Category Archives: Love

The Power of Words

Hi everyone,

I am writing today with a heavy weight on my heart.  It seems that with texting, email, social media…that people have lost the sense of how powerful words are.  People feel free to say whatever they want without any consequences.  Many people don’t see or feel the impact of what they say, because of that harsh words are spoken easily.

I am reminded of a statement I read somewhere, “Hurt people, hurt people.”  Meaning that when we are hurt or afraid we do one of two things hide or attack.  It’s human nature…fight or flight.  Bullies learn to hurt others, because they live in an environment where they are being hurt or they are taught to hurt others.  Verbal abuse can be just as, if not more, harmful than physical abuse.  your body heals, but words get in your head and are stored there.

For me, a negative comment can stick with me longer than a positive one.  Those words feel heavier.  They take a greater toll on me.  I am so practiced at self-criticism that anything negative goes straight in to the armory.    However, I have also felt the power of a kind word or a compliment.  It can turn my entire day around.  The fulfillment I get from being kind to others fills my soul like nothing else can.

Why do I bring this up?  I had the misfortune of watching the impact of a vicious verbal attack on a number of women.  No one deserves such an attack and the scars the words leave.  One woman, who is an amazing, sassy and wonderful person has been deeply hurt by this attack.  The people involved show no remorse for their actions.  They are actually proud of what they have done.  My opinion of two of these people is permanently damaged.  The disappointment is so deep nothing can turn it around.   As for the other, the viking inside me wants to destroy him!!  I have to remember that only a person who is seriously damaged could inflict such pain without remorse.

I know there is nothing I can say or do to fix what has been done.  I will say that karma is a bitch!  I have watched her work and there is some slow painful payback in this man’s future.  I don’t need to see it.  I know that karma’s payback is always far worse than anything I could come up with on my own.

As powerful as words are silence is even more powerful.

Peace out!

Brenda the Brave

The Shift – Being an Ombudsman

Hey!

I admit it…I have been, sort of, off the grid for a few months.  Philanthropy is a passion of mine and I found a niche that has changed my life.  I have been getting certified to be an Ombudsman for Long-Term Care in Tarrant County.

Federal law requires that each state have an ombudsman program to advocate for the residents of long-term care facilities.  These include licensed nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and assisted living communities.  This program is designed to ensure that the residents rights are honored and they are treated with dignity and respect.

I had this image of what nursing homes were and what it would be like to serve the residents.  Anyone who has someone they love living in a nursing home due to some medical condition knows that this is something people in general don’t consider until they have no other option.

These communities have people of all ages.  An accident can happen to anyone at anytime.  Lives are changed in a second.  When it does happen it is very difficult to manage your feelings, that of the injured and the family, and sort through everything that is suddenly now on your plate.  Insurance, finances,  doctors, time….the list goes on and on.  As the resident or patient, you can feel like you have lost all control and all your rights as a person.  Overwhelmed is the only word I can come up with when I imagine how it would feel to be in their shoes.

During the process of training, and shadowing my supervising ombudsman there has been a shift in my mindset…my soul.  I have to stay objective, which is very hard since I am a nurturing person.  I have come to understand the importance of objectivity, while caring for each of these people.  It is a fine line I must walk, but it is so worth it.

When I am there and talking to these people, helping them or just chatting, they know that their lives matter.  Someone is watching and they are important.

All the day-to-day BS that was irritating me even a couple of weeks ago, now doesn’t phase me.  In the scheme of things it really is unimportant.  I was not excepting this kind of shift to happen.  There is a calmness that has taken over that allows me the objectivity to not only help others, but help myself.

It is a divine gift I have been given.

Review of Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

I chose to read this book when I saw Brene’ Brown had endorsed it.  I listen to books on Audible pretty often, so I can multi-task.  My favorites are the ones that are autobiographical narrated by the author.  I can feel the emotions as they talk and it makes it that much better.  Glennon narrated her memoir and it was so moving and raw.

