Give Yourself Permission to Cry.

8d0f69ef7e45bda62769ad9315a3131f--sweetest-quotes-quotes-loveSometime between the hamburger I could hardly stomach and standing right there in front of him, I resolved that this was going to actually happen.  My husband was leaving for war.  Again.  I knew logically that I’d done this goodbye before, that I knew I could survive deployment, and that the only thing I needed to focus on was that he needed all the love and support I had to give.  The thing about logically knowing something and actual feelings is that they live on separate planets that eventually collide.

Over 500 Iowa soldiers said their final “See you later”‘s on Saturday.  We lifted our eyes to meet our best friend’s gaze and forced out the words that we’d play over and over and over again in our minds for weeks to come.  One last hug.  One last “I love you.”

In that moment time stops.  It’s not necessarily what you say but how you say it and it’s not really about the “goodbye” but more so freezing that second of time to hold onto.  It’s a moment we cannot have regrets with.  It’s a few seconds of time that we spend knowing we may never get it back again.  It’s being willing to let go, but being strong enough to hold on.

Hundreds of wives came back this weekend from Texas without their husband or boyfriend with them.  Each of us carry a sort of grief that can often go unnoticed because we are, in fact, military wives and we are strong.

As a 23 year military wife with four deployments I am here to tell them, “It’s okay to cry.  It’s okay to vent.  It’s okay that you came home, looked around, and felt utterly and totally alone.  It’s okay that you want to stay in your jammies and binge netflix Hallmark movies.  It’s okay to miss him already.  This is the hard part.   That last hug still resonates and we have yet to get into our deployment routines.  Right now, today, is probably the worst pain you are feeling or will feel.  Let it be what it is.  Cry it out.  Scream it out.  Give yourself permission to feel this.  If you don’t, you’ll bottle it all up and it will spill out into the deployment in ways that could hurt you, your spouse, and your children.  Don’t listen to people who say, “Just be strong,” or, “It will be over before you know it.”  Listen to your heart.  Feel what you need to feel in these next 72 hours.”

Then, we will pick ourselves back up and we will forge ahead.  We WILL be strong.  We WILL be tough.  We will do things other wives could not fathom to do.  But for right now, while that kiss still lingers on your lips, please give yourself permission to feel.

Journal it out, call a friend who will listen to you (without trying to relate to you or give you advice), pump out some reps at the gym, get a babysitter and lay in bed with his pillow and bawl for an hour.  Whatever it is you need to do to process this monumental life experience, do it.

Even if it’s just to have someone acknowledge that you are a bad ass who just went through a hell of a hard time; find that person.  You deserve to be heard, validated, and loved through this.  It’s essential, because after about a week it’s your job to suck it up and get on with it.

In the chaos that is this kind of pain, never forget, while few will understand there are those that do.  Find them.  Hold onto them.  Reach out.  Don’t isolate.

A good cry never felt so good.  Have at it ladies.  Get it out.  There’s plenty of time for us to be tough.  And tough we will be.

 

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From Fear to Fearless: This is YOUR year!

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When Amy was alive she always told me, “Be fearlessly you!”  She was a woman who lived by her words and yet for all the years she told me this, I never grasped it.  I lived constantly in my own self doubt.  The shadows of all my mistakes and shortcomings over-rode any light I thought I might possibly have buried deep down somewhere.  No matter what I tried to do, whether in career or relationships, it seemed like I was a vacuum sucking people dry because I hungered so much for validation.  I never stood independent of how I thought others thought of me.  So how could I change that?  What could I do differently this year?

What could I do so that when I looked into my children’s faces I didn’t see all my regret that I could have done it better before they left home?  What could I possibly change to see my husband take  a sigh of relief that he no longer carried all my pain or purpose?  My friendships, how could I operate in love in such a way that did not demand reciprocity?  How could I possibly be independently fearless and stand in my truth that while I’m far from perfect, I’m a beautiful being with something to offer?

I think we all struggle with this at one time or other in our lives.  We look around at those closest to us, those we’ve lost through filters through the years, and those we hope to become closer to in the future and we wonder … do I have what it takes?  Am I good enough?   Do I have value?

