I write this with my feet lazily tucked into a mound of warm sand. I feel it sift between my toes. I have needed this feeling for far too long. The heat of the sun seems to thaw my body and then work its warmth right down to my bones. The water crashes against the shore, and then lazily meanders up the beach. Each crashing wave sharing secrets that refresh my soul.
This kid-free vacation has been a long time coming – almost 2 years – which Hubbz and I have decided is far, far, too long. Life, as it does, got in the way over and over again. Before we knew it, it had been a lot of days since we made time to fall in love with each other again. At the end of May, I told Hubbz I needed to go somewhere to fall in love again, he informed me that he was good because he was vested. I punched him in the arm and he winked at me- I am confident under his jokes (because the man got jokes) he felt the same. Not because anything was wrong or bad but because we just needed to get re-centered. I look over at Hubbz lazily laying next to me soaking up the sun. His eyes are closed and his breath is slow and peaceful. There is something about the rest and relaxation of the beach that puts both of our souls at ease. The past few days our laughs have gotten a little bit more joyful and our burdens a little lighter. The demands of the world have begun to fall away, or at least put back into perspective.
I still my mind to listen to the sounds between the crashing waves. A child’s laughter in the distance, a seagull’s squawk overhead, and then silence. A silence that is far from deadlines and distractions. A silence that is far from demands of our jobs and family and friends. A silence that is far from the chaos that life sometimes brings. I breath in the silence and my soul sings a little… full disclosure, girlfriend was having Dance Party USA in my head over all this zen.
There’s something profound that needs to be said about having “toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand” (thank you, Zac Brown Band). The beer has been replaced with a hot tea and a bottle (or few) of wine, but the sentiment of this whimsical little song holds true. “Life is good today.”
It is here in this space that the real work begins.
Life is good today. It is so very easy to see life as good when zero ‘effs are being given. A warm beach, amazing company and a blue sky make a stellar perspective pretty simple. Keeping this framework firmly intact as we head back to our everyday… there is where the real work begins, Friends. Keeping the perspective through the deadlines and distractions, through the chaos and the demands on our time, through Toddler B’s very independent 2 1/2 year old antics. #realtalk This is where the real work begins. We came to the conclusion that we keep this framework solid through intentionality. Through keeping the main thing the main thing. For us that main thing is the God we serve, the marriage we vowed our lives to and the son we are raising into a man. In that order. Here is what we discovered after 17 years together. If any of those things are in the wrong order, life doesn’t work. It doesn’t flow smoothly and it doesn’t feel like it’s good. Of course there are seasons where work is pure insanity, a loved one is sick or our kiddos require more time and attention. Priorities in our lives shift and move but that is why we need the God we serve at the center and quickly after that, the partners we vowed to do life with. God’s got us covered in the spiritual and our spouses have us covered as our helpers and partners.
I look back over at Hubbz, who is now watching me and smiling. I feel like he is no longer annoyed that I got him out of bed at an insane hour of the morning only to bundle up and sit on a beach until the sun wakes up. I offer up a prayer of gratitude for this man. It’s time to sign-off and enjoy every second of this vacation with him.
Friends, take the vacation, get off the grid and do whatever your version of toes in the water, ass in the sand looks like. Before I go, can I go ahead and quote a little Ferris? “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Don’t miss it, Friends. Whatever you do, don’t miss it.
Meet you back here next week, same time, same place,
Life is crazy, insane and completely weird. It’s also incredible, euphoric and amazing. I have spent 36 years on this planet and through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, I have miraculously learned a thing or two. What follows are my 5 tips to living a happy life.