I have had to face various types of numbing and addiction in my life so I can relate to all of her emotions behind the addictions.  She has an amazing way of conveying the insanity inside and how we don’t realize that it is insane when we are in it.

There are phrases that she used that touched me.

She commented on how a woman at a church was giving out grace like it was a free-for-all.  She realized a shift when the words resonated with her…”GRACE IS FREE FOR ALL!!”

I love the feeling of that, we all deserve grace.  No matter the path we have taken, God gives us his Grace without charge.  It’s FREE for ALL!

“Numbing keeps us from learning our lessons.”

One thing I learned in AA is that pain always comes before peace.  I was on a retreat earlier this year and one of the lessons was that we needed to accept pain.  We can’t avoid it.  Numbing only delays it.  It is waiting for us to acknowledge it.  The only way passed it is through it.

“Pain is a place brave people visit.”

That really hit home, because it does take courage to face the pain life deals us, real or imaginary.  I say that because we often times create our own pain inside our heads.  The pain is real, but the situation is our own perception of reality.  Once we know that, then we can change our perception and start the healing process.

“Grief is proof of love.”

Sometimes I question whether I am capable of love.  I have spent so much time numbing and afraid that I wonder what love actually feels like.  I have questioned if I ever loved.  Glennon talks about having these same questions and feelings.

I have grieved the loss of relationships, friendships, death and most recently the grieving the loss of family ties that I am not sure were ever there.  I don’t know, in some cases, if there was love from the other person, but I know I loved.

I guess maybe now it is learning how to be loved.  How to let people love me.

This is such a powerful book!  I highly recommend it!!

Before The show To The Afterglow…

I just spent the last 7 days in Fort Lauderdale at the Matthew Hussey Retreat and they OVER DELIVERED!!  These last 7 days have been the 7 best days of my life!  HANDS DOWN!  I am struggling with the words to adequately describe my experience.

I guess I will start by explaining a few things about myself, so you can understand how just doing the event is outside of my comfort zone.

  1. I have never indulged myself with a vacation on this scale ever!  My trips are either for work, family, or on the cheap.  This was very selfish and indulgent and you know what….I FUCKING DESERVE IT!!
  2. Since I have been working in accounting I have NEVER taken a vacation in the middle of month-end close.  I only did things that fell in the middle two weeks of the month.  This retreat was all during that time.  When I asked for the time off I went in armed with how I was going to get my month-end duties done and noone would be effected.  I have the best boss…she said YES!!
  3. I have spent most of my life avoiding still pictures never mind video taping.  They asked for volunteers to be video interviewed throughout the retreat to tell about their experiences.  I volunteered and followed through with it.  I am so grateful that I did!
  4. I have not had to share my sleeping space for more than a night here or there.  I am not great with this, but I asked to have a roommate for the retreat.  My roommate was amazing and I have a new forever friend.
  5. I am an extroverted-Introvert, which means that I enjoy being around people and being social, but I have to be alone to energize before and after.  When I have had enough socialization I need to go be alone for a while.  This is a full immersion program and there are about 200 people that are around each other a majority of the time, while being vulnerable.  It was totally worth it!

Here is the link about the retreat I just finished:  Matthew Hussey Retreat

Let me just say one thing here.  I shared this link with my Sister-In-Law and she was put off by the fact that the website is through “Get The Guy”  This is NOT a retreat on how to date or find a guy!!  Matthew just happens to be able to help women understand men on a different level.  This retreat is about YOU, ONLY YOU!!  Whatever it is you are struggling with in life the process used for this retreat will give you the tools to blast through anything that is holding you back.   For me it was ME holding me back!

Does it work?! HELL YES!!

I came on this retreat fully open to taking risks and ready to accept change on an internal and fundamental level.  I learned a great deal about the roles I play, when I  worked the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  This process was a great break through in seeing how I  behave, better than any therapy session I have every had.   I was gifted with an amazing AA group where feeling safe was paramount.  I had to get used to having female friends and being hugged against my will.  🙂  I have many posts on here that talk about various stages in my growth since 2009.

