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Category Archives: Daily Inspiration

Inspired: “Letter to my future-self by Taylor Smith”

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I am just in awe. I read this article yesterday, and I can’t stop thinking about it. I don’t typically share articles or news stories on my blog…but this is way too incredible to not share with you. This is the power of writing…this is everything I preach about, write about, think about; this is one of the MANY reasons why writing, putting your thoughts to paper, is so incredible.

“Our souls may leave this world, but our words remain forever.”

letter_to_future_self_02CLICK ON THE ENVELOPE TO READ THE FULL STORY.

This will hurt your heart, but IT WILL make your day. I hope it inspires you the way it inspired me.

♥Britt

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A letter to a Stepfather.

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17 years, 6 months, and 10 days since you married my mother.
It’s crazy how time flies isnt it?
This isn’t a letter to relive all of our differences and struggles over the years,
but rather a notice of appreciation, love, and understanding.
You haven’t always felt that you got the credit that you truly deserved,
but I hope as I have grown that I have given you that.
We all love in different ways, some more vocal than others,
I know without a doubt that I am loved by you as if I were your own.
Sometimes I mistakenly took your constructive comments as insults,
but I know you have only always wanted the best for me, more than I even wanted for myself.
You have believed in me, and had faith in me, even if it was in silence.
I admire your drive and your intelligence,
even if your long days at work distanced us as I grew up.
I have put you through a lot of situations that were not easy to handle,
I was definitely a troubled teenager, that at times was not very easy to love.
You didn’t run, you stood on the side lines and supported me even through troubled times.
I found out I was pregnant with Jett at just 19 years of age,
I was terrified of what you would think of me.
You knew my life would be so different from that day forward,
but you have never judged me, only given advice, and loved Jett so much.
I catch you smiling and looking at him sometimes,
and I know you are proud of the Mother that I am, and the sweet boy I have raised.
Being a parent to another person’s child is far from easy, in fact at times it’s really hard,
But I am so glad that you chose us.

This is a letter to tell you without a doubt in the world- I have noticed all that you have been for me,
all that you have sacrificed and weathered for our family, and nothing has ever gone unnoticed.

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From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

I love you.

♥Britt

Fess up Friday: Where art thou, Patience?

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Come on, how funny is this? I think we are all constantly exercising our need for more patience, or a better attitude while TRYING to be patient. As a mother of a little boy who often resembles the “Energizer Bunny”, some days I am shocked at the amount of patience I have displayed, other days I completely relate to this e-card. Oops, I’m human.

Sometimes I literally ask myself “WHAT are you in such a hurry for? Do you have a plane to catch or something?” It is a reminder that life can be fleeting. Sometimes I wish I had a remote with a pause button to just take a deep breathe, shift my focus, and remind myself to be still…but Apple hasn’t come out with that device yet.

Yesterday I had a “day-date” with my son. He has been wanting to go to Dave & Busters to play some arcade games and I promised him if he behaved this week I would take him! So, to the Irvine Spectrum we went.
I exercised my patience like a damn OLYMPIAN yesterday, and you know what?
I had the best time I have had in a long time.
Regardless of spending 20 minutes looking for parking, waiting in a seriously long line for lunch, almost dropping our entire tray of Chipotle-because this man didn’t hold the door open for me (Thank you, kind stranger!), chasing him around from game to game, calming his little fit when we had to leave… I DID IT!

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10616703_732861553439699_3169697391658398418_n“Okay stop Mom, now you’re embarrassing me.”

10570437_732862086772979_5671894422745009512_nIsn’t he just the cutest?

So…then I had a serious “Aha Moment” at the end of our fun-filled day…

I pulled into our parking spot at home, turned around and looked at my “sleeping” child.
I realized how many times I had gotten frustrated when I was in a hurry (this is sad to even admit)
“Jett, come on. I don’t have time for this fake sleeping act! I can’t carry you…you are getting way too heavy and I have my bag, the groceries, your shoes and socks you took off in the back seat, I need you to get up and walk please.”

Then I felt sadness and guilt come over me and I realized how incredibly sweet this was.
How lucky was I that he chose to pretend he was asleep JUST so that I could carry him?
How much longer would I be able to do this?
He turns 5 in November…someday (much sooner than I would like to admit)
he will be much too big, and much too cool to be carried around by Mom.

I decided that from here on out that even if I have to make 4 trips to the car, even if my arms are aching, even if it makes me a few moments late to wherever I am going: I will slow down, be PATIENT, and embrace these moments.

How do you exercise your patience?  Yoga, Meditation, Screaming into a pillow?!
I want to know!

♥Britt

Climb in- We’re Taking the High-Road!

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Oh how incredibly poignant this quote is for me. I have had this idea in my head since a very young child that I could make a difference and change…well, pretty much anyone I wanted to.

