Trying to do it all

I’m currently sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee, candles burning, and all the windows and patio door open to let in the crisp fall air. It’s a perfect morning. I’m making a list of all of the things I need to get done today, like laundry and grocery shopping and cleaning the apartment, and thinking of ideas for lessons/better seating arrangements in my classes. I am also thinking of how I would really love to just sit here all day and hang out with the dogs and put everything off until next weekend. I recently had a chat with a friend at school about trying to do it all in life. I guess I could make this post short and sweet and just say, “don’t,” but I think we all know me a little better than that.

I’m not sure why, as humans, we feel like we have to go, go, go, until we get ourselves into a corner that we can’t get out of. We have so much trouble admitting that we might not be able to handle everything, or that we may need a hand with something that we’ve committed to. “Too much on my plate,” “Burning the candle at both ends…” We sprinkle around these cliches like confetti, peppering our conversations with superficial statements to sweep under the rug the hideous reality that we are secretly flailing around and gasping for air. We act like we have it all together and cover up our stress with a smile and a winning, can-do attitude, when really if someone would just ask us what’s really going on, we might be able to say that we’re only human, and we can only take so much before we drop something or stop taking care of ourselves.

Here’s something I think we all need to hear:  Let something go. Feel good about taking something off of your clichéd plate. Here’s permission to fail. To say yes to too many things and then realize you may have taken on too much. Permission to say out loud (or at least to admit to yourself with zero shame) that you need help, or a break, or some time for yourself. We are only human, after all.

The more we try to fake happiness and act like we have all of our ducks in a row, the more power we give to the idea that we have to be successful and happy at all times. To admit that life is tough, that we can’t be good at everything or have everything together all of the time, that is where the power lies and where we can share a human trait together. No one’s life is as perfect as their social media newsfeed; we have to be empowered to admit defeat, to ask for advice or help, and to proudly face the fact that we are not perfect.

For someone who is about as Type A as it gets, I have a really hard time with saying no. I’m a control freak, so I find myself saying yes to so many things because I can’t stand to think that they wouldn’t be done “the right way.” In addition, I have a hard time saying no to things because I have a terrible fear of letting anyone downBut at some point along the way I’ve had to admit that it’s better for me to preserve some of myself than to drive myself into the dirt by trying to please everyone else or make everything perfect.

Sometimes, we need the reminder that we’re all in this together. It’s not a competition of who has a better job, a cleaner house, or a fatter bank account. This isn’t about the latest clothes, or the newest line of makeup. It’s life. It’s messy and complicated and we barely make it – but we do make it, and it’s so much easier if we do it together and stop competing with each other and comparing ourselves to everyone else.

I hope everyone takes some time this week to just focus on you. Take a walk, take a bath, do some yoga, read a book, whatever it is that helps you decompress. Soon it’ll be the holidays, travel, more to-do lists, and stress, whether good or bad. Take some time in advance for some self-care, and maybe practice admitting to yourself that you don’t need to do it all.

Emily // NPC Bikini Competition

my beautiful, strong, sassy sister

My sister Emily has been working so hard for the last few months to get ready for her first ever fitness competition this weekend. My mom and I (and a bunch of her friends + some other family members) are heading to Charleston, SC to watch her compete! We have t-shirts and the whole crew will be there to cheer her on (I’ve got peanut butter and Double Stuf Oreos for backstage after the show!).

I know it’s not everyone’s thing, but I think what people miss is that this is a fitness competition. It’s not a bikini contest like you might be thinking; these women give their all and challenge themselves immensely, seeing what they are capable of and finding out they can do whatever they put their minds to. My sister and I live together, so I’ve seen firsthand how much she has pushed herself, how hard she has worked, how tired she has been at times, and how strong she has been to keep sight of her goals and not falter – not even once. I always think it’s important to show up for people, so of course I’ll be there! Then I’ll jet back Sunday because Monday is THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

Emily recently did a fitness shoot with Whitney and the pictures are amazing! I know my sister will always look back on this time proudly no matter what the outcome is of her show, and I will, too – she is already a winner to me! I can’t wait to see her strut her stuff and show off all her hard work in her fancy and sparkly mermaid bikini that she designed herself! Nails done, hair done, spray tan on full force, and a full face of makeup for the stage. I’m sure it will be a crazy experience for me, too, because I’ve never been to a show before! I’ll recap it sometime after the show! Follow along on social media to see some sneak peeks as it all unfolds this weekend! Good luck, Em!!! I am so proud of you!

go get ’em, girl!!!