My personal cast of characters: victim, viking, martyr, judge and jury. I have gotten used to recognizing when these characters pop up, pausing and asking why?  I have a great boss who can help me change my perspective if one of my negative buttons has been pushed.  My viking is always ready to go.

One thing that I have never been able to do is forgive myself and see myself through loving and accepting eyes.  I am always judging the outside and comparing it to others.  I always come up short.  I look back at pictures of when I was 18 – 24 and I really should have had nothing to be unhappy about, but I hated myself and thought I was fat.

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My running partner growing up
My running partner growing up

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This is how I picture myself in my head so when I look in the mirror now it is a struggle between history and reality.  Opening my heart to love myself has been impossible, until now.

The team on this retreat and the women at the retreat are absolutely amazing.  The environment is a safe environment.  I chipped my front tooth on day 0.  Any other time it would have ruined my experience, but somehow I was able to forget about it and get the most out of the retreat.  I just followed through on the video interviews regardless.  I took pictures with various girls on the retreat and with Matthew, way outside my comfort zone.  I am trying very hard not to judge or compare myself.  It is all easier today to do this for myself.

Each day builds on the one before and by the end you have all the tools you need to set goals and create a strategy, as well as instill behaviors to attain those goals.  We identify our obstacles, mine being ME, and address how to overcome those obstacles.  I am being very careful here in describing the process because it is truly unique and extremely effective.  If you want to experience a life changing adventure you have to go on the retreat…Matthew Hussey Retreat.

My experience on this retreat was that I got exactly what a came for and more!!  I finally made that journey from knowing what a unique and amazing woman I am to feeling it.  There are a few processes that we go through that breakdown the walls I put up to protect myself.  I was not only keeping you from hurting me but I was not allowing myself in to love or potentially hurt myself.  I am very practiced at verbally and physically abusing myself.   (i.E.:  harsh words, but all so through anorexia,  bulimia, bingeing or physically hitting myself) I recognized recently that I actually gave up completely on my physical appearance.   We went through 3 processes in the 5 days that blasted down these walls.  These behaviors will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!!  When the urge comes to self judge these images come up:

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I AM FUCKING ADORABLE!!  I still am and I just have not allowed myself to feel that way  or see myself that way.  It is going to take work to keep this mindset, but I will, I WILL AT ALL COST!!

I have a huge resource with the other women from the retreat for accountability.  I was called up on stage the first day of the retreat and overcame my fear of speaking in front of strangers.  When that barrier was broken the rest was all down hill.  It took a bit to get used to everyone knowing me and I didn’t know all of them.  I have never felt so much love at one time as when these women cheered for me while I was on stage.

By the end of day 2 I felt like, if you don’t like me I don’t care!  I was now on my side!  I now felt the love for myself that I never allowed before.  Little did I know that it was only going to be come more powerful by the end of day 5.

There aren’t enough words to describe how grateful I am to everyone on the team!  The men on the team have demonstrated the standard for any man that I will allow in my life.  I would rather be amazing and single (I am not alone!) than in a relationship with a man who does not meet MY standards.

There was a wall around my heart, now there is a door, but you have to have the key gentlemen, and I do mean gentleman.

I have only one last thing to share:  In my experience we all have different problems, events that cause us pain.  We are all at different stages, have different experiences that we are trying to over come.  It’s not for us to compare or judge another’s pain or experience it is for us to look inside ourselves and find a place of peace.  This retreat works because no matter where you are in this process, if you are open to it, the process will change your life for the better.

Thank you Matthew for being the “Man in the Arena” and pulling this team of amazing people together to change my life!!  I won’t let you down.

LOOK OUT WORLD HERE I COME!!

Love you all!

