Category Archives: gratitude

Everyday Cake

IMG_9364Happy people find joy daily.

My goal is…be passionate about my purpose to live 365 days of joy. I need to keep inspiring my mind.

I need to be clear about my purpose and set a realistic timeline. No one ever achieved 365 days of joy, in 30 days. I need to be patient with myself, start everyday like it’s a brand new day and forgive myself, so I can hit the restart button.

I look for the good in every single person and situation I encounter. No judgement here, I take people at face value. I don’t care about what you did in the past or what you plan to do tomorrow, I am interested in what your doing and sharing with me today. When I am disappointed or something doesn’t go as expected, I have empathy. If I set out to find the good in people, I will react to every situation differently. Over time the people who are meant to stay in my life, will and those who aren’t won’t. I just trust that…

The power of positive thinking and forgiveness 

Happy people find a valuable lesson in every single setback. They turn a mistake into a triumph and rather then playing the blame game, they take accountability and move forward.

Your purpose is to be grateful 

Resolving to see my glass as half full. When I am happy, I am grateful for everything and everyone that has either brought me joy or has inspired a lesson learned or punishment well deserved.

I assume the best intentions of everyone around me. What I have found, for the most part, people are trying to be decent and honest human beings. We all process things differently and that just transcends in a way, I might not understand. I remind myself to have patience and it’s not easy, especially when trust has been broken or I’ve been hurt. I let the fear go and found the courage to see past my history, because most of that is still a mystery:) I look at the bright side, because that’s what pulls me out of the darkness.

I put my positive attitude into action daily. I know it’s easy to be joyful, when everything is going my way, but when I experience a setback or difficulties…that’s when I truly demonstrate my character. I remind myself, that my character is worth fighting for and I am deserving of dignity. I treat myself with the same kindness and  compassion that I show everyone else, by forgiving myself. I am always a work in progress. I remind myself daily, “forward motion is far better then no motion”.

I set boundaries…if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. I stopped being afraid to rid myself of toxic energy. When it becomes too much to manage, it’s time to take out the trash.  I am deserving of the same kindness and respect that I am putting out and it’s ok for me to appreciate that and be grateful.

I remember to CARE…be consistent, accountable, real and enthusiastic about life.

Wishing you always #365DaysofJoy

My Beautiful Selfie

Have you ever been nominated for one of those, challenges where you have to post pictures, that are intended to show, your confident and beautiful in your photos?

I share, being confident and comfortable in a picture certainly doesn’t mean you feel that way about yourself. “A picture speaks a thousand words”, but from my experience, it’s not about how someone looks, rather how they are feeling in that moment. I have been blessed with being able to capture the beauty of a moment and share that in a selfie. I also share, that doesn’t mean I feel beautiful all the time.

I think it’s fair to say, you don’t find me alone in a lot of pictures. I often use my selfie stick as a shield, when I find myself in an overwhelming situation, or trying to capture a moment that might make me uncomfortable. I have often used the selfie stick to leave enough space, between me and the camera, to hide my flaws. For me, sharing all the people that surround me or have brought me a true moment of joy, is real and far more gratifying, then seeing myself alone and exuding beauty, when I am not genuinely feeling that way.

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Sometimes I wake up and I have a hard time looking at my body. If it wasn’t for that selfie, I may have believed what I saw, in that mirror, aging skin and an overweight figure. Somedays, rather then applaud myself for having found the strength to grow muscles, I shame myself because, my jeans no longer fit my runners physique.

I have struggled with my weight since I was a teenager. I often compare myself to Oprah, having been between a size 0-20. The problem with that, somewhere along the way…my mind got confused about the body it was in.

So, I thank my selfie…for being the reminder I need sometimes, of how beautiful the women in front of the mirror has become.

IMG_0444I ask myself everyday…what is it, that I am doing to feel beautiful, so I can go out and share that, with the world. I share the answer was finding gratitude for my life and living it with passion and purpose, that’s when my attitude changed ,along with what I saw in the mirror. This today, is what transcends, when I share my beautiful selfie.

