Life

Disappointment for a Child’s Party

Saturday was KM’s 2nd birthday party. He LOVES Gekko off of PJ Mask, so why not go with a PJ Mask themed party! I spend two weeks gathering and buying materials to create games, make decorations, and provide food. I invite about 25-30 guests (adults and children) a month in advance so everyone can mark it on their calendars. My baby boy will have an AWESOME party!

Games, Decorations, and Food

Since so many children will be at the party, I aim to keep things fun. It is a child’s birthday after all. I make masks for the kids to where. My mom and I team up to make bean bags. I create “the city” like on PJ Mask. I make sure all of my children’s ride on vehicles are charged and ready to go. I order a cake. I buy hamburgers and hotdogs and the garnishments to go with it. I buy balloons, a Happy Birthday banner, plates, forks, spoons, knives, napkins, cups, everything essential for a party where guests confirm they are coming. I spend the rest of my Friday, after working all day, making cookies and cake pops. Two weeks worth of planning and preparing so my guests and KM have a wonderful time.

No one showed up.

I am VERY, VERY happy that my baby doesn’t know better yet. I am disappointed for him but I plaster a smile to my face and push forward. I have to. He does not know any better and I refuse to show him any differently. Out of EVERYONE that is invited, KM’s Godfather, his wife, and their son show up. My brother, MJ, who lives in Lake Charles is also there, and my cousin, who is like a sister to me, along with her two sons (my Godsons) are there. KM’s Godmother shows up, as well as my parents. I am heartbroken. I am devastated. Not because I spend all of my energy and put forth so much hard work, but because people cannot get out of their own way to support and celebrate a CHILD.

Those who matter are there

I have to keep reminding myself that the ones who matter are here. I know that statement to be true, it just hurts my heart that he doesn’t have more people to care. Seriously, out of the 25-30 people I invited, only 10 show up. TEN. And honestly, three of those are children who don’t really have a say-so. So, technically, seven. SEVEN people show up for my sweet baby.

Disappointment

My aunts and uncles that I invited did not show up. My friends that I invited, did not show up. All of these people who have children and who would want and expect me to be there for their children’s events did not show up for my child. My heart is heavy enough for KM. He will probably never have a birthday party where both of his biological parents will be there. This year, he had neither one. I know he has been given the shit end of the stick, but I refuse to ever let him know. The benefit of him being so young is that he will never remember any of this. Also, he will grow up learning his own version of normal. While I am disappointed in my family and friends, I will make sure he never knows how he was passed over.

Why I don’t blast my children all over Facebook and Social Media.

I am asked quite often why I do not put pictures up and share stories of my children on Facebook or Social Media. The simple truth, I believe if people want to know about my children and be a part of their lives, then they need to do so physically. If you want to see how my children are growing, then come visit them or ask me about them. Pick up a phone and call me. Be a part of their lives. If you cannot do that, then you do not need to know via Facebook or any other Social Media outlet.

Now for the fun and games

Below are the pictures from his birthday party. There are links to separate posts for the HOW-TOs on making the masks, bean bags, buildings, cake pops, cookies, and icing. Please check it out and feel free to leave me comments and suggestions!

 

 

With Love Sign Off
With Love,
Elizabeth
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Having Tough Skin is Tough

Having tough skin is TOUGH! Letting NO mean NO and not giving in. Reporting destructive behavior and knowing that consequences will follow.  As mentioned in Because Life Matters Part II, my brother is in rehab. I bring the children once a month to visit him. He is starting on his third month in. I know it will take time before he is better, but O.M.G…. he is EXHAUSTING!!!

A Quick Recap

After 4 years being in and out of jail, losing custody of his children (because I filed for custody), and getting too “deep into the game”, my brother finally agreed to go to rehab. However, looking at almost 5 years of solid jail time probably played a big influential role as well. None the less, he agreed; I established it to be court ordered, and I got him accepted into a Rehab program. You would think all of my hard work would be enough for him, right??? WRONG!!! He still wants more.

“Misinformation feeds into negative behavior”

To quote the admissions coordinator of the program, “misinformation feeds into negative behavior.” Why did she tell me this? Because I reported my brother. I worked diligently with the admissions coordinator while my brother was in jail. I learned of the program, did research, and found it to be worth a shot. (Truth is, I don’t think it matters which program he is in. I believe if he wants to change, he will make the most out of any program. It is up to him) After arriving at the facility and learning about the program, my brother was taken to get settled in. I, on the other hand, continue to meet with the coordinator and pay for his admissions. Before leaving, she tells me that she will not be involved any more with him but that if I ever have any concerns, I can reach out to her.

Program Rules

The program he is in provides everything he needs. Nonetheless, to show a sign a good faith and to reinforce my belief in him, I took him shopping to buy a few items to bring with him, which was allowed. Of the things he can run out of, i.e., deodorant, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc., the program provides.  In the midst of packing his belongings, he forgot a few items (he only had a night to pack) He calls requesting the items and asking for a carton of cigarettes. Hesitant to oblige the cigarette request, I call the office to get approval. I am told that I can bring cigarettes but they have to be turned in to the office to be rationed out per program rules.

The First Red Flag

Upon arrival, I am met by a worker who takes his belongings from me. She confirms the cigarettes rule. She will have to lock them up and ration them out to him as the program states. Three packs are given out every Thursday.

Once my brother finishes his orientation program, he is allowed visits from the boys. The second Sunday in September, my mom and I take the boys to go visit him. While we are there, my brother is begging us to buy him cigarettes. I tell him no, and explain to him what I have been told about how they handle cigarettes. He proceeds to tell me that we are allowed to bring him cigarettes because the workers turn their heads the other way. He even goes as far as to stop one of the workers (the same worker I gave his belongings to)  to have her confirm the same. And she DOES!!!

Play by the Rules

This worker of the program literally tells us that no, he is not allowed to have cigarettes, but if they do not know, they cannot stop it. If we give it to him, make sure no one is around or sees. My mom decides to buy him a pack of cigarettes so he would stop hounding us. I am not happy by her decision, but she is the mom.

Let’s fast forward a few weeks. My brother starts a new request; he wants the phone numbers of the people he believes may be in contact with his estranged wife. He says he needs closure and he has to confront her as part of his process. At first, I refuse, but then I decide to give him the phone numbers. He is an adult and he is responsible for his own decisions. He did not have any luck with those people. So, he decides to break the program rules, access the internet, and Facebook messages a friend instead of waiting for me to give him his friend’s phone number.

Consequences for your Actions

I learn about his conversation via Facebook because my mom went through his phone to get his friend’s number. When she did, his messenger popped up and she saw the conversation. Outraged that he goes behind my back, I call his counselor to report him. According to him, he is reprimanded but is upset that I report him. I ever so kindly explain to him that I did not work my butt off to get him there only for him to break the rules. The whole reason he is there in the first place is to learn how to play by the rules again.

Going Above and Beyond

Due to him being in Rehab, he is not able to be at KM’s birthday party. So what do I do?? I arrange to have a party at Rehab on Sunday so he can be part of his son’s second birthday. I buy an extra cake; I buy extra presents; I arrange things with the program; I go the whole nine yards. How does my brother show his appreciation? By hounding me at the end of the visit to buy him cigarettes. I just held TWO parties for his son; provided EVERYTHING for both; and even bought extra presents so he can have something to give to his son, and he STILL had the nerve to ask me for cigarettes. I am blown away at his lack of gratitude. I am at a loss for words.

