Monday, April 29, 2013


Ah the beloved guest post!  I will have a guest appearance at another blogger's site this week.  For some reason, when I submit a post for approval and receive confirmation that it will go live, the pressure gets to me.

I worry about any visitors that are directed from the host site to mine and what they will think of my blog roll.

For any newbie visitors, welcome to my online oasis!  Last week was a walk down memory lane because it marked a year off of alchohol.  I don't blog about alcoholism or sobriety often.  But it does get mixed in there along with other not so awesome things.  To stay true to the blog's mission and myself, I write whatever is tugging at me. 

My attempt is to make this blog an upbeat and positive place for people to come visit.  One of my girlfriends said the sweetest thing to me a little bit ago that really warmed my heart.  She said, "When I'm at work and it sucks, I look your blog up on my phone and it's a little piece of goodness to improve my mood.:"  Really!?!  Too friggin nice!

Anywho, this is my little disclaimer that "s" got deep last week but this blog's moods, like my life's moods, change with the tide.  I hope you enjoy some of what you read and that you will stop by when you think of me.  Or, share me with your friends.


Sunday, April 28, 2013


There hasnt been a day
I woke and had to say

"What's wrong with me?

Why did I do this to myself again?

When will this feeling wane?

Who did I offend?

How many fences do I have to mend?

Where will this path end?"

Sobriety is hard
Alcoholism is harder

Alcoholism strains the body, relationships, mind and soul

Sobriety rewards with energy, clarity, resilience and strength

Monday, April 22, 2013


Earth Day 2012 was the first day of the most transforming period of my life. If you have been following along with this blog you know that was the first day of a 20 day cleanse I went on by Kathy Freston.

Around day 7 of the cleanse I had an epiphany that sobriety was needed in my life. It was necessary to maximize my energy, decrease my depression, and help my relationship with my baby.

A couple weeks ago I was talking with a friend and she asked how long it had been since I drank. I told her it would be a year on April 23. Always a stickler for the truth, I said I consider April 23 my anniversary although I drank twice after. Once to test and make sure I was able to start drinking again at a moderate pace (that was an experience chronicled in Relapse) and again on my first annual sister's trip that was also chronicled in September 2012. The trip was chronicled, not my drinking.

I had 4 beers one night that also reconfirmed my need for permanent sobriety. I drank because all my sisters were and if you cant beat them, join them, right? False! I wont do it again. I just didnt want to feel like a narc. None of my sister's knew I had decided to quit drinking for good and that I needed to have it be a permanent lifestyle change. Being the 1 out of 4 that couldnt handle the juice, makes for a difficult conversation. I have an addictive personality. Addiction can be hereditary. My sisters dont have issues. I do. Bringing my stuff to light could seem like I'm condemning them. Which I wasnt. It was all about me. So I drank again. And drinking those 4 beers after 5 months of sobriety (minus the Relapse experiment) also reconfirmed my need for a permanent change.

I didnt put sobriety at the forefront of my conversations. Instead I mostly retreated into myself while undergoing all the changes. I realized after I quit smoking cigarettes multiple times, the trick to making it last for me is to not discuss it. When people know you are quitting something they ask about it. A lot. And the more something is talked about, the more charge it is given. "hey, when was the last time you had a cigarette?" Mmm....ciggie!

I didnt completely hole up about sobriety (I wholeheartedly believe that would end in failure) but would talk to my husband about how difficult it was and would pray and asked other friends who have gone through rehab, known alcoholics or quit on their own (Process is a post about an open chat with my husband's bff). In the beginning trying to explain to people who dont have an issue with it is difficult. Actually, it still is to this date. So you know, I cant handle one drink. Unlike Gordon Ramsey's order, I cant "SHUT IT DOWN!"

Anywho, I told my friend about the date and the 2 attempts of controlled drinking and she informed me very matter of factly that April 23 was not my anniversary. That was very upsetting to me. I let her words swirl in my head until I hung out last week with one of my more positive and encouraging friends. I told her about how upset the other friend made me and asked if she thought it was an overreaction. She said I had the right to be upset and marking April 23 as my anniversary is not out of line because not only did I quit drinking that day, it was the first day that spurred a lot of change and growth.

I want and need a date to recognize all of the positive changes I have made in my life. It's a date to honor when the fog was lifted and when I started loving and taking care of myself and embracing the confused little girl inside of me.

