the hard truth about the way americans parent compared to europeans. it’s no wonder french children eat their vegetables!

A few weeks ago Ingrid started back to school. We knew this year was going to be full of challenges, ones she’s never faced before. And to be quite honest, I was petrified at how things would work.

Luckily, she was in a school she’s familiar with, with staff she’s comfortable spending time with, and many friends she recognized. That was the least of our worries. Yet, she was about to face a handful of new dynamics that were foreign to her and time was about to tell us the tale we prayed would be a pleasant one.

As I’d like to report that returning to school after summer break was a welcomed venture, it wasn’t. For the first time she was attending school without her big brother. For the first time she was attending school ALL day. To make things more unique, our home situation had temporarily changed.

As her mom, I knew this was going to be scary.. for her and me. But I had faith that everything would work out and I would do my best to reassure her that it’s okay. Each day we face a new attitude.. some days she’s happy and loves school while others she’s miserable and making herself ill.

If you know our story, you know that my kids are my world and any time we’re faced with anything new, I know she’s not going to handle it well. It’s safe to say she is not fond of change. Yet, here we are.. embarking on a life-changing experience and there’s no turning back.

For some time, I’ve played the scenario in my mind.. and, frankly, we have been blessed with amazing staff and teachers that help ease her tension each day. We’ve been bouncing ideas and suggestions about in an attempt to make her more comfortable and happy, yet each day comes with new surprises. Today she’s sad, tomorrow she’ll be glad. Who knows!

But it’s numbing. It’s boggling. It’s exhausting. This child has had me in a state of guessing for years. Just when I think I’ve got it figured out, she throws a curve ball and I’m so far from right it’s crazy. Some days it’s a laughing matter and some it’s a cry-in-the-corner kind of day. I just never know. Sadly, I think her teachers are experiencing a similar feeling.

Becoming of school age, it’s a requirement to obtain some sort of education. I applaud anyone who has the patience to do so because I do not. Although I’ve seriously considered homeschooling, at this moment it’s not an option for us.

Point being, she’s struggling. Hard. I want her to enjoy the experience of school, both socially and academically. I hope she realizes that it doesn’t need to be scary, yet can be joyous and memorable.

Then there’s the aspect that all parents fear. Are our children being treated fairly while they’re away. I have no doubt that those who have or currently do work with Ingrid go above and beyond to help her, but as any parent, I hope it never comes our way. (Or anyone else’s for that matter!). No matter the situation, deep in the back of my mind sits a saddened thought of someone not being able to handle her. She’s feisty. She can push all of your buttons with little effort, yet she can also be the funniest and sweetest little being ever to look into your eyes. I hold onto that. I hold onto the fact that God has placed her where she needs to be, with the people whom she needs to be with.

I sit here tonight typing this post while Ingrid sleeps beside me. Snoring away, she has no idea that I worry about her every second of the day. Or that the big brother she looks up to, watches out for her more than she knows. Or that her friends, who sometimes can’t understand her speech still adore her sweet demeanor. She doesn’t know how amazing she is. (Okay, that’s not entirely true.. she’ll always say she’s cute if she’s asked! Ha!)

We hold our kiddos tight for good reason. Because their existence is more precious to us than anything else on this Earth.

xoxo

I stare at your sleeping face, thanking God for the little blessings in my life.

I feel your tiny hands resting on my cheek as you gaze at me.

On the nights when the nightmares become too scary, I hold you tight and remind you that you’re safe.

I cherish the days watching you run around the house or giggling at the silliest things.

When I walk into the office and close the door behind me, catching a glimpse of your sweet eyes peering through the glass, as if you don’t understand why I closed you out.. its to give you the best life I can possibly give.

There are moments when I sit quietly, while you’re wondering if something is wrong..  not at all, my darling.  Mommy is just planning our future adventures and making adjustments to ensure that we enjoy our life together.

Sometimes Mommy is tired.  There are so many things I want you to understand, yet I know that now is not the time.  Enjoy your precious life..  be little, for it flashes away far too quickly.

When you walk out the door without me, know that my heart counts the minutes until your return.  There is nothing more comforting than knowing you’re home with me, safe and sound.

One of the biggest challenges in my life is allowing the world to touch your tender soul.  I want to keep you safe, pure and untangled from the scariness that can linger.  I want to keep my arms around you more than you’ll ever know.

Although I know I was meant for you, I know that you are not mine forever; you are you, one and only, you.  You are your future, my present, and you embody a hope that this world can learn from.

You have taught me more in your few years of existence than I could’ve ever learned elsewhere.

I love you, my dear. God made me your mom for a reason and all I can say is Thank You!

xoxo

 

When you begin to feel the transformations taking place in your life, you start to realize that what you thought is now your reality!  Like you, (and like I’ve said many times before) I knew I was destined for great things, I just didn’t know exactly what it was.  So, as you know, I did a lot of soul searching.  Until finally.. my light bulb began to shine so bright I couldn’t ignore it if I tried.

You hear it everywhere.. find your why.  Why do you want to achieve your dreams?  Why do you feel the burning desire to create greatness on such an intense level?  What is driving you to become who you know you are meant to be?

My answer has basically always been the same.  My kids.  They are the reason I was determined to find my destiny.  They are the reason I work so hard.  They are the reason that I searched every avenue until I found the one that was meant for me.  They are the reason that I am so driven to create the life of our dreams.

