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Coming to Terms

October 11, 2015

I’m going to come right out and say that some people that might read this post may not relate and some might even be put off by it. Some of the things I’m about to share are things that I’ve always felt I’m in the minority in how I feel and that many people (women especially) don’t get it. But it’s me and my journey and it is what it is.

I am not a person who ever really wanted children. I wasn’t dead set against them I just never pictured myself as a mother and loving it. I never went crazy about babies – I’ve never loved holding every baby I see and always felt kind of awkward around kids. I don’t know what to say to them or how to play with them. We don’t have the same interests and ideas of stimulating conversation. And being the introvert I am, I don’t like small talk or meaningless conversation, which is basically what I think conversing with most kids is like.  I’m admittedly selfish and independent and as a young woman starting out in the world, always pictured my life with my husband, traveling, doing fun grown-up stuff, and not being bogged down with the mundane and stressful life of parenthood. But if it happened, I would adjust and reset my expectations. Furthermore, I dealt with some health issues in my early twenties that doctors said would likely hamper my chance to bear children. It never bothered me too much since I wasn’t sure I ever wanted any.

But half a year into my young marriage, I discovered I was pregnant. We weren’t trying and figured our chances were slim. It happened fast and without complication. This is where I apologize in advance to those who are struggling or struggled to have children – I don’t know what it’s like to want it so bad. And then have it not happen. Especially in cases where there isn’t a good reason why. I didn’t want it, shouldn’t have been able to have it, but it came easily. Fertility is one of those mysteries in life that I believe show God’s sovereignty as it so often goes differently than we (and our healthcare providers) plan.

I didnt have have a hard time coming to terms with this unexpected life turn. We were young and everyone around us was starting a family and it just seemed like the thing to do. We’d have things in common with our friends – we would all become lame and take on this mundane new adventure together.

And so we had this amazing blessing of a daughter, Skyler. My heart grew and I discovered some motherly instinct. I still never embraced the idea of now being titled “mom” but there were some rewarding things about it I knew I wouldn’t trade for that other life I had envisioned. A lot of it I hated and still do, but the good always makes up for the bad. There is something about watching this person grow; this person that is a unique combination of my lover and myself and even traces of our parents and siblings, that is fascinating and scary and fulfilling. Skyler’s presence in this world has given me a new depth of purpose and range of emotions that I never imagined before.

Not to turn pessimistic, the addition of Skyler to our family also brought challenges we never expected. The frightening ordeal of her heart surgery took a toll on us. It was early enough in her life that it, along with the normal unpleasant parts of having a child, thoroughly scared us away from ever wanting more children. We’d been through enough, we all came out okay and feeling very lucky, and Skyler was otherwise darn near perfect. Why press our luck? So we continued contently as a family of three, plus our pets. But even with health issues in the clear, we faced other challenges as a family, not unlike many families do. The mundane, day-to-day family life, coupled with the stresses of life that often follow career-driven people, slowly eroded the bond between Ronnie and me. Much like so many modern families, we lost ourselves in the midst of it all. Next to Skyler’s surgery and those days and weeks spent fearing for her life, realizing the fragility of our relationship and working through that was one of the scariest and hardest times in my life. As fighters do, we dug ourselves out of the mud we had slowly waded into and set out together with a renewed commitment to putting each other and our family first, taking the time to slow down with each other, and most of all communicate if/when we sense friction, rather than ignore or bury it. We were joyful and energized, ready to face the world again as a better version of our little family.

And as destiny would have it, (or Murphy’s law or God’s sense of humor or whatever you want to call it), just as we had found our new family groove, we discovered I was pregnant. Outside of battling health issues, this was the last thing on the list we wanted to do. Especially at 35 years old. For all the reasons I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraphs – from my abnormal mothering instinct to pressing our luck to not wanting to complicate our life, I’m going to come right out and say I was pretty devastated. And I felt guilty for not being happy about it. I tried to look at the bright side and think of this as an unexpected new challenge that if we went about positively, would be fun and rewarding.

But no matter how I approached it, there was gnawing negativity in me about it. I didn’t want to be pregnant. I HATED being pregnant the first time – it felt physically terrible and I was scared how much worse it would be eight years later. And I didn’t feel emotionally prepared – though I am a mother already, I didn’t feel emotionally ready to parent a baby again. Eight-year-old children are MUCH easier and less demanding than 8 week old children! And then there was romance and time with my husband enjoying each other – all those physically and emotionally draining parts of pregnancy and the first challenging years with a new addition to the family – how would I do it? How would we survive this again? I don’t think I can put into the words the depth of fear and anxiety I had about this new curve ball in our life, coupled with the guilt of not being excited about it.