So, to further encourage my obviously impending full blown hippie lifestyle (sorry husband) I will deem my sobriety anniversary as Earth Day. You get the point, it's around the same time every year. If anyone else takes issue with the validity of my anniversary, you can celebrate my sobriety date whenever you feel is appropriate.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Yesterday was the second teleconference in Tara Mohr's Playing Big program.  The focus of this biweekly module is facing our inner critics.

Our inner critics are the voices we hear in our heads that repeat the same harsh statements everytime we have an opportunity to stretch ourselves.  Whenever we are feeling vulnerable, or like we may be pushing the envelope, there can be that incessant self loathing voice that chimes in trying to dissuade us from potential pyschological harm.  This can be in situations like a job interview, public speaking event, performance review or even a date, social event, or sharing feelings with someone. 

The inner critic can sound like a broken record and says things like, "this is too big for me to take on" "I'm not prepared enough" "it's already been said or done before" "I'm not smart enough" "I knew I should have worn something dressier", etc.

In the first half hour of the call Tara had us write down 5 of the sayings our inner critics repeat to us.  She then had us write down anyone that may be associated with these statements.  Placing a name with these thoughts isnt the blame game, it's just a way of recognizing where the statement may have originated.

When I look at the statement I dislike the most, "you're too stupid", and the people associated with it, I can now recall that they said very similar things to or about other people.  And just because their statements became a voice inside of my head, due to how many times it was repeated or how traumatizing it was, it has very little to do with me or them as people.  They said the same things, or treated other people the same way, and it may or may not have resulted in inner critics for those other  people.  But it stuck with me and is now a part of my psyche.

I assume all the people associated with those repeatitive phrases have no idea they are on my loop.  Come to think of it, a lot of the phrases had never been pinpointed before the call.  Once I wrote them down I could then recall many situations I have been in where the loop spun out of control.  

Later in the call Tara directed us to create a visual of this inner critic.  We were to come up with a very detailed mental image of our critic(s).  What she (or he) looked like, how she dresses, the car she drives, her personal life, etc.  The more detail the better.  

Recognizing who each statement came from and creating a fictitious character that shouts all of these  insults serves as a very valuable technique to remove attachment of the "voice" from "ourselves".  We are not what we hear.  

When we can learn how to disassociate ourselves from this voice, we remove it's control over us.  It's still going to be there, but we can recognize it for what it is.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


The 7 year itch.  We've all heard about it.  And those of us that have been in relationships for longer than 7 years know that it is not a myth.  It truly exists.

Now that I have lured you in, this post is not about the relationship itch, it is about the military itch.  Haha, fooled you!  I know it's not nice to laugh at you but as I wrote in my updated About Me, this blog is not about shock and awe.

Anywho, the typical military family moves between every 1 and 3 years.  For my Air Force family it was about every two and a half years.  I shared an intense poem with you HERE that was written at age 14 shortly after moving to my current location.

My parents moved us to Burke, VA in the summer of 1994.  I've been here since.  Well not in Burke, but within a 15 mile radius.  Between the ages of 17 (when I went out on my own) until we bought our home in 2009 I moved 11 times.  So about once a year.

In June we will celebrate 4 years in the first home we bought.  Which is the longest I have ever lived in one place.  And I'm still not ready to move!

This is huge for me because I actually had more trepidation about buying our home than I did about marrying my husband.  The thought of a legal contract that kept us stuck in the joint with no easy way out, like paying off a short term lease, was kind of terrifying to me.

We purchased our home through a bank sale and the closing date got pushed back (of course on the day of closing) which totally had me even more convinced that we were about to make a huge mistake.  I couldn't have been more wrong.

I can attribute not wanting to move to a few things.

A major one is that the value of our home keeps increasing so the longer we stay, the more cash monies we will get.  Plus if we sold the home we would have to pay the $8k first time home buyers credit back to the government.  Do you want to know how we spent that $8k? On a brand new HVAC because the day after we closed on the house the system died.  It was in our clause so we knew it was coming, we just didn't think it would happen while the ink was still wet on the six thousand signature pages.

Also, every year we do something aesthetic to the house in the spring.  One year it was a wall and flower bed with azalea bushes (my husband and I literally built a wall together!), the next was a kitchen floor and backsplash, and yesterday we had our door and shutters painted.

I used to love local moves because it was such a great opportunity to get rid of all the unneeded stuff we accumulated, including the stuff we moved from the last place to the current place that we never touched.  Since reading the Circle of Simplicity last fall and clearing out all of our clutter, I no longer need to move to go through all our crap.  As the book suggests now before bringing something into the house I drop off at least one thing to a donation box.  It's a great system!

