After my first blog, I was talking with a friend who also blogs. She said to me “I’m not a writer”…to which I responded “I’m not a writer either.” That sentence, that thought, that discredit, stuck with me. Why do we do this to ourselves? True…blogging, practicing my writing, exercising this rarely used art form of prose, is very new to me. But what would I have to accomplish to make me a writer??
I came across this same quandary when I began running 3 years ago. I’d repeatedly tell people “oh, I’m not a runner…” What I was thinking and feeling is “please don’t judge my running…I’m not fast…it’s not pretty…I look and feel like I’m dying when my feet are pounding the ground…so don’t call me a runner and don’t measure me by this high standard.” Today, I’m still not the fastest and I can’t run the farthest. Look at me in the pic below with this fancy little medal (…I still didn’t consider myself a runner even at this point). I was still discrediting myself saying “All of the good runners were participating in the half today…that’s why I was able to win the 5k.” When I look at myself and know those thoughts run through my mind, I can’t deny that’s it’s disappointing. We have to believe in ourselves. Love ourselves. Today I consider myself a runner. So what has changed???
I began thinking (super scary, I know). The primary thing that has changed in my running is my perspective. I have the same tiny frame, the same slender muscles, the same excruciatingly pained face (lol)…but my perspective has changed. I haven’t changed; my mind has changed.
Who would we be if we stopped discrediting ourselves and discounting our abilities? If our minds stopped telling us what we can’t do? I decided to try an exercise and list everything, every single thing, that I am. This is what I came up with:
- a Christian
- executive assistant
- ….this is where I started to have more fun with this exercise…you’ll see
- Runner (YES!)
- Writer (really…I changed my mind on this one)
- financial guru
- motivational speaker
- church council member
- scout den leader
- dog mommy (to my Rusty-Roo)
- carer for the sick
- tickler of the toes, arms, bellies, underarms, necks…you get the idea
- dancer (in my kitchen at least)
- singer (also in my kitchen/sometimes shower)
- music enthusiast
- bath lover
- love lover 😉
- Over-sharer (refer to #31)
- bedtime tucker
- Reader of stories
- Hair obsesser
- smile giver
And this is where I ended. I’m really quite terrible at some of these things (totally referring to singing). But these things make me feel alive. These things bring me joy. What if I start focusing on all of the things that I am and stop discounting myself by stating what I am not? You don’t have to be the best at something to BE IT. You just have to do it. From your gut, do it and love it. And there you are, the writer, the runner, the singer, the [enter the thing you desire/fear here].
That’s it. It’s simple really. Forget “I’m not”….it’s a pretty useless statement. Let’s be what we set out to be. Let’s challenge ourselves and love ourselves. I challenge you to get out your pen and paper and make your “I Am” list. When you do it, ignore the fear. No one is seeing this list but you (unless you decide to blog about it!). You’ll be glad you did it. My last piece of advice, once you’ve written these things on your list, be them. Don’t step back, don’t discount, don’t discredit, and don’t be modest. Get out there and take life by the reigns. BE IT.
Meet Jera. She is my beautiful, 3-going-on-17 year old daughter. Full of energy, sass, love, fishy kisses and the best Jera hugs. She is my side-kick in all things. Her favorite things are Barbies, PJ Masks, Taylor Swift, strawberry milk and the Fresh Beat Band. She is resilient and teaches me every day what living without fear looks like. She also suffers from eczema…and I don’t use the word suffer lightly. But more on that later.
Now I have to ask, could this be what the cure for eczema looks like???
We’ve been through a lot on this eczema journey, and after all we’ve tried, all the doctor appointments, steroids, creams, lotions, all of the money spent, could the answer really come down to some supplements and essential oils??? I’m feeling skeptical and if you’ve dealt with eczema, you’ll know why.
At 13 months old, Jera’s skin completely and radically changed. She went from clear, soft, gorgeous baby skin to being broken out with red, rough and bumpy rashes all over her body, most severely on her elbows, wrists, knees and ankles. Her skin has gotten so bad at times that she’s had to take antibiotics to combate infections that have entered in through her open wounds. Since that time, we’ve been through EVERY over-the-counter topical treatment. Aquaphor, Cetaphil, Eucerin, Gold Bond, oatmeal baths, Epsom salts… We’ve been through the pharmaceutical gammut as well. At one point we actually found a topical steroid that did wonders for her skin, only to find out it was no longer available when we went for the refill (it had been tied to Luekemia 😖). Needless to say I had a serious moments pause about Jera’s eczema treatment right then and there.
