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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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“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens.” Mandy Hale

Y’all KNOW this is challenging for me. I am organized. I am a planner. I run 100 miles an hour with my ADHD. And trust . . . ha, ha TRUST has become an ugly word to me. I am taking steps (remember the last blog post) to break this thought process of not trusting. Forty-two years and most of that has been without trust so it will definitely take a while. I suppose I do have time to see what happens.  

Remember I told you I was going to take you on a journey with me and I have no idea where it is going or what it is going to look like. Well, that truth still remains. For the moment it is less of a roller coaster and more of a Jeep ride with no doors on a winding, mountain road. I have been praying more recently than I have in a while. I became reckless after “figuratively” collapsing under all the weight on my shoulders. I say to myself and out loud every day “Thank you, Lord, for saving me! You saved me!” and He really did. You have no idea! I also remind you and myself to let us stop judging each other and instead support each other. ‘Ya know that’s not always easy to do especially if we don’t agree with the topic at hand. However, if we truly love those we say we do then we support them as they ask and need. I continue to ask that of you for me and my family.

For today, here is the good . . . I am strong. You are strong. We are stronger than we think. Even if you are a planner and your personality tends to be more like mine . . . I am telling you to breathe. I am telling you to try and find trust. I am telling you to let go and yes, see what happens. I encourage you to find those people in your life who will positively support you wherever you are in your journey and I hope you will do that for them as well. Much Peace and Love Y’all!

Onward with my and YOUR journey to PEACE and HAPPINESS . . .

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Take that step!!!

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must but take the step.”

EXACTLY where I am right now! One of the struggles I have is going in the right direction. I have definitely been going in the wrong direction these last couple of months and that was just made crystal clear to me very recently. I honestly thank The Lord for answering my prayer about it. He rescued me from a bad situation. This is a different situation than what you are probably thinking. However, I choose to keep that to myself. PLEASE DON’T ANYONE ASK ME FOR DETAILS! And before I go on there won’t be any Kevin bashing. This blog is for me to release the demons of my entire life and to help others along the way.

So, it is not always about taking a step – even the smallest one – it is also about figuring out which direction is right. For now, the right direction for me is going to have to be what I need in the moment . . . in the present time in my life. I don’t have to answer to anyone else to see if they approve. As far as taking a step, no matter how small it is, that is proving to be more difficult to me every day. Some days I feel like someone has thrown me into quicksand and I’m sinking at a rather rapid pace for such a thing. Other days I feel like while I was sleeping, someone cured my feet and legs in concrete and I cannot physically pick them up to even take one more step. It takes all the physical, mental and emotional energy I have on most days right now. Sometimes I can’t even tiptoe . . . I have to crawl. I had someone ask me recently what was one of my greatest fears about all of this. Because it was in the moment, where I am trying to live, my answer at the time was THE LONELINESS! The loneliness can be extreme. Some people love to be alone more often than not. And then there are those who have the kind of personality who are lovers, touchers, feelers, nurturers, comforters and love being around other people. That would be ME, so I find it very difficult to just be alone with my thoughts. That is one of the scariest things for me.

But for today, here is the good . . . I am strong. You are strong. We are stronger than we think. I promised you I would share my story and at the end of every blog post I would give you the good . . . I go back to why I started writing this blog . . . my true hope for you is to bring you peace knowing that The Lord is always there (He carries me most of the time) and laughter because life can be so ridiculous you just have to LOL (Laugh Out Loud) sometimes. Some days will be harder than others, but I am encouraging you and reminding myself to slow down and take a moment to Look for the good . . . . It’s there you just have to look for it. Much Peace and Love Y’all! Peace and Happiness are coming . . .

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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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Lisa – Girl Gang Member

Courageous. Giving. Strong. I mean yeah, she is a runner and works out but that is NOT what I mean when I use this word to describe one of my best friends. Try these definitions – of great moral courage; powerful in means of prevailing; decisively unyielding. Now to break those down . . .

She has been tested on numerous occasions on how she should handle her life with a blended family but like I said – she is decisively unyielding when it comes to what is best and benefits her family as a whole. It isn’t a competition to win but a journey that continues and she always prevails. (Whether she knows it or not) She will not waver on what is best for her children. She is courageous. It isn’t always easy to be the mother to children who are not biologically yours, but Lisa holds her head high and presses on making sure her family is always taken care of. And then there is giving. Most importantly, she gives with her heart. She also gives with her time making sure all three of her children know she is present and there for them at all times, as well as for her husband. She gives in so many other ways not just to her own family but to me as a friend, even to strangers. She is the founder of Their mission is – to progress society’s awareness to the value of nonbiological parents in a blended family through improved rights and increased responsibilities, participation and empowerment, with the understanding that mindfully and intentionally uniting families in this way will strengthen the marriage, and thereby the children.

My list of behind the scenes details of what she has endured, let go of, and fought for would blow your mind but 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, Lisa! Much Peace and Love Y’all! I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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Positive Purposeful Post – Sort of . . .

You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.

