"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to BLOOM…This is the Element of Freedom"

-Alicia Keys

31 March 2010

Waking Up & Being Grateful

{Let me preface this post with this tidbit of important information: as you all know, I used to have a problem with being on time to work. I say USED TO because I have not been late for work in almost 2 months. Really. TWO MONTHS! Thank you, Jesus. Take That ADD!}

image from here

{Life in a Glass Bubble. I Need Out!}

I am tired. I am tired of having/being/suffering from ADHD. I am tired of having no one around that even remotely understands what it feels like. I am tired of feeling like I am swimming in circles while slowly drowning at the same time. I am tired of trying to tell someone about it & having them not understand or worse, having them laugh. They don't usually laugh at me, but they laugh because they don't understand. I guess that I could explain it like this:

I feel like I am in a glass bubble, looking out and seeing the things that I am good at and the life that I want to some day live {designing, living a creative successful life, staying home with my kid, etc.} and it is so close that I can feel it, but I can't seem to get there. I try and I try and I have been trying for years (basically since Reese was born) to get more organized and timely and orderly and better with paper and correspondence and paying my bills and trying hard not to fail like I thought that I had been for years. I was trying to be a better person by not being who I am because I felt that I had failed myself and others when I was myself. I think that I have tried so hard for so long to be someone that I am not, instead of trying to be the best Elizabeth that I can be. I need to be okay and happy with who I am and I am having a difficult time doing that. I think a lot of it has to do with working at a job that goes against everything that comes naturally to me, I spend all day in front of a computer, or filing or other non-creative {mind-numbing & torturous} activities. I come home to the usual craziness of kid pick-up, dinner, clean-up, bath, book, bed, more clean-up, laundry, lunch-making, reading & then sleeping and then getting up the next day and doing it all over again. Waiting for the weekend, so that I can finally catch my breath. Thinking that "wouldn't this all be easier/better/more joyful if I didn't have to work full-time? or had more time by myself?" All of these thoughts and feelings and dreams and loss and fumbling around, all while trying to love my little family and create a life for us that is genuinely happy {and by happy I mean with all of life's bumps and bruises and loveliness and craziness/beautifulness}...

All of these thoughts have lead me down the path of Feeling-Sorry-For-Myself: which inevitably snowballs into What-The-Fuck-am-I-Doing? I-Suck! I-am-So-Bad-At-Laundry-Housework-Being-A-Momma-Being-A-Wife-Being-A-Friend-I-Have-Gained-30-Pounds-I-Hate-My-Clothes-&-My-Hair-Style-Sucks-and-I-Haven't-Blogged-In-A-Month-and-Basically-I-Feel-Like-Shit Attitude Problem. {I am not a shitty momma by the way. or wifey. and I do hate my clothes, but I did just get a haircut and I love it}.

Then, I read this beautiful Birth Story from the wonderful blog Enjoying The Small Things. And I realized something that I have known all along, but can't seem to fully grasp. Life isn't about being perfect. Or having an vision of perfect. It is about being loved and giving love and letting yourself be just that. Yourself. Her story is beautiful and sad and inspiring & wonderful, but she lets go of perfect and embraces life..."No, life is about love and truly experiencing the beauty we are meant to know." I went on to read some more of her blog and found this quote by author Anne Lamott {which was in an article in O magazine as part of a feature topic of figuring out who you really are meant to be}:

"We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be..." -Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott goes on to say this "...The only problem is that there is also so much other stuff, typically fixations with how people perceive us, how to get more of the things that we think will make us happy, and with keeping our weight down. So the real issue is how do we gently stop being who we aren't? How do we relieve ourselves of the false fronts of people-pleasing and affectation, the obsessive need for power and security, the backpack of old pain, and the psychic Spanx that keeps us smaller and contained?"
{You can read the whole article here}.

I know now that is what I need to do for myself. I need to gently stop being someone that I am not and embrace the creative, weird, imaginative, colorful, hilarious, joyful person that I know that I am inside. God did not make me who I am to dangle it in front of me. I think that He is waiting for me to stop trying so hard to be the Mrs.Planner-list-making-time-watching-routine-living-power-suit-wearing-briefcase-lugging-type-A-house-in-perfect-order-walls-painted-the-perfect-shade-of-beige kind of woman. Because Honey, that ain't me.

So, an attitude adjustment is in order. God wants me to appreciate who He made me to be and trust His plan for my life. I have been working out and that is helping. I need to be a bit more mindful in how I care for myself. I have been going to bed earlier and I have been enjoying the 6.5 to almost 7 hours of sleep a night. I need to get up earlier and have a few minutes of the day to not rush. But most of all, I need to be grateful for who I am and enjoy the journey of getting to the place in my life where I come into who I really am. Here is another quote from Enjoying the Small Things:

"It's just that I have learned so much about this perfection thing these past weeks, and I am finding myself cozily curling up with a new me. A me that has been cultivating for years, but is truly arriving to the place it's needed to be. The concept of perfect is not flawless or four-point-oh. It's happiness. Happiness with all its messiness and not-quite-there-ness. It's knowing that life is short, and the moments we choose to fill our cup with should be purposeful and colorful. And that's perfection. And our Nella--what the world may view far from perfection--has begun to teach me that."