Fear.  Fear of being wanted, loved, and liked.  Fear of loss, fear of gain.  Fear of failure and success.  We become stagnant in our doubts, almost sometimes to the point of being frozen in it.  We stop going out, we are isolated with work and friends.  We shy away from socialization.   Then the voices really start up, man, they can be harsh.  See?  I told you, no one cares.  See?  I told you, no one notices you.

How do we overcome that kind of fear?  I went to my bedside one day and knelt, shaking, on my bedroom floor and I prayed, “Lord, my precious Father, you did not have this in mind when you created me, did you? With Amy gone now, I feel lost to courage and bravery.  I feel lost to me.  Help me to see myself as someone who can love as you love. Change my heart.  Mature me.  Please, give me opportunities to shower my world with faith and friendship and love and laughter and not do so with a selfish heart.  Train me up to stand in the gap for those I love, rather than whine about being the gap myself.  Let me be the light.”

After I was done praying I heard the word, “Act.”  Then, from Scripture, “Do not be afraid.”  In my mind I could hear the trumpets of Jericho.  Bring the wall down.  The wall of insecurity, fear, and doubt.  Shake it to its core so it has no hold over you.

I heard Amy, “Be Fearlessly You!”

I’m determined that this will be a year of letting go of fear and falling fearlessly in love with my life, my family, friends, and the path I am so blessed to be able to be on.

I pray, for all who read this and can relate, that you have the courage to stand on your knees, be humble to God, and become an action person verses a reactive person!  This is going to be a great year.

 

 

 

Preparing for Day 1 Arbonne Cleanse!

For about 39 years I never worried about my weight.  In fact, unless I was pregnant or nursing, I didn’t even have to watch what I ate. (what a $(@&* …. I know.)  I was a comfortable size 6 at about 5 foot 6 inches.  I always felt sorry for overweight people.  I felt sorry for women who were losing their hair.  I would be comforting and say, “No, you’re fabulous!” But inside I was feeling, “Please God, don’t let that happen to me.”  Truth.  Ugly, but true.

I didn’t want to get “old” – not that at 41 I am but let me just say ladies …. at 40 the tides become to come in and they just aren’t soft and subtle.

So here I sat, a 41 year old who suddenly weighed 234 pounds YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT.  I went from a nice steady 140 to 234 pounds …..and had lost some height and stood at 5 foot 5 inches. I’d lost so much hair that from any direction you can see how white my ugly scalp is.  I was miserable.  What happened to me?  Life I suppose.  My medications for anxiety and depression had some to do with it (Weight gain side effects are for the birds, and my husbands 4th tour overseas with the military didn’t help).  But then, I quit smoking on top of everything.  I was a smoker, yes.  For 28 years.  Two packs a day.  Until Pneumonia nearly killed me about 8 months ago.  So instead, I ate.  Ugh.

Skinny girl in a fat body.  I mean, for those of you that have known me through the years thank you, thank you, thank you for not mentioning WTH has happened to me!  I sware to you ….. just last week I was walking by a mirror in a department store and I thought, “Oh, gosh, that poor girl.”  Holy crap.  That girl was me.  ME.  The girl who can’t get up the stairs without stopping to take a break.  My ankles feel like they’re breaking, I eat fifteen tums a day, and my bowels?  Oh TMI.

So …. when my co-worker started feeling healthy and losing weight on a cleanse of course I wanted to hear about it.  Then, I learned it was an MLM.  The Arbonne Cleanse. Ugh.  Not my first rodeo here folks.  Been there, done that.  However, she was so excited about her own success I couldn’t help get excited with her.  I don’t have to sell it, just use it, right?

My husband was leaving for two months for Leadership training with the military and I knew, if I was going to make a move on my health and weight …. now was the time!  How fun to surprise him!  Hmmmm …. how to really stabefore-fronty motivated?  My son!  I have a 21 year old son in the military also who happens to be living at home right now (no pressure from me to move in whilst dad is gone. lol), and I wanted to see if we could do the cleanse together.  Mama and son.  He was in.  Not just in.  He was helping me afford it.  *insert tears.