A Cry for Help

I tell my brother that I am not buying him cigarettes and remind him that it is against the rules. He is ballsy enough to tell me that everyone breaks the cigarette rule; the ones they are given are disgusting. Me, being the smart ass that I am, politely tells him to stop smoking if he doesn’t like what he is given. He continues to hound and harass me about it. Then he has the NERVE to say that he is asking for them the right way. If I choose not to buy him any, he will just do what he needs to in order to get some. My dad tells him that he needs to follow the rules and let the program work for him to which he is brave enough to reply that HE WORKS the PROGRAM.

SAY WHAT??? Did he REALLY, back to back, just tell us that he knowingly  breaks the rules and works the program? He cannot be that stupid. This must be his cry for help. So, I answer it.

Having Tough Skin is Tough

Through all of the hounding and harassment, I stick to my guns and refuse to buy him cigarettes. I also point out that I have done way more than I needed to do to make him a part of his son’s birthday. Needless to say, him and I did not part ways on a good note. On the drive home, I am EXTREMELY bothered by his comments. Doing what he needs to do in order to get some. He works the program. In my opinion, none of that sounds good and productive. So, I look at his words and statements as a cry for help, and I answer it. I report him. First I call his counselor and leave a voicemail; then, I email his admissions coordinator.

I am very happy with the relationship I was able to establish with her. Even on her day off, she emailed me back almost immediately upon receiving my email. I simply explain to her about how the worker allows the rules to bend; how my brother is able to access the internet, and about the comments he passed. I tell her my concerns about him taking short cuts in the program because he is smart enough to figure them out and he also knows how to manipulate people. Are my actions childish and premature? Maybe so, but I will not allow him to get away with breaking the rules. I am not doing him any favors nor am I giving him any justice by willingly turning a blind eye to inappropriate behavior.

Hard feelings

Will he think that I am a bitch? Most likely; he already does. Do I care? Somewhat. Will I stop doing what I think is best because of it? Nope. I pray that one day, once he is past all of this and is on the right track again, he will see that I am not doing all of this to be mean. I am doing it because I care. I know he can be a better person than he once was. I know that he can move forward from his past. I know that he can get back on the right track. I also know that if I don’t put my foot down and stop the destructive behavior, he will never learn.

Someone has to hold him accountable and somehow that someone is me. I think he knows that and I think he tests me. But I am not giving in. I am not sure when I ever became a parent to my brother, but that is definitely what I feel like. And obviously, that is what he needs me to be because he hasn’t written me off yet; he keeps reaching out for more.

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Positivity is a Mind Set not an Action

The post contains affiliate links which simply means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Think positive, be positive”? Do you think about it at all or just blow it off in passing? Many people live with the misconception that in order to be a positive person, you have to have a great life free from problems or at least not so many problems. That thinking would make positivity an action, not a mind set. I am here to help you dispel of that thinking and convert your mind to the power of positivity.

Being positive is easy.

Yes, it is easy to have a natural high about life when everything is going right and how you want. Yes, it is easy to be a positive person when you don’t have any troubles bringing you down. Yes, it is easy to be positive when luck and good fortune are on your side. But what about those times when none of that is the case? When you feel like the world is against you and nothing is working out. Those times when life throws you one curve ball after another after another. Those times when all you want to do is break down and cry but you have to be strong and keep it together for your children and your own sake. Being a positive person is easy when things are going right.

Thinking positive is HARD.

So what do you do about those times when nothing is going right and you feel like you are backed into a corner? Those times when you can’t find it in yourself to be positive anymore. Those times when all you see and think are the negatives. What do you do?

I would give in to it, I won’t lie to you. Being easily discouraged and very pessimistic are extremely easy. I needed a ladder to climb out of  pity party hole I dug for myself. But thanks to Heaven Is For Real, my point of view is completely different!

Keeping a positive mindset isn’t easy. It takes hard, hard work. It requires you to look past the hurt that you feel. It requires you to not wallow in self pity. It requires you to keep your head up when your neck muscles hurt and burn and scream at you to drop your head. It requires sacrifice. However, the reward of remaining positive is an AMAZING feeling.

Let me share my latest story…

I am going through a rough time. I allow myself to get down and out. I struggle to find my euphoria happy. I am living mediocre happy. I know I am not satisfied with that. So I change it. I pay it forward. You can read all about it in my post Why Being Selfish is Healthy. Perfect! GREAT! I find my over the moon, things are looking up, and nothing will get me down, happy again and I am going on with my day. Then, I go back to work and my boss calls me into his office to have a talk.

I am two weeks back at work after being on maternity leave. During my second week, I leave early on Wednesday (like only work 2 hours) and take all of Thursday off because my 4 year old has the flu. The talk is about my time. I do not have anymore vacation or sick days left (which I know). Then he proceeds to go on and ask me if I am able to do this job. The job requires me being at work and considering how we are middle of October and I have no more time off left, he doesn’t think I can do the job anymore.

The devil loves to work

Thank heavens just two hours earlier I make up my mind to think positive again. As he is talking, I am taken aback. I understand what he is saying, but it isn’t like I plan on my children getting sick. Being a mom will always be my first job and by far is it the hardest job!! So, while he is talking, I can feel myself start to get upset, not mad upset but feelings hurt upset. When I get back to my desk, I take a deep breath and remind myself that this negative setback is natural. I believe that when you take one step forward, you also take two steps. I believe the devil is hard at work.

Not today devil, not today.

Because of my newly restored positive mind set, I realize what is happening. I take refuge in my Christian faith. I believe I am able to handle and over come many obstacles and hardships because I put my faith and trust in God. By doing so, I knowingly accept that the devil works hard to undermine whatever he is given the power to. As stated in God’s Not Dead, “Sometimes, the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God.” So, when I make up my mind to be positive and do good, I prepare myself to lookout for the actions that would make my efforts feel useless. Being ready for the setback allows me to stay positive.

Positive Polly vs. Negative Nancy

As with any situation, weighing out the pros and cons is very beneficial. In this instance, the main pro of thinking positive being able to see all of the opportunities and blessing that are in front of you. The biggest con of being negative is following in the same rut and rhythm that being negative traps you in. When you are thinking positively, mountains become ant hills and oceans become puddles. When you think negativity, the opposite is the case; ant hills become mountains and puddles become oceans.

Living life with a go get ’em attitude believing that you can concur the world and win opens so many more doors and allows for the best you to shine through. Whereas, if you live life with a why me attitude all that you will see will be obstacles and hurdles and everything happening to you.

Life is constant decision

Life is all about choices and decisions. You have the choice to be positive and think positive or you can choose to let the world slap you around like a little… you know what. Though it is not the easiest task to maintain a positive mindset, I truly believe that the more you practice it, work on it, and hold on to it, the easier it does become. When you believe in the power of positivity, not many things can bring you down or hold you back.

Choose wisely, my friend.

I’d love to hear from you!!! How do you get to your positive place in life? What helps you along the way? What are your strengthens and weaknesses when it comes to having a positive mindset? Feel free to reach out with any questions or comments!
With Love Sign Off
With Love,
Elizabeth
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Why Being Selfish is Healthy

Growing up, we are taught to not be selfish. Think of others; put others first; share; treat others how you want to be treated, etc. etc. etc. Truth be told, that is a bunch of BULL MALARKEY (to put it nicely)

Being selfish pays off!!

Please, do not misunderstand me. I am not talking about being center of the universe. I am not talking about being so engulfed in yourself that your head is up your butt. I am not talking about no one else or nothing else matters type of selfish. I am simply meaning that there is a time and a place to be selfish in which it is beneficial.

