Your deepest happiness

Deep happiness

We’re going deep today. Prepare to ask yourself hard questions and to be real. Because, ultimately your deepest happiness is at stake.

Where are you looking for happiness? Where are you intentionally or unintentionally looking for meaning in life?

Perhaps you are living as though happiness resides in a successful job or business. Maybe it’s physical health or your appearance you are looking to. Or financial security or your home or possessions. Maybe you have pinned your happiness to the back of another human being.

Um….we can look for happiness through affirmation on social media.

Whether we have thought about it or not we ALL are naturally inclined to look to something/someone to fulfill us—to bring us joy. And we become disillusioned and upset when we feel they let us down. Which inevitably always happens when we look to these things for happiness.

What if I told you there was a better way? A way where you could Continue reading

Reclaiming your emotional energy

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Photo by Dave Carney

We all have a certain amount of energy to burn on any given day–both physically and emotionally.

Today I am going to focus on the emotional aspect.

How wisely do we spend this energy? Do we protect it and use it in the best possible ways?

OR are we throwing it away on fretting, jealousy, and anger?

It’s amazing how much MORE we can accomplish, how much MORE we can be present and available for those we love when we protect our “energy”. When WE decide where we spend it.

I won’t say that I have arrived in this area, but I have come a long, long way. In years gone by I would burn SO much energy worrying. Worrying about what I said and did. Worrying about what other people said and did. Worrying about what they THOUGHT. Crazy, right!?

It was insane just how much energy I wasted in useless worry. I would literally Continue reading

Allowing tragedy become a catalyst for good

broken_heartTragedy is something that we can’t escape here on earth.

Most often we are merely bystanders, hearts full of sympathy for those suffering. But there are times we are the sufferers. We are the ones wading through the murky waters of hardship and trial.

Our temptation is to allow tragedy to take our freedom . In other words, tragedy can usher in fear that keeps us from living a joyful life.

Certainly this is understandable for those directly affected by tragedy. And healing for those people will be slow.

But as people indirectly affected, as mere bystanders, we too can be paralyzed by tragedy. We too can lose the freedom that we lived in before.

OR, tragedy can be a catalyst to bring about positive change in our life, if we will let it.

Here are some things that tragedy can teach us…

Continue reading

Feeling your best

Picture by the lovely Anabell Jimenez

I know first hand what it is like to feel amazing and I know first hand what it is like to feel terrible.

Right now, thankfully, I feel amazing. Even in the face of a serious autoimmune disease.

A decade ago, I did not feel well AT ALL. I was foggy-brained, exhausted, depressed, anxious etc. I was just barely getting by.

I remember how it took everything in me to hang out with friends or clean the kitchen or do pretty much anything. By the end, I would feel like I had been run over by a train. And the whole time I felt spacey and unable to keep up.

I even remember being afraid for people to know the “real” me back then. Certainly, if they knew how “screwed up” I was, they wouldn’t like me. Oh, and marriage–the closest relationship out there? That was super-scary stuff for me. Thankfully I married the most supportive and loving guy out there.

Now it is as if I have tons of energy to do the things I need to and then some to spare. And my head is clear. And I am no longer anxious or depressed. It truly feels like a miracle has transpired. There is NO comparison in how I feel–physically, mentally, or emotionally. It’s night and day.

Feeling this amazing was something I dreamed of and prayed for years ago. I was so desperate to feel better. But it seemed completely out of reach.

Anyone who has experienced this will know what I am talking about. It’s a terrible place to be.

But I am living proof that a person can feel better!!! That we can beat extreme exhaustion and foggy-headedness! That we can take out anxiety and depression–for good.

Because I was able to turn things around for myself, I started this blog. I just knew that there had to be other people like the me of a decade ago. People wanting to feel better, but not knowing how or not certain there was even hope for change.

There is hope! I am telling you. It is possible! I felt terrible and I have experienced a  total transformation. If I can, I know that there is hope for you to feel better too!

If you need to feel better, in a major way OR in small ways, here are things that I would suggest from my experience.

Continue reading

Numbering my steps

walkingThese days I am looking for ways to pare down in life, to waste less time, to focus on what is truly important.

You know, so that I have time and the energy and the desire to smile and really listen when I’ve been “interrupted” again by the people I love. So that I can carry out the things that need carrying out. So that I have space just to rest and be.

When I have frittered my time, throwing it to the wind, or wasted my energy on things that I shouldn’t, it makes for a harried life.

For me, energy and time drainers are not necessarily big things. Checking this blog one too many times. Lack of planning, so I end up making two trips to the store instead of one. Allowing myself to ruminate about a situation that I have no control over (thankfully, this happens far less often than it did in years gone by). Yet, these little things add up in a big way over the course of a day, a week, a month, a year.

SO, my prayer of late has been, “Teach me to number my steps.” Kind of like the psalmist when he prayed, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” That too. Living in the awareness of the brevity of life (which I am really beginning to see in my 30’s), I want every step I take to be intentional and have meaning.

Do you tend to waste time and energy throughout your day on things/situations that don’t matter or because of a lack of planning? Or, maybe you have tips for us on numbering your steps? I’d love to hear from each of you!

Shaggy Layers at Home

IMG_1508I started doing something that has saved our family hundreds of dollars over the past couple years. And it has saved me time and stress.

I cut my own hair.

