Sunday, August 17, 2014

30 Things: Day 2 of 30

Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.

1. I have always worried about my loved ones, starting from a very young age. I had really bad separation anxiety as a child. I would cry and cry when my mom would drop me off at daycare or school. I would worry about my mom when she would take business trips, whether it would be a day-trip or a week-long one. I would have an anxious pit in my stomach that didn't ease up until she returned. If my sister went to a sleepover, I would worry about her, hoping she would be all right. As I got older, I rarely left my loved ones without saying "I love you", in case that was the last time we spoke. Of course, I did have some hot-headed teenager moments where I'd storm off in a huff, but luckily I outgrew that...sort of...
Now that I have children of my own, that love is reflected and magnified in an even bigger way. I still worry about my mother, now it's what she will face in her older years? I worry still if my sister is happy and feels enough love. I worry constantly about my children and their health and happiness. I keep a tiny shred of fear as a parent. Am I doing the right things? Are they safe at school? Are they happy? I fear for the safety of my loved ones, and will always have that anxious pit in my stomach, to varying degrees, till I am with them and am reassured they are safe.

2. I am terrified of depression, mental illness, and "differences" controlling my life. Different does not mean less! A few posts back I spoke of my oldest child's Asperger Syndrome diagnosis and the long hard road it entailed. I am afraid of anything holding her back, because it isn't necessary. She is bright, funny, able. She should never have to feel less or be held back in any way. I have struggled with some demons too, and I fear sometimes that they'll get the better of me. I just have to give myself over to God. I show him my aching heart and sometimes it takes a while, but He always gives me help and hope in His perfect timing. I hope both my girls find peace and happiness, no matter what.

3. I am afraid of never reaching the goals I set for myself. Weight loss, finishing college, and generally being a better person. I give up way too easily over every setback, and I am afraid of what this says about my character. I feel like I am too easy on myself, then beat myself up for it later. Vicious cycle. I want to break it and am afraid I never will. I refuse to give up and I think that one day it finally might flipping stick already.

I have a long list of fears, but those are some of my deeper, darker ones. If you'd like to know others, here you go:

-Spider, snakes, insects, parasites, creepy-crawlies in general.
-I am claustrophobic and hate to have my head covered up.
-Mucus. Enough said.
-Those fish at the bottom of the ocean with the lights that dangle in front of them and those super scary teeth.
-the dark. Yes, I'm serious.
-people not liking me. I crave approval. The older I get, the more I have learned that respect/approval is a two-way street.

So, tomorrow is day three! "Describe your relationship with your parents". Is it just me, or is this starting to seem a little like therapy? Blog therapy? Hmmm.

Good night...




30 Things: 1 of 30

my poor, neglected blog. Has it really been 4 months since I last posted?
I want to write, it just all seems to get jumbled up and comes out long-winded, so I end up either ranting, preaching, or just posting pretty, inspiring pictures I find and want to share.
In an attempt to be more personal and a tad more organized, I would like to share an idea I found on the sweet site, cherishinghopesanddreams.com . Basically, she compiled a list of 30 random topics that she will share about herself each day, for 30 days. Since I would like to get into the habit of blogging more and don't really like talking too much about my own self, I've decided this might be a fun little exercise for me. Plus, I will still be posting pretty, inspiring pictures most of the time because that's just what I do. So, here we go!