Allow me to explain…

A few weeks ago, I returned back to the working world after being off on maternity leave. I was very upset having to return back because I so desperately wanted to work from home in order to be a part of my children’s lives.  As most working Americans, my company did not offer paid maternity leave. While out, I had to financially depend on JT. I am NOT a big fan of depending on others. So naturally, having to do so, brought my spirits down. At the end of my second week back, I received a SMALL paycheck (it only covered 4 days of work not to mention my insurance increase because I am covering my kids). None the less, I was excited because I now had a little bit of my own money again.

During my lunch break, I ran an office errand. While out, I decided (after having to convince myself) to buy lunch; nothing extravagant, just something a little more than an apple and cubed cheese (yes, that was what I was eating for lunch). While looking at the menu, I easily persuaded myself to not order expensive and stick to simple and basic. That’s when the idea hit me…

PAY IT FORWARD!

I know that the Pay It Forward movement has been ongoing for some time now, but I never considered myself to be in the financial situation to participate. However, for some reason, standing in line, knowing that I had to talk myself into buying myself lunch, then telling myself to stick to cheap, I wanted to treat someone. Though I did not get paid much and I did not have much, I wanted to give a little of the little I had. That “for some reason” being… I wanted to feel good about myself. I needed a boost of positivity. Since the world wasn’t creating it for me, I created it for myself.

Power of Positivity

Having to financially depend on someone, going back to work, not meeting my promote my blog deadline (my own fault for being insecure about it), taking two days off my second week back at work because my 4 year old had the flu, and unsuccessfully finding a sitter for my 2 year old and 3 month old to give my dad a break… all of it had me down and out, struggling to be happy and think positively. I am not the type of person to accept defeat. I always find a way to make situations work, but having all of that all at the same time had me really bummed out. That is why I chose to be SELFISH.

I was SELFISH because I needed to feel POSITIVE.

I needed motivation to get my head back in the game and paying it forward did that for me. I did not pay for someone else’s lunch to help them out or make them feel better. I did it for me. I did it because I knew the gratification I would get from surprising a complete stranger. I had know idea who the person was, what he/she was going through, if he/she had money, didn’t have money. I knew nothing of that person’s life and I didn’t want to know. I knew about me. I knew that I had been having a rough time. And I knew that I was in control of my happiness and state of mind.

We are inadvertently taught young that being selfish is ok.

Positivity is a mind set and it takes hard work to maintain. Read Positivity is a Mind Set, not an Action to see what I mean.

Life does a great job at attempting to discourage me and get me down. Sometimes it succeeds. In those times, my mom’s voice (and I am sure your mother’s voice too) comes in loud and clear—TREAT OTHERS HOW YOU WANT TO BE TREATED. Think about that statement for a moment. Reread it…treat others how you want to be treated… That statement in itself allows us to be selfish. You aren’t doing something nice for someone just for the sake of being nice. You are doing it because YOU want someone to do something nice for YOU. AND THAT IS A-OK!!! THAT IS PERFECTLY FINE!!! It is ok to be selfish and think about how I would feel should something happen to me or before I do something to someone.

I did not pay it forward and buy someone’s lunch because I wanted someone to by my lunch. I paid it forward because, through my rough time, I found it hard to see the positive side of things and I needed to feel positive again. I paid it forward because I wanted to feel empowered. I wanted to reignite my flame of happiness. And if, by chance, paying it forward did the same for the recipient, FANTASTIC!!! I am even happier, but I will never know. I will settle for what I set out to be my end result: my happiness I created within myself FOR MYSELF!!

I would LOVE to hear from you. Please feel free to comment or reach out to me with your thoughts!
 

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How One Book Changed My Way of Thinking

The post contains affiliate links which simply means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

Not many people in life have an AH-HA moment.

A moment that they can accredit for a major change in their life. I knew I had one, but it took me a while before I was able to pin point what it was. I finally did.

My world was completely devastated in 2013.

My boyfriend of three years, the love of my life, the man I planned a future with broke up with me. Things had been going so well. He even had a conversation with my dad about marrying me!! But over a few weeks, I started noticing the little things. He started putting space between us; not spending so much time together, arguing about the little things; letting the outside world affect him. I figured it was a matter of time but I stayed optimistic that it wouldn’t happen. Then, one Tuesday night, the rug was pulled from under my feet. Considering how we lived together and it was his house that we lived in, I had to pack my things and move out. Due to being young and paying on student loans and maintaining a household, I had no savings to get my own place. I had to move back in with my parents.

Here is the kicker…

He broke up with me on a Tuesday but I couldn’t move out until Saturday. I had to pack my things and I needed help moving my things. My parents were not able to help me move until Saturday. I was so miserable having to live and stay at a place for four days with no love or support from anyone. Absolute Nightmare. I couldn’t eat; I couldn’t sleep; I had no one to hug me and help me through it; all I was able to do was cry.

Finally, I was able to get out of that hell hole

and be around people who loved me and cared about me. Before I moved, him and I had a talk. He apologized for how he broke up with me (a lot of yelling, cursing, name calling, and belittling) but he still wanted to break up. Things were too much for him and he couldn’t handle it anymore. I was the only variable in his life that he could change to try to make things better and that is what he needed to do. I told him I understood and that I appreciated the apology but that he truly and deeply hurt my feelings. I told him that I believed if he took his time to process and think about everything that he would realize we wouldn’t be over but that he really needed to take his time and soul search. I knew; I saw the warning signs; he was scared because he realized that what we had was real and he did not know how to handle that. All I could do was respect his wishes and give him time.

So, back home I go. I was very bitter.

I was hurt by him but had to take the higher road. I was hurt by my parents because I felt like they abandoned me in my time of need. I was hurt by friends because no one was there for me. I was hurt by other family because they weren’t there to help me either. But I had to put all of that aside because two days later, my nephew was born. That was a whirlwind of emotions and left no time for me to decompress what I had just been through.

I quickly learned how to shut out the world

because no one was there for me in my time of need and no one cared that I was hurting because there was a brand-new baby in the family. I was pushed to the side and made to deal with my grief alone. Once the excitement calmed down, a few people tried checking up on me. I was not having it and I made it known. I drowned my sorrows with my new best friend, alcohol. I drank to take away the pain. I drank to help me cope. I drank to have a friend. I drank to feel numb. I wouldn’t talk to anyone. I was very rude and ugly to everyone. No one understood what I was going through. It made me furious when they said they did. I was in a bad place.

One day, I got home from work and found a book on my bed with a note. The note said, “This helped me through my dark times; I want it to help you. Since you don’t want to talk or listen to anyone, at least listen to God.” The book you may ask… Heaven is for Real.

Why not give it a shot?

At least it will give me something to do and it may help me sleep. I pick it up and start reading. At first, I roll my eyes. I don’t know how my mom expected a book to solve my problems. She was crazy to think that a book would take away my hurt. Boy, was I in for a whirlwind.

Heaven is for Real

taught me how to handle my anger. It taught me how to talk to myself and to others. It taught me how to believe in myself and in my religion. It taught me so much. The main and most important lessons it taught me were how to pray and how to listen to God’s answers.

I learned how to pray selflessly.

Instead of praying for him to change his mind and for us to get back together, I prayed for his happiness and guidance on finding mine. You see, I couldn’t just ask God to grant me happiness, that would be selfish; instead, I had to ask him to guide me to finding it again. It put me doing the work but having faith and trusting in Him to lead the way. I prayed for forgiveness but I knew that the forgiveness I needed wasn’t going to come from Him. So, I thanked Him for always forgiving me and asked him to help others be more understanding to forgiving me. There are many other prayers that I prayed, but the point is, I learned what the book reminded me of, Jesus sees us as his children and that is how we must talk to him, as his children. Do not make it complicated. Do not make it conditioned. Make it honest; make it real; make it selfless.

