wedding ceremony for my sister and her husband.  I was so honored to be asked to stand up and honor their love and commitment to one another on that day.  For their anniversary I wanted to share with everyone parts of the ceremony they shared with their loved ones that day.  I wish for them many more years of love.  

 

Welcome family and friends. Thank you for being here this beautiful fall evening to share with Brandon and Heidi as they join together as husband and wife.

Brandon. Heidi.

I am so honored to be here this evening to stand up with you and to witness and celebrate with you on the first day of the rest of your lives together. On this day I don’t only stand here as your officiant, but also as Heidi’s sister. Having the honor to give her away to the man she has chosen to love and who in return has chosen her also as his own. So, Brandon, today I give you my sister. Love her, cherish her and protect her heart always as I know she will do for you also. I love you both.

This ceremony is all about family…it is what happens when two people come together in love. So, we aren’t only honoring and celebrating the union of Brandon and Heidi, but also the bonding of a new family. Later this evening as you take time to congratulate the newlyweds remember to also congratulate their amazing children who are also making a commitment to one another to be the best brothers and sisters they can be to each other. To always look out for and support one another as they build new memories together. I would like to be the first to say to them…congratulations and welcome to this new family.

As you continue holding hands I would like to share with you this beautiful passage I read once. I’m not sure who wrote it, but it is so fitting in this time.

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong
and full of love, that hold yours on your wedding day.

These are the hands that will work along side yours
as you build your future together.

These are the hands that will passionately love you
and care for you throughout the years.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief torments your mind
and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will give you strength when you struggle,
and support and encouragement to chase down your dreams.

These are the hands that will, countless times, wipe the tears from your eyes,
tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.

And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled with age,
will still be reaching for yours,
still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch
a touch from these hands.

And now, in as much as Brandon and Heidi have consented together in marriage,…and pledged their love and faithfulness to each other…

Brandon you may kiss your bride.

It is with great honor and so much happiness that I present to you all for the first time:

Mr. and Mrs. Phillips

heidi-and-brandon

Grounded

I went to BOGA the other morning (that’s right…beer and yoga) and our instructor talked about the things that ground us.  The things that keep us centered and make us feel secure in our lives.  As we would do our poses she would randomly take a moment to ask each person what grounds them and then toast them with our beers before moving on to the next downward dog or sun salutation.  People had wonderful answers from being out in nature to family to their pets.  One very wise (in my opinion) fellow yogi felt that the knowledge of understanding that some things are out of our control and will be whatever they are regardless of our wants grounds her.  Makes her feel secure knowing she can’t and doesn’t have to control everything in her life.  I wish I had that confidence in the unknown and uncontrollable.  Anyway, I wasn’t sure what my answer would be and said a silent thank you each time she called on someone else to share their wisdom with the group.

The thing is, I don’t feel grounded lately and I haven’t for some time.  I have good days – great days – but I never really feel safe anymore in my knowledge of what my life is or where I am headed.  I love that I have a great opportunity to spend more time with my family right now and be the mom I want to be, but at the same time I wake up every day unsure of myself and my future.  I wake up every day having to tell myself “not today…you will not lose today because you will forgive and move forward….you will hurt, but you will be stronger for it.”  So, every day I have to search for something to ground me and help my heart and mind get through whatever I will have to face.  So, there I was doing yoga, drinking beer and toasting the other brave women sharing a part of their souls with strangers.  There I was, and I had no idea what to say.  I kept thinking about how everything I believed was…wasn’t.  And it didn’t change over time it was just never what I thought it was.  Everything but one thing one little bit of constant sun in my life.  Other people had mentioned family members and I didn’t really think that at first, but the more I did the more I realized it was my daughter that keeps me grounded.

My sweet, sassy and courageous daughter is what keeps me grounded.  She is exactly who she appears to be and she wears her heart on her sleeve.  She has no real secrets and she loves entirely.  I have never been a cuddle or someone that enjoys to be touched much, but lately I have found we both gravitate towards each other first thing in the morning and in the evenings.  We sit quietly together sometimes reading or watching a movie, but a lot of times we just sit quietly enjoying each others company.  And I find I love these snuggly times, these times to just be mother and daughter.  I think we both have come to depend on this quiet time and it probably grounds both of us.  I am sure her little mind senses the discord around our home these days and the same way I find security in our quiet time together she probably does too.  I hope in her life time her heart is never as heavy or lonely as mine has been, but if there ever comes a time that it is I will always be here to hold her and keep her grounded too with a mama’s love that is never ending.

