Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Simple, Yet Praiseworthy Life. How Easy…

“Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own.”
~Adam Lindsay Gordon

When the secret of living a praiseworthy life is much easier than we imagine…

It’s funny how we can be right on the cusp of making most of our desires reality but either don’t realize how close we are to achieving it, or are unable to recognize what it is that is good for us.  Because of that, we give in to the lack of confidence and eventually give up. We all should think highly of ourselves because within us, we were given a seed of great potential that is waiting to be uncovered and released. But the harsh reality for most of us is that our potential never sees the light. We spend too much time focusing solely on dreaming the big dreams, seeking gigantic aspirations, and losing sight of our rough talents and this moment’s accomplishments… We forget that Rome wasn’t built in one day. Without laying the ground work at the start of any project, there wouldn’t be a realization of the vision.

Praiseworthy life or life of purpose… Why does it sound so complicated to achieve?

More and more it is becoming clearer to me how simpler it is to live a life of purpose; how easy it is to live a life where our God-given potential is use not only for us but for others’ benefit.

So I asked, “10 years from now, will you remember me and why?” Some answers made my soul nod, some answers made my lips smile, while some answers (along with the “no answers”) made me think,  “Rose, you still have a lot of work to do because it is too simple to leave a mark in this world, in people’s lives…”

With a little digging and self-examination, I’ve realized that honesty, compassion and kindness (mostly kindness) go a long way and leave undeniable stamps on the people around us - more than any material gift or grandiose deed we can perform. It made me realize that the secret of living a worthy life is much simpler than what I had thought all along.

So I asked myself this time, "Are you honestly living a life worthy of being remembered?"
And to that I say, while every day is not a good day and every moment has it’s challenges, I need to make sure that today (while working on those big dreams and fantasies) in every step I take in my life’s journey, during every lesson I learn (My Life Lessons), I remember to be kind. I need to realize that today, kindness towards another person will leave a mark that will be praiseworthy.

Kindness is a way of life to me that is shown by someone who truly cares. Kindness shows your goodness, love, forgiveness and mercy towards others. It may be in deed, word or anonymously.

I stumbled on this video Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Thought Bubbles: Kindness yesterday while reading about kindness; it made me realize how easy it truly is to live a purpose life and positively affecting people without having to give them the moon…

My life lessons have taught me, if you are kind to your loved ones, they usually love you in return. If you are kind to a stranger, you will leave a lasting impression and they will remember you for that act of kindness their entire life. Being kind is not easy. It is one of the most difficult things for mankind to be. Our real nature is self-sufficiency and self-protection. It takes work and skill to be really kind. It has taken me years just to get to today realization that kindness is a worthy purpose in our lives… for our lives. And I still have ways to go. So lastly, if you are kind to someone who hates you (and that is the hardest), you may not change their disposition toward you but you will have earned an esteemed place in heaven.

So do this, ask around you "10 years from now, will you remember me? Why?"


Sunday, May 26, 2013

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

“Your life is your message to the World.
Make it inspiring.”
~ Lorrin L. Lee

Life is my source and experience is my guide…
Understand that everyone has a different list of experiences that leads and guides their history and their life in their journey. Enjoy learning how other people see the world and explore the differences; you will see that in all those differences the common denominator will be the desire to live a life that reflects a journey toward happiness and self-growth.

Because our life experience is our guide we have to make sure to sometimes take the time to do a mental rewind of our lives and make sure we didn’t miss or overlooked important life lessons. We have to make sure to slow down, pause life just so we are able to soak in the life lessons we’ve created for ourselves. Don’t overindulge in instant gratifications however let’s ask ourselves “What is my message in life?” "What is my message to the world?" “What legacy am I trying to leave?”

“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it”
~Groucho Marx


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep, But The Battle Goes Much Deeper…

“Knowing my insecurity(ies) allowed my mind to think
it was acceptable to ignore them…
 Until they became inescapable.
The outside smiles can no longer hide the inside cries.
The perfect Polaroid pictures of myself (in my mind) can no longer fade away…”
~Rose Sanderson

How can you live a life focused on positivity, when the sight of your physical appearance forces you to accept the unacceptable? They say that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” So what happens when what you once called beautiful, is no longer pleasing in your own eyes?