Heaven is for Real also taught me an underlying lesson. While the book does not talk about it or mention it, it taught me how to look the devil in its face and send it straight back to hell. You see, God gives us everything we need and the devil tries to tell us we need more. What I learned was to be grateful for everything that I have been given and provided with. If something doesn’t work out or come through, that means it wasn’t meant to be, something better will come along, or the timing wasn’t right.

Looking back,

I am not proud of my actions and behavior toward myself and others. However, I would not change it. That time taught me valuable lessons. I can’t say that reading Heaven is for Real will change your life the way it did mine, but I can tell you that I am happy my mom gave it to me and God guided me to read it. Reading it was my AH-HA moment that changed my life. It encouraged me to stop thinking so negative; it encouraged me to find the positive in every situation, no matter how bad it may be. It allowed me to thank God for not giving me what I want but giving me what I need. Once I started doing that, I realized how much better off my life is by allowing His plan to unfold for my life than forcing my plan to work out. I am not saying to not make plans and to not work hard and work toward something. I am not saying that at all. What I am saying is to not get discouraged when what YOU want doesn’t fall into place and work out. What I am saying is to remember that your master plan in life has already been written and God is the best author there is!

 

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3 Months Worth of Positive, Inspirational, and Motivational Quotes

Do you ever need a simple phrase to help you through a rough time??

Below is my 3 month (90 days) worth of quotes that can help lift your spirits and encourage you through some of the toughest times.

As long as you keep an open mind and read these quotes with the intent to motivate you, these quotes really can change you mindset and help you get through a difficult situation. ENJOY!! 🙂
  1. “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible!'” –Audrey Hepburn
  2. “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”–Aristotle Onassis
  3. “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”–Frederick Douglas
  4. “Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see.”–Confucius
  5. “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”–Ronald Reagan
  6. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.”–Mother Teresa
  7. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”–Henry Haskins
  8. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”–Milton Berle
  9. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.”–Rosa Parks
  10. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”–Dr. Robert Schuller
  11. “Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you…. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.”–Tim Ferriss
  12. “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.”–Abraham Lincoln
  13. “It takes a strong fish to swim against the current. Even a dead one can float with it.”–John Crowe
  14. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”–Anonymous
  15. “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it isn’t open.”–Frank Zappa
  16. “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”–Stephen Covey
  17. “Happiness is not the absence of problems; it’s the ability to deal with them.”–Steve Maraboli
  18. “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”–Jimmy Johnson
  19. “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”–Gautama Buddha
  20. “You can be the ripest, juciest peach in the world, and there are still going to be some people who hate peaches.”–Dita Von Teese
  21. “We must never be afraid to go too far, for success lies just beyond.”–Marcel Proust
  22. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”–Sir Winston Churchill
  23. “The best way out is always through.”–Robert Frost
  24. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”–Wayne Gretzky
  25. “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”–Colin Powell
  26. “I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.”–George Burns
  27. “What is harder than rock, or softer than water? Yet soft water hollows out hard rock. Persevere.”–Ovid
  28. “If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all? –Joe Namath
  29. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”–Maya Angelou
  30. “The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”–Bob Marley
  31. “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”–Ayn Rand
  32. “The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.”–John Holt
  33. “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.”–Anonymous
  34. “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”–Norman Vincent Peale
  35. “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”–William Bruce Cameron
  36. “Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.”–H. Jackson Brown Jr.”
  37. “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”–Alan Kay
  38. “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.”–Drew Houston
  39. “Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Most of all, other people can’t stop you. Only you can stop you.”–Jeffrey Gitomer
  40. “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.”–Babe Ruth
  41. “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”–Howard Ruff
  42. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”–Henry Ford
  43. “Failure is success if we learn from it.”–Malcolm Forbes
  44. “When you miss a shot, never think of what you did wrong. Take the next shot thinking of what you must do right.”–Tony Alfonso
  45. “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”–Benjamin Franklin
  46. “The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.”–Walt Disney
  47. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”–Aristotle
  48. “This too, shall pass.”–Anonymous
  49. “If you are willing to do more than you are paid to do, eventually you will be paid to do more than you do.”–Anonymous
  50. “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.”–Anonymous
  51. “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.”–Anonymous
  52. “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”–Saint Augustine
  53. “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”–Tony Robbins
  54. “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”–William Penn
  55. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”–Alice Walker
  56. “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”–Muhammad Ali
  57. “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” -William Arthur Ward
  58. “A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.” -Chinese Proverb
  59. “Truth is so rare that it is delightful to tell it.” -Emily Dickinson
  60. If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” -Albert Einstein
  61. “When you are grateful–when you can see what you have–you unlock blessings to flow in your life.”–Suze Orman
  62. “True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.” -Oprah Winfrey
  63. “You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can be grateful that thorn bushes have roses.” -Tom Wilson
  64. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -John F. Kennedy
  65. “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” -Mark Twain
  66. “Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” Jesse Jackson
  67. “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” -C. S. Lewis
  68. “Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.” -Thomas Merton
  69. “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  70. “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” -Henry David Thoreau
  71. “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” -Scott Hamilton
  72. “Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.” -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  73. “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” -Andy Warhol
  74. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” -Mother Theresa
  75. “A tiny change today brings a dramatically different tomorrow.” -Richard Bach
  76. “Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” -Ann Landers
  77. “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”–Mahatma Gandhi
  78. “Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.” -Suzanne Somers
  79. “I’ve learned through the years that it’s not where you live, it’s the people who surround you that make you feel at home.” -J.B. McGee
  80. “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” -Michael J. Fox
  81. “The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” -George Santayana
  82. “Home is where you are loved the most and act the worst.” -Marjorie Pay Hinckley
  83. “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
  84. “The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.” -Kalu Ndukwe Kalu
  85. “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he GAVE.” —Calvin Coolidge
  86. “Hiding how you really feel and trying to make everyone happy doesn’t make you nice, it just makes you a liar.” ―Jenny O’Connell
  87. “There is no failure, except in no longer trying.” ―Elbert Hubbard
  88. “Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.” —Eleanor Roosevelt
  89. “Faith doesn’t mean you never doubt. It only means you never act upon your doubts.” —Orson Scott Card
  90. “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”—Babe Ruth
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When it Rains, it Pours

Sorry everyone! I know it has been a while since my last post and here’s why…

This post contains affiliate links which simply means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.

TGIF… or NOT?

The weekend was CRAZY!!! JT left Wednesday for Florida with work. Friday night, WP started with a stomach bug and EJ REFUSED to burp after his night time feeding so I was up with him and colic. In the middle of the night, I wound up changing bed sheets and giving WP a bath because he threw up in his bed. (FUN) Once I got his bedding changed and him cleaned, I put him back to sleep. Not even 10 minutes later, EJ woke up for his feeding. After he was fed and put back to sleep, about 20 minutes later KM woke up. Needless to say, I got NO sleep Friday night.

Welcome to Saturday; a New Day

WP woke up feeling better. EJ was feeling better. KM was ok. Things were looking up. I was exhausted, but welcome to motherhood, you do what you have to do. And that’s when the ball dropped. KM decided he wanted to revolt against his progress in potty training. I cleaned up pee puddle, after pee puddle, after pee puddle. Little sleep, recovering child, revolting child, and a baby. Saturday was ROUGH!!!

Dear Sunday, Please be nice to me.

