Birthdays Call To Be Grateful

Another year, another day to feel incredibly blessed and grateful. It can be so easy to see the negatives, to see that things don’t go as ‘planned,’ as I’d like, as I wish they could be. But the storm doesn’t come in vain. It comes to teach lessons we may not see right away – in due time instead. It comes so that I may practice patience and love.

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And can I just add, thank you, your  patience with my being absent from this amazing community – for what feels like forever, is appreciated. Thank you!

A quick run down, my son that is in the spectrum / autism is growing up and while I am incredibly blessed to see his growth, it also comes with it’s challenges. My 5 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with Dyslexia, something that didn’t come as a shock, as I had already suspected she had it. If you have someone in your life with Dyslexia, I’d love to know more on it? Please share! And as for myself – well this mama is pushing through! Because He gives us grace to take on what would otherwise break us.

My final thoughts for today: Happy Birthday to this girl! To the one who continues to face challenges but refuses to let them define her, who’s carried SIX little ones when the professionals told her she couldn’t and to the one who refuses to give up!

YOU are AMAZING!

 

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Happy Tuesday!

A-

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Brain Surgery May 9, 2013 – Chiari Malformation

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May 9, 2013 is marked within the deepest part of her soul. 

It’s only brain surgery they said.

8 hours into a place of the unknown, she drifted to a deep sleep. 

You never know who or what may change your life – until it does.

And the 8 hours are up, she awakes to a new life – a life of chronic pain that can only been seen in her face.

It’s an invisible illness they said. 

She struggles to maintain her composure.

How does one live with pain, deep pain, pain that doesn’t discriminate and doesn’t stop to ask you your name.

SHE does, she struggles, she cries, she hurts, she screams, she writes, she draws, she smiles, because when time doesn’t stop, she can’t stop.

And when she asks for help, he says, I can’t take the pain, but I can give you something for the pain.

She continues to scream the silent scream.

Be grateful, be thankful – they say.

But when one has no other choice but to be strong, then strong she is. 

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month and being that our mental health is just as important as your physical health, I encourage you to get screened, get help or ask for help. There are both adults and children going through some type of mental illness – break the stigma, it’s not bad, you’re not crazy and you can get better by getting help.

A-

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Photo: Max van den Oetelaar

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Actress Selma Blair And Her MS Diagnosis

If there’s one thing I enjoy doing, is watching early morning TV while sipping on coffee. The older children have gone off to school and my littlest babies are still in bed asleep. This morning was the same, only today, an interview with actress Selma Blair with host Robin Roberts resonated with me.

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In this interview actress Selma Blair shares her journey of living with MS – Multiple Scoliosis, a disease in which the immune system eats away the protective covering of the nerves. It can affect the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerves in your eyes. Aside from causing problems with vision, it affects your balance and muscle control, just to name a few. She has the most aggressive form of MS, and it has now affected her speech, as you’ll notice in her interview – spasmodic dysphonia, as well has her walking, which she now relies on a cane for assistance.

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Once again I saw yet another disease trying to strip away the life of a woman and first and foremost a mother. I can relate to her, as I myself am living with Chiari Malformation. It makes you forget all that you knew, the life you knew and emerges you in a new life that is so foreign it may as well bring you to your knees. At times not even knowing what hurts more, as it becomes nearly impossible to vocalize what is wrong and what one is psychically feeling.

In this interview actress Selma Blair mentions …

an experience while having to take her son to school about a mile away, when returning home, having to pull over mid way to take a nap. I can’t take my kids to school, physically my driving is limited, and when I do, it must be close to home. And I understand the need, that dire need to nap. It’s an overwhelming feeling, it takes over your body and mind, and you absolutely have to lie down – ASAP, and sleep.

shame, shame that comes with having chronic pain and a disease that inevitably prevents you from being the mother you desire to be. And all you can do is what you can, to the best of your ability.

telling her son. She mentions that it wasn’t at all difficult sharing her diagnosis with her son. And I agree! Telling the children is so important. In my case, we’ve been open with the children, from why mommy needs quiet, why mommy needs to sleep, to why mommy needs to visit the doctor and why mommy needs to do an MRI. It is paramount to keep the children in the loop!

