Shhh!

A few days ago a sweet friend said, “I share way too much.” This made me say, “I don’t think we share enough!” There is such a stigma with sharing things “too personal” with other people.


I think we have this idea if we share what we actually think and feel others will think less of me. Or I will look like a horrible person. Or maybe I’m the only one who feels this way. In reality, I think more people think and feel the way I do than I realize. I think that many people have had similar struggles but we never talk about that stuff. We are programmed to say, “I’m ok, everything is fine”- even though everything might not be fine. 

Do I believe in complaining just to complain all the time… Nope! Do I think our frame of mind makes a difference in how we view things…Yes! If I am constantly dwelling on negative things then it is easy for me to not notice many positive things in my life. Do we all have times when the negatives seem to ‘outshine’ the positives? Yes! I really believe in counting your blessings on a daily basis. We are so much to be grateful for. This doesn’t mean that we don’t struggle or have hard times. 

The past 10 months have been a huge low in my life. PPD ruled my life, even though I didn’t tell hardly anyone how I was really feeling. I really believed my friends and family would think pretty poorly of me. Plus I didn’t want the sympathy. Thankfully, I am mostly out of it and feel so much better and happier- like me again. The one thing I decided to do was to share with others, if asked, that I have been struggling with post-partum depression. I found out that many others went through it as well. Something I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t say anything. Now I wonder if I could have helped someone else if I would have shared more of my feelings instead of keeping them to myself.

There are some who may share too much in the wrong setting. But I think in general we should share more. It feels embarrassing to share that you don’t have it all together or figured out. It can feel like you are a failure but guess what?? You are probably in good company. 

Now that I am a parent and an adult (which makes me giggle to say) I realize that all those adults I thought had life figured out, more than likely didn’t. Aren’t we all just faking it till we make it? Well at least I know I am! I have no clue what I am doing 90% of the time. 
Maybe we should all just get a little more “real” with one another. When I ask you how you are- I genuinely want to know! So if you are having a hard time, I am here to listen. If you are having a wonderful day, I am here to listen to that as well. In this rushed and busy life, maybe take a few moments to listen and share with others. You never know what it might mean to the other person.


I just love this saying! I keep trying for the elusive ducks in a row, but I am beginning to think it is just an illusion.

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One Year


Lily, we did it! We made it through your first year. What a ride it has been. This past year has broke me in ways I didn’t know that could or needed to break. It has also lifted and freed me in ways I didn’t know I needed. It has been a year of contradictions.
You have been my ray of sunshine when my world was dark. You have been my beacon and I thank the good Lord for that. You have taught me to let go of so much. You have taught me that laughter is a must and to do it even when no one is around. 
I didn’t know how much baggage and nonsense I was holding on to in my life until you entered it. I have been able to only focus on what is necessary and let the rest fall away. I haven’t been capable of taking any more in. I thought for a long time that this was a limitation but I realize that it was a blessing. I needed to break so that I could begin building me. The me that is a fighter, that trusts my intuition and isn’t swayed by others opinions no matter who it is. This me feels more sincere, doesn’t just do small talk but gets real with others and finds empathy as my constant companion. 
Have I failed? More times than I can recall. Have I succeeded? More times than I admit. I’ve let go of perfection. In fact, I hate that word. Perfection is a crutch for so many I know and was for me for a very long time. I have replaced perfection with trying. I try each day to be better than the last. I don’t need to let my faults and mistakes define me. I wish to teach you and your sister this beautiful concept. 
I find myself yearning for you to keep getting older and at the same time mourning it. Lily bug, you couldn’t be more loved! Now if you could do your mom a solid and start sleeping through the night, I would love it. 
With all my love and gratitude,

Mom

Waiting….

Small confession here… I am one of those people who is always, quietly, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know it’s not a great way to live, in fact it’s kind of only half living really. I think it’s sort of my husbands fault though. He’s accident prone. And now we have two beautiful girls who share his DNA along with my Allred (also accident prone) DNA.