It’s 3:18 in the morning and I’m up. I’m not awake because of the hubby’s award winning nasal concert or because of a nightmare on my Avenue. It’s certainly not because of my house alarm pad that will periodically chime - letting us know (for the millionth time) that he needs his battery changed… It’s not because of the tragedies in this world that have become “faits divers” (daily occurrences), or the “pick of the month,” which for a quick second makes our heart skip a beat, while we try to wrap our minds around the why(s) of all these calamities. Aside from the city-to-city daily happenings/tragedies, we’ve had some pretty horrible, well publicized, national events. There was the Newtown, CT shooting, the Boston Marathon terrorist attack and just yesterday, the devastation a tornado caused in Oklahoma City. All day I shook my head wondering “WHY!?” every time I got an update on my phone, highlighting the number of causalities and how many among them were children… I got chills down my spine… I later got home from work, turned the TV on and saw the latest updates from OKC. While still in recovery mode, the people of this country are doing what they do best, helping in the time of need. They are already working on a streamlined process to help the devastated families who have lost their homes, their neighborhoods, neighbours, and family members. Some have lost their children. There’s a lot of talk about rebuilding, raising money, counselling and moving forward, stronger…

While my heart did skip several beats, while I shed tears for their pain (and for my blessings) and while I am in prayer, this is not why I am up typing away. At this very moment, I’m thinking about something so miniscule in comparison to the world’s problems, yet so very troubling to me. I feel almost horrible for being concerned with my little issues, in the face of others losing their lives and life’s possessions, yet still I can’t shake what I’m feeling. It’s not about vanity; it’s just my current reality…

I wrote a piece In The Pursuit of Skinny Me (Click on the link to read the full post) where I said:

“When your vanity is not your priority…
When your motivation is not your entourage and what they think of you…
When your stimulation is not proving someone else wrong…
When your worry is not that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder…

Why are you pursuing the smaller you? Why are you chasing what “was” and might never again be possible?
And because I can’t find solace in the person I see in the mirror, the road to creating a better me, tapping into the person I am meant to be and getting to a place of inner happiness will never be completed unless I pursue and achieve a skinnier me…

The pursuit of skinny me is not the pursuit of vanity and shallow beauty…
It is the pursuit of who I am; who my inner self knows herself to be, whose reflection in the mirror will finally overlap the picture of me cemented in my brain…
I believe the Rose I look at every day in the mirror for the last few years is beautiful, sexy and has no need to feel embarrassed but I just don’t connect with her. She is not a reality that I am able to connect with and there will always be sadness behind my eyes when I look at her…”

That was exactly a year ago…

I blog about love and acceptance (of self and of others). I talk about being positive, prioritizing, counting your blessings, and living to the fullest. Because life is not a never-ending gift, and while I truly believe and try to live my lessons, there is this one area that I can’t overcome… I just can’t accept and move away from it… It’s my struggle with my weight, my appearance. I’m having a problem with the skin I’m in at the moment… the love/hate relationship I have with my physical appearance.

I do realize that a “happy life” is not a perfect life. In the plethora of things that make us blessed children of God, there is always that one dark cloud that lingers around you, trying to find the perfect opportunity to take a hit on the contentment you’ve worked hard to build for yourself; it’s always seeking for the right moment to sucker-punch you in the eye. 2011 was a trying time in my life and also a year where I experienced the most life-altering experience of my life. Things were put into perspective in a way that everything became clear. My future, my priorities, my goals, my spirituality, my work… my path became clearer. Some may call it an epiphany; I say it was accepting the wisdom life bestows us along our journey. I should have felt great right? But instead of marvelling on all of the amazing things that I had going for me, I spent my days being miserable in my own skin. I was overweight, unhealthy and couldn’t figure out how to make that change.
2012 came along with the never-ending battle to lose weight. I got back into running and quickly fell off again. I lost 15 pounds with Weight Watchers, and then regained 30 pounds as soon as I reconnected with my bad eating habits…

I miss me! I miss how healthy I was and the fact that I could feel myself being healthy. I miss having the connection between my mental and my physical. I miss being able to get up and go for an 8 mile run just because. Anytime. I miss being able to look at myself in the mirror - and while I can admit it was never an absolute image of perfection; it was surely okay with me. I miss the confidence in feeling attractive and sexy. I miss being able to wear anything and everything. I miss me… so what is there to do but lose the weight or accept what I have become. Sounds simple, right? Yeah, not so much if you're a type A, slightly neurotic, perfectionist like me. I'm not overly competitive with others, but I'm pretty damn competitive with myself. I want to be the best I can, especially because I know how happy I am at my best. I just can’t settle in and accept a situation, if I know there is even one other possibility. I want, if at all possible, the me I lost along the way, 3 years ago.