- Love your body. When I say “love your body” I literally mean love your body. Treat your body like you would treat something you love. Love your body by treating it with kindness and joy. Take care of it. You wouldn’t put gasoline on a plant or water in a gas tank, why would you put toxic fuel in the form of excess calories and fat into your body? Exercise 30-45 min a day, drink a gallon of water on the regular, keep your weight and your blood levels within a healthy range. So many times I see humans “love their body” which is covert for accepting bad habits and calling it love. You guys, I can say this so blunt because I lived it for soooo many years! I am an emotional eater. I am like master-level at eating my feelings. I know what it’s like to feel terrible, eat a pint of Talenti and then feel even worse. Sweet friends, it’s not worth it. EVER. When life happens, our bodies aren’t the enemy to be punished. Our bodies are the vessel to be loved, cherished and respected. When we start loving our bodies, our brain starts to believe that we will protect it and we can be trusted. Imagine hanging out with someone who always put you in harms way- I venture to bet you wouldn’t hang out with that person after a while. Our bodies and brains are the same. Start living a happier life by loving your body and caring for it like it is your most treasured thing.
- Tell the Truth. So often in this world we are deceived. I have lived long enough to realize that things aren’t always as they seem. Not on Instagram and Facebook and sometimes not even in real life! There are so many lies we believe and buy into. Lies like, “you aren’t good enough“, “you aren’t smart enough“, “the grass is greener on the other side“, “so and so has a better life than me“. I know for me personally, on even my best days I will believe a lie at some point- for this, I need truth. I need to seek the truth and then I need to speak that truth over my life. Truth for me comes in the form of my Bible. On those pages are the blueprints that I strive so hard to live by. Don’t get me wrong, most days I suck, but I strive to be a truth teller because for a long, long time I lived with those words not being the backbone of my life and 99% of the time I got myself in trouble. Live a happier life by telling the truth over your life.
- Give Grace. Grace? Who’s Grace? Grace is that thing that someone doesn’t freakin’ deserve… but we offer it anyway. We offer it because we were given it when we didn’t deserve it. In keeping with the truth telling theme, I love me some grace. My ego? Not so much. Mostly because my ego is a jerk face who likes to be right about basically everything. I decided if I had to be friends with my ego… I wouldn’t. My ego doesn’t give a lot of grace. I am willing to bet if you have been human for any amount of time there are people who have showed you grace. People who have been nice to you when you were less than stellar. People who have forgave the unforgivable in you. People who have showed kindness when maybe you didn’t deserve it. All of these things are examples of grace. Something happens when we freely offer grace to others… we stop being right about things and start living happier lives. Grace just feels good, Y’all!
- Be Grateful. Being grateful is one of the most profound keys to a happy life. You guys, what we focus on we find. When you walk around focusing on the negative, on what you didn’t get, on what isn’t good enough, all you are going to get is evidence to prove that. When we walk around with a grateful heart, we are going to find more things to be grateful for. Gratefulness breeds more gratefulness. In our deepest hurts, there is an opportunity to practice gratitude. On our terrible days and bad moments, there is an opportunity to practice being grateful. It might feel weird at first… even kind of like fake it till you make it- but I promise, eventually it will click and gratefulness will flow even when you don’t necessarily feel it. I heard once that gratefulness lightens the load and makes your soul sing… ok, so I totally made that up just now but regardless… I am taking it as truth!!! If you want a happier life, throw gratitude around like confetti!
- Say I Love You without Reservation. What I really mean by this is love with reckless abandon and with zero ‘effs given. Seriously? Yes, seriously! But what if I get hurt? So what. You get hurt. At least you will hurt knowing it’s because you put yourself out there and loved. There is something about loving without reservation that allows us as humans to leave it all on the court. We can go all out and throw caution to the wind. Loving in such a way that cracks our hearts wide-open leaves the door open for hurt, betrayal and a broken heart- I know. I have lived it. But you know what? Shutting yourself into a prison of unsaid feelings leaves you with inconsolable regret. You guys, I get it, there are people who will hold your body but never your hand or your heart. I could say don’t fall in love with those people, but it turns out you end up falling in love with those people. When this happens, feel the heartbreak, learn the lesson, and know that you will never be the same because you left it all on the court when you chose to love. When you look back on the story of your life, which would you rather have? Moments of love purely given to others or inconsolable regret because you lived in fear of getting hurt? A life of true happiness happens when we open our hearts and love fiercly.
