Advocating for Myself with Family Firmly by My Side

Advocating for Myself with Family Firmly by My Side

I was 28, had a one-and-a-half-year-old son and an amazing husband. My whole life was in front of me. But then I received the news – a terminal diagnosis. Doctors told me I would be on an IV for the rest of my life and would need a lung transplant but that I was going to be taken care of. I vividly remember saying, “I don’t think I can do this. I can’t go through this.” The doctor said, “Yes you can. You can with God’s guidance, my help and your family standing behind you; you can do it. You can get through anything.” He was right. But it hasn’t been easy. The diagnosis was Pulmonary Hypertension after months and months of doctors telling me it was asthma or even a congenital heart defect. My mistake was I didn’t listen to what my body was telling me. It was telling me it wasn’t working. It told me that it wasn’t asthma, that the medication my doctor gave me wasn’t working. My body was continuously breaking down, and I didn’t listen. It was by the glory of God that my gall bladder started acting up. If that hadn’t happened I would be a statistic that dies in three years from not being treated or diagnosed. It was critical that I eventually trusted my gut and stood up for myself saying, “Something is really wrong here.” Just a year after the diagnosis I went through more medical trials. I was in a hospital bed at 29 with a two year old at home who needed me, and I was undergoing a work up for a...
3 Women, 2 Weeks, 1 Task: Sex Every Day

3 Women, 2 Weeks, 1 Task: Sex Every Day

Challenge: Sex with your partner EVERY day for two weeks. We asked 60 women to take this on – not one single person came forward. That made us wonder – Why not? Did it seem like an impossible task? Is it something people need to do and are scared to? Or was it just a bad idea for a project? Sex and intimacy feel good and bring us closer to our partner. We are happier when it’s over. So why aren’t we all doing more of it? Since no one stepped up for our challenge, Project Reveal’s board of directors decided to take on the challenge themselves to see what we could find out. In the midst of our “scientific research” we reached out to a local mental health expert on the topic – Leigh Baldwin, a family and mental health nurse practitioner who is with Wellness & Counseling Services at The Women’s Hospital. Here are her thoughts on the topic and our experiment: If sex is the harmony to the song of our relationship, then why are we not singing?” Baldwin asked. “This is the question that surfaces all too often in my practice. The most common answer is, “My life is so busy – it’s not been made a priority.”  On further examination of this question, I often ask my patients, “Did you enjoy your sex life when you were dating?  Was it a priority then? Did you run home and put on your makeup before that special date night? Was there anticipation of the evening to come?” This is when the smile returns to their faces....
Our “Perfect” Family Photo; Reality: The Family Circus

Our “Perfect” Family Photo; Reality: The Family Circus

My name is Sarah, and I’m married to my high school sweetheart. We’ve been blessed with four children – two boys and two girls. I love my house. I love my awesome family.
 It’s a dream come true.
 But it certainly hasn’t been a walk in the park having four kids in just under four years. I’ve had to shake my idealist self and replace her with a more realistic one. Now I am learning to deal with reality, one crazy family moment at a time. 
Even with the craziness traditions and making sure things are special is very important to me, but I’m pretty sure about 90 percent of my awesome family plans either end up in tears, parent fails or fighting. I want to shout, “Can’t we all just get along so we can make some happy family memories?!?!” In my head I have the perfect idea of how things are supposed to go, and then when they do not go that way, I become disappointed. 
Our Christmas card picture is a great example. It looks so serene and ideals; what it fails to show though is the chaos that led to tha one, brief snapshot of smiles. 
We eventually got the picture, but the journey sure was stressful! One of these days I will learn my lesson that you just can’t expect “Christmas Card” memories when you have “The Family Circus” as your reality. 
But what I’m discovering is that it isn’t always about having the perfect family moments when it comes to valuable memories. Some of our craziest moments end up being our favorite family...
Open letter to my daughters: When I look at you, sometimes I worry you will be like me — an alcoholic.

Open letter to my daughters: When I look at you, sometimes I worry you will be like me — an alcoholic.

As I write this letter, you are young girls. Your beautiful faces are like angels, and I love you more than anything. When I look at you sometimes though I worry you will be like me — an alcoholic. As I grew up, I felt “less than,” insecure and as if I didn’t get the the manual to life. I traded my insecurities for entitlement, and with everything I did, I lived with an ”all or nothing” mentality. 

When I see that look on your face when you don’t know how to act with your friends, I worry. I was like that. When you are acting entitled, when you lie or want more, more, more of something, I worry. I did that. I know it might be that you are just being a child, but I still worry. I remember walking into a room and feeling like I was either the worst or best person there. I’ve heard it called an “egomaniac with an inferiority complex.” That was me; and sometimes I see that in you. And that scares me. By the grace of God, I got sober as a young women. But when I was in my active addiction, I did many things I am not proud of and let so many people down. I turned into a person I never thought I’d be. Quite frankly I am lucky to be alive. You see dear daughters, I am one of the lucky ones. 

I have been able to live two lives in my lifetime. One I am not proud of but have done a lot of work to...
Finding Your Passion In Life

Finding Your Passion In Life

I hope that in reading my story, you are inspired to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, take your life back and be a champion! A little more than two years ago I was a completely different person — I was the most selfish, negative and pessimistic person you’d ever met. I had zero interest in building relationships. I was a chronic quitter; I had no energy or patience for my family. I was a legit hot mess, desperate for balance — mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I’m not sure why I was that person. I had everything in the world to be grateful for — a loving husband even despite my bad attitude, two healthy sons and countless other things. I was able to start staying home with my kids and thankful to do so but, let me tell you what, it is no joke. I learned real quickly — this was not like any Real Housewives I’d ever seen. The combination of the stresses of being a new stay-at-home-mom and now living off one income, I put on about 30 pounds over the course of 6 months. I was exhausted, frustrated and mad at myself for letting things get out of control. I didn’t like the person I’d become — a wife with no energy for her husband and a mom with no patience for her kids. Everyone around me was suffering because of my issues. I felt both trapped inside of my own head and body and out of control at the same time. All of this started taking a toll on my marriage...
4 Steps to Removing a Resentment

4 Steps to Removing a Resentment

Relieving yourself of resentment — it’s important. Here’s why: “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies,” Nelson Mandela. Resentment is like me drinking poison and waiting for you to die.  It is literally poison in our heart and soul. Anger and grudges are ugly — they are negative energy in our souls. Why wouldn’t we work hard to rid ourselves of this poison? Several years ago I had a resentment that was haunting me. It didn’t feel good, and it was blocking me from being the person I wanted to be. Someone told me to pray for the happiness, health and wealth of the person I resented; pray for them to have everything I wanted for myself. This concept is easy and simple, and it comes directly from the Bible. You can even do it without meaning it at first. Continue to pray for your resentment and in time God will soften and transform your heart. We need to assume everyone is doing the best they can. This can be so hard to accept but is a critical part of this process. And remember, people’s motives, reasons or actions are not for us to judge or figure out. Our job is only to take care of our own stuff (situation and feelings) and not concern ourselves with what someone else is doing. Resentments and anger toward someone only hurt us. These are some steps to help work through that resentment and rid it from your life. 

1. Pray for the happiness, health, and wealth of the person you resent. 2. Let your God...