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Thankful Thursday meets Freedom Friday

Since my life continues to become more eventful, that also brings more color. If you go back and read “My Story” on the homepage of my website you will see I describe my life like it’s a bag of Skittles. You know how it is. You reach in the bag and you never know what you’re going to pull out. Maybe you have a favorite flavor. Mine happens to be Green Apple but I like all of them even though I’m not much of a candy eater. So even though they are all different (just like us humans of this whole entire world) we can still intermix with each other. Also, because of the varying shades of the rainbow they all have a distinct taste but are still loved my so many. That little sidetrack (which is how my ADHD mind operates) has a point believe it or not. It is so lively in the Crazy Harts Club and that extends beyond inside these four walls, now that I have my oldest daughter, Rachel, and a grandson. Bringing it full circle for you . . . I am busy as a beaver, gnawing on logs and building my life, so sometimes I can’t blog/vlog everyday. That is why I am combining Thursday and Friday this week. These will be bullet points to make it easy for you and to remind me how GRATEFUL I am for the simple things. Read below how they flow together . . .

  • Water – mine is clean which gives me freedom to drink it, so I don’t get thirsty; freedom to wash my body and clothes with it.
  • Birds – beautiful songs they sing bring freedom to my heart and mind when I find myself in a stressful moment; I am reminded how their little chirps sound so happy and it brings a smile to my face.
  • Breathing – I take this one for granted but since becoming a yoga teacher I have learned more purposeful breathing which allows me the freedom to get through challenging situations and bring more calm into my life.
  • Being still – speaking of challenging because of my anxiety and ADHD, I am like a pile of snapping bugs constantly being thumped. Pop, pop, pop! All over the place. But I am consciously making the choice most days to sit and actually listen to what The Lord is trying to show and/or tell me. In a world of busyness, He clearly states all through the Bible and in my daily devotions that we need to stop “doing” (so much) and start “being”. Gosh, I LOVE that! Just BE . . . YOU!!!
  • Last (for today) but not least and most importantly actually – I am thankful for –

KEVIN – my husband, for being supportive of our newfound daughter and grandson; for giving me the attention I deserve; for changing the negativity; this will be THE GREATEST LOVE STORY EVER!

RACHEL – my 24-year-old daughter, whose life is parallel to mine especially when I was younger; for her success in finding me; for her determination in pushing through pain and finding peace on the other side; remember it takes time and is a journey, my beautiful daughter! (and my precious grandson that I can’t believe I have been blessed with!)

GRAYSON – my 21-year-old daughter, who because of her I became a great mama; for her teaching me patience; for her allowing me to witness an amazing life even through her silence and for her teaching me how to love ALL people. What a gift you are, my Angel Face!

KLOIE – my 19-year-old daughter, who because of her I have lived; for her empowering me to be myself like she has at such a young age when most people are against it; for our endless ridiculous nighttime funny outbursts, car concerts, and singing our sentences instead of talking them; This is why you, KloBo, are my Sunshine! You shine so bright that it covers my darkness and keeps me going. My little Christmas present.

*And the baby dogs, Bella & Copper of course!

As per my usual writing tendencies this could go on forever. . . all the people and things I am thankful for bring freedom each in their own way . . . to me and to others. For today, here is the good . . . my list of Thankful Freedoms. I ask you, will you make your own list? Maybe life has too many negatives in it right now for you to come up with multiple things and that’s okay too. I beg you to find at least ONE. Write down ONE person, place, or thing that you are thankful for and write out beside it how it brings you FREEDOM. JUST ONE. Then carry it around with you. Tape it to the back of your phone. Keep it in your pocket. Stick it on something you see many times a day. We all need reminders of the good . . . in our life because it is easy to see the bad. Have a fabulous weekend! Now go do your homework! Much Peace and Love Y’all! Namaste

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Writing Wednesday . . . Positive Purposeful Post

Last week I had Grayson pull a positive saying out of our very own LFTG jar and this week I asked Kloie to. She reached in and when she pulled it out, she just laughed, pointed at me and said “YOU!” I took it from her, read it and agreed “AMEN! Yep, that’s me.” Then I turned around in the kitchen and read it out loud to Grayson and our nurse, Grace. Here it is . . .

“I can’t tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”

Well, if that isn’t me, I don’t know what is – trying to please everyone. And nope, I’m not trying to be some sort of saint here because believe me this isn’t good for anyone! This is NOT being a winner. Most of my life I have been trying to please others in every way possible. So much so it has almost cost me my life. I am very slowly learning to put myself first – like at a snail’s pace. But not just any ol’ snail. This one has a camper on it’s back that is attached to a Ford F-450 with a family of five and two dogs packed in it with a couple of bikes racked on the back all while pulling a 4-wheeler. That’s a lot! Now you get why I’m so slow???

I think part of it is my anxiety in wondering “what will other people think?” which is what I heard so much growing up . . . “What will the church people think?” That was a standard comment from my daddy since he is a retired Southern Baptist preacher. That explains a lot doesn’t it? Ha, ha, ha. Guess what? I don’t care what “the church people” think and I’m learning that more people are out there in this world hurting rather than not because they are SO WORRIED about what other people think. I am nowhere near not caring at all about what some people have in their mind about me, but I have put a stop to the madness! I will not let it steal my life anymore. Have you thought about that? Have you thought that you are precisely letting someone, or multiple humans STEAL your life? Are you so frightened or uptight that it is making you sick? Maybe you don’t realize the hold other people have on you. Do you feel selfish when you take care of yourself? I used to about everything and now it is becoming less over time. But it takes daily practice. If I told you one day it could actually in real life physically KILL you? Would you keep doing it? Would you keep putting everyone else first? Maybe you aren’t even on your own list of priorities! I wasn’t and it will weigh you down until you break. You think it won’t happen to you. I thought the same thing. I have been through more than most people and thought I was so obviously strong enough to handle anything. Not true at all! It can and will happen to anyone! It’s a cruel joke so stop all the absurdity NOW!

For today, here is the good . . . you really can be yourself and those that love you the way you are just so happen to be the people you want to surround yourself with. If you are not causing any harm to anyone or anything, just trying to live your life and someone still brings you negativity then cut them out! And if you can’t completely do that then please distance yourself from them. They don’t care if you are damaged from it because they will move on and continue living. I urge you to live your life and if you have the courage then I wish for you the FREEDOM to LIVE OUT LOUD! I am now being blessed over and over because I choose to love myself now. I implore you to do the same. I’m always here if you need a little encouragement or reassurance. You’ve got this and so do I! Much Peace and Love Y’all! Namaste

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Yeah, I knew that would get your attention! But I really am and it’s not from who you think. Read on my fabulous Look for the good . . . family and friends . . .

On January 5th, 1995, at 19 years old, I gave birth to a precious, little girl. I named her Brailee Michelle. I also knew that within a couple of days I would quite possibly never see her again. You see, I placed Brailee for adoption. Not because I wanted to but because I was forced to. When I found out I was pregnant at 18 I was a Senior in high school and still a few months from graduating. My daddy and stepmother told me if I kept this baby then they would pretend they never had a daughter named Jane. I wouldn’t even exist to them anymore. I had an afterschool job at a daycare center and was completely dependent on my parents as most 18-year-olds are. The last time I saw her was when I literally placed her in her parents’ arms at 48 hours old. I will spare you all the sad and horrific details and instead concentrate on the good . . . Y’all know this post could go on forever because I love to write, and the details are tremendous – but I will keep it as simple as I can.

Just over two weeks ago a beautiful, strong, determined, 24-year-old woman rang my doorbell. (We planned this only 4 days before when she somehow found me???!!!) We have text everyday and have seen each other again. Her parents named her Rachel and yes, all those years ago I knew they were going to change her name. They were her parents, not me, after all and I just had to live with it. I have respected their entire family all this time by not being intrusive. Rachel is so much like me. The top half of her face looks like mine. She loves to write (and writes beautifully). The list just continues. As my readers know and especially those very close to me – it was earlier this year that I didn’t want to go on. Too many bad things have continued to pile up on my shoulders for 43 YEARS and I just completely fell . . . apart. Broken. Shattered. Crushed. Exhausted. But somehow by the grace of God Himself, He helped me hang on. He has given me a new life. I have an extremely supportive husband who is working hard everyday with me to have THE GREATEST LOVE STORY EVER. I have not just two but THREE magnificent daughters who are all very different but have their own special place in my heart. And now I’m a grandmama to a darling little boy. Rachel’s son. It’s surreal. So, for today here is the good . . . Are you kidding? All the above is good – no, it’s GREAT! I am attaching the video of our reunion and one of my favorite pics from this past weekend. Also attaching a pic of her “info card” that was on her little hospital bed (even though she never laid in it because I held her as much as I could in the hospital). I can’t say it enough . . . DON’T GIVE UP! HANG ON! There really is good . . . on the other side of whatever it is that haunts you. Much Peace and Love Y’all! Namaste

IMG_5117 Click for video

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Writing Wednesday . . . Positive Purposeful Post

So, since I want Grayson to live her life to the fullest, I try and let her experience as many things as I can remember (which we all know how my brain works). I wanted Grayson to be a part of Writing Wednesday, so this is the quote she pulled out of our LFTG jar –

“Kindness – one of the greatest gifts you can bestow upon another. If someone is in need, lend them a helping hand.”

 And here’s the definition of kindness – the quality of being friendly, considerate, and generous. Well, I’d like to think I am friendly. I have been told many times I am “overly friendly” which I respond, “is there such a thing?” I do think I am considerate. Considerate so much that it in return hurts me a lot of the time. Generous . . . hmm, I can be, but it depends on what I’m liberally giving or sharing. Of course, wouldn’t we all like to think we are kind though? But have you stopped to ask yourself if you really are kind? I am only thinking about it now as I write because I was prompted to do so. And as you read above those are my short answers. Let’s break it down . . .

I could definitely be friendly to way more people. You know a simple smile or “Hey” to literally EVERY SINGLE PERSON (handicap or not, y’all! Homeless or not, y’all! Everyone!) could change someone’s mood. Your curling of the lips upward could seriously make a person go from feeling angry or hopeless to thinking “Yeah, it’s gonna be okay”. Gosh, can you imagine? I am going to challenge myself with that! Now being considerate – well, we are just going to pass on that one because I am having to “retrain” myself to take care of me and not everyone else first. I am currently searching for balance between the two. Thanks to yoga! Sorry, just had to throw it in there ;~} But generous I could do a lot better! I tend to be stingy with my time. At this point in my life I am only interested in real, honest, and simple. Those are the people I want to spend time with – basically, nothing more, nothing less. And there are plenty of other ways to be generous. That is just one of my examples. Generosity is going to be a garden for me because I need to GROW in this area of my life. So, for today here is the good . . . I have a challenge to smile and/or say “Hey” to EVERYONE. I can continue to learn how to love and take care of myself. Last but not least I will search myself and find ways to be generous. If you have any ideas, please send them to me. I love my Look for the good . . . readers! Much Peace and Love Y’all! Namaste

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Writing Wednesday . . . Positive Purposeful Post

The founding belief of this company is to bring you inspiring positivity one breath at a time. All of our products are a reflection of this very idea. For example, our LFTG (Look For The Good) Jars are filled with inspirational sayings/quotes. Each saying/quote has a crack ‘n peel backing so if you want to you can stick it on something for a positive reminder or simply throw it back in for a random draw another day. So, having said that, periodically I will be doing my own random draw out of my personal LFTG jar and will be posting it on here with a story that emulates that message. These will be named “Positive Purposeful Post”. Let’s do one now . . .

 “I’ve seen better days, but I’ve also seen worse. I don’t have everything that I want, but I do have all I need. I woke up with some aches and pains, but I woke up. My life may not be perfect, but I am blessed.”

So, this is the quote Grayson pulled out of our LFTG jar (when I had both hands to help her :~} *See YouTube Channel Crazy Harts Club) One word comes to mind when I read this saying . . . GRATEFUL!

I know we use the word thankful a lot and maybe even appreciative. Both great words! I’m sure we all have room for improvement on how much we use these words. I have begun to use the word grateful more in these last few months which developed out of our Yoga Teacher Training homework. When I first started taking YTT one of our assignments was to purchase multiple books and read them at determined times on our syllabus. One of those books was “The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude” by Sarah Ban Breathnach. This is a daily journal where we were and are to still be writing down what we are thankful for on that day. I will admit some days I couldn’t bring myself to even open the book. That was because of deep, mental anguish I was experiencing. If you opened my journal you would find there were many days that I would write (or have to go back and write on that day) –

March 2 – Thankful I made it – yes, that I didn’t die

March 4 – Thankful I made it and didn’t die yesterday

March 5 – I guess thankful I’m still breathing even though I don’t want to be

March 11 – to be alive

April 2 – to be alive

April 12 – thankful I didn’t die

It goes on and on. Some days I could only write “nap” or “sunshine” even though I had several lines in the book available for me to write on. Sometimes on the days I could get to the studio all I would write for the whole day would be “yoga”. I know I have said it before and I will say it again – YOGA truly helped save my life . . . and for that, yes, I am GRATEFUL!

For my readers some of this may be quite shocking to hear about and for others not so much. I am choosing to share bits and pieces of my mental health struggles with all of you and yes that includes nearly 14,000 people and from all over the world – not just the United States through my website. I know I am taking a chance being vulnerable like this and it opens the door for even more judgement of me. But you know what? The Lord is handling that part, so I don’t have to worry about it. Speaking of yoga, The Lord and putting this all together . . . There are times during my meditation that when I ask Him to let me talk to my Mama, He allows me to see her. (Keep in mind my Mama is in Heaven) Most of the time she doesn’t speak and of course none of this is in an audible voice. But a few weeks ago, I decided to meditate in the bathtub. I was sad and confused about why I am and have for at least my entire adult life been dealing with very painful mental health issues. These all stem from my childhood and carried on into my present day. I asked my Mama “Why? Why am I going through all this and for so long? Why do I have to suffer so much?” She answered, “You have been given a gift from The Lord.” I told her it didn’t feel like a gift. I told her I am exhausted. I asked her again how this could possibly be a gift. My Mama said again “He has given you a gift and you need to use it.” When I explained to her that it feels horrible, that I stand out among people around me and that it is embarrassing at times – I looked up at her again and she wasn’t there. The Lord only gives me snippets, but I am GRATEFUL for them. He answered my question though. He told me my life has been very difficult but He chose me to go through this only so I could help others. I try and remind myself this truth especially on the harder days. So, to recap the quote above – for today, here is the good . . .

I really have seen better and worse days. I know both will come. But I also know both will go. I definitely don’t have a lot of material things but that isn’t something I’ve ever really been interested in anyway and The Lord has ALWAYS miraculously taken care of ALL my needs. I do wake up with aches and pains and actually don’t sleep more than a few hours (not even consecutively) each night because my body has been trained to listen for Grayson and her seizures for almost 22 YEARS! But what stands out most in this saying for me is “but I woke up”. Most people take this for granted. However, I know all too well how easy it would be not to wake up. And to finish it out – No, my life is far from perfect because there is no such thing as perfection but blessed, I AM! I encourage you to go throughout each day being THANKFUL, APPRECIATIVE, AND GRATEFUL for every little thing. It could be the sun shining, running water, a washing machine, a beautiful child, an awesome friendship, a flower. The list is endless . . . Much Peace and Love Y’all! Namaste

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So, this happened . . .

P.S. The glitter star stickers are on my certificate because I always teased our teacher, “Brine”, that what I wanted for graduation was a glitter sticker. Thanks, Brian ;~}

I am super proud of myself which never comes out of my mouth BUT yoga has taught me so much and I will forever be grateful, and forever be learning. Yoga isn’t a one-time thing or a destination to be arrived at quickly. It is a continuous, beautiful, freeing journey for your mind, body and spirit. You continue to add on to your practice (the actual poses), you continue to deepen your breathing for relaxation, you continue to focus in your meditation and the benefits continue to grow with you for as long as you practice throughout your life. For this, I am thankful, and I am super excited that I can now TEACH yoga! Of course, I have taught a little bit to some family and friends. Ha, ha . . . thank you for being my guinea pigs. Y’all are great! I also wanted to let you know I will be blogging about some misconceptions of yoga. Please be sure and read them as I know at least one if not many or all reasons have crossed your mind as to why you think YOU could NEVER do yoga.

But for today here is the good . . . I graduated something! Most of you don’t know the backstory to that. Many challenging situations have always been barriers to my completion of a lot of things. But I am so happy and proud to shout from the top of my yogi, glitter-spewing unicorn . . . I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! All the glory goes to The Lord who has had tremendous grace on me for 43 years. A big thank you to my husband, Kevin, who has taken on a lot more when I had long weekends of Yoga Teacher Training and for his newfound support of me . . . this I treasure. I am thankful to each one of my daughters, Grayson and Kloie, who have been through a lot due to the pain of my being so sick. They have sacrificed me being present at times. I am beyond blessed by them! I am thankful for our nurse, Grace, who has also seen a lot and been through a lot yet supported me a lot. Every time I talk about her to other people, I always describe her as one of my other children and also my right hand because truly there are many things I could not have done without her these last six years. If you live in the Crazy Harts Club (which Grace basically does) then you have the “luxury” of experiencing anything from A to Z.

So be on the lookout for the next blog about yoga. I’ll pick a misconception and tell you the truth about it. Also feel free to send me any comments or questions you may have about yoga. Until then have a Sweet Sunday evening. Much Peace and Love Y’all! Namaste 

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I have been through some hell especially in the last 12 months . . . at times not sure how or if I was gonna get through it. Wanna know my secret? YOGA! I’ve had this new, “not so little” tattoo for a bit now. *See pic below It is my actual body (photo cred to my daughter’s nurse), then I added the very bottom “message” and passed it on to my tattoo artist – Thank you, Jon Sanford! It is my body growing out of the lotus flower. The lotus flower is rooted in muddy, nasty water and flourishes into something beautiful. It reminds me every day something splendid can rise up out of ugliness. If you look closely you can see my actual thighs right above the petals as I am sitting in the lotus position itself. Speaking of the petals, I wanted eight of them to represent the eight limbs of yoga. Perhaps more on that another time.

What yoga has done for me is truly amazing! Not only amazing but transforming. Yeah, I have worked out on and off throughout the years but still would not consider myself athletic. A lot of people may think of yoga as just another way to exercise. And they wouldn’t be wrong. But that is not the true meaning of yoga. Yoga is mind, body, and spirit. This is definitely my journey to peace within. It has taught me or is actually still teaching me to replace wicked and negative thoughts in my head with positive, happy thoughts. I do quite literally have to tell myself sometimes when something makes me sad or anger pops in my brain, to change it by pushing it out and 1. Not allowing myself to think about it anymore and 2. Replacing it with something joyful. I now ask myself – is this, whatever “this” may be, bringing me happiness? Just today I discovered a new way to breathe during my practice – meaning the actual exercises I do during class. Because of all I have been enduring lately all I do is spew anger. And I mean SPEW! It is toxic to myself and those around me. My intention I set for myself today was to breathe for everyone in this entire world who is considered “less than” – in whatever and all ways that may be. Every time I inhaled, I took their sadness and every time I exhaled I spewed! But I spewed PEACE and imagined it raining down on them. I could go into so much more detail (as you know) about yoga but this post would never end. Ha, ha, ha! So, for today, here is the good . . . this is a process. It is a journey not a destination that I am trying to hurry to. I recently met with one of my dear friends who said to me she loved how I was open about my life being messy and how realistic I am. And a few months ago, one of my yogi friends said to me that she loved how I live my life out loud. These two have no idea how much of a compliment these statements are to me. For 43 years I have lived in so much fear of “what will other people think” with little sprinkles of me being my true self. Because of what yoga has done for me, I can fully embrace the Jane that The Lord has always meant for me to be. Who wouldn’t want to live out loud??? Now I know there will be bad times and sad times still to come but I am going to soak up and enjoy every bit of peace as a TRUE GIFT that The Lord is trying to give me. I sincerely hope you have a blessed weekend. Now go love yourself! Much Peace and Love Y’all! Namaste

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A long time coming . . .

That could pertain to sooooo many things. This blog post is one. I haven’t written in probably EIGHT MONTHS! There are lots of reasons for that. At the top of that list is . . .  my mental health. No! No one talks about mental health or most people don’t. It’s taboo. It’s ugly. It’s a no no. You know what is in reality taboo and ugly and a no no? NOT talking about mental health because people are quite literally dying over it. While I choose not to write all the details portraying my struggles with severe depression and anxiety, I will admit to living with it every single day. Some of those days I haven’t done so successfully which is where I have been all this time . . . it’s called being in the “black hole”. Perhaps more on that another time. While I am generally an open book, the only reason I am not spilling all the  beans is to protect my family, my husband and two daughters that is, from being judged. It isn’t fair. The very reason I write is to help other people. I have heard from numerous people how my being so open and honest has helped them. It truly is a shame we have to feel like we have to stay silent about mental health. For now, I am going to write when I can. I am going to write when I feel like it. Recently these very issues almost killed me, and I will leave that right there where it is. I have said many times how I have to love myself . . . how I have to forgive myself . . . how so many things had to change . . . but I never did. After realizing and actually experiencing near death that was it for me. It isn’t a choice anymore. I owe it to myself to love myself.

For those of you who may be new to my blog or may just have missed the meaning behind my “Positive Purposeful Post”(s) here is the explanation – The founding belief of this company is to bring you inspiring positivity one breath at a time. All our products reflect this very idea. For example, our LFTG (Look For The Good) jars are filled with inspirational sayings/quotes. So, having said that, periodically I will be doing my own random draw out of my personal LFTG jar and will be posting it on here with a story that emulates that message. These will be named “Positive Purposeful Post”. Time for another one below –

“But Moses told the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch The Lord rescue you. The Egyptians that you see today will never be seen again. The Lord Himself will fight for you. You won’t have to lift a finger in your defense.’” Exodus 14:13-14

Most times I don’t write about a Bible verse, but this just so happens to be the one I pulled from my jar today and I laughed at the timing. I always do! The Lord does have a sense of humor. The reason this is ironically funny is because I have been  very angry with The Lord. I have begged him for a long time now to save me and save other things. But I never heard from him. Or was I just not listening? Maybe He has been telling me all this time to change but I wouldn’t. I believe it took me nearly dying for Him to get my attention. It’s sad but true. So, for today here is the good . . . here I am just standing, waiting for The Lord to rescue me . . . and . . . He is! I have to stop being afraid of everything. I have to learn to trust again. I just need to breathe . . .

This blogpost is in HONOR of me instead of in MEMORY of me! It is also in HONOR and in MEMORY of those battling with and who lost their battle with mental health issues. I truly hope you have a blessed weekend. Now go love yourself! Much Peace and Love Y’all! Namaste