Everyday I thank God for the new day (and all my blessings) but that little dark cloud is growing, hovering over me like an impending storm. I cry looking at myself, I hate looking at myself and that has to change not only for me but for my relationship with those around me.
There are only two possible solutions to this. The first, which should be the most important, is to learn to like myself, however; I have clearly determined that I will never accept and like this physical me. The second solution (which is what I’ve chosen) is to turn myself into the person that I want to be… that I need to be, for my own sanity. I need to be able to appreciate my body because there is nothing on this earth I will ever do that does not require its cooperation.  I need to get into shape, not poison it, not abuse it, nor neglect it.

So it is a little passed 3:00am this morning and I’m up. It’s not because of all of the many important social issues facing America and the world. It’s not because of the many children that need food, clothing and shelter. It’s not on account of the state of the economy and how this will affect my family’s long term goals. I am horrified at what’s happening in OKC, and I’m praying that God comfort and help the families and all those affected. It’s not due to rejoicing over the three women who were rescued from that nightmare in Ohio, although I am elated that they were found. It might be the silliest, most un-important reason on earth (to some), but I’m up because I can’t sign off on how far I’ve let my weight slide. I don’t want to bother anyone while I’m awake, so I’m up making decisions on it right now…
At this very moment, I’m like an addict going through detox. I have decided to reboot my system; I have decided that I need to remove everything that is toxic within me. I have decided to discipline myself so I can get my happy back, so I can love not only the inner beauty I’ve developed but also my top layer.

“When your spirit and confidence are your priority
When your motivation is the connection with self
When your stimulation is to not settle
When your worry is being able to live with yourself”

My challenge is to lose and maintain a weight loss of 50 lbs. by this same time next year.
I have started a cleansing this week, to reboot my system and jump start it back with a clean, healthy, toxic free inside. Next week I will add a running program. We’ll see how this goes, and I’ll keep you in the loop…


Monday, May 20, 2013

I Live. I Learn. I Am.

Grasp the blessing, the privilege and the importance of NOW in your life, because LATER will come with or without you...
~Rose Sanderson

We like to think that we have no expiration date attached to us… at least not one that will come to term until we’ve deemed it’s the right moment. We like to think that time is on our side. We dream big dreams, we wish grandiose wishes, and we command nothing but the best for ourselves. We give ourselves a one year plan, a five year plan or even a ten year plan, with hopes of achieving all that we aspire. We believe in planning every moment of our journey, every step we will take, how we will step off and what is the guaranteed recipe for success… the guarantee of achieving ALL that we want for ourselves… But while we control what our happiness is based on, what our sense/level of accomplishment will start with, what the perfect timing for all that we wish for ourselves; we forget that time is not a constant guarantee in our lives. It is a borrowed gift that we don’t control.

Saturday morning my son had his placement tests at the prep school we finally chose, from all the ones that had accepted him. He was excited and I was feeling some kinda way because I had to play chauffer mom on my weekend off. And while he went off to do all his tests, I sat for 3 hours of meetings with new parents and the Dean of Admissions. I had to go through curriculum, schedules, transportation, endless forms, books and the like… You know - all the fun stuff you like to do on your weekend off! It was overwhelming… the process felt like college. Mid-morning, we took a break for coffee and while I stared at my black coffee cup it dawned on me, my baby, my first born is going to high school. Where did the time go? Wasn’t he just 10 yesterday? Weren’t he and his sister going to the same school yesterday? What happened to middle school? My little girl is going to middle school but when did he finish?
I sat (fighting the tears) because I couldn’t remember where the past 3 years of his life had gone, which meant I must not have been present

Lately, I find myself looking back and not being able to remember what happened, or how an event got so far away. I spend so much of my time setting myself goals, objectives and things that we need to achieve as a family in order to be happy and content that I forget what is most important… I forget to live and appreciate the moment, the now. A year seemed like yesterday. Even when you think time will never pass... it passes faster than expected. Time flies but where? Where are the memories of “that time?” I look back and I'm like, “Wow, that was three years ago”. I focused on so many things I needed to see happen that I let my life be ruled by a clock. It is depressing and frustrating that I can’t remember things… I feel like I’m living a partial life; a life focused on the future, while the now is when the rewards are appreciated and when we build the lasting memories for tomorrow. I get depressed about it sometimes, and frustrated that I don't remember things very well.

While I sat there, I had the realization that time is fleeting and I need to use it wisely because the next 4 years will be gone just as fast, BUT this time I need to live the time.
I should do EVERYTHING - even the most minute and seemingly insignificant tasks - with great care, effort, and thoughtfulness, and not wait on the perfect time or moment… The life that I imagine and want for myself will happen because I will work daily towards accomplishing it but I won’t live only to accomplish it!