Day One: List 20 Random Facts about Yourself

1. Growing up, I was very interested in art and fashion. I wanted to be a designer and would practice drawing outfits and models for hours. I still like to dabble, when I have time. It's more like Project Runway before bed or coloring with my kids these days!
2. I am allergic to horses, hay, milkweed, and rosehips. Growing up in the South, Benadryl became a relied upon friend.
3. I am smart but tend to sell myself short. By "smart" I don't mean I know everything, I just don't always use my brain when I should.
4. I can be too nice and let people take advantage of me. I'm trying to become more assertive and set more boundaries. Mainly because I want to teach my daughters when to be nice and when to say no.
5. I tend to have road rage. Some people just drive like they are the only ones on the road! Come on!
6. I am trying to boycott the circus in my town this year because the thought of animals being abused and imprisoned made me cry when I took my kids last year.
7. I am kind of an introvert.
8. My mom is the most amazing person I know. She went through a lot of crap and she still made sure my sister and I had a good upbringing. She knew exactly when to hold back and when to be honest with us. She gave me a realistic perspective that I didn't fully appreciate until adulthood. I am so very thankful for her. She is my hero.
9. I hate wearing jeans or "real pants". Seriously, you will rarely catch me in anything other than leggings, sweats or maxi dresses.
10. I have been known to drop off my kids at school in my pajamas. I am known for it, actually.
11. Having kids is so hard, but it really is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
12. I love to laugh. Funny shows, funny movies, funny people. Laughter cures many ails.
13. I hate really scary, suspenseful or paranormal anything. Nothing good can come of it. It creeps me out.
14. I have always wanted to travel the world. Starting in my own country. The first place I want to see is New Mexico. Italy, Iceland, Bali, France, the UK, and New Zealand are also places I'd like to vacation at someday. Hopefully they are as nice as they seem.
15. I bite my nails. I have since I was 10. I try and try to stop. Sometimes I'll stop for a week, then suddenly I realize I just bit a nail down to a nub. I am determined to break this habit.
16. I can't tie my shoes the traditional "bunny ear through the loop" way. I have to make two bunny ears and tie them together. My grandmother taught me that trick, otherwise I would have never learned to tie my shoes!
17. I really try to do my hair and makeup every day. I also exercise 6 times a week. I don't feel like it most days, but unless I am just having a difficult day, I try to make myself do it anyway. It makes me feel like I haven't given up on myself just yet.
18. I have never been in an airplane.
19. I don't mind them cooked, but I find it pretty much impossible to eat raw tomatoes or onions.
20. I love the smell of lavender, the beach, fresh peaches, and good coffee.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Normal?

you ever just feel...blah? Like you can't muster up any enthusiasm for anything? Everything is a huge hurdle you have to overcome and you just want to crawl into bed for days until the feeling (hopefully) subsides?
I've been having one of those weeks. I have been such a grouch, just going through the motions and not happy about it, either.
I hate when I get like this. I consider myself a passionate person. I am either full of love and cheer or I am screaming at you like you'd never believe. I used to be more mellow, but I guess life happened. Or, in all seriousness, I might possibly be bipolar. Hence the down & out mood.
I am a firm believer in getting help when you need it. Mentally, physically, emotionally. I know that sometimes that help is not in the cards for us, for whatever reason, and we just have to do the best we can when we get into a funk. Maybe it's PMS. Maybe it's despair over things in life that we want to change but can't (or won't). Maybe we just need a breather.
I was seriously having a metaphysical crisis with my weird mood yesterday. I was thinking "What is the point of life? Why am I going through the same old bullshit all the time if it ends up the same no matter what we as human do? What was I thinking bringing kids into this world? I don't contribute anything worthwhile. People would be better off if I weren't here."
I was digging myself deep with those dark thoughts.
Sometimes I really have to take a step back and think of things that I know to be true.
I know that God wants us to pull ourselves up when we feel down. He gives us the power to do so. Our faith in Him is the greatest gift we can ever have.

Also, as Lucille Ball put it, "One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself"

I love that. It's so true. Sometimes you just have to push through things, even if it's the last thing you feel like doing...

I do my best, even on my bad days. I have blessings that I forget about when I am throwing myself a pity party. I have to remember that I need to be a light to someone else, even if I don't feel like it. That one is hard and I sometimes (often) fall short of what I should be doing, but I fail, and I try again.

Psalm 129:2
Isaiah 49:31

If you ever need to talk, I am here to listen. I have been lonely and needed a friend many times in my life. Please don't hestitate to reach out to me, or anyone else, if you need to.

xoxoxo




***If you feel like you want to harm yourself or someone else, please don't hesitate to call the Depression Hotline-1-630-482-9696, or the Suicide Hotline 1-800-784-8433. Please don't feel any shame or embarrassment by calling if you are at your wits end and need the help. There is a reason these hotlines exist. There are thousands of people who have needed them.***

