From Broken to Breaking Limitations

There was a time I felt broken beyond repair. Parts of me felt like they were gone forever. I walked around in the shell of the woman I once was. Feeling anything, including sadness or pain was better than feeling nothing at all. There was a time, but not anymore.

That feeling of needing to be “fixed” was a limitation I had placed on myself. In reality, what I needed to fix was my outlook on life. The whole idea of, “It would never happen to us,” was one that had to be discarded. Here I was looking at my children now thinking, “What just happened to us?” We were people that life gave circumstances to that would force us to drastically change the way we view life. I would need to learn new skills to keep my home and children’s lives running as smoothly as possible. Breaking those limitations of “I can’t” was a necessity.

Ever notice that when a ball hits the ground it never maintains the perfectly round shape it has? It adapts its shape to that moment and that situation to eventually recover. Bouncing back meant that even though it felt like I was thrown to the ground I would have to adapt to my circumstances at that time to not completely shatter, but to get back up and keep going. This tragedy in our lives taught us this invaluable life skill, resiliency.  It is a skills the grows stronger everyday and with each time it is used.

Being resilient gives me a courage to go out and conquer fears I have. Don’t think of the “what ifs” because those same “what ifs” could happen if you do nothing at all. Challenge yourself to go out and live life. Break the limitations placed on us, either by others or by our own minds. In those times of tragedy find your purpose, find your why, pray for guidance, and let it show you the possibilities are endless. Those moments of feeling broken are really moments of you adapting to the changes life gives so you can bounce back and continue to break limitations.

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Beautiful Ugly Tears

Tears can be caused by grief, anger, happiness, and sometimes a combination of all of the above. These past two weeks have been a series of events that culminated in a morning of beautiful ugly tears. It started with something as simple as renewing my CPR a few weeks ago. That moment also made post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) real. Yes, PTSD, I have that. I went through therapy to learn how to deal with it but also learned it’ll sneak up on you like it did a couple of weeks ago.

I watched the videos of people performing CPR and the scenarios were more real than I could imagine. Then came the moment when I had to practice what I learned on the mannequin. I looked down and for a moment it was as if I was transported back to the night I was doing CPR waiting for the paramedics to arrive. Somehow I was able to practice what I learned and quickly came back to reality. No tears that day.

Several other scenarios occurred throughout the next two weeks that would bring me back to the day Mark died. Tears? No. Sadness? Yes! Anger? Yes! Life? Keep moving forward. Then came this morning. I woke up with a migraine. Being a single parent means that even a migraine doesn’t mean that the world stops. I still got the kids ready for school, me ready for work, and got my cup of coffee to go before we walked out the door. As I was walking to the car all I could think of was how much I missed the teamwork Mark and I had, especially on mornings like this.

As I did my last drop off I saw a kolea bird by my car. Culturally, we believe that the kolea is messenger or spirit of our loved ones. Most of the time they are pretty quiet birds. Well this morning, in the dark and wind, this kolea kept chirping at me like it was talking directly to me. My first thought, “Oh, hi Mark!” I got into my car and as I passed the cemetery that Mark’s niche is in, the song “A Thousand Years” started playing. Then the most beautiful vision entered my thoughts like Mark was visiting my mind. It played out like a scene from a movie.

Mark was in his prime, happy, fit, smiling and holding my hand. I was younger, skinnier, smiling and holding his hand. The love was tangible. We were so incredibly happy and together. Mark looked at me and it was as if his thoughts became words. He was happy. He was in a place where that moment of our lives was an eternity frozen in time, we were together. That was my past, his present. He wanted me to know that would always be my past but that it was just that, the past. My present was raising our children and life continuously moving forward. I needed to remember to find happiness in my current reality and someday, love. That was his wish. Then came the stop light on the off ramp to work.

