Tuesday, November 23, 2010


2010 is almost over, and with it, a bittersweet reflection of the last year. I'll be glad to say good riddens to this year, but I'm excited about all the wonderful things that 2011 has in store. This holiday season brings more nostalgia and hope than I've felt in a long, long time.

The great thing about difficult periods in your life is that they always have an end. Time does not stop for anyone, even if it feels like it when you are stuck in a bad place.

One way to get over difficult times as they are happening is to remember what you are thankful for.Thanksgiving is a great reminder to focus on the positives in your life. If you have to, make a list. Nothing is too small. A chocolate bar, for example, may seem a silly thing to feel thankful for, but there are many unfortunate people out there who don't have chocolate in their lives (can you imagine?!)

Since I like to practice what I preach, I've made my own list below. Have a great holiday :)

Just a few things I am very thankful for:
  • The clouds outside my office window - blue skies in November!
  • Christmas trees, and all the symbolic, memorable treasures we decorate them with.
  • My boyfriend, who renewed my faith and trust in goodness.
  • My best friend, who bought me a wedding-designer expensive cake for my birthday.
  • Hot chocolate with marshmallows, especially after frolicking around in the snow.
  • Moments when suddenly everything starts to make sense.
  • Knowledge - the quest for it, the acquiring of it, and the eye-opening aspects of it.
  • People who surprise you by how well they know you.
  • My mom, for packing up everything in my home when I was too despondent to be of much help.
  • My dad, for spending tireless hours upkeeping my house and yard this summer.
  • Days when you get unexpected good news.
  • Laredo and Lexi, and the unjudging, loyal love that animals give so easily.
  • Peace and safety. Mostly in my personal life, but in general too.
  • Meijer moose tracks chocolate ice cream.
  • My realtor, for her persistence and her empathy.
  • My lawyer, who charged me less than half what he usually charges, and the friend who sent me to him.
  • Little kids' laughter and how they remind us that happiness is a natural state.
  • Lounge pants and chamomile tea, green tea, black tea....oh, any kind of tea, with my tea buddy ;)
  • Short weeks at work. 'Nuff said.
  • The therapist I saw for a while during my ordeal, and her painful but necessary honesty.
  • White sand beaches, shells, and sunshine.
  • The jail clerk who slipped me a free copy of my police report when he was supposed to charge me.
  • Students who thank me for my help.
  • The friend who drove my Uhaul and moved every piece of furniture into my apartment this summer, put together my bed, and carried in my new TV.
  • My classmates, who supportively witnessed the tumultuous story that is the past year of my life.
  • The judge who refused his request that the protective order be released early.
  • Famous Dave's tasty array of barbecue sauce choices :)
  • My boss, for toughening my skin and teaching me how to speak up for myself.
  • Spinach salad with strawberries, bleu cheese, and almonds.
  • Being more than halfway done with my masters degree.
  • My iPod Touch that I won this year.
  • Redefining life, which can encompass some or all of the following: New realities, turning points, and not looking back. All are good things in the end.
  • Laughing really hard with someone who totally gets the joke.
  • Notre Dame healthcare and benefits.
  • Honesty. Honesty. Honesty. Sweet honesty.
  • My grandparents, who have been married more than 60 years.
  • Student workers who do all the typing and filing.
  • The power of self-love.
  • People who push you to be better people and hold you accountable.
  • Sleeping in, with coffee to follow.
  • Comedic TV shows: The Office, 30 Rock, Modern Family, Conan on TBS
  • Learning to not sweat the small stuff
  • What it feels like after a long workout and hot shower
  • Giving of yourself, and knowing someday it will come full circle

and so much more....

Friday, November 5, 2010

This is the air we breathe....

This morning, driving to work, for the tenth time since I started listening to the song Breathe, by Michael W. Smith, I was brought to tears. Something about that song speaks to me in a way that no other Christian music ever has.

And it made me realize something else pretty significant that came out of the tough times of the past two years of my life: The strengthening of my faith. It's not really the song that brings me to tears, it's the power of my faith.

You would not have caught me crying to a Christian song three years ago. Not to say I wasn't a Christian, or that I didn't believe in God. I was, and I did. I've always felt I had a strong personal relationship with God due to being raised in a religious household and attending Catholic Schools since kindergarten.

However, I don't think I fully understood my faith. It had been fed to me in a steady diet since I was a child; too young to know exactly what it was. It hadn't developed due to my own needs or feelings. Plus, I gotta admit, Catholic mass doesn't do the best job of evoking emotion or passion towards God. So, I was taught, and I ran with it. I believed it. But did I have a strong, emotional connection to it? I don't think so.

I knew God was there for me, I knew I could fall back on my faith, but I didn't interact with it. I didn't have the awe and reverence for it that I do now. I definitely didn't comprehend its power.

There were times before the divorce - a year before - where I was so miserable I didn't know what to do anymore. I didn't want to come home after work because I knew the day would be unhappy from when I walked in the door until I fell asleep. There were times I got in bed really early - like 8 p.m. - just so that I could usher the next day in quicker and walk out the door again.

Other times I would summon up some optimism and say "it's going to be okay!" running home full of hope and denial, cooking big dinners while he laid on the couch and Blackberry messaged with his girlfriend.