Recently, I saw a Facebook post from Rachel Hollis (swoon!  I just adore her!).  She talked about her children watching her as she set forth to create the life she is living.  How her children saw the hard work, the dedication, the desire for more, the dreams that carried her through.  THAT, my friends, is exactly why I didn’t give up!  Because my kids are always watching!  Trust me, there have been days when all I wanted to do was sit on the couch, eating ice cream from the carton, watching Netflix (and I have had those days!), yet I knew that the only person who can make my dreams a reality.. is ME!  Nobody is going to hold my hand.  Nobody can make me work for it.  Nobody will make it happen unless I do!

When I realized that business/life coaching was my calling, I ran with it.  I began to take in all of the advice I could, learn from those already working in the field, creating their dream life, living for the moment.  I took steps to make it happen.. not fully understanding what I was in for, but it was a challenge that I knew was necessary.  But I didn’t stop there.  My mind is always reeling with new possibilities, new business ventures that align with my beliefs/morals/ideas/desires/life.  You know how I recently spoke of manifesting desires?  This is where that came into play.

I have been on a healthy path for quite many years now.  In the way our family eats, the products that I use around my house, personal care items, basically everything that would involve ingesting, inhaling, or touching our bodies in any way.  When the opportunity to jump into a franchise with a company that aligned with my core beliefs, it didn’t take long to know that the fit was perfect for my family.

Last week, I made the leap!  I own a bit of a company that flows beautifully with my life, what I teach others, and how I plan to leave the world for our future generations.  I feel so confident about my decision that I had no reservations at all.. from the initial meeting.  That alone told me I was on the right track.

I introduce to you..  my little piece of botanically made heaven..  JessiRisley.arbonne.com.

Yes, I am a business owner on many levels, yet this one is aligned with my passion to live a clean, healthy life INSIDE AND OUT!!

I tell you this for several reasons..  not to “sell” you anything.  I don’t have to do that.. the products sell themselves; if you’re willing to have faith in my word and proof that the longevity of the company speaks volumes, and when you do, you’re going to feel absolutely amazing!  Its not a sales pitch.  I want to leave the world in a better place than it was when I arrived.  I want to live the healthiest (mind, body & soul) life I can possibly live so that I can enjoy every second of my existence.  I want to teach my kids, friends and family that making good health choices isn’t just one thing or another.. its a whole package.  Because I believe in it!!  And I know that in order to live my best life, I need to be in good health.

Do you remember my recent post about asking the Universe (God) for a sign?  That for once, I had no hesitation, no fear, and I wasted no time taking a leap of faith to make my dreams come true?!  This is what I was talking about.  I did what I felt was right.  My kids already know that Mom doesn’t allow certain foods in the house, in our bodies, etc.  This is no different.. its more of an addition to what they already know.  And, frankly, I feel amazing!!

Taking interest in your health (because we’re only given one body and life!) doesn’t stop with what you eat.  Its necessary to exercise your mind, take care of your mental health, as well as your emotional health.  Building a base for all of these things to work harmoniously you begin to realize that what you put into your body isn’t just about what you eat.  Its what you listen to, what you watch, and what you eat or drink.

I’m living my dream.  I’m making the most of each and every day (even though sometimes its harder than others! Haha).  And I’m making better choices so that I can spend more time with the ones I love, doing the things we enjoy!

Join my journey! Follow me to see where this goes and let me help you achieve your goals too!!

 

xoxo

 

As a mom, these are words that we hear countless times a day. We hear them in our sleep, while we’re hiding in the bathroom with the door locked hoping for a few minutes of quiet, we hear them through tears and through giggles. Words that are simply precious, even when we’re tired of hearing them.

When I became a parent for the first time, I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. No book can truly prepare you for this new chapter, because lets face it.. just as every parent parents differently, every child childs differently!

Ultimately, we become consumed with our kiddos lives, well being, how their fed, how they dress, how they behave, etc. that our lives become theirs. We no longer have a birth-given name (technically speaking, we do, but its null and void after giving birth!) that we identify with. We are known solely as Mom. And, lets be honest.. we are oozing with pride in our new role. We have a boss that pays us in squishy cute hugs, slobbery smooches, playful giggles and a forever playmate. We aren’t complaining. We’re on cloud nine!

As much as we adore our boss and take pride in our endless hours of “playtime”, sometimes we have to dig deep to remind ourselves who we once were.

Before becoming a mom, we all had a list. Some may call it a bucket list, some may call it a wish list, but a list (mental or physical) defining where our lives would go. What we hoped to accomplish. Where we dreamed of living. What job we knew we’d conquer. What our dream home would look like. Whatever it was, we had thoughts/dreams/goals for ourselves before becoming a mom.

That’s not to imply that becoming a mom is a regretful thing.. NO WAY!! Its to show that you are a unique individual. Someone with a purpose, an identity. You were someone you identified with once and sometimes through the course of our lives, we lose our way. We lose our identity. We become who everyone needs us to be.. Mom.

From my experience, upon having kids, I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to be the one who witnessed their first steps, heard their first word, fed them their first solid food. I took attachment parenting very seriously. I co-slept with my kids (okay, I still do!). I know them better than I know myself sometimes. I love it, I really do! But through it all, I was missing something. There was a link between who I was and who I had become that felt off.

I wanted more. I wanted something for myself. Something that only I could do. I had dreams and plans, BIG plans, at one point. They meant so much to me that I knew I had to figure out a way to balance doing my absolute favorite job as a mom while juggling a career. I didn’t know how I’d do it, but I was determined to make it happen.

