Wednesday, June 29, 2011

For N

My dear friend, today this song is on my heart for you. Healing will come. God hears your cries and sees your pain. He will make you whole again. He loves you more than you know.

Wishcasting Wednesday: A Break

Today Jamie asks the question, What do you wish to take a break from?

I wish to take a break from:
~ Unhealthy foods
~ Laziness
~ Negativity
~ Anxiety
~ A life-draining job
~ Too much time away from my daughter
~ Commitments that don't honor my soul
~ Simply dreaming. I need to take more action!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Why Massage is So Important to Me

When I was younger, I had great self-esteem. My 12-year old chubby self with frizzy, poufy hair, a crooked tooth, and thick red glasses that resembled Sally Jesse Raphael’s entered the Miss Maryland Pre-Teen beauty pageant because she had no doubts in her head that she would win. Of course I didn’t capture the crown, but that’s not the point of this story.

The point is that I used to have this energy, this zest for life that made me successful at pretty much everything I tried. I had good grades, I had great friends, I was talented, and I truly found life joyful and fun and easy. I knew I could accomplish anything I wanted. The world was mine for the taking.

Then I entered college. My first year was great – I joined every club I could, had a lead spot in chorus, ended with a 3.7 GPA, was one of 12 people selected to be inducted into Phi Theta Kappa; I was truly happy. Then I went through a bad break-up with a person whom I deeply loved and everything changed. I became this shell of a person who struggled with everything. I didn’t have any true friendships, I couldn’t attract “nice” boys, my grades suffered terribly, I considered dropping out of school, and I quickly slid into a dark depression that to this day hasn’t quite dissipated. (I am leaving out years of details here, but you get the picture.)

What the heck happened to that fun-loving girl who had a glow that would light up a room? How did I morph into this completely unrecognizable person?

I think the problem was I had started to be guided by my head and not my heart. I hated business. Truly hated it. And yet I stayed in this major because I believed all the voices telling me that it was a practical field to enter.

When my senior year came around, I was interviewing with companies like T. Rowe Price and Legg Mason. I was actually offered a pretty lucrative position with an executive head-hunting agency - and it scared me to death. I didn’t want to live that life. It didn’t feel like me. So I ran away to California for a year to do community service with AmeriCorps.

Sadly, though I had high hopes for a fresh start, nothing really healed there. When I came home, everything was exactly the same as I had left it. I continued to walk down the familiar path and make decisions based on practicality and not the yearnings of my soul.

So here’s my current truth: I have a life that looks good, but feels terrible. I understand why people have trouble believing that. I see how I can appear to be just overly dramatic. After all, I have a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, a nice house, a career as a budding research administrator – what else do I need?

The answer is simple: I need to feel more like me. The person I used to be. The person I was born to be.

In retrospect, I should have ignored the people who told me that music wasn’t a practical major. I should have followed my heart. I know it would have led me to expand into other areas I was equally passionate about – religion, psychology, wellness. But I can’t go back and change the path I grudgingly took.

What I CAN do is move forward from here. THAT is why massage therapy is so important to me. I may not make it my ultimate career, but I need to go there. I need to explore this desire that has been burning inside of me for over ten years. And if it leads me to new waters, so be it. This is where my heart is longing to start, and this is the direction in which I need to start walking.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

On Parenting

I have read several books on parenting. Why? Because I have a deep-seeded fear that I will “mess up” my daughter’s life. I have so many issues, and I really don’t want to pass them down to her. She deserves so much better.

A common theme that I have read in these books is that parents should discipline their children with a spirit of love. In doing so, you don’t allow their self-esteem to crash and burn. You correct their behavior without destroying their spirit. On paper, this looks wonderful. So I shake my head in agreement, and I vow to do that very thing – discipline in love.

Then on Tuesday night my sweet little daughter breaks my husband’s laptop while he is at basketball practice. I get upset, I freak out, I yell, I cry, I get sick to my stomach, and I give her nasty looks with a dose of angry, negative energy. She is so puzzled by my reaction that she goes to the corner and begins to weep. I know she didn’t mean it. I know she just wanted my attention; she didn’t want to share it with a piece of machinery. I know I should have corrected her with a healthy dose of love, but in that moment – when I was scared to death of my husband’s reaction to the accident – love was nowhere to be found.