A yellow light and a police officer. So yeah, instead of thinking I cold make it through, I stopped. Right then, Whiz Kalifa and Charlie Puth’s “See You Again” started playing and the song finished right as I parked my car. Got it Mark, message received. The water works started. Those beautiful ugly tears. I pulled it together to get out of my car and thought I was ok. Wrong! I got into the elevator and thanked God it was empty. That is until the 4th floor. Someone got on the elevator and the only thought in my mind was, “Why couldn’t they take the stairs down? It’s only 4 floors, down not even up! Why is someone standing right there?” I could feel the tears trying to come out. I did my best to hold it together until I got to my friends’ office near the elevators. After a few more tears I was able to make it to my office and start the day.

On my drive home there were so many rainbows and more hearts in the clouds. I kept thinking back to the morning and that vision and those tears. I found joy in the tears. They were happy tears from a vision I will forever hold in my heart. I was lucky to have experienced that love that allowed me to smile with tears in my eyes. Tears from a beautiful life, a beautiful past, and a love that knows no boundaries letting me know I’m doing okay. Beautiful ugly cry tears.

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Magic in the Moon

Tonight was a super blood wolf moon eclipse. It was beautiful and magical. I keep saying this year has started so differently than last. Something about this year made me feel like this would be a magical year filled with God’s blessings. Tonight magnified that feeling.

As I drove home with my son we looked up and saw a magnificent sight. A beautiful full and red moon burned through the dark of night. I quickly parked my car and ran into the house to grab our camera (yes, we still own an old school one of those). It was Mark’s camera and I was not used to using it, so it took a few attempts to get the picture. We got it though. That isn’t what made it magical.

When I opened my door I was greeted by a butterfly. No, not a moth that one would normally see at night but a butterfly. It guided me to a spot to get a perfect view of this rare moon. As I looked up to that spectacular glow in the sky, I was filled with awe, peace, and a connection to the world around me. Then there was a slight cool breeze that hugged me and I knew this moment was something special.

I understood why people would sit and just look up at the sky and talk to the moon. As beautiful as it is, it still looks so lonely in a sky of stars. So many days I feel the same since Mark passed. I felt so connected to the moon. Yet, it still finds a way to shine and show the beauty of the dark. It really did feel like the moon could feel what I felt and listen so carefully to my thoughts. I could feel the scars of my past slowly fade and a greater sense of peace and contentment wash over me. I felt an overwhelming sense of hope that the future still holds many surprises I have yet to discover.

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Yes, 2019 is special. 2017 tried to break me and it almost did. 2018 was a year of growth and really trying to find my way. 2019 is a year of letting the woman who has evolved on this journey be like this rare moon and find my way to shine through the darkness and know there is beauty there. An unknown author stated, “Everyone wants to be the sun that lights up your life. But I’d rather be the moon so I can shine on you during your darkest hour when the sun isn’t around.” Yes, there is magic in the moon.

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It’s Not Fair

During dinner I listened to the kids talk about their day. I have been trying my best to cook more and make dinner a time of no electronic devices. Anyone who knows me, knows that cooking has never been my strong point. Mark was always the cook. At least the kids don’t get that worried look on their face when I say I’m making dinner anymore. My skills have gotten much better. Thank you Jesus!

As I sat at the table, I looked across to the empty chair. All I could think of was, “It’s not fair.” It’s not fair that these three babies will grow up without their dad being around and sharing in the big and small moments of their life. It’s not fair that at every father/daughter or father/ son event they won’t have him there. For a second I got so mad again. Mad at God and the circumstances that took Mark from us. I had to dig deep to find that faith again. Faith that God has a plan of some sort. I remember when I would want to punch someone if they told me that. It has taken much soul searching to renew and regain that faith. Yet here I sit and wonder why… again.

I know there is no answer. Even if there was, I would still say it’s not fair because it’s not. I have had many wonderful moments happen in my career and life lately. There have been many times I wanted to pick up my phone and call Mark to tell him about them. I could but there would be no answer, no phone number in existence anymore.  So I look to the skies and simply say, “Babe, I did it.” Still, it’s not fair.