I need to live every moment of my life. I need to learn all the lessons that arise through the life I’m living. Then I will be. I’ll be able to say that I AM.
I AM the product of my choices, my decisions, my life… the years I’m living are being transformed into indelible, unforgettable memories because I’m choosing to appreciate the NOW.

We don’t know the date, the hour, down to the minute of when the too late will be. Realizing that tomorrow eventually will not come for me and that I will die helps me put things in perspective and realize that those little moments that we take for granted are those that we need to cherish and remember.
I want to be able to "ALWAYS" see the "silver lining" in every cloud, to stay away from the negative and to stay "POSITIVE"!!! I want to stop worrying about life moving too fast, and instead jump on board and enjoy the rollercoaster life takes me on. Instead of tuning out, I need to stay fully plugged in. I must stop and take a look around every once in a while - I could miss it and it's just too short to be worrying all the time!!!

Remember - a happiness shared is a happiness increased, a dream shared is a dream realized and memories made and remembered as a life lived.

What about you? Have you ever felt that life was leaving you behind? do you feel that you are trying to catch up to your life more than living your life?


Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

“Our ultimate freedom is the right and power
to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves
will affect us.”
-Stephen R. Covey

When positivity surrounds us there are never any issues in accepting it into our lives even if it comes from a place we didn’t expect. When we are flooded with negativity we, just as easily, open wide the door of our existences but in addition we let it submerge us like a bad disease-causing virus that no antibiotic can stop.
We have to realize that we have the power on whom, what affect us and the level we allow it to affect us.     
Changing your negative feelings to positive is about changing the way you see things. It is you knowing who you are, what you will allow around you and what you will not permit.  It is about you not consenting to what you deem negative to be a comfortable second, minute, hour in your life.

Let’s acknowledge these few facts: negative thoughts, acts, and attitudes breed more of the same just as positive thoughts, acts, and attitudes breed more of the same. When you focus on negativity, you bring it back to yourself. Perform acts of kindness and love and that also will be brought back. Remember Karma…

 “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

Turn the switch on to gratitude and optimism feelings and turn it off to negativity!
Get the stepping negative thoughts, I’m moving forward and you’re not welcome!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

But... What Are You Doing While You Wait?

“If you keep waiting for the right time, it may never happen. Sometimes you have to make the most of the time you have.”
― Priya Ardis

People wait
All week for Friday
All year for summer
All life for happiness

We wait… We build for ourselves expectations, goals, start and ending points, that in our heads (once we’ve hit those targets) signify a moment when an accomplishment should happen; the opportunity of a great start… a positive start.

We all have heard of the saying, “Thank God it’s Friday,” as if Friday is the real beginning of our week. Most of us look forward to that day, mainly because it is the end of the “regular” work week, it is the end of the school week, and it usually implies the moment you can relax, unwind and put your feet up. Friday is the prelude to freedom, Friday is the sunrise to our weekend, and Friday is the source of pleasure to come on Saturday and Sunday. Well, what about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday? What about all the accomplishments, strides and failures we deal with and face on those days? What about the opportunity and satisfaction of learning any day? What about the open-mindedness of the unknown and what it will teach us? Why do we want to set ourselves up by waiting on a specific day (or moment) to bring us joy, while any moment should be waited on for its unpredictability, for its potential?
While we don’t always see it, when it seems like nothing is happening, that’s when everything is happening behind the scenes.

It is so clear to me that I am one of those people that sets a goal for myself and it is never worked on the same day I issue myself the challenge. There has to always be a perfect starting point (i.e. “I need to lose weight and I just figured out the right way,” and “I’ll start Monday,” etc.). Everything I do and set myself up to do is so rarely done “on the fly”, or with any measure of spontaneity… Everything is calculated. And here goes the missed opportunities. While I wait for the perfect timing, what do I accomplish? What am I doing while I wait? And what if the momentum I’m trying to build never reaches the peak I need for the perfect send off? What if Friday is the beginning of a stormy weekend? What if global warning plays a trick on us during the summer? What if happiness doesn’t recognize itself? What do you do? Do you keep on waiting? Maybe next Friday, next summer? Maybe another expectation about what will make us happy?

