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How do you love yourself?

“If you don’t love yourself, you’ll always be chasing people who don’t love you either.” Mandy Hale

As you know I’m on quite the journey. A most basic definition of journey is – passage or progress from one stage to another. I’m sure as hell passing through and as y’all know I love to say I am putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, especially lately, I feel like it’s’ rather slow though. Kinda like a slug on a hot, summer day that is melted to the concrete. Eww gross! That’s a visual! The second part of that definition mentions progress. I have to ask myself . . . Am I progressing? Or am I going backwards and into some dark places? Of course, I don’t hide it and yes, I acknowledge it – I’m in a very vulnerable place. Difficult to admit but an even harder place to be in. I feel like there are numerous question marks hovering above my head that everyone can see as I walk around. So many “what if(s)” make it even more difficult to live in the moment but I still try.

So, for today here is the good . . . along with a question for all my readers Worldwide . . . I am strong. You are strong. We are stronger than we think. Trust me on that one and it’s okay for someone to remind you of that on days you just can’t seem to believe it. And remember I’m here to hold your hand and walk through this with you. And now the question . . . What do you say to yourself or what do you do to love yourself? I need help from all my Look for the good . . . peeps for tips on self-love. You can comment below or message me any number of ways – privately or publicly – on Instagram @lookforthegoodinc or @janewithahart or on Facebook on my Look for the good page (look for our special logo). I have to give a special shout out to @thejourney_world for this Instagram quote post which is a quote from one of my recent faves #mandyhale. Much Peace and Love Y’all!

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Positive Purposeful Post – It’s been a long time coming . . .

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”

I pulled this one out of my very own LFTG jar weeks ago. And I mean WEEKS ago! I haven’t been able to write in so long. As you know, because I always say it, I miss writing. I love it! I just haven’t been in the right frame of mind to do it. I’m still surprised I am writing now. The reason I am is because I know for a fact that I am not the only one who needs to hear this.

FEAR! I am assuming all people are afraid of something at some point in their life. That is struggle enough. This is for you too! But what about those people – ME, ME, ME – that battle fear EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. How do we keep moving? How do we not give up? The only answer I can give is by the grace of God I keep putting one foot in front of the other. I am about to take you on a journey with me that I have no idea where it is going or what it is going to look like. But I invite you to come along and experience it with me because I can guarantee it will, at the very least, be entertaining of some sort.

My husband, Kevin, and I have separated. After 19 years of marriage! We have two beautiful and unique daughters. For that I am blessed! I am now 42 years old with two “adult” children. My youngest daughter, Kloie, is 18 and just left two weeks ago today to go into the AmeriCorps. She will be gone for the next 10 months! She is absolutely MY SUNSHINE I need every day, so this has been a major change for me. More on that in another post. My oldest daughter, Grayson, is 20. As you know, she is severely handicapped in all areas of life. She is like having a baby in a 20-year-old body. We have come to yet another crossroads in our lives. Grayson goes to a special school and they can attend until they are 21. She will be 21 in November, so this will be her last year of school. That gives me a few hours during the day to have some sort of job but only limited time. What employer is going to be okay with me saying “I will be taking summers off, at least one to two days a month off, several days off at Thanksgiving, two weeks off at Christmas and a week off for Spring Break? Because when school is out I must stay home with Grayson. We do have nursing, but she only comes at certain times and she won’t be with us forever. So that brings me to only being able to work in the school district by subbing at her school. Here are the problems with that – it pays very little money. Not enough for us to live on. Grayson only has one more year of school left – really 9 months. What will happen next June? Then what? Where will she go IF I could find a job? Who will take care of her while I’m at work? I have no family support. Also, subbing at her school is extremely taxing not only physically, but mentally and emotionally because I am working with students like my own daughter who are severely handicapped. It is difficult to live and work doing the same thing with no physical, emotional or mental break.

