Category Archives: Marriage

Chasing Joy

On this upcoming Sunday, March 20, 2016 this CT girl, will be going to New York City to finish the 2016 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon. This will be the third half marathon that I’ve completed in less than a year, my first being just six months after I started running.

My running journey began back in August of 2014 before I was to remarry my ex-husband. My husband, Dennis and I had just overcome so many obstacles. Four years ago, we were in crisis. We were in financial crisis, we lost our home, went through divorce and my health was at risk as I was desperately trying to lose the 80 pounds of weight, that I had gained during our first marriage. But we had overcome these challenges, which led us to this happy time of reunion, stability and strength. Yet, I was still feeling desperate to find a simple moment, to be grateful for my life on this day. Here I was starting over, a second chance with the man that I love and a whole new start on life, and I was stuck in my mental illness and feeling depressed.

During the time my ex-husband and I were divorced, I decided to do something for myself and created a new way to live. I was now going to hold myself accountable for my happiness. I would find a simple moment every day that inspired me to be grateful for life. When my ex-husband and I divorced, we realized we had to let go of everything we thought we had to have in order to find our true sense of self-worth. We had to just appreciate that we are alive and be grateful for that.

Most of my inspiration would come from within the walls of our home and the virtual world around me, as my anxiety and depression often kept me feeling confined. My anxiety would constrict me somedays – like I was trapped inside my own skin and to get out of bed or change my clothes seemed like a daunting task. Then one day, I found myself drawn to a local running group called “Outrun the Odds,” a group that put efforts towards the awareness of Cystic Fibrosis. I found such joy and inspiration in these runners and their stories so I began following their daily achievements and cheering them along. I wanted more and more to feel that joy that they shared so proudly after finishing a race or seeing the results on their bodies after training hard. Not to just be able to see the miles logged, but to be able to contribute and pay that forward to a well-deserved cause. The desire to make a difference while also allowing myself the time to do something that would benefit me, my health, and happiness was far too tempting not to try.

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I was already sharing #365daysofjoy, an initiative I created that inspires us to find joy in one moment each day, with the great big virtual world and now as a runner, I would be able to spread that joy far and wide with a personal message of gratitude. I could physically go out and share the simplest form of gratitude – my smile with all those people who inspired me that I was worth living for. Everything began to make sense and I couldn’t think of any better way to share my message then to become a runner and set goals that would keep my mind busy and focused on doing something for the body that also deserved care. I would commit to making my joy portable in every single step I took and that was forward motion, which was far better than standing still and feeling trapped inside myself.

Sharing positivity was not the only benefit running has brought me and my family. My health and physical fitness has improved as I’ve maintained a 60 lb weight loss and now it is another joy in life that my husband, my children and I share. Dennis, my husband has now also become a runner and he has participated in many races with me in the last year. Our children also participate by cheering us on and even running with us. It has made finding that moment of joy to share, each day so much easier.

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For me, the courage to start is far greater then finishing the race, something I had never done in my life, at least not consistently and not until just a little over a year ago. On the day I became a runner, I took ownership of my strength and held my physical health an equal partner with my mental health. Every step I take, my body wages war on my mind and overcomes the demons that hold it hostage. For me, the mind has always been my weakness but not anymore, it’s become my greatest strength. As a runner, it’s been sheer tenacity that has willed me to believe I can finish, and I will finish the NYC Half Marathon this Saturday, just as I will continue sharing 365 days of joy. I’m grateful to be a runner in the marathon of life. For me, it’s not a race I am trying to win, it’s about taking the time to slow down and appreciate all the moments and when my feet hit the ground, I am feeling my breathe, hearing and seeing the real world and all its beauty around me. It is for these moments that I know, I am alive.

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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.

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!

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.

Letting go…

A moment that brings me joy while I am in such sadness saying goodbye to my home. It is never easy when you lose your home. I am not talking about the home I grew up in as a child, rather the home I grew up to become the women I am today. The home I had to let go of because I had to save what is truly important and that is my family.

Two years ago after I got divorced, I moved out of our family home with my two young children leaving my ex-husband to keep the house. My hope was that he would see holding onto something that we couldn’t sustain wasn’t going to bring back that love we had lost in searching for answers that only we could only find within ourselves.

We have found our way back to one another letting the house go to foreclosure and got re-married this past year. We currently live in a rental that is temporarily keeping a roof over our heads while we float in a sea of bureaucracy that has us fishing for happiness in the simple moments that bring us #365daysofjoy and I am grateful for this.

Today one step forward to putting closure on the past, in being accountable to value what’s truly important in life. Letting go of the home where I grew up to stand up for myself and to teach my children the value of what love really is. I have my family which is what matters most and leaving that house to be only a shadow of the many memories we will make going forward. Goodbye to what I thought I had to have before I grew into the women, wife and mother I am today.