‘what gets you through those difficult days?’ … she gets in bed and doesn’t move. You just can’t do it all and it’s fine to feel crappy. Her son gets it and she has learned not to feel guilty. This is such an important message. A message to all those parents, that feel the need to play a role they can no longer play, the one where they can do it all, without the need of a break. When you’ve been diagnosed with something like MS or Chiari Malformation, you will have those days where you can’t move, where you get stopped in your tracks and can no longer move. Don’t do more than what your body can handle, put the guilt aside and live your truth. As she said, ‘it’s fine to feel crappy.’

If you haven’t seen the interview, I encourage you to do so, spreading awareness is essential as it motivates others to come out of the shadows and not feel ashamed or alone. When you voice your experience, you not only give a face to the illness, but you help others that are going through the same.

A-

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Happy Meme Monday: When You Have More Than One Child – Or Two

If there’s something to know about what happens when I walk out my door with my tribe, is that we can get a lot of attention and often times, not the good kind of attention – facial expressions, whispering, you name it, it’s happened! Do you get that or is just me? No, yes – just me?! Haha!

So, it’s happened where a complete stranger will stop me and ask me if the children are all mine, to which I’ll respond with something along these lines …. because, hey, no harm in playing along with what seems to be peoples worst nightmares come to reality in form of mwua.

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I never did have twins – only what seems to be a couple sets in the mix!

Hope you have a great Monday.

A-

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Hard Mom Days: A Kindhearted Woman Gains Respect

Hard Mom Days: A Kindhearted Woman Gains Respect

The topic of motherhood can be a bit of a free for all – some think that either you’re doing too little or not enough and their need to give unsolicited advice to tell you what you should be doing with your children. This is why, I always choose to hold opinions of others to myself. As I myself run on survival mode.

So, I’ll begin by telling you how exhausted I am, how physically draining I feel, how sleepy I feel – that sleep that has you not being able to choose whether to eat or sleep and you choose to sleep, how hungry I feel to have maybe 5 minutes to myself! Not to go out, but rather have 5 minutes without the door to my bedroom or bathroom – because you know you can’t lock the door there, continuously opening with little voices asking where my ‘X’ toy is, where my ‘X’ shoe is, where my green ‘X’ shirt is and the list goes on! Yes I am grateful for the little ones, yes I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have them, yes I know they’re growing up, yes they will grow and leave my home. Yes, yes, yes! But give me a minute to let this out! Give me a moment without judgment! It’s OK as a mom to say, I need a break – and not only on Mother’s Day, a breather, a shower, a time to do my hair, a time to eat without sharing – is that being selfish? And a time for rest!

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What a week it’s been!! I have a house full of sick kids – and I won’t remind you how many there are, because the school going children tend to bring home all the germs they can gather and then spread them to the little ones. You know, that snowball effect?! And the only not-so sick child I had, today woke up throwing up. Welcome to motherhood! The land of the unknown, where anything can happen and where all things change at any given moment. Also, where your title as mom can quickly shift from mom to nurse to lullaby singer to clean up crew person of projectile things that come out of little ones mouth to sleep rocker of sick children, just name a few. And then just like that, it’s 4 am. I am so thankful that on most days, I can gather enough strength and not take out my chronic physical pain onto the children. We mothers can do that so quickly – especially when we are exhausted and running on no sleep. If I feel overwhelmed with the children, I give myself a time out. I take this time – be it 5 minutes or 2, to practice my breathing, gather and center myself. Because as mother’s we choose which road to take with each particular child of ours. The impatient child – that can test our own patience, the not-so still child, the loud child to the one that never seems to stop the crying.