There is one thing people in our generation hate to do, and that is to wait. And why should we? We can Google questions or summon Siri for an immediate answer. We can order anything online rather than making the trip to the retail store. We can purchase all of our heart’s desires even though we actually don’t have the cash in the bank…Why wait? What is the advantage of waiting? But we gladly do so when it comes to actions that require commitment, effort, work and an outcome that is not always successful. We have to measure our capabilities and make efforts for achieving the best possible, rather than boasting for writing our own destiny! A fighter has to get rid of his arrogance, anger, vengeance, hatred, and the “know-it- all,” “big boss” attitude, before landing his first punch on the face of his opponent…

My answer is that I need to not wait! I need to look for the potential with preparation to take any of them, seize the right moments with patience. I need to accept opportunities that come my way and be prepared to grab them with a combination of patient acceptance, and prepared action and not let them pass me by (due to preconceived ideas or a possibility of better opportunities). I do recognize that there is a thin line between “making things happen” and fate (waiting for things to happen). What I know for sure is that I have the ability to think, to take action and responsibility towards working on achieving whatever agenda I have set for myself and setting the “right” things in motion for when the opportunity presents itself.

What bout you? Do you choose to wait or you make things happen? And if you wait... What are you doing while you wait?


Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

You can’t reach for anything new if your hands
are still full of yesterday’s junk.
~ Louise Smith

You’ll crash driving on the highway if you continuously stare at the rear view mirror…

Does this make sense to you? Does this make this Sunday quote in full perspective for you? This example just tells me that we should mostly focus on what's ahead of us, on our future. I’m not saying erase the past and what we’ve just experienced (good or bad) what I am saying is only look back occasionally when we cross paths again or when we need to remember the lessons learned.

I am the first to say, I have not made it to this point in my life without my own fair share of “junk”; and while the “junk” I have accumulate thus far is most likely not the last bit I will gather; my goal and objective is to make sure the “junk” does not leave a lasting impression on my life other than teaching me the “lessons” I need for no do overs. You can't ignore the past because it does exist and it is relevant to the person you are now and the one you will be. What you can do is change your perspective on past actions and outcomes.
While in the midst of a compromising position, while recapping on a situation, while regretting a decision, make sure you put the circumstances and results you find yourself in into perspective.  Perception is everything and how we choose to perceive something or some events can empower or cripple us. You will not be able to move on (forward) if you are still holding on to something and refuse to let go. It probably means you have not fully accepted the outcome and learned the lesson you need to learn and move on.

Don’t consider your past as your enemy; use it to make a better, wiser you by leaving the “junk” behind...


Nothing Compares or Even Runs Close To a Mother's Love…

“Mother is the word for God on the hearts
and lips of all little children”
~William Makepeace Thackeray

 In a country, two rival tribes have been feuding for years. One night a warrior from the opposing tribe sneaked into the enemies’ camp and stole one of the woman’s babies to force them into battle. The warriors of the tribe whose baby was stolen tried for many days to rescue the infant, but the other tribe lived high on a dangerous cliff making it hard to access. After 4 days of trying to rescue the child, they returned defeated. One night, as all the warriors slept, they were awaken by shouts of cheer throughout the village. They awoke to see the mother of the child walking home with her child in hand. When asked how she had done it when all efforts of their strongest men had failed she simply replied, "It wasn’t your child".

The gift of motherhood gives you a power that is inexplicable and incomparable. Motherly love is one that is unmatchable as the playing field is unfair for whoever that tries to challenge it. Maternal instinct makes even the most wildest and ugliest of animals’ interaction with her child, beautiful to look at. It is love, that mother’s love, which gives everything beauty…

Mothers care for you
Mothers feed you
Mothers teach you the needed life lessons
Mothers are your pillar
Mothers guide you
Mothers have all the answers
Mothers love you…

A mother is a child's first teacher. While loving us she teaches us morals, behaviour, ethics, values and all social tools required for us to grow into beautiful young adults. A mother knows and fears no sacrifice when it comes to her child.
A mother's love is too broad of a concept to define. It is a love which is radically different from any other love a human experiences in his grown up years. The person we are today and will be tomorrow is based on the relation we have with our mothers.

I have noticed that while undoubtedly we recognize the love from our mothers, it is a love that isn’t celebrated and isn’t paid tribute to in the same way than the other loves of in our lives… The love for our mothers is understated when compared to the wealth we received from them throughout our lives. While we acknowledge that it is our first love, it is also the one love we automatically and assumingly take for granted.
We take her love for granted and more than ever take assumptions that our love for them needs no display because…it’s my mother, of course I love her…

My mother, my ya’Toinette, the silent guide of my life, the bookless teacher, the righteous whisper to all my doubts, my constant spiritual backup when I’m not in worship, the image I blindly try to emulate. Learning from you taught me all that is important in my life and for my life.
You taught me the importance of family, and how to make a marriage work (compassion, commitment, communication, and compromise!).
You taught me to consider the source, and to let insults roll off my back.
You taught me to have confidence in myself, including my appearance and to value what I am, my worth.
You taught me to be thankful, and to realize that money isn't everything.
I am the very product of your body, and even with the miles between us we have learn to disregard, I know you care about my every emotion, pain, happiness, love, hate and all else like no one else on the planet ever will. 

