Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cultivating Gratitude Saved My Life

The best decision I ever made for MYSELF was the decision to start cultivating gratitude. I was at rock bottom and ready to give up. I felt absolutely defeated. I hated myself. Thankfully my mom wasn't ready to throw in the towel, as much as I didn't want to hear it in the moment, she would call me out on everything I was complaining about and helped me see it from another perspective. ( THANKS MOM!!)  It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be! It's been almost 4 years and I couldn't be more grateful for gratitude and all the ways it's changed my life, helped me changed my entire way of thinking and the way I view the world.                                                                      

I used to be: depressed, anxious, constantly crying, finding the worst in every situation, miserable, constantly complaining, hateful, spiteful, spoke to myself and others in awful ways, always thought the grass was greener on the other side, and said FML at least 100 times a day. 

NOW: I am able to see the good in anything, I'm happy with the grass on my side, I no longer battle with depression and anxiety, I jump out of bed in the morning, rarely ever complain (and when I do, I call myself out), I've discovered self love and care, I attract more positivity and blessings, I forgive, I have more love and compassion in my heart than I ever thought possible, but most of all, I AM HAPPY even when it feels like my world is falling apart around me, I know I still have so much to be grateful for and that this storm will pass, just like the rest of them have. The sun will always shine again ☀️

💗Remember happiness is an inside job, NO ONE can do it for you 😀 

Want to start cultivating gratitude, but don't know where to start? 

🔹🔹THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW ABOUT GRATITUDE IS... There is NOTHING to small, silly or stupid to be grateful for. Any ounce of gratitude is better than no gratitude at all!! 🔹🔹

🔹Starting something new whatever it may be takes dedication and consistency. I  highly suggest creating a practice or ritual that you can do at the same time everyday, and then some. (I ride the gratitude train all day long, especially during stressful and tragic moments). Before you get out of bed, with every sip you take of your morning coffee or tea, with every bite you take, while you're brushing your teeth, driving to work or laying in bed at night, mentally list off at least 5 things you are grateful for. 

🔹Gratitude journal, write down 5 things everyday (preferably in the morning and before bed) its a great way to start and end the day with a positive vibe and a good way to let go of any stress and anxiety. 

🔹My good friend Michael Ian Cedar @thelegacyofyou does a Daily Global Gratitude Slam every Monday-Friday at 7:35am EST on periscope. We have a pretty kick ass community filled with gratitude, love, diversity, creativity and inspiration. 

🔹The app Happier, this was what I used as a gratitude journal. You can have a private or public profile, the happier family is truly amazing and oh so supportive. It really helps to surround yourself with like minded people. Also, by reading other people's happy moments and things they are grateful for, it can help inspire other things to be grateful for that you may have been taking for granted. 

🔹Gratitude Jar / Board, whichever you prefer. Write down something you are grateful for and put it in/on. Visual reminders are incredibly helpful! 

However you decide to start cultivating gratitude I want you to know a couple things: 

If you already have a gratitude practice or ritual I would love to hear about in the comments below! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

There will be people in your life...

Note to self: There will be people in your life who will lie to you, betray you and in some cases abuse you. There will be people who won't understand your choices or your journey, they will criticize you, judge you and try and change your direction. They will have different beliefs and they may try to make you feel less than for being who you are. They may try and change you into who they think you should be. They may believe their intentions are pure without realizing the hurt they are causing. They may be strangers or they may be loved ones. There will be people you don’t agree with. There will be people whose actions will leave you questioning humanity. There will be people who don’t know love, forgiveness and acceptance…

Please don’t let these people stop you from loving others, showing compassion and shining your light. Please don’t let these people scare you into being something that you are not. Please don’t let them take away your inner peace. Please don’t let them discourage you from turning your dreams into reality. Please don’t let them take away your beautiful free spirit. I know it’s not easy, but I promise you it’s possible! We all have this amazing power to CHOOSE who, what, if and how we respond to these people. If you choose to respond, do it with love and compassion, your future self will thank you. I promise you giving them control over your life is not worth it because…

There will also be people who love you unconditionally. There will be people who recognize how amazing you are by simply being YOU. There will be people who will support you on your wild and crazy journey. There will be people who will speak life over you. There will be people who will go out of their way to help you and guide you. There will be people with different beliefs but they will have an open mind, open heart and won’t judge you. There will be people who understand you and get you. There will be people who will encourage you to be a better version of yourself, without taking away from how amazing you already are. There will be people who believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself. There will be people who see the love, compassion, kindness and magic in you. These are the ones you want to surround yourself with. These are the ones that will help you manifest your wildest dreams.