Recently, I took pictures at a the same location Mark and I had taken pictures at about five years earlier. My friends at Masaki Photography are amazing! I was able to superimpose the images together. The way it worked out, it looks like Mark is holding my hand. For a moment I think that he really will. Then reality hits. Nope. Not in this lifetime. It is truly impossible and again… not fair.  I could scream, “It’s not fair!” at the top of my lungs until I lose my voice and nothing would change. So instead of the negative,  it’s the positive memories that snap me out of it.

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Thinking back on everything that made life wonderful helps remind me that life is still amazing. Yes, it’ll always not be fair that Mark was taken way too soon, but he was here. That fact alone is a huge blessing. His legacy is left in three amazing children. His legacy lives on in everyone who smiles at the thought of him and was positively impacted by him in some way. More blessings. Before I knew it, I was thinking of blessing after blessing from this man that God brought into our lives. No, it really isn’t fair. Life isn’t fair but the life lived, I mean really LIVED by that man was amazing and beautiful. In that we are forever grateful. In that, we have the strength to go on each day living life and finding joys in the moments that make up the  86,400 seconds in a day.

Intention

There was no way I was going to get out of bed this morning.  I went to bed last night not feeling the greatest, absolutely exhausted, with a migraine.  When I woke up this morning I still had a bit of a headache and was really feeling like a Sunday morning should be spent lying in bed. Then I looked and my morning meditation. I read, “Live each day with intention.” Dang it! Why must is be so guilt inducing?!?

My intention was to be healthier and more fit to help achieve other goals I had set forth on my vision board. I knew there was a busy day ahead and if I didn’t fit in a morning workout, it wouldn’t get done. As much as the thought of rolling over and snuggling back into my pillow sounded wonderful, I knew I would feel guilty later on in the day if I did that. So I reluctantly rolled out of bed and went to brush my teeth, sort of brush my hair,  and get my hiking shoes on.

We are only a week into 2019 and I was going to do my first Koko Head hike of the year. Those 1,048 steps to a breathtaking view was the motivation I needed. Each hike I put music on, go into my own zen, and sweat out any negativity that may weigh me down.  As I hiked today, and looked at these beautiful views, I thought about that quote that got my butt out of bed.

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It’s true. We should live everyday with intention. If we don’t we are just breathing and functioning our way through life. I thought of Mark. As we gathered all the pictures for his celebration of life I was floored by how much life he lived in his 39 earthly years. The countries he visited, the risks he took, the committees and organizations he helped were just a snapshot of what he did. He truly lived with intention. Like our pastor said, it was the quality of his life, not the quantity of his years. His “dash” was fuller than many who live to be 100. What would my dash be? What could I do to make my life focus more on quality?

Intention. Wake up everyday to LIVE, not just breath and go through the actions of the day but really be present and live those moments. Find joy in the scent of a flower that catches you off guard or your favorite song that plays on the radio when you get into the car. Find something you can do each day to make it more than just a date on a calendar but make it a day to live and say you were there. I realized today how much I love a sunrise because it really is the start of something new and brings forth more light to the day. Today’s sunrise was gorgeous!

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Glad I did that hike today or I would have missed some other pretty amazing views! It is not always easy to do by any means. Many times your mind will be your worst enemy. In those moments, lead with your heart. It will always be your strongest muscle.

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Love Is The Goal

Welcome 2019! It’s true, 2017 tried to break me, 2018 taught me lessons, and 2019 is where I soar. The common denominator and driving force through every year is love. Love in every shape and form. Love is what keeps us going. Love is what gives us strength. Love is the goal.

I looked at my children last night as the clock grew closer to midnight, pure love. Those three are the reason I do everything. When I thought I couldn’t go on or wanted to quit, my love for them kept me going and gave me even more strength. The love they feel from family and friends does the same for them.

Love made me think about how 2019 will be different. In previous years I looked forward to getting things and resolutions done to just check them off a list. This year there is so much passion behind what I want to accomplish that is driving me that I know it will happen. This year instead of feeling so lost, I feel my angel and God by my side lighting the path. A path that is outside of the comfort zone. That is where true progress is made. Progress that is driven by passion to make a real difference in the world and fueled by love.