So, when I was finally called upon I simply said just that.  Quiet snuggle time with my girl is what grounds me and how I love to start and end each day.  It was greeted with a round of cheers and toasting and maybe a tiny bit of heaviness was lifted from my shoulders knowing that I am grounded and do have purpose each day.

Thank you for letting me share and please feel free to share what grounds you as well

 

 

I will find my light….

I have written and rewritten several posts tonight.  I have saved some drafts and I have trashed others.  I have deleted whole paragraphs at a time and entire posts one letter at a time.  Working backwards to remove the words I am unsure of saying.  Reminiscent of my life right now is my blogging.  If you say (write) certain words they become real.  They can never be changed or taken back.  If I share too much do I have to share it all….piecing together little bits of a story, picking and choosing what to leave out and what to alter a bit, feels too much like telling a lie to me.

Because I don’t want to lie I will say this tonight.  I am happy…..happier than I was for a very long time.  While I am happy I am still also heartbroken and scared of what the future holds.  I long for a day when I am truly relaxed and not unsure of anyones actions, words or motives.  I know that day will come though.  I know that I am doing what is best for my family and myself.  I am not alone in this journey and that reassures me.  I believe that not long from now I will walk down the road with the sun sparkling on my back a small hand clutched to one of mine and a strong safe hand holding the other.  I believe we will all find love laughter and sunshine on this path we have taken.  I will find my sparkle, my light, and share it with the ones I shine for.

 

laughter sparkles

Post ship jump…week one

 

Well, the act of jumping ship was a little harder than I thought it would be.  I gave notice and made all my plans, but things kept changing and led to more stress than I was already under.  Three things stayed solid the whole time though…my daughter’s joy (asking every day if it was ‘The Day’ in anticipation), my mother in laws encouragement and sound advice and my husbands support (regardless of anything else he fully stood by me for this jump).  Those three things are what got me through and kept me treading water after taking that first plunge.  I finally got past the point of ‘no return’ last Sunday after my last night shift was through and my final email sent off saying good-bye to a life I thought I would always be part of.

It has not been a life of leisure this past week though.  On the contrary, I’ve probably been busier than I was before.  Dr. appointments, learning the ropes for working at home, commiting to part time with a new agency, starting (barely) to catch up on the long neglected housework, homeschooling and being a wife and mom again.  Over all it’s been everything I wanted it to be.  Busy, but with purpose and enjoyment.  I have cooked/baked every day for my family, I have had time to snuggle in bed in the mornings with both of my loves, I have read bed time stories each night and slept comfortably with my husband, I have discovered that I am needed and I am wanted here more than the money I was making.  And that makes it all worth it.

I would say Week One was a definite success and although I expect there to be rough patches I am so happy with my decision and just maybe I saw a bit of a sparkle in the mirror this morning.

 

 

Jumping ship

Over the last couple years I have read many stories of women who had become consumed by their jobs. Jobs that they put everything into that never really gave back. Working fifty or sixty hours a week over and over again, taking work home, putting everything else on the back burner. In the beginning it was a thrill having those bigger paychecks come in, being able to afford that new car and the fancy vacations. After a while though the exhaustion starts to set in, families start to not care about all the ‘stuff’ they just want their mom/wife, things start to fall apart at home. Moms aren’t there to tuck their babies in at night (the nightly phone call doesn’t suffice anymore), they aren’t helping with homework, reading bedtime stories, having long talks with their little loves or comforting them while they are sick. Instead Dad’s are taking on the extras of a mom; or a grandma or nanny is picking up those duties. Wives aren’t there to be their husbands confidantes, they aren’t there to share joys of parent hood, text messages and quick phone chats aren’t the same as time together, even sex becomes rushed more often and less enjoyed because the connection starts to fade. Longing turns to loneliness and resentments set in for everyone. Sometimes, they lost everything before they realized it. Affairs, divorce, custody disputes and hurt children. Other times, though, something happens and they realize they aren’t happy and their families aren’t happy. You can’t turn back time, but you can change the future. Some of the women I read about chose to walk away. Walk away from those exhausting hours, away from the paycheck, away from the high stress demands and back to the ones that love them. Some of them left it all and became pilates instructors, opened their own little bakeries or became stay at home moms. Most importantly they left it all behind and became happy again. They mended their families and found joy and their sparkles and that of their families. Without a doubt it wasn’t easy and there were still struggles and hard times (changes always have those), but there was that light at the end now. There was family time, time for laughing and time for relaxing with and enjoying one another.

