Tag Archives: 365Daysofjoy

Fill The Well With Love

In the past few months, my life has taken some twists and turns. I haven’t had a clear enough mind to sit and write much of anything, but for some reason…I was motivated to begin today.

I suppose I should start with this past October…our rental home lost the ability to provide running water for our family.  The truth is, we had learned to survive without ample running water, for a long time. We knew when we moved in that we had a low yielding well and the simple inconveniences of using paper plates, taking turns showering, buying bottle water and avoiding things like a slip and slide, where worth the sacrifice if it meant I could provide a safe roof over my childrens heads and not have to move them into a new school. Shortly after my divorce, December 2011 my landlord was the only one, who offered to rent to me….a single mom, with no credit, on a limited income, with two young children and two dogs. A home we would make our own, and call our “The Gingerbread House”.

In late October, we ran out of all water. The drought that had overcome the state of Connecticut, along with the underlying issues of having a bad pump and shallow well, had finally taken their tole. As if things couldn’t have gotten worse, a trip to the veterinarian uncovered our family dog had a non treatable illness and within a matter of days, I had to make a very tough choice and put her to sleep. The kids and even my husband recovered from her loss, relatively quickly. I however, struggled more then I had imagined. I had lost part of my purpose as her daily caretaker. With her gone and the water situation still not rectified, plumbers coming and going, doing what was needed to repair the well. I found myself completely helpless.

The only way I stayed sane in those next few days and weeks, was to randomly drive around and look at houses for sale or rent. I found myself a realtor who listened to me, somedays I think he saved me…he listened while I cried about the loss of my dog or not having had a shower. He would listen to me, as I would worry about leaving the home I had called my own, or not being able to afford a larger rental. He showed me compassion, as I would also feel a sense of abandoning the only people who extended me a roof over my head, when I had no other options. I know deep down, it is the right choice to move and that if I overstayed what we had outgrown, I could ultimately do more harm then good. Contaminate the years of good memories, with resentment and tarnish the friendship and relationship I have with my landlord that we cherish.

In the weeks to follow,  I find a sense of peace. The fact that our growing family of four…will only continue to grow and that’s what it is meant to do. I also think,  perhaps the recent trauma has forced me to face my fears, given me the courage to reach out for help when I needed it and to trust in what the future holds for us all.

So, for now I will leave you with this, just like I didn’t know that the average family of four consumes 400 gallons of water a day, while we made do on 80 gallons a day for 6 years. Is just like I didn’t know that when you go threw foreclosure, you may still have outstanding debt. Just like what I do know is, I survived 6 years on 80 gallons a day and I will certainly save again the money, I used to pay off and settle the debt so we can and will buy a home of our own someday:)

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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.

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.

Vulnerable Joy

We all have to be vulnerable…to love, find success, and fail.

I choose to put my heart out there in an attempt to make a difference, inspiring a future of kindness and compassion for humanity. I am doing something, rather then doing nothing. I have a purpose, that’s become greater then just myself and I am being accountable to that.

I no longer live in shame, because I had the courage to be accountable to my mistakes and to forgive myself. I no longer blame or judge, because having empathy or compassion for those who hurt me, are far greater weapons in my arsenal of emotions then simple anger and hate. Sometimes, when we wrong someone or they have wronged us, it’s as simple as saying sorry and that’s always a great start. The truth is, if we are feeling shame or pain, sorry…is often not enough and that’s when it’s time to rise up and be brave.

The most important part of the healing process, is granting yourself and others the patience to heal. Allow yourself the time, to understand why your hurting or why you hurt someone else. I choose to have empathy, we all process things differently and no you shouldn’t have to wait forever. I give myself a time line, how long can “I” withstand being unforgiven…if someone can’t forgive; I might say goodbye, having compassion for them. I can’t go back and change the past, but I can be accountable to the part of it that I own. The simple fact is, not until you own your mistakes and failures can you move forward and or be forgiven. When you have empathy or show compassion for those who are too afraid to forgive, you free yourself from them and or the pain associated with them.

You have to be brave enough to share what your passionate about, believe in yourself and trust that if you are enthusiastic about what you are doing, you will find joy. I am celebrating 365 days of joy, for what’s going to be the third year. Has everyday always been so joyful, of course not…It’s become a movement that I am proud to share, a simple and daily form of accountability to my own happiness and that I hope brings you one day closer to yours.

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!

Unimaginable Joy

I’ve had my innocence stolen as a child, been abused for my strength to fight for my dignity and been stripped of my integrity out of shame, for another’s misfortunate understanding of who I am.

I have prevailed…a runner, who has shed the pounds that once masked my pain, found strength in my legs that have carried me throughout the process and an awakening to my human spirit that is a beautiful gift for all of humanity to see.

When I traded in my anger for compassion and learned it takes patience to appreciate the process, I freed myself from the pain that left me motionless. The miracle of a once unimaginable joy, came in a daily message that I share with every survivor…be accountable, your happiness is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.

When I run my third half marathon, on March 20, 2016…I will remind myself, it’s simply putting one foot in front of the other and every step in this race, is part of my journey. A race, I will slow down long enough to appreciate and a memory that I will cherish. Each step will be triumphant and I will be grateful that I had the tenacity and strength to endure the process that has led me up to this finish line.

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.