Every time we get on the phone I can close my eyes and see the smile brought on your face from hearing my voice. I can feel the peace you suddenly feel from listening to the tone of my voice. And while I realise what I bring into your life, I hope and pray that you know that what you bring into mine, days in days out, pale in comparison to what you have unselfishly given to me. Your love is palpable even at thousands and thousands miles away and this because of the kind of mother you are…

Mom, I respectfully, shamelessly, audaciously, unconditionally, lovingly praise and love you for the things you have done, the things you have said and the ones you didn’t have to say or do. But most of all, I praise you for teaching me to be a mother… a mother in your image and for that I am forever thankful.


Monday, May 6, 2013

It’s Been 14 Years… And The Sorrow won’t Let Me Forget….

I was sitting at my sister-friend’s table last night, laughing and talking about the silly things we usually talk about. During the conversation, I was trying to convince her daughter to post this beautiful essay she had done for her college application process on my blog as part of my “Wednesday Guest Post.” The conversation was turned into a monologue of me explaining my blog, the reasons why I started it, my favourite piece and then she proceeded to read it. My stomach was in a knot, knowing what she was reading… I kept a smile on my face but inside I was slowly collapsing. She finished reading it, looked at me, got up, walked across the table and gave me a big hug. As soon as she released me from the hug I start sobbing… she had just read Dance with My Father.”

Today - 5,110 days since the day - his passing is no longer one of the first things I remind myself of when I wake up, nor is it the last thing I think about before I fall asleep. But make absolutely no mistake, the thought of him always makes me melancholic, and the memories of him leave me yearning. I miss him…
Following my dad’s death, I told myself, “It will get easier over time,” because I needed to believe… I needed him to know that I would be okay. But I didn’t consider the days and weeks, when it’s just as painful as if he had just left us yesterday. I didn’t consider the “triggers” that would remind me of the loss of potential. I failed to factor in the accomplishments, the anniversaries, the birthdays (his, my mom’s, mine, my brothers’ and sisters’, his grandkids’), every major event, every single milestone in my life and my children’s lives that I know he would have been proud of… the jokes, the music he loved… those are the potential celebrations that I will never have with him and I mourn every time… I feel as though I’ve been cheated out of sharing life’s most precious moments with someone who would have truly appreciated them.

My pain is present, making the absence as present as if the time has stood still on May 6th, 1999. My mind doesn’t grasp the reality of the years that have passed between then and now. There are days when I feel like it was just yesterday that he died but looking at my son is the reminder of the lifetime that has passed since my father’s death. It’s like being in a parallel universe, or living in the movie Inception; you know the truth and you know the reality, yet still your brain tries tirelessly to convince you otherwise.
I have finally come to realize that death is something you just simply don’t get over. I mean, how can you? You accept – or come to terms with it - by learning to deal with it on your own time and on your own terms. My truth is that it hurts… not constantly, but the wound is there. I love my dad. Fourteen years later, I still hope for the miraculous day where I could give up all that I own, every single possession, and anything at all that I could trade in… I would give it up.  I would give it all up just to spend one full day with my dad, because I just miss him that much.

Not too long ago, while trying to help my kindred sister who had just lost her dad and was missing him, I sent her a message which was true then and is still my truth. I said:

“I miss my dad, I miss him terribly. I want him back so bad. I want to yell and scream at someone and demand that they bring him back to me - to us, right now! But there is no one to yell at. He can’t come back… There is less in this world with him gone.
You will learn to grieve over him in a way that’s appropriate for you. Some days you will miss him because of good memories, some days it will be sad because of the missing moments, some days the heartache of not seeing him will be heart-wrenching and some days you will feel the blessing of knowing he watches over you and your family. All this is to say that after 13 years down my road without my dad, I truly believe until the day you join him, you will miss him… and that’s okay.”

