If I had known it would be the Last Time

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Life has a beginning and and end.  We are born and we will die.  In between those two moments in time will be many firsts and many lasts.  Many of those firsts and lasts will have an emotion attached to it.  Often times a “last time” can come with regret, sadness, or pain attached.

I wish I would have known so many of the last times in my life were last times when they happened.  Often we don’t know that what we are experiencing may never happen again so we treat it like any other day, any other event.  Oh, how I wish I would have known it would be the last time…

If I had known it would be the last time I would talk to you, I would have listened closer, I would have responded better, I would have hugged tighter, I would have made sure you knew all that you meant to me and how very much I loved you…

If I had known it would be the last time I watched you play baseball after watching you play since you were just my cute little toddler, I would have recorded it all, I would have taken a million pictures,  I would have cheered till I couldn’t speak, I would have asked the coach for the ball you hit, I would have told you as you walked off of the field how very very proud I am to be your mom and how you blessed us with your gifts on the baseball field.  I would have made sure you knew that I didn’t regret one day in the freezing rain bundled up at the ball field or one sunburned peeling nose, that I didn’t regret the money spent over the years, or the many hours invested…

If I had known it would be the last time you and I shared the finish line together, the woman who gave me the gift of running, who taught me and ran by me even in my slowest days and became my biggest cheerleader and best friend ever.  If I would have known there wouldn’t be another race, I would have hugged you so tight at the finish, I would have celebrated us and I would have made sure that neither of us forgot that finish…

If I had known it would be the last time you would hold my hand in public, I would have walked every store, park, and street I could with your hand in mine until our feet hurt, I would have let you know that my hand is always here for you and that I hoped someday you would want to hold it again…

If I had known it was the last time I would eat a croissant I would have cherished every buttery bite, I would have even taken a picture of me with my  beloved gluten filled bread product, I would have taken an hour to eat that croissant; maybe I would have had two…

If I had known that it was the last time I would run, I would have done it on a beautiful cool day, with just the right play list.  I would have counted my blessings while praying and enjoying the air on my skin, I would have enjoyed the drops of sweat and the heaving of my chest as I put one foot in front of the other, and I would have said something symbolic and encouraging to myself about how awesome the years on the road just me, my running shoes and Jesus had been…

I guess we have to live as if it was the last time, all of the time.  Not in fear, but in constant love of what we have, of who we are blessed to share our lives with, of all that we hold dear.  Enjoy every moment, live that life of yours to the fullest, because you just never know when it will be a last time and when it’s gone, it’s gone.  Please don’t wait to start living your life more, live and love big NOW so you don’t have to have regrets and you don’t have to say , “If I had known it was the last time….”

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Living Life More with Anxiety, is it Possible?

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I remember the first time I had a panic attack.  It was about 15 years ago, in the evening at a Wal-Mart.  I was there alone, my husband was home with our toddler and few month old baby.  I should have been enjoying a quiet Mommy moment out of the house.  I should have been able to enjoy browsing the racks of clothes, and buying a few staples for the family, but instead, out of nowhere my heart began pounding uncontrollably.  I was scared, I had never felt this before.  I began to sweat, I was little lightheaded and disoriented.  I checked out and drove home in a fog and that is how it began.  I’m not sure if it was triggered by postpartum depression or if something just had shifted in me, but 15 years later it still chases me.

I found some relief from my anxiety for many years through running; then running more, then running until I had pushed my body as far as it was willing to go and it started retaliating for the many many miles I had pounded out on the pavement over the years.  I could no longer run away from the monster chasing me.

Around the same time my body gave me the back off warning signs I also experienced an extremely stressful 6 month season followed by a great loss.  My old monstrous companion was back, and with a vengeance.   If you have never experienced anxiety it is hard to understand, it is hard to understand even if you live with it daily.  I don’t know why my body and mind have these uncontrollable reactions, I don’t know exactly what triggers it most days, and when I do know, it isn’t necessarily helpful to bring me back to any sense of normal.  Many days, all I have to do is open my eyes in the morning and it begins.  It feels a little like suffocating, my breath gets short, my breathing labored, my heart racing, I can literally feel the cortisol release into my mid section, I can feel my blood pressure change, I become foggy and checked out, jumpy and irritable.