I'm not saying we will never move, it's just so nice to finally be in a place where after 2 years I wasn't crawling out of my skin trying to find the next place.  See, people can change!

Gift from our Realtor (holler if you need a referral, she was beast!)

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Prior to maternity leave for my first son, which started in October of 2008, my boss's boss approved that I could work from home full time.  My husband was able to configure his work schedule to have Mondays and Fridays "off" so he could watch the babe while I worked.  My sched was 10 hours those days then Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday my husband would watch the boy in the morning while I worked, then he would leave for work and I would watch our boy until his sitter came in for 3 hours in the afternoon while I finished my work day.

In January of 2010 I knew it was only a matter of time until my department would get axed.  Had we not purchased our house 6 months earlier, we may have been able to save up some money.  But then again, even when my husband and I know something is going to happen, it doesn't hit us until we hit it.   
Previous to the first round of lay offs, the company outsourced some of our department and had "consultants" come in to re-brand us.  A few months after the initial lay offs in August of 2009 we got news of a class action law suit.   

When the company settled the class action suit I was a few weeks pregnant with my second son.  Luckily for me, since I worked from home, the 2 times each morning that I would puke, the toilet was close enough where I wouldnt puke all over myself.  Working from home was the sweetest set up ever but I was always exhausted because my son wouldn't go to sleep until around 9.  Trust me, my heart goes out to pregnant working moms of toddlers. 

I think it was at my 16 week check up that the ultrasound showed I could potentially have placenta previa.  A condition where the amniotic sac could tear from the uterus.  They said all we could do was wait until week 24 to see if it worsened or resolved itself.  It it worsened I would need to be put on bedrest for the remainder of the pregnancy.  My doctor's orders were to try not to think about it because stress is really bad for the baby.  Full time job, full time potentially damaged pregnancy, part time toddler care, impending job loss...what's there to stress about?

I had the all clear ultrasound on a Monday and ended up losing my job that Wednesday.  It was June of 2010 and just a couple days within our one year anniversary of buying our first home.  

When I got the call it was the weirdest mix of emotions.  I handled the phone call professionally but the second we hung up, I started crying.  I had never been fired or let go from a job before.  It hurt my ego.  Within a minute of crying, relief flooded over me and my entire being started smiling.  Finally no more waiting for it to happen!  Also, I was going to be able to enjoy my first son all to myself like I had during maternity leave. After September it would never be just him and me again.  There would be another guy in the family. 

I'm reminiscing about this time because my husband and I were finally just able to pay off all of our debt. And now that our credit card balances aren't maxed out we should be able to refinance our home at the end of May, which will save us about $400 a month. 

I know it is just money but when you struggle for that long, it takes a toll.  Would I have taken a job to have more money?  No.  I was actually offered 3 jobs within a week last summer and graciously declined.  I've always needed to stay with my boys.  Being a mom was my dream since childhood, and though it is very hard at times, I cherish every day with those guys.  They teach me so much, keep me laughing and are astounding little creatures. 

Although my husband and I weren't able to go out as often as we wanted (a free baseball game we went to ended up costing $180 after a babysitter, metro ride, drinks, and food), buy the things that we "needed" (clothes when I lost all my weight, tae kwon do/sports lessons for the big one, dentist appointments for all of us), and literally had less than two digits in available cash/credit multiple times weeks before payday, it was so worth it.  OMG it was worth it! 

I am so proud of my husband for all that he does for us.  The 60 hour work weeks and frequent 70 hour work weeks at such a physically draining job.  He always has been and always will be my hero.  I am also proud of myself for being able to learn how to save money and know what it is ok to splurge on (the big ones school and healthy food). 

As the anonymous saying goes:  "When you hit rock bottom there is no place to go but up."

We had 3 years of serious financial struggle and now we are finally almost to the top of the mountain.  What an amazing feeling!  If I have learned anything in the past year and a half of soul searching it's that life is ups and downs.  I know this elation (and elevation :) wont last forever but will do my damnedest to make sure the rope is tied tight and that we take cautious baby steps so our next fall isn't all the way to the bottom.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


When we are able to truly live our lives for ourselves, and without fear of judgement, life becomes light and easy.  There is something so freeing about doing what feels right and not worrying about the repercussions of what others think or how they will respond.