  
Maybe it is a normal parenting fear. Maybe I have witnessed just enough tragedy in my life so far. I am not exactly sure of the reason. As I was thinking on this today, I came across a blog post about “things to tell me husband if I die first.” Truthfully, I am always more concerned with Bush or the girls going before me. I have not really given it much thought to what if I go first? 
So I thought maybe I will write down a few things for Bush if I die first. 
1- You’ve got this babe! You will be able to do this and do it well. Just remember what I “taught” you about girls. And Don’t forget to brush their hair.
2- Don’t shy away from uncomfortable topics like periods, sex, vaginas and such. You have many resources between family and friends to help if you need. Keep the communication line open and frequent. Be honest, tell them it’s normal to have certain feelings and that’s not bad. Let them know you are their safe space even if they mess up. Don’t just tell them this, show it to them over and over.
3- It is ok to get rid of my stuff. You know I’m not very sentimental and it’s just stuff.
4- Make time for yourself. Do the things that make you, you. Being provider and single parent will take its toll, so don’t forget to make time for you.
5- Don’t take life too serious. Laugh, a lot! Keep sarcasm alive and well in our family. 
6- Don’t be easy on the girls just because they went through something hard. They aren’t allowed to be mean (I would use another word but I know my mom reads this) and when they are, because they will be, make them make it right.
7- Don’t give up on your dreams. Let them see you achieve your goals and dreams despite hardship.
8- After an appropriate amount of time (bare minimum of a year) it’s ok to start dating. Make sure she isn’t quite as awesome as me but just about as awesome. Make sure she is kind to our girls. As much as I would prefer that you become a male nun, I also know it’s important for the girls to have a mom in their life. 
9- You have amazing friends. Keep those friendships close. 
10- Parent the way that feels right to you. Not how you think I would do it or anyone else. Be authentic to you and what your instincts tell you. I have full confidence in you. 
The last thing I will say is don’t make my funeral sad and sappy. You know how much I hate crying! Make it unexpected and light hearted, like me. Give everyone a balloon and then release them all at once. Don’t play just church hymns, how boring. Make sure at least one song is a bit inappropriate and would make my mom cringe just a little. 
Now I hope this list never needs to used but life is unexpected. It’s a beautiful ride, full of ups and downs. We can’t predict what will happen. I wouldn’t want a crystal ball even if it was offered to me. I’m still taking every day one at a time but for today, I’m going to let go of the fear of the other shoe dropping. 

  

Goodbye 3, Hello 4


Brooklyn,

Tonight is your last night as a 3 year old. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit happy about this. I would also be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit sad about this. This past year has proven to be wonderful, amazing and really hard.
You went from being an only child to having to share your time, toys, food and attention with your sister. While your transition was not the horrible thing I feared, it still had its challenges. You took to being a big sister like a champ. You have always been willing to help out when asked and many times without being asked. I sometimes feel you have a better mothering instinct than I do. You are still learning that your sister is not as tough as you think she is and that she does need to breathe air. It’s a work in progress.
I wish this past year didn’t present the challenges in my own personal life, that spilled over onto you. I would not say I had a lot of shining moments with you, I failed in many ways. You have become very curious of the world around you and I didn’t always recognize that. I sometimes took it as a burden, not a blessing. You found your own voice and your own way of doing things. Again, I found this more inconvenient than the amazing thing it was. Of course, there were many times when I would sit back and watch you. They way your mind works is awesome. I have been in awe of you more times than not.
Unfortunately, for you, I didn’t always appreciate you and all the wonderful things you bring to my life. My mind became a bit clouded for awhile. When you get older I will explain the dark pit of post partum depression that some of us Mommas get. I had no idea how it can steal your life in ways. It takes away joy and robs you of what makes you, you. The worst part is, you don’t really know it’s happening. You just know in a moment of anger that you can’t quite explain why you reacted that way or said that. You can’t figure out why you feel despair and low when you should be feeling joy and happiness. PPD is a bitch (excuse my French)!
Despite my struggles, I was still able to see your bright light shining through. Your Dad and I have always said there is something special about you. We couldn’t quite define it. But tonight, as I was snuggling you, I figured it out. You have presence. You have a special ability to be seen without actually drawing attention to yourself. You have a special light in you that is so bright and powerful others can’t deny it. You got this from your Daddy. He also has presence. You and your sister are incredibly lucky to have your Dad. He picked up all my slack this year even when it was hard to do. He beams when you are with him. You make his, and my world infinitely better.
This year you went from toddler to little kid. It’s a beautiful and weird thing to witness. I have always disliked when parents say, “before you know it…” And yet, before I knew it, you got bigger.
While some may feel this is a strange birthday letter to you. I feel it’s important to be real and honest. I want to instill in you that honesty and being who you are is just fine. There is no better way to teach this than to consistently show you.
Don’t ever forget how loved you are. You are a beautiful daughter of God. You are our spunky, funny, loud, caring, sweet Brooklyn. I love you! Happy Birthday girly!
Love,