My Little Miracle

The most important thing I have learned, on my journey to share 365 days of joy. Happy people, find good in the world. I had to resolve myself, to see the glass as half full and become an eternal optimist.“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Helen Keller

I look for the good, in every single person and when a person disappoints…I show empathy. “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” Margaret Mead.

I had to be clear about my purpose and set a realistic goal. I don’t know anyone who has ever achieved 365 days of joy, in 30 days. What was I thinking?  This was not going to be a short term goal, or instant gratification. Finding daily joy, in a world that often seems full of sadness and negativity. Was I setting myself up for failure or was I strong enough, to believe…I might, actually like the person I would become and find some hope in humanity. The worst case scenario, I fell victim to my own “get happy” scam. I couldn’t get any unhappier, so I had nothing to lose. Truth: nothing worth achieving is ever easy!

How?  Im just a simple mom, who’s not so simple minded. I think outside the box and get back to basics, they write text books on that stuff. I knew nothing about achieving daily gratitude. Somedays all I want to do, is pull the covers back over my head and go back to sleep. Everything for a reason…yup, the RT button on twitter. I had resolved this issue and relatively quickly. You know the old saying, “it takes a village”, well that stands true for a life filled with 365 days of joy. I realized, the daily joy I was achieving, was being inspired by the people I was surrounding myself with. Perhaps, it was an article I read, a program I watched or just a picture quote that someone was inspired to share. Ahh gotta love the “re-tweet” button, within a moment you have inspired the masses and what was once a ripple is now a tidal wave of sheer joy!

 

 

Each one of those simple moments, that lifted my spirit and brought me the simplest form of gratitude, a “smile”, propelled me to keep going and made me feel alive. What I did next, was share my gratitude. I didn’t silently keep it to myself, I shared my joyful selfie, far and wide. I thanked all those people who had brought me joy and began to establish genuine and real friendships.

What started out as, one small town girl, desperately chasing her happiness…has evolved into a great big world, sharing triumphant joy. I am not very good with math, 6,337 followers and more then 10,000 mentions of the #365daysofjoy I would say, we are making a difference. You can call it whatever you want, I believe, it’s a little miracle and a testament to the strength and character of humanity. I am “living” proof, that sharing my enthusiasm for life has made me a much happier person and who’s also inspired others to feel the same. Letting the fear go and believing in your happiness is worth working hard for, yes…every… single… day! I am grateful to have the courage and the strength to keep on sharing and thank you, for giving me 365 reasons to believe in miracles.

The Triumphant Turtle

As I lay in bed writing this…I first share gratitude that I am awake, alive and able to share. I remind myself, that I am the one who has to get myself up, clean the clutter that surrounds the keyboard that calls me, to share something that might inspire someone, they are worth a life filled with joy.

I was once asked by a therapist, if I had suffered trauma in my life. For some ridiculous reason, I had to think about whether or not, the bad stuff that happened to me, was worthy of sharing. I stopped to think about the “really bad” stuff that is happening throughout the world we live in and it made me feel ashamed for feeling or sharing my pain. I will share with you, every trauma no matter how big or small is valid. No trauma should be compared to another. Your trauma is real, your pain is valid and so are you. It’s not until you, validate yourself and deal with the pain, that you can heal.

If you are here today, remind yourself that you are the one that’s doing the work. You are seeking inspiration, reading to educate your mind and you are doing something that will hopefully help lead you to a life filled with 365 days of joy.

For me, somedays…I celebrate getting myself out of bed, getting into the shower and changing out of what I wore the night before. Somedays, I celebrate finishing the laundry, cooking dinner, washing the dishes and maybe I was really motivated to run the vacuum over the dirt covered floors. Just maybe, I venture out of the house and not because I have to drive carpool or take the kids somewhere, but because the sun came out and I had the courage to see the real world and the beauty that surrounds me; not what the media decided to show me vicariously threw the internet and television.