I knew what I was passionate about. I knew that writing, which was once a hobby, was about the only thing I really wanted to do with myself. And, selfish or not, I wanted a career that afforded me the ability to work from home (or wherever I chose). I didn’t have a plan. I had no idea how I’d make it a marketable, successful venture, but I was not willing to give up or accept ‘No’ as an answer.

Just as my position as CEO/Caregiver/Booger Wiper/Dinner Maker/ Grocery Shopper/ Taxi for the Underage/Booboo Healer/Bike Riding Teacher was my current MOST VALUABLE JOB TITLE EVER, I knew there was a different one that was calling my name.

Say it with me.. I CAN DO BOTH!! Because if I can do it, so can you!

I’ve kept no secret about how my journey began, the twists and turns, and how the path to discovery has made such a hugely positive change in my life. Its been interesting, intense, and a learning experience that I never saw coming, but I’m so glad it did.

Don’t lose yourself in everyone else. The hardest part to swallow is realizing that you deserve a break, you deserve to have something for yourself AND the kids and husbands will be okay!! You’re not dropping the ball. You’re preserving your sanity and regaining yourself.

Its all good! Just have faith!

xoxo

When I was a child, I wanted to be a dentist.  Not that I was fascinated with dentistry, but because, as a child you’re always asked ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’.  I knew I needed to have an answer ready so I chose what I thought people wanted to hear.  A profession that provided success; monetarily and professionally.  I had no idea that what really mattered was something I couldn’t wrap my mind around at this young age.

As the years passed so did my answer.  It evolved from dentist to fashion designer to interior designer.  The list continued as I tried to tap into my skills and interest.  At the age of 18, when I was preparing to graduate high school, I should’ve had a plan, yet all I knew was there was nothing that sparked me to the point of commitment (other than writing, but I thought my “hobby” was just that and I was no good at it).  I skipped the notion of attending a university and walked straight into the work force.

Although I had no idea what I wanted to do for a future career (and I felt that I was wasting my life away!), I was positive that writing would set me free.  Fleeing to Paris to live as a local, probably single, childless, and content.  I couldn’t predict anything else.  All  I knew was that I had a handful of dreams and little hope to back them up.

I spent several years with thoughts of “what do I want to do?” and “there has to be more to adulthood than this!”. I worked in the healthcare field for many years.  I foolishly assumed that this career field was a good fit , simply because I was currently working it.  At the age of 28, I decided (for the first time!) to attend college and obtain a PhD in pediatrics.  I attended with this course for one year before coming to the realization that this was not for me.  Continuing in the medical field was not for me.  I was never minded for this path.  I needed something that I would be passionate about for decades to come.  Fast forward roughly two years.  I am now a first-time mom of a beautiful baby boy and naively assuming I can handle this new chapter, along with returning to school to pick-up where I left off (which had since changed to a communications degree).  Life was good.  Hectic and sleep deprived, yet good!  Around the time of our son’s first birthday, we were surprised to find out that baby #2 would be arriving soon!

Baby #2 arrived several months later and our world changed AGAIN!  Not only did we welcome a beautiful baby girl, but this lovely bundle was blessed with Down Syndrome.  Something we knew nothing about.  We were thrown into a new chapter, not bad, but completely different from baby #1.  This girl did not sleep!!  When I say she didn’t sleep, I mean, REALLY did not sleep.  For her first 15 months of life!  (I wish I was joking).  In and out of the hospital.  Test after test.  All resulting in almost every “She’s doing well.” or “She’s rather healthy given her diagnosis.” that we could pray for.  Yes, she was a handful, and still is, but she’s healthy.

The point is: Life.  It happened.  And in that I lost me.  I became the wife, the mom, the step-mom, the aunt, the sister, the everything that everyone needed.. and I got lost.  Every single dream that I had, or thought I would’ve lived by this point, was smoke.  Not only were they not a priority, they were nowhere on the radar of any future.  I did this.  I allowed this to happen.

It took years for me to realize what I had done.  Like five to six years of living this life.  In 2014, our family packed up and moved across the country.  It seemed like a necessary change at the time, even though I was filled with every reservation a person could have.  I wasn’t ready for this relocation.  I had gotten comfortable in the little bubble that we created and uprooting our family to chase my husband’s dreams began to wear on me.  The feelings began.  And when they did, let me be quite honest by saying, I was on a rampage of unhealthy, negative thoughts.  THIS was not my idea.  THIS was not what I wanted.  THIS wasn’t in the best interest of our family, just my husband.  I blamed him for every single poor decision made in our family for years.  YEARS.  Unfortunately, I’m not kidding.   Over the next four years, I was filled with disgust, resentment, bitterness, pretty much any negative, bad feeling you can muster up.  For years.

Last year, I started a company.  I needed something for myself.  Something that I created from scratch that would provide an self-made income, independence from depending on another person to finically provide for me and the kids, and freedom to work from anywhere in the world.. I mean, really, traveling the world is something I’ve always wanted, I just needed to details aligned to do so.

My company was my baby.  I did every single piece of work that needed done to begin a company all by myself.  I was proud.  I went to the meetings.  Contacted the appropriate people to guide me in the right direction.  I worked with agencies that were more scary than helpful.

I was sitting on a gold mine!  I had every tool in-place to make this company a million dollar company, employing several people to work the day-to-day, while I ran the business.