Luckily, I asked for her forgiveness and showered her with extra hugs and kisses yesterday. I tried to make up for treating her so badly the day before. She doesn’t fully understand, but I needed to make amends for my own sake.

What this whole incident taught me was that I can’t learn how to parent “correctly” by simply reading a book. It will come with time and practice. And I realize that no matter how much I would like to avoid them, I will make mistakes along the way. My only hope is that I learn from them and try to avoid making the same ones over and over.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Time to Let Go?

I don't believe in coincidences. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. Today, I read four different emails with a common theme:

~ "What stays and what goes?"
~ "How do you know when it's time to move on?"
~ "The wisdom of knowing what and when to let go."
~ "Let go of the old."

I think God is not-so-subtly telling me that it's time to re-examine my life. I need to sit with myself and truly embrace the beauty and truth of who I am. Everything else needs to go. The ghosts of my past, the negative energy surrounding them, the lies that often swarm in my head. It is time to release everything that doesn't fit me anymore and step into a more authentic, joyful, fulfilled version of myself.

This is the magical wonder of growing up...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review: Put Your Dream to the Test

In “Put your Dream to the Test,” John Maxwell challenges his readers to look closely at their dreams. Many of us dream, yet few of us actually achieve them. This book offers practical insight into why that could be so. Maxwell asks 10 questions that focus on topics such as clarity, reality, passion, strategy, cost and fulfillment. Each chapter begins with an inspirational story of someone who has achieved their dream. Maxwell then gives practical advice on how the reader can do the same. The book begins with a dream test and concludes with a section to help you map out your dream. These tools help turn the book into more of a workbook, as opposed to simply a good read.

I personally enjoyed this book very much. Reading it not only helped me to clearly visualize my dream, but it also acted as a reminder that there is sacrifice and cost involved in achieving that dream. I highly recommend “Put Your Dream to the Test” to anyone with a dream looking for an inspirational book combined with practical advice. It could also make a great graduation or retirement gift. (It’s never too late to achieve your dreams!!)

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher’s BookSneeze program in exchange for an honest review.

Life Begins When You Do

Here are a few nuggets of inspiration from Mary Anne Radmacher's book "Life Begins When You Do."

Walk the edge.
Listen hard.
Play with abandon.
Practice wellness.
Continue to learn.
Choose with no regrets.
Appreciate your friends.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.


If you would dream it, BEGIN it.
If you have an idea, OPEN it.
If there is a longing, ACKNOWLEDGE it.
If there is a mission, COMMIT it.
If there is daring, DO it.
If there is love, SPEAK it.
If there is resource, USE it.
If there is abundance, SHARE it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book Review: Secrets of the Vine for Women

Click here to download chapter 1 of this book.

“The Secrets of the Vine for Women” by Darlene Marie Wilkinson is a pocket-sized supplement to “Secrets of the Vine” by Bruce Wilkinson. This small book, as well as its predecessor, is based on John 15. The theme is simple: God wants us to live lives full of abundance. Using the illustration of a daughter visiting her father’s vineyard, Wilkinson takes us on a six-chapter journey through the scripture. The author gives women a recipe for finding greater fruitfulness and service and impact for God in their lives. The book concludes with a study guide that invites the reader to go deeper in reflection on the impact the readings have on their lives.

I personally found myself reading through this book twice. Though small, its message is very powerful and has the potential to be life-changing. If you are looking for a quick read that is full of great substance written specifically for women, I highly recommend it.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bubbles, Bubbles!

It appears that Bianca's latest obsession is bubbles. She simply cannot get enough of them. The minute I walk in the door from work, our Little One comes running up to me with a huge smile and says, "Outside! Bubbles!" (The days of being greeted with "Mommy!" are long gone!)

We take turns blowing bubbles outside for at least an hour most nights. Then when it's time to go upstairs and take a bath, bubbles must be blown there, as well. Her favorite book to read right before bed is "Bubbles Bubbles," and I think the real reason she asks to watch Spongebob (aka: "BobBob") so much is the fact that so many bubbles are created in his underwater world. She took her bubbles with her to Ryan's graduation party on Sunday, and she insisted on taking them to Aunt Dot's house on Monday.

Truthfully, I think it's adorable. And I suspect it's an indication of what her personality is going to be like as she grows older. When she decides to call something to be her favorite (fill in the blank), she will go crazy for it until the day she finds a new obession. The bubbles of today will be tomorrow's shoes!

Absolutely Loving This Song