I started by making a list, all the “must do’s” and each time I finish one, I celebrated that. I finally found myself worthy enough to do something for just me, that isn’t a “must do”. I held myself accountable to get out and do something, that made me feel good about me. Not because, I had to…but, because I just might find myself worth a lot more, to a lot of people, who needed and wanted my inspiration.

A few things I try to do…
Sign up for a charity walk, join a book club, help feed those who are homeless, download a couch to 5k or become an active member of a group that is grateful for my participation and that I am inspired by.

I never compare myself. My pains or my success’s are not anymore or any less, then anyone else. Each day I survive is a blessing and yes, somedays I am just celebrating getting out of bed. We are all responsible for our own happiness and you will know, if what your doing is working…because, you will feel it and the people around you will see it. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it…When we put out the positive, we draw it to us and that’s when you will see consistent growth and a life that’s filled with joy.

I share that these past few months…I have not let my anxiety or fear of failure, stop me from starting what I will finish this month, “The United NYC half marathon”. I will be, “the triumphant turtle”, running grateful for human kindness and with empathy for all those who had the patience to follow and share my journey.

Thank you!

Simply Not A Simple Minded Mom

When my children entered middle school I started to feel lost…My role as a full time mom changed. I was no longer needed in the same capacity as I was when they were younger.  In elementary school parents are welcomed and I was good at being a parent volunteer. I looked forward to dressing up for career day or dropping off a special birthday lunch. Over the holidays, I got excited about the annual visit to see Santa and coordinate their outfits for the hundreds of cards I would mail.  Needless to say, we have outgrown Santa’s lap and the school doesn’t allow drop ins to deliver cupcakes to the class. I no longer had a daily purpose, for which I felt valued.

My journey to share 365 days of joy, starts with being a mother first. I had to find a way to stay connected to my children, who are now old enough to spend a responsible amount of time, online. So, as a way for me to stay connected and to protect them, I decided to join them. I created an Instagram account, under my twitter handle @ctgirlonthego and just started sharing messages of joy everyday. #MondayMotivation #TerrificTuesday #WackyWednesday #ThorwbackThursday aka TBT, #FunFriday #SuperSaturday and #SundaySelfies which all became part of a daily routine.

Today I share, I no longer need to use all those daily hashtags, because over the course of the past three years…it’s become, one single hashtag #365DaysofJoy that both my children follow. Times may change, but with hard work, consistency and passion for what you love, your purpose will always bring you a lifetime of happiness and self worth.

Celebrating Life

Lets begin with…in the past, not that many years ago, I actually wouldn’t celebrate my birthday. I would cringe with the mention of it. No cake, no presents, if my children even mentioned it, I would tell them it just made mommy feel old. The truth was, the idea of anyone celebrating my life felt superficial, when I myself felt so unworthy of my own life.

No more…because, I have found joy in all the simple moments that have added up to a lot of gratitude and appreciation for my life and just that alone, “the present”, is a gift and we should celebrate that.

Last week, November 3rd, I turned 44 years old. I was grateful for my life and as hard as that life may be sometimes, or as sad as we may feel sometimes, I found joy in the day. I know that everything I have had to go threw even the things that pain me, are meant to be. As I get older, I can fully appreciate the women I am, the women I was and the women I will be someday. I move forward, knowing…I will not just continue to grow old, but stronger, kinder and wiser. I share that you, “my friends” and family have continued to give me the greatest gift, by holding me accountable to be brave and have the courage to continue to believe that, I am worthy of a good life. You have helped me to see that, I can and do make a difference. I matter and without me in this world, it might be a little more boring, probably a lot less complicated, certainly quieter, but not nearly as joyful!

I wish I could share the hundreds of birthday wishes I received on that special day and not just from my own loving family, the birthday wishes from friends both near, far and some from those I’ve yet to meet. This year, I celebrated a new tradition and I thank you, for giving me a reason to believe their are genuinely kind people everywhere, that care about me. I go to bed leaving my phone on and allow the sound of my notifications bar, to wake me with a smile, forcing me to start my day with gratitude. With each and every beeping, buzzing birthday wish, I fill my heart full of joy and gratitude for the kindness that exists all around me.  I thank you, for reminding me…when I open my eyes to see joy around me, hope for a bright future will continue to pour into all of our hearts.