Fast-forward a few months into the pregnancy – we weathered some not-so-fun physical struggles, a wide variety of hormonally-driven and anxiety-ridden discussions, and eventually found ourselves looking to our baby girl Layla’s arrival with some excitement and much-needed positivity. Skyler’s enthusiasm over welcoming a baby sister certainly helped move us toward a healthier mindset over the whole thing. And I finally felt like I was falling in love with this wild little one in my belly. As luck would have it, a matter of days into feeling really good about this, we learned of Layla’ heart condition, and found ourselves yet again treading the waters of fear and anxiety.

As this adventure of a pregnancy is in its final weeks, I try to just live and breathe one day at a time. People (some knowing the situation and some unaware), ask me if I’m excited and ready. It’s a loaded questions for me. Of course selfishly I want to be DONE being pregnant. I cannot wait to have my mobility back and not be in pain every time I move. And I look forward to the future of us at home with our new family of four – it’s just a delayed future that hopefully comes to life sometime in December. But I also dread and fear bringing Layla into this world and the weeks to follow. Nothing about it is going to be easy – her recovery, my recovery, logistics with Skyler and making sure she feels loved and supported through this, and that Ronnie and I have the energy to support each other in the midst of the chaos. It’s hard to get excited about and look forward to all of that – but it’s necessary to get us to the good, and I hope and pray that we can recognize the joyful moments that are sure to occur along the way, even if few and far between.

So that is the craziness I am in – the ups and downs and twists and turns that have brought me to the place I am with my beloved family today. We are far from perfect and have faced real struggles and have fought through more than we ever imagined when we planted the idea for this family nearly ten years ago. Life is unpredictable and unfair. But strangely, I’d rather have ours than anyone else’s, because I believe we were made for this. Each member of our little family was made for each other and the world wouldn’t be the same without any one of us. Though it’s far from easy, I choose to be thankful for it all and hopeful in what is to be.

Facts and Feelings

September 17, 2015
3D ultrasound of Layla next to photo of Skyler at 9 months old

Tuesday we had our first of many appointments at Children’s Mercy Hospital after the initial referral to make Layla’s diagnosis. It was over 4 hours long. Needless to say we covered a lot of ground and got a lot of information.