This entire time, we’ve been following the advice of specialists. Her very own dermatologist and allergist and still no answers. During our tenure, their advice has gone from one extreme to another. Don’t bathe her. Bathe her every day. Remove all carpeting from your home. Wrap her in a wet blanket and make her sit for an hour…it’s a great cold compress for the skin. So…I did mention she’s THREE, right?! At her last dermatologist appointment, the doctor suggested I begin punishing her when I see her scratching. His latest hypothesis is that if she wouldn’t scratch herself, she wouldn’t have the rashes and sores on her body. When I said “But she scratches herself because she itches???”, he suggested I start giving her Benadryl 4 times a day. In his words, she may be a little “out of it” but she won’t be itchy. We, as patients, put our trust in our doctors. We have to. They are the experts and we, as patients, need their knowledge and advice. My mom, Jera’s grandma, was with us at this appointment. I was so thankful to have her there to validate that this doctor didn’t have Jera’s best interest at heart. He wasn’t invested in her healing. And so it was my sign that it was time to move on.
So here we are, nearly 3 years into this battle with Jera’s skin and she’s no better today then she was in the beginning. This is a picture of what her skin looked like this morning.
Horrible, right?! I range from feeling desperate, to sad, to frustrated. At this point, I have realized we have to keep an open mind. There is an answer out there. Our prayers will be answered but I have to be listening, attentive and leave the doubt behind.
I decided that if something comes our way, we will try it. We will not accept that she just has to live this way. Live having other children point to her red, swollen patches of skin and ask her what’s “wrong with her”. Live not being able to sleep at night because she itches so badly that she can’t rest peacefully. Live putting one toxic ointment on her body after another to get some sort of relief without knowing what the long term effects will be. There must be a cure.
Enter Iridology. This is a science that evaluates the nerve endings in the iris to determine strengths, weakness, areas of congestion and stress, among other things inside the body. Several friends have shared their personal health success stories after visiting this particular Iridologist. So I took this as a sign and made an appointment. We had our appointment this week; the lady looked into my daughter’s eye and gave us her opinion. We left the store, and in hand, we have Recover Soothing Blend (oil), Silver Shield (gel), probiotics, Pau De Arco Extract, and Flax Oil. She advised us to give her plenty of lemon water. We’re supposed to cut down the dairy and wheat intake. Increase dark leafy greens…beets would also be a good choice (yes, I’m looking at this lady like she’s an alien…my daughter is 3 and I’m not really sure about the beets!). Her thought is that my daughter’s kidneys need help. Her body is reacting to EVERYTHING like it is an allergy because he kidneys have been overworked trying to remove the toxins from her body. Her kidneys can’t keep up. I’m not a doctor, obviously. There was more to her explanation than that but that’s what I pulled from it. If we can clean up her kidney function, her skin will heal but it will take a few months to see results.
Could it be so simple? Some diet modifications, oils and supplements? I don’t know. But I’m thankful to have a new road to travel down. A new suggestion to try. It’s been a frustrating process, but we’re praying every day that we find relief. Realizing things could always be worse, we’re taking it a day at a time and pushing forward. If this isn’t the answer, we will have our ears open for the next opportunity to help our daughter. We won’t give up. Updates to come!
The New Year has got me thinking…as it often does. Thinking of my goals, my wants, my needs…and with the assistance of some fantastic podcasts and a fancy motivational dvd, I had an epiphany. At 31 years old (or years young if you ask me), I had lost my way a little. Not in a living-in-the-streets-type-of-dramatic kind of way but in a I’ve-been-so-busy-getting-by-that-I’ve-stopped-giving-it-my-all kind of way. Whew, that’s a lengthy description but true.
In my teens and early 20s I had this belief that I could step into the adult world, marry the man of my dreams, work the job of my dreams, live in the big house, buy the new car, have the perfect children, etc., etc. Then I graduated college. I married a great man and got a good job and have been blessed to have two beautiful children. But other things have been harder. I discovered making a life, digging in and creating the life of your dreams, is hard. Like really hard. I suffered some terrible losses. And somewhere in the struggle, somewhere along the way, I started to doubt myself.
My blind faith that anything is possible left me. When did that happen. When did I decide to settle? That my dreams were too big? That I didn’t deserve the things I wanted? I don’t remember the moment. It was a lot of moments. The moment I was told I miscarried my first child, the moment I didn’t get the shining review I wanted at work, the moment I lost a dear friend to suicide, the moments I faced addiction in those around me, so many moments that chipped away at who I am…who I thought I could be.
So what? We all have hard times. I know that this is life on life’s terms. So, this epiphany I had, it woke me up. It gave me the kick in the rear and the slap in the face that I needed. I remembered that I have been created. I am not here by accident. Because I was made with purpose, molded, designed…shouldn’t I be aiming for my greatest potential? Why not me?
So going forward, I will try my hardest ALL the time. At work, with friends, at church, but especially in my home. I will put positive thoughts forward and send them out into the world. I will not dwell in the negative; I will not worry. I don’t know how I’m going to get to where I’m going. But that’s the fun of the journey. I’m taking a leap of faith and giving this life (this absolutely beautiful life) I’ve been given everything I’ve got.
I hope you will too. Do YOUR best, not your neighbor’s best. In the words of my 4th grade teacher, do your personal best. We were all made with purpose. It’s our responsibility to dive in and discover what that purpose is. We won’t find it while we idly wait. Purpose won’t come to us. We have to seek it out…I think it’s time. 2016 holds tremendous things.