‘A kindhearted woman gains respect’ from Proverbs 11:16 is such an encouraging scripture, it serves as a reminder how yelling and anything other than showing respect to the little ones is not a solution to solving a chaotic situation. Because when I’m tired, when I haven’t had the time to eat and had very little sleep, I can get mean, fast. The voice gets higher and I get snappy. So, this is a beautiful reminder to be kind and from my kindness the children will respond kindly in return. It’s so refreshing to know that in any ‘hard’ mom day, through your actions as a mom, you will gain your children’s respect.

‘As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.’ – Isaiah 66:13 I often think that I am giving my all, to my children to my home to my spouse and at times ask, what about me, where do I stand, who comforts me?! Because as a mother, I comfort my little ones, at homework time – encouraging them, when they fall – healing them, when they can’t sleep – comforting them and when they feel scared – loving them. I say them because it makes me feel less of a priority and feel myself being pushed more and more to the far back of the line. However, this verse reminds me that I am a priority, that I am loved and that I am comforted by the most faithful of them all. With this He reminds me that as I comfort my child, He also comforts me – and you.

Hope you’ve had a wonderful Sunday.

A-

Finding peace amongst the chaos in life

Finding peace amongst the chaos in life

I always try to keep in mind that I am not the only one that is going through rough patches in life. May it be a loss, a break up, experiencing some mommy/daddy guilt, don’t understand why things happen, don’t understand how things have happened, how I got here, wish things were different, etc. you get the idea. If you’ve followed my short journey, you know that I’ve experienced life changing surgeries due to Chiari + Syringomyelia. Although many times I’ve tried to put it behind me, there is always something that happens in my day that reminds me of my disability. You know those moments, where you are trying to go about life while trying to forget other parts of your life as well? What do you do? Do you confront them head on, do you even acknowledge them? I know a lot of times we, or rather I, try to put my best foot forward, have my best attitude or simply try to mask what I’m feeling with other more prettier things. This can absolutely happen in this world that is so consumed by technology and phone applications, like Instagram and Facebook. I personally think these outlets pressure us into thinking reality is too ugly to post. But, masking reality can be so exhausting, especially for someone like myself, being a full-time stay at home mom and dealing with chronic pain. It’s exhausting! I know I vent to my wonderful therapist, but I know others don’t have that outlet, either you choose not to or can’t for whatever reason.

I grew up in a relatively strict religious home and was taught at an early age to turn to the Lord for comfort and do His holy will. At the same time and you can read more about it here, I am also a firm believer in finding professional help for things like depression, anxiety, etc. Lately however, hence my reasons for my continued therapeutic sessions have been questioning other things. Have you found yourself there? I’m there. I’m not sure where you find your peace amongst the chaos in life, where do you find your happiness, where do you find your smile, is it in your children, your religion, spouse or partner? I know at times the plans my 15 or even 18 year old self had suddenly come to mind and then reality strikes and there’re the reminder of how none of that happened. However, I also know and am reminded that, you can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will always prevail. What does this mean, well, that if you and I don’t see our life the way we’d imagined it, know that it is however going the way the Lord has planned it. So powerful, yet I still go back and forth with the Lord, like a small child coming back to me after I’ve told them no. Can we compare it that way? Are we that nagging child asking the Lord, why don’t things go my way? As the priest put it on Easter Vigil this year and as you can see, it struck a cord with me, he said, “do you think God made a mistake with you, do you think the bastard sitting next to you isn’t for you?” – aka your spouse. HAHA! There’s nothing like hearing a homily that delivers and gives you a good laugh at the same time.

So, whether you are religious or not, whether you seek in the Lord or not, whether you turn to prayer or not, we are all seeking the same thing, peace and to love and be loved. We are all trying to be seen and heard. If you’re in this same space as myself, I tell you, don’t give up, find support, find the courage to find your voice and ask for help.

Also, know that your struggle is part of your journey. And as the scripture says, “this too shall pass, worries, hardships, and the things of this world are temporary, eternity is forever.” And you my friend are perfectly imperfect and that’s OK.

Ana-

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Photo: Aaron Burden