But.. I hated it.

My office is in my house.  I come downstairs for work each day and I avoided this section of house like the plague.  I own a company that I literally want to walk away from.  I have no passion for it.  None.  Don’t get me wrong, it is incredibly beneficial to have, especially being a women owned small business working with the federal government.  But I couldn’t do it an longer.  I had no path, but I knew this wasn’t it.  I had no idea what I was going to do to make money, to provide for my family, etc.  All I knew was that I was done with this company and my mind reeled with so much nonsense, I needed a drastic change.

Earlier this year, I was searching every corner to find some glimmer of hope for my future.  I signed up for every class imaginable.  I paid for training to “build a fortune overnight”.  I did it all.  After a few classes, I began to realize that this aimless searching wasn’t cutting it.  I needed direction, but from something that I could feel passionate about.

I needed a miracle.

I was stressed to the max.  I was incredibly unhappy with everyone and everything.  I was in a marriage that I didn’t want to be in.  I was on the brink of making decisions that were hasty and unwarranted.  All of these things that I had been holding onto for years.

At one point I signed up for what I thought was a business strategy course.  Turns out it was a pitch to attract people who had the desire to become a coach (lifestyle, business, whatever).  I completed the call, immediately thinking “nah, I can’t do that”.  I continued on with many other classes in an attempt to find “it”.

During all of these years of unhappiness, I was constantly stressed out.  About everything.  I didn’t sleep.  My weight was up and down.  I was feeling physically ill in ways I wasn’t familiar with.  Someone suggested meditation.  I knew nothing about it, but why not.  I tried acupuncture.  I tried essential oils.  (ALL of which I still do!!)  I found some relief, but nothing concrete.

One class in particular wouldn’t go away.  The coaching class.  It kept reappearing on my social media sites.  I was receiving emails occasionally.  One day, I thought it might be worth a second look.  I requested more information and soon after received a call from a lovely British lady.  I was a little taken aback.  She asked the usual questions: “why was I interested in their program?” (honestly, at that point, I wasn’t sure I was!)  The conversation went on for some time.

I needed to think about it.  It was an investment that I wasn’t certain about.  I meditated, prayed, talked to my family, but what I didn’t do was talk myself down.  I never thought this was something I couldn’t do.  I could easily combine my passion for writing with this new path.  A career that ticked off all of the things from my “list”, without making it an undoable fete.  Could this be it?!

I made the plunge!  I signed up for the six month course, made the financial investment and ran with it!  I was stoked.

There was something that needed to be done before I could move too far within the program.  Healing myself.  This terrified me to the core.  I was to unveil my past from all angles, all memories, all darkness, all undeniable circumstances that made me who I had become.  I read, listened, meditated, talked, and learned.  I learned that all of the damaging thoughts that I allowed to fill my life had been me, not anyone else.  I couldn’t place blame on anyone else for a life chose not to create.  That even though I had a family, didn’t mean the end of my existence.  That my life is mine to build, create, live, and enjoy!  You can’t blame someone else for YOUR neglect in your own life.  Its absurd.

I had to make peace.  With myself first.  I had to learn to fully love myself before I could truly love someone else.  I had to realize a lot.  I had to let go.  I had to make the conscious decision to take my life back from the grip of self-destruction and choose to be happy once again.

You’ve read about my journey.  Its not a secret.  I told you about how hard the past few months have been, even when I was wearing a smile, I was broken inside.

Over time, it all made sense.  All of the madness, all of the confusion, all of the feelings.  They all made sense.  I had to hit rock bottom so that I could find myself again, and rebuild a life that I was meant to live.

My rock bottom may look different than yours and that’s okay.  The point is deciding to fall and RISE again.  I refused to remain in the ashes of the life I dreaded living.  I wanted more!  I wanted to give my kids more!  I wanted to experience things that some people only dream of!  I wanted to have the freedom, live for my passion, to show my kids that you can have it all!  That being spiritually and emotionally healthy, personally successful, playing life by my own rules, no matter who approves.. THAT is what life is all about.  Happiness!

I’m a work in progress.  I have a lot of growing and learning to do, yet making huge strides each day.  My heart is full of love and gratitude.  I have two smiling kids and a husband who hasn’t killed me yet (HA!).

The point is.. sometimes when it all seems to be breaking apart and you feel utterly lost and confused.. trust that someone, somewhere has a bigger, better plan for you.  A plan so incredible that you couldn’t dream this stuff up!!  Sometimes you have to be your own Mary Poppins and believe in the magic of life as you did as a child!

Through it all, remain positive.  Your happiness is at stake and you are worth it!

 

xoxo

 

Each morning when I wake, I see your face.  I see the eyes created to see the pureness of life.  I see the smiles of children with joyous hearts.  I see the souls of two small children filled with elation to waken each morning, fresh and anew.

Each morning I am amazed at how exuberant you are to begin a new day.  I see the twinkle in your eyes reminding me of the beauty in the world.  Your laughter reverberates through each room as your excitedly begin your adventure.

I never realized that two small beings could change life so drastically.  Bringing happiness my heart had never felt, tears of joy as I see you grow, and a love that is unconditional and everlasting.