Photos – huge surprise – by Whitney at J Parker Photography

Hustlin’

working at the mill, one of my new favorite places!

Yesterday was officially day one of teacher work days. A day full of meetings and emails with questions that I don’t know the answer to yet, and a classroom that still needs lots of unpacking, organizing, and decorating. I did get to borrow another teacher’s solar eclipse glasses and watch everything outside with Andrew and some other teacher friends, so that was an exciting part of the day!

I feel lucky in that I almost feel like I get two new starts to every year – school starts up in August, which comes with a whole set of “new,” and then again in January I get to experience the real new year with everyone else. It should really be no surprise to you by now that I have a lot of goals and love to run myself into the ground stay busy all the time 🙂 I mentioned that I am taking on some new roles at school this year, but in addition to that, my best friend is getting married in April, I’m staying on one night a week at the pub, I have the blog, and I’m making a promise to myself to commit to a very regular workout routine and really focus on my Weight Watchers tracking. I just need that physical exercise as an outlet for the stress in life! Plus, I’m going to be THIRTY in September and I need to feel thirty, flirty, & thriving!

Every new school year, I set new goals for myself, and this year isn’t any different. I feel like I have so many fun and important things that I want to focus on, and I love the challenge of working hard for something that I can be proud of. Another BIG goal I am setting for myself is to make some really serious financial changes. Pay off my car, some of my debt, save more each month, and track expenses more carefully. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t be something I needed to worry about, but the world isn’t perfect yet! Money is a huge source of stress for me because I don’t care much about it, but you need it, and life is expensive, but you can’t live lavishly if you don’t have a lot of money, and I don’t make a lot but I love what I do, but you have to live a little, and you want to do nice things for people, but you can’t if you don’t budget your money……see what I mean?! So I have to care about it! My new planner has a monthly bill and budget tracker at the end of each month, so I’m going to use it diligently and use my extra money from my weekly shift at the pub to help supplement my teacher salary.

Being an adult is hard, y’all. I know I’m not the first to say it, but MAN.

So anyway, I’ve got some big goals and dreams and things to work toward this year, on top of my regular job and my part-time job. I am so excited to kick off another school year and to get back in a regular groove! Cheers to the year, and to all of my fellow goal-setters and ass-kickers out there (sorry Mom!).

what i’m using to keep track of all my hustlin’ this year, from karma paper company!

So many people who are close to me have big, busy upcoming events – babies, weddings, new jobs, business growth, school, personal goals…I love getting to support all the people I love in their celebrations and achieving their goals! Comment and let me know what plans and goals you’re working on! And look for a post soon on how I try to keep it all together with so many things going on all the time. A colleague asked me for a mental health post, so it’s coming soon to a blog near you 🙂

Classic with a twist // MAXOUThappy

my first-ever blog photoshoot with whitney 🙂

When I started MAXOUThappy, I really wanted to do it the right way. I researched for hours, stalked favorite blogs, read articles about how to blog, how to design, what hosting site to use, etc. All the behind the scenes stuff. I worked for Kate Bryan at thesmallthingsblog last summer as an intern, which was so cool, and I learned a lot about blogging. I took a Skillpop class about blogging basics with Molly Stillman and hope to take another one from her as soon as it’s offered.

I recently met up with Whitney, and we were discussing ideas and thoughts for her photography business and for MAXOUThappy. I mentioned that I never really know what to say when people ask me the inevitable question:  “So what’s your blog about?” I usually just say it’s a lifestyle blog, so it’s a little bit of everything…but I wanted to have a more focused description. I’ve mentioned my “classic with a twist” style before; but what is MAXOUThappy really about?! A fair question. Whitney helped me really narrow my focus into an idea that makes the most sense to me.

We both went to Meredith College and majored in Family and Consumer Sciences. We met on freshman move-in day and have been partners in crime ever since. I always wanted to teach high school, but I started out as an English major. I ended up switching after my sophomore year and Whitney did, too. Family and Consumer Sciences is what used to be called Home Economics, or “Home Ec.” I’ve caught a lot of flack over the years for going to Meredith, which by the way is a fantastic school, and for changing my major, which by the way is a fantastic major that is little-known and not as widely supported as it should be. A lot of people love to joke about getting your M-R-S degree at Meredith, or that my major is to help me be a better housewife some day. I’d love to tell all those people where they can put their opinions, but instead, I’d really rather help people get it. Family and Consumer Sciences is based on the idea that everything begins in the home and spreads out to the community and beyond. What we can solidify in the home/family and what we can improve on with an individual directly affects the outreach and impact of that individual. We are not people in a vacuum. We are all interconnected and how we live our lives and help others (or not) affects and sparks change in the world. My major is not about cooking and cleaning to be someone’s home maker, although there’s nothing wrong with that job, either. Family and Consumer Sciences is about creating change, addressing global issues, and helping others.

