The Pursuit of Happiness

 

A few years ago,  I was at a low point in my life. Every day felt like a fight and a struggle to get through. While raising my young children, I became so focused on being a mother and worrying about all of the things I could not change, I lost myself. In the midst of the chaos and stress, I became disconnected to the person I was and the person I wanted to be.

It was around this time I met a woman that would have a significant imprint on my life. Thinking back, I can see how we had just missed meeting each other earlier. However, it was inevitable our paths would cross. That’s really all that needed to happen for us to become instantaneous friends, as if we had known each other our whole lives. The first time we spoke on the telephone we talked for three hours! I was compelled to let my guard down and be honest and vulnerable, to share my worries and fears and my hopes and dreams. She too was in a place of discontent, desperate for change and growth. Through our hardship, we clung onto each other, setting sail to cross an ocean with hopes to make it to the other side.

Throughout our many conversations, it became clear on what I wanted from life and for the first time I wasn’t afraid to ask for it.

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Slowly, I recognized opportunity and change happening all around me. The dream that I yearned for would slowly become a reality. I was able to step into the person I wanted to be. The person I am.

We only get a handful of people in our lives that know you for who you really are and can still be loving and excepting.

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My best friend is without a doubt my soul mate. She was the mirror I needed to see what was holding me back and has continued to root me on and push me to propel forward. She is forever encouraging me to grow and follow my heart. My life will never be the same having met her.

The thing is, she too was lost and she too had a dream of a better life. Now, the universe has shown up to grant her the opportunity to step into the change she has been seeking for so very long. It is now her turn to pull her boat ashore, having crossed the ocean. 

I know in my heart, that it was no accident we met. It was no accident we both set out on a journey for change and after three long years we were both able to achieve it within months of each other. A soulmate encourages transformation. Neither accomplishment would be as rewarding if we did not both succeed. I raise my glass and tip my hat to you my friend, from the bottom of my heart, wishing you every single ounce of happiness you fought so hard for. ❤

Perhaps a little dramatic. . but i will miss the days when you lived close by!

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Running In a New Direction

Today I will begin running, as in one foot in front of the other, down the street, at a fast pace. I am always envious when I see a fit person on the run in my neighborhood, device strapped in securely by their armband, tangled up in earbuds, ponytail flapping side to side, their clothing blotched with sweat. There is a notion of freedom and empowerment these runners seem to possess. It becomes obvious to me they are in a zone, sorting out their thoughts, stomping on their worries and moving towards clarity.

Today I will strive towards this image, although I am quite sure I will be keeled over midway down the block, desperately sucking in air, feeling like the oxygen has suddenly vanished from planet Earth. My muscle will ache and my legs will wobble. I will have to remind myself that the image I seek begins by placing one foot in front of the other, on repeat.  Today is the day to start something new, to work on a small goal and be the person you want to be. Today I will begin running.

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We will pretend this is me. 🙂

This MOM’s Life

I am so happy to be featured on My Sweet Nothings! She features Mommy bloggers in her posts titled, This Mom’s Life. I love that she has compiled interviews of mothers from different parts of the world.

As different as we may be, we all have in common the love we feel for our children. ❤

I just want to say thank you again, for including me!

What the Library Means To Me – Book Nerds Where Are You?

I wrote this some time ago for a library writing contest and won! I really couldn’t believe it. I ❤ the library! Here’s to my inner nerd!!

Why I Love my Library

Throughout my life, I have always been drawn to the library.  The large brick structure stands strong, protecting the authors and valued pages of literature that it houses.  As a child, during summer, I would walk through the automatic sliding doors, letting the icy cool air engulf me, leaving the hazy sun behind. I would browse the endless spines of eye-catching titles, printed in fancy calligraphy or block font. The choices were limitless, leaving me dizzy and indecisive.  The library was a good friend to me then, as I thumbed through the pages of my R.L. Stine, “Goosebumps” series, quietly sitting in the adult section, feeling mature at age 10.  The library provided me with one autobiography after another, as I obsessively read through volumes, on every person I recognized.  The library was calm, sensible, and willing to keep me company, until my curfew beckoned me home.

​Eventually, the library would become a tutor for me, as I researched information in the reference section, for countless hours, to prepare for a school report.  It was where I would seek help for my next Regents exam, or SAT test.  Sifting through books on biology and mathematics, the library supported me through my education, aided me, in reaching for a higher test score.