To my kids:

You have changed me.  You have made me a better person.  You have taught me to see love in things I never imagined.  You have brought joy to my soul, something I hadn’t felt before.  You have given me a reason to push past my self-made walls of fear and create a life worthy of freedom, laughter, and joy.  You have made me realize that the journey doesn’t have to be basic or standard.. that the journey we create is that of our own and, as long as we’re together, will be utterly brilliant!  For this, I thank you!  Thank you for teaching me to see the world through your eyes.  Thank you for giving me a reason to look forward to each day.  Thank you for allowing me to be your mom.

 

Our kids are our world.  They are our future.  They deserve to be taught about love, respect, endurance in a life that can be relentless and unforgiving, and forgiveness.  Each lesson taught not only teaches our kids, but brings home the lessons that we sometimes forget.

xoxo

On the day that our daughter was born, we were new to the fact that she was blessed with Down Syndrome.  This was a new world for us because neither myself or her father knew anything about it.  Over the next few days, we did minor research, trying to prepare ourselves for what could lie ahead.  As her mom, the one thing that stuck with me wasn’t “how are we going to do this“, but rather “how is the world going to treat her?”

Since she wasn’t my first born, my son is nearly twenty months older than her, we had additional people to take into consideration in this new chapter.  He was so excited to have this cute little girl added to our home, yet we knew that there was so much that needed understanding.  Being that he was quite young, we took baby steps in explaining his baby sister’s differences to him.

Fast forward to last year.  Both kids are in school and doing remarkably well.  They have blossomed, grown, and are learning to experience life outside of mom’s grasp.  Its scary, yet they are loving it.  Throughout the past few years, we gingerly spoke to him about his sister’s diagnosis.  The conversations were always small, to the point, and sugar coated.  He understood as well as a small child could, but he knew she was a bit different.  We spoke to him about caring for her because we were unsure of how well she could care for herself in social situations, things like that.  Their school was insanely accommodating by placing them close together, in different classrooms.  They had contact throughout the day, allowing her to become comfortable without her security blanket, aka her brother.

She trusts him.  She relies on him.  She looks to him for guidance in so many aspects.  He knows this, he can feel it.. and let me say, I am so proud of the protector he’s become.  He plays with her at recess, checks on her through their school day when mom can’t be there, makes sure she’s safe.. the list goes on.  He’s the best!

As much dread as I’ve felt about this day, we’ve recently been faced with it.  Someone, another child, causing her physical harm because she doesn’t stand her ground.  When we realized what had been happening, I can honestly say, I’ve been torn apart ever since.  To know that someone will take advantage of a person just because they are different is exactly what I’ve feared since the day she was born.  My first reaction was to remove her from the situation, get her home safely as quick as possible, and place a bubble around our family.  I was infuriated, sad, and washed with a new realm of emotions.

Through her years, I’ve had fears, yet never truly encountered something like this.  But.. when this happened, our son was the person to stick up for her and tell his dad.  He told his dad that someone had done something unkind to her.  So much gratitude goes to this boy for protecting his little sister when his parents were not there.  (I’m not going to get into details because they are irrelevant at this point).  He stepped up and made sure that we were aware of what had happened to her.

It saddens me to think of placing such a huge responsibility on a child to protect another child, yet making him aware of the potential dangers, unkind people, in this world, is a necessary precaution.  I never want to be the parent who drives her child to grow up too quickly for my own good.  I pray that it comes across to him as being a caring, loving part of a family.. and that’s a job for all of us.

He’s just a boy.  The sweetest, soft-hearted, most loving, ornery little boy I could ever be blessed with.  He may be young, but he’s a giant.. nearly as tall as me!  (trust me, that isn’t saying much, I’m bordering the size of a “pocket pal”!)

In our role as a family with a special needs child, we’ve also been given the task of creating boundaries more significant than we previously imagined.  And that’s okay!  We understand that we will encounter people who aren’t prepared, or know how, to “handle” our dynamic.  And that’s okay!  We are aware of the possibility of losing people from our lives because the lessons taught in other families/households aren’t up to our standards.  And that’s okay!  These are all things we’ve considered, but have made peace with because the most important part of our journey is keeping our children safe, happy and most of all knowing they are loved.  The rest is an after thought that is taken for granted most of the time anyhow.

My son is a rock.  He has a playful heart, a backbone stronger than some adults, and a demeanor of an old soul.  He may be ornery, like all kids, but his heart is kind because he was created in light.  God made him this way for a reason.. because only He knew that a short time later, he’d be given a sister who is slightly different from him.  A sister that looks to him for guidance, understanding, protection, and a playmate for years to come.

After all, he’s just a boy needing the same love, respect, and understanding as everyone else.

xoxo

I have days when I feel that no one understands how I feel. When I feel that no words can accurately express what’s going on inside my heart and mind. Sadly, this happens more often that I’d like to admit.

Yes, my daughter has Down Syndrome, and yes, she is a handful more often than not. But what you don’t see is how your inconsiderate mentions of my seemingly inadequate parenting is taking its toll on me. I won’t say it, but you’re making it worse. You’re making me feel like my parenting is unmatched to yours. What you fail to understand is that my child will never be like yours.. and you will never grasp that.

On the occasion that I would discuss my frustrations of whatever is happening with her at the time, I do so because I trust you. Not because I need a response. I just need a listening ear. When I say that you’ll never understand our life, I don’t say those words to be condescending.. I mean that sincerely because sometimes I don’t understand either.

I hear when you say you love her, she’s so sweet and cute, and how awesome she’s doing. What you don’t know is the glares I catch, the disgust I see on faces, and the comments said that I’m not supposed to hear. All of which are soul crushing.