I was 28 when I lost my dad. I was just starting to build a life, a family of my own. I have come to terms that my life isn’t complete without all the shared accomplishments, the talks, the many pieces of advice I need to share and receive from my dad, and I will live with the constant yearning of his presence and the grief of his absence and that is okay…

May 6th, 1999


Sunday, May 5, 2013

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

“Take time to regroup, reflect, assess, on your past and present
Let your findings make you wish for a start over
Not for change
But to experience again all that made you
Motivate yourself to be present
Propel you, wiser, into your tomorrow”
~Rose Sanderson

 Things happen as they do for a reason. I don't believe in coincidences

You wouldn't be who you are NOW if you hadn't been through the experiences you have. You might not like or love the person you are now, along with your predicaments, but wishing to change the journey you’ve been through would take away the wisdom and experiences you’ve gained…and that’s a lot to give up on for an unpredictable do over.
You have to accept the consequences, relish on the joy you encounter and create, live fully the pain(s) and take personal responsibility for how you are.....

Here is a basic analogy to keep in mind...

Most people live in a "HOME", but they envy a house, a castle, or a mansion... the more they envy these houses, castles and mansions... the more they neglect their "HOME" and overlook the beauty of what they have created...
My final words... Don't be too hung up on how "perfect" everyone/everything else is in comparison to you... Because when you get too hung up on that, you begin to forget and neglect what you have that makes you lucky...


Thursday, May 2, 2013

I Only Hated It Until I Loved It… What a Trip Taught Me…

“Now, on this road trip, my mind seemed to uncrinkle, to breathe, to present to itself a cure for a disease it had not, until now, known it had.”
― Elizabeth Berg

Anybody that knows me knows that I hate driving (now flash to a random thought in my head: I just used the verb hate, which I don’t like using. As a matter a fact, it is forbidden from my kids mouths… I’ve always felt that when you use that word, it is because (like a child) you don’t know how to express your feelings… but truly, that is how I feel about itJ). I meant; I strongly dislike driving. I am a purpose/destination driver by all accounts. The physical action of driving for me is by absolute necessity only. Along with my disdain for all things behind the wheel, I can’t stand traffic (no surprise there). I can’t stomach people who drive as if they have all the time in the world and nowhere to go. I can’t stand drivers whose driving skills - or lack thereof - reflect the fact that they most likely got their driver’s licenses from a gumball machine for 25 cents… Now let’s not even talk about how foul my mouth gets when my aggravation level spikes while behind the wheel… I’d probably put a sailor to shame as I can swear in French and English simultaneously!

Let’s state the glaring, conspicuous fact; I love to be driven…
I immediately think of the movie, “Driving Ms. Daisy.” I love being the passenger in a car, and nothing is as soothing as the vibration from a car in motion. Parents worldwide know this to be an instant remedy for a crying child. It’s amazing how all the pain goes away once you strap them in that car-seat. Many of us adults know this to be a sure-fire way to fall asleep; as long as you’re not the one behind the wheel. Do that, and you’ll likely be asleep for much longer than planned!

When my kids were much younger, the hubby and I used to take frequent road trips to Michigan to visit family. Not only was it practical, when you compared the price of gas/tolls for the trip to plane tickets for 4 people, but it was very enjoyable. Because no matter what time of day or night we left, our rugrats would automatically fall asleep, allowing us ample time to have adult conversation, hold hands, soak in the scenery and listen quietly to music. With the years passing, things have changed… The kids started spending most of their time arguing over who took an extra breath of clear air when it wasn’t their turn. The hubby would become more and more grumpy after even a short ride (now imagine his mood after driving 12 hours to Detroit). This would cause him to rely more and more on me to do my share of the driving. As tensions mounted and what was once enjoyable became not so enjoyable, the clear solution for us was to simply limit the road trips to a minimum and plan ahead of time - if possible - flights.

Then last week happened… I had planned a long weekend off (just because) and we received the very sad news of someone passing in the family. The viewing and funeral were scheduled for Friday. I looked at hubby and said “Well, since I already have the time off on the schedule, why don’t we pack up the kids and all go?” I knew mom and dad would be happy to see their grandkids (it sure isn’t about us any longer L), along with the rest of the family. While the suggestion came naturally, logistics needed to be on point to avoid two cranky parents upon arrival at our destination. As long as everything was well managed and went according to plan, it would be okay. I didn’t want to speak about the unexpected things like delays and traffic jams as I didn’t want any negativity to cloud my positive outlook on the trip itself…
I spent Wednesday night packing, travelled to New York for the day on Thursday for a previous engagement, then got back to Boston at 11pm. Woke the hubby up from his nap, packed us up in the truck and off we were. There we were, at 12:30am, embarking upon our first family roadtrip in 2 years…
I was very tired but offered to start the first leg of the trip, to give the hubby a chance to rest a little more. But wait….. How could I have done this? What was I saying, me drive? I hate driving, remember? This can’t possibly be happening, what was I thinking?