We met Heather on a Thursday night in her new home, she was literally just moving in.  She was friendly, open, warm and inviting.  She also had a military background.  She explained the product, let us try some stuff, and then stepped back.

I told her and my co-worker we would think about it.  But, we were in.

Hence the food prepping tonight and the preparations to start this 30 day journey.  Here, you’ll find my “Before” picture.

 

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Here were my top 3 requests:

1.)  It’s gotta be easy.

2.)  It’s gotta be easy.

3.)  It’s gotta be easy.

Then, I learned I have to give up coffee AND martini’s.  Holy smokes.   So, tonight, I’m getting ready to dig in tomorrow.  My meal prep’s are all done for the next few days and I’m about to embark on a new journey for 30 days to change my eating habits and begin to develop a healthy lifestyle.  Please, don’t ask questions tonight ……. I’ve got a full martini and I’m enjoying the living heck out of it!  🙂  Love you all and I’ll keep you posted!

If you’ve done the Arbonne http://www.arbonne.com/pws/homeoffice/tabs/home.aspxcleanse, let me hear about it!

 

 

Book Review: A Mathmatical State of Grace

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In her novel, A Mathmatical State of Grace, Cathy McGough pairs an awkward yet highly intelligent young teen girl with a super star jock and the result is a love story too sweet to pass up.  Grace is a loveable, isolated yet sweet character whose crush on Vincente Marino, who is the opposite of Grace, is resolved early on to be wishful thinking on Grace’s part.  The two live in separate worlds, Grace a mathematical genius with few friends and Vincente a jock with a beautiful and equally popular girlfriend.  Vincente only notices Grace because she helps him with his math homework so that he can stay on the cricket team.  It’s a sweet, enjoyable beginning to the inside of every young girls mind whose crushed on a boy that seems far out of reach.

The novel takes a slight twist when Grace is injured, at the hands of Vincente, and ends up in the hospital having lost her memory and possibly even at death’s door due to brain complications.  Vincente, in his guilt, stays by Grace’s side at the hospital and becomes more of a dimensional character as we are introduced to his soft side.

The novel from there, takes a turn and enters into a science fiction like mode.  Hardly explainable, Vincente and Grace find themselves lost in a world together which seems to have no way out.  Left with no one, alone in the world, the two characters embark on a journey of survival. Their love story blossoms as they traverse this apocalypse type setting and it is very sweet to watch the characters develop deeper.

While I struggled as a reader to grasp the plot and the turn of events taking place I did find that the love story was comforting.  It reminds readers that true love really can happen in the least expected ways, and that often times, love can bring out the best in us.  I did not necessarily connect to the events or happenings in the story outside of the relationship between both main characters but am hoping that book two will bring some insight.

This would be a great read for anyone who enjoys science fiction, or for teen girls who are looking for a great love story.  My recommendation however is that you really do need to read both books one and two as I was left without an understanding of anything that was really going on.  Hoping to get book two and give a more insightful review!  BUY BOTH BOOKS NOW!

 

 

Book Review: Another Time – Another Chance

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Author Steve Wilhelm gets falling in love right in his novel, “Another Time – Another Chance.” His ability to weave the magic of new love into a truly beautiful story of desire, hope, and healing is exceptional.  The story of a man, in this case, Daniel, whose life swarms with the blessing of beautiful women to whom he claims his love for, is at first a little bit one dimensional.  After all, the man has it all.  It seems, at first glance, when initially reading, that Daniel just got a great round of good luck and lives in bliss.  Where’s the plot?  Oh boy … keep reading.  Wilhelm introduces the idea of regret, that often not so distant companion of all things what if?  He does so in such a twist of fate, a simple moment of wonder, that the story takes on a life of its own.  What if we could go back and change things?  What if we didn’t have to wonder about the effects of our choices?

Daniel, having it all already, chooses to open Pandora’s box.  His memory plays tricks on him, to the point of his memory being completely erased for some period of time.  He cannot seem to shake off the idea that whatever it is that is missing, might be important.  He is given an opportunity to re-trace his life, to literally go back in time, to discover what it is he is missing and ultimately, find out what may have been.