It may not seem like it to you, but I’m doing my best. I’m putting in every ounce of effort, every ounce of selflessness I have, and every sleepless night to make sure she’s okay. And some days I just want to break.

I have days that I lock the bathroom door so I can have a few minutes alone to weep and not have to explain why I’m hurting. Sometimes I lay in bed before the sun rises and thank God for allowing me to be her mother, before she begins to stir. There are days that she makes me feel crazy and all it takes is her tiny face to look at me and say “I wove you Mommy” to take all of the anxiety away.

But please don’t judge me. I’m doing the best I can. I get it.. sometimes I look (and feel) beyond frazzled.. as if I really can’t handle my life. Just know that I can. Until you’ve spent a day living my life, feeling my emotions, and steering through my doubts, I don’t need your burden as well.

You’re dear to me and my child, but we’ve got all the negativity our hearts can handle. And this mama can’t absorb any more.

So, please. I kindly ask for your patience with her. She isn’t yours and you’ll never understand. There are many times when I don’t either, yet I trust that there is a reason for all of it and I just have to be her person to guide her, help her, heal her, and make her feel safe.

After all, she is and always will be my baby girl. 🖤

When the days seem to run together with no variation of events, I long for bed time. Not because it will be different tomorrow, but because I need a break.

I do these things without hesitation. My children depend on me for all of their needs. Whether it be driving to events, making their meals or just holding them tight, I am their comfort.

On the days where it doesn’t seem that the sun will shine, I remind myself that these babies are mine. I created them, I will take care of them above anyone else, and no matter what I’ll always be there for them.. exhausted or not.

There are days in which I feel I’m about to break. Days that I can’t even express in words how I feel. All the while, trying my best to make them feel incredibly loved.

I go to bed at night, two small beings beside me. No matter the tantrums, the tears, the talk back, I lay there beside them adoring every second of their existence.

Each day I attempt a smile and a cheerful demeanor because that’s what they deserve. It’s not their job to pick up my pieces. It’s not their responsibility to carry my burden. It’s mine to lessen theirs.

My kids will never know the sacrifices I’ve made for them. They will never know the tears shed on their behalf.

I want them to know of the love that overflowed between us. To remember the days of laughter, excitement, dance parties, and pure silliness.

One day I’ll miss this. One day they’ll no longer want held. One day they won’t need me. And when that day comes, I’ll come back to this.. that no matter what happens in life, I am and always be your biggest fan.

Every exhausted parent should remember that you’re not alone.. and that one day when they’re all grown up, we have the precious memories to come home to.

The days are long, exhausting at times.  The nights are moments stitched together in love and peace.  I hold you close.  Your tiny hands in mine.  I hope to never take for granted the days you asked to be held, needing to know that I care.

I’ll always be here for you, my love.

People will let you down.. disappoint you and make you cry, yet know that my arms will always be open to hold you.. to take away your pain.

The moment I realized I was fully alive was when I looked into your eyes for the first time.  Your perfect arrival will forever be embedded into my soul.  From that point on, I knew my role was bigger than I could ever imagine.

I will be your guardian, your soldier, your cradle, your storybook, your first love.

I’ll always be here for you, my love.  No matter the years past, no matter the circumstance.. I’ll always be here to pick you up, hold you tight and remind you that you are loved beyond measure.

One day she discovers that her life is about to change forever. She walks, talks, and breathes with a gleam in her eyes.

The day her bundle arrives, she looks into the face of the tiny human she’s created, to be overwhelmed with a love that she’s never felt before.

Her nights turn into days with little rest or food, yet she takes it all in. With every spare moment she stares at the little hands wrapped around her finger, the cuddles and coos that make her heart melt.

Years pass as she’s reveled in the mesmerizing depth of her existence. Not only did she create life, she’s met the most beautiful soul that God has brought into her world.

Imperfectly stunning, amazing and sweet, her children gave her something no one else could do.. they made her a mom.

She wears a badge of courage, of unconditional love, and of shear strength. She spends the remainder of her days watching over her little ones as they grow into what God intended them to be.

She is their mother, their biggest fan.

Happy Mother’s Day!

I don’t know about you, but I strongly feel that we are in control of our emotions, how we act and react, as well as our circumstances (most of the time).  Granted, as a child your control is slimmed back drastically, yet as adults, we create what we have.

It took me a long time to understand that the way my life had played out was a direct result of how I treated it.  Sometimes that was in the way I taught others to treat me, responded to certain situations, or simply reacted with unleashed emotion that wasn’t always properly managed.  On more than one occasion, I can honestly say that how I managed my life hasn’t always brought me peace.

Have you ever done something, sometimes by chance, only to realize that you were meant to be there doing that thing at that exact moment.. even if you didn’t realize it until after..?  Or maybe you didn’t realize your truest potential until you’re later years in life?  If that thing brought you more peace than you have ever experienced elsewhere.. I’m going to venture to say, its meant to be.  You were where you needed to be at that time for a reason.  Maybe its the universe pulling you from your comfort zone, or God opening a door to something you didn’t expect.. whatever it is, its important to follow it.

You will never know if this is your calling until you pursue it.  In my years of pondering who I am, what I want from my life, where I want to be spiritually and emotionally, I do know this.. that if whatever it may be rocked my core, brought me to my knees for a second and made me feel as my true self once again.. its mine!  Everyone has a different journey, a different calling in this life, yet I believe that with the right determination, peace at heart and support system, we can accomplish anything.