Some people allow anxiety and depression to hold them back from life, but I think it is even more reason to push ahead towards getting out there and living life to the fullest.  Of course I do the necessary things I know to try to help myself through proper diet, prescription medication, exercise, yoga and the like, but even then often it isn’t enough to quiet my anxious beast.  I have learned that it is possible to embrace the idea of Living Life More even when I may not feel it.   I find the more I push past the desire to withdraw the better I feel.  I know when I feel the rise of anxiety begin to boil up in me, it is then that I most need to do the things that will fuel my soul and fill my life with joy.  Maybe I go to the beach, maybe I go for a gratefulness walk (just what it sounds like;), maybe I pour myself a glass of wine and watch my favorite comedy, maybe I play a game with my kids, etc… What I don’t do is give more attention to the feelings than they deserve, I don’t wallow in self-pity that I have to deal with anxiety, I don’t give up on my great life and my dreams for my future, and I don’t give in to that which tries to steal my joy.  Every new day offers with it hope for a quiet stillness inside of me, but even when plagued with anxiety, I know even then, every moment is new and I can choose to keep pursing a full, beautiful life.

If you also deal with the monster inside of anxiety, I encourage you, don’t let it define you, understand that it is something you deal with, not who you are.  Let’s say it like it is, it SUCKS, but your life doesn’t have to!!  Go and take your own Live Life More Journey and although your monster may go with you, you can kindly say to it “You don’t own me and you don’t win today!”

**If you find that your anxiety or depression is debilitating to the point you can’t enjoy your life no matter how you try, please seek help through your Dr. or find a counselor or therapist to work with.  You are worth it!**

 

This Present Moment, Stop What You Are Doing and Start Living

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Some days I wonder about myself.  I wonder about my husband. I wonder if we are the only ones with this weird tendency to live our lives like we are on some sort of roller coaster.  It seems like we get just where we want to be only to have something then distract us from the beauty of what we have.

Two years and 4 months ago we took our then 16, 13, and 9 year old children, uprooted them from everything they knew in CO to go on an adventurous move to paradise.  A place where people save all year just to go on vacation, a place where the weather is beautiful and you can be outside most of the year, a place where the palm trees grow, and the beaches are always just a few minutes away.  And while one child hated the idea, one was at least open minded, and one was ready for the adventure, we felt in our hearts it was right.  We had this tug, this knowing that we must follow this path to FL.

It is paradise here.  It is all I hoped and more.  We have a beautiful little home with a pool!  Are you serious? A Pool!!  We live a 15 minute drive to one of the most beautiful beaches here.  We live a short walk to beautiful views of where the bay and a river meet and we have beautiful nature trails within just a mile of our home.  And yet, just a little over two years into our adventure there is discontentment.  One of us dreaming of the next place and the next adventure, ready to run and the other just wishing this place could be even better, “if only….”.  Today, this makes me sick.  And we are the only ones who can change it/us.

I had a moment this morning.  You ever had one?  Like a hard slap upside the head from God, saying “wake up dummy, look around you, be HERE. Quit looking back, quit finding reasons to be discontent and start living NOW.”  Therein lies the adventure, being present, living NOW.  The next will always come, unless of course it doesn’t;  in which case you have died and your next is your eternity.  So for today I am alive and here is what my heart spoke to me today as I was riding my bike to take my youngest son to his bus stop.

