I was and am very blessed to have been raised in a church. Every Sunday when I was little I would put on my fanciest dress with the white “leather” shoes, socks with the itchy lace, and always a matching hat and purse. Go to jr church, go to Sunday school, do the church camp, youth groups, summer missions all of it. I’m not the type to push my beliefs on people so sit tight I promise there is a reason for my sharing. A few weeks ago, I had the most terrible cough and I mean worse than bronchitis. Waking up in the middle of the night with asthma attacks, sore throat, deep chest cough. Terrible. A couple weeks into the sick, I could not sleep, it felt like every time I let my body relax enough to drift off I stopped breathing. I prayed and prayed every night for the coughing fits to stop just long enough to get some sleep, just a little. Now I’m a natural worrier, I worry about everything all the time always have. Laying in bed so frustrated over not being able to do the simplest task of breathing on my own without having my inhaler attached to my face, trying not to cry, going over how upset I was because I still had so much to do, Thomas said something to me that just made everything click all at once like a domino effect. He looked at me and said “that, that right there is why you can’t get better. You stress yourself out to the point that your body can’t deal with it. Take a breath and relax.” Not going to lie I fought it at first I was like no I’m just busy. July is busy for my family and has been for years. But I stopped fighting and I thought about it. I will never admit it out loud but he was right. I’ve been this way my whole life. When my oldest brother went to Iraq I literally threw up every day in school, it got so bad my teacher told me to just go to the bathroom if I was going to get sick so I didn’t disturb the class, and come back and sit at my desk. The first time all three of my brothers went somewhere in the summer I had a panic attack and ended up in the ER. I have a history of getting myself so worked up that my body physically cannot handle the pressure anymore. So back to church. I prayed for the tightness in my chest to go away, for god to take the cough just long enough to get some sleep but it didn’t work. And of course it wouldn’t because the cough wasn’t the problem. The problem was, I was so caught up in making sure everything was done, gifts were bought, games were attended, meals were cooked, clothes and dishes were clean, everything was in order, on top of every thing else all without asking for help, or, talking about how I was feeling, because in my mind, people do those things every single day, why can’t I? So I laid there in bed and I said “ok. God. I’ve been told all my life to lay my burdens at your feet, and we both know it’s easier said than done but I’m done. I can’t take another night fearing I’m going to need my epi-pen, keeping everyone awake because I can’t breathe. Take it. I don’t want it. Take my stress. Take my problems. I don’t need them.” I pray every night before bed, for my family, my friends, this country, the usual, but I rarely pray for myself. Not that night. I prayed for me. I prayed for my mental health. I prayed for my physical health. I didn’t stop until I was asleep. For the first time in what felt like weeks I only woke up once coughing. I did end up with a pretty severe sinus infection, but I learned something, it’s ok to talk about your stress and your worries and to just let them go. Don’t think of it as a burden because other people do everything you’re doing just fine, because you don’t know what they have going on behind closed doors. Ask for the help, slow down, life is not a race to the finish line. And if it’s what you believe lay your burdens at gods feet, don’t just say it actually do it. Don’t get me wrong I still stress about things and worry, I most likely always will but stopping and realizing I don’t have to, that I have people to talk to, to work things out with, a team to go to, makes it a whole lot easier. Don’t let the stress control your health mentally or physically. Weather you believe in god, or another higher power or even if you don’t, let that stress and the worries go.
The new year is upon us and everyone is starting to publicly announce all the things they are going to change about themselves and this is their year and this is going to change their life…same thing every year. I got to thinking why tell everyone you’re going to change? Why not just do it? So then I got to thinking is it the accountably? The want of admiration for actually changing or sticking to your resolutions? Or the support? I’ll be real if someone tells me or I read that so and so is going to change this or do this in the coming year I’m all for it, go you, I believe in you and I really do support you 100%. But instead of following everyone and saying this year I’m going to the gym three times a week and I’m going to do this and that and it’s going to be totally different for me, I like to look back over the year and decide what actually needs changed. Like this year I’ve decided my resolutions, that I usually keep to myself, I am going to share with you. I am going to pray for myself more like I pray for others without hesitation. To smile more because it makes me happy and puts me in a good mood. To openly appreciate Thomas for being the great man that he is. To do the dishes after dinner instead of saying I’ll do them later because we all know that doesn’t happen. To work on accepting compliments I receive instead of fighting them so hard because if they didn’t mean it they shouldn’t be saying it. To tell people what’s wrong when they ask instead of always hiding it and being open with my feelings. To not let myself get so stressed out all the time because of things I have zero control over. To be selfish with my love because not everyone deserves it. To be more patient with people. To keep my positive mindset no matter the situation. To take my allergies more seriously after almost being in the hospital a couple times. And to just be unapologetically me everyday of the year. The new year is upon us and while it is a fresh start for everyone it’s also a time of reflection and looking at yourself, really looking before making resolutions, because the real changes happen when you work from the inside out. I’m excited to see how everyone’s years turn out with all the changes that have happened in 2018 I know 2019 can only get better! I hope everyone had a very safe and happy new year!