Brenda the Brave

 

 

 

 

SPARK JOY: BEFORE & AFTER

I finally made it and this journey was life changing as promised.  Many of my friends laugh when I talked about the process.  Others said that they want to do this but with a family and house it is a huge undertaking.  I will say it is a lot of work.  You really have to be committed to the process and willing to invest in YOURSELF.

I started this because when I listened to Marie Kondo’s book on Audible she spoke about the emotional and behavior changes that happen as a result of going through this process.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure that anything would change behaviorally for me.  My habits are deeply ingrained in my life.

I always hated folding clothes and rarely put them away partly due to being lazy, but I found partly due to the fact that the way I stored them I could not see what I had.  Not only do I like the folding process that Marie Kondo teaches, but I love the fact that I can see what I have at a glance and my drawers and closet are beautiful too!  Also, during this process I found myself caring more about how a care for my clothes and how I look in them.  I started to love myself more!

folded clothes

Books and papers really do hold the energy of the words in them.  I only have uplifting books in my home now.  I had all my paperwork except for current bills.  I did not realize the weighed down I was having all of it taking up space.  I also burned all of my old journals and items that carried negative energy related to past events and relationships.  I can’t describe what a relief that was to have that energy out of my life.  It was all holding me back.

Here are some before and after pictures:

closet left before after closet right before after Pantry Before-After

kitchen before 2kitchen before

Kitchen after 1 kitchen after 2 kitchen after 3

Bath before after bath before after2 laundry before after

Here is a picture of my donations:

donations

The feeling I get when I walk into my home now is calm & happiness.

I actually want to keep it clean and have been putting things away on a daily basis.  Honestly, it felt a little weird because I have never lived in a space that truly made me happy.  There was always that…I need to, or I have to…I don’t have that voice nagging me today.  My self-esteem got a boost too!

Honestly, if I can do this I can do anything!!

This is one of the best things I have ever done for myself!!

Spark Joy: My Emotional Experience

This experience of clearing my home of anything that does not spark joy has been surprising.  I knew that I would feel better have a more clutter free home, who wouldn’t.  The surprise was the emotional journey I went on through this process.  Konmari speaks of this in her book, but I really didn’t believe it until I went through the process.

This was an emotional cleansing and yet another angle to look at my life as it is.  What is holding me back? Am I happy? What will do I want my life to be?  I must create the life I want!!

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In October 2015 I felt like I was at a crossroads.  I have walked through my past, allowed myself to feel everything I had stuffed away and I found the other side.  It’s a strange feeling when all that stuff has been a part me for all these years, it was like losing an old friend.  There is a grieving process.  When I was through and back in the light I knew I had to move forward into unfamiliar territory.  I knew I was going to need help with this process.

I found Matthew Hussey through an interview he did on the radio one morning.  I got his book “Get The Guy” on audible and listened to him and watched his videos.  I was moved to find out more about his organization.  I found his 5.5 day retreat.  THAT’S IT!! I knew I wanted to do his retreat.  I set up an interview and I was one of the lucky 100 women approved to attend his retreat in May 2016.  They have a team that has been working with me up to the time of the retreat and they will continue after the retreat as well.  I leave for the retreat on May 29th – IN 8 DAYS!!

I decided in the months prior to the retreat to get things in my home in order before I leave so there are no excuses when I get back.   I was looking for books with ideas on how to boost morale at work when I found Marie Kondo’s book “Spark Joy”.  I thought, hell ya this is perfect!!  I ordered it on Audible and listened to it while I worked.  This has been a 2-3 month process to get through this decluttering.  I only have the kitchen left and it will be done today.  I want to tell you about everything up to now and the emotional decluttering I did during this process.