“Jenny, you are ONLY almost 40, maybe not even half way through life, and of that first 40 you spent some of it learning how to feed yourself, walk, talk, do math, make friends, love, etc… you have plenty of time on your side.”  ” Jenny, your almost 12 year old loves for you to ride to the bus stop with him, and he WANTS to hug you before you leave him at the stop, do you know how lucky you are that your youngest child hasn’t quit wanting to show you love yet?”  “Jenny, you have your husband and three children alive and healthy to show love to, not everyone has that.” As I rode my bike down the road with small mansions lining the beautiful river/bay and glimpsing through the spaces at their beautiful view, “Jenny, do you realize you live one mile from all you ever dreamed of in a place to live? Look how close you are, look how far you have come already and you still have so much life to live!”  As I stood at the edge of the water and watched a sail boat pass peacefully by me, “Jenny, embrace your beautiful life, even the parts that feel like disaster.”  “Jenny, get off the f***ing roller coaster, quit waiting for the next adrenaline rush, quit waiting for the bottom to drop out, quit being terrified of the next turn on the very ride you put yourself on;   put your feet on the ground, take a deep breath and look around you at your paradise, just start truly living.”

There is a difference between status quo, going through the motions, ho-hum drudgery from day to day and being in your space, embracing your gifts, and making each day beautifully part of your life story.  Living Life More doesn’t necessarily  mean going somewhere different or exotic, traveling to all ends of the earth, it can include that for sure.  Living Life More doesn’t mean living in a constant state of dreaming about the next adventure while missing the very beauty of the life you have today, but it can mean living in positive, curious expectation.  Living Life More doesn’t mean everything has reached perfection and now you can breathe a sigh of relief because you finally arrived.  Living Life More means being present, embracing love for yourself and all other beings, accepting difficulty or pain as a chance to grow and learn, giving of yourself without expectation of return, having hopes and dreams WHILE living in a constant state of gratitude for this day, this place, this moment, this life.

Now, if I can just hold onto this knowledge and live it out…..  🙂palm-trees-at-beach

 

 

Listen to Your Heart – You were Made for This

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heart wants what it wants

Listen to Your Heart – You were Made for This

Your heart is more than a vessel that pumps blood and keeps you alive, it is where the core of your being is.  If you believe in a creator, as we do, then you can understand that a creator usually creates with a purpose.  We believe you and I and every human was created unique, on purpose, with a purpose. Yes, even those who were unplanned by their human parents, were not a surprise to the one who created them ultimately.

Your heart talks to you, if you listen.  From it there is a still and small voice that guides you at different times.  Sometimes as the form of your ‘conscious’, other times as a  ‘gut check’, sometimes it leads you to ‘love’, but it is always guiding you toward who you were meant to be, if you will listen.  When you listen and then take action you are on your way to your own Live Life More Journey.

For us personally this beating of our hearts is something that keeps us from staying too long in one place.  It isn’t the same for everyone, the scale and scope is different and the journey includes different things for each of us.  We know that when we get the itch, the urge, the uncomfortable feeling that things are too comfortable, that for us it is time to move on and explore new things in the world.  Sometimes that looks like travel, sometimes a move, sometimes a job change, a change in routine, or  even just rearranging the living room.  What we have learned is that when you ignore the heart you are left longing and making excuses for why your heart is wrong and your mind is right.

In general it seems to us that our experience has shown that the mind is logical and works to protect you and offer you stability.  The heart is dangerous, a risk taker, and begs you to live on the edge of your seat.  As we have followed our heart each time it has been scary, exciting, even exhilarating, and it has cost us something, often something dear to us, but it has always been worth it.

What is your heart saying?  We hope you will take some time to quiet your mind, and do it regularly so that you can begin to listen to your heart more.  Let it tell you what your made for, what your Live Life More Journey entails.

We just started a new year, this is the perfect time to not just write some resolutions that sound good as a list of to-do’s, but to explore what the heart wants and make a plan to start movement in that direction.  You will find when you step onto the path of your purpose, doors will open and your journey will flow.

As of Jan 1 there was a 365 page book to be written, what will yours say?

What if it’s easy? Our Journey Moving to Florida!

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our FL beachHello from Florida!! No, not another vacation!  We haven’t posted in over a month because we were busy packing, selling a house, and moving!

From September 2 to October 27 all things fell perfectly into place for us to make our move to Florida.