I have something to get off my chest…I LOVE Christmas. I love everything about it, the lights, the decorations, family coming around you don’t get to see that much hearing and seeing people do good things for strangers selflessly, everything. I love the spirit that comes with the holiday season, the love the giving the happiness. Christmas makes me so happy, you can ask Thomas I love Christmas. It’s not the presents it’s not the food it’s just this unexplainable magic in the air feeling that overwhelms me and makes me fall in love with Christmas every year. When I was younger my mom always did her best to make Christmas special for us we always had a real tree up until we found out I am deathly allergic, except for one year. We couldn’t afford a real tree or very expensive things but let me tell you when we pulled out this tiny fake tree that even then didn’t go past my knees and we put it up on a tote and my mom dragged out all our ornaments we’ve gotten a new one every year since our first Christmas and we decorated that tree like we did every year lights and all. It was still our Christmas. That was the year me and my brothers got an electric toothbrush, back when they first started becoming a thing and I was so excited I felt so grown up and once again I was in love with Christmas. I don’t care if I don’t have anything under the tree because that doesn’t do it for me. I care about my family being around the tree, I care that my nieces and nephews and bonus kids have smiles on their faces and laughter in their hearts. Christmas is so so much more than just a day to eat and get things, it’s a celebration it’s so hard to explain in words the pure joy I feel from December 1st all the way to Christmas. Every year me and my mom would watch endless Christmas movies from the old time cartoons that look kinda creepy sometimes to the very predictable but cliff hanging hallmark ones, I could probably tell you the whole movie of how the grinch stole Christmas (first movie I ever saw in theaters) line for line. I love the different traditions that come with Christmas, at my moms house every one has a stocking and me and my mom always pick them out together this year we have 17! Every Christmas Eve we go to the candle light service at my church, it’s always so beautiful and exactly what I need to hear/ where I need to be. I’ll be honest I don’t always hone in on the Christmas spirit year round, but this season being in my own house for the first time on Christmas, I sat down while wrapping presents and thought why not? Why can’t I be this happy year round? Why can’t I keep the Christmas magic and warmth all year? Why do we have one season where we give and give without expecting much, if anything in return when this world would be so much better if we just did it all the time? So I leave you with this on Christmas Eve, a challenge of sorts to keep the spirit and the magic and the kindness year round even if it’s just in your hearts and I wanna know where we’ll be in a years time. I’m sure it’ll be amazing. So from my overly excited and Christmasy heart to yours merry Christmas and happy holidays
It’s me, your favorite, we all know it’s true don’t try and hide it the boys know too. Thank you for raising me to be so kind hearted, so caring, and so much like you. I know you think you failed a lot when me and the boys were growing up, but you didn’t, you are the best momma. Because of you I help those in need because we’ve all been there or could be there. You held me when I was scared, you tried your hardest to teach me to roller skate and you were the only one with battle scars. You showed me what a strong woman looks like in the face of hard situations. You taught me to never quit even when I really wanted to, to push through. Thank you for letting me in kitchen and teaching me that the best kitchens get messy. You let me be me every time. Because of you I know everything will be ok, even if it’s not today, everything will be ok. And also everything will come out in the wash so no need to steep over others wrong doings. Because of you I have such a positive outlook on things and I appreciate that more than you’ll know. I know I haven’t been the perfect child, I, like many others have had my wild years, the ones where I try to push my mom away when in reality you were my only real friend at the time. Because of you I came back, better than ever with lessons learned and wounds healed. Thank you, thank you for the nights you went without so we wouldn’t have to. Thank you for working three jobs just so you could provide. Thank you for putting your children first all the time. Thank you for letting me sleep in your bed when my brother scared me out of my room. Thank you for telling me stories when I was younger, my absolute favorite is when you tell me god gave you me when he knew you would need someone to make you laugh. God knew what he was doing because I needed you too. Thank you for supporting me, and listening to me. Thank you for disciplining me when needed, and thank you for knowing when I needed to make my own mistakes. Thank you for holding me through my many heartaches even though they seem so small now, then, they were a huge deal. Most importantly thank you for my faith, because of you I not only grew up in a loving home but also an amazing church family. I know I don’t say it nearly but I love you with my whole heart, you are one of if not my biggest hero in my life. I do not know where I would be if I didn’t have you. I’m sorry for all the times I’ve hurt you with my words or my actions, and thank you for forgiving me. You are my biggest fan and that means so so much. You are one of the most beautiful people on this planet and I am blessed to be your daughter. I love you higher than the sky, deeper than the ocean and higher than the waves over your head
I have many titles in my life, daughter, sister, girlfriend, bonus mom, the list goes on and on. One of the most important one is Ninny. I am an aunt, and being an aunt is so important to me, being able to be apart of my nieces and nephews lives is very rewarding. I am their Ninny. Story time, my oldest niece started the Ninny epidemic, when she started really talking she couldn’t put aunt and Jenny together it always came out Ninny, all the others followed suit. Being an aunt, to me, is more than just seeing the kids on holidays and birthdays. It’s cheering them on in every softball, soccer, t-ball game, watching their faces light up when they spot you in the crowed at a school concert. It’s holding them when they are sad, it’s helping them with homework and waiting to see their test score. I remember every place I was, what I was doing each time one of my brothers told me I was going to be an aunt, I remember what I was doing when I found out if it was going to be a boy or girl. My point is, is I try very hard to be apart of their lives, I want them to know that they can always tell me anything and unless it’s causing them harm I won’t tell a soul, I want them to know that I will always be in the stands, or in the crowed cheering them on no matter what they choose to do. I absolutely love it when my oldest niece tells me what she wants to be when she grows up, even if it changes every time, I love it. My heart is always full when my nephew hands me a stack of books bigger than him and says “Ninny will you read these to me?” And he curls up next to me and I am in heaven. I love it. I am an aunt, I kiss booboos, I get asked if I’m their mom anytime I take them somewhere, I get after them when their attitude gets too big for their britches, I chase away monsters and encourage them to chase their dreams, even the crazy ones like professional bull riding (that terrifies me). I am their built-in best friend, and I will always consider them my babies, even when they have children of their own (they know that isn’t allowed lol) they will forever be my babies. I am more than just their aunt I am their Ninny.