Another quote that cheered me up was on one of my favorite blogs, Domestic Reflections. She wrote this post on Gisele Bundchen and the birth of her first son. Gisele said this about life {read this article in Vogue}:

"The first is wake up in the morning and be grateful you are here, alive and healthy. And the second is: Give."

Seriously. That is the truth. Thank you for reading my lengthy post & know that just taking the time to write it out helped me figure out some of the shit that has been swirling around in this brain of mine.

I will sign off with a photo and caption from Enjoying the Small Things:

"Life is freakin' fabulous. Live big."

11 March 2010

2 years ago today...

Josh asked me the easiest question that I have ever had to answer...

{Will you marry me???}


Josh, Thank you for being such a wonderful & loving husband to me. {even though I know that I can be a pain in the ass sometimes} Thank you for being such a loving Daddy to our daughter. I love being your wife & I love this adventure that we are on... Thank you for being the sweetness to my soul!


04 March 2010

My Little Ray of Sunshine

{September 2004 - 3 months old}

{September 2004 - 3 months old}

For those of you who don't know me personally, let me fill you in a bit on my life. When I was 24 years old, I was living in Downtown Denver, working as a make-up artist by day and partying at night. I always had fun, no matter where I was or who I was with. In September of 2003, I had a bad experience {nothing illegal or traumatic, but something that made me wake up and realize I needed to take a break from the party-girl lifestyle I was currently living}. So, I stopped drinking and started to stay home at night. At the end of September, my beloved Grandma passed away unexpectedly. I was crushed. She was my friend, my source of unconditional love and was someone who always made me feel like I was the only one in the world when I was with her. The day after her funeral, I decided to take a pregnancy test *just to make sure* Well, 3 tests later, there were still 2 faint blue lines and I was a little freaked out. My Grandmother had mentioned something to me about having a baby about a month before she passed, which I quickly dismissed. I knew in my heart that it would be my complete responsibility to raise this child, although at the time, I didn't want it to be that way.

Not having health insurance at the time (I had lost mine when I turned 24 six months prior & the insurance through my job was terribly expensive), I was at a loss as to what to do for prenatal care. My friend suggested that I go to Planned Parenthood. When I arrived at the clinic, I took another test which confirmed that life was about to change in ways I didn't even know yet. The nurses that gave me the test hugged me and told me that "everything was going to be fine" and that they were really happy for me. They told me about Rose Midwifery at Rose Medical Center in Denver, which is where I later received all of my wonderful prenatal and delivery care.

{Let me climb up on my soapbox for a moment: To all of those people who have strong opinions about Planned Parenthood, let me tell you something. As a young woman who was faced with an unplanned pregnancy, I have a healthy and happy child because of the compassion and care that I received at Planned Parenthood}

I continued to live in Denver until the beginning of February 2004 and through a series of unfortunate events (later I could see what blessings they really were), I decided to move back home with my parents. They were very supportive & caring throughout my pregnancy, although it was a bit of an adjustment for everyone. Nothing is as humbling as being pregnant, single & living at home!

I had a conversation with my business manager & manager one day at work. I was having a very difficult time realizing that I was going to be raising this child on my own, no matter how hard I tried to change the outcome. Knowing that I was upset, they took me out into the main part of the mall {anyone who is familiar with Cherry Creek Mall in Denver knows about the play area that they have there for kids...no playground equipment, just giant fake food that kids climb all over--they go bananas over it!-pun intended--see photos at the end of this post}. It was there that I had a conversation that forever changed my life. My business manager, Joni said something to me that I have thought about a million times since. She said:

"Elizabeth, you have so much JOY ahead of you."

It was in that moment that I realized that I needed to stop feeling so sorry for myself & get my shit together. I actually found Joni on Facebook recently & I sent her a message to say thank you. To tell someone like me, who was weighed down by guilt & overwhelmed by what the future held, her words were like honey....a little sweetness for the soul, if you will.

Reese was born June 7, 2004. I had a natural birth that aside from pushing for an hour & a half, went beautifully. The room was full of my friends & my Mom, with my Dad waiting anxiously in the hall. I felt like all of these amazing women had helped me bring Reese into the world, so they might as well be there for her entrance into it. After it was all over, we popped open a bottle of champagne & celebrated this beautiful little life. The first song Reese heard was "Isn't She Lovely," by the amazing Stevie Wonder. I remember holding Reese and realizing that I never knew that my heart could love someone that much. Looking back on that day, I can't help but think that I had no idea the adventure that motherhood was about to take me on & that that little tiny baby would quickly grow into such a sweet & creative little girl, who has brought me & the rest of my family so much JOY.

Thank you to Jesus, who knew that this is what my life needed & while it wasn't always easy, it would always be worth it. He made sure that I was never alone. I have learned that through the heat & pressure that life brings, He produces the diamond within us.

Thank you to all of the amazing women that have given to me the advice, the guidance, and the confidence to be a mother, even when I thought that I didn't deserve it. I felt like I was in a modern day Red Tent {which is one of my all-time favorite books}. It will never cease to amaze me the way that women support and lift each other out of the dark places in our lives & bring us back into the light.

We wouldn't be here without the compassion & love that we were given from Jesus and the ladies!

Okay, here are the photos of the amazing playland at Cherry Creek Mall:

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