This quick life change was met with a lot of blank stares and questioning eyes, many people asked us why?  We had good jobs, a beautiful home we bought brand new, amazing friends, and after all we lived in Colorado, so why on earth would we move?

It is hard to explain in a short conversation or a blog post, but I want to share a little of our story, maybe it will inspire you, it is our hope that it will.  We all have changes in life we want to make; some are big some are small, but often change is seen as hard and scary.  I challenge you to think differently for the next few minutes while you read this – What if change is easy?  What if it is and adventure?  What if it is totally needed to take us to the next level in our life?

First, I think it is necessary to understand our background, our way of thinking, who we are.  We grew up in rural Iowa and a big trip constituted shopping in a city about 30 minutes away.  When we went to college we stayed within an hour of our home town, then married, bought a home, and had a few of our children.  But something was always missing and there was a longing in us both.  Interestingly we had both dreamed of CO life before we ever knew each other, so when the opportunity arose about 5 years into our marriage, we jumped at it.  We were scared out of our minds, but somehow we pushed through the fear, not well and with very little grace, but we did. We moved once while living in CO and started over again in our new town, but after about 6 years there that deep desire to move came over us again but it took another two years for things to fall in place and many things happened in those two years that contributed to us being able to make the biggest move yet, and this time with a 16, 13, and 9 year old in tow.  We know that not everyone understands or feels the way we do, but I found another blog post that summed it up so perfectly and I highly recommend taking a few moments to read it, especially if you are someone who is more content being settled (which is OK) and doesn’t understand why we would pick up our family and move across the country, you can read it here http://elitedaily.com/life/staying-settling-need-move-5-times-life/751829/ My favorite quote from this article “You must resist the confines of comfort. You must defy the idea of settled. You must never resign yourself to the ordinary or the easy. You must challenge tranquility for the promise of something greater.”

With that, I’ll start this story of our journey about two years ago, when we had just been through the roughest patch of our life to date and it was a test of our marriage, our faith, our family, and our ability to endure.  About that same time I was introduced to the company I work with now, Arbonne International, and was soon surrounded by a great number of positive and influential women (the previous CEO used to refer to our company as a “Personal Growth and Development company disguised as a Health and Wellness Company’).  One woman in particular who earned a position of trust in my life, began to speak many truths to me, and challenge my thought processes in ways I didn’t even know existed!  When I would take these thoughts home, they were often met with resistance and excuse.

The biggest thought that needed to be challenged in our heads in order to even begin our Journey to Live Life More was scarcity vs. abundance.  Now I had heard these words before, but never in terms of attitude.  With closer examination it became clearer that a majority of the time we as a couple and as individuals made our choices with an underlying fear in us, an expectation for lack, and a general down trodden view of the world.  Worse, we were passing this along to our kids.  However, we have recently been criticized for believing the world is all rainbows and butterflies (quite the change)  and I say better to choose hope and life than fear and death.  Don’t misunderstand, we are still well aware that things will sometimes go not as planned, that life will, at times deal you a hand you wish you could fold on, but we also now realize so much of the outcome is based on our own attitude and choice.  Boy have we had some personal growth in the last few years and we are forever grateful for my friend and Arbonne for the part they have played in that.  We feel we can say without a doubt we would never have been able to even begin to put our heads around the HOW to make a move like this happen if it hadn’t have been for this massive change in our thinking,( I will expand on this in a future blog post).