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

don't make me give up my yoga pants

I have fallen into a frump. I've been losing weight, so I don't want to run out and buy new clothes right away because (hopefully! fingers crossed!) I will be losing more weight. I love buying clothes, don't get me wrong, but I am on a budget and so I don't quite have the money to go buy a new wardrobe every few months. Thus, I make do with what I have. My sweet mama, she went to Kohl's yesterday and bought me some clearance clothes because she is constantly on me to dress better. I don't impress myself much either, mama. I wear sweatpants or yoga pants every day. Except Sunday, I wear dresses/skirts. But even then, comfort is key and I can't wait to get back home and throw on my trusty sweats. I tried wearing jeans one day and it was awful. It got me thinking, people claim jeans are the comfiest pants around. If I wear jeans that says I put some effort into my dressing. Sad but true. Jeans are like business casual for me. Unfortunately, most jeans look ridiculous on me. They either sag in the booty area but my stomach can breathe....until they slide off my hips. Or they fit in the booty area but squeeze my muffin top so bad it looks like I'm wearing a child-sized inner tube.
Clearly I am in the minority of the body-types jeans are designed for. Unless....I am buying the wrong jeans.
As I said before, I am on a budget, so buying expensive jeans is out for me. However I came across an article that tells about the difference buying the right jeans can make.

http://www.graspingforobjectivity.com/2012/07/gap.html

this is very important! Hilarious, informative and enlightening. Everyone should read it.

I guess my next venture will be to save some money for a couple pairs of expensive but flattering jeans. I have my eye on Express jeans. I noticed they have jeans (at the moment) on sale for $40. Which is about how much I expected to pay in the first place.

I also have been watching a course called "Dressing Your Truth". I am all for the right fit, the right coloring, the right textures/patterns. But apparently there is a whole myriad of other things that affect the way you dress and feel about yourself too. It has to do with your personality, your features, your whole self. It's pretty interesting. Check it out if you'd like to know more.

http://dressingyourtruth.com/bpcourse-episode01/



Friday, March 21, 2014

AB(E)

I was checking my Facebook page earlier. I rarely check it anymore. I do always check to see if someone is having a birthday, because I think everyone should at least get a "happy Birthday!" message, no matter how impersonal it may seem.
The reason I can't check my Facebook that often is because I have the AB(E) syndrome and didn't even realize it till now.
I see people on Facebook buying new houses, taking fun vacations. I see girls who have had several children and their bodies bounced right back from it. So many happy, smiling faces. So many success stories. So much to be jealous of....I may not have everything, but Facebook is quick to help you forget the blessings you do have!
I saw that everyone was congratulating a couple I know from high school. The girl is singing and her husband is managing her and helping with her music. I think he plays music as well. Anyway, she put out an album. She is flying off to big cities to promote her music. She is doing all these big things and I always thought "Geez, brag a little more" or "She isn't even that pretty". I watched her videos and thought "She isn't even that talented". Then today, as people were congratulating her and I saw that she was moving forward with her life project, the endeavor she had put herself wholeheartedly into, I found myself thinking, "She'll never make it. She is comparing herself to big-time people? I hope she falls on her ass."
Then it hit me.
I was wishing for somebody to fail.
I was wishing a couple who were decent, hard workers, who came from humble beginnings, to fail at something they really wanted in life.
I was a little shocked at myself. That isn't me, I thought. I don't really want them to fail.
Or do I? Is that who I have become?
If they want to be excited that they have a nice house, a nice car, let them. They worked for it.
If they get a little preach-y and braggy about being on the right path, let them. That's their journey.
I looked at my heart. It has been through a lot, but no more than anyone else, really. I have felt really isolated in my pain for years. I have had setbacks, watched other people succeed and do things I want to do. It's began to harden me. It's been a blight on my heart for years, the AB(E). Anger, Bitterness, and hidden Envy.
I have been so bitter and hateful for so long. I want to let go of the negativity that is weighing my heart down. When good things happen to people, I want my heart to soar for them. I don't want my first reaction to be "Why doesn't anything great happen to me and my family?" I don't want to be angry all the time. I don't want the bitterness in my heart to ruin my outlook.
I have been downtrodden. I have fallen and didn't always pick myself back up right away. Now I look at others and say "What about me? When am I going to get to enjoy life?" I sit, from my downcast point of view and say that I hope that a girl with ambition and drive falls on her ass while trying to reach her dream.
That was the wake-up call I needed. I needed to tell God I was ready to release my heart from all this angry, painful resentment I have been holding onto. I am affecting not just myself, but my family. That is so unfair.
I found myself praying for that girl to go far. All the way to the top. Ultimately, God decides such things, but I wanted to root for her. I prayed that if it were in God's favor may she be successful and humble, I prayed for continued blessings to her and her family.
It is the most unselfish thing we can do. Even if our life isn't going right, we can always pray for others as well as ourselves. We can elevate others. Even if our heart is crying, is tired, is in pain. We can find it in our heart to be glad for others. It isn't easy to do. I have been so angry for so long. I have been hurting and down for so long. It is not easy, at all, to watch others gain ground while I seem to be losing it.
Sometimes the only thing that works, when I am having a particularly bad day, is to tell myself that someone out there has it worse than I do. Not that I want anyone to have it worse than me. I pray for them right along with myself.
 It doesn't help you to wish anyone, particularly those who are hurting nobody, will ill.
I found this and I hope the author doesn't mind me posting it here. It is a prayer about releasing anger from my heart. If you need it, please pray along with me. If you don't think you need it, it never hurts to pray for others. Someone out there might need it.

