Take Out The Trash

Taking out the trash—my least favorite chore for so many reasons. I used to think it was because that was my late husband’s job and I tried to rationalize all the emotional reasons as to why I hated it. But I’ve come to understand I just despise taking out the trash. I know it’s ridiculous and from my kitchen to the garage is a whole ten steps and from the garage to the side of the street is maybe an additional ten steps but I still don’t like it.

This week especially my load for the poor garbage guys is huge! Between getting my house painted (no more white walls for this girl!) and with the house already in disarray I’ve tackled the HUGE chore of cleaning out and de-cluttering the house.

As I sat drinking my morning coffee thinking about how I don’t want to take out the trash for the billionth time this week I had a thought. (Scary I know.) So here I sit at my laptop procrastinating by writing this blog post because there’s a guest room closet packed to the brim with memories, keepsakes, and junk I MUST clean up today which will also create at least two more bags of trash to take out.

Taking out the trash is something we have to do from time to time within our lives—not only the physical act but also the emotional act. Between the amount of garbage and useless information that gets forced on us from all sides—the media, facebook, friends, acquaintances, books, magazines, etc. sometimes we’ve got to say HOLD UP and take out the trash. And I don’t know about you guys but last week was kind of a doozy from all angles!!!

We are assaulted incessantly with negativity, judgments, and all kinds of disrespect. Around every corner something is waiting to weigh us down—it’s just a part of life. Bad things happen, people rant, feelings get hurt on the daily BUT we don’t have to hold on to the negative smelly trash that gets dumped in our lap.

Some days all I do is clean out the mental garbage in my head.

You’ll never be pretty enough or skinny enough no matter what you eat or how much you work out.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with how I look. This is who I was made to be and I’m going to keep exercising and taking care of this body. I might not look the way society thinks I should look but I don’t want to be a cookie cutter plastic Barbie doll. That’s not me.

You’re not smart enough.

I might not know everything but I can learn and if something is over my head there’s no shame in asking for help.

You can’t write another book. People are going to figure out you suck.

What does it matter if I’m not the best writer at least I’m having fun doing it. And if it doesn’t work out at least I know I tried. No regrets.

You’re a horrible person. Why did (or didn’t) you say that to so and so? Why didn’t you help them? That’s impossible. That will never work out. You can’t do this. You can’t do that….

Take all those negative nasty thoughts and crumple them up and throw them in the garbage. Because all those thoughts are just that SMELLY, USELESS, BROKEN, DIRTY TRASH!!! Sometimes those words are really heavy and you might need a friend to get them in the dumpster—that’s okay! Ask for help. Sometimes those thoughts are sticky and it takes a lot of scrubbing and scraping to get them off your skin—that’s okay! Keep scrubbing until the nasty boogers break loose and you can dump them in the can.

It’s not an easy chore to clean out our emotional baggage and negative thoughts and some days I’d rather sit and let the foul trash pile up instead of putting in the effort to clean it out but when you do you’ll feel soooo much better. And you’ll smell better too. 😉 And let’s not forget the most important thing—when you clean up and clean out it creates more space in your life for the good things. You can’t have shiny, happy, good stuff hanging out with old dingy stuff—it dulls the sparkle of its awesomeness.

Now I’ve got to go back and clean out this jam packed closet full of crap. Enough procrastinating, time to do something! 🙂

#TakeOutTheTrash #CleanOutTheBad #MakeRoomForTheGood


Don’t Cry Because It’s Over Smile Because It Happened #GriefConfessions

Four years ago my family and friends gathered in the sweltering July heat to watch Chris and I get hitched. A very different day from the overcast weather outside my window today. Last year this time my best friend and my sister spent the day with me watching movies and binge watching Witches of East End on Netflix. They didn’t want me to be alone on my first anniversary without Chris. I’m so thankful for that.

This morning on my second anniversary without Chris, I awoke tangled in blankets—my golden retriever ON my feet, my sheltie curled up against my side, and my cat meowing in my ear demanding her morning treats. So much about this year is so different from last. For one I was happy to wake up (well as happy as a non-morning person can be.) I recall the heavy weight that rested in my chest and how the thought of getting out of bed used to be a horrendous chore and I’m thankful those dark feelings are gone.

If I’d told myself this time a year ago that I’d be able to face the day and enjoy every second instead of fighting through until I could go back to sleep I would’ve never believed myself. And I probably would’ve felt a sense a betrayal. I’ve learned so many lessons since losing Chris but the greatest lessons I’ve learned have been about myself.

Being alone isn’t fun. Grieving isn’t fun. Taking the time to take nurse your wounds and care for yourself REALLY isn’t fun. But all those “not fun” things were necessary to get to a stage of acceptance. I used to think that accepting the loss of my husband meant forgetting him, that letting go meant pushing him to the far recesses of my mind like he never existed. But that isn’t acceptance—acceptance doesn’t mean you stop loving someone, that you don’t miss them anymore, that you don’t care about them anymore—no acceptance means finding peace—for them and yourself.

Once I recovered from the shock of losing Chris, I wanted to die. I prayed for death or peace. Since I’m still here typing away you can gather which request was granted—peace. It took time, tears, and you—if you’re reading this you are one of my angels. I thank God for each of you often. You kept me going when I wanted to quit and one of you, rather unexpectedly, pulled me from the grave and back into the world of the living. There are not enough thank you’s in the world for each of you.

Being alive again—recognizing the sparkly blue eyed girl in the mirror once more—that has been one of God’s greatest miracles in my life. There’s a deep indescribable gratitude I carry for each of you. But with embracing life comes guilt—guilt for all the things I still dream of like a family, guilt for all the things I have that Chris didn’t get the chance to enjoy and guilt for starting over and being excited about it. That ugly guilt monster creeps in and tries to darken my happy days. Some days it wins but most of the time I beat it down with a big shiny stick.

When I lost Chris our tree of dreams was cut down, but little did I know a new seed was planted. It took time to grow, tears to water it, and now the old life and dreams we shared has given way to a new healthy sapling with roots filled with thirteen years of memories together. My tough tiny tree keeps growing—getting stronger by the day waiting for the next adventure. It might be sunshiney, it might be stormy, it might be something in between, but whatever it is it will be life and life is a remarkable gift.

While today will always be a special day, one filled with memories of wedding cake and joy, it’s not a burden like it once was. Just like I’m starting over, I believe Chris is too. I’m choosing not to dwell in the loss but live in the gifts of life past, present, and future.

You know that quote, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Well I’m smiling today just like I did four years ago in my lacey wedding gown. Love doesn’t die it just changes form and today I’m filled with tremendous amounts of love.

If you’re stuck in a dark place don’t give up. I’ve come to learn nothing is impossible. Trust me I’ve lived it, survived it, and came back on top. Plus some people say I’m pretty smart so you should listen to my advice. 😉 #GriefConfessions #LivingAgain #DontGiveUp