Tag Archives: Life

Living Free {An Authentic Life}

4 Jul

We desire human connection. In order to have a genuine connection with someone else, we have to be authentic. We have to be real. Which in turn means, we have to be vulnerable.

{If you haven’t watched this TED talk: The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown, you must. It’s amazing. It’s everything I’ve learned this last year all in one little 20 minute video.}

Now I’m not saying you have to go start a blog and spill your heart out to the world (what kind of crazy person does that?…um, don’t answer that).

It takes baby steps. It takes choices. And it starts with one person.

You.

You have to decide to be honest with yourself. Do not to shove those feelings of hurt, loneliness, hardship under the rug anymore.

You must decide to acknowledge them. Do not dismiss them as weakness or a lack of faith.

Don’t ignore them anymore.

I believe when we can admit to ourselves the truth,  a burden is lifted off our shoulders. It frees us up. And when you can share it with a trusting friend (or counselor), your burden will only get lighter, and you will have the comfort of knowing you are not walking through this messy life alone.

I believe it is then, and only then that you will be on your way to living a more real, authentic life…

the life you were created to live.

The other day I was telling Hayden that even though it is still unnerving when friends and family tell me they have read this blog, there is a freedom in it too.

I don’t have to hide anymore. I don’t have to pretend I’m something I’m not.

I think the wise words of Kramer sum it up best.

“I’m out there, Jerry, an’ I’m lllovin’ every minute of it!!!

…I’m free, an’ unfettered….”

Yes! and amen.

Hope you have an awesome day celebrating our freedom!

Happy 4th my friends!

I Lost My Big Girl Panties

25 Jun

Friday should have been a happy day.

Hayden walked out of the hospital for the last time.

He finished his three year fellowship. Ten years of training under his belt. We only have one more year to go until  all of his training is complete.

I should have been excited. For him. For us.

But I wasn’t.

I was filled with anger, bitterness, and resentment.

I was sad.

The reality that he would be leaving July 1st to work three hours away, finally hit. Hard.

In years past, when I faced challenging situations, rotations, or circumstances regarding his career, I brushed my fears aside, put on my big girl panties, convinced myself I could do it, and plowed through. And it worked…

…until last year.

After crashing and burning, I seem to have lost my big girl panties.

Some people will tell me I have every right to feel angry and bitter and will validate my feelings. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s OK to acknowledge those emotions.

But I don’t want to live there.

I don’t want to stay angry, resentful, bitter.

I have seen other wives go through this process and live in those places. I always told myself I never wanted to do that. But here I was last Friday ready to take up residence in that very lonely place.

Blaming him was a way to justify my angst. But that was a lie. He didn’t do this to me. It’s a decision we made together. It was the best one for our family. I do still believe that. For better or for worse, right? Right.

The funny thing is, after talking crying to my friend about it, I don’t think I really want my big girl panties anymore. I don’t know if I need them.  As long as I have an ear to listen, some arms to hug me, and a few understanding and encouraging words, I think I’m good to go.

Well, for now at least.

***

{After Thought}  

Please check back with me in a few weeks. I may need you to buy me a new pair by then! You can get them here. Ooh, or this would work too. Size Medium. Thanks!

Topless {Nobody Wants To Be First}

15 Jun

To be completely honest, I don’t like it when people tell me they read my blog. I cringe…it freaks me out. For reals. I like to pretend that I am just sitting all alone, late at night, writing my woes and random thoughts all to myself . I don’t want to acknowledge the fact that Susie Q now knows I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety, that I am insecure and quit Facebook because I was jealous of other people (gasp!), that I hide in closets or bathrooms when my kids are driving me crazy (whatever…you do that too).

So why do I do it?

I don’t think I had a real purpose in mind when I started… other than to be myself…and not just the put together parts of me…all of me, the flawed stuff too (at the time, I had no idea how difficult that would really be!).  All I knew was there was enough nonsense in my head to fill a few pages, so I got brave and signed up.

Well, it’s becoming a little more clear why I will continue to write in this little space….

We are all walking around in our daily routines, most likely putting on a smile and going about our business. We say “Hi, how ya doin?” We respond, “Good, and you?”

But is that really how we feel? For some, it truly might be the honest answer. But for many that is just the front we put on.

Nobody wants to be the first to say:

Life is really hard right now…My marriage is not in a good place…I’m really lonely…I’m struggling with an eating disorder…I’m struggling with an addiction…I think I’m depressed…I’m consumed with guilt…I feel like a failure…I’m questioning my faith…I’m barely surviving….

There are several people close to me going through some of this junk. And it stinks. Royally.

But with a few of them, I wouldn’t have known about it had they not read some of the stuff on here, and emailed or called to share with me.