We each have love in us. It’s a matter of what triggers it in us. Find that trigger. Is it a person? A cause? A goal? Whatever or whoever it is, use the love for it to make your new year successful. Even when things and life don’t go as planned, which at some point will definitely happen, use love to help build resiliency to get through it. That is what I’ve discovered helped many times on this journey.

Love isn’t always sunshine, flowers, unicorns, and rainbows. Love is a challenge, but it can offer the greatest of rewards. Love lost can hurt and feel dark. I was there in the darkness. I’ve been there many times since September 2017. That same love can also build. When we look at the challenges differently we can turn the negative into a positive. Instead of letting it break us, think of it as the opportunity for growth. Look for the love in your everyday lives. It’s not always the romantic kind of love. I’m talking about the love for what you do daily. Sometimes it is in the most unexpected of places.

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If you’ve ever smiled out of the blue at the thought of an idea or a person, that’s love. That has been how my first day of 2019 has gone. This is why I know 2019 will be different. I woke up thanking God for this new year and new opportunities. My children all laughed at some point this morning. A butterfly literally guided me to my car as I left my house. A great song played on the radio as soon as I started my car. So many messages and texts from family and friends filled the day with positivity. All are forms of love found in the many moments that make up a day. These are the moments that I will draw strength from when needed. This doesn’t mean today was perfect by any means. I’ve also had a migraine today but tried to change my focus from pain to the many more wonderful moments that have occurred.

Tonight as I write, I know there is love surrounding each of us. May 2019 let it surface for each of you. May negativity be left in the past so you aren’t weighed down. May you find your passion and may love be the goal of it all. Love for life, each other, and the ability to be resilient and find strength. Happy New Year!

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2019

At the end of each year we tend to reflect on life a little more. We make resolutions for the year ahead and vow to be better versions of our current selves. Last year my resolution was pretty much to just make it through 2018. Glad to say, we’re almost there! 2017 was a year that turned my life upside down and inside out and was the start of putting me in a snow globe that was constantly being shaken. 2018 was a year of lessons mixed with successes. 2019, let’s go.

This year I am looking at the resolution process a little differently. Instead of making resolutions, I created a vision board. This was the first one I have ever done. At this time last year, I had no vision of the future that was beyond getting me and the kids through it. We went through so much together throughout this year and proved that life has to go on after someone close to us passes away. Each day I have to remind myself that even though a part of me died the day Mark did, there is so much more that is alive and has to keep on living.

In 2018 I learned to get through finances, household repairs, car issues, taxes, children and school, work, and dipped my foot in the dating pool (p.s. God bless everyone in the dating pool). I never thought I’d be so proud of putting on a new toilet seat cover and lid on the toilets in our home. There I was at our local hardware store in a row of toilets trying to figure out which one we needed, eventually success! Installed them myself and felt a huge sense of accomplishment. Each time I got through moments like that, getting taxes done, paying property taxes, and getting the passports done I would do a little victory dance.

As much as 2018 had some amazing moments, it balanced itself out with moments that made me question myself and my worth as well. Through those journeys I evolved. I was a woman who was learning how to be a single mom of three and finding who I was as a single person for the first time in ages. I learned so much about myself in the process. So much so that I found my true voice and exactly who I am as a woman that just turned 40 and what I want out of life. This was the inspiration for the vision board.

I have heard people call them “dream boards” before, but to make it replace my resolution I’m sticking with vision board. It’s not a dream, it WILL happen. A board with family at the center, friends, love, travel, adventure, and career to name a few. Each picture reminds me of what I need to accomplish each day to make each one become a reality. My gut instinct knows it will happen, my mind and heart are also in agreement for the first time in ages. I’ve accepted the past without regrets, found my confidence in life presently, and face the future without fear. I may not always succeed but know that I have built the strength within me to get through anything or anyone thrown my way. The kids have as well. This year, I am so excited to kiss 2018 goodbye and welcome with open arms and heart 2019! So inhale the future while appreciating each moment in the present and exhale the past. So with God as my guide, let’s go 2019! Happy New Year everyone and thank you for being a part of my snow globe.

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