Being able to teach about Parenting and Child Development, Human Services, Foods and Nutrition, Food Science, Interiors, Personal Finance, and Textiles/Apparel gives me such a wide range of topics to be able to help mold the teenagers in my classroom, and hopefully it spreads out beyond them. I realized that the things I write about on the blog tend to trace their way back to one of these areas, and figuring that out really gave me a sense of pride for all the hours I have spent defending and supporting my college major.

So that, along with my “classic with a twist” take on life, is what brings me back here to the blog drawing board week after week…to say “a little bit of everything,” but with this lens of helping others, improving life, talking about real issues from time to time, and throwing in some happy fluff in-between the real talk. It always seems a little silly to think that a post I wrote about lipstick or a new pair of shoes I got is going to help someone, but I guess the idea is just to spread a little joy around, because life has enough blah already. I am a generally happy person and I work on maximizing that happiness to enjoy the life I’ve been given. It’s not realistic to say I’m always happy or that life doesn’t get me down; if you’ve been reading for a while, you know that isn’t true. But I am an optimist and I love to write; I always have. I used to write chapter books as a child, I’ve started a million novels, I wrote my eBook last year, and I have this blog. I’m so interested in words, the meaning of them, and how they can go together in a million different combinations to evoke different feelings. A nerd? Sure. But I’m happy with that. If I can help get anything positive across to anyone, in any small way, I feel so accomplished. When people come out of the woodworks to tell me they read my blog or enjoy it, it truly makes my day. So, happy reading! Now you know what MAXOUThappy is all about. 🙂

a magnet reminder on my fridge 🙂

Recipes and Workouts

This week I’m focusing on some healthy recipes and butt-busting workouts. Originally, this blog was going to be mostly fitness and health related…but then things in my life changed drastically and my life just kind of took a different direction. I used to be a bit of a gym rat, which is hard to believe maybe – but I was! When I started practicing yoga a ton, I pretty much completely stopped going to the gym. I love lifting weights and doing all kinds of different training, so I’ve really missed that part of my life. I recently joined Weight Watchers, which has always worked well for me, and I always notice that when I’m eating better, my motivation to work out spikes, too. It all goes hand in hand – this is not new information. So I’m writing it in my planner and speaking it into existence! I really need to be more active again and be a little more proactive on my food planning.

Here are some recipes I’m using this week for my meals:

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image sources linked below

Whole Wheat Spaghetti Carbonara – This recipe is SO easy. I made this a few weeks ago when I first re-joined Weight Watchers, and it was a huge hit with both me and Andrew. I had leftovers for lunch the next day, too! Sometimes whole wheat pasta isn’t my favorite, but it’s really great in this recipe and there are only a few ingredients.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole – My sister sent me this recipe and I am excited to try it! It looks pretty simple, and for someone like me who LOVES Mexican food, I think it will be a great substitute! I just won’t be able to have any chips and queso 🙁

Zucchini Lasagna – I made this a long time ago and LOVED it. It takes some time and is a little bit of a labor of love, but if you’re craving something cheesy and delicious, this can’t be beat! And it’s friendly to your waistline, which is a huge perk. I’m so excited to have a meal to really look forward to that feels like a cheat meal, but isn’t!

Green Monster Smoothie – I love this blog because the recipes are all really delicious. And if you’re following Weight Watchers, all of the points are already calculated for you which is a HUGE plus. I love to do this for breakfast, but it would work as a snack, too!

For my workouts this week, I have planned 2 gym workouts, 2 yoga practices, and 1 or 2 walk/jogs with the doggies at the lake. I will probably write up my own gym workouts because that’s something I enjoy doing, but I have followed this blog for a long time and she has all kinds of amazing workouts that are all so different. Great recipes, too! I also have a bunch of different types of workouts pinned on my Sweatin’ Pinterest Board. It’ll be good to get to check all of my workouts off my planner this week! Along with the 17,000+ steps I get at the pub each shift, I’ll be burning lots of calories to earn a real cheat meal. Life is nothing without delicious food sprinkled in.