The main things we learned about our adventure ahead –

  • Other than her heart condition, she appears to be very healthy. She’s growing at a great rate (which is a concern with the single artery umbilical cord), all other organs and circulatory functions look to be working great, and she’s moving and “practice breathing” just as she should be. She’s a little badass, basically, much like her sister! They surprised me with a 3D ultrasound where I got to peek at her face – I cried. I was overjoyed to see her familiar features – she already looks so much like Skyler as a baby! She’s so real and chubby and adorable. Not that I didn’t love her already but I fell in love and it brought some much needed joy to this otherwise scary situation.
  • Due to her current healthy growth rate, my OB suggested it’s likely they would schedule labor induction around 39 weeks so they could plan for her arrival and have the full medical staff ready for her so she gets off to the smoothest start. This could change – we will know more at another big appointment scheduled early October. As long as it’s the healthiest thing for Layla, the planner in me loves the idea of induction. We have a lot of nerves about all this on top of just bringing a new person into our family, and it’s gonna shake up our lifestyle and routine for quite awhile. This helps us plan and make sure things at work and at home with Skyler can be coordinated. Super relieving so fingers crossed on this part!
  • We toured the delivery rooms and NICU and learned a lot about logistics for those first few days prior to her surgery. When she’s born, they will be able to do a lot of the work they need to do with her in an adjoining room with glass sliders that I’ll be able to see from my bed. Ronnie will be able to go over there and observe, but I’ll be stuck for the first couple hours after delivery. They said it usually takes a few hours to get her tested and situated and stable and then they can bring her back to me for 30 minutes or so before sending her off to stay in the NICU. As I’m up for it, I’ll have 24-7 access to her in the NICU (as will Ronnie), where there is a recliner next to her station and a curtain to pull for privacy. She’ll stay in the NICU till surgery day, which is likely near the end of the first week. After surgery she’ll go to the PICU, and then at some point be released from the PICU to a regular patient room for the remainder of her recovery. We will learn more about her surgery and recovery in early October when we meet with the surgeon and NICU staff.Seeing how things are setup helped to clarify a lot of questions for me and provide some expectations so I don’t get my hopes up and find myself disappointed. However, now I am preparing for a very emotionally and physically demanding first week with her, on top of what a regular birth would entail. I can no longer put much hope in bonding with her in the ways a healthy mother and healthy baby can – our proximity and time and comfort will be limited. I’m thankful for the setup they have and for technology and it is all what it must be for her sake, but after carrying her this long and clinging to the hope of holding her close outside my body to help as I cope with the discomforts of pregnancy, realizing that reward is going to be diminished and/or delayed is something I’m really struggling with. I have to relinquish being her primary source of survival, and not even in the joyful way of sharing her care with my husband in a normal post-partum time. It’s clinical and outside of our control. It’s scary and uncomfortable. And I know enough about physiology and hormones and the things that happen between a mother and baby when they have close physical contact and nursing to know that some level of these benefits will be sacrificed just so she can survive. It’s all one big confusing but necessary mess and all I can do is give it to God. I cry about this one a LOT and when I’m hurting and uncomfortable in my skin as her growth stretches my abdominals and makes me want to rip out my ribcage, I stop and remember how close we are, and right now I am her survival and take joy in being that, as much as it hurts.
  • We learned they close the hospital patient rooms to visiting children during cold and flu season (October – March). So Skyler will not be able to come meet or visit her new sister at any point while we are there. This too breaks my heart. Skyler is so excited to meet her and tickle her feet as she just said yesterday. We haven’t broken this news to her yet. I know it’s temporary but I also have fears – what if something goes horribly wrong and she never gets to meet her? I know I should stop with the what if’s but I can’t help where my mind goes. Again,  I just have to give it to God as it’s out of my control. We will definitely do as much Skype with Skyler and Layla so she can see what things are like there and see her sister, but it’s just going to make it that much harder on all of us.
  • Finally, maybe the craziest thing about this so far, is we met with the genetics counselor (who happens to be a friend from highschool), and basically they can’t find any connection or reason why we would have two babies with heart defects, and that their two heart defects are completely unrelated. It’s like lightning striking the same place twice, in a place that isn’t known for thunderstorms! Admittedly, she said the field of genetics is in its infancy and maybe someday they will be able to know the causes for our girls’ heart issues, but for now, it’s a mystery as to why either of them happened, in addition to why we went two for two with kids with special hearts. I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. We are blessed? We are cursed? We are chosen? I do believe God has a plan for everyone and this all fits into that but I don’t know why yet. I know I don’t have to know why yet and I do have faith in this journey as all my previous adventures have brought me to where I am today and I wouldn’t change a thing. But, it’s just mind-blowing right now that the smart people can’t connect these heart issues to anything – not environmental, not anything I did, nor anything about Ronnie’s and my family health history. We aren’t meant to know it all but it just seems like there would be something to make this all make sense, even if just a loose theory…

So there’s my puke of information and emotions for now. I’m exhausted. It’s time for a relaxing bath, since I can’t have wine and sleeping isn’t really that comfy either. And I probably shouldn’t be allowed to write when I’m grumpy but maybe it’s therapeutic too. Signing off!

Sisters with Special Hearts

September 13, 2015

It’s been over three years since I wrote a blog post, but we thought it was time for me to bust this thing back out to help keep family and friends up-to-date with our upcoming adventure. Not only is Layla’s arrival coming up quickly, but we learned recently it’s going to be an even wilder ride than we expected.

Layla is already trying to be like her big sister as she was recently diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. Doctors were already able to identify the issue at 32 weeks in utero with ultrasound technology. They had been watching her development closely due to Skyler’s history, a single-artery umbilical cord, and the fact that I am so fondly categorized as “advanced maternal age.” This is a much different defect than what Skyler had, and is called Transposition of the Great Arteries with a ventricular septal defect. So while Skyler’s heart had a severe narrowing in her aorta that caused her heart to have to work too hard to pump oxygenated blood back out to her body, Layla’s blood oxygenation pathway is mixed up, so oxygenated blood would not be pumped out to the rest of her body. This only becomes a problem after birth when she uses her lungs to oxygenate her own blood, as right now I’m doing that work for her. Additionally, babies in utero have a couple holes in their heart that allow oxygenated blood to mix, and those holes don’t close up till after birth. Layla has a bonus hole, which is the ventricular septal defect. This extra hole will actually help her in those first few days that she’s on her own breathing.