To all of those beautiful souls loving me, supporting me, encouraging me, and believing in me, you all hold such a special place in my oh so grateful heart. It doesn’t matter if we’ve only crossed paths once or twice, or if your someone I confide in, or if we’ve never met in person and came into each other’s lives through social media. I am oh so very grateful for your presence in my life. THANK YOU.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dear Transgender Community

I will be 100% honest, I haven’t written anything about HB2 or the struggles the LGBTQ community has been facing recently, because I couldn’t do it with love. I was filled with rage at the blatant discrimination and hate being directed towards them. I would see ridiculous comments on social media, I would type my reply, but I couldn’t send it. I couldn’t go against who I am and who I try to be, in attempt to get through to someone else. Over the past couple years, I have been making a conscious effort to truly do all things with love. I don’t want to put anything other than love out into the Universe… This morning I found out an evangelist had gone to our local target screaming through the store and was then at a school screaming at children…I’ve had enough… Here it goes… 

Dear Evangelists,
I know this is hard for you.
I know it’s hard to accept something you don’t understand.
I know it’s hard to love someone with different beliefs.
I know you love your God with all your heart and soul.
I know in your mind, you think you’re doing God’s work.  
I know God doesn’t make mistakes.
But I also know…
I know that I’ve been molested and raped by the “devil” and he wasn’t transgender.
I know that I’m not scared of going to hell, I’ve lived in hell on earth.
I know that Jesus didn’t walk around screaming, trying to scare people into believing.  
I know that we are all God’s children and he wants us to love each other.
I know that social norms and gender norms have made this harder to understand.
I know that God loves my gay moms, he blessed us with such an amazing family.
I know that when I was younger and you were preaching your hate against gays, it severed my relationship with God.
I know that words have an extremely powerful effect, and should be used to speak love and life.
I know that I could live in fear, but I choose love.
I want you to know I have love and compassion for you regardless of our differences. I wish you well and pray that you will one day experience the true meaning of unconditional love.
Love and light,
Child of God

Dear Transgender Community,
I want you to know that I’m not scared of you or peeing next to you.
I want you to know you deserve to be your true authentic self.
I want you to know that love and compassion truly do exist.
I want you to know how beautiful you are, inside and out.
I want you to know I admire your courage and strength.
I want you to know that you are loved and not alone.
I want you to know how amazing you truly are.
I want you to know I stand with you.
I want you to know you matter.
I want you to know I love you.
Love and light,
Straight Ally

Friday, January 1, 2016

Welcome 2016

 It's hard to believe 2015 is already over! It's been the best year of my life! I've had many years with amazing moments, but this was the first year I can say I have no complaints or regrets. It was truly an amazing year filled with healing, growth, love and inner peace. 

I remember the first day of 2015 like it was yesterday. It was the day God told me, "it's time to start healing" and just like that I broke. I was standing in the shower with tears pouring down my face. I felt as if I was going to die if I didn't let it out. My chest was so tight I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital. My husband held me on the bathroom floor while I cried for hours, but as soon as I spoke the truth, I could feel my body getting lighter and lighter. The weight of this secret I felt so ashamed of was no longer weighing me down. I know it was Gods grace that allowed me to make it as long as I did without breaking. He knew I couldn't handle healing yet. But he knew 2015 was going to be the year. That I was finally ready and in healthy mindset to work through this.  After twenty some odd years I finally admitted I had been sexually abused as a child.  

I reached out to my moms, my pastor and my counselor. I started the healing process. I turned it all over to God, the ultimate healer. Through this experience my relationship with God grew closer and stronger than I ever imagined possible. And for that I am extremely grateful. 

2015 was also full of love and compassion. It was the year I jumped into Special Olympics full force. Volunteering, coaching, fundraising and committees. Through this experience I discovered my purpose and passion. I made new friends and learned so much from the athletes and other coaches. I am extremely blessed and grateful to be part of the Special Olympics family! 

2015 was truly filled with greatness! On New Years Eve I got my final grades for the semester. I was so freaking proud of myself for juggling school, kids, Special Olympics and ME! 

As I reflect on 2015 I am proud, grateful, blessed and full of love. I welcome 2016 with open arms, open mind and open heart. I want to thank everyone who has been part of my journey! You know who you are! My family, my friends and all the amazing people I've connected with this year. 

May 2016 bless us all with peace, love and happiness. May we be grateful for it all, good and bad. May we be open to the lessons in the darkness. May we love and honor the God inside each and everyone of us. May we all be the change we wish to see. 

