MS will Not Define Me

Feeling Defeated???

If you feel defeated or have ever felt like it, know you are not alone!

Since March when COVID became our way of life, I’ve seen many posts about people who feel like their whole life is falling apart.  I will admit, I had those fleeting moments too.  You know the feeling when it seems like no matter how hard you try, you aren’t able to do anything about it.  We want to fix, manage and control things.  The very people you thought would stand beside you forever turned and walked away.   Those days when the waves of hopelessness flooded your heart and clouded your mind, inching you closer and closer to simply giving up.   The mere thought of facing one more day filled your heart with pain, fear and too much uncertainty to manage.  Who has been there? Maybe not during COVID but at other times in your life….

As a recovering addict who battles with MS, I will admit those days still happen.  I want you to know you are not alone.  There are others who have already been there.

People who know me, know I’m not a quitter…I never have been.  I usual face things with the confidence I will overcome and things will get better.  Honestly, there have been times when I’ve felt like giving up and waving the white flag of defeat. I’m not immune to having the feelings of being overwhelmed, weak and uncertain.  I have tried to do things my way only to find out I created more of a mess.  Those days when MS kicks my butt with brain fog, confusion and aching throughout my body.  Or the days when I  feel as if I’m not “enough” – frustrated with my weight loss efforts and life in general.  I struggle with admitting I’m powerless.  I struggle with wanting things my way.  

Recently, I saw a post about Emperor Tamerlane who was badly defeated in battle. He ran from the battle and hid in a barn. Enemy troops searched the countryside for him. By this time he was depressed, his troops had been terribly defeated and scattered, and he didn’t know what he was going to do.

It was then he noticed an ant trying to push a giant kernel of corn up over a stone wall. As he watched this ant attempt to do the impossible, he counted its futile efforts to see how many times the ant would try until it gave up.

One, two, three… twenty… forty… sixty-nine times the ant tried and failed to push the kernel over the wall. But in one last push, on the seventieth try, the ant made it. Leaping to his feet, Tamerlane excitedly said to the ant, “If you can do it, then so can I.” That day he changed his outlook, reorganized his forces, went back and defeated the enemy.

This story reminded me of the “Little Engine that Could” book I was given my first time in recovery by a friend who was also my boss at the time.  It was this book which helped to remind me on a daily basis things would get better.  Life did get better and then I thought I had things under control.  BIG mistake…..I know I squirreled but I do when I am writing (or talking, LOL).

I know you have probably heard it a million times but you can do it too!  On the outside, people don’t understand every day living with MS is a struggle for me.  On the outside things look easy but on the inside I am attempting the impossible – searching for memories, struggling to find the right words, and trying to carry on conversations.  Add my character defects (yup, I have them) linked to being a recovering addict and you have a “hot mess”.  just like the ant I failed more than once…but I don’t quit.  

I push, get exhausted, try some more, fail, rest, but still get up and try again.  I admit I am powerless in trying to fix, manage and control things.  I push through weakness, dizziness, muscle spasms, and a lack of sleep.  I push through going to meetings because I need to know I am not alone.  I push through feelings of comparison when it comes to my business.  I push and keep on pushing at everything I do. There are days when even a simple trip to the mailbox is a struggle.  

Do I still craft?  YES!  Do I still do puzzles? YES!  Do I still plan meals?  YES (if I didn’t, I never know what we would eat, LOL).  Do I still work my business?  YES (most days)!  Why do I keep pushing….. I think of the little ant who reminds us we can do it. The fight is worth it.  We can make it. Even though things look as if they are impossible, there is still some possibility there. Today, let me be the ant for you.  Remember “impossible” is actually “I’m possible”.

Don’t let the fact a situation, a person, an addiction or a health issue cause you to feel defeated. You can’t stop trying. You can’t stop pushing. Don’t let it win…now PUSH!

I haven’t written in awhile, not sure what to say or what to write about.  This morning, this was heavy on my heart so I figured someone needed to hear it.  I was also surprised by the number of people who keep stopping by my blog to check it out even though I haven’t been writing.  I’m grateful for my readers.  I’m grateful for those who support my business.  It is because I can make a difference in the life of one person I keep on pushing….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Don’t Miss The Beautiful

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message….