Thank you, for being kind and making the time, to show me that you care about another birthday. I appreciate all the simple moments, you continue to share…they have added up to a whole lot of gratitude. I wish you always #365DaysofJoy

xo

 

Run for Joy

Living 365 days of joy, means being grateful for the simple moments and memories we make inspiring one another, that we are worth even running the greatest distances for. I am grateful today, for a healthy body and mind that’s at ease, when I am putting one foot in front of the other and taking forward steps to a bright future.

A little over a year, September of 2014, a few months before I was to marry the same man that I had married for the first time thirteen years earlier and sixty pounds heavier. My anxiety was overwhelming me with fear and insecurity. I had to find a way to make the time for myself, not to fall apart or get lost in the sadness of my past mistakes or let my depression take a hold of my emotional well being. I had to find a way, to fight my mental health issues, with a healthy and affordable course of action.

I was online seeking inspiration and encouragement when I stumbled across a Facebook community, “OutRun The Odds”. I was captivated by the joy and spirit of these outrunners, a community that passionately shared joy an enthusiasm for running and being part of a mission to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. This group inspired me, to do what I had never done before…put one foot in front of the other and believe I was worth running for.

I am happy to share on October of 2014, a month after my husband and I remarried, we completed our first 5k, in honor of my husbands late father.  Since that date…my body has carried me all over the state, running numerous 5k’s a 10k, completing two triathlons and two half marathons. I have built friendships, that will last a lifetime and created memories that carry me threw, on the darkest of days.

I have been able to connect with runners all over the world, threw various running groups and the positive spirit of the runner, is simply contagious. It’s not how fast we go, but that we do go and that we believe we are worth running for. Running for me has become a great way, not to just stay physically fit but has forced me to make time for myself and that has made me a happier women, wife and mother and I am eternally grateful for that. Today, I share I am proud to call myself a runner and look forward to running my third half marathon in NYC this coming March.

 

 

If it’s to be…

“One of our favorite activities as a family is watching old home movies.”

Photos and Videography….the first time around I was so rushed and anxious to get to the party, I didn’t stop to take the time to get photos you can look back at for years to come. I was so anxious I didn’t remember the vows I spoke or the moment we shared that special kiss. At the end of the day, the camera doesn’t lie and whether you want staged pictures or candid moments the person or people you hire need to have an open and often unspoken communication with you at all times. If your not committed to the moment, no photographer or film crew can photoshop you in it.

A New Beginning

Allen Kee: A proud father who is passionate about his work as an advertising and editorial photographer. Allen took time from his busy schedule working primarily for ESPN to photograph our simple family on our special day. 

Allen had come into my husbands small auto detail business only a couple months prior to our wedding to have his car detailed.  My husband came home and said, “I met this great guy today and he is an awesome photographer.”

I immediately started checking out Allen’s work always thinking outside the box, I discovered this amazingly talented photographer working in the fast paced world of sports and falling in love with his still and loving photos of his daughter.  I knew he was exactly the type of photographer I was looking for. We needed empathy for family and the patience for my high energy and he had already established a genuine connection with my husband it all made sense. I asked my husband to do only one thing and that was to call Allen and ask him to photograph our wedding and he did. Allen said it was his honor,  he had found inspiration in our strength as a couple taking the non- traditional route in life getting re-married to each other. We not only had a true professional but now a friend who’s life we touched and that clearly advocates for human kindness. I encourage you to check out more of his work and I am honor to share we have been able to continue to work together: http://www.allenkeephoto.com/

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Chip Dizard:  A passionate teacher, father and husband. His videography speaks for itself in the work he produces.  I met Chip online threw a Facebook club called “Never Settle Club”, hosted by Mario Armstrong.

Chip and I made a connection via social media, sharing our passion to find a sustainable future doing what we are passionate about in life. He took the time to get to know me, reading my story about finding 365 Days of Joy. I found myself inspired by Chip’s dedication as a teacher and the work he does with his students. Throughout the course of the club online Chip shared his wedding videography and my decision to hire him had already been made.