A couple of weeks ago I found myself awake around 2 in the morning unable to sleep. My mind racing constantly, unable to settle. I pulled out my phone and started writing everything on my mind trying to get to sleep. I found myself writing out how worthless I was, how I don’t deserve any of the good things in my life, how I was unloveable and the man sleeping in our bed deserved so so much more. I prayed hard for the pain I was feeling to leave so I could just go to sleep. I asked over and over again who did this to me? Who hurt me so bad that I’m up at 2am and can’t get my mind to shut down so I can sleep. Who? I looked at what I wrote and I stopped asking who and started asking why and when. Why did I let people tell me what I should feel about myself? Why do I let the negative stick to me like fly paper and the positives slide off like oil? When did I let what others think or say about me matter so much that I let it keep me up at night? Why don’t I listen more when Thomas calls me beautiful? Why don’t I believe it when my nephew wraps his arms around my neck and says you’re pretty Ninny? Why don’t I let it stick with me when my mom says you’re an amazing woman inside and out, your heart is beautiful just like you? I sat there on the floor, tears streaming down my face and I remembered something my mom told me when I was around 10 years old, “god doesn’t make mistakes”. I started thinking to myself it’s got to stop, I have to figure something out because I can’t keep staying up letting all these negative things that I heard way in the past effect my quality of sleep and life when I have all these amazing people in my life filling me with so many positives. So in that moment of pure heartbreak and vulnerability I decided to forget about what people have said or done to me because it doesn’t matter anymore. I need to start believing more that Thomas thinks I’m beautiful, my nephew thinks I’m pretty and my mom thinks I’m amazing from the inside out. I became overly tired after the realization that it begins with me, I can’t control what people say but I can control how I let it effect me or if I even want it to stick with me. I got up off the floor, wiped my face, put my phone down and crawled into my bed, and almost instinctively Thomas opened his arms to let me snuggle in like every night, kissed my forehead and told me he loved me more, and I was able to sleep soundly for the first time in a while. Since that night/morning I’ve been trying to let the positive stick, listening to Thomas tell me I’m beautiful and cute and perfect without arguing with him about it, I’m trying to look into the mirror and see myself through his eyes, my nephews eyes, my moms eyes, my nieces, my sisters, everyone else’s because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am made in his image, and if the one who made the sky blue, the grass green, and the cows so cute it makes me cry then I know he made me beautiful because he doesn’t make mistakes and he doesn’t make ugly, and I am worthy.
Me and Thomas recently celebrated our first anniversary, so in honor of that I present to you my thoughts on true love.
There’s a saying going around that you won’t find your true love or your soulmate until you love yourself first. That is complete bs. While I agree that you should love yourself, it does not say anywhere that your true love will stay away from you if you don’t.
I met Thomas at the end of August 2017, I did not 100% love myself then, hell there are some days I don’t fully love myself now. However I’m blessed in the way he loves me even when I can’t love myself. Isn’t that what it’s about? If you can honestly say you love everything about yourself wouldn’t change a thing then more power to you, I am slightly jealous of you because you are a rare breed. For those of you like me who look in the mirror and see things they think need changing do not fear for love is there for you. If you’ve heard the saying you find love when you least expect it to happen, now that is true. I believe that 110%, I wasn’t looking for anyone when Thomas found me. I had myself convinced that I was going to be the aunt that showed up to family events and birthday parties alone but with extravagant gifts because I don’t have to spend the money on anyone else and I would leave and go home alone and that was going to be forever because I didn’t love myself enough for anyone else to love me. At the same time my mom always told me you’ll find him when you aren’t looking so then I focused on not looking…that doesn’t work. But when I least expected it, on a work trip mind you, he found me. And I say he found me because I was way too shy to really talk to anyone. It wasn’t something I was looking for it was something that I needed but didn’t know it.
I didn’t truly love myself when me and Thomas started dating, there’s days I still avoid looking in mirrors, but that’s ok because I found someone who will love me enough for the both of us on days I can’t love myself. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to do this that and the other before your true love comes. Because it’s probably bs, just be yourself, and remember everything happens when it’s supposed to happen even true love.