Life is crazy, insane and completely weird. It’s also incredible, euphoric and amazing. Living a happy life doesn’t have to be rocket science. Love your body. Tell the truth. Give grace. Be grateful. Love. Start today and focus on one of these things everyday for a week. I am venturing to say that by the time this week comes to a close you just may have a better, happier human experience because of it!
Meet you back here next week, same time, same place,
Another Monday Musing is on deck but this morning I feel as if I can’t find the words. Surely I have things to say but today, this day, I don’t feel it. My soul feels heavy. My body is tired. Despite knowing in my gut exactly why I am feeling this way, I feel the need to pinpoint a lighter reason for this heavy tiredness. I pick the weather because that is the easiest scapegoat. If Milli Vanilli can blame it on the rain, surely I can too. I giggle at the thought and shift my focus back to my thoughts.
I inhale and breath out the heavy in my soul.
I inhale and breath out the fatigue in my body.
I focus on my thoughts waiting for words, a sentiment, anything.
My freshly manicured nails hover over the keys waiting for the words.
This morning the words aren’t there to greet me.
What do we do in this life when words escape us?
We begin anyway.
I force myself to sit at my desk, strengthening the muscle of self-discipline.
The lamp offering a soft glow in my home office.
My diffuser humming, filling the room with the scent of invigorating citrus.
A cup of warm lemon water steaming beside my laptop.
The hum of the sound machine coming thru the monitor showing our sweet Toddler B fast asleep and cozy in his bed.
Hubbz already gone for the morning, off and running, well into his day.
I think of my sweet readers.
What is it they need to hear on a Monday? What is it that is going to resonate in those places deep in their soul?
Then it hits me. Just write.
Write when the words aren’t there. Write when you don’t have anything amazing to say. Write when you don’t feel like it’s any good. Pick a place, start somewhere and just write. It sounds so simple- trite even. Just write? What is this, the Nike of the written word? I laugh out loud at that thought. But then- maybe there is something to that…
On this Monday, I leave you with the sentiment to, for lack of a better phrase, “just do it”.
(Reader’s note… it’s okay if you rolled your eyes because I just rolled my eyes at the amount of cliche that last sentence held. I’ll make you a deal, we can roll our eyes together but then let’s promise not to judge each other.)
In your life, wherever you are right now, whatever you are doing, whatever is set before you- just go do it. There is someone that needs to hear this today. Someone that needs to hear that you have to show up in your life- even when you maybe feel like you don’t have a thing to offer. Show up even when you feel like what you are offering isn’t really that good. Show up even when it’s hard. When it doesn’t feel good. When you would rather be doing something else. Anything else. Show up. Just go do it.
The steam has stopped rising off my lemon water and Toddler B starts to stir in his crib. These are my cues that it’s time to wrap it up. My quiet time is over for the morning and now it’s time to go be Mommy to our sweet Toddler B.
Sweet readers, go do that thing today- don’t think too hard about it- just go do it. Show up where you need to show up. Write the page of your day. Write something funny or mundane or spectacular. Regardless of what you write on this page of your day, write something worth it!
Holy Week began last Sunday. The little girl in me remembers Catholic Palm Sunday masses filled with excitement and hope. The reminder that something big was coming. There were palms that we folded into crosses as we listened to the messages of our beloved sweet Jesus triumphantly riding into Jerusalem.
On Monday, Notre Dame caught fire. Flames raged in an inferno beneath the roof of the world’s medieval Catholic cathedral. This week I read an article that offered the idea that maybe Norte Dame burning is our modern day burning bush. That struck me deep in a place in my soul that I haven’t been in a while.
Was God trying to point a secular world back to Him?
Emmanuel Macron tweeted on Holy Monday that part of us is burning. You’re right, friend, part of us is burning. The parts of our souls that yearn for our Savior burn in ways that sometimes we can’t understand. We yearn for something deep. We feel it in the unrest and anxiousness of our souls. We spend time filling this burning with earthly things. Things that will never, ever quench the inferno inside us. I believe it’s because only our beloved sweet Jesus can quench the inferno of our souls.