And no, I am not a hairdresser. Not in the least. I don’t even have one high school class under my belt.

Does this sound crazy to you? I thought so at first. I was super nervous the first time I gave it a try. But it is one of the best risks I’ve taken. I love the cut I get AND we’re saving money. Lots of it here in Boston where visiting a salon can cost a small fortune.

I must say that what I do is for a specific cut. And you do have to be okay with a mess-up… ’cause it can happen. BUT, if you are careful and like the particular style, then this method of cutting your own hair might just be for you too.

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The end look is graduated layers. Which works wonderful with my thick, medium-length, wavy hair. Be aware that the layers are shaggy and look best wavy (using a product like mousse) or curled. Not blown straight.

Here is a link to an article that shows you how…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2145423/Is-DIY-hairdo-shortcut-disaster-As-women-skip-salon-save-money-brave-volunteer-tries-cutting-hair.html

And here are my tips:

  • Cut conservatively. You can always repeat the process. It doesn’t take long at all–minutes once you get the hang of it.
  • The amount you cut off corresponds more to the layers than the length of your hair (i.e. the more you chop off the higher your layers start, not necessarily the shorter your hair will be).
  • I always keep my bangs separate. I like to cut them to an exact length.

Happy in my own shoes

IMG_5923Jealousy destroys.

It doesn’t take a study or an expert to show us this. Although, they are out there.

Jealousy will absolutely, positively wreck your life if you don’t weed it out. It’s a joy sucker. It’s a relationship killer. There is nothing good about jealousy–not even in the slightest.

But it’s awfully sneaky. Oftentimes it creeps in and takes root before we are even aware it is present. OR maybe jealousy has become so much of a habit for you, you are not accustomed to calling it by its name. Maybe you call it by name but have excused it.

We ALL experience/fight jealousy from time to time. So, please know that I am not trying to shame anyone who feels stuck. I just want to point us all to a better, emotionally healthier way of living. Because, deep down, we all know that jealousy is a destroyer that imprisons us and keeps us from living in a better and happier way.

From television to social media to our flesh and blood friends and acquaintances there is always someone or something we can measure our self and life against, right? And it is amazing how often we seem to find ourselves on the short end of the stick when we do.

Because we mostly compare apples and oranges.

We compare our lack of travel against our unmarried friend’s globe-trotting. Or vice-versa. We compare our lack of husband and children against our married friend’s family life. The thing is, we rarely look at the struggles others face and instead focus on those things they have that we would like–in a vacuum.

“Oh, poor me. I’m unbathed and stuck at home wiping noses and counters and bums morning to night, while so-and-so is cruising the Meditteranean and perfecting her tan while reading a stack of magazines. What a dream.”

OR

“It’s just not fair. What have I done to deserve Continue reading

Dairy-free personal sized PIZZA

diary_free_pizza

I have dabbled with being  dairy-free for quite some time now.

My first experience was back eight years ago when Haddie was a baby.  Me being dairy-free meant she was a happier baby. That lasted for a year.

And then again, when Abigail was a baby, I gave up milk and yogurt and ice cream. My nursing babies just weren’t content when I ate dairy!

After Abigail was weaned, I began to connect inflammation with dairy and have been mostly off dairy ever since. That has been over 4 years now.

Of all the lovely foods that dairy gives us, the one that I miss the most has been pizza. Yes, even more than ice cream–which I hardly miss at all because of this shake.

I mentioned being mostly dairy-free because once every couple of weeks over the last few years I would “cheat” and have pizza. Until recently…

I finally discovered a way to make pizza that requires no cheese and still hits that pizza craving. Thanks to the following dairy-free pizza,  I have been completely dairy free for several months now! Continue reading

The crying cure

damMost of my life I have been like a poorly dammed river–tears leaking through the cracks  incessantly. And in imminent danger of the whole construct collapsing in one gigantic emotional episode.

It’s a weakness. Not being able to control the dam of your emotions–or your tear ducts. At least that is what I have been told and have observed and have keenly felt.

Crying on the job. Definitely not a good idea.

And in friendships and intimate relationships. Frequent tears can cause problems there as well.

At the movies and concerts and parties. Yeah, not so cool.

But, regardless of how HARD I tried, there they Continue reading

Moms and spiritual moms, Happy Mother’s Day!


When I think back to the women who have profoundly influenced my life, my own mother is at the top. I have been blessed with the most incredible, loving mother.

She really, truly is one of the most sacrificial and caring people I know. Her love for others shines out in all she does–from her encouraging words, to her generosity, to her love and kindness offered to “the least of these”. You can be sure that any good attribute you may observe in me can be traced back to her.

I want to be like my mother. I want my girls to grow up knowing the unconditional love I have known 33 years and counting. She embodies what it means to be a mother and why we celebrate our mothers on this special day of the year.

After my mother, I think of another lovely woman who greatly influenced my life and help set me in a positive direction. She has no physical children of her own. Yet she was a spiritual mother to many women (and men).

Her desire was to have children and raise a family, but that never happened. And yet, in spite of her own pain and suffering, she offered motherly love and guidance to those who needed it. She poured out her time and prayers and enouragment–her life.

The world needs women who are willing to pour out their lives for the good of others, be they physical or spiritual moms.  Women who are willing to lovingly and fearlessly guide the next generation.

So in honor of all moms and spiritual moms out there: Happy Mother’s Day! What you do matters.