Interestingly, there are two categories of congenital heart defects, and Skyler’s was the most common condition in one category, and Layla’s is the most common condition in the other category. Our experience with Skyler’s surgical repair and the fact that these are “common” heart repairs gives us much confidence and hope for a positive outcome. Anyone that knows Skyler would never guess what she went through as a baby and how sick she once was. Furthermore, discovering Layla’s condition ahead of time allows us and the medical team to prepare for her, so she can go into surgery ahead of the game, rather than critically ill as Skyler was.

With all that information, we will now be delivering Layla at Children’s Mercy Hospital (downtown KC) so the medical team can stay on top of her health from the get-go and prepare her for surgery. There are still a few variables but if there are no surprises and her diagnosis and expected condition remain as they are now, her surgery would likely take place near the end of her first week of life. While it’s a pretty straight-forward surgery to “switch” things and repair her extra hole, it does require open heart surgery. I stop myself in shock every time I say or think of those words applying to our brand new sweet little baby. But Children’s Mercy is one of the best in the nation to treat this condition and they took great care of Skyler. We are in the right place for this and must trust the process.

This blog post might read a little dry and emotionless – I’m just keeping things factual for the sake of brevity here. This has hit Ronnie and me hard and the breadth and depth of emotions that go with this news is indescribable. Skyler’s ordeal was long enough ago that the trauma had since faded and since we never planned on a second child, we never imagined going through something like this again. It’s shocking and terrifying and familiar all at the same time. I’m sure I will write more about it at some point, but just wanted to get the info out there. Children’s Mercy has terrible cellular reception so we know it might be difficult to keep everyone updated via text and social media, and since we’ll have plenty of time there, I can plug-in and update via this blog much more efficiently. We ask that our friends and family respect our ability to communicate what is going on once things get cray. We’ll have immediate family around to help spread the news but otherwise, we will try to post updates here as often as possible. We are expected to go full term at this point so we still have 7 weeks or so of normalcy as she fattens up for the adventure ahead. Prayers for patience, peace, and of course a healthy outcome are all we can ask right now!

To My Life Changer

July 30, 2012

Lately, every time I find a few spare moments and decide to write a blog post in that time, I can’t type a word. I think I’ve lost my edge for writing after all these years. I’m kinda sad…but yet the reason I can’t think of anything to write is because I’m content. Contentment brings peace, which means I am perfectly happy falling asleep. I’ve got no problems to solve or lessons to share. Nothing to prove or explain. Life is good, and I am good with that.

But today I was inspired by two separate incidents to share something. Those two things could have been related, but I’m not certain. The first was the quote “Don’t let the life changer in your day to day, go unnoticed ” (Jonathan Haynes). The second, was when a friend gave me a shout-out as one of her inspirations to become a strong healthy woman. She placed me up there with her husband and her sister-in-law, two pretty amazing people. I felt honored and humbled, to say the least. Reading her words made me realize just how much impact my actions and words have had, even if just on a single person. And even if just for her, it is a victory. It reminds me yet again of this wonderful quote: 

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. –Marianne Williamson

So it’s my turn to give a shout-out to my life changer, my amazing husband Ronnie. I don’t even want to think where I would be today without him. While God supplies our blessings, Ronnie has been the human driver of the joy in my life. Without him, there would be no Skyler. Her little nasal voice and silly sense of humor are music to my ears and keep me laughing. She is the wonderful little person she is not only by his blood, but by his strong presence in her life. They adore each other and it makes my heart want to burst.

He is quick witted, quick to temper, and quick to forgive and forget. I admire his ability to move on so easily after an argument, to get back on the positive track. I long to be like him in that area, which I struggle so much to do. Thank God for his patience with me, he is always waiting with a smile and a hug when I finally unshackle myself from my stubborn grudges.

He asked me at our anniversary what I loved most about him. The easy answer that I’ve always given is his sense of humor. It’s been a constant since I’ve known him. But I added a second item this time, which is something I’ve learned about him over the last couple years, and that is his tenacity and drive. He has a persistent desire to do better. He sees the potential in others and himself. That energy drove him to leave the security of a government job to join the corporate fitness industry, and then to branch out again on his own to really change lives by owning his own gym. Each and every person that walks through his door is someone he sees on the verge of change. If they will let him, his desire and talent is to show them their potential. And so many have taken that chance and found more to themselves than they ever thought possible. But on top of challenging others to be better, he walks the walk himself. His internal drive to be better is like nothing I’ve ever seen. His work ethic is unfaltering and he knows no such thing as defeat.

