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Monday, November 23, 2015

Feeling Thankful

Just last night, my family and I were rear-ended on the interstate even though we had not slowed nor stopped suddenly.  The impact was so great it woke our sleeping infant son who immediately began to cry due to the jolt.  As we surveyed the damage to our vehicle, we marveled at the fact the collision could have been worse.  Our car could have been totaled.  But it wasn't.  There could have been a fatalities.  But there weren't.  After the police report had been filed, we were able to finish our drive home, walk into our home and talk about what had transpired.  I am thankful for our lives.

It has been over a year since I lost my best friend of nearly forty years to illness.  She had the ability to make me laugh when all I really wanted to do was cry.  Conversely, when I did cry, she was right there to offer tissues and a listening ear (and a bowl of ice cream).  I remember the times she would offer her last french fry to me and never had any issues with telling me things I could use for self-improvement in a spirit of love.  She was a true friend.  She taught me about life and the value of unconditional love.  I am thankful for our friendship and the time we had in each others lives.

As we enter the home stretch towards the Thanksgiving holiday, I encourage you to think about your life and marvel on what causes you to be thankful.  Is it your family, or your health?  Are you thankful for your home, your career or your finances?  Or perhaps you are thankful you took a walk yesterday which put you one step closer to your overall health goals.  Maybe you are thankful for the peace you feel despite everything that may seem to be going wrong in your life right now.  Or maybe, just maybe, you are thankful for the delicious meal you will enjoy in just a few days.  Whatever your reason, relish in that moment.  Experience the feeling of thankfulness and then share it.  Share it by telling others why you are thankful.  Moreover, share the feeling of being thankful.

Numerous studies have been conducted on the effects of feeling thankful and how it positively impacts our mood and health.  Yes, there are a number of concerns in our world, country and society on which we could focus.  I am sure I do not need to point out that we do that on a daily basis.  Let's instead make the concerted effort to focus on the good in people, the positive experiences and the reasons which cause us to feel thankful.  This suggestion is by no means an attempt to minimize any of the recent tragedies we have experienced in our world.  It is simply a request to temporarily refocus our energy.

Each day when I return home from work, I can count on at least one pair of little feet running to the door to greet me, with open arms and a big smile.  In that moment, I feel thankful.  The concerns of the day melt away and I am reminded of what is most important.  As I allow myself to be enveloped by those little arms, I choose to be present in that space, in that moment in time.  It feels good.

As you make your way to your holiday destination and navigate the holiday traffic, remind yourself of why you are thankful.  Life may not be exactly the way you want it but there is hope in tomorrow.  We all need a little hope and the ability to feel thankful.

Shatanese Reese is a freelance blogger who lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children.  Shatanese enjoys walks on the beach and color-rich sunrises.  Her goal is to find inspiration in the every day happenings of life.

Check out Shatanese on YouTube.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Simply Running Through My Mind

It's official.  I am that person.

Wanting to run and not look back.  Running from the negative thoughts.  Pushing past my fears.  Pushing past the voices.

You're too thin.

You're not big enough.

Your breasts.

Your stomach.

Your butt.

Your hair.

Your clothes.

Your everything.

They like her better than you.

She's smarter than you are.

He'd have more fun with someone else.

They prefer a different mom.

You suck as a mom.

You're not as good as you think you are.

Running from the negative thoughts.

How can I break free?  What do I need to do?  What is the point? 

I hate who I have become.  How do I help my children fight insecurities?  How does anyone fight insecurities?  They cover me.  They envelope me.  They fight to squelch my breath.  I cannot breathe.  I feel heavy.  The burden is too heavy. 

Will I ever be enough?  No. 



Recoiling into a fetal position.  Not wanting to look out.  You don't see me.  I don't see you.  Lifeless.  Where is the sun?  Where is the Son?  Where?

Is it in here?  Is He in here?  Who is in here?  Not me.  Not her.  Not that person.  Yes, that person.

I am trying to swim...something is grabbing my arm.  Something is grabbing my leg.  What is it?  What could it be?  It is grabbing my neck.  It is the past...The dark, ugly past.  Threatening to pull me down into an abyss.  I fight...I kick...I writhe...I scream.   Help.  Swallowing water.  Swallowing death...I can't.

What is love?  Do I love me.  Can I love me?  Am I lovable?  There is is dull. 

The sum total of my life. 

Achieving...trying to succeed.  Attempting to reach an unattainable goal.  It is too high.  Out of reach.  Running.  Perfection.  Imperfection.  I hate.  I loathe.  I detest.  I despise.  Disgust.  Anger.  Frustration.  Hurt.  Pain.  Cry...cry...cry....

He loves me.  He loves me not.  He loves me.  H e l o v e s m e ...n .........

When?  I want to be free.  I want to shine.  I want to be ok in my own skin.  Why?

Tears...crying...cleansing...exploding.  Screaming.  Shouting.  Running.  Fighting.  Jumping.   Bleeding...hurting...still hurting.  Healing sometimes...hurting me.  Hurting others.  H U R T.  Hiding Under Rough Times.






Yesterday.  Today.  Tomorrow.  Forever.  Eternity.  Infinity.  Indefinitely.  Infidelity.  Future.

Growth hurts.  Pain. 

Forgiven.  Grace.  Mercy. 

Never mind.

I tried.

We tried.

They tried.

They cried.

Reality equals perception equals deception equals anxiety.  What is truth?  Actions equal truth.  Actions equal truth. 

I have it all.  I have never.  I have always.  I have.  I have.

What next?

Me.  You.  Us.  Them.  Him.

Negative self-talk can be debilitating.  It is draining and unproductive.  It is important to replace each negative thought with two positive thoughts.  One of my favorite scriptures on which I meditate during times of despair is Philippians 4:8;

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Our experiences shape our perceptions.  Our beliefs impact our reactions.  Being connected to the right people is key.  They can uplift us when we are down and when everything seems bleak.  More importantly, being connected to a higher purpose is essential.  It is absolutely ok to feel despair, hurt and anger at times.  Life warrants these feelings.  If you experience these feelings regularly, however, I encourage the assistance of professional help.  Our mental health is important and should be taken seriously.  Know your worth and your value.  Your future depends on it.

Shatanese Reese is a freelance blogger who lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children.  Shatanese enjoys walks on the beach and color-rich sunrises.  Her goal is to find inspiration in the every day happenings of life.