Recently I have noticed being surrounded by a surge of self consciousness, doubt, fear, hesitation, uncertainty.  Everyone, myself included, needs to understand that those thoughts and feelings are learned behaviors.  

From early childhood we are taught to do what mommy says, listen to your teacher, be more like your sibling, etc.  For those lucky enough to not be influenced from childhood they may have learned these behaviors through peer friendships, the corporate world, or even a spouse.  

Since the majority of us have had our individuality stifled from the beginning, we cant just decide we are going to stop letting the influence of others control us.  We have to step back and realize it.  Bring awareness to these thoughts and commit to change them.

As adults we have to learn how to accept ourselves.  We have to trust that we can make right and just decisions and then move forward with those decisions.  

If there is a resistance in us to conform to a certain norm we have to learn that the pause is there for a reason.  

These are our lives to make the most of.  If we are too busy sitting on the sidelines doing what we perceive is the acceptable response, we are missing the opportunity to grow and live a lighter life.

I will continue to work on myself and hope you will join me?

Another post that relates that you may like: Intention

Thursday, April 4, 2013


an optimistic dreamer with an unwavering faith  

embarrassment, rejection, vulnerability

these feelings are felt but are fleeting

they enter the mind but are not thought about in depth

the numbers are increasing

people are reading

we are connecting  

encouragement is found in growth

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I remember as a child when I would wake up and swear there was a murdery man in the shadows I would instinctively pray. It started as a habit learned from my parents and church and turned into something that really helps me to this day.

When a dear friend passed away one of my closest girlfriends told me I was very lucky to have my faith to fall back on during times like the death of a loved one.

She shared that growing up without any religious foundation or spiritual discussion in her home left a blankness inside of her. She wished she could have something to ease the pain instead of questions, doubt and uncertainty.

I understand why my girl came to me and opened up like she did.

She knows that what I think I know and what I believe is deep in my core. She knew that I grew up going to mass on Sunday religiously (haha!). Also, that religion wasnt in the forefront of my life but the seed had already been planted and grown through the years. Lastly, she knew that mama likes to spread her knowledge.

She mentioned that she didnt know how to pray. I dont know how I responded or if I offered her advice on how to do it. It was one of those heartbreaking convos so I blocked a lot of it out.

Last season I watched an episode of Parenthood when one of the adult characters, Crosby, asked his pre-pubescent son how to pray. The son, Jabor, would go to church with his mom and grandma but, like my friend, Crosby grew up in a home that didnt speak about God, religion, spirituality, etc. It was a very vulnerable and humbling scene in the show. It was for my friend too and I hope I handled her with care.

I wonder how many people have wanted to but dont know how to pray?

I think there are many ways but for me I keep it casual except the opening. Something like "Dear God, Please watch over us while we drive to the store." I usually end with "Thanks" or my thoughts trail off to something else like butterflies. I never say "Amen" because my prayers are open ended and amen seems too final. Some people quote scripture but my mixed up mind would probably reverse the numbers and get us in trouble or have a llama delivered. Who knows.

Praying is something you can start doing right away and in the privacy of your own mind. Im sure it will be awkward like the first time my husband and I prayed together out loud during our pre cana for the Catholic church. It was foreign to us and we were both raised by devout church goers and had been together for 7 years.

Like with anything, it gets easier the more you do it!

I have a few families that I pray for regularly that are an absolute testament to the power of prayer. These families constantly remind me of something I read in Carla Hannaford, Ph. D.'s book "Awakening the Child Heart":

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


This entry is a continuation on the post that I wrote about a recent convo with one of my girls regarding negative thoughts creeping in and her being afraid it would lead to depression.  I started off telling her not to feed into the dark thoughts or that would just attract more negativity. 

Ending our conversation with only that advice would have been misleading.  I also had to relay the unfortunate news that took me so long to actually understand.  I told my friend that one of the most stubborn lessons to learn while going through the transformation I've been on is that we have absolutely no control.

Whether we like it or not, life is up and down, yin and yang, black and white.

No matter how great and wonderful everything is, it can change in a heart beat.  Luckily, the same goes for the opposite.  No matter how down and unmotivated we feel, that too can suddenly change.  Things can also stay exactly the same, but our perceptions of what is happening can alter. 

Know that we will always have downs. We can't prevent that.  We can, however, become aware of these cycles and learn acceptance instead of attempting to control them.  When we finally realize the impermanence of every situation and learn to go with the flow, life gets easier.  It doesn't end the ups and downs, it just makes them more steady.