As the reader I was at first angry at Daniel.  In fact, I had a lot of emotion.  Daniel had everything – a great wife, a loving daughter, a picture perfect everything.  Why risk what he had by challenging his memory to recall things that possibly were erased for a good reason?   Why, when he discovers what that memory is, does he want to immerse himself in it?  I struggled with the transition the author takes from Daniel in “real” life to Daniel “going back.”  However, Wilhelm doesn’t disappoint.  The new “life” Daniel finds is one that sucks you in and breathes a new life entirely into the novel.

The cliffhanger ebbs and flows throughout the second half of the novel, and I found myself getting more and more excited for a perceived outcome, one that I was sure was going to take place.  I couldn’t put this book down, not until I knew what was going to happen when Daniel woke up from his jaunt down memory lane.

Then, the author does the most difficult thing of all and does so in such a way that if he were here, in my living room, I would have smacked him on the shoulder.  He went somewhere I didn’t even think possible.   The ending leaves you breathless, and desperately wanting more.

Quite the love story, but also a novel that leaves you contemplating your own life, your own regrets and choices, and in the end provides a path that astonishes.  Five stars for this novel, pick it up today on Amazon!

Book Review: Moon Over Alcatraz

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Patricia Delagrange’s novel, Moon Over Alcatraz, will pull at your heart strings and leave you breathlessly in love with her characters.  The author develops the main character, Brandy, as first having it all together in life.  The career, the money, the valiant husband, the up and coming new baby; suffice it say she has it all.  As her story unfolds we watch Brandy become more transparent as she faces trauma after trauma in life, unfolding into a multi-faceted woman.  The relationships in this novel are well developed, with a bit of a turn key surprise with one of them.  Brandy’s journey towards self discovery and true happiness is the theme for this story and as you read her walk towards enlightenment it is difficult not to become her biggest fan.

With her marriage falling apart after the loss of her first born daughter, Brandy struggles to pull it together.  She is suffering from Post-Partum depression and in the midst of this pain, her husband, Weston, leaves her for a business trip to New York.  Alone and dealing with the painful loss of a child, Brandy attempts to deal with her depression on her own. In the meantime, Weston, at a loss for words to help his wife, struggles with her pulling away from him.  Each of them make a choice that significantly changes their entire world.

The novel begins here, but follows a path of painful truths along the way towards true happiness.  You will not be disappointed in Moon Over Alcatraz!  Get your copy now!

 

About the Author

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Patricia attended St. Mary’s College, studied her junior year at the University of Madrid, received a B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get a Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University. She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and Jack. Her Friesian horse Maximus lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.

 

 

The Power of the Pen

CF 1During my radio interview last night with Vicki Drane Speaks on Artist First Vicki asks me how difficult it was to put so much of my own self out into the world through Restitution.  I responded with,

“The day Restitution went live on amazon I literally felt like I’d taken off all my clothes and walked naked into the streets for all to see.  It was a moment of feeling so extremely vulnerable that I simply fell to my knees and cried out to God, “Let this not be in vain.”  To tell our stories, to be so authentic with our truth – it’s never easy.  We’re trained, as a society, to keep the ugly hidden.  We put on airs that all is well and we secretly fight demons in our sleep, and for a lot of us, in our awake.  We pretend that we’re fine.  We pretend that our experiences didn’t shape us or change us.  We lie.  We keep quiet.   So, yes, putting Restitution out into the world was deathly frightening.  But I didn’t worry as much about what people would think …. what I worried about more was being able to be there for every single person that read it and thought, “Me too.  How do I survive?”  Restitution, for me, isn’t just a novel you can download for $2.99 on Kindle.  It’s a movement.  It’s a voice.  It requires that I walk in humility, truth, and exposure.  But, I’m willing to go there.   I’m willing to be the voice long enough until others harness the courage to speak for themselves.”

Try Restitution.  Just give it a chance, and maybe  you’ll discover that the secrets and the story within you has been begging to come out too.  You have purpose.  Your voice counts!