When Chip came all the way up to our small town, he got to know my family. He spent time passing the baseball in the backyard with my husband and son. He spent time teaching my daughter how to use the camera’s connecting with her as he would with his own children and students. The crew he brought with him, were professional and acclimated themselves with the area we lived, scouting out arial views that would encompass all the things we love about the town we live. I cry tears of joy each time I see just the trailer that he completed of our wedding day. You can see more of his work at:  http://chipdizardweddings.com/

I know these are major expenses and for us we consider them is an investment in our future. I often say, when I look back at my photos it reminds me of the love I have for my husband and my family, by the expressions on our faces.  I have absolutely no regrets in investing in quality people my photographer and videographer. I consider them my friends for life…

No Greater Gift

I am one of the many members of “St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church” and have been for over twenty years.  I have now officially been married twice here, to the same man. Baptized two beautiful babies and celebrated while my husband and our two children had their first communion at your alter. What I want to say is that none of this would have been possible without you, “the people”, of this church and I am grateful.

Many of you probably don’t know this about our family, but while we celebrated all these wonderful moments in our church lives our home life and first marriage to each other had fallen apart.  Two years ago, after our first marriage ended in a divorce my husband and I thought we lost everything…and we found ourselves at the doors of this church.  I would like to think, God answered our call but I know his hands were stretched far wider.

I know church is a place where all should feel welcome and sometimes that’s not very easy. A church is still a business that has salaries and bills to pay and at the time, leaning on these doors was a far stretch for even my own faith to reach, but I can tell you today it was worth it. It’s important to know where your consistent charitable donations are being spent and what your selfless time and dedication keeping these doors open means. You are changing the lives of people when they are in need and I share that you are making a difference.

After two years of hard work, support and counseling the “Episcopal Church Diocese” of Connecticut, gave my husband and I their blessing to re-marry and we did on September 13, 2014, here at this church.  This parish the staff and its administration opened its arms and embraced my family in a time of need. The music director played “No Greater Gift” while empowering our children to find their voice. The church administrative officer, not only helped me put together a program that celebrated my life, but include the lives of all people who celebrate joy in forgiveness and believe in the covenant of marriage. The alter guild gave me strength as I anxiously walked toward the alter. To the Reverend Steve Domienik…we are eternally grateful for your leadership, counseling and continued faith in a God which has empowered me to share how great it is to believe he exists.

Lastly and most importantly to my church family, you have given me the opportunity to share how wonderful this church is with so many people and to teach our children having faith can make a difference, in the lives of others.

The Ultimate Throwback

When I started my journey to finding my passion,  I was inspired not just by the words and works of other writers, but more importantly the photos that I associated with them. It soon became a quest to seek #365DaysofJoy all year long as I was looking threw hundreds of memories that I truly found Joy, in the simple moments that brought me happiness.

The act of looking at the simple moments that brought me true happiness. 

My ex-husband and I had been living together for two years with our two young children since our divorce back in 2010. I started writing to keep me busy and diminish the anxiety that was starting to build over the holiday season, as I was anxiously awaiting a proposal from him to get re-married again.

We had been married for ten years so I had hundreds of photos of our life together, the life we shared with our two young children. Whether it was a silly face, a new toy, a trip to the zoo, jumping on the trampoline or just camping in the back yard. The photos sparked joy and yes even sadness. Not the sadness of losing all the material stuff that we thought we needed or can no longer afford to buy but sadness that we lost site of the joyful memories we shared just being together that were evident in those photos.

Today I share this with you, in the hope that if you have lost site of what really matters in your life take a look back at your old photos. Look at the expressions on the faces and the feelings that you associated with those moments. Spread them on the walls of your home and use them as daily reminders of what’s really important in your life.

Just maybe you will be inspired to put the past behind you and shine a light on the joy you have today remembering those good feelings. The Joy that I know has lead me to a moment of happiness in sharing my story, with you.