Am I? You better get ready for this post! Strong – it can mean many things but here are some definitions – solid or stable; healthy; thriving; able to resist wear; energetic. Those that are around me outside of my admirable, fierce, intimate circle of friends think I am a ball of energy. I am constantly moving, talking or doing. I wonder if they think I sleep eight hours a night, have very little stress, and my life is like riding a unicorn that poops out glitter? It is everything opposite of that. I AM EXHAUSTED! Not tired but EXHAUSTED! I am stable – well this could be debated by some. Ha, ha. I am trying to get healthy. Seriously! I have reached out to my neighbor, who is a personal trainer, to help me with my food issues. I know you need to exercise as well but food is my problem. As you know, I hate to cook and add all the other crazy in my life on top of that I would just rather eat doughnuts for every meal if I could. Or cereal. Too bad Grayson can’t eat cereal because Kevin would be in trouble. It would be cereal for supper. And it is only by the grace of God that I resist anything but lately everything has been wearing me down.

My best friend, my husband, my Kevin stays stressed but I can’t go into detail here. I worry about him having a heart attack in his early forties. I wish he could let go of a lot and enjoy his life. I don’t want him to be sad or angry. Here I am talking when I struggle with the same.

I will forever be sad over Grayson. I just will. I don’t want to hear any stupid comments about being thankful I have her – of course I am thankful with so many children and teenagers passing away too soon here on earth. But most people don’t know what it is like to have a 19-year-old who has to be in diapers, has to be fed, clothed, bathed and can’t do anything to take care of herself. Not only does she not have any fine motor skills (she can’t grasp anything – not even my hand to hold) to point to what she needs and/or wants but she is also non-verbal. Most people don’t know what it is like to grieve every day for years and years and years. She can’t even sit up by herself. EVERY SINGLE DAY of my life I face sadness. I wake up every morning just hoping when I walk in her room I don’t find her dead from a stupid seizure. She can’t tell me what she wants to eat. I don’t know what she likes to watch on TV. For years now we rarely see her smile. She even looks sad. So that doesn’t help either. If she seemed happy I would be able to function much better. I feel like the worst mother ever because I can’t tell you these things about my own daughter and I can’t help her and I can’t change anything! I hate all the drugs she is on. I hate she can’t say “I love you, Mama!” I hate seizures that she has most days. I hate that I can’t pick her up and dance around with her anymore because of her size. I hate that I can’t lift her at all. I hate that she doesn’t sleep at night and sleeps most of the day. I mostly hate that of all people, most of my extended family treats Grayson terribly. There you go. It’s in black and white. It has been typed out. They know it. Others know it. Yet they don’t change it. I know I said ‘hate’ a lot and I don’t need the comments on how you shouldn’t use that word. Come spend a day, or less than that even, and tell me how you feel. I am tired of feeling overwhelmed with all the pressure of what needs to be done for Grayson yet I have very little support. I need to be trained very simply and slowly on her eye gaze (you’ll have to look that up). I want her to have a voice more than anyone but who supports me to help her do this? I want her school to help her and other students like her who can’t use an iPad or touch screen. She is in there! I just need a team of people who believe in her and will help her. I am so thankful for her nurse, Grace! My gosh. She goes out of her way, above and beyond, to not only help Grayson but this entire family (of course Reesy, Bella, and Copper included). I feel like a failure with her new puppy, Copper. We rescued him in November but he is 7 months old. I also need a team of people to help train him and support us in training him to be a therapy/service dog. The thing is MONEY! Everything is MONEY and this is something we have always been short on because of our situation. I have been a stay-at-home mama for most of Grayson’s 19 years. We also NEED a one story, open floor plan, handicap accessible house. We have chunks of sheetrock ripped off the corner of our walls because her wheelchair doesn’t fit very well in our house. Her bedroom is tiny and barely big enough to fit a bed in because we had to enclose a room downstairs for her years ago when we couldn’t lift her upstairs anymore. Because of where the ramp into the house is located I can barely get her in and out of the house EVERY SINGLE DAY because we hit walls while lifting almost 200 pounds to lift and turn her wheelchair to get in the door. I feel like I give all my time and efforts to help other people with no payment because I just like helping people. I don’t want payment.  Can’t someone help us with these things? Why don’t people care for people anymore?

I worry about my Kloie being hours away from me and wondering if she will be okay because her school is so difficult. When I see her it is like sunshine on a cloudy day. It scares me to let her go back after she visits for a long weekend. We are even talking about colleges now and I want to cry every time because she may move very far away. It is extremely hard for me not to be selfish in that area.

I am sad about feeling isolated. Old friends eventually stop asking us to do stuff because we always have to say ‘no’. We can’t do what other people do because Grayson can’t. We can’t go where other people go because Grayson can’t. I don’t do anything on a whim because it takes days to weeks of planning on how to take care of Grayson.

And my list goes on BUT as always promised I will try to Look for the good . . . so for today, here is the good . . . I am doing pretty good on my clean eating plan. Please comment below or send me messages of some good because I am in serious need and who knows I bet your comments will help someone else. Much Peace and Love Y’all!