Wish me luck!

Reality check

photo by the talented samantha leonetti while we were on a yoga retreat in mexico last year

I recently hit a low point. That sounds so dramatic, but we all go through those from time to time, and I think it’s always best to be honest and unashamed of who you are. So there it is. I had a low point and I was worrying and stressed and everything felt like it was going to close in on me if I didn’t fix it immediately. But of course that’s not how life works. We can’t snap our fingers and fix everything. (Can we?!)

So anyway, I allowed myself to be upset and have a pity party for a day or two, but that’s generally my limit on feeling sorry for myself. I knew I had to make a plan to turn it around. I have always tried to be proactive about solving problems. I know some people have a hard time with that when they’re already feeling overwhelmed or down, but it’s the only way to dig yourself out of a rut. So I made my lists, stretched my brain, got advice from people I trust, and started putting my plan to action. I was taught my whole life that while we can’t control what life throws at us or what comes our way, we can control how we handle it and how we move on. My mom recently reminded me that we can’t keep looking back; we should only glance (quickly) to remind ourselves of what we’ve learned and why we aren’t there anymore.

Here’s a little reality check that surely you already know, but maybe, like me, you need a reminder of:  It doesn’t really matter what the struggle is about. Family issues, friend issues, money, weight, grief & loss, new life changes, jobs, etc. The truth is that everyone struggles. Yes, even the celebrities and fancy bloggers you follow on Instagram with their pink peonies tucked into their designer bags. Even them. We all post the best, most pristine versions of ourselves on social media. Generally only our happiest moments, our favorite things, make their way to the screen, as if to say, “Look at me go! I’m really killing it. Life is good for me, and low points are for people who don’t know how to handle stress.” It’s not necessarily a bad thing that we don’t post all of our negative thoughts or moments online – it’s kind of a fun, easy, make-believe land where everything is funny, lovely, happy, and it takes us to a place where we can escape for a little while. But we can’t forget that life happens. It happens to us, it happens to the people that we love, and it even happens to the people we don’t love or don’t even know. My point is, it is okay to have bad moments and low points. It is okay to feel overwhelmed and stressed and to accept that life is not always fair or happy. Everyone struggles in different ways, and if you were to get right down to it, I truly believe that even people who seem very different can have so much in common. No one has a perfect life, even if their Instagram or Snapchat streams would suggest otherwise. Because life is messy. Sometimes it hurts, kicks you while you’re down, and then hits you with another shitstorm juuuuust to see if you can take one more thing before you crack wide open.

But life is also such a beautiful experience. A tantalizing dance of twists and turns, spinning fast, and then just when you get too dizzy, it slows the music so you can catch your breath for the next round. The space between the highs and lows is what makes us appreciate every golden moment that we get to keep. So we remind ourselves that at some point, the sun will come out again. The chaos and turmoil will lift eventually. We surround ourselves with people who love us whether we are up, down, thin, fat, rich, poor, in a good mood or cranky, because life happens and we need them there when it does. When you focus on what you don’t have rather than what you do have, it really just poisons everything else.

So here’s a reminder to not compare yourself to others, to not get lost in the negative, and to not get mad at yourself for being in a low point. We have all been there. Make a plan about what you can do, thank God for everything you have been blessed with, keep being grateful for the air in your lungs and the love and light in your life, dust yourself off, and start climbing back up the hill to the sunlight…even if your footing isn’t sure and you don’t have a safety harness.

Here is to low points and the people who love us through them 🙂

Back in the swing of things

source (and a cute card!)

Welcome to the new & improved maxouthappy.com! I am so pleased with the design and logo and have put a lot of hours into getting the site looking the way I envisioned. I got both the logo and design theme from two Etsy shops, and it was simple, affordable, and now you’re looking at what I hope is a nicer, cleaner, more streamlined site.

In other news, I know, I know – you don’t have to tell me. It has been a looong time since I posted. Life is busy, and to be really honest, I’ve been super unmotivated lately. I have been in a slump with my weight and fitness, and that always affects other parts of my life. I haven’t wanted to take pictures or buy new clothes, I haven’t felt like my usual peppy and optimistic self, and so I haven’t felt inspired to write.  Along with that, it’s the end of the school year which is always hectic, and I’ve been in the process of moving for a couple of months now! BUT everything is finally settling and the dust is clearing. My sister and I are having panic attacks because the apartment still isn’t perfect basically all moved in, and I plan to have some fun home projects up on the blog soon!