As expected, 30 minutes into the drive, everyone in the car was asleep…
I turned off the car radio, switched on my play list on my iPad, set my earphones to maximum volume and let my mind go on its own trip…
As I drove, I observed the passing scenery all around me. The black sky covering me was very warm, the silence (regardless of the slow ballads coming through my earphones) was calming… I zoned out, or was it that I was in the zone? My mind thought more than it had in a very long time… I figured out issues I had difficulty solving. I came up with new goals I should try to attain. I assessed where I stood in the things I had started. I looked in the rearview mirror to the backseat and marveled at the little people the hubby and I had created (when they are not arguing), and the blessings that they bring to my life. I held on to the hubby’s hand and told him to go back to sleep when he began to worry about how long I had been driving. As unbelievable as it sounds, and as uncharacteristic of me, I enjoyed the act of driving! My mind truly roamed free…

I realized after driving for 9 hours, seeing the sun rise and the sky turn into a beautiful blue picture; that I love to drive… I love to drive when I have no distractions, can listen to my music selfishly and escape.
I loved it so much, that I decided that we should take a road trip to see our family every 3 months or so, at least until the kids still need 9 hours of sleep to function. I know I set myself up for the okie-doke but it was alright. I had successfully turned an absolute negative into something beautiful. If I used to think of driving as crappy, I took that crap, made it fertilizer and placed it in a garden so flowers could grow. I turned my lemons into lemonade… More than anything else, I grew a little on the inside. I think what we fail to do sometimes is look at the positive things that can come out of a situation we initially feel uncomfortable with. There can be beauty in the ugliest moments, as long as we are able to push past our fears and inhibitions, and look at it from a different perspective. Yes, I hated driving with a passion, but when it meant that I could be the one to transport my family safe and sound to where we needed to be in a time of trouble, I found out that I loved it. I got closer to that superwoman I have my sight on because I found the way to do and love this one thing among things I despise. This road trip made me a better person than I was yesterday...

And you? How do feel about road trips?


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

You Turned An Everyday Day into A Celebration… Thank You!

A week ago, I felt a little “unspecial” and “common” while thinking about my upcoming birthday. Meeting someone who shares the same birthday, same name and origin made me think…ummmm you are not that special after all! Hard reality check on the eve of your “day”.
This year’s birthday had no special significance. It was not a celebration of a new decade; it was just an additional notch, a continuation and blossoming of the fourth decade in my life. Appreciation for having the day, the moment, the opportunity, the privilege is a given however I didn’t feel it deserved any fanfare.  

But YOU decided it wasn’t so…

In the Sanderson’s household we have the “great” habit of making sure we gather as a family and “sing” our exclusive rendition of The Happy Birthday Song, acapella, to all of our love ones on their birthdays. Please note that the word “great” and the word “sing” are both in quotation as there are great discrepancies in their meaning depending if you are the recipient or the giver!
In the wee hours of the 30th, I got woken up with a kiss on my forehead and a soft happy birthday baby. I closed my eyes and remained motionless. About 15 min later, my babygirl spread herself on top of me, hugged me and said happy birthday mommy and left. Commotion in the kitchen, little legs, long legs running around getting ready for a school day, while dad oversaw  the morning to do list. I laid quiet waiting on my boy…he couldn’t have forgotten my day, even if it was just another day…
And then he came in my room, singing our birthday song in his high pitched voice, followed by his sister and the hubby… And as impromptu as it started, it ended. In that moment, they had managed to make a “just another day” a very special one.

I like to think that while we should be appreciative for who and what surrounds us, we also shouldn't be so reliant on others and things to fill our lives and shape our days. We should learn to love, trust, and be happy with ourselves.

I live my life everyday thus I "celebrate" every day. I am being greeted everyday by the sunrise and by the smiles of love ones and strangers. I am being gifted everyday with life and chances. Another year older and I realize the celebration should be daily.
However, the fact that you (my family, my friends, my blogger followers) took the time to show me love thru the day made me realize that sometimes, you can’t be in control of everything; you can’t control the impact that your entourage will have on you. Yesterday, you all turned an “everyday” day into a “fantabulous” day!

Every year my birthday gets me thinking about the past year of life, what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve experienced and all I should be grateful for. It has been a tremendous year of growth for me, spiritually and as a person. And while I ponder on what I want the next year to be like, I need to make sure I acknowledge each and every single one of you for the love, support and place you hold in my life.
Thank you to those who've motivated me and pushed me to greater heights. Thank you ALL for being a part of my life. Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes… It means a lot to me. Thank YOU.

It’s a time for a lot of reflection and celebration.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
~Dr. Seuss

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