I think the thing that makes him so inspiring is that he holds all of us to the same standard he holds himself. He believes more than so many of us, that we are capable of so much more. As with others, he challenges me to improve, and doesn’t put up with my excuses. He knows my insecurities but doesn’t believe in them. If he did, it would make them real and binding. Instead, he accepts me and loves me for who I am now, but always helps me keep moving in the direction of who he knows I can be. And while I am inspired and continuously amazed by the impact he has on the other lives he touches, I am thankful and proud to be the luckiest one, since I can call him mine.

Blog Hiatus

June 4, 2012

This is the longest I’ve gone between blog posts in over four years, since I started blogging sometime in 2007. I used to always find time to write, even if just once a week, often so I could collect and package my thoughts, but also so I wouldn’t forget all the moments that come and go quickly in this life. Lately I’ve been busy, but surprisingly more, for lack of better words, sane. I think sometimes blogging was a way to bring back my sanity when I felt so out of balance. If I wrote it down, I could turn it into a story, with a beginning, an end, and a moral.

Something has changed and I don’t need that now. I don’t feel the need to package my life on this electronic journal. Is it because I’m spouting random thoughts on Facebook to much of the same audience? Maybe…and I know there are certain cross country family members who would love to read more. But, life happens. Other things take up my time now, and sometimes it’s just not worth staying up 30 minutes later to rattle off some thoughts on life. Life is good, and I don’t feel the need to prove it here, though I do hope to continue this some, at least for posterity.

So what is up with our life? A lot of the same – Skyler is busy learning tons and bounding with energy and stories. She is moving to Red Room at preschool, which is the big kid room, pre-Kindergarten. She’s pretty excited. Her little attitude is going strong right now, as she argues with everything Ronnie or I tell her. Sometimes it’s just hilarious, but sometimes it challenges my patience like no other. She knows how to push the buttons and doesn’t hesitate. But the other side is that she is so sweet. She has a nurturing personality, still loves to take care of everyone. She’s still my girl, and my best little friend.

Ronnie and I are staying incredibly busy with both of our work. His inevitably takes up a lot of both of our “social” lives, but in a good way. We are at the gym a lot, or doing fun things with gym members a lot, or planning events or equipment purchases or just talking “shop.” It’s still an exciting adventure, but has become much more business as usual, and continues to be a blessing in so many ways. I can’t thank God enough for where we are with this, and the joy it has brought to us.

We’re beginning to look at the year ahead of us, with one big looming project, and that is moving. We’ve long outgrown this house, and want to find our next home before Skyler starts kindergarten. We’re even seriously considering keeping this one as a rental, as the market in our area has just not picked up enough to get anything out of it as an investment if we sold. Our neighborhood is prime for rentals, being near KU Med and UMKC both. It’s a huge thing to start thinking about, but whether we rent or sell, we’ve got some home improvements to do this next year, so it’s time to get serious if we’re going to make this happen. My chest gets a little tight thinking about it, both from a stress and sentimental level. Oh well, one thing at a time.

So here we are, with a few paragraphs to some up our life, for now. Hopefully it won’t be so long between posts next time, but who knows? I can’t find my other shoe half the time…

Making It Work

April 26, 2012

It’s the key to a fulfilled life, and I’m not saying I have it figured out, but we’re on track to get it done. We’ve figured out what our priorities are, and we stick to them. And with that, there is a lot of crap that just doesn’t get done (like a pristine house). Maybe that’s okay. Maybe we are missing out on some things. I’m not sure, but we learn as we go.

Right now, this is how we make it work:

I blog less frequently. Sometimes it’s just because we have so much going on that I don’t have a bored moment to process and compose my thoughts. But also, it’s because I’d rather spend my blogging time hanging out with Skyler or having a much needed conversation with Ronnie. Or, just vegging out, not having to think. I think way too much when I write. I do think my overall higher level of happiness has lead to less frequent blogging, because I’m not trying to process my confusion and conflict so much. I’m just happy, and don’t feel the need to explain it.

Taking turns – We don’t have traditional family dinners every night. In a way, I wish we could. But it just isn’t feasible in our life, so why worry about that tradition and stress on it? During the week, Ronnie and I take turns with Skyler-time. I have her in the mornings and right after school. Once I head to his gym to get my workout and “me” time for the day, he takes her home and they have Daddy/Daughter time while finishing up dinner prep and eating together. I get home late, we have brief family time together, and then take turns again putting Skyler to bed. It’s our little family rhythm, and it works. Friday nights are typically “family date night” where the three of us make a big deal about going out together for dinner and sometimes dessert. It’s a much needed de-stress time at the end of the week where we can all relax and enjoy family time. It’s perfect for us.