I am believer of trying new things to help old causes. I really enjoy new things that are chemical and medicinal free. (NO, I am not an all organic tree hugger<–no offense to tree huggers, it just isn’t my style) Before bed Saturday night I rubbed a little bit of Digize Oil from my Young Living collection onto WP’s stomach to help fight the stomach bug. I rubbed Lavender Oil under KM’s feet to help him sleep all night. For EJ, I used Gentle Baby Oil to help keep him calm and free from colic. As far as for me, I used to amazing and powerful Stress Away roller to clear my mind and help me rest. If you are thinking, yea right, oils cannot help with all of that… take my word or try it yourself, IT CAN!!! THERAPEUTIC OILS WORK WONDERS!!!

Everyone seemed to be in better spirits Sunday. My brother passed his Orientation training from his Rehab two weeks ago and was allowed to have the boys visit. So, that is what our Sunday consisted of, allowing the boys to visit with their dad. As you may be able to imagine, by Sunday night I was exhausted!!! The boys were pretty exhausted too. We attempted to make it an early night. After I put all of the boys down for bed, I was able to shower and lay in bed myself. UNFORTUNATELY, it didn’t last long. EJ woke up for his feeding. I was able to feed him and burp him before I had to put him down and run to the bathroom. YEP… The bug got to me. I was able to make it to the bathroom 30 seconds before my dad. Double YEP… he caught it too. LUCKILY, I was a one and done. After I got sick, I drank some Gatorade that I put a drop of Digize in and didn’t suffer any more. I was able to go back to sleep UNTIL my mom woke me up at 3:00 to tell me she was bringing my dad to the Emergency Room. He was having chest pains and couldn’t stop dry heaving. Right after they left, EJ woke up to eat again. After he finished and went back down, KM woke up. HELLO another sleepless night.

Weekend over, let’s get back to normal now.

Pot of coffee going and En-R-Gee diffusing to get me through my day. BRING IT ON MONDAY. I get the boys ready for the day. My dad was admitted to the hospital for observation. His intestines were twisted (it’s happened before). Later on in the day, my mom comes home from work early. She has caught the bug! GREAT!!! Comfort food for sick house hold?? None other than homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (feel free to hop on over for my recipe) Thank heavens my bug was pretty much non-existent and that KM and EJ didn’t catch it. Another truth of motherhood, you don’t have time to be sick. Monday ends; Tuesday begins. A little more tame but still juggling 50 million things with my mom being sick, my dad in the hospital, JT still in Florida and the 3 boys. Wednesday was a rinse and repeat of Tuesday. Thursday my dad was released. And, to my surprise, I had a package delivered. My mom, who has been amazing and unbelievably generous in buying for EJ, purchased his PLAYARD that I had on my registry but didn’t receive. With the way my week went, it was a breath of fresh air because I absolutely LOVED the playard and it matched my car seat stroller combo for him. 

Here and Now.

Happy to report that things are pretty much back to normal now which is why I am able to get another post in. Everyone is well and healthy. Things settled down. JT is coming home (FINALLY<– Kuddos to the ones out there whose S.O. work offshore or are on active duty or any other job that pulls him/her away for extended periods… I missed JT like CRAZY!!) I was even able to cook a nice meal of Home Made Chinese Stir Fry and Lo Mein Noodles.

I, for the most part, am a creature of habit. I adjust quickly to find a routine that works for most situations because I crave routine. With blogging being still new to me, I had to put it on the back burner; however, I am thoroughly enjoying being able to get it all out now. I did what I needed to this last week and I am THRILLED my normal life is coming back together.

With Love,

Elizabeth

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Because “Life Happens” Part II

My 15 “Life Happens” Moments in 4 years

WELCOME BACK!! In case you haven’t read the previous post, BECAUSE “LIFE HAPPENS” PART I, here is a brief overview of how we pick up at #9…

1.) THE BREAK UP
2.) I BECOME A PARENT
3.) DRAINING MY SAVINGS
4.) CONSPIRACY
5.) LAWYER FOR HIRE
6.) VINDICTIVE & SPITEFUL
7.) A SLAP IN THE FACE
8.) LEGALLY OFFICIAL

Intrigued??? Read on to get up to date on my life.

The post contains affiliate links which simply means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.”– Jessie Potter

As stated in PART I, JT and I broke up in 2013. Now allow me to play catch up to bring you up to speed with JT. For the rest of 2013 and into 2014 we stayed separated and didn’t talk. (I had enough going on in my life, don’t you think?) Around the middle of 2014 we started talking again. After a few months, we called it off again. I didn’t want to move back to Hammond after being forced out of there and he didn’t want to move to Thibodaux. In 2015, we started talking again. After going through EVERYTHING I went through, I thought moving may not have been a terrible idea. Though I was not really fond of moving BACK to Hammond because I found the environment he lived in was negative, I was ready to get away and get WP away from the drama we lived in. We talked and he agreed that I wouldn’t have to deal with everything that I went through before. I started looking for jobs in Hammond and was hired on at another bank. After not being overly thrilled to find out I was hired, I started to soul searching. I decided that I was only willing to move back to escape my crazy life in Thibodaux and not because I truly wanted to be out there. Did I want to be with JT? Yes. Did I want to be with him out there? No. I graciously turned down the job offer and had to have a heart to heart with him. I still was not moving. I then turned the tables and asked him to move to Thibodaux. He said he would think about it but he had to put JA’s best interest first. JT and JA’s mother shared custody of him 7/7. JA was also in school. There were things to be considered. I came up with a game plan that would allow them to continue shared custody and still have JA in school with JT living in Thibodaux. We could enroll JA in Virtual Academy. While he was with us, he would spend his time needed in the classroom and when he was with his mother, he would do the computer work part of it. See, it was really a great plan because he was having serious trouble in school. He was suspended from Kindergarten and first grade. His grades were not too hot. The virtual academy would have given him the opportunity to start new and fresh. Once I worked out all of the details and got everything set up and ready to go, JT decided that he did not think Virtual Academy was best for JA and that he was not moving. Since JT and I could not meet in the middle and neither one of us was willing to move, it was pointless to continue our relationship, so we ended it for good or so we thought. In 2016, mutual friends of ours hosted their son’s second birthday. It was our first time seeing each other and talking in over 6 months. We didn’t have big conversation; just the typical hey, how are you doing, small talk. We didn’t hang out together either. He was at the party with JA and I was at the party with WP and KM. The party was at a splash park so we were both preoccupied with our children. At the end of the party, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. My gut-instinct feeling, however, told me I would probably be hearing from him again. And I was correct. A few days later, he asked to take me to dinner. He wanted to talk. I agreed and we met the following weekend. He asked me if I was still against moving. I was. I changed my career path from banking to investments and had just been hired on at an investment firm. He figured as much which is why he came prepared with a proposition. Though he did not want to leave JA, JA still was acting out in school and his grades still were not fantastic. Shared custody of 7/7 while JA was in school was not what was in JA’s best interest. He wanted JA to live and be with him and have a fresh start at school but he knew JA’s mother would never allow that because that would mean she would lose child support (before you go all… That is wrong and she wants her son and it isn’t about the money, he needs to support him anyway… just know that there is a court hearing that already proved she wasn’t concerned about the wellbeing of her son <– that isn’t my story to tell though) So he did what was in the best interest of JA and stepped back in hopes that JA would start preforming better in school (two sets of rules and schedules when school follows one isn’t healthy) The JA situation was covered. Now on to him moving. He had been thinking about what I said about his environment being negative. At first, he didn’t see it because it was what he was used to. But after taking what I said into consideration, he began seeing little by little what I meant. He now found his environment to be negative as well and he wanted out. His proposition… As soon as I promised to stay by his side and give us another chance going in at 100%, leaving our past in the past, he was willing to move to Thibodaux!!! I swear I think Heaven’s gates opened and the angels came down playing the Alleluia chorus when I heard those words come out of his mouth.