After staying at home for most of 20 years to take care of Grayson, what am I going to do to take care of my girls and myself financially? NOW THAT IS FEAR! I stopped listening to society and how we are supposed to all have a college degree and work 8-5, Monday through Friday, and have the perfect white picket fence family. That is not my reality and I know for so many it is not a reality for them at all either! Instead of judging each other I propose we support each other. As you have heard me say/write before –One of the most important things that I NEED the world to know is it doesn’t matter what you can or can’t do, what you do or don’t look like, what you do or don’t have – EVERYONE HAS A PURPOSE! EVERYONE IS HUMAN SO TREAT EVERYONE YOU MEET LIKE THEY ARE. We all breathe the same. 

So, for today here is the good . . . I am strong. You are strong. We are stronger than we think. I feel very lonely right now. So lonely it is suffocating at times. However, I know somewhere deep down in my soul that someone is watching over me and taking care of me. I am having to walk, sometimes crawl, even though I want to run . . . through this ugly thing called FEAR! But I am doing it and I know on the other side of fear will be the PEACE and HAPPINESS I have so longed for. I don’t know how long it will take to get there. I don’t know how painful it will be to get there. But I KNOW I WILL get there. You can come with me. I will hold your hand if you want me to. I will put my arms around you if you want me to. I love you! Much Peace and Love Y’all!

P.S. Be on the lookout for the next post about my journey to PEACE AND HAPPINESS . . .

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The Triple P – Positive Purposeful Post –

“A woman’s strength isn’t just about how much she can handle before she breaks. It’s about how much she must handle after she’s broken.”

This is dedicated to all the beautiful woman in the world who have experienced something or maybe many things that knocked them down completely.

No one wants to admit they are broken. Broken means smashed into pieces. Broken means damaged. Broken also means not functioning properly. Let’s “break” these down.

You know the more times something is smashed into pieces the harder it is to put it all back together again? And it will never be the same. If something is damaged can it ever be good again or even good enough? I don’t know. What do you think? Message me and let me know. I would be very interested to hear someone else’s broken story. I already know mine.

And you know a lot of times I will say “I have been knocked down so many times that one day I’m not going to get back up.” Well, come on – those that know me, know that I’m not going to stay down. However, when I do get back up I may get back up as a different person. I may be someone you don’t recognize because I am stronger than you thought. Tougher than I seemed before.

For today, here is the good . . . Remember “A woman’s strength isn’t just about how much she can handle before she breaks. It’s about how much she must handle after she’s broken.” And also remember we are stronger than you could ever know. Much Peace and Love Y’all! Have a great rest of your weekend.

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CLEARANCE!!!

Good morning “Look for the good . . . ” Family and Friends,

I have been subbing so much at Grayson’s school that there has been no time to write. We only have 2 1/2 weeks of school left. I look forward to blogging again soon! In the meantime, I wanted to let y’all know a MASSIVE CLEARANCE is going on. We are phasing out all products. Featured today is our “Better Woman” Notecards. They are . . . drum roll please . . . ONLY $5! They were originally $20! Check out the “Shop” page on the website. Here is a description – Even we girls need a little help from time to time when it comes to knowing how to express the right words to our partner. Introducing the “Better Woman” Notecards. This perfect sized tin is filled with all the right things to say and even comes with a little pen inside. Yes, we’ve thought of everything! Just take one out, sign it and leave it to surprise your better half.

* Includes 31 cards. Don’t forget! We offer a special refill pack. (Also on clearance!)

Much Peace and Love Y’all!

 