You’re a bully? Come be my friend, I’ll teach you to be kinder.
You struggle with addiction? Come spend time with me, I can remind you of your worth.
You behave selfishly and unloving? Okay, I’ll show you how delightful generosity and love can be.

In some very wonderful cases, I have made a difference.
Has it happened every time? No. Did it bother me? TREMENDOUSLY.

I seem to keep learning this lesson on a regular basis, and I have been | s| l| o| w| l| y| learning to accept that fact. I want to help others, that’s my God given ability/talent/whatever you want to call it, and it is what makes me *tick*. My mother has reminded me of this on several occasions. Since I was in elementary school I have always gravitated towards people who might “need” me. Whether their parents were getting divorced, they lost a sibling, they had no friends at school, if they suffered in any way- I could sense it without ever hearing a word from their mouth and my heart was like a magnet to theirs. This is a beautiful thing, and sort-of bittersweet at the same time.

I want to soften people, make them see life at a different angle. I know that it is not my “job” or my responsibility, but I just cannot simply ignore what I feel so called upon to do. Unfortunately, not everyone I come across will be responsive to my desire to help. Some will even be angry, defensive, and completely cut me out of the equation.
It’s gonna hurt, but there is a lesson in this.

YOU, YOURSELF have the POWER to influence and INSPIRE others, but you CANNOT change them. But the most important part? Even if you cannot change their perspective, even if they battle you, or become angry and curse you, BE KIND TO THEM ANYWAY.

Why? Because you deserve PEACE in your heart.

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♥Britt

Removing the blindfold.

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If you’ve read My Story on the blog, or know me personally- this won’t be much of a a surprise, or anything new to you. In January of 2010, 2 months after having my son, my Grandmother, Uncle, Aunt, and their dog Buddy were traveling from California to Florida stopping in Arizona and Texas to visit family and friends on the way, and were in a tragic car accident. They believe my uncle fell asleep at the wheel, and the SUV rolled approximately four times. My uncle was pronounced dead on the scene, my Grandma (an 84 year old Southern Belle who was tough as nails) survived the accident and was transported to University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. My aunt was transported to a nearby hospital as well and thankfully survived the accident. Their dog Buddy- who was my Uncle Barry’s best bud, unfortunately- did not.

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My Grandma survived emergency surgery, incredible amounts of pain I can’t even begin to imagine, and she fought like hell and held on until she passed, on March 2nd, 2010.

I still have flashbacks to that very moment when I received that terrible phone call. I still remember being in an absolute zombie-like state when my good friend Courtney drove me to my father’s house. I still remember driving to my Aunt Debbie’s house with my Dad and having to hide my pain and shock for what felt like HOURS as we pretended initially to have just “randomly stopped by for a visit.” I still remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach as my Aunt felt something was up and asked us, “What’s going on? You guys are acting strange…”, I still remember the the look on my Aunt’s face as we told her…the way her knees buckled and she fell to the floor in her kitchen screaming, “No, No, No Not my Barry, Not my brother” over, and over. I still remember the look of severe pain that all of us walked around with. I still remember the sleepless nights, the dreams, the nightmares, this awful aching pain I felt throughout my whole body that I just couldn’t escape from. I still remember the last time I heard my Grandmother speak- in mumbles and gurgling noises due to having her trach tube removed prior to my call- I still hear it, it still haunts me. I still remember their memorial service- the stories, the beautiful poetry my Uncle wrote (we have quite a few writers in my family), the Elvis, Neil Diamond, and Bob Seger that played in the background, the flowers, the long walk to the reception area after…I remember these things so vividly and yet I feel like all of it was still just a dream or an illusion. I really wish it was.

It has been 4 years, and yet I still send emails to my Uncle Barry like I have done since I was 12 years old. Even when I get the returned to sender error message- It still pains me and somehow shocks me every time. I still talk to my Grandma and ask her for strength and guidance, I still hear both of their voices so clearly at times. Sometimes my Grandma is scolding me in that harsh Virginia accent, other times it is her laugh that I hear when watching Seinfeld and remembering how hysterical she would become during that show. It hurts me so deeply that my son didn’t get to spend more time with these two incredible people.

Truly; what hurts me the most is that I wonder if I ever made them feel the love and appreciation I truly felt for them. I got into a very unhealthy and abusive relationship, I became pregnant, got busy with hiding out and trying to survive my life, I stopped emailing my Uncle regularly as I used to do, I never called, I didn’t go visit with my Grandmother as often as I said I would, often times I would flake or just not feel up to making the drive- or I would flat out lie to her because my ex had actually hid my keys, or taken my car in a bad argument.

These feelings of guilt are the hardest part for me, aside from them being gone from this Earth.