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Over my life I have managed to accumulate tons of baggage that has taken up space in my head and heart.  When I first started loading it I could pull without much effort and it grew gradually but so did my strength or tolerance.  I continued down paths where i just added to this cart and it just became normal.  In the past 5 years I have opened and gone through all the baggage on my cart and my tolerance for carrying it today is nil.  I realized during this Spark Joy process that this baggage is now pulling me backward.  I decided as part of my emotional decluttering to thank all these things for teaching me the lessons I needed to learn and serving their purpose, but now I am saying good-bye forever.

goodbye burning cleansing

This process really did set me free, but my friend who allowed me to use her fireplace paid a price for this.  During the process of burning the journals, letters, pictures, from years of therapy, relationships that just sucked the life out of me, the energy in those things were released and there was palpable tension in the house afterwards.  My friend sent me the last picture.  Her husband cleaned out the fireplace and they saged the house to remove any lingering negative energy.  I will say once the kitchen is done and the donations have been picked up by Salvation Army I am saging my apartment for good measure.

Also, my creativity level has increased and I have redone a number of pieces of furniture to tie my mismatched pieces together.

dresser end table outdoor table small dresser vanity

My book folding projects completed:

angel - Copy - Copy babyfeet - Copy - Copy big flower - Copy - Copy birdcage - Copy flower - Copy heart with keyhole - Copy music note and hearts - Copy

Those are just a few that I did during this time.  I have moved things around and I have organized making my apartment feel more like MY HOME than just a place to live.

I do feel so much happiness when I walk in and see only things I love and that give me joy around me.  I will say it is not helping get out more, I love being at home so much now.

May 25th, I will be posting the before and after transformation post.  All the stuff that is going will be gone and it will be easier to see the ultimate final outcome of this Konmari marathon.

Please tell me your thoughts on this process or ask any questions you might have about the Konmari process or the retreat or just my story in general.  Tell me your transformation story.

Love you all and I’ll talk to you soon!

 

A Simple Fall

Good morning,

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. This made me think of my mom and how a simple fall almost killed her.

This week in 2009 I was working for the newspaper and we were working on quarter end close when my cell phone rang.  It was my brother, as soon as I saw his name my heart sank,  I knew something was very wrong.  It is 6 am in California and  my brothers don’t just call to chat.

I hear him say, “Mom is at the hospital and having brain surgery right now.”  I immediately started crying and he handed the phone to his wife, Carol.  She got my attention and calmed me down.  My mom was 75 and had had 2 strokes by this time in her life.   She relayed the details as she knew them.

My mom was an accountant for her church and when she was walking down a walkway she tripped and fell on her face.  Her hands didn’t make it out to catch her and she hit face first.  Being as stubborn as she is she didn’t want to go to the hospital, but her face and teeth were so badly damaged she finally agreed to go.  She was going to need stitches and dental surgery.  While she was there they did a CT scan and found that she  had a subdural hematoma and they needed to do emergency surgery.

My boss at the paper let me take the week off and a friend used his miles to fly me to California to be with my mom.  She is one tough lady and she does not like to be unable to take care of herself.  The CCU nurses had their hands full with this one.  She was sick of people asking how she felt and does she need anything.  I generally deal with this kind of stuff with humor.  My brothers were having a tough time with all of this, I was too, but I guess I never actually saw them this worried.  Carol and I took our turn in visiting mom and when we came in she smiled.  I didn’t realize that at this point the incision was exposed and it looked like a zipper in a big C around her head.   Carol and I said together that had we known that the staples were visible we would have brought refrigerator magnets.  My mom and the nurses started laughing.  We all needed a light moment.

Scripture Flower
Scripture Flower

She recovered remarkably from this surgery, but if she hadn’t gone to the hospital and had the CT Scan she would have died.  Most people don’t want to go to the hospital, but when you hit your head or have been in an accident where your head was whipped around in some way it is wise to get it checked out.

Webmd on subdural hematomas

Symptoms of subdural hematoma can include:

I have found that especially now, we need to educate ourselves and take part in our medical treatment.

Be safe!

Tell me what you think.

Brenda the Brave

 

My Dream House – Oh how it stirred my soul!!