So that’s basically why I haven’t been writing. But I’m here! And I’m trying to get back up on the fitness horse (for the 9838472th time in my life), plan my meals better, and work on the blog! Writing has always been something that I love. My mom called me a few weeks ago and asked why I hadn’t been writing, and I mentioned how I was feeling. She told me I just sounded “heavy,” which I thought was a funny choice of words even though she didn’t mean it that way! It made me realize that if I am letting this weight slump affect my life and my outlook so much, the only way to fix it is to take some control and get back at it.

This summer I really hope to focus on getting exercise and taking care of myself. I went through a pretty long phase in life of pushing myself to be this perfect image I could never live up to, working out twice a day at times and counting every single calorie, measuring every single bite. I look good in pictures from that time, but there was an underlying stress and source of needing to look that way, much of which was for someone else. Then, I let go of all that and really found myself in a happier mental and emotional place, but lost my fitness priorities in the process. So now I’m heavier, but happier. And my goal is to find a happiest place in the middle where I physically feel good, enjoy putting outfits together again, and the doctor tells me my health is just right. You know, a happy place where I don’t get out of breath going up the flight of stairs to my new apartment! This isn’t about being skinny. It’s about being able to enjoy life more, which for me means moving more and being able to fit back into some of my favorite clothes! We only have one life, and I want to make mine last as long as I can so I can spend it with the ones I love.

So now you know – and now you know I am on a mission! Sometimes you need to put something out there to make it more real. So this is me, putting this out there. I am excited to start posting more again and to have more energy and optimism again. It’s time to take a page from my own book and MAXOUThappy…and it doesn’t hurt to have a new look on the blog to go with it 😉

Teacher Warriors

This is my buddy Tony and me. We have spent about 2 years now working on something that I’m so pleased to say is FINALLY FINISHED!!!

It has always been one of my goals to write a book. When I was a teenager, I toyed with the idea of writing a novel, and started probably a thousand…but I could never quite stick with the story. I blogged a little here and there through high school and college, took nerdy delight in writing massive research papers in college and grad school, and then decided maybe one day I’d write a memoir of my crazy teaching stories (still thinking of doing that some day – I can’t make up the ridiculous antics of teens that I experience on a daily basis!).

I met Tony when we were both working at a publishing company when I finished my Master’s degree and took a break from teaching. We traveled together for work a few times, leaving lots of time for chatting on the road. Tony used to be a teacher and missed it, and he loves writing like I do. I was fresh out of grad school and did my Thesis research on new teachers and why they leave the classroom. One thing led to another, and before we knew it, we kind of jokingly, tentatively said maybe we should write a book about teaching. Then we started making moves. We met countless times and had millions of cups of coffee, technical failures, cancellations and reschedules, but finally, finally, we finished our eBook on teaching and it is ready to be purchased on Amazon Kindle!!!

Teacher Warriors is proof to myself that I can finish what I start. That dreams don’t work unless you do. That timelines are more like wishful thinking, but end goals should stay close by your side. Whatever your dream is, whatever you “really want to do someday,” start it today. It is never too late. Start today, not tomorrow, and if you fall off the wagon, lose your steam, have periods of low motivation…just never give up. Remind yourself of your goals and do the damn thing. Get out there and hustle!

Why I yoga

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Photo credit: Rachel Garrison Photography 

I have now had a few full meetings with my yoga club students at the high school. I decided last year I wanted to start this club at school so students could experience something they may otherwise not have the chance to. So, without really knowing what direction I wanted to take, I went all in and took the first step.

The students were, of course, a little bit awkward, a little unsure, and a little bit silly – only 3 or 4 of the almost 30 girls that showed up have ever even taken a yoga class before. It’s understandable! But watching the students as I was giving them the background of yoga, the principles and the ideas behind why people practice yoga, and directing them through our first (very brief) practice together, I started to realize something. We had pushed desks to the sides of a classroom, the floors were dirty, their mats were awkwardly sprawled everywhere, and it was this really neat moment of realization. It reminded me why, after those first few yoga classes I took a couple of years ago, I couldn’t wait to come back to the next one.

People always ask me what got me interested in yoga – the truth is, I needed some serious stress relief because I was going through a terrible time in my life. I went with my friend Abbie who made me try a class even though I told her I hated hot yoga the one time I had tried it before. But the reasons I kept coming back, the reasons I decided to do teacher training and become a yoga instructor as well as a student, those are the reasons I love to share.