I want to start by living in peace.  It wasn’t something I realized overnight, yet I feel compelled to follow something I never expected.  The funny thing is that I don’t feel restricted or as I’m giving up on a different dream.. I feel at home with myself.  I feel that there is so much more to what I can become, more than I even imagined, that by not following it is only letting myself down.

Outwardly, it may seem silly to think that I just want to help people, especially if you know me personally (ha!), but that is it!  The avenue to do so is quite vast if you think about it.  I mean, personally, I have tons of friends doing the same thing in many different aspects (doctors, therapists, holistic medicine, teachers, moms, the list goes on!).  I want to help moms.  I want to help them locate their potential that has rooted itself deep in their core, that identity that has been buried to care for their families, the passion that has sizzled out since taking their role as a parent.  We all have it, but as a mom, I can truly relate.  And, seriously, that’s what its all about, right?  I want what you want.. peace.  To be reminded that I am worth it.  To know that any investment into myself is an investment worth making.  To be so fired up in that moment that the moment turns into change, that leads to living my best life.  That’s what we want!

So, I’m taking on a new role.  Along with writing, I want to help others by being there when you feel that you have no where to turn.  I want to help you find your best self, to live your best life and to be the best person you never knew you could be.

I haven’t spoken much about manifestation as of yet, but I’m going to.  Manifestation wasn’t anything that I knew much about until about six months ago.  Even after reading about it and really doing my research, I still didn’t grasp the entire feeling of how it works.  And I still don’t!  But what I do know is that if I can believe in myself to the point of knowing that the Universe (or God) is there to be my backbone in life, helping me get to where I need to be (monetarily, emotionally, etc) then I’m going with it.  Meditating to calm my stirred soul, manifesting to let the Universe (or God) know that I am serious, open, and ready to receive all the blessings that I can take in, and believing that I am worth all of it is key.. and that’s where I’m starting.  Today!

If you’re looking for the same thing, trust me when I say you are not alone!

 

xoxo

If you’ve gotten to know me through the years, you know that I love to write. I thrive on the idea that no matter the mood, the situation, the process.. I can sit down and pound away at these keys, getting each and every emotion off my chest. I can speak of the good days, the not-so-good days, my kids, whatever I’m currently working on and so on. But no matter what, I’m writing.

Passion. Its one of my favorite words. It tells so much in a variety of context. For me, passion is about doing what I love. By doing what I’m passionate about, I’m creating a life that I don’t need relief from. Another wonderful point about this is what my children see. They see that working in a career that I thoroughly enjoy, not only fills me with pride, but with happiness too. I’m a firm believer that what you believe is what you become. If I believe that I am worthy of the successful person I aspire to be, I will become that.

The notion that we already know everything there is to know about any one thing is absurd. There is something new to learn every day! As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Without growing knowledge, we are lessening our abilities to be better with each new day.

I read as much as I write. I want to absorb something new every day so that I can be the best human I can be. Whether it be in my business, my hobby, my personal life, I feel that we all have something to learn from the circumstances we face and people we encounter. I love that I have broadened my horizons by putting myself out there to meet people that I admire. People that have created their most passionate life by not taking no for an answer. Those are my people.

There is something to be said about the mindset. If what we think, we create.. just imagine how glorious you’d feel knowing that you created your best life. I know I’d be insanely elated!

Yesterday I spoke about having a “down day”. There is absolutely nothing wrong with days like that. Nothing. Let me tell you a quick story about yesterday. I felt down. All day. Not much gave me joy yesterday, I won’t lie. But when the Universe (God) steps in and says enough is enough! and changes your entire mindset.. you roll with it! I intentionally stayed apart from my family as much as I could yesterday because I needed alone time.. when my son came home from riding his mini motorcycle, crying and screaming that he had wrecked. Immediately, I was done sulking. DONE. A higher calling was at my feet saying this is why you need to be happy. This child right here needs you. Now GO. That’s exactly what I did. I dropped what I was doing and made my way back to my purpose. We all have days and yesterday was one of mine. We have to remember our purpose and abandon those days when we’re done feeling what needs to be felt. Let it go.

Today is a new day. It has new potential. It will be better than my yesterday. Here’s how I made my comeback today. I researched, wrote and rewrote my first author bio for Thrive Global to be a contributing author. I never realized how difficult it would be to write something so “simple” until I had to do it. I followed the guidelines, took the advise, and made it happen. Well, after I wrote it, lost it, wrote it again, only to hate it and write it again.. I finally made my profile. I’m on my way to pitch my first article to an editor. Eek! Funny thing is that when I finished it, I thought I’d feel refreshed that it was complete, but no.. all I thought was I want more! I want to keep going, I want to make this happen!

Its that. We have to use our abilities and the Universe to our benefit. Good days or bad, we are lucky if we have tomorrow so why not make today amazing!

xoxo

As you know, I’ve been in aww of Paris since I was a child. I’ve been in-love with a city I’ve never visited for so long, I feel like its been brewing in my blood for centuries. Well, its time to change all of that. A few days ago I booked my first trip to Paris! I couldn’t be more excited!!

