Tag Archives: family

Project You  This is probably the most difficult life lesson to learn but the most necessary. The pressures and stresses of life this summer have allowed me the opportunity to look myself in the eyes. This summer I’ve questioned so many things and have also made some life changing decisions. I’ve reminisced about my past and agonized over some of my hurts and at the same time proudly celebrated my greatest triumphs thus far. I’ve fought with my inner self to the point of exhaustion and then just felt like completely walking away from the whole project of me.

It is so easy to lose myself in the world’s definition of success, beauty, & happiness. It’s easy to start striving for standards that are not my own just to feel accepted, loved, validated….to feel like I belong somewhere. As I chat with ladies of all ages I’m discovering the struggle is the same and no matter the season of life, fighting for your self-worth is a lifestyle. It starts with loving yourself first and treating yourself the way that you want to be treated, knowing that your value doesn’t change because of someone’s inability to see your worth.

I’m a person that just wants to love everyone but sometimes I do it at the expense of myself all in the name of helping and loving someone. I’ve taken the long road to learn that lesson in my past and know now that loving and giving to my breaking point is not love. It doesn’t help anyone for me to destroy myself in the process.

Remember that taking care of yourself enables you to be a better provider to those around you.

It’s not healthy and I’ve learned that a healthy life is a happy one. That is easier said than done especially when it comes to relationships, because relationships are just plain messy. We’re human and it takes a lot of patience, grace, and maturity to navigate through the ups and downs of miscommunication, hurt feelings, and all the randomness that can spark a conflict. A part of taking care of yourself means to have the courage to be honest with yourself about the relationships that are draining your life instead of being life giving. In the long run by deciding to cut ties in those relationships will be the best decisions that you’ve ever made for yourself. You deserve to be happy and healthy and setting boundaries to take care of you is always the right decision.

It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or where you are now, all that matters that you have the power to choose to start loving and taking care of yourself today. This moment, this life is yours and you can change. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I always have to remind myself that imperfect progress is still progress. I still make mistakes and still fall victim to my insecurities some days but none of those things change that fact that I’m worth the fight. Taking care of myself has made me a stronger woman and given me the opportunity to give and love others in ways that I never thought possible. So it’s ok, take some time for yourself. Do something that you love, take a quiet walk, read a book, take a nap, wander around an art museum…celebrate you! You’ll be better for it. You’re uniquely you and that’s always worth celebrating! Have fun and enjoy!

God Bless,

Shine

 

Project: Me

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One Conversation

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It was the first conversation that initially sparked my interest to know more. I knew he was different in the first few minutes we started to dialogue. He was direct and spoke my name clearly making eye contact that most people find uncomfortable, but to him seemed to be second nature. He, like I, knows people, he is a charmer and can put on a good show. Everyone sees him as easy-going and fun, they look to him to bring the party, a leadership role he gladly takes on with ease. Which is something I admire about him, he can engage a room full of people if he so chooses but that is not the man that I am curious about.

Sure there are the usual stories that he tells everyone, those stories come easy and every word is spoken with confidence. His opinions and stories are supported and amplified by his hand gestures and delivered from a laid back frame of mind. Then there are the answers to questions that require a moment of attentive silence before the words flow with careful selection. He even deliberately over communicates himself in order to achieve calculated clarity. Some questions he answers openly and thoughtfully but some of the deeper subjects he answers with the walls up. His face is serious and the body language is gone, everything is still as he speaks. The words still sincere but delivered with careful control and a precision that makes me curious about the reasons for all the effort exerted for that one sentence. I see the conflict in his eyes and how he tries to pursue favorable outcomes but I can’t help but think sometimes he completely misses the mark. I can see there is a depth to him that he guards with his life, but I wonder why. The questions in me rise but I stay silent.

The walls are built so high that I fear who he really is will always be a mystery to me. Even still I am captivated by every word carefully studying his movements, searching for anything that will clue me in on the truth of it all. Then there are these moments, that are over as quickly as they came, that take my breath away, like a startling surprise of sweetness, where the gates are completely open. And I see him for just a second, his face is relaxed and the passion in his voice is rich. Suddenly there is an authenticity that can’t be mistaken. It’s like someone walked into the forbidden room and as the door swings open then closed again I catch a glimpse of the interior just long enough to be in awe of its radiance and then the door clicks back into place. I secretly wish for those moments like a child that wishes for ice cream for dessert. The sheer freedom in those moments is so sweet no matter how simple the topic. When they happen my eyes get bright with excitement and my awareness sky rockets because I don’t want to miss a thing. I see the sparkle in his eyes when the topic is fascinating to him. Or the memories that flood his face when he’s speaking of his past. I see the inner struggle that furrows his brow when he’s trying to decide if he’s made the right decisions. I’ve seen the anxiety wash over him as he’s walks himself though every outcome of his choices and then observe as he transforms into a stranger. His mannerisms remain kind but at the root is a cold disconnection. A defense against the overwhelming emotions that he has unearthed.