Then, last spring something happened, the sort of unexpected information that takes you a few minutes to process, a family who we met in the years of our oldest son playing competitive baseball on a traveling team was effected by a great loss.  If you haven’t experienced this sort of youth sports phenomenon let me take a moment to explain.  Our son and their son entered onto a competitive team at 8 years old where we were told at the very first meeting that those in the room with us would become our family.  We spent evenings and nearly every weekend with these families on our team for about 9 months out of the year for about 5 years.  We traveled out of state together, stayed in hotels together, ate meals together, laughed, cried, even fought some times, but like family we stuck together.  We trusted our kids to each other and we had each other’s backs.  One family in particular, the Harris family became our closest friends on the team.  Our kids hit it off and had sleep overs and birthday bashes, and at games you would see us and the Harris parents cheering from the stands together.   Our kids, now high school age and no longer playing on the same team, meant that some distance had spanned with our families, but not for any reason other than business of life I suppose and lack of intention, we still considered them dear friends.  So when we found out that Mike Harris (the father of the boy who played with our son) was fighting for his life in ICU after a horrible case of pneumonia, we were in shock.  We went to visit Mike in the hospital in the last few days of his life, it was one of those profound moments you will never forget and for us was literally life changing.  Mike had suffered severe brain damage and was said to be already gone when we visited, and for the most part this seemed true as he lay lifeless and hooked to so many machines, but one moment passed as we held his hands where something came into his eyes and he looked at each of us individually.  The look spoke a thousand words, it was as if he was longing to let us know he saw us and as if he was seeing straight to our souls and urging us to not take another minute for granted, to not live desperate lives, to go and do the things our hearts were desiring.  After Mike passed we attended his memorial which was unique and beautiful, people enjoyed food and drink together and took turns sharing their memories of Mike.  It was amazing to hear the stories of how many lives one man could effect and in so many different places and ways.  It was then that we knew that it was time to start pursing our dreams and live life more.  We only get one life and we were faced with a decision, how were we going to live it? Would we choose to live with what if’s and regrets, or with curiosity, adventure, and hope?

Within weeks of Mike’s death we choose for Adam to make a job change to be together more as a family, we planned a 3 day whirlwind trip to check out one of possible move destinations, and we began this very blog.  We choose to live with abundant thinking, not making excuses for all the reasons it wouldn’t work, but believing and wondering how it was going to work out.   From our trip of discovery to Florida we found a town that just felt right, then we came home and prepared to sell our home, we listed it and it sold in under 24 hours, my job decided I could continue my work with them from FL while Adam pursued one builder he felt a draw to and low and behold they offered him a job. The apartment complex we hoped for had ONE opening and we got it, our family offered to come help with the move, the weather was perfect through the three day drive from CO to FL.  All things came together with perfection and while there is great sacrifice for this move, there is and will continue to be great reward.

Now that we are here, I am eager to share with you what we do with this great blessing.  We will have to be intentional daily to choose to embrace life, to continue to grow and change and to not fall back to old habits and ways.  I am also quite excited to share all the number of things we have already learned along the way in just the past few months.   I hope you will follow us on our journey, I encourage you to ask us questions and our biggest hope is that you are inspired to make the change in your life that you have been longing for.  Scoot to the edge, breathe, and trust that all things will work together for your good!

Obstacles Along Your Journey

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If there is a journey to be had, there will be obstacles as well, you can pretty much count on that.  Everyone’s obstacles will be different because I believe the obstacle is there to grow us, we are supposed to learn from it and we each have different areas of strength and weakness.

An obstacle is a thing that blocks one’s way or prevents or hinders progress.  Do you ever feel like your progress is being hindered when trying to achieve something new in your life or when trying to live life more?

One recurring obstacle to people like us, the ones who want to experience all there is to in life and in this big, big world is others who just don’t “get it”.  The people who we love who find their greatest joy in the comfort zone.  Hear me, there is NOTHING wrong with residing in the familiar and loving it, it just doesn’t fit me, at least not at this season in life, and I don’t know if it ever will.  There is something I find appealing to my parents simple life in the same little town all their lives and the predictability of it all, but that appeal wears off so quickly that I know I wouldn’t be happy any longer than it would take to get my boxes unpacked.

Right now, we are in a season where everything is day to day, we threw a bunch of balls in the air and now we will have to wait to see when and where they land.  Job, sale of a house, moving the kids, finding new housing, etc… it’s all in the unknown right now, this could be seen as an obstacle.  The somewhat scary part to that, is the balls can fall out of order and we can be left trying to reorganize our lives to fit accordingly.  So we may be faced with some situations or obstacles that will be less than ideal on the way to the goal and will we choose to embrace them as an adventure or cry that things just aren’t working out how we would have liked?