http://revivedlife.com/blog/prayer-to-release-anger/

Monday, March 3, 2014

What the parenting books don't tell you

Confession time!
I never really got to enjoy much of parenting. I feel like I was robbed of all a lot of the little things. I don't say that to be a whiner. I know being a parent is hard, even on good days. I know now that I am lucky to have the children I have and the love is greater than anything I had ever imagined.
My first pregnancy was unexpected and a shock. I had issues all the way up till labor. I had bad, raging, post-partum depression. I was never taken seriously by doctors or properly treated for it. I cried all the time. My moods were unpredictable, I was angry and scared daily. My baby girl wailed day and night. It was clockwork, she would cry and cry at certain times for hours and I felt like a shit parent. I would get so angry. Nobody was taking me seriously, I couldn't soothe my baby, even after months of being a parent it was risky to take her anywhere because she would cry so easily. I remember taking her to the grocery store one day when she was about 8 months old and we actually shopped, bought our groceries and brought them home. No canceling the trip before we even made it out the door, no abandoning the half-full grocery cart due to an uncontrollable meltdown. I will never forget that first successful errand. I'd see people doing the same all the time, and I'd rarely had a trip anywhere that didn't end up an emotional uproar for us both. Trips to see relatives were hard, the crying would begin and not end... and so often I'd get that disapproval of my parenting, not raising my child "right". I just wanted to scream that it wasn't my fault. 1st birthday....2nd birthday.... Playdates with others were totally out, the meltdowns were epic and too unpredictable. One playdate gone wrong meant being shunned by an entire community of moms. By the way, when I say meltdowns...I don't mean tantrums. I don't mean a crying/sobbing fit that bruises your ego as a parent but subsides after a little while. I am talking full-on meltdown. There is no picking your child up and carrying them out of there to a quiet corner. No reasoning, no talking down, no soothing. It's a storm that unleashes its fury upon everyone involved. My child was fighting me, the environment, the situation, herself even. I had to learn certain holds just to carry her out of the situation. Sometimes 45 minutes to wrestle her into a carseat, leaving me breathless, exhausted and in tears. I didn't know what to do. All the while I was being assured that this was normal. First it was because of acid reflux. Then being spoiled/high strung. I blamed myself. You don't know how I blamed myself. And my husband blamed me too. I think had I had a sense of not feeling so alone, I would have handled it differently. I lashed out at everyone, I was so scared and depressed that this was our life. My child was not a happy, cuddly, content child. We were lucky to be surviving each day.Then I have -surprise!- another unexpected pregnancy. It initially felt being on a life raft, just trying to hang on. Oh, you have room for one more. Here you go. And we did. We did make room for one more. It was a totally different experience. If I were to describe it, it would be a more "typical" experience. I don't like to compare, because every child is totally different, but I did begin to compare and realize there was something going on with my oldest daughter. As my girls grew, something began to click inside of my mind. I couldn't quite say exactly what it was, but I knew, as I think I had always known, that my oldest daughter had a real, underlying issue that wasn't being addressed. I had known since she was 6 months old that something wasn't quite right. No pediatrician, not one, single person would listen to me, so I just assumed it was me. And kept going it alone. At the age of three, taking her into a pediatrician for a strep test, that was the day everything changed. The strep test was negative, but the doctor, who was part of the pediatric group and had never laid eyes upon my daughter before that day seemed to hesitate when talking to my daughter. He asked her questions. He seemed interested. Finally he turned to me and said "I want you to have her tested for Autism". I'm sure he wasn't expecting the sudden outburst of crying, from this un-showered crazy person who was attempting to feed an infant while soothing a temperamental 3 year old. He was quick to say it was just his professional opinion, but something I should just rule out. All I could say was "I knew it. I knew it was autism." I hadn't even dared to entertain the thought to myself, instead pushing it aside and going along with the statement "she'll outgrow it". No, she won't. It's a part of her. It's a part of her that I want to be addressed so she can get what she needs as a person.
3 years later, after an Asperger's diagnosis, lots of therapy, an awesome support system, and lots of trials and even more learning to adjust (mainly me, to her needs) I am happy to report that while things are still a work in progress, my oldest has come a long way. She is sweet, bright, busy and loving. Her sweet and sassy younger sister looks up to her, fights with her (as much as she can, when my oldest actually engages it) and she is protective of her too. It isn't at all the road I ever imagined we would travel, and we're just learning as we go. Scary? Sometimes. But everyday is a learning experience. I love my daughters and I would not change them. I am proud of them. As for those people who cannot accept us as we are, I have learned, as a born people-pleaser, that you simply can't focus the people who don't want to understand. There is so much more you need focus on. You can't let someone who doesn't understand your struggle determine your self-worth. You have to focus on what is needed for your child in the here and now. Which believe me, is enough.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Results at Home? I'll test that theory!