These are the women that I envied. The women that I thought were so brave and that I could never be like. These things were happening to myself and my family and I didn’t know how to fix it and was scared of what would happen if leaving didn’t work. Would it make things worse? Did my husband prefer my paycheck over time with me? Wasn’t the vacations and mini trips I took my daughter on what she loved? A lot of mom’s work a lot of long hours and make it work…..but were they happy? Were their families really happy? I didn’t know and I was scared to talk about it or ask my family what they really wanted. So I kept pushing on with the long hours, the night shifts, trying to juggle both family and work. Getting less and less sleep and becoming sadder and grumpier with each passing week. I saw the changes in my family, but didn’t know what to do. The distance between my husband and I started to grow more and more. Neither of us seemed to know how to bring the connection back so we lived together in separate worlds. My daughter would cry on the phone every night and I would cry every day when my tired crabby self would snap at her. It broke my heart each time she asked if I was staying home or working every day – no matter the answer it broke my heart that her little five year old self needed to know each day if she was going to miss me or not.

Then it all crashed down. Everything I didn’t want to see or know was staring me in the face. I was about to lose my family if I didn’t change something. It was true that I wasn’t the only one that needed to make amends and changes, but it was my place to start fixing things. Thankfully, I have an amazing and strong woman in my life. She is a mom to me and I would be lost without her. She saw what was happening even before I did. Not the little details, but she saw how my work was affecting myself and everyone around me. She saw how unhappy we all were before I did. She gave me an opportunity a choice really. It would be hard, but I could take it and start to mend my family. When I was so broken she picked me up and gave me courage to put my gloves on and fight for them and for myself. Her love for my husband, daughter and myself shone through and pulled me out of a place where I was ready to give up and just accept that that was all my life was.

And then there was my husband. The man I still desperately loved, but I thought I would never be enough for again. The man I thought I had already lost. I was scared to ask him what he wanted. Did he want me home more or did he want to continue this way we were? I was scared of what his answer would be. What if things were too broken and he didn’t want me anymore….what then? I was wrong though. He said yes. Yes, we would make it work. Yes, he missed me. Yes, he thought it was done too and didn’t want that. He said yes, he still loved and wanted me. He wanted the happy me, the one that laughed and sparkled. And with that simple word, yes, I felt myself start to breathe easier again. Just with that word my stress started to lessen and my smile started to come back.

I found my courage to be one of those brave women I envied. I found it in my daughters joy when we told her soon mommy will be home more and at night to tuck her in. I found it in my ‘mom’ who is herself a courageous woman who reminded me that my family needed me and gave me a way back to them. I found it in my husband, the love of my life, who looks at me again and smiles. Who is holding my hand as I take this jump. I found the courage in myself because of the love of these three people.

The future is still unsure, like it always is, but I know now I won’t be alone in it. I know what I need and who I need to shine again. So, it is time to jump….hands holding tight we are going to jump this ship and see what happens together.

A small moment that lasted a lifetime

I remember a small moment years ago. A brief moment in our lifetime together that will last forever in my heart. It was the first time I felt truly happy, truly content and truly safe in a long time.

It was late spring in the middle of a beautiful afternoon. I lay on your bed, sunshine warming my skin and a light breeze whispering through the open window. There are birds whistling a tune to one another outside and a light smell of jasmine fragrants the air. I hear you in the other room singing quietly about following an angel.  I am happy. I am content. I am safe.

At some point I doze off, but wake shortly to your presence. I wake to you gently running your fingertips up and down my spine. I wake to the warmth of you laying beside me and to your breath softly tickling my skin. I wake to you happy, content and safe.

I look at you, into your eyes, and in that moment everything is right. Everything is as it should be….is meant to be. In that moment I sparkle. I finally sparkle again…I can feel it. You draw it out from the depths of me and make my soul shine. And in that moment I choose happiness, contentment and safety. I choose you.  In that moment that will last forever I choose you. And, I’ve chosen you every day since…again and again.

I hope you are the one

We all deserve to have that love that makes our heart beat faster, puts the flutter of butterfly wings in our stomach, makes our ears ring and our faces flush.

 

We all deserve to feel wanted. To know there is one person that we complete. To feel a need and desire from another that reflects our own.

 

We all deserve to feel safe and protected. To know we can give our heart to another and they will safeguard it as though the most precious stone were in their possession.

 

We all deserve someone that will fight for our love and hold onto us as fiercely and tightly as we will for them. Who will face our fears with us and help slay our dragons.

 

We all deserve a love that will last. A love that will stand the time and always hold true.  A love that will help us shine through our darkest times and sparkle with us in our brightest.

 

Are you that love?

 

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