I sent my Uncle this email on January 07, 2010 at 12:43 PM.

emailtoBarryThis was the very day after the accident…this is a huge part of why I STARTED this movement. I truly believe with all of my heart in the power of writing and sharing. It wasn’t even 24 hours after this horrific news and tragedy that I sat at my computer and had to write. I have put my Pain to Paper my entire life, and I believe it has saved me from very dark times.

I remember the last phone call I had received before my Grandma had left on the road trip with my Uncle and Aunt. I remember every.single.word. I remember where I was standing (crying in the kitchen of my old house, leaning against the bar stool after a scary and terrible fight), the nervousness when I felt my phone vibrate and saw her name pop up, I remember the thought that went through my head (I can’t answer this right now, he will see my phone and take it again), I remember sending her call to voice mail, then hiding my phone under the couch cushion of my living room. I remember the guilt I felt afterwards. I remember her exact message, word for word…
“Hi Britty, It’s your Grandma! I wanted to call ya’ before we head out on the road. I bought you a rockin’ chair for you and that sweet baby of yours and it’s in the den if you want to pick it up while I’m gone, you can. Otherwise you bring that little bundle of joy over for a sleepover with Grandma when I get back, alright? I’ll make you some hot cakes! I love ya! Bye-bye.”

I wish I would’ve answered.

This is an email I had found 6 months after they had passed from my Uncle in my old email account.
I had stopped keeping in touch with family and friends as soon as I got with my ex. He was controlling, abusive, and liked me secluded; needing only him for everything. I was fearful and allowed it and became stuck in a very bad situation which I never imagined myself to be in. His words cut right through me, and woke me up in a way that I was afraid I never would.

“From: bearmanpfl@aol.com
Date: Sunday, February 8, 2009
Subject: Been A While Perkster
To: brittybaby4@gmail.com

Greetings Brittster,
Seems like only yesterday that I was gazing upon your smiling face but I realize that almost 3 years have gone by. Hope all is well with you, don’t know what you are doing these days but I am still working in the Electronic Classroom installation business. I am with another company now, TIE Today, Inc. out of Ovieda, FL, but I am doing the exact same work as I was with JIL Information Systems. I have the prestigious title of Junior Engineer (I thought that was the person who drove the little train) and as luck would have it I am currently ensconced  in the Residence Inn in Waukegan, IL. Truly this is my home away from home and I’ll be here until the 27th of Feb and then we’ll probably be back in May, seems like there is an endless supply of work at Great Lakes Naval Station and the Recruit Training Center. Last week the weather was brutal had to unload 3 trucks on Tues and Weds with temps at O degrees and wind chills in the teens below zero. A little rough on my thin Floridian blood base but I managed to survive without developing frostbite. Today the sun was shining and snow was melting at an alarming rate so I put on my Speedo and tank top and laid out by the pool getting some rays “NOT”  !! I am composing this email on my new HP Pavilion DV9000 laptop, it has all the bells and whistles but I’m still learning how to use it with MS Vista Home Premium, been an XP fan for many years. It has a video cam and mic built-in but I haven’t figured out yet how to use it, I think it can be used with something like a Instant Messaging program but I’ll have to do my homework and figure it out. Mom said that Kyle has a furlough coming up in April, glad he’s doing well but that is a long way to travel just to have to turn around and go back but I’m sure he’ll do what is best for him.
Drop me a line when you get a chance and apprise me of what you are doing these days, I am thinking about getting Grandma a ticket to come out in April if she wants, don’t think we’ll be making it out to Cali anytime soon especially with the economy in the shitter like it is. Take care and I miss you lots…..

Lots of love,
Uncle Bear

He was a funny, funny man. One of the best men I have ever known. I have learned a very hard yet valuable lesson about keeping in touch with those you love. Even if you aren’t getting along, have had issues in the past, just a call or email to say I love you, I’m thinking about you, I miss you- can change everything.

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I encourage you to put your Pain to Paper as I have. Cry while writing it out. Take off the blindfold, expose your pain,
and truly FEEL what you have avoided for so long.
I’ll be here every step of the way supporting you, I promise.

♥Britt

Being your own BFF.

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I fit in somewhere between “a hermit who likes to stay at home alone” and “someone who can’t go too long without interaction.” What a strange and inconvenient place to be! Learning to be alone and spend time with myself has been a challenge for me.

Even though I felt so alone in my past relationship, I physically was NEVER truly alone. I had my son 24/7, my stepdaughter Jaidyn, and even on the rare occasion where both of them were with their Grandma, I still had my first baby (my bulldog Kayla). But being TRULY alone without a soul (animal or human) in the house except mine- has been my reality lately.