​The library is a second hand thrift store, where I could sit and browse through a respectable selection of books, and have the joy of walking out with ownership of a piece of literature, for only a dime. A small present for myself, purchased with the change rolling around on the bottom of my purse.

​The library is a knowledgeable mother, guiding me through parenthood.  Providing suggestions on ways to soothe a sleepless baby, tips on discipline, and holding my hand, when it came time for the ever-so-dreaded, potty training.    The library saw me through my challenges as a new mother.

​The library is a teacher, allowing me to learn about any topic, from filing taxes, to writing novels, along with the best ways one can explore Disney World.  I can sit and learn for countless hours, from the wisdom that the library embodies.

​The library is my office, where I went to inquire about civil service employment opportunities. It is where I go when my computer is down, or I need to make copies.  The reference desk awaits me, if my documents need to be notarized, or they simply require a staple.

​The library is both a coach and cheerleader, encouraging reading for all age groups, with rewards and prizes.  Ringing my phone and delivering good news, I can collect my winnings!  Generously providing my children with a weekly prize, and allowing them to be exciting about reading.  Graduating them through reading clubs, as they excel and develop their reading-skills.

​The library is a Mommy-and-Me, where I went to sing songs, and listen to fairy tales in the community room. My tiny tots would sit in my lap, clapping their chubby, little hands to the cheerful melodies.  As toddlers, my children engaged in the singing and dancing, playing with puppets, and a simple musical instrument or two.

​The library is an art class, where my children and I can walk in and decorate a treasure box, or color a wooden snake.  They can create a picture frame, or a present for Dad, for Fathers’ Day. The library is inventive and creative, allowing us to leave with a parting gift of some sort.

The library is an app on my tablet. Access to a new and interesting read is just a few clicks away, anytime, anywhere.

​The library is a media super-center, generously providing the latest DVD releases, as well as the classics.  It’s where my family goes to plan an epic movie night.  The library provides music for an upcoming party, or just for my daughters, to sing and dance along to, in the living room.

​The library is a hideaway, for my four children, and I. It is where we go when the snow is piled high to our knees, and when the rain leaves the playground soggy. It is a place to escape to, as I did so long ago, when the summer sun beat down relentlessly.  My affection for the library is a trait, which I have proudly passed down to my children.  The library has provided countless bedtime stories, for their heavy eyes, and early-reader books, as they struggled to sound out each letter.

The library is a place that is expansive in wisdom, and an infinite source of creativity. The library is not just a building, but it’s a thriving part of our community.  The staff is warm and inviting, helpful and educated. The library is a haven for my family, where we are known by name. The knowledge, memories, and friends that we have gained, at the library, has made an indelible impression on the life of my family.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE?

Confession: I should be at the gym right now!  No one will be upset that I am not there, climbing away on the stair machine.  No one will even know.  Well, except for me, and you, but you won’t say anything right?

Confession: I have been paying for a gym membership for a few months now and have gone a handful of times.  Again, no one really cares, or says anything to me about it. Perhaps that’s the problem.

I’d rather, work on my novel, read a book, which I hope will improve my writing or give me ideas, or work on my blog.  Like now.  All of these acts, require me to sit on my butt, preferable with a cup of coffee and maybe a small sweet snack.  Does this count as following my passion or just lack of motivation to be healthy?  Hmm.  Don’t answer that.

If you look around at people as they get older, you can tell who took care of themselves. I don’t want to be one of those people, struggling to walk, in poor health. I want to be a little spit fire, zipping around everyone, with a zest for life! I want to be like Jane Fonda! Yeah!  I know, she is rich and probably had “work” done.  You’re right, she did make all of those exercise videos and stayed fit.

Okay, Fine! I’ll go to the gym. . . . tomorrow.  😉

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My fitness motivation.

Photo Credit: Sportsphoto LTD/Allstar

Oprah Magic

This past fall, my dear friend, Vickiwhat, and I loaded up her car and drove off, leaving our town, our children and our responsibilities behind, travelling to our neighboring state for a weekend. The windows were rolled down blowing our hair wild, the music was blasting while we sang out off key, along with me occasionally interrupting, yelling out, “Turn! Turn here!” just as we bypass our right turn. I must admit, I am a terrible navigator, but Vickiwhat, unfazed, continued to sing, as she made another U-turn.

