Memories and Miracles #GriefReflections #MiraclesAreReal

In all the years I’ve gone to Ocean City, yesterday was the first time I’d ever driven here myself and alone at that. A small part of me wondered if being in the same place where Chris and I often vacationed would bother me. When I’m about to do something or go somewhere that held special meaning to us, I often try to “prepare” myself or at least be kind enough to myself to review my feelings and “see” if I’m okay.

About halfway in on my drive, a song came on the radio and shot me straight through the heart. It sent those happy tears streaming down my face again like they did a few weeks ago and I found myself filled with immense gratitude. My heart so light it almost flew out of my chest. I wiped the tears from my eyes while thanking God and thanking Chris.

Writing my journey through grief has been very difficult for me. There’s something about writing those dark parts of my life that have pulled me back into the whirlwind of emotions I was feeling. The darkness attempted again and again to take over my heart these past six months while I’ve been working on the book.

The nitty gritty writing of this book is now behind me and there’s a great sense of closure settling in. It’s odd to explain but it’s there. Something big, something tremendously wonderful is resting pooling around my heart. I can’t explain it—maybe it’s all the reflection of where I was to where I am and how differently I feel. Maybe it’s knowing that even though the grief gremlin can still strike me, I’ve armed myself with the tools and abilities to cope.

I’m typing this post curled up on a couch with my napping niece, a couch that holds special memories. Around this time of year, in this very spot, seven years ago on a similarly cloudy day, Chris playfully took a ring off my finger and replaced it with a diamond and asked me to marry him. I wondered if I’d have any anxiety over this place and I’m happy to say I have none. While my life has dramatically changed since those seven years ago, I’m grateful for all the places it has taken me, and how I managed to be lucky enough to be sitting in a quiet room, curled up on this couch with a little girl who loves her Aunt Shell.

It’s a miracle to me that my heart doesn’t hurt. How I can sit here and think about all the memories with Chris in this place and not feel the walls closing in on me. I hope this feeling of wonder and gratitude is something I never lose. It makes life magical. The ability to be thankful and bask in the happiness of memories instead of their ending is nothing short of a miracle in my eyes. It wasn’t long ago that I never would’ve believed I could feel this way that the hurt would ever subside and find a place to rest instead of raging agony inside my heart.

With all the negativity around us it’s hard to truly believe in the power of good over evil. But it exists. Healing exists. I will repeat this time and time again because I want YOU to believe it. I want you to truly believe that you’ll find peace. Your life might not look like you imagined it should but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Keep fighting through the hurt, the disappointments, the sorrows. Keep pushing forward. Because there’s nothing quite like this feeling of freedom and magic. I want you to experience this, too. Never give up on your always and forever. Never give up on finding happiness in your sadness, healing in your hurt. And until you do, I’ll be over here praying for you.

Your prayers changed my life. God healed my heart. It’s because of YOU I’m here in this magical place. I love you more than words. With any luck, I hope these words wind around your heart and remind you, miracles are real. They happen every day. If it happened to me, it can happen to you. <3

#LoveHugsAndSunshine #MiraclesAreReal #GriefReflections #DontGiveUpOnYourMiracle

Self-Doubt Destroyer of Dreams or a Tool for Success? #ADifferentPerspective #SeeThingsDifferently #Motivation

Have you ever had an idea? Something that motivates you and moves you in your gut, in your heart, and in your soul? Maybe you want to start a charitable organization. Maybe you want to be a teacher. Maybe you want to start a business. Maybe you want to write a book. Maybe you want to invent something super cool and helpful. Maybe you want to be the best at whatever it is your little heart desires.

You start researching, making plans, doing things to bring this wonderful little dream to life when suddenly the sneaky snake of self-doubt slithers in and like a nasty cobra winds itself around your ambition and confidence suffocating it. Then you stand looking at your little dream wondering if it’s worth chasing that self-doubt back into the dark hole it came from. What if it bites us and our dream ends in a flaming torch of failure? But what if it runs away and our dream becomes one our greatest legacies?

In everything I’ve ever attempted, self-doubt has shown up. Every. Single. Time. It’s shown up when I look at the relationships in my life and whether I’m doing enough or doing the right thing to grow them. It’s shown up in all my academic pursuits. It left me in tears on more than one occasion while studying and taking the CPA exam. During my days of public accounting, it would show up and make me question my intelligence. When standing in front of a classroom filled with students (some of them older than me) I’ve questioned if I was qualified to be there imparting the fundamentals of accounting. When I was in the darkest days of grief self-doubt made me question EVERY moment and why I was even attempting to breathe. Self-doubt has made me question every aspect of my life from my character to my appearance, my heart to my mind. And while that makes self-doubt a bit of a jerkwad, I’ve learned to see it from a different perspective. Self-doubt can actually be a wicked awesome motivator. That’s right folks, I said motivator. 😉

If we never stop to question ourselves and assess our situations, we can find ourselves trucking it down the completely wrong road for our lives. It’s important for us to take a moment and review what we want, why want it, and what we’re doing to get it. It’s important to reflect on the things that didn’t work and the things that did. Self-doubt can be an empowering tool if we use it properly. But we have to remember to be fair to ourselves, to not beat ourselves up for our mistakes, and to give credit for our successes. <–This is one of the reasons most of us walk away or get incredibly defeated when self-doubt wraps itself around our legs, we wallow in our mistakes and allow fear to keep us from moving forward. Plus we can be straight up meanie heads to ourselves. Everyone deserves your kindness ESPECIALLY you!

Right now, I’m in a whirlwind of release prep for How I Learned to Shine. I cannot remember being so confident in anything I’ve ever done in my life as much as I am with this book. And guess what? Almost daily self-doubt has reared its little head and tried to wind around my feet. I take a moment ponder the message, assess my plans, then step out of the way of the little viper. Sometimes I have to consult my trusted self-doubt slayers aka the crew of besties for input but ultimately I’m the only one who chooses to let self-doubt defeat me or push me on to the next level. I prefer moving up a notch, don’t you?

I hope you take comfort in knowing you aren’t the only one battling self-doubt. You’re strong enough, smart enough, heck you’re just flat out enough to get past whatever it is that’s holding you back. Put on your super cool shades and see self-doubt for what it is—a tool for success and not a means of defeat.

Keep moving forward and never ever give up on your always and forever!

#MichellesMotivationalMoments #NeverGiveUp #SelfDoubtIsATool