On this Good Friday, my heart is heavy. It is so hard to see any good in this day. I close my eyes and I see our sweet Jesus. He was humiliated, ridiculed and mocked. He stood innocent, yet took our punishment to save us from certain death. Our sweet Jesus beaten and hung on a cross to die. I think of the cross that hung in my childhood church. It was beautiful and pristine. A symbol pointing to our sweet Savior. Death by crucifixion wasn’t beautiful or pristine. It was torturous and gruesome and horrific.
And yet, it was good.
The paradox this day holds points to something big coming.
Our Good Friday full of pain.
The pain in this day points to something big coming.
Our Silent Saturday full of waiting.
The tragedy of this day points to something big coming.
Our Easter Sunday full of the most incredible joy.
The timeline in Matthew says that right now, darkness came over all the land.
In this darkness we think about Jesus. We think about Notre Dame and our modern day burning bush. We think about the Lord pointing us back to him. Because in the end, it all just points back to Him.
On this Good Friday, we wait and we pray…
Notre Père qui es aux cieux, que ton nom soit sanctifié; Que ton règne vienne; Que ta volonté soit faite sur la terre comme au ciel. Donne-nous aujourd’hui notre pain quotidien; et pardonne-nous nos offenses comme nous pardonnons à ceux qui nous ont offensés; et ne nous induis pas en tentation, mais délivre-nous du mal, Amen.
I laid on the soft, heated table in the dark room, heat lamps hovered above my body radiating warmth across my skin. The temperature outside hovered around 10 degrees but I was in a cocoon of warmth and it was magical. I drifted in and out of sleep while the acupuncture needles did all the things that acupuncture needles do. I was in a state of zenAF and amazing music massaged my eardrums…
Until I heard it…
BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP…
ON and ON and ON and ON and ON and ON and ON.
It took me a moment to rouse my brain, defog it and realize this was not a fire alarm. I wasn’t in danger and I should not begin frantically pulling out the acupuncture needles as I searched the darkness for my clothes. This was not any kind of emergency. It was instead, the reminder on my phone prompting me to give my old lady dog with slight incontinence issues her medicine.
I love my little old lady doggie. And also, FRIG.
BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP…
I laid on the table, now wide awake. I was willing the beeping to turn off so I could get all cozy with my ZenAF mindset again.
It didn’t shut off.
BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP…
Thank you, Apple for your unyeilding desire to keep me reminded of the shit I asked you to remind me about. You are relentless in the pursuit.
I laid on the table growing more and more annoyed with each beep. I laid yearning to drift back off to LaLaLand. I start to try and make the beeping mesh with the soft music playing… spoiler alert: it doesn’t mesh. At all. Ever.
I laid on the table defeated in my efforts and faced with two choices. I could accept what was happening knowing I couldn’t at all change it, or I could keep fighting the (self-inflicted) situation I found myself in. I realize that I was leaning toward the latter and it was time to flip the flow. Choosing the accept the situation didn’t change anything. It didn’t make the beeping stop and I definitely didn’t get back to my zenAF state. What it did do, was allow me space to not have a negative reaction about what was happening. It goes back to the radical acceptance post I wrote a while back.
I made a conscious choice to be at peace with the situation I found myself in. By accepting that which I could do nothing about and surrendering to it, I laid there in that warm, cozy dark room and I started to laugh. It came out as a giggle at first and turned into an all out belly laugh. As I write this I am still unsure what was so funny but I know the laughter bubbling out helped me not take the situation so serious. In a weird turn of events, acceptance helped me find a new giggly zenAF in a situation that offered zero zenAF notions.
I think about what it means to be human and the things that happen to us in a day. The millions of tiny things that have an impact on who we are and how our days pan out. I think on how many times our circumstances get in the way of our moods, hearts and attitudes.
It is here that I pose a question to you.
With what mindset do you want to spend your day?
Do you want to spend your time letting your circumstance be in control of you or do you want to spend your time joyful regardless of your circumstances? I choose radical acceptance, a shit ton of peace and even more giggly, laughter that bubbles out in pure joy. Choose wisely, sweet readers. We don’t get our days back and rarely do we get do-overs. We don’t always choose our circumstances but we always choose our mindset.