Mom

Goodbye

It’s a new year. New beginnings are all around. Life is filled with possibilities. There is a renewed energy in the air. I personally feel a wind of change in the air. 
2015 was full of ups and downs for us. Some welcome, expected and others not so much. While I was looking forward to 2016, the day started off with sad news.
A dear friend from high school had passed away. Over the last few days I have been reading what others have been saying about him. The constant theme was that he was a light to others, he filled people’s lives with love and laughter.
This got me thinking. Do we have any idea the impact we make on others? After I die, what will people say about me? Will they say I filled their life with light? Was I kind and generous? Was I mean? Was I unfriendly? Do I really know how I impact others?
This friend of mine didn’t probably know the impact he had on others, including myself. I think most of us aren’t aware of those kind of things. But the thought keeps coming to my mind, am I trying my best to be the type of person I want others to see? Am I the type of friend I want to have? Am I the type of sister, daughter, wife and mother who brings light to others?
In the hymn book at our church there is a song that says, “Savior may I learn to love thee, walk the path that thou hast shown, pause to help and lift another, finding strength beyond my own… In the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can’t see..I would be my brothers keeper, I would learn the healers art, to the wounded and the weary, I would show a gentle heart…” Do I do those things? 
I am not one to jump on the resolution band wagon. I like to keep my expectations low I guess. This year my intention is to be more intentional. To make sure that my light is shining for others. To pause and help someone along their way. To think less of me and more of someone else. 

  
So goodbye 2015. Goodbye to this kind and caring man I grew up with. May 2016 bring us peace and the knowledge that we are all important to someone.  And may we spread more kindness and caring in this world.

Let Your Light So Shine

I have been trying to write this post for several weeks now. I have started and never have been able to finish. Something always distracted me. The topic has changed every time. But tonight I was listening to a you tube video by Lindsey Stirling. It was a video of her playing in the subway, no one really gave her much attention, they didn’t know who she was. The song she was playing was Hallelujah. The video shifted back and forth between her concerts with thousand of people, her meeting fans and her playing in the subway where no one noticed her.
At the end of the video she talked about making this video and how humbling it was for her. She talked about how it reminded her of a time in her life where she didn’t see her own light and thought others didn’t see it either. Then she said that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, has always and will always see our light. My own light has been dimmed lately. However, I know without any shadow of doubt, without any hesitation that my path has been being lit by our Saviour. When my own light became too dim for me to see my path, he lit the way. 

This time of year is my absolute favorite. I love to decorate, to thoughtfully buy gifts for those I love, to enjoy in all this season brings. 

This year though we have no decorations up, we have a borrowed tree (thank you Reids), we have no ornaments on the tree. I have been able to thoughtfully buy gifts but that is all. Yet, despite all the things I am missing this year I have felt closer to the true meaning of Christmas than ever before.

You see, this year has been joyful and trying for our family. We have had tremendous highs and tremendous lows. My faith has been tested more than I could have imagined. And somehow I keep coming through with more assurance that my life has a path, I am no random person. I am here for purpose and meaning. This year has not been easy but it has been what our family needed.
“I am blind and now I see.” Those words have taken on such deep, personal meaning for me. And through it all, the hardships and heartache, all I can say is Hallelujah! We have been blindly following our path this year, even when it hasn’t made any sense at all. Even today it still has not been made clear why our path is the one we are on. But we know without any doubt, this is the path we are suppose to walk. It has been humbling, humiliating, breath taking, frustrating, amazing at times, heart breaking at times, but faith building. 
Our families, and I am sure some of our friends, have thought we were crazy. Why would we keep doing what we have been even when all logic tells us to go in a different direction? The best answer we have to give is because we were given our answer and we have trusted in it ever since. 
The LDS church posted a video of why we need a Saviour. I love this video. No matter which church you belong to, this video is for you. 