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Ashlea – Girl Gang Member

This is my final Girl Gang Member post about my best friends. So, lastly, but only in writing this blogpost, and certainly not least in any way whatsoever, here is my Ashlea. Oh, wow! Where to begin with this one? We met when her oldest and my youngest daughters were in 4 year old kindergarten together and we haven’t missed a beat since. She is . . . Fierce – furiously eager or intense. She can flash those piercing eyes in your direction, head cocked to the side with a slight smile dancing in the corner of her mouth. You can’t help but want to know what she is thinking and then you must go do it with her! It’s always an adventure. Brave – possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance. Hmm . . . this badass BFF of mine has been through mud pits, sprayed in the face with venom, and hung out to dry in the middle of a desert. But NO MATTER WHAT – she always comes out the other side of whatever it is still with that “pretty girl swag”. (go look that definition up) Vivacious –  lively; animated; spirited. We were once known as the Dynamic Duo. She is my partner in crime. She is wild, fun and up for just about anything. What haven’t we shared? She is a survivor. Just like me, she has been through more shit than you would find in a pasture of a million cows that were all just given enemas. How’s that for a visual? We’ll be in our eighties and still crazy – TOGETHER! She would probably describe herself as this “Flawed and fabulous because perfect doesn’t exist and normal is boring.” And this is just one of the many reasons I LOVE ME SOME ASHLEA GRAVES!!! We ain’t afraid to get our hands dirty in this crazy thing called life! So, for today here is the good . . . I am BLESSED to call her my friend, my sister and to have her be part of my inner circle – my Girl Gang. I love you, Ashlea! Much Peace and Love Y’all! I hope y’all have a great weekend. PS – yes this is an old pic below. Most of our pics I can’t show to the public! (wink, wink)

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Bridget – Girl Gang Member

Considerate, good-natured and humble. It’s hard to even remember when we met exactly because I don’t like to remember time when she wasn’t a part of my life. I suppose it has been close to 14 years. Maybe? Seems like forever. I met her husband when Grayson was a baby and a few years later our families ended up living in the same neighborhood. We have shared ridiculousness through our dress up parties, lots of food at numerous home gatherings, and more wine and beer than anyone cares to admit. Together we have experienced the highest highs and lowest lows and supported each other through them. Bridg and I can be quite opposite and yet oh so the same. We definitely balance out our personalities.

This is not only how I see her but how she truly is . . . Considerate– showing regard for another’s feelings, circumstances, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I have quite literally leaned on her shoulders and cried. She genuinely cares for other people and she listens. While she is always considerate of my feelings she is not afraid to tell me the other side. I am thankful to have a friend who can be honest with me even if it may not be what I want to hear. That is hard to come by. THANKFUL!  Good-natured – having or showing a pleasant, kindly disposition. Even though Bridget’s personality is more on the introverted side she never comes off as snobby or stuck up. She has a warm smile on her face and makes others feel comfortable. She doesn’t believe in rocking the boat. She is my calm in a lot of storms. Humble – not proud or arrogant. This one jumps out like a flashing, strobe light. Bridget is the definition of this! She doesn’t care about the material things in life. She doesn’t feel like she is better than anyone, yet she knows her self-worth. Bridget is the sugar to my spice! So, for today here is the good . . . I am BLESSED to call her my friend, my sister and to have her be part of my inner circle – my Girl Gang. I love you, Bridg! Much Peace and Love Y’all! I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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Positive Purposeful Post

Pardon me for the interruption of the “Girl Gang” posts – the rest are coming – BUT it has been awhile since I have done a Positive Purposeful Post. I need one! I am so busy being chased WHILE ON MY HAMSTER WHEEL that quite honestly, I haven’t had the time but more importantly the brain cells left to hardly write at all! I love writing and miss it. It’s just this roller coaster I have been on doesn’t seem to have a STOP button. (Insert mind pic of me getting thrown from the ride into a lava filled, alligator infested swamp)

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. 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. Head on over to our SHOP and purchase your very own today or bless someone else with one! WE ONLY HAVE A FEW LEFT! 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 –

“Forget all the reasons why it won’t work and believe in the one reason why it will.”

Again – perfect timing! So, as you readers know our life, our “situation” (which it is so annoyingly referred to on a regular basis – even by me) is difficult. Challenging. Demanding. Heavy. Painful. Emotional. Toilsome. And the list goes on . . . You wouldn’t believe all the negative words I could use to describe my journey on having a child with special needs. But who needs all the negative? Where is the positive? That is the whole reason why I began this blog. I not only wanted to help others “Look for the good . . . .” but I needed it too! I still do, probably now more than ever. But just like the quote says “ . . . believe in the one reason why it will” is how I survive. I have to constantly look for the one good thing. Just one. No matter how small. This particular saying is screaming at me so loudly today because of another big question we are being faced with currently. WHERE ARE WE GOING TO LIVE? I will stop there for today only since no one wants to read a blogpost soooooo long. If you personally know me and are freaking out about this question – yes, you will have to wait for the next post too. So, for today here is the good . . . . I had time and the heart to write today. Writing is one of the few things that really makes me happy. I am thankful. Remember . . . Forget all the reasons why it won’t work and believe in the one reason why it will. Much Peace and Love Y’all!

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Sharron – Girl Gang Member

Kind, thoughtful and compassionate! She even gets an extra “r” in her name because she deserves it. We met when our youngest children were in kindergarten – many years ago – even though neither her nor I have actually gotten older (wink, wink). We never hung out or ran in the same circle but every time I saw her, at all the countless school activities, we would greet each other and even hug. I was drawn to her for some reason, not just because she is beautiful on the outside, but my soul felt we shared something. The Lord knew what He was doing way back then. But doesn’t He always know??? Fast forward through time and land several years ago. I can’t quite remember how it happened, due to the fact that we’ve always had a connection, but she invited me on a beach trip. Just her and I. Girl time. I had been very sick with an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder, so I wasn’t feeling my fun and silly self. This lent itself to us spending hours talking. For whatever reason we both opened up about our past and our present lives – the ups and downs. This is when I discovered why I was always captivated by her. We had both experienced and lived through some real nightmares. I won’t divulge those here. I will leave them where they are – in the past. For today, here is the good . . . I am BLESSED to call her my friend and am honored to know her. She is one of the most humble and truly genuine people I know. She isn’t afraid to fight for what she believes in and fight for others is what she does. She is co-founder of the Homeless Period Project. Go look it up! You’ll be inspired. Much Peace and Love Y’all!

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Dava – Girl Gang Member

Sweet yet sassy and all things Southern! She and I first met years ago at church. We were attending a small group for parents of children with special needs. She will tell you she knew she was gonna love me from her first impression of me based on the introduction of myself. I announced to the church group – of all people – “Hey, y’all, my name is Jane Hart and I do love Jesus, but I also like to cuss”. So, there you have it. Two peas in a pod. It never matters how long (or short) it’s been since we have seen each other because we always instantly carry on. We laugh and cry. She understands from deep in her soul and by living it herself why my heart is broken a little every day. We are not just mamas. We are mamas of children (my now adult one) with special needs. Our girls have nowhere near the same disability but the pain we experience is the same. We also know what it’s like to fight for our children every day. EVERY DAY! So, for today here is the good . . . I am BLESSED to call her my friend, my sister and to have her be part of my inner circle – my Girl Gang. Did I mention how beautiful and always put together she is? She is bold and courageous giving all she has to her family and friends. I am thankful. I love you, Dava! Much Peace and Love Y’all! Have a great weekend.

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It’s February!

Ahh, February – the month of love. However, I want love year ‘round. All kinds of love! Today I am going to express my gratefulness to my tribe, my people, my girl gang. I want to take time to shout out to them how much I love them, appreciate them and need them. The next several posts are going to address each one of them individually. I refer to them in the acknowledgements of my first book as “my little circle of girlfriends who are strong, fierce, and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty in this thing we call life.” Each one of them is different from the other and even from me but I share a common thread with them as well. Each is strong and fierce and doing something to make this world a better place. Don’t get me wrong I have other friends who are wonderful, but this blog post is just about MY CIRCLE. For today, here is the good . . .  I don’t consider it luck but instead a blessing to have these 5 ladies be such an important part of my life. Cheers to you (in alphabetical order of last names because you are all equally important to me) DB, AG, BO, LP, SP!  I ask you Look for the good . . . family and friends – who are your people? Who makes you laugh until you snort? Who let’s you cry on them with your snotty nose and salty tears? Who listens to your same freakin’ story so many times it can be exhausting yet they let you continue to do it? Who are you blessed with? Be sure to let them know how awesome they are ASAP. Much Peace and Love Y’all!