Hey,

I love the spring, except for the hail storms we are getting here in Texas.  I posted about my Spark Joy-My Dream House.  Ever since I wrote this down I really want it!!  My desire to live in a space that gives me that feel of unity, color, creativity and comfort that feels like you just got a BIG HUG, has movitated me to finish my Spark Joy Marathon Tidying this weekend.  I purchased chaulk based paint and shelf liner paper to unify and spice up my current living space.

I have all my before pictures so as I complete each step, I will take after pictures and post them for all to see the transformation.

I want to hear from YOU!  What is you dream living space/life style?  Do you already have it? If not, sky’s the limit what would your space and place look like? where would you live?

You’d be amazed how much it stirs your soul to write about something that gives you joy!!

Tell me your story..

Brenda the Brave

Spark Joy – My Dream House

I spent last night trying to find pictures of what I want my house to look like and where it would be located.  Nothing totally fit, it was either too big, too small, too bland, too out there, so t…

Source: Spark Joy – My Dream House

Spark Joy – My Dream House

I spent last night trying to find pictures of what I want my house to look like and where it would be located.  Nothing totally fit, it was either too big, too small, too bland, too out there, so this morning my journaling session was describing my perfect home.writing-prompts7

It is located in the mountains, overlooking a pristine, crystal clear lake, with a huge deck that spans the width of the house  and expands in like a T in the center of the house.  The are bi fold french doors that open up to the living room and french doors to the art room on one side and the master bedroom on the other

The deck and floors are all dark wood, except the bathrooms and the art room.  The  middle of the house is all open concept with the state of the art kitchen near the entrance and a large island facing the view, the dinning table which is a handmade wood and mosaic with colorful fabric chairs, then the living space that is set up in a giant square so no matter what you want to do you are comfortable and have the view you want.  All the rooms have sliding barn style doors with a saying written on them, except the guest bathroom.

On the east side of the house is the master bedroom, bath, closet and laundry (connected to the closet), the walls in the open living space on this side has built-in storage and shelving. The door to the master is red and says “This room is filled with peace and love”, the door between the master and the bathroom closet area is a rich blue barn door, which says “There is beauty in all we see” the master bed and bath are a gentle sky blue on the walls with white trim and molding.  The blue has a gray hue so it serves as a neutral.  The artwork and accents in my bedroom are all colors and varieties, everything makes be smile.  I have a huge bed and a comfy sitting area that opens to the deck, art pieces and sculptures throughout the room.  The dresser stores fresh linens and blankets.  The bath has pops of color with the towels and flowers and art.  The closet is huge and painted a rich purple with a large multicolored ottoman and a slouchy chair in the center.   Two walls are all built-ins for clothes, shoes and anything else clothes related.  A pocket door opens to the laundry so there is no transporting of clothes around the house, only towels and sheets as needed.  Then there is a wall of shelves that contain memory boxes, journals, books, gifts, only the happy memories are kept and cherished in this special place. and in the dead center of the room is a chandelier, and covering the floor is a big fluffy white rug.  My own little power spot and a place to escape to when I need alone time.

On the west side of the house from entrance to deck is the guest room, bathroom, which connects to the guest room and the art room, and at the back the art room, which opens up to the deck and also has a comfy sitting area with a table for having coffee and looking out at the view.  The art room door is purple and says “Creativity makes my soul sing!!” and the guest room door is peacock blue and says “All who stay here are loved and bless this house.”  The art room has built-in for tons of storage, a giant wood work table and an easel, comfy stools.  The storage contains every conceivable supply you would need to make your hearts desire.  The guest room is a pale yellow with art work and plenty of storage in the closet and a basket of candles, towels, toiletries and a little note to greet them.

The deck has lantern lighting and metal fire pit, lots of seating and a table and chairs where the center has candles inset and surrounded by sea glass.  Outside the master on the deck is a water fountain and more seating. and my pets have free reign over the home, so dog or cat, expect some kind of fur ball to give you love while you are here.

Come in, sit down, what can I get you?