Because it’s Thanksgiving and because I turn FORTY, this Friday to be exact, I’m hand delivering a list of FORTY items I am most grateful for —today.
Whatever life has you busy doing, stop for a few minutes, grab a cup of coffee or your favorite drink and sit right here to chat it up about what makes us grateful. After reading my list be sure to write your own or share your heart of gratitude with a friend or loved one.
Without further ado, and in no particular order, here’s my list of most grateful items from the four decades I’ve been blessed to learn and grow in this place called — earth.
Target. I can randomly find small doses of happiness sprinkled throughout that place
The ability to work hard. Graced with life, I would hate to wake up one day and have wasted it
A good movie
God. He saved me
Lipstick. Cause it just makes me feel a little bit prettier
The mountains. Reminder there is something bigger than me
Rain. Like tears, it’s cleansing to the soul
An entire bottle of wine. Cause life wasn’t meant to be so hard
All four seasons. I compare this to life. It should never remain the same
Pain. It has refined me
Underwear. Cause I just couldn’t imagine life without them
Warm chocolate chip cookies
Real authentic love. Better than a warm cup of joe
My husband’s wisdom
Mercy. For all who have loved me through all my many mistakes
The gift of children. One of the top 3 treasures of this world
Disappointments. They have driven me to be a better woman
In N Out. Cause my family would starve on the many nights I don’t want to cook
Friendships. Sustained me with laughter through many seasons
The ocean. Need I say more?
The story of my family
My hairstylist. Many transformations have taken place in her chair
Trees and their roots. They show me strength and the idea that we too have to dig deep
Colors. Life would be boring without them. Right?
The Bible. I have learned it is a life source
Tears. They are like the cleansing mechanism of the soul
Butterflies. They are so delicate and intricately designed, like us. Like life
A failed marriage. Taught me to fiercely fight for life and family
The present moment
Horses. The strength and passion of a horse inspires me to live life to it’s fullest
New shoes. Because a new pair of shoes brings a dose of happiness to my heart
Debt. Gave me the desire to pursue a life of financial freedom
My blow dryer
Tacos. Happiness for a quick 30 minutes. Enough to reset my heart
Mascara Mascara Mascara
Coffee. I probably don’t need to say anything more
My girls playing in the house. Laughter
That’s it. That’s my forty. For now.
What about you? Is your life at a place where finding gratitude in things is a struggle for you? Or have you come full circle and see the fruit that’s developed from your journey?
I would love to hear and support you in either place you might be sitting in.
I walked through those doors pretty certain of the outcome. If I had to put money on it, I would’ve bet a win. For me. As I set waiting for the judge to come out to deliver his truth, I wrote this one line, “God, your will be done. Not mine.”
Then our turn came. The request I was asking for would be decided. The peace I was trying to give my daughter would be on the line. And it was in the hands and at the mercy of a Los Angeles County judge.
While on hold for the court’s lunch break, I had hoped while enjoying his pb&j sandwich or milk and cookies, this judge would be hit with the epiphany of truth. I was hoping his stack of cookies would give him the wisdom to ask the right questions and my girl would get an extended break from the emotional rollercoaster that she so desperately needed.
But that wasn’t the case. That wasn’t the case at all.
“It’s not about the cards you’re dealt.”
With a gorgeous desert backdrop and rarely hesitating to shovel some of his savory life tips my way, he leaned back in his patio chair relishing in a favorite cigar.
“It’s how you play your hand.”
At thirty-eight, I enjoyed more than ever hearing my dad’s superpower — wisdom. My dad’s always had a sweet way of pouring into my hungry heart.
I know there is pain that I do not know, nor will I ever know all the pain delivered by this worlds heavy hand. I’m a firm believer we all suffer in deep places of discomfort to a degree that is painfully hard for each of us. The point of which we feel that pain arrives at different seasons and ages for each of us.
It is what we choose to do with the cards dealt us that separates, as they say, the wheat from the chaff.
Boundary line. Explicitly drawn. Leaving little confusion.