Food preparation – I plan healthy meals for the week but we often take turns actually cooking them, or at least share the steps. I might prep some veggies and meat in order for him to come home and cook them, or put something in the oven so he can come home and take it out. It takes coordination and planning, but it means a lot less chaos in our lives and the time and energy to do more of the things we love when we’re working together.

Partnership – Ronnie and I are truly partners in our relationship and leadership of the family. We don’t always agree, but we always find a way to work together. We’ve figured out what we respect and admire about each other, especially our differences. I know when he is contemplating something, what I can offer that can counterbalance the knowledge and feelings he already had. And vice versa – we provide each other checks and balances in everything we do. We’re not opposites in everything, but enough things to round each other out, and enough in common to “get” each other most of the time. He is my partner in everything, life, love, parenting, business. We consult each other on every part, no matter how different we may think.

I dont’ know if these are really secrets, but sometimes I do wonder in our chaotic life how we make it work and stay so happy. All I can guess is those things are part of it. And we like to have fun and don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s not that hard really…

Where Did I Come From?

April 10, 2012

Anyone reading this who knows my usual posts probably think this is about one of those tricky parenting conversations. It’s actually not, at all. We’ve had those, though, and they are tricky! And funny. And Ronnie and I tend to explain very differently so Skyler is pretty thoroughly confused at this point, but nevertheless, that’s not where I’m going with this.

I have had some sort of crazy and amazing journey this last year or so, and I guess you could call it an awakening of sorts. I’ve always been an introspective, very self-aware person, who thought I knew myself pretty well. But turns out, I didn’t really know myself very well. I only knew the “safe” person I had allowed myself to be. Someone careful to never offend or get hurt. Never act or sound stupid. Only take minor risks if carefully calculated. Calm, reserved, nice, conservative.

I can’t really say those are bad things; that person was a hard worker, loved her family and friends, and wanted a life of joy which she often experienced. But there was something missing, and it wasn’t the obvious assumption of spirituality. Yes, we don’t go to church like we should, and I know I’m not spending remotely the amount of time in that part of my life as a Christian girl should, but I still talk to God every day, praying for wisdom and thanking for blessings. I have always been well aware of that spiritual presence in my life and thankful to know it. The thing missing wasn’t even really a thing, as much as it was a feeling.

But things started changing when Ronnie took the plunge and decided to open his own business. In and of itself that was a risk and an adventure that I knew would change our lives. I just didn’t realize how much and how positively it would. Watching him turn his passion into the now bursting at the seams community at Sky’s Limit CrossFit has been inspiring to me. And I didn’t just stand by and watch him, supporting from home, I dove right into his dream and immersed myself in it, and it is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

On the surface, I’m currently in the best physical shape of my life, capable of things I’ve never before known how or been able to do. And that’s freakin’ exciting for a thirty-something mom who figured her physical “peak” was her wedding day after completing P90X. But all that is just surface stuff. It goes way deeper. What I have learned about myself in this past year has been the most amazing part of this awakening.

I can change, I can learn, I can always get stronger and be better. I can take risks and survive them. And I’m learning to like taking some risks! I can do way more than I think I can when I think I’ve reached my limit. I can fail, and then I can get back up and conquer. I used to fear and dislike change, of nearly any sort, but now I see it as a new challenge and opportunity to grow. I am confident, I am strong, I am smart. Let’s get colorful – I’m kind of a BAMF, as my husband would say, in my own way. God has blessed me with some unique gifts, mentally and physically, and I’m finally learning to see myself this way and allow myself to be even more than I am today.

This awakening, while beginning in the gym, has touched every area of my life. My outlook has gone from mostly pessimistic to mostly positive. I’m more alert, more capable, and more in tune with the crazy life that surrounds me. I swear that colors are more vibrant, music is more beautiful, and love is that much sweeter. I am a better, happier, more confident person. I’m not just surviving this crazy life, I’m embracing it and making it mine.

The only two things about this new appreciation that sometimes bring me down a bit are that I wish I could have found it sooner, and I wish everyone could find this! I think the quote that sums up my journey and these last two concerns is the following, my favorite quote that makes my heart hurt in a wonderful way when I read it.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson

This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine…


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