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.

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

Lessons from a Horse

I recently became a horse owner again, an unexpected and wonderful blessing. I could not be happier about it, but there is something about longing for an event, person, place or thing for so long (I had been without a horse for about 2 1/2 years) and then finally getting it; we often forget that most of these things come with their own unique challenges, difficulties or conflicts. While dreaming about barrel racing again РI had seemingly forgot about all of the hard work it will take to get my horse ready to race.

My horse, Scooby, has already found her way into my heart. She is the sweetest little girl with a big heart and a fun personality. Scooby has had an interesting life though – for the majority of her 9 years she has been running free with no authority of any kind. She has the mindset of a youngster, even though she isn’t. While riding the other day I just kept asking her and hoping that she would just stop worrying, trust me – and give me the reins instead of fighting me. I love her, and want nothing but the best for her – but I know that there are going to be lots of baby steps to take before we really go places.

I tend to pray while I ride – it’s where I am most at peace. I guess I was just asking for a little guidance for both myself & Scooby. But I usually feel guilty after I pray because I don’t do it often, and it seems I only do pray when I am asking for something… something that I want. I have tried so hard¬†to convince myself that my life is going how God wants it to – this would mean that I both have control and at the same time I am allowing God’s will to be done.

After my session with Scooby was over I got off and was grooming her when I got to thinking… Scooby & I are alike in many ways.

I believe in a God who has loved me even before I was a twinkle in my momma’s eye; a God who longs for me to just stop worrying, trust Him –¬†and give Him the reins instead of fighting Him. He loves me and wants nothing but the best for me.

How ironic is it that I’m asking this beautiful creature who has known me for only a short time to trust me with her life, when I can’t even release control of my own life to the One who created me? Quite ironic I think.

As I go back to the basics with Scooby so that we can work our way towards a fully trusting relationship, I’m also going to go back to the basics with Jesus so that I can work towards a complete relationship with Him.

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Jesus Take the Reins

-N.O.

Life is Too Short for Worry

Sometimes,  I just need to laugh at myself.

I am one of those people who tends to worry & stress about things that don’t need to be worried and stressed about. I have been working on a project for work for the past two days, trying to learn things I’ve never even been exposed to – and getting continually frustrated because I can’t figure it all out. I finally asked someone who my company often does work with to take a look, and his response is, “Sure, this shouldn’t take more than an worryhour.” I literally laughed out loud. Sure I felt a little stupid for not being able to figure it out, but on the other hand this is what he does for a living. I felt relieved that I didn’t have to stress about it anymore, and also found it ironic that just this morning I read the words, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).

As a generally anxious person, I tend to catastrophize everything and worry about most things in my life. I mean there’s so much that one can worry about – family’s safety, the weather, car, cat, relationship, work… the list goes on and on. The point is that worrying does absolutely no good. Just because you worry more about something will not make it better. Whatever you’re worrying about today, God already knows the outcome – and whether it’s good or bad – he is already there waiting for you.

Life is way too short to worry, a lesson I keep learning over and over again. We need to enjoy each moment as it comes; grasp toward adventure, love like there’s no tomorrow,¬†and be thankful for¬†this day – each day.

Accepting Our Stories

I’m just going to say it – recovery is messy. There are parts that are simply really difficult. Tonight instead of doing something self – destructive, I sit and grudgingly listen to what my heart is telling me, and it’s telling me I need to work through some things in my past and get to a point where I can accept my story for what it is. In my years trying to do this whole recovery thing, if I’ve learned anything, its that everything happens for a reason. Horrible things happen to beautiful people every day, and life has an amazing way of using our nasty pasts to put us in the best place we could ever be. This is where faith comes in. Some days we just have to believe that God has a plan that is wonderfully unfathomable to us mere humans.

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