Dear 2016, I'm ready! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Make a difference.

Don't get me wrong being able to donate substantial amounts of money to nonprofits is very helpful, but it's not the ONLY way one can help!

A lot of nonprofits wouldn't be able to survive without their volunteers, the people who roll up their sleeves, and get down and dirty doing whatever needs to be done. I've been personally thanked by Special Olympics athletes and coaches for volunteering my time, they know how valuable the volunteers are to the organization. Of course the staff is very grateful for the volunteers as well, but I'm not there for the staff, I'm there for the athletes so they can continue breaking down barriers, making friends and having fun. They've all heard oh you can't do that, and Special Olympics helps them discover that they CAN!

Outside of organizations you can make a difference too:
Smile at people, you never know how much it could turn someone's day around.
See someone struggling? Help them, don't assume someone else will.
Say thank you!
Sit and listen to someone who needs an ear.
Don't judge those who act or look different from you.

The greatest of all is to show compassion and love to our neighbors, whoever they are, wherever they are. Best thing about love and compassion... It's FREE!
I challenge you all to make a difference today!  #BeGrateful #BeKind #Compassion #Love #HelpOthers

I'm grateful for lessons learned.

I'm grateful to have learned this lesson sooner than later. For a long time I used to compare myself to my brothers and felt like I was disappointing my moms. My brothers all took the traditional route of going to college straight out of high school, and well I didn't and pretty much made every mistake in the book before I had my daughter. I remember sitting at my brothers college graduation beating myself up because I should have graduated college before any of my brothers did.

 I didn't realize I was making my moms proud by working hard and being the best mom I could be. I didn't realize I AM ENOUGH. I didn't realize that everything I went through was making me stronger and preparing me for the future.

It's very easy to get wrapped up in what others have and what we don't, or to think the grass is greener on the other side. I beg you, don't get wrapped up in those thoughts! They are toxic and won't attract anything good into your life. Instead #BeGrateful for all you have, where you've been, the lessons that have come out of storms, and the ones you love. When you focus on the good, it attracts more good.

Remember God created you to be YOU, not your neighbor or best friend. He has an AMAZING plan for all of us, and loves us more than we could ever imagine! Take a minute and thank him for that!
There is always ALWAYS something to #BeGrateful for!

 #Blessed #selflove #gratitude #BeYou #begreat #godlovesyou #bestisyettocome

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Blended NOT broken.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about how truly blessed I am to have three parents. Not only do I have three parents but I have three parents who have worked together my whole life to raise me.

Here's the best part; I don't EVER remember a time where one parent said something bad about the other or tried alienating me from the other. Now that I'm grown I truly understand what a blessing this was and still is. I know not many kids growing up in broken homes have both parents on the same team, putting their differences aside and doing what's in the best interest of the child. 

Whether or not my parents were battling behind my back I have no idea and I'm extremely grateful for that. I have enough rough childhood memories to look back on but this is one that I can look back on, smile and thank my parents. I know it couldn't have been easy. From the bottom of my heart I thank you three, thank you for leaving me out of it. Thank you for working together, thank you for all being a part of my life.

As far back as I can remember my family has just been one big family. It's not really dads family, Memas family, or Cemas Family. I'm not saying family get togethers are all three parts. But the events that are significant we all come together and celebrate it once, together as a family. First communion, confirmation, graduation, and kids party's. We celebebrate together as one family. We have blended three families into one. We are NOT broken, we are blended. 

A couple weeks ago I Was able to share the gift of Special Olympics with my parents and aunt. I felt so extremely blessed to be in my happy place and sharing it with my family. My heart was overflowing with happiness when they told me how much fun they had and would do it again. 

With Christmas coming up I've been starting to make our Christmas plans. We are so grateful my moms and brothers come to us so we don't have to travel. I'm so extremely excited for Christmas this year. On Christmas morning we will get to spend the magical morning with my dad, my moms, my aunt, brothers   And grandparents. This will be the first time ever we are all together on Christmas morning, and I seriously feel like a little kid on Christmas morning just thinking about it. I don't need presents, I will have the presence of my parents all together. 

Dad, Moms; I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul for loving me even when I was challenging, forgiving me, supporting me and standing by me. I want to thank you for being the best coparents you could ever be! I know it wasn't easy, I'm sure there were times you wanted to throw your hands up and give up. Thank you for never giving up on eachother and on me.  Please know your hard work and efforts have not gone unappreciated. Even as an adult your joint efforts are still extremely appreciated. I couldn't be more grateful for my three amazing parents!