We can talk about boundaries all day.
We can talk about how simple they can be or how difficult they are to identify, then a time comes, a situation occurs, and there’s a pressing demand to voice one.
As uncomfortable as drawing that line in the sand can be for some, it is the key to sanctioning a protective barrier between you and the other party.
Regardless if the topic being addressed is of a professional or personal matter, the ability to voice your line is fundamental to your growth.
I swear to all goodness in the world..
A few months back I was in a heated conversation. I wouldn’t call it a debate. I wouldn’t call it a fight. Simply, it was a conversation. But it.was.hot. because we were both sharing our hearts that had been storing up some serious thoughts and emotions.
The person I was having the conversation with isn’t so much the topic here…but rather a statement that was made in the middle of the mess and heated moment.
In the go around of words that seemed a perfectly orchestrated storm of emotions I clinched my fist and leaned in with an invasive shout, “I need you to DIG DEEP!”
With a pause and short hesitation, the response back was..
Sometimes it takes a wild journey down the slow road of heartache for one to understand the power of prayer. I was no different.
In fact, despite my grandma’s repeated efforts to tell me otherwise, I thought my relationship with The Man upstairs would suffice. In other words, it worked well, or so I thought, with the little to no effort I was contributing.
Looking back on the years I can almost smell the bitter fruit that fell from my tired little self. Sadly, those many years I lacked building my repertoire of prayers left me hungry.
Or starved rather.
If you are finding yourself exhausted and wore out as a single mom, one of the most powerful and significant gifts I can give you is the age old secret of applying prayer to your life, especially in the areas you seek relief.
There are too many good words in the Big Book of Life. From my heart to yours… here are a few of my favorites:
I had fought relentlessly for this day to arrive. I had worked hard to see it through. With duct-tape, band-aids, a bulletproof vest and little one in tow, I made my way through college. And I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way of graduating in the next month until I hit what seemed like a steel wall.
How was I going to wrap up this last quarter of college when I couldn’t type my papers and do the research from home. Cause who wants to take their 5-year-old to the library? How was I going to pay rent with no money? How was I going to maintain a clear mind to do all that is required to participate in life AND provide love and care to a 5-year-old little girl who just needed her momma? Too many things were falling apart and I wasn’t able to fix them all.
I wasn’t enough.
So often, as a single mom, I was convinced I was standing in the middle of a large lake of quicksand. Regardless of the direction I stepped, it didn’t matter. It was as if I were just hanging out in this spot, sinking in the middle of the mess. Getting ahead of the grind felt like an unobtainable task. Like sitting in a classroom waiting to take a test I never studied for over and over again. Then…..Replay. Replay. Replay.
Does what I am saying sound familiar to you? Do you know that overwhelming emotion that sits in the pit of your stomach and drives you to a nervous wreck?
Because I love you and want to see you rise above your own storms, I sat down and wrote out what tools I gathered in those many lakes of quicksand. What I walked away with and how I could help you. So here are eight of my BEST strategies to help you rise above the single mom grind. Hand delivered to your heart in hopes you won’t struggle as long as I did!
Sometimes we just need to take a break from the grind and hear something encouraging, sweet and deserving.
Because who is able to accomplish something great without being encouraged?
Few, my friend. Very few.
There was a time in my life I was very good at quitting. During high-school, I quit track and soccer. In that exact order.
Truth be told, if I’m digging a little deeper here, there were lots of things I quit in life.
- I quit believing in myself
- I quit trying
- I quit imagining the possibilities
- I quit loving myself
Thinking back to when I was a little girl…
My imagination ran to the wildest of places. One of my favorite childhood memories is that of me riding my pony, which was merely a saddle on a stand in a small 3 ft x 3 ft shed. But oh the miles I traveled while sitting on that pony, near the side of our little yellow house tucked deep in the woods. The indians I chased and the cowboys I ran with were enough to solidify any cowgirls wildest dreams.
But somewhere along the way, somewhere between little girl land and those tumultuous teenage years…