Today I am giving you these great ideas seen on the Internet and testing them for real-life purposes. I don't know exactly who to credit for these photo references, but to you I say good job, and thank you. 

First up, the "Neutral Smoky Eye"



So apparently, you can get a professional smoky eye effect by yourself with the right tutorial.
Well, it took a few tries and a lot of tutorials. Some were very detailed. Some were step-by-step videos. But in the end, the above illustration is what helped me figure it out. 
Step one. Start with a neutral shadow on lid. Line your eyes.
Step two. smudge gently with the small round brush.
Step three. apply dark shadow in the outer corner and crease. blend it. 
step four. apply highlighting cream/light shimmer in your inner corner.
I like how you can see the different brushes they used in this. It took me a few attempts to get this down. I tend to rush and get heavy handed. There is smoky and there is over-the-top Panda eyes.It really is a fine line between the two, but the desired effect is attainable.  


Next up, the braid bands

We've all seen the intricate braid adorning the crowns of heads everywhere. I can't even french braid, so I counted myself out of that one. Turns out there is one I can do, that works with my hair type....excellent...

*disclaimer-my hair isn't that perfect

So basically with this look you just take a curling wand, loosely curl your hair at the bottom and start a braid on the right side of your head. It appears to be above the model's right temple, you could go a tad lower to get the thickest part of your hair, which is easier to braid. Just braid the strand until you reach the end. Pin it up behind your left ear and cover the end with a few strands of the curled hair. My braid wasn't that thick but I still managed to pull this off without feeling completely ridiculous. It didn't take a long time either, which is key for me most days. I had to do this a few times to get it the way I liked it, but overall I give this a "it can be done" rating, because if I can manage something, I think just about anyone can. If you have short-medium hair, you can try this with the loose curls and a very loose braid. It may end up near the middle of your head, you can just do the same pinning/covering move. 

"Blessing in a Bottle"

I know who to credit this for: http://littlemsrobinson.blogspot.com/2012/03/homemade-cleaning.html


this is seriously the best homemade cleaner I have ever used. It smells great and it cleans like a boss. I haven't bought traditional cleaner in forever because that's how much I love this. I use it to clean my bathroom, my kitchen, I even mop my linoleum with it. I still keep some Comet around the house because I am a traditionalist but it doesn't get used in anything but the toilets these days. 

I also make my own glass cleaner:
1/4 cup white vinegar 
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
2 cups water
pour into in a clean, empty spray bottle & shake

I've heard you can use to cornstarch to eliminate streaking, but I never remember to get cornstarch. I sometimes use newspaper if I really need to eliminate streaks but honestly I am lucky to get a quick swipe at the mirrors and glass before toothpaste flecks and finger prints mark them back up so I use my old go-to and call it a day.
I don't use this to clean the television since I'm not sure if it's safe for the screen. I take a microfiber cloth (you can find them at the dollar store) and just give it a quick wipe. If it's really dusty or grimy I just dampen t part of the cloth with hot water, wipe it, then go back over it with the dry side. 


Getting Fit At Home

Oh heck yes you can get this done. Let me just give you the link to Jessica Smith's website. She has possibly hundreds of free workouts. She uses your time efficiently. The workouts are quick and effective. 
http://www.jessicasmithtv.com/
Also, you can find just about any workout on youtube. So, try out a few. You can even walk at home with Leslie Sansone. 

Good Luck!