When I began this blog, I had full intention of creating a blog that was relatable, fun, and useful to a variety of lifestyles. One topic I had high hopes for was traveling, which I haven’t fulfilled properly to date. So, I decided there is no better time to start than now.. and this year is going to be big for me. I have a milestone birthday coming this fall and, well, who wouldn’t want to celebrate in the City of Lights?! That’s exactly what we’re going to do. Girl’s trip!! You know you have amazing friends when you can call them up and say “Let’s go to Paris!” and they say “OKAY!”.. without hesitation! Feeling the love, people. The next step had my mind swirling. I have never actually planned a European vacation (outside of my head) and I wasn’t quite sure where to begin.

Traveling to a new country is intimidating. The language difference, foreign currency, tourists scams, hotel accommodations, finding the best neighborhood, etc.. the list goes on. Knowing that I have an extensive list of friends who have traveled more than me, I took to social media. Its awesome that one can put a request for recommendations in a foreign country and within seconds, your notifications are blowing up! With equal parts suggestions and pure elation for finally going to my beloved Paris, I was overwhelmed with messages of places to stay, the best airlines, what to pack, book suggestions, and more. Truly, I felt so loved that so many friends were excited for me to finally see my dream come true.

With all of the information gathered, I was able to find the best flight for our girl’s trip and get the vacation booked! We still have some details to work out, but for the most part we’re ready. What does one do six months in advance? Browse Pinterest, of course! It may seem a bit overzealous, but I’ve been studying etiquette, proper dress, how to call for a taxi, greetings, and how to avoid being scammed. Yes, as with anywhere, being scammed is always a possibility. Knowing what to look for and how to protect yourself as best as you can is key. So, that’s just what I did.

Here’s the lowdown on my trip planning so far..

If you know me, you know luxury vacations are not a “requirement” for me. I want to be in the city, as a true Parisian, not a tourist. I want to put myself in a time of writing a novel while sitting outside at a café with my morning coffee. I want to enjoy a cocktail , roam the city and stroll through the rain as though I belong there. I want to retrace the steps of Hemingway and the Fitzgerald’s, Gertrude Stein and Picasso. Place me in a time of wonder, a time of splendor, a time of fun. Let me admire the sites of the Seine while artists paint scenes from passersby.

I have been so filled with excitement since booking my trip that it’s lit a fire inside to see the world.. because now I realize that doing so doesn’t have to break the bank.

For this trip I’m not bringing my family.. I decided against it because its something I’ve wanted to do for so long that I needed to do this for me. To see the sites I want to see and not be limited to the things that are kid friendly. This trip is for me. Being that mom who doesn’t spend time away from the kids much, I knew it was time to venture out without them.. at least this once. When I told the kids what my plan was, they of course assumed they were coming along. I had to tell them “no, not this time, but next time for sure!!” It took a bit of convincing, but for now they seem to understand. I think the best way to combat any confusion or sadness about them not being part of this trip is to let them help plan the next one. I haven’t begun that yet because I have a little time before my trip comes around, but when it does.. game on!

I’m happy to say, I’ll really be able to fulfill my travel writing soon! Stay tuned as I’ll keep you all posted about this trip and any future plans!

Every family has a core. The one person, or group, that holds the rest of us together like glue. Where everyone can gather, call upon or just know that they’re holding it all together for the rest of us.

For our family this was my grandparents. Each and every Sunday the entire family gathered around my grandparents dining room table for family dinner. There was chatter, laughing, and most importantly, lots of love. As grandchildren, we’d spend time with our grandparents each summer learning about gardening, bird watching, and the pure act of being children.

In our immediate family, I was the youngest grandchild, and the only girl. I never saw any difference in this, yet as I’ve grown older I’ve learned to appreciate that.

My grandfather passed away in 2010, then my grandmother passed away a few years later. I’ll never forget each of those moments. The moment I got a phone call saying that my Pap had suddenly fallen ill and wasn’t going to recover. I had recently moved 3000 miles away from him. I didn’t get to say goodbye. Still today I miss him more than I ever thought I could.

My grandma’s passing was different. She was ill for a very long time. Her illness left our family in constant question of what she could comprehend or how long she could hold on this way. She was tough. She made it down a rough road, long and tiring, but she persisted until she was ready.

In 2013, my daughter was born. We took a family trip back to the east coast where my grandma, who now lived in a nursing home would meet my daughter for the first time. We visited her nearly every day during this vacation. As our trip was about to close and we were to head back to Arizona, but my heart said no. I had to stay. We changed our tickets to remain close for a few extra days. I knew deep down that this would be the last time I saw her.

The last time we visited the nursing home, we took photos of my daughter sitting on my grandma’s bed with her. We didn’t know if she understood who this baby girl was so we explained to her that this was her great-granddaughter.

After years of showing no emotion, speaking no words, she shed a single tear as my daughter laid beside her. A moment I’ll never forget.. she understood! She knew exactly who we were and what was happening. She knew just as we did that this was the end.

We left the next day. Five days after we returned home, my grandma passed.

Roughly two years ago, my family gifted my grandma’s bedroom furniture to me. I knew immediately that it would be perfect for my daughter’s bedroom. Growing up my grandma’s furniture was painted avocado green. Sounds cute, but not really. Recently, we stripped it, stained it, added new hardware and placed this beautiful family piece in my daughter’s bedroom.

It meant the world to me to do justice to such an important piece of furniture.. it was my grandparents and I wanted them to be proud.

I was lucky.. I grew up in an amazingly loving family. And everyone who had the opportunity to know my grandparents loved them.

You never know what tomorrow will hold. You never know if you’ll get the chance to say what needs to be said. Don’t wait until tomorrow when you show love today.

❤️