Another obstacle many of us face when we have a journey is finances.   Sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough, or not enough for everything to go the way we would like it to. Sometimes there are even tough choices to be made to make sure that our journey can happen.  You know what? I would rather be broke and fulfilled, than rich and empty.  Money is a tool, it will come and it will go, but being truly happy and fulfilled is priceless, so I believe you have to go after your dream and live out your journey and make what money you do have work for you vs. spending all your life just working for money.

There are so many possible obstacles to living out your dreams. There could be health issues, aging parents, debt, fear, little kids, older kids, grandkids, jobs, the list could go on forever and will be a bit different for each of us, but obstacles can be overcome, they don’t need to hold you back, that is your choice.

When I have an obstacle I first try to look at it objectively and ask myself some questions.  One thing I know is life is full of choices and when you ask questions you can choose an answer and move forward.

1. Is this life threatening?  If yes, maybe I need to redirect my attention my life threatening obstacle and rectify that situation before I move forward.  Or maybe I accept that this could be where my life story ends and I move forward anyways.

2. Is it something I created?  If yes, I  take responsibility for the issue I have created and work on a way to correct it or accept it.

3. Is my obstacle just trying to distract me or is it a real problem?  So many times I make a small issue into a big obstacle.  Only give your issues the space they deserve and not a centimeter more or they will start to fill up all the real estate in your head and render you useless to move forward.  Choose your thoughts wisely they will direct your path.

4. Can I do anything to change it?  If not, support/accept and move on.  There is a whole world of things that happen to or around me that I can affect and change and then there are an equal number that I can’t change.  Death and other people are the two that stand out to me the most as the things that I can not change.

Death of a loved one is painful to us that are left behind but our loved one moved on (to their NEXT life) and we need to move on too.

And other people, we just can’t change them.  Boy we want to, we want them to see it our way, agree with us, give us what we want, make us feel good, act better, whatever it is – you can’t change them.  Choose to love them where they are and move on.

4.  Do I want to change my course because of this obstacle?  Sometimes the answer will be yes, and that is okay.  No path is written in stone and most often there are many forks in the road that you can choose from.  If you decide your obstacle is worthy of changing course for a while or forever, it is okay, as long as you own that choice without blaming the obstacle.

Here’s to your journey, to overcoming your obstacles and to living life more!!

Trip of Discovery

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We got back yesterday morning from our discovery trip to Florida, notice I did not say vacation.  Although many people thought that was what we went for was just a few days away, we actually went to see if what we were feeling seemed accurate when we actually stood on the ground we were dreaming of.

we made it to the beach

We made it to Florida!

We got off the plane in Tampa and headed straight to a beach.  It was about to storm and it was so beautiful that morning. Now there is some controversy in our family about believing in signs to point you to what you should or should not do, but while we were spending that very first hour in Florida there was a rainbow in the sky and a dolphin that swam by rather close to us, as well as some little fish nibbling at toes.

rainbow over the ocean

Could it be a sign??

 It seemed like it was from a movie or something and we stood in the ocean and prayed for wisdom and to just know what is right.

We spent the next few days moving down the coast, eating at local restaurants, visiting the local grocery stores, driving towns and neighborhoods, talking to people who live in the area, and taking in as much of it as we could. Of course we made sure to stop plenty to get our toes in the sand and hang out in the ocean!

sandy toes

Sandy toes are the bestest toes!

 We have heard a lot of one question “Why would you ever leave beautiful Colorado?” followed by many things we ‘may want to consider.’  In answer to that I would say, yes it was hot, yes there were lizards and creatures we don’t see here in CO, yes not EVERYONE was friendly, but somehow in a place we have never been it still felt a little like home.  

We really fell in love with this one town that seemed to just fit us.  And so we will begin our job search and house hunt there. We will continue to pray and believe that we will soon be on our way to our next and continue on our journey to living life more.  In the mean time stay tuned to how we continue to press in and on 🙂

palm trees at beach

“Our” Beach 😉