I want people to know they are not alone.

You are not alone in your struggles, in your pain.

I may not have some magic advice to make all the yuck go away, but what I can say is

I know.

I know struggles…I know what failure feels like…I know loneliness…

I know…I’ve been there too and you are not alone in this…

It’s so cliche to say “everything happens for a reason,” but it is so very true. I would not be able to say those things if the last 18 months hadn’t happened, or really, the last 10 years. I have a story to tell…my story. I will write, even if it’s for an audience of one…I know there is someone who needed to read this…and this is for you.

I will be the first to take off the happy mask and share my hardships, my weakness, my joys, and my laughter. I will open up and share my soul with you, fully honest, fully surrendered.

And don’t worry, it won’t always be so serious on here. If you know me, you know I can’t do serious too long.

In one of the emails I recently received, from a friend who opened up and shared her heart, she wrote this:

“…you and I have never really done “naked” before together, but after reading your latest blog I really wanted to connect to the person that wrote that post!”

Oh honey, that wasn’t me naked, that was just me topless…I’ll get naked real soon!

…just you stay tuned…

Facebook Free Summer

8 Jun

Ok, people…here goes nothing.

I have decided that this summer…

I am going Facebook free.

I’m sure that sounds a bit dramatic or maybe a little cheesy…  but it’s for reals and it’s what I need to do.  If you’re wondering why, let me explain… (and if you’re not wondering you can skip down to the end or read along for fun. Oh, and let me just say that these are pretty embarrassing to admit and I really debated about explaining why,  but as I try to be transparent and true to myself I knew that I must)…

***

1) Time Killer: FB is one of my biggest distractions. Told ya, embarrassing to admit.  But whether it’s hopping on the laptop to check in with one of the groups I’m part of or see what friends are up to, 30 minutes to an hour can pass by in no time. Not to mention how frequently I have missed the amazing cannon balls and underwater flips my kids have asked to watch as I quickly peek at Facebook on my phone while we are at the pool. There are plenty of things calling for attention and FB and my phone are not ones that need my time.  I have my four littles at home with me this summer and those are the important things that really do need my time.

2) Creativity & Confidence Squasher: That sounds kinda weird, but let me explain. I am part of a few groups on Facebook from some art classes & workshops I have taken. They all have been amazing!  And through them I have met wonderful, creative, talented women. It has been an awesome community to be a part of. The problem is, I realize that I have spent more time on Facebook looking at what everyone is creating than creating anything myself.  I see what they make and what they are doing and then start to feel like a loser for not being “as good” or “as this” or “as that.” Also, I’ve had the situation where I will see something someone else created or did that I have actually thought about doing… but once I see theirs, I think to myself that I now shouldn’t make that or do that because it no longer seems like an original idea and/or i don’t want it to appear like I have copied someone else.  I am probably over thinking it, but it’s how it makes me feel. There are so many images shared online and I need to just step away and be inspired by the “real world” around me.  Does that make sense?

3) Emotion Feeder, Perspective Snatcher & Validation Deceiver:  This is tough to admit out loud. But it’s the truth. Looking on Facebook can stir emotions in me that I really do not care for. My insecure self  (which is also affected by the Creativity & Confidence Squasher) appears and starts feeling things like self-doubt, jealousy, and self-pity…which turns into sadness, frustration, irritation, and anger.  Feeling these things and comparing myself and my situation to others can cause me to lose perspective. I forget that I am living my story, not someone else’s.

And the last one and most embarrassing to confess … Facebook isn’t where I should be looking to receive acknowledgement and validation. My worth should not be wrapped up if x amount of people “like” my post or comment on my picture…whether so and so accepted my friend request or not. Sadly, and tough to admit, I know I have used it to feel known. Maybe it’s because most of my days are spent with four kids under 10 years old and I don’t get out much by myself or with other friends (or at all!). Maybe not. But, I know I’ve used it as a place to feel like I actually exist in this world.  And if I am not on FB, I have had the thoughts…will people forget about me? …will they miss me? I know it’s silly, and especially as I type it out, it seems so ridiculous. But there it is…it’s me.

***

This summer, I want to be

silent – no FB noise

still – slowed down,  to think & listen

surrendered – completely trusting

I want to spend more time

writing

creating

playing

taking adventures

making memories

***

I want to LIVE in REAL LIFE.

So, I’m signing off of the social network.

Part of me doesn’t want to, but the other part knows I need to.

I want my family to have the best of me this summer.

I want me to have the best of me, too.

***

{and if you miss me on FB, you can visit me here on this blog}

H.A.G.S.

xoxo

Amber

I’ll Show You Mine…

18 May

Over at Jeanne Oliver’s blog, she is doing a little series every Wednesday this month called “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.”

