Love Is

Love is

Love is a stranger’s smile
Love is a mother’s hug
Love is a father’s pride
Love is a brother’s high-five
Love is a sister’s support
Love is a grandmother’s encouragement
Love is a grandfather’s stories
Love is a mentor’s guidance
Love is a friend’s text
Love is a dog’s excitement
Love is a cat’s purr
Love is all the little things
Love is a good morning kiss
Love is soup when you’re sick
Love is flowers after a hard day
Love is judgement-free
Love is forgiveness when it hurts
Love is accepting without understanding
Love is all of this and so much more
Love is love
& Love is all around us
N.N.

Thanks Mom.

This year, I’m keeping it positive. I’m tired of the negativity; both from my surroundings and from my thoughts. So for awhile my posts are going to be thank you posts. I’m going to be counting my blessings, and at the top of the list are the people who keep me motivated through this thing called life.

Up first, of course, is my Momma.

I don’t quite know how I can put into words how thankful I am for this woman that I am forever indebted to. My mom raised twins by herself for the most part. We both had our moments – but of the two of us I know I caused her more sleepless nights than my brother. I wasn’t an easy kid, and I certainly wasn’t an easy teenager. But somehow my mom managed to keep me in her prayers and say “I love you,” every day without fail. Being older and having seen people I love do some self-destructive things, or even say that they’re thinking about hurting themselves, I cannot even begin to fathom how much pain I caused my mom. She had to see the aftermath of suicide attempts and years of self-harm and bulimia. She had to see her daughter, in her house, trying to hurt herself, and trying very hard. I can’t even imagine. Honestly, I can’t even say that I would take it back because everything that I’ve gone through has made me who I am – but I certainly wouldn’t be here if she hadn’t stuck by my side all of these years. I know people who went through less than I did whose parents gave up on them. But here she was; paying for therapy, visiting me every day in hospitals, doing everything in her power to get me into an inpatient rehab program before I turned 18… she saved my life. My mom literally saved my life, and it’s not something that I acknowledge enough. Thank you Mom. For not only putting up with me, but for loving me through the most difficult days. Thank you for always being a phone call away, even at 3 am. Thank you for continuing to encourage me and for being my inspiration. Thank you for being a faithful prayer warrior.

Aside from being an angel in my life that I don’t recognize enough… I’m so thankful that we share a passion for horses, a passion that you ignited in my heart before I can even remember. Some of my fondest memories are going to barrel races with you growing up, and our traditional McDonald’s chicken nuggets afterwards. ūüôā Thank you for always doing everything you possibly can to support my passion and my dream.

The thing is, though – I know it’s not just me whose life you have impacted. You are a beautiful person inside and out. You are always there to help friends, family, strangers – you have the biggest heart. Your smile is infectious, your sincerity is noticed, and your love is unconditional.

Thank you for being you, Mom. You are such a blessing to me, and I definitely don’t say it enough. I love you.

‚̧N.O.

New Year, New Story

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It’s a New Year; in fact, I can’t believe it’s already five days into 2016.

Normally this is where I, and everyone else in the world, would reflect on backthe previous year, but¬†too much of my life has revolved around the past.¬†For me, 2016 will be a year of no looking back – ¬†just moving forward. It’s okay to glance in the rear-view mirror sometimes… but nothing good happens when you can’t take your eyes off of the places you have already been.

The focus of my 2016 will be bettering myself so that I can selflessly love those around me.

Some of my resolutions include:
-To be & eat  healthier so that I have more energy to focus on the things and people that actually deserve my attention.
-Complete 200 hours of community service.
-Hike mountains and trails across Arizona (checklist to come).
-Apply to Graduate School (and hopefully decide what I want to do when I grow up).
-Place in the 2D in a local barrel race,,, my horse and our career is more of a priority for me this year than ever before.
-Go somewhere I have never been.
-Find a “home” church and attend regularly.

More than anything, I need to focus on all that I’m blessed with instead of focusing on the negative. This year, I have a new position at work that I will continue to excel in. I have some amazing, genuine friends. I am actively involved with the Crisis Text Line and the National Eating Disorders Association – two organizations that literally save lives every day. I am in a¬†healthy,¬†wonderful relationship with an incredible man. I have a faithful and prayerful family who I can always rely on.