9.) THE MORE THE MERRIER.

JT put his house on the market and moved in to, you got it, the 3-bedroom-1-bathroom house that was already occupied by 5 adults and 2 children. Things were going along as smoothly as possible. My SIL was still hellacious; my brother was still making terrible decisions; I was up to my ears in debt, working my butt off to attempt a small savings and paying down all of my debt; JT was in the process of selling his house; him and I are both contributing to my parents because we believe in taking care of our responsibilities. The end of 2016 wasn’t looking too bad, all things considered. “Life happens” #9… one month left of 2016 and I end it with a bang. I am PREGNANT!!! BEFORE YOU JUDGE THE SITUATION, and say how stupid we are for not using protection and not practicing safe sex, hear me out…

Since I was 11 years old, I suffered with endometriosis and ovarian cysts. My first surgery was a month after I turned 12 years old. I have had 6 surgeries for my endometriosis and ovarian cysts. I have also had surgery to remove cervical cancer. After my last surgery, my doctor told me he was not doing any more surgeries unless I was getting a hysterectomy. I had been on birth control since I was 11 in order to prevent my cycle to attempt to help with the endometriosis and cysts. At one point, I was on the shot and the pill. Nothing was working. As a last resort, my doctor put me on a birth control shot that induced me into menopause in hopes it would stop the endometriosis and ovarian cysts from growing and forming; it did not. I stopped all treatment all together.  At my last wellness appointment, before I got pregnant, my doctor asked me if I was ready for my hysterectomy because he was ready to preform it. Naturally, never having my own children but wanting to so desperately and only being 27 years old, I refused the offer. Now that you know that back story, you may be willing to reconsider the judgment of getting pregnant knowing my hands were already full. We were actually trying. It wasn’t an accident and it wasn’t unplanned. We, as well as my family, were tinkled pink and over the moon happy. We had been trying for 6 months and it FINALLY happened!!

10.) LAWYER ON PAYROLL.

Now the fun began and the countdown to find our own place started. The pressure, when I really don’t need it the most, was on. JT has to sell his place so we can use the money to pay off his place and have a nice down payment. We don’t have many options to fit our needs considering we already have three children (his son and my two nephews whom I have custody of) and one on the way. Luckily, at the beginning of 2017, JT was able to sell his place! YEY!!!! Sold, paid off, and banked the rest into savings! Let the house hunting commence. After almost two months of searching, we finally found something that could possibly work for us. Right before we were supposed to sign a pre-approval offer contract, JT is served custody and child support papers. His son’s mother learned about my pregnancy and decided to take JT back to court to increase his child support and take his legal rights away (JT is an OUTSTANDING father and has always provided for his son and has always been an active part of his life too, so taking away his rights was not going to happen.) And yes, that was the real reason she done it. Their custody arrangement had already been in place for quite some time and he was already paying her child support. Our beautiful savings deposit turned into a lawyer’s retainer. “Life happens” #10. Lawyer fees and rework our finances because his child support was increased.

11.) TOTAL WRECK.

It’s ok. No big deal. Clearly that house wasn’t supposed to be the house for us. The one thing I had gotten very good at was rebounding from failed plans and regrouping to form another plan. Refigure finances, start saving again. No big deal. We got into a routine and we picked ourselves up by the boot straps and started trucking again. Things were going well. We found out we were having a BOY!!! Started house hunting again and found a new house to check out. JT and I were going look at it one afternoon after work. We rode to work together that day because he worked in New Orleans and I had a conference in New Orleans. I dropped him off and was on my way to my conference when “life happens” #10 slammed into me, literally. I totaled his not quite a year-old new truck. I was 26 weeks pregnant and just totaled an almost brand-new vehicle. Thankfully and by the Grace of God, the baby and I were unharmed and just fine. Unfortunately, we had to pull from the savings, AGAIN, to buy him another truck. Positive side, insurance paid toward the majority of the truck’s balance and what it didn’t pay, GAP insurance that JT added to his note, picked up. He was out from that truck note. House hunting put on hold; savings back in progress.

12.) NOTHING LEFT TO GIVE.

Merging my two worlds together at this point has you almost caught up. As if working full time, having my two nephews and being pregnant weren’t enough, I also managed my parents’ household and finances, was the one responsible for house hunting, and attempted to help my brother get his life on track by getting him into a rehab program. By this point, I had learned about the great big tangled web he weaved himself into. He was incarcerated and booked in one parish, had outstanding warrants in another parish, and had violated his probation in another parish. He finally agreed and admitted to what we knew all along… he needed help because he had a serious drug problem. It wasn’t until I took his custody away that he saw exactly what he lost and could lose forever. I was not helping him by bailing him out. I wasn’t that stupid anymore. I was helping him by getting him the help he really needed. I tirelessly worked with his probation officer in the parish where he violated his probation, the assistant district attorney in the parish where he had his warrants, and the judge who sentenced him in the parish where he was booked and incarcerated. I also worked hand in hand with the admissions coordinator at Cenikor, the rehab program I found best suited his needs. Once I was able to get him admissions into the program, I then coordinated with the three parishes to court order rehab and allow his sentencing to run concurrent. Some parishes and people were more willing than others. By the time I got him into rehab, the judge ordered his time served to fulfill his sentence. He was then transported to the parish where his outstanding warrants were. Once he was booked there, the assistant district attorney refused his charges. He did not have to serve time and was sent to the parish where he was in violation of his probation. After numerous conversations with his probation officer, she was able to convince the judge to court order rehab for him. Working diligently with both the admissions coordinator of Cenikor and his probation officers, we set up his final transport. He was released to my custody in order for me to bring him to rehab which is where “life happens” #12 comes in. My little savings that I mustered to save through everything else was pulled one final time in order to pay his admissions fee and buy him the basic necessities that he needed for the program.

13.) DREAM COME TRUE.

My tedious juggling act did bring good news on the house hunting home front. I located a 12-acre tract of land for sale that was a reasonable price. JT’s dream was to always own a nice piece of property that he could build on but still have enough woods to hunt. This land was absolutely perfect. I reached out to our relator. She was able to get everything set up and within no time, we put in our offer and it was accepted!! We were soon to be property owners! Sorry, you have to read into “life happens” #14 for “life happens” #13.

14.) WHY BE LATE WHEN YOU CAN BE EARLY?

Life is calming down; my plate is clearing off. I can finally focus on me and the end of my pregnancy. YEY!!! I have a month left to go. Packed my hospital bag; told my mom Sunday, where I kept my bags in case I went into labor driving to or from work or at work. Told JT Monday where I kept my bags at and that my mom knew in case he forgot. Woke up a little after midnight Monday night into Tuesday morning to head to the hospital. My month left that I had to focus on me and the end of my pregnancy turned into the end of my pregnancy. I had my sweet little baby boy a month early at 36 weeks and he was just as healthy as could be. Life was absolutely perfect, for a day. The very next day JT got a phone call about the property we were closing on; it was not available to be sold; the owner did not own a clear title to the property. “Life happens” #13, we couldn’t buy the property after all. “Life Happens” #14 My baby boy was born. Heartbroken and money wasted. We already purchased an elevation certificate as well as an appraisal. We had to hire lawyer for the closing and the lawyer hired an abstractor who was the one to learn of the title. All of that money for our future home land, down the drain. Dreams shattered. The positive side??? I had a beautiful and healthy brand-new baby.