I don’t take any word for granted. I must say that I respect the way that he guards his heart and I’m fascinated by his ways. His thought processes are so unique to me. He has allowed me pieces that make a beautiful mosaic but I know the whole is more mesmerizing than just the pieces. There is more to the story. I know that he is a treasure and I want to discover why. Each conversation reveals another dimension of his character and with patience I collect the facts that I’m allowed. I can’t put my finger on the appeal of his mystery, or why it has fueled my curiously to know more. I think that it’s because rarely do I meet someone with such undiscovered depth that I just want to know them. But it is difficult to know someone that seems to not want to be known. The truth is unknown but the conversations are quite interesting and they make me smile. He changes my days one conversation at a time. Within this year he has drawn me out of myself in ways that I don’t even think that he realizes. Friendships like that are one in a million and I’m just happy to have had the first conversation. I expect many words with varying weights will be exchanged through the years and I’m content to just be a friend privy to these small but memorable encounters.

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The Time I was Given

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I remember how we did everything together. You could say we were connected at the hip. We were always together. We had numerous sleepovers. If I was with her I didn’t mind if I didn’t make it home. Her home was my home. My heart would warm as soon as I’d see her house come into view. I’d bounce down the steps of the driveway and swing open the screen door and I’d always find her in one of two places. As soon as I’d get in through the front door she’d be sitting in her chair in the middle of the room, perfectly positioned in direct line across from the TV. On bad days I could burst through the front door and run straight into her arms and curl up in her lap in her chair, completely safe. We’d also spend long mornings in front of the TV, me bumming on the love seat, she’d be in her chair, we’d be watching The Price is Right, my favorite was when the contestants got to play the Plinko game. I was always captivated by Bob Barker’s skinny microphone and his ability to engage his audience. We watched almost every episode of the I Love Lucy show and we’d laugh and laugh until we couldn’t breathe and then watch another episode. We also watched many interviews on the Sally Jesse Raphael talk show, but my favorite interview was when Sally brought the entire cast of Sesame Street on and I was able to see Big Bird get interviewed.

When she was kneading dough for frybread she’d sit on the edge of the coffee table right in front of the TV while her favorite soap opera played. I’d sit right behind her on the coffee table and every few minutes she’d tear off a piece of dough for me to nibble on. Her second favorite place in the house was the kitchen. She was always cooking something so that meant we were always eating. She was the best cook; her dishes comforted your soul. She was such a thoughtful cook and always made my favorite things each dish truly made with love. Everything she did for me was truly an act of love. One time she used a strip of a dish rag to tie the house key to my shoe just so I wouldn’t lose it, and would have a way to get into the house when she wasn’t going to be there. So silly but that simple act I’ve never been able to forget.

I think that grandmothers have that gift though. They do the simplest things that melt your heart and make you feel so loved. Ask anyone, there is no one like their grandma. My Grandma Dixon was definitely a woman unlike any other. Her presence inspired me and left a sweet impression on my heart. She loved so deeply and always opened her home for everyone to come and feel the love that she was pouring out. If it was a perfect stranger that she could serve a hot meal to or her family, it was all the same to her. From her examples I learned the significance of the gift of hospitality. Her ability to love so intensely and intentionally changed my world and always drew me into her. I never wanted to leave her side. She was my best friend and was the first person I learned to love so deeply.

When her health declined and eventually took her from me I was devastated. She was too young. I was too young, only in elementary school at the time, and this loss was profound. As a child this was a harsh reality check that the moments that we have with people are so precious and once the time has passed, it’s just gone. Although I’m so blessed to have been loved so deeply and to have had my life touched by an angel I still mourn for the time that we lost. The countless coffee dates we would have had, the weekend road trips I’d have taken to visit her and update her on my life, the cooking lessons we would have had. Or all the times we’d watch reruns of I Love Lucy and continue to laugh like it was the first time. I miss the phone calls I would have made to ask for advice when I felt lost in the world and I’m sure she would have encouraged me and told me how much she loved me and my world would be right again. I miss her at every milestone and lunch that I have with my mom. At every family dinner, every holiday and I’m sure I’ll continue to miss her as I grow my own family. I miss her on the days when I just want to go home and run into her house and jump into her lap and sink into her sweet embrace. I miss her always.

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Snapshot Story: Sisters make the best friends.

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“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are.
The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”

This photo was from yet another epic bathroom selfie photo shoot! Yep Valerie and I are shameless and if there’s good light and a mirror, then the photo shoot is ON! I know that a lot of people hate on selfies but really if you had this much fun taking selfies…well why not! This night we took tons of photos and laughed til it hurt. We talked about life and dancing while I was getting ready and then went out for more dancing. We are addicted, must be the dance instructors in us. That is what I love about our friendship, it just IS. We make the best of each day, she has become the sister I never had. It doesn’t matter if we’re just getting a refill on our cheap drinks at the gas station or if we’re having a serious life talk in the parking lot, we are for each other every step of the way. We laugh all the time about nothing and share our concerns when needed, but the love and support is unconditional. Life is hard and you need friends that will stand with you in the storms as well as celebrate the sunny days with you. Growth doesn’t happen in isolation. Good friends will encourage you, challenge you, inspire you, support you….love you.

Cheers to all my friends and special shout out to my Valentino! Thanks for being there for me. Love you!

Thanks to The Daily Post for this prompt.

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