Nothing could bother us, because we were in possession of two tickets to see Oprah on her Live Your Best Life Tour. Yes, they were probably the worst seats they sold, but we didn’t mind. Oprah was going to make this weekend go smoothly, after all, this was technically checking off an item on our bucket list. The “Oprah Magic” began a few days prior when our hotel called us and asked if they could relocate us down the road, in return, they would comp our room and parking. Great! The whole car ride there, we began thanking Oprah and the universe for our fabulous weekend. “Thank you for letting us meet Gayle.” “I was so happy to see Adam Glassman again.” “Thank you so much for the upgraded seats, it really made the trip special” and so on. We continued to show gratitude for an amazing weekend, as if it already happened. Crazy, right?  Nope!

As we strolled along the sidewalk towards the arena in our high heels, my eyes began scanning the crowds of people clustered around the entrance. I nudge Vickiwhat, saying “Hey, doesn’t the lady look just like Gayle King?”  Well, it was!  We yelled out to her, waving frantically. She turned towards us, looked us right in the eye and waved!  Shortly after, Adam Glassman, the creative director of the O Magazine, strolled along side us as we chatted him up, before wishing him well and parted ways.

As we entered the arena, we realize we must climb every single flight of stairs to reach our seats. I nearly had a panic attack, as I am terrified of heights.  Again, nudging Vickiwhat I said, “Come on, I can’t do this” and we walked down the several hundred stairs back to the lobby. After a half hour spent at customer service, a very nice gentleman upgraded our seats to the 1st tier level, which was extremely close to the stage! We were overjoyed and could barley contain our excitement, as Oprah Winfrey took the stage in her beautiful, plum gown.

The crowd of majority women, were the nicest, enlightened, most positive people I have ever met.  The energy vibrated throughout the packed arena.  The following day, Rob Bell, Mark Nepo, Elizabeth Gilbert, Iyanla Vanzant and of course, Oprah Winfrey, all spoke about their most valuable and influential life lessons. There was a workbook handed out, which Oprah prompted exercises. For example,

Think of a person who is closest to your heart. Think (or write down) of the ideal life you would want for them. You can give them anything, money, cars, career opportunities, ect.

The life you wished for that person, is a reflection of what you want for yourself. We tend to want more, and are willing to ask for more for others, than we would for ourselves. We should begin to learn to ask for ourselves. Want and expect more, because you can never give to anyone, until your cup is full.

My friend, Vickiwhat, at some point began speaking with a group of women, who would later invite her and I to their box seats, where we finished the evening off, with our shoes off, sipping drinks, watching the show.  As if all of this good fortune was not enough for our life changing weekend, at the end of the show we saw Oprah Winfrey back stage from our seats. We yelled, in unison, her name as she was walking through a doorway to leave. A moment after our chant, she then backed up, spotted us in the crowd, threw both hands in the air and gave us a double wave. Oprah Winfrey “saw” us! and waved!! I know this may not sound like a big deal to most, but for us, it’s what topped off the weekend. We will be forever grateful to the “Oprah Magic” and continue to have faith in gratitude and the power of believing.

The following are some nuggets of wisdom from the show. I can never try to explain what exactly transpired, but I vow that it was extremely moving, life altering and has changed my perception of the world.

“Whatever you are going through, you will get through, so just say “thank you.” – Oprah Winfrey

“The easiest way to change vibration (energy) is gratitude. You will draw other good vibration.” Oprah Winfrey

“Other people have no power in your territory.” – Oprah Winfrey

“What you pay attention to will expand.” – Oprah Winfrey (I like this one. Whatever you focus on, good or bad will grow.)

“Knowing what you don’t want is information leading towards what you want.” – Oprah Winfrey

“The purpose of the gift is to exercise the heart and inhibit aliveness, until your gift strikes the need of the world” – Mark Nepo

“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly, than a perfect imitation of someone else’s life.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

“Do little things with great love. It all matters.” – Rob Bell

“To be the best, you have to say “no” to good.” – Rob Bell

“If you have made it through the past, then you past.” – Iylanda Vanzant

“Stop squeezing into things that do not fit you. Pay attention to how “it” makes you feel.” – Iylanda Vanzant

“Life says, “yes,” “no,” “stop,” “go.”” – Iyalnda Vanzant

“Courage is doing what you need to do before you are forced to do it, and if you don’t do it, don’t be mad at the people who force you to.” – Iylanda Vanzant

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