To view the video go to http://www.mormon.org
Why do I need a Saviour? Because my life and soul depend on him. He will always be in our cheering section. He will always be there to pick us up when we stumble or fall. He will light our path when our own light has been dimmed. He will never give up on us. 

May you and your loved ones have a blessed and Merry Christmas. 
     

  

Wait… What?!

NEWS FLASH….

In case you hadn’t heard….

Life is not always fair. I repeat Life is NOT always fair.
You know how you make plans and things seem to be going well then… BAM! You get thrown a curve ball. You didn’t see it coming, you don’t have time to react the way you would like. So you just have to go with it or get hit!
Our life seems to get a curve ball thrown into it more often than we would like. I like plans. I like to know ahead of time for things. I’m not always a fan of last minute changes. I wouldn’t  go so far to say I am organized but I like outlines. 
I loved making outlines in school. Weird, I know. In English, it was so fun to do the outlines for my papers. I liked listing out how I was going to organize my paper. I wouldn’t write every detail because I also love the free style of writing and seeing where you end up. Which is where I find great beauty in life. 
You see, I like lists. Especially the kind with bullet points! They look so organized and pretty, easy to read and understand. However, I don’t always like to follow the rules exactly. I think having some wiggle room to explore is a must. I am not a free spirit type of person but I try to embrace their, “go with the flow” mantra. Which I end up failing to do more often than not. 
I enjoy being on time to things, anxiety kicks in if I’m late. I enjoy having a set of rules/guidelines to follow but the freedom to get creative. This is partially why I love CrossFit so much. The thinking of what to do has been done for me. I have a suggested (I say suggested because you are never forced to do it exactly that way) workout with guidelines on how to do it but I have the freedom to get creative if needed or wanted.
We once again have been presented with potentially life changing decisions. (Sorry no details to go on here, yet.) It will be challenging to make these tough choices and it won’t always be pleasant. We’ve already felt like we have had to make sacrifices and don’t want to make more to be honest. But, then I think how exciting!!! What a fun new story to tell. Where could this road with twists, curves and pot holes take us? I could and do dwell on the negative stuff. I don’t like how my outline for my life keeps getting all these sub plots. 

  
The complete truth though is that if my life went according to the story I outlined in my head, I would be bored. I wouldn’t progress. I wouldn’t learn or grow. I never imagined living in Dallas. I never imagined I would love it so much. I never imagined I would finally feel like I belong in a place far from the things I knew and family I love. Now that I am here, I never want to leave. 
But I have a sneaky suspicion that life has other plans for us. I’m not sure if that will be soon or a long ways down the road but I feel it coming. It’s inevitable. I can’t fight it. What I can do is embrace it. I can make the choice to yell, “Life has not been fair to me. I don’t have what so and so has! Why me, why us?!” Or I can say, “Alright didn’t plan on that. How awesome is this!!! I get to have a new adventure.”
I love traveling. If I had lots and lots of money that would probably be my only other hobby besides reading. I tend to get a bit jealous when I see others having great, grand adventures. I wish I could be doing those things too. But I’m stuck here with not enough money to go on an adventure. How could the travel Gods do this to me???!!! Or maybe, just maybe the Man upstairs is teaching me that my life is an adventure. Even if it isn’t filled with traveling adventures. 
I had a friend call me the other day to ask some advice on buying a new car. She of course thought of her friend who has had the same number of vehicles as the years she has been married. 8, in case you were wondering! Of these 8, 6 were brand new. As I began to think back on why we bought one and got rid of another it painted quite the story of our life- Excessive bad decisions. Only kidding!!! Who would have thought that a mundane task of buying and selling vehicles would show our adventures.

So join in the adventure that is your life. Don’t lament the fact of the negative things that will happen or have happened. Embrace them. Let them change you! As Captain Jack Sparrow says: