Living With Gusto

Strength: You’ve Got It

“You never know how strong you are until being strong

is the only choice you have.”

Bob Marley

Most of us have been through things that have shown us—beyond our imaginings—what we are capable of. As we think back on those horrible days we are in awe of our perseverance and accomplishment, wondering how we ever survived. But we are strong, and we rise to meet need as the warriors we are.

I have a close friend who has walked through some of the most difficult things life has to offer. A particularly bad season was when she was making the drive to Detroit several times a week to take her infant son to Children’s Hospital. This went on for several months. She barely saw her husband and other infant son and was physically and emotionally worn out—the kind of worn out that trying to sleep in the hospital and fighting for your baby’s life will bring. The kind of exhaustion that causes you to nod off at the red light. When I exclaimed that I didn’t know how she’d done it, her response was, “What option did I have?”

And she was correct. Sometimes we just don’t have a choice and have to keep putting one foot in front of another.  And somehow the strength comes when needed.

One of the most grueling seasons in my life was during the time my mom lived with us while battling cancer. That was difficult enough, but my husband also had two back surgeries which put him out-of-commission on pain meds (so I was basically single-parenting), I was managing my mom’s in-home caregivers, both she and my husband were making frequent trips to the hospital, my two special needs 4 year olds were not sleeping, or if they were my daughter’s feeding pump would jam—sometimes two and three times a night, and I was rising at 4:30 each morning to get everyone ready so I could go teach my second graders—on very little sleep. Oh, and did I mention I was older—fifty-two, but who was counting? Let me tell you, I’m not sure how I ever survived those months!

mimis tea bag

 

So how do we find the strength to make it through these times? Looking back it seems impossible, but somehow I found the strength to do everything that was needed. I know that I prayed a lot! My prayer was often only, “Oh God! Oh God!”.  (Good thing He can read between the lines.) And I talked with my close friend, who gave me amazing support.

Some women turn to yoga, meditating, or exercise to calm and restore. Some attend support groups, community functions, or read. Sometimes just talking to a friend will help us see perspective and cause us to realize how strong we are and how far we have come.

Talking out loud can help us process our next steps, or just receive the support from another that gives us strength. Never discount how powerful helping to bear someone’s burden can be!

It’s important for women to gather, share, and support each other. Women are social creatures and amazing things happen when they gather and hang out together.

Don’t be afraid to tell your “warrior” stories to others. You may well inspire someone and help them gain strength in their journey. Yes, we may wish we’d done some things differently or better, but in the long run we did the best we could at the time. And most likely we were amazing! And look how strong we have become!

Hang in there Warrior Woman. And share your story.

Much love, Mimi

This post was originally an article written for Women2Women Magazine, of which I’m the editor. You may view our digital magazine online to read other great articles.

 

Living With Gusto

All We Need Is Love

all you need is love . tiara. cookie border

LOVE

Women need a tribe because we crave those who will listen to, support, and encourage us. We do those things for many other people, and sometimes we become resentful if we aren’t allowed the same privilege.

 

There’s freedom and strength in having friends who listen to you, allow you to voice your dreams without stifling them, and encourage you to be your best–whatever that looks like. If you don’t have a group of friends, or at least one special friend, I encourage you to seek out people you relate to, who share your spark and interests, and who will honor and treasure you. Perhaps you will find these friends in an online group, a club friendship, or co-workers. I found a tribe like this in an online group called Women On Fire. I also love the Women2Women community and have found my tribe here. Finding your tribe takes being open to making friends, cultivating relationships, and seeking ways to meet other women of like mind and heart. If you are determined to find your tribe, you will.

 

A TIARA

You are fabulous!! Don’t believe it? Maybe you should change your self-view.  For you to be your most authentic and confident self, you need to love and value the person you are. Take inventory of and celebrate your strengths and skills (ask a friend for help if needed). Declare yourself amazing and delightful and strong! Make life happen for you. Remember, although you are a queen worthy of a crown, you are also a warrior woman with killer stompin’ boots.

 

and  A COOKIE…

So eat the cookie, already. Buy those flowers, soak in the tub, and take a nap! Women are characteristically nurturing souls. But who nurtures us? Most likely no one. It’s up to us to nurture ourselves and that means self-care; giving yourself permission to do the little things that restore your joy, your health, and your energy.

Here’s to living your life so that your sparkle shines for the entire world to see.

 

 

As a contributing writer to the Women 2 Women Michigan magazine, I wrote this for my “Sparkle & Shine” column in their first 2017 issue. You can read the whole issue for free here. You will most likely enjoy the magazine because it’s full of great articles and information for, about, and by women.

You can buy the “Tiara” card shown above here. I enjoy giving it as a neat gift for a friend. Here’s how:
In a cute gift bag place the card, a Dollar Store tiara (from the kids’ party section), and a shrink-wrapped cookie (the kind you find at Starbucks).

Here’s what you say on the card:

“You’ll always have my love, you were born to wear a tiara, and here’s your cookie.”

Or something like that. This gift has made many women smile!

 

Enjoy your week, my friends!

Love and sparkle hugs,

Passionista Mimi