Category Archives: Joy

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.

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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.

I’m not crazy…

“We are what we pretend to be, so be careful about what we pretend to be.”-Kurt Vonnegut

I suffer the disability of having a mental illness and I am not ashamed to share this with you, because I am ok and happy to be exactly me.

Society sadly prejudges us for our past mistakes and behaviors breeding fear and anxiety for those suffering with any illness or disability. I think this prevents many from getting help sooner in life and finding the happiness they deserve.  I had to show the people who loved me and most importantly myself that I was deserving of happiness, which takes time and patience.

On September 13, 2014 I got married again. I didn’t just get married again to anyone, I got married again to the same man I had married eleven years ago. I married him because,  I believe I deserve to be loved, trusted and forgiven. I also want to share that I survived and it is possible for people to change and make a difference in the world, leading by example and from the heart.

Today, I surround myself with positive people who share my passion for life and are cheering with me to live a life filled with #365DaysofJoy. We celebrate one another and all the simple accomplishments, hurtles and goals we achieve. We all deserve happiness and as human beings that requires compassion and empathy for others. You never know what battles someone is facing, so be mindful of that when you teach your children and when you walk out into the world everyday.

I am eternally grateful that I have been given the courage and strength to share this message with you all and in sharing, my hope is that it will inspire others to get the help they need and find the happiness they deserve.

http://www.zip06.com/article/20150218/NWS10/502179997/1122/madisonlatest

365 Days of Joy

I had never imagined that I would still be here sharing the simple moments in my life that I celebrate #365DaysofJoy.  I am truly humbled by all of you, who listen, read and share my story. This journey has led me to be inspired by wonderful new friends, amazing opportunities and most importantly a new found “hope” my children will grow up and share my enthusiasm and passion for life. The greater good has always been for all children to have empathy and gratitude for not just themselves but for those they meet throughout their lives.

This weekend I re-marry the love of my life, again. Thirteen years ago when we first married, I didn’t know what it meant to be married. I was not prepared or ready to make the commitment it takes to have a life long partner. I was selfish, immature and insecure. We were clearly uneducated on what the covenant of marriage meant. I share with you today, “I’m ready” and I know my future husband is. We have both done our homework, finding our self worth and that’s allowed us to make the commitment to being one love. I honor us and our vulnerability to trust one another, the patience needed, the work required, the ability to forgive and have empathy and compassion for our differences. That’s what will sustain our marriage as we face the future ahead.

On July 1, 2001. My wedding day…It was a “fairy tail”. The big white dress, the tiara, the ring, the parties…I guess you could say I ended up suffocating myself in tule while drooling over cake tastings. This was suppose to be, the beginning of the future of all the things I had imagined would validate “me” in life. What I didn’t realize is that no amount of stuff or anyone person could validate me, only I could do that for myself. We came home from our honeymoon, expecting our first child. We moved into the new house we had to buy to raise our children…We got so caught up in making believe that when reality set in, we couldn’t afford the life that brought us nothing more then “fleeting happiness” nor were we equip to handle the underlying problems that had gotten us there to begin with.

In December 2011, we got a divorce. My ex and future husband likes to say, we made the most expensive mistake in our life. I say that’s true, but had it not been for that mistake and the pain it caused; We may not have been here today.

On, September 13th 2014, I look forward to the future with a new found hope and gratitude for the love of my life as husband and wife, sharing #365DaysofJoy till death do us part.  Amen 2 That!