15.) UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Being out on maternity leave gave me a great opportunity to house hunt again. I found one we both liked. The yard was gorgeous and huge so the children would have plenty of space to play. The house was big enough to hold all of us. It was within our price range which was even better!! We checked it out, saw the potential, fell in love, and decided to put in an offer. I contacted Lisa Baker with Assurance Financial to start our process. We had already been approved for the property so we knew we were good to go for the house. Boy how WRONG we were. Remember that wreck that I was in the GAP was supposed to pay off… well they DIDN’T!!! They didn’t receive all of the paperwork they needed and it isn’t their job to call their customers to tell them differently. That being the case, it has officially made JT late on his truck note which has hurt his credit dramatically. The nice new negative mark was just enough for him to get denied for the preapproval. Due to all of my life happens moments and because I was on maternity leave, my debt to income ratio was too great for me to get preapproved. Welcome to “life happens” #15. The wonderful house that was just right would have to be just right for someone else because him nor I can get approval for it.

As much as what “life happens,” I always did my best to keep my spirits up and find a positive through the negative. I am not a proponent of allowing life to get me down. You see, I look at it like this: If my life got me down, how could I depend on it to get me back up? I cannot. Therefore, through all of the negatives that come my way, I find the positive. Sometimes it comes easily; sometimes it is a struggle; sometimes it is a knock out fight to the very end. And sometimes, I don’t find it; the positive finds me. As much as what JT and I want our own place, living with my parents during this whole ordeal has been the biggest blessing ever. Having their help and support is WONDERFUL!! We all pitch in on doing laundry, washing dishes, cooking, bills, and everything else that needs to be done around the house and for the house. I love all of my babies and wouldn’t trade them for the world; however, it would be CRAZY difficult for both of us to work full time and out of town (I drive 45 minutes to work and from work and JT drives over an hour to and from work) and take care of all of them plus maintain a functioning household without help. My parents definitely have a special place in heaven set aside for them because they do not mind the situation one bit. In fact, when we talk about getting our own place and moving out, my mom gets pretty upset. By far, I do not want our situation to be a permanent situation. I want it to only be temporary. This is why I am making my change in my life. Nothing else I have done has seem to work for me to get me where I need to be, so why not change and try something differently. With the help of Suzi Whitford and her AMAZING step by step guide on how to start a blog, and Michelle with her Stellar master guide on affiliate marketing, that is exactly what I am doing.

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.

I am regaining my sanity by sharing with you my life’s journey and how I convince myself to keep my head up and stay positive through some of the worst times. Staying positive and upbeat is not always easy but it is always worth it.

If you want things to change, be the change.

 

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Because “Life Happens” Part I

My 15 “Life Happens” Moments in 4 years

Looking back on my life, I never thought I would be where I am at in my life today. Twenty-Nine years old, living pay check to pay check, fighting to keep my head above water. I was supposed to go to law school. I graduated from
Southeastern Louisiana University in three years. I graduated with a 3.92 GPA. My Bachelor’s degree was in Political Science with minors in History and French.  I was supposed to be financially sound and intelligent. I started off very well. I kept close tract of my debt to income ratio and never put myself at risk. I knew what I could afford and what I had to save for. I knew the difference between wants and needs. I wasn’t supposed to struggle. I had a plan; a road map for my life. I learned from my parents’ mistakes. I even helped them get back on track after their financial setbacks. I wasn’t going to live pay check to pay check. I was going to live comfortably.

What happened, you may ask… LIFE!! LIFE HAPPENED. Life happening has taught me so much and it has encouraged me to see things in a positive light in order to handle everything life threw and still throws at me. When life hands you lemons, juggle them.

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1.) THE BREAK UP.

I graduated college in 2010. After not being accepted into law school, I had to face the real world. JT and I had just started living together. I stayed in Hammond and became a bank teller. I had a wonderful three year run with him and my job until my first “life happens” moment. 2013–JT and I broke up. What started as an ugly break up wound up ending calmly. I made a decision to not let the three years we spent together end as an explosion. Because I moved in with him, I was the one forced to pack my things and leave. I chalked up our break up to him needing time and space; so, I respected his wishes. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any savings built up because I was paying off student loans and contributing to the household. I had a premade family because Trey had a son, JA. Therefore, I moved back home to Thibodaux and moved in with my parents.

2.) I BECOME A PARENT.

The weekend I moved back home was the same weekend my oldest nephew, WP, was born. Two months later, I finally land a job as a teller in another bank. Perfect! Awesome! Start making money; play catch up on my bills; start saving to get my own place. YEAH RIGHT!!! “life happens” moment #2. My oldest brother started working offshore and my dear, dear sister-in-law (SIL) sucked at life. So, at the young, young age of 3 months old, WP moved in with my parents and me. As you can imagine, since my sister in law was not concerned about having her son, she was not concerned with providing for him financially either. There goes my savings and savings plan. I became the responsible parent for Walter Paul.

3.) DRAINING MY SAVINGS.

2013 did not turn out to be a great year for me expect for the birth of WP. Yet another “Life Happens” took place. My brother got arrested. Why, you may ask, is this a life happens moment for me?? Simple. I was naïve enough to believe there was some huge misunderstanding and my brother didn’t steal and break into someone’s house. He  had a good job and a beautiful son. Why would he need to steal from someone and why would he risk losing his son? Being the good, faithful and gullible little sister that I was, I took the littlesavings I had and bailed him out.

4.) CONSPRIACY.

Welcome 2014!!!! There was no way it could be anything like 2013. Boy was I wrong. Right out of the gate, my brother got arrested again. Seems that when he got into trouble at the end of 2013 it wasn’t an isolated incident which only increased my naivety. It was conspiracy. He was in trouble for stealing and now he would always be an easy target if anything was ever stolen again. Surely, he didn’t do it. He knew better. He was raised better. It’s not fair that he was arrested for something he didn’t do. There was no way he did it. So, little ole gullible me, I maxed out my cash advance on my credit card to get him out, “life happens” #4.

5.) LAWYER FOR HIRE.

Now, with all of the charges against him, he needed a good lawyer to help exonerate him. “Life happens” #5. I take out a loan to hire him a lawyer and since he now has a lawyer on retainer and his wife continued to suck at life, he filed for divorce too. Two Birds, One Stone. Score!!! After all, my SIL left my brother, cleared out his house, moved in with her dad, and left Walter Paul behind with us.

6.) VINDICTIVE AND SPITEFUL.

Well clearly, not filing first and suffering the embarrassment of being served set my SIL off. The day after she was served, she and the cops showed up at my parents’ house. Why, you are asking… O because she was spiteful and vindictive and filed a restraining order against my brother for her and WP. WP was ripped from us after being with us for a solid year. Even though my brother made HORRIBLE decisions in his life that kept him away from his son, he always checked in on him and never actually left him. So naturally, the proper reaction a parent should have when his/her child is ripped from him/her was my brother’s reaction. He was enraged. If only he would have used his anger for good instead of evil. Welcome to my “life happens” #6 You got it ladies and gentlemen; he was arrested again. Once they left, he took off to go clear his mind. Two days later, the police showed up to arrest him because he was caught on camera moving a camera at a business. His reasoning??? He saw a cool looking bug and was tracking it and when it landed behind the camera, he wanted to grab it but accidentally hit the camera. Plausible reasoning but we didn’t buy it. Now I am stuck with 2 options: 1) let him stay in jail and we completely lose WP. 2) clear my savings AGAIN to bail him out so he can show up in court to fight for WP. I was forced to bail him out because if WP was left in the care of his mother, I truly and honestly believe that he would have died. The end result… They wound up with 7/7 custody for 3 months. She kept the schedule for a month, meaning she only had him to 2 weeks. After that, my parents and I were back to having him full time.