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. ~ Hebrews 12:2a, NIV

A few years ago I was invited to speak and sing in Tennessee at a women’s event. To my delight, my daughter Kennedy was able to join me. The two of us are all about “mommy-daughter time” so we were all smiles as we started off on the three and a half hour drive.

Prior to the trip, I had given Kennedy permission to use my iPad to watch a movie. So once we hit the highway, she got cozy with her pillow, her headphones went on, and her attention became fixed on the rectangular screen in front of her. Random giggles floated from my little movie-watcher as I drove and prayed for the event we were heading to.

It was the first week of November, and in the Tar Heel state that’s primetime for fall tree color. Once we past the congested traffic and the hullaballoo of the suburbs, the splendor of God gripped me. Showcased through traces of red, yellow, orange, and brown, the leaves danced in the breeze under the backdrop of a brilliant blue Carolina sky. The trees continued to boast of more and more glory as I neared Virginia… and then the mountains joined in.

Oh, the mountains!

They puffed their chests with the majesty of color and power!

My heart was captured by the glory of it all.

And then I realized that Kennedy was missing it. Ugh!

I tapped her on the shoulder and pointed out the window. “Look around! Lift your eyes and soak in the wonder, sweetie! Don’t miss the beautiful…” I urged.

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She paused her movie and joined in on the beauty moment, totally agreeing that God was showing off with His fall art. Minutes later, she went back to watching her movie as I drove on undone. Wrung out by glory. Overwhelmed by the sacred sanctuary I’d stumbled upon. I stayed in the moment and celebrated the beautiful as the psalmist did in Psalm 96:

1 Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Worship poured from my heart. Splendor and majesty were before both Him and me. I thanked God for the beauty show. And as praise and adoration continued to rise, a God-thought settled on my heart. Tell them, Gwen.

“Tell them what, Lord?” I wondered.

Tell the women what you told Kennedy. Tell them not to miss the beautiful.

Ahhhh, yes! I would tell them, and I would chew on that challenge for days to come. Convicted by questions like: How often do I drive right through the busyness of my days and miss the beautiful? How many moments of glory do I not even see because my eyes are on the mundane? Do I even look for it?

As we dance between the days of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years – as we decorate the doors and the hearths of our homes and communities – let’s be intentional to decorate the doors and the hearths of our hearts with ribbons of God’s grace.

Let’s live with eyes lifted to the Gift of gifts, Jesus Christ.

When we face the stresses of our lists, and our tasks, and our activities, and our heart burdens, let’s commit to remembering that the best present is His presence. He’s our Hope, our Peace, our Joy… our Beautiful.

Don’t miss the beautiful.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Are You Feeling Lost or Overwhelmed?

We have all been there at some point in our lives.  The moment when you feel lost, overwhelmed, or totally out of sync in your work/business and in your life. The moment when you feel uninspired, burned out, and unsure of what to do next.  What is a girl to do?  Ask yourself these questions and answer them HONESTLY so you can get back on track.

1. What’s feeling good?

When we feel out of sorts, this can be a tough question.  I mean, how do you really know what feels good when you are feeling lost?  Take a few minutes and think about: What you really enjoy in your business? What things are you loving in your life? What do you want even more of moving forward?

These questions will help you to see what is going right for you and as a result, help you reconnect to what lights you up.  Do you know the things which light you up?  Once you get super specific about what feels good, then you MUST ask yourself – how can I get more of these things?

2. What isn’t feeling good?

Now, the positive energy is flowing.  It is time to look at what is not working.  We look at the positive first so the negative doesn’t open the door for the inner gremlins to beat us up even more.  So, what is leaving you feeling drained, unhappy, and frustrated in your business and your life? What do you want way less of moving forward?  What sucks your energy?