Yoga, at the very minimum, increases strength, flexibility, breathing, balance, and coordination. It is an ancient practice that has been proven to reduce stress, increase health, and improve quality of life. Yoga heals. It forces you to quiet your mind and shut everything else out as your ears eagerly await the next cue in class, or as you struggle with how the heck your right foot can go any farther back as you keep your body standing tall and your arms twisted up like a pretzel (elbows above your heart and shoulder blades expanding to either side, please). Yoga is a place where a community is formed the minute you step inside the studio, because no matter what your story is or why you’re there, you’re there. There is no “good” or “bad” in yoga. It’s about how you feel and your own relationship with your own practice. You can be successful every single day on your mat if you just show up and let go of whatever it is you’re holding onto for a little while.

I love yoga because it gives me a chance to see a different part of people than I would out in the real world. I get to catch glimpses of their vulnerability, see if they are competitive with others or with themselves, know if they like to dance to the beat a little in their downward dog, or if they have the type of practice where they seem to float on top of their mats (as I seem to clumsily flop around on mine). We say things like “Namaste,” or call out the fancy Sanskrit names of poses as we teach or discuss yoga practice, but sometimes we forget why we’re really there. Yes, for strength and flexibility…but also for sanity, self-love, quieting the mind, and a support system.

Yoga is for every body type, every age, every race, every ability. It’s for every person. I believe fitness and health in this country are way too expensive in general, and unfortunately, the same is true for yoga. But there are many community yoga classes that are donation-based, free yoga classes for special occasions, and many studios do a first class free setup where you can come check out the studio without any charge. YouTube has several, several yoga channels and there are many apps that can bring free yoga to you. The internet has free sequences and poses already. So even if you just practice 3 poses every day for a few minutes, you’re practicing yoga.

A wise person and one of my favorite teachers reminded me in class last night:  The pose is what you’re doing. Yoga is how you are being. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a brand new practitioner, the idea that you have to do yoga ‘right’ or be a certain way to come to your mat is the opposite of what yoga is all about. If you’re considering trying a class for the first time, my best advice is just to take that leap and try. Bring a friend, go by yourself, put your mat in the back if it’s more comfortable at first, and let yourself laugh when you lose balance and almost fall over. Even the most experienced yogis fall on their faces. It’s a humbling experience to practice yoga, so try it with an open mind and a willingness to fail…and you’ll succeed 🙂

Heavy boots

Has anyone read the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close?  

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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I read it when I was in high school or college, I can’t remember…but it is one of those life feels novels that has always stuck with me. I know it became a movie, but I never saw it. The book was so deep and so emotional for me that I knew I could never sit through it without the type of crying where you shake and heave and can’t get yourself back together. Maybe I’ll brave that on a night in alone.

Anyway, it’s a really great book and if you haven’t read it, you really should (among many others).

I think about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close all the time, especially when the going gets tough. The main character, Oskar, describes this feeling of “heavy boots.” He’s a young kid trying to figure out his father’s death, and throughout the story, he tells of things that give him really heavy boots – the perfect way to describe grief through a child’s eyes. My brother and I say it to each other from time to time when something is really sad. You know, when something really weighs on you. I picture trying to walk through sludge with big, heavy, clunky shoes on, trudging step after step and feeling so heavy and feeling so much despair that it’s all I can do to lift my next foot one more time.

Isn’t that life sometimes? Trudging through, putting one foot in front of the other, and barely making it?

I recently experienced the loss of someone very special. That sounds so cliche and so easy to say. “Special” doesn’t even scratch it. Words simply are not enough. The sadness, the despair, and the harsh reality of having someone ripped away from you too soon is so much worse, and cuts more deeply than you can really ever describe. I have dealt with loss, but not like this. We love hard, and when we lose what we love, we feel it. Hard.

Sometimes I think that if we all collected our heavy boots, and we put them in a pile, it would be too big of a pile for this world to bear and we would make a huge pit, sinking deeper and deeper. There is so much sadness in the world, so much fear and loneliness and heart wrenching stories of people who have it worse than we do.

And yet, of course I am the type of person who also knows how much beauty there is in the world…that for every heavy boot, there is a light, carefree shoe – a new birth, a joyous wedding, a love story, a shoulder to lean on, and a chance to start again. And in time, I will be able to see it. I know God has a plan, but as humans, it is hard to see the plan when something devastating occurs.

I know that the sun will come out again, but for now, I am wearing really heavy boots.

Grief quote

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