{Get your mind out of the gutter!}

This week she is showing what is in her purse. I think last week might have been about make-up, so bonus for me cause ALL my make-up is in my purse…sad, but true.

And you guys can thank me later cause I just cleaned out my purse last week. So no smashed goldfish or extra pacifiers. Yes, it’s still shocking to me too that this much crap is in my bag after I cleaned it out.

So without further adieu…

1) my purse: which I LOVE!!!! I was sad to have to retire my most favorite pleather bag from Target, but this little number makes me happy.

2) a Chuy’s gift card {I wish it were a tortilla}

3) My all-time favorite wallet/wristlet because it has a place to hold my phone and a clip for my keys. It may not be the most attractive thing, but when i need to run a quick errand, I just grab that and go.

4) a JoAnn’s receipt

5) check book (who the heck writes checks anymore?!)

6) a map of Belmont University

7) keys

8) blue ballpoint pen

9) #2 pencil

10) mechanical pencil

11) sharpie

12) phone

13) bobby pins and 2 clips

14) gum wrapper

15) 3 tubes of Cover Girl Outlast Lipshine: 2 of them are #310 Sleek Suede  and then I got all adventurous the other day and thought I’d try a new color #245 Berry Blast…that was a mistake.

16) mascara: Cover Girl Lash Blast (apparently I need two…one for each eye, maybe?)

17) eyeliner: Revlon Color Stay “blackberry”

18) a mustache

19) little journal, to clear my mind of all the nonsense

20) a business card from my most favorite store in town that makes me smile every time I look at it 🙂

21) sunglasses: my one and only pair… if I lose them, I will cry

22) hand sanitizer: Bath & Body Works, Caribbean Escape

23) $21 CASH! {which I never have…score!}

So there you have it folks. I know you’ll be able to sleep better at night now.

You’re welcome.

The “B” Word

9 May

Balance.

I despise that word {along with “Focus” but that is a whole other post}.

All my life {and still today} my mother would tell me if I could just get a little balance then things would be better. Well, I don’t think I have EVER been balanced. My emotions are high or they are low. I do things all the way or not at all. Then if I go full force, I end up burnt out. I let the house go and then get overwhelmed.  And all the while I’m trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. But it’s hard when there are a whole lot of other responsibilities {four littles, a man, and a dog} that I must tend to.

How do you create time for yourself but also give your best to your kids and husband? There are so many desires in my heart. But I don’t seem to have time for all of them. I am a dreamer and spend so much time thinking of all that I would love to do instead of actually doing something, doing anything!

I want to serve other women who have lost their way. I want to create a place for retreat for those who are weary. I want to encourage young girls to stay true to themselves. I want to have a creative space for them to use. And my heart is especially heavy for those who cannot speak for themselves…the millions and millions of orphans.  How do I, little old me sitting in a suburb of Nashville, TN covered in laundry and dishes and dirty little hands and feet, do anything to help those causes? I also have a desire to create, to make art and jewelry and learn new artsy things. So how does that fit in with all this other stuff?

I know I am a wife and mother first. I want that. I do. I know how blessed I am to have a loving husband and four beautiful, healthy children. But I also know that these other things have been placed on my heart for a reason. I know that what I went through the last few years and my experiences, my depression, are meant to be able to help and encourage others. It brings me joy whenever I am able to help and serve any of those needs.

So where is the balance? How do I do all those things? And if I’m not supposed to do all those things, what do I give up? How do I know which direction to move?

One day, about 10 years ago, I was standing in line at Barnes and Noble waiting to check out. I started looking at the little displays they have set up. One was filled with bookmarks with sayings and quotes. I picked one up and it read,

“It is never to late to become what you might have been.” – Anonymous

It resonated with me. I just sat there thinking about it. Because I think at the time, I was slowly slipping away, but didn’t fully realize it. I remember feeling very defeated. I didn’t know exactly how to interpret that quote for my life, but it was powerful enough for me to hold onto it.

Then i picked up another one and it said,

“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

That resonated with me as well. Again, I couldn’t quite figure out what it meant for me and my life, but that day I bought those two little bookmarks and have carried them with me for the last decade. Finally last year those little quotes came to life. Out of my fog, they made sense.

Now I am just trying to figure out how to balance it all…my life and responsibilities…and the desires of my heart.

I am ready to leap, but I know it takes baby steps. I am not in a place to start something from scratch. Maybe it means i just step into something already established and serve in that capacity. Maybe it means I just give of the little resources I have. Maybe just a little of my time. It sounds much easier to do, but the dreamer in me wants more. I guess that is where the balance comes in, right?