Once you get a handle on where those energy leaks are in your life and business, you will be able to get super clear on how you can minimize the not-so-feel good areas in your business and your life.  There are going to be some unenjoyable things in our business and life – I mean does anyone really enjoy doing laundry or cleaning the house – but they have to be done.  The key is to see how we can change things up so we can find a balance between the enjoy and the don’t enjoy.  While at the same time, start eliminating some of the things which are totally sucking the energy out of us.

3. What are my core desires in my business and my life?

This is a great time to dream a little.  Think about what you want in your business and in your life? Do you want to grow your business?  Do you want to work less?  Do you want to connect more in your relationships? Do you want more self development? Do you want more clarity and momentum?

Get super specific about your core desires. Allow yourself to want what you truly want.  Listen to what you really want. Don’t just follow the crowd or let the expectations of others drown out your core desires.  These core desires will be your anchor as you move forward.  With every step you take in your business and your life, you will ask yourself, “does this align with my core desires?”.  If the answer is NO – don’t do it.  If the answer is YES – you will move forward.

4. What are my core priorities in my business and in my life?

Fulfilling our desire is wonderful but the reality is we still have responsibilities we need to show up for thus holding ourselves accountable along the way.  Ask yourself – what are the core priorities in my business and in my life?  Are there deadlines I need to meet? Are there relationships you want to invest more time in?  Do you want to prioritize your health and wellbeing?  Do I need to improve my money management?

Whatever your priorities are, you need to get super specific about them. Your core priorities just like your core desires, will become your anchor when you start to drift.

5. What distractions do I need to let go of?

When we are feeling lost, or overwhelmed, it usually means our focus and our actions are out of alignment with our core priorities, and desires.  Since you are super specific on what your core priorities and desires are, now we can review your current routine, workload, and what the areas are you are focusing on.  Ask yourself – what do I need to let go of?  What is just a distraction and isn’t serving me in my business or in my life?  What do I need to give myself permission to say no to so I can make more space for the things which truly matter?

Have these questions help you to find some focus but more than anything, have you given yourself permission to move forward in a way which feels most true to you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Clear the Clutter

Simplify Your Life

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Monday morning…..

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Do you have a hundred things going on –  work, family, social life, daily responsibilities, goals, and the list goes on, right?  Has the day just started and you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all?

I admit on a regular basis I can be a ‘hot mess” from my desk to the dust bunnies under the coach.  I  love to de-clutter and organize.  Having two in the house who like to save “just in case” can make for a lot of “stuff”.  I working on a room at a time (okay so maybe a closet/cabinet at a time) cleaning things out.

Sometimes we overcomplicate our own lives. I know we don’t mean to, it just happens. So for 2017, we are going to work on clearing the clutter – emotionally and physically.  Once the clutter is gone, we can embrace the many blessings the Universe has for us.  So, let’s start with some basics:

CLEAN AS YOU GO

Don’t let the dishes pile up in the sink.  Make the bed right after you get up in the morning. Open the mail as soon as you get home – tossing junk mail which is mostly what we get, creates a smaller pile to read later.  Doing things “as you go” will keep things neat and believe it or not, you won’t have to spend a lot of time constantly cleaning.

RE-EVALUATE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

We all have them – toxic relationships.  The people who suck the energy from us, are negative all of the time or just aren’t good for you. Don’t be afraid to cut ties with people like this. Your time is precious, so you want to spend it with people you care about, and people who make you feel good about you.

UNSUBSCRIBE

OMG!  You will be amazed at the difference this makes in your life.  Honestly, how many hours do you spend deleting messages from your inbox? I have actually started to unsubscribe to lists instead of just hitting delete.  By unsubscribing, you are also coming off lists to get things from their “associates”.  You know more junk emails instead of junk mail.  Unsubscribing will make your inbox neater and so much easier to read.

DE-CLUTTER

Get rid of old things like clothes, dishes, electronics, magazines, furniture you no longer need- donate what you can.  Too many material possessions sitting around can make you feel drained and can complicate things,  taking your attention away from what matter’s most.

WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS

I’m not talking about HUGE goals, I mean the small daily ones. I now put in my planner and block time for – reading, cleaning tasks, calls to make, errands to run and  general life stuff.  I limit myself to 3 tasks in my business and 3 tasks in my home.  It has helped me to increase my focus and get things done.