7.) A SLAP IN THE FACE.

We have to move forward to 2015 for “life happens” #7. After a wonderful day celebrating WP’s second birthday, my brother decided that he wanted to give his son one last present… he was going to be a BIG BROTHER! Yep, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, after EVERYTHING my SIL had done, and after ALL of the money I put out to help him when she refused and he decided he wanted a divorce, they reconciled their differences and created another life. I know it sounds terrible to say it like that, but you have to keep in mind, my brother has been in and out of jail and my sister in law has already left WP. I was raising their first child. Remember how I told you my SIL moved in with her dad when she left my brother? Well, her father kicked her out (that should tell you how terrible of a person she is; her own dad kicked her out when she was 8 months pregnant). With nowhere to go and my brother already living with my parents and I, they asked my parents if she could move in too. So, picture this… 5 adults, 1 two-and-a-half-year-old, and a soon to be newborn living in a 3-bedroom-1-bathroom house. HOW FUN!!! <– sarcasm in full swing. Almost exactly a month later, KM, my second nephew, was born. Welcome to the Zoo!!

8.) LEGALLY OFFICIAL.

I firmly believe my parents have a special place in heaven for dealing with everything they dealt with. You see, my dear SIL was a terrible and just down right miserable person. (I try my best to stay positive and forgiving and I try my best to give people the benefit of the doubt but I am HUMAN and by far not perfect.)  She never took care of her sons. She would ignore them when they were screaming crying. She wouldn’t feed them. She wouldn’t change them. She never cleaned up after herself. She rarely bathed. She did not contribute anything to the household. She would scream and holler at everyone. She was physically, emotionally, and mentally abusive to my nephews. I think she may have been the spawn of something evil because no one can have and carry that much hate. (The boys’ doctors, when she did bring them, have even commented on how much hate she radiated.) It was the WORST 17 months of my life. That is how long she lived with us. That was the longest period she spent in WP’s life, 17 months. None of that was consecutive; however. She would go to work and stay gone for days at a time, or she would just sleep for days at a time. To the benefit of everyone (boys included) she decided one day to pack her things and leave. I know you are thinking that it is terrible that she left her children and that I am a horrible person for thinking her leaving benefited the boys, but it did. When she would curse at them lower than a dog; get physical with them more than what disciplining required; refused to take KM to a post-op appointment; refused to take WP to the doctor when he was running 103 fever; the list goes on and on, it was for their benefit. She packed her things, hugged both of them, and told them she was leaving and not coming back. Well, at least the boys had their father, right? WRONG. Not long after, my brother began staying away for nights at a time, coming home at all hours of the night, leaving in the middle of the night. One morning, while getting WP ready for school, I walked in on my brother doing drugs on his bed which was in the same room that the boys slept in (KM was still asleep in the room.) After I told my mom and dad about what I witnessed, they put my brother out. The next day, I was in a lawyer’s office and filed for custody of my nephews. Hello “life happens” #8. Yet another loan but at least this time it wasn’t to bail my brother out. It was to get sole custody of my nephews.

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.

I was insane for 4 years. I kept digging myself deeper and deeper in debt bailing my brother out over and over again, thinking that he would change. I finally stopped the madness by not bailing him out any more and enrolling in Suzi Whitford’s Start a Mom Blog Course and Michelle’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course. Suzi’s wonderful course taught me step-by-step on creating a blog and finding my voice. Writing is my outlet and if I am going to write, why not share my story. Michelle’s fabulous course taught me how to monetize off of my blog just by taking one more step when talking about things I do or use every day.

Read BECAUSE “LIFE HAPPENS” PART II to find out my other 8 “life Happens” moments and be brought up to date on my life now.

 

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5 Positive Quotes to Get You Through Tough Times

5 Positive Quotes to Get You Through Tough Times

We all have those days where we feel like the world is against us and nothing will ever go right. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you face set back after set back, disappointment after disappointment. I know first hand exactly what those days feel like. It takes every thing in your power to keep pushing forward, but you have to!! The five following quotes are just a few that I use to help me get through some of my toughest times. I truly believe that with the right frame of mind, a few deep breaths while having your eyes closed, and faith in what you tell yourself, you can learn to quickly turn one of those treacherous days back positive in no time.

This too shall pass.

The greatest thing about life and the only thing that is ever constant in life is CHANGE. I know you may be rolling your eyes at me right now because you have heard the saying over and over again; however, it is the absolute TRUTH!! Think about every day you have. Even if you have the same routine and schedule, there is always something about your day that changes, i.e. the weather, your clothes, your mood, etc. Just because you are in a situation right now does not mean that situation is permanent. In time, it will pass. Your situation is not a permanent one.

Count your blessings, even the smallest ones.

Many times, I find myself wondering why are all these bad things happening. When will I ever catch a break? Where is all this negative energy coming from. When everything seems to be going wrong, it is very easy to forget everything in your life that goes right. Take a step back and look at your surroundings. Look at everything you DO have instead of what you don’t. Look at everything that has gone RIGHT instead of what is going wrong. Most importantly, but the hardest thing to do, look through and pass the bad and find the good. Instead of thinking about a negative outcome to a bad situation, start thinking of positive outcomes to the bad situation. Train your brain to see the good and focus on seeing the blessings.

 

There would be no rainbow without the rain.

This saying ties in with Count your Blessings. It elaborates on seeing the good through the bad; the positive through the negative. I am a firm believer that when things do start going bad and being negative, with bad news after bad news after bad news, it is a reminder to start looking for the good in life again. Taking the negative situation or bad situation or rough time and searching for the good. Looking through all the rain to find that rainbow, no matter how faint it may be. However, without the rain, without the water, the rainbow will never shine through. Look for it high and low. Search for it through the darkness. Never stop looking for the positive in the situation because it is there; it is just a matter of searching, seeing, and being open to receiving it.

 

Never surrender to pressure. The most beautiful diamond started as a little black coal that survived tremendous pressure.

Pressure SUCKS!!!! When everything keeps piling on top of everything else. No being able to blink without something else happening. One thing after another, after another, after another. Been there; had that happen too many times… My cousin’s favorite expression is that “pressure busts pipes”, which in turn leads to a bigger mess and more of a headache and yet more to add to the pile. I prefer to take the positive road and tell myself when everything becomes chaotic that pressure creates diamonds. The blackest of coal, under the most extreme pressure, transforms into an extremely valuable diamond. I like to look at my life and my future as the coal; the circumstances and situations that occur as the pressure (naturally); and what I can turn my life into and create with my future as the valuable diamond. As long as I remain positive and turn any situation into a positive one, my life and my future will always hold potential and value. I refuse to ever let any negativity and any amount of pressure make me crack or burst. I choose, instead, to transform.

If you always look up to the sun, you will never see a haunting shadow.

The first time I read these words, I fell in love with the accuracy. I firmly believe in always holding your head high as long as you try your best. I never do anything half way. I always give my all; therefore, I always hold my head high. However, for some, this is not an easy task. The minute you drop your head and allow it to hang, you allow yourself to see shadows and see the darkness. Do not allow mistakes or setbacks as a reason to drop your head. Stay focused on the bright side of life and stay holding your head high. Shadows can easily swallow you up into the darkness if you allow it and it is harder to lift your head once it hangs than to keep it up and held high. Use the brightness of the sun to keep the brightness in your life. Do not let shadows steal your positivity.

 

I would LOVE to hear from you! What are some of your all time favorite quotes to overcome hard times? Leave your comments and/or suggestions!

 

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With Love,
Elizabeth
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