Spending so much time alone has helped me in many ways. I have had to sit alone with my thoughts and memories and process things I never wanted to confront before. My writing has been much more consistent and healing. I have learned to appreciate the man who works so hard for my son and I- even more than I already did. I have picked up books I’ve been wanting to read for awhile but never got around to, my faith has grown stronger, my creativity is flowing, and I have created and finished projects that I have had in my mind for months.

On an even more important note: Being alone has also taught me a lot about love…healthy love.

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This is one of my favorite quotes that I have kept in my heart and my mind for a very long time. My mother sent it to me when I was in a rough place in my life, feeling lonely and depressed, and just completely down on myself. She told me that until I learned to love myself and my own company, I couldn’t possibly give someone else the love they deserved and needed.

Guess what? Mom was absolutely right…no surprise there. (Mothers usually are!)
I am confident now that I am loving others with everything I have- because I have grown to LOVE MYSELF.
It’s not selfish or self-centered, it has nothing to do with image or ego-  just simply enjoying and embracing who you are.
You can miss your loved ones, you can even wish they were home and that you weren’t alone-
but don’t allow it to make you lonely. Keep yourself busy and become your own best friend.

Here is a list of 10 ways to date yourself and enjoy time alone

1. Write- whether it’s in a journal, a blog post, a story, anything at all- just write.
2. Read a new book, or finish one you haven’t gotten around to!
3. Take a bubble bath! Candles, music, a glass of wine- RELAX and breathe.
4. Make yourself a nice dinner- I’m not talking about throwing a Lean Cuisine meal into the microwave, I mean to get in the kitchen and make yourself a meal that you would make for someone else! Spoil yourself.
5. Bake something delicious! Baking is one of my favorite things to do.
6. Paint your nails, give yourself a pedicure, maybe even get around to tweezing those brows you’ve been avoiding!
7. Re-organize areas of your home that you have left messy and unattended. It is proven that clutter and disorganization create a more stressful and chaotic environment. Simplify your life and you will feel SO much better I promise!
8. Head to the craft store and find a new project, maybe even paint on a new canvas.
9. Follow along with a Yoga or Pilates video and get those endorphins flowing
10. Take a nice walk and appreciate the fresh air and your surroundings.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP BUSY WHEN YOU BEGIN TO FEEL LONELY?
I want to know!

♥Britt

FESS UP FRIDAY: Poppin’ Bottles

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I’m not talking about Chandon, or Cristal…I’m talking about all those bottled up emotions. Yep. Very similar to popping a bottle of champagne. Sometimes it goes smoothly and just as planned but makes a bit of noise, other times the cork goes flying around the kitchen and the champagne starts to overflow beyond your control. Either way, the outcome tends to be pretty eventful.

CONFESSION: I AM A “BOTTLER”

I am not great with communicating emotion, which is why I write. I have learned over the years to store everything safely inside, write about it, and then try as hard as I possibly can to let it go after that. Men like to think that women enjoy arguing (and maybe some of them do) but I do NOT. I do not like the vulnerability of it, and I don’t like how we tend to say things that we don’t really mean.
In fact even the very thought of it makes my stomach churn.

They say that when you’re in an argument and it starts to escalate to just simply take a few deep breaths, or maybe even take a walk. Tell your partner or the person you are arguing with that you are going to take a few moments to yourself. This is supposed to help entirely avoid those rude comments or comebacks you thought of BEFORE YOU SAY THEM. I have found this to work in a lot of situations, we are better at having conversations when we are not so rattled or upset.

CONFESSION: I LIKE TO ESCAPE

I’m not proud of it, and I have never claimed to be. I’m sure it has a lot to do with my past and things I’ve been through, but it doesn’t make it OK. I like to hide away from people when I am struggling. I am first in line to help someone else through a tough time, even people I barely know: but I have a VERY hard time asking for help from others in my own life. My mother and closest friends know this about me…when I’ve continuously flaked on plans or I’m texting instead of returning phone calls: something is going on with me. I am not happy with myself when I behave this way, it is one of my coping mechanisms I have displayed since a younger child, but it is not the one I want to utilize any longer…and you know what?
I don’t have to. That’s the beauty of it.

FACT: YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE YOUR HABITS

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I am still a work in progress. I am nowhere near finished improving my habits and my life. I have lived with fears and anxieties of disappointing others for most of my life. I am a sensitive soul, and I often feel things so much more intensely than most which makes me play hide and seek with my feelings at times. The idea that that I have to plant myself in the middle of confrontation or a serious conversation and weather the storm- scares me…but I am learning to do JUST that. In every situation where I have succeeded:  I felt stronger, braver, and better about myself as a woman, a mother, and an individual. The power of change and improvement lies within all of us, we just have to learn HOW to use it, make sure we use it correctly, and just simply, START.

What habits are you wanting to work on, cut-out, or change in your life?
If you’re reading this- it’s not too late.

♥ Britt