I am so blessed, even on the darkest days.

There is so much that I want to do this year, so many expectations and hopes and dreams. But, unlike every other year of my life – I’m not going to beat myself up when I don’t perfectly stick to all of my resolutions or meet the goals I’ve set for myself. I know I’m going to fail, but I will continually remind myself that¬†every set back is a set up for a come back.

So, whether 2016 means ¬†a “New You” or consists of finding the real you. Remember that the past is the past, but your future is an adventure just waiting to happen – and guess what? It doesn’t care about what happened yesterday.

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Happy New Year!

-N.O.

Invincible

Kelly Clarkson released a single entitled “Invincible,” it is fairly new, and I just recently heard it for the first time last week. It was an immediate favorite of mine, the more I listened to it the more powerful it became to me – the more it encouraged me.

THEN I watched the music video. Even more incredible. Kelly Clarkson is a great role model in general, recently standing up to body shamers Рproclaiming her acceptance and love for her body just as it is. This video features several women Рof all different shapes, sizes, colors, ages handicaps, etc Рfirst trapped inside these cubes, then fighting their way out. Showing first their pain, then their happiness. It is pretty awesome; watch it here: https://youtu.be/xQNqaERUYy4.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

You know I was broke down, I had hit the ground
I was crying out, I couldn’t make no sound
No one hears the silent tears collecting
You know I had lost hope, I was all alone
Never been so long till you came along
Teacher, I feel the dots connecting

Beat down on me, beat down like a waterfall
Cause I can take on so much more than I had ever dreamed
So beat down on me, beat down like a waterfall
Cause baby, I am ready to be free

Now I am invincible
No, I ain’t a scared little girl no more
Yeah, I am invincible
What was I running for
I was hiding from the world
I was so afraid, I felt so unsure
Now I am invincible
Another perfect storm

Now I am a warrior, a shooting star
Know I got this far, had a broken heart
No one hears the silent tears collecting
Cause it’s being weak, but strong in the truth I found
I have courage now, gonna shout it out
Teacher, I feel the dots connecting

Beat down on me, beat down like a waterfall
Cause I can take on so much more than I had ever dreamed
So beat down on me, beat down like a waterfall
Cause baby, I am ready to be free

Now I am invincible
No, I ain’t a scared little girl no more
Yeah, I am invincible
What was I running for
I was hiding from the world
I was so afraid, I felt so unsure
Now I am invincible
Another perfect storm

I was running from an empty threat
Of emptiness
I was running from an empty threat
That didn’t exist
I was running from an empty threat
Of abandonment
I was running from an empty threat
That didn’t exist

Now I am invincible
No, I ain’t a scared little girl no more
Yeah, I am invincible
What was I running for
I was hiding from the world
I was so afraid, I felt so unsure
Now I am invincible
Another perfect storm

At-any-give-moment-you-have-the-power-to-say-this-is-not-how-the-story-is-going-to-end.power-inspirational-quotesSia helped write the song, and she is someone who has overcome a lot in her life – including depression and anxiety. I can relate to so much of her music, and I can totally get her part in writing this song. The part that gets me most is the line that says “No, I ain’t a scared little girl anymore.” So much of my adult life has been affected by and is shaped by my childhood – including some particular events and people in my life at that time. So many people subconsciously allow the despicable people who hurt them when they were young to continue to hurt¬†them later in life. I began to recognize this in my own life years ago, but haven’t quite had the courage to really do the work to take my life back. This song is so motivating to me. I can be invincible, I don’t have to be that scared little girl anymore, I don’t have to run – and neither do you.¬†Take your life back! You have the power, no matter what your past looks like, you control your life today. You are invincible.

-N.O.

Just Breathe

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Wake up this morning, and breathe. Breathe in the fresh air (here it happens to be the morning after some quiet night-time rain), and know that your day has already been planned. God already knows every person you will meet, every word you will say,  everything that will go right & every little thing that will go wrong.

Just breathe, and know that your story isn’t over. God isn’t finished with you yet. ‚̧

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 1:6