FORGET MULTITASKING

I was the Queen of multitasking.  You know what, it is stressful and ultimately unproductive.   You can get so much more done when you focus on a single task by time-blocking and scheduling your work.

CREATE A MORNING ROUTINE

Are you always running out the door in a rush?  What if you got up just 15 minutes earlier every morning?  Getting an early start could give you more time to sit down and write out your to-do list, prepare lunch and getting ready for the day.

RE-EVALUATE YOUR COMMITMENTS

What matters most to you?  Home life, social life, work, side-work, family, hobbies, friends, worship? If you are doing something you don’t love or it doesn’t give you value, give it up – if you can.  This one can be tough but it will make the most difference in your life.

SAY NO

Don’t feel obligated to say “yes” when it is something you don’t feel like doing? “NO” is a sentience all by itself.  There is no need to explain yourself – if you don’t want to do it, just say no.

Life is crazy – we constantly feel like we need to be connected or doing something.  We look back at a simpler time in our lives and say “what happened?”.

Some where along the way, we stopped valuing our time.  Life is too short, it is time to do the things we want and we like doing. Not saying “yes” to spending time with people we don’t necessarily want to be around. De-cluttering, getting rid of anything  which doesn’t serve you will help you simplify your life and feel more at peace.

Lots more tips and tricks on simplifying your life this year…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Are You Overwhelmed?

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It is about a week before Thanksgiving.  Many schools just got off Fall break due to the Elections, Veteran’s Day and Teacher’s Convention.  Moms everywhere (or at least I always was) are feeling the stress of all the things to get done BEFORE the holiday in addition to who they are going to handle the proverbial “I’m bored” statements from the kids.

As a mom, it’s easy for us to reach the overwhelmed state and it can be difficult to get past it.  I mean when we are in the midst of it, who can really see the light at the end of the tunnel?  It is there but it may be so far away we can barely see it.

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Here are 5 practical ways you can overcome the feeling of overwhelm and actually have a happier day.

Breathe

Sounds pretty basic, right?  The truth is we need to take some deep breathes to calm down so you can think clearly.  When things spin out of control,  our first instinct is to try to accomplish as much as possible in a short amount of time but this only makes things worse.  Once you calm yourself down, you can return to the busyness with a better frame of mind.852f65964ac14908994e75e2618fb7a1

Brain Dump

A ‘brain dump’ is a journal exercise where you write everything currently on your mind. You can write individual words, make lists or write out your feelings. It’s a fantastic way to clear your mind and organize your thoughts so that you can move past the overwhelm.

Focus

Everything is out of your brain so choose one task which will make the biggest difference in your life right now.  I know it is tough.  Our list is long and EVERYTHING could possibly make a difference.  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Clear a table covered with papers and other stuff.
  2. Clean up the pile of clutter in your living room.
  3. Start on the mountain of laundry.
  4. Create a meal plan.
  5. Ask a friend to watch the kids at her house so you can take a nap.
  6. Clean the kitchen.
  7. Clear a counter.
  8. Say no to a few upcoming obligations.
  9. Make some meals.
  10. Call a friend to chat.

Relax

Okay, I can see the eyes rolling like I am totally CRAZY!  Who could possibly relax when there is a million things to do.  Actually, sometimes the best way to deal long to do list is to forget the list and do something fun. When you return, you will have more energy, motivation and creative ideas to work on the list. You might actually accomplish everything needed to be done in record time.

Prioritize

No, not your list – create a quick list of what is most important in your life. Now, go back to your brain dump and circle the tasks which have to do with your most important list. Work on conquering them and the other stuff can wait for now.13726574_10208957067301151_2459943727636367299_n

Can I guarantee you will go from overwhelmed to focused?  No but what I can tell you is by consistently practicing these tips, it will be a whole lot easier.

I challenge you to take a few minutes to create your MOST IMPORTANT LIST. Write down your top values and priorities.  Then post this list where you can see it for those moments when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!