Delainey’s Formula For Happiness


Oh hey, don’t mind me stumbling back in just over 2 weeks after Delainey joined our family. Excuse me while I dust the sleep from my eyes and wipe the spit up off my shirt. This isn’t a fashion contest, right? No one’s gonna judge me on my attire? According to everyone we “don’t look like new parents” nor do I look like I just had a baby. All of that’s a-okay with me.

I think that I’ve worked out a great  Formula For Happiness, by the way. I think most new moms pick up a routine pretty quick. Mine mostly consists of breastfeeding Delainey on demand, but hey – that makes her happy!

I’ll be sharing Delainey’s birth story a little later (as well as those baby shower pictures I promised months ago.) But for now, let’s talk our first sleepless night home. It seemed a little impossible that I would make it through the first week, let alone be happy about something other than the small human that I was holding in my arms, kissing constantly. Those dark hours of our first night seemed to last forever.

Most babies have their days and nights mixed up at first, and of course our little night owl was one of them. The next morning I was anything but happy. I was a mess, my hair was a mess. Literally, I was about half a day away from dreads. Now I’m a seasoned pro. So what’s the Formula For Happiness I speak of?

1. Let’s start with a nice cup of coffee. It’s going to make those sleepless nights worth it. Most mornings, I don’t get to finish it and I definitely have spent most mornings trying to balance feeding and eating my own breakfast/coffee.

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2. Read a little Note from the Universe outloud to Delainey. We’ve got to start our mornings on a positive note. Of course today’s quote was all about happiness.

3. Take a shower. Oh my gosh, coffee and a shower and I’m a new woman. It’s like I can handle anything – even all of those baby tears that break my little heart.

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4. Endless baby cuddles. I gotta soak these in; she’s gonna be Miss Independent before I know it!

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5. Get out of the house at least once a day, even if we’re just driving around in the car. It makes for the best nap time.

It all seems pretty simple right now, and I’m sure we’ll have more challenges ahead of us (our biggest one right now is her little booty rash…and the other day when she was colicky and gassy and puked all over me, but hey…welcome to motherhood!)

 

Oh and sidenote, eventually your baby will switch to a normal sleep schedule. If you’re looking for a bit of help, make a free appointment with Gerber‘s new certified baby sleep consultant.

What’s your #FormulaForHappiness?


raewyn

YSM // The Ripple Effect

Ripple Effect I have heard of the ripple effect. I’ve seen how water responds to an object of any size being dropped in. Everything around the area from which the object entered is affected by its existence. As I go throughout my day, often times I forget the ripple effect, that my everyday life matters. I am not someone you’ll hear about on the news doing something extraordinary or a well-known celebrity.

I’m a daughter, a sister, aunt, and a friend, whose life is full of simple days and ordinary tasks. There are things I do every day without thinking, messes I clean up and questions I answer. I am often plagued with the statement made by Solomon in Ecclesiastes, “Everything is meaningless, chasing after the wind.”

In truth, throughout each day there are an abundance of seemingly meaningless things to do. However, like a rock tossed into a pond it has an effect, a ripple effect. As King Solomon concluded, the true meaning in life is to live for God and enjoy every day you have under the sun. Realize, there is nothing you do that does not have a ripple effect on someone.

I stumbled upon a story about a boy named William Kamkwamba who was born in Malawi. At the time, the country was experiencing drought and hunger. William had read about windmills and dreamed about building one. In Malawi, magic was common belief and Morden science was an incomprehensible being. Only 2 percent of his country’s population had running water or electricity.

The Boy who Harnessed the Wind

It is a story that drives home the point of one individual’s action having a ripple effect on other. William Kamkwamba is The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. It is a true story of an ordinary person with hope to make a difference. This is the point I am attempting to make, although you may be like me ordinary or like William ordinary and all odds against you, hope is a powerful thing and sometimes the seemingly small things are not as small of a thing as they appear to be. 

For me, I remember how one of my older sisters used to play with the younger four children (I’m one of eight) all the time. She would think up the coolest games and create the funniest stories. Now that I am an aunt, I have the opportunity to be that kind of source of fun for my nieces and nephews lives as my big sister has been in mine.

Spending time with my nieces and nephews at times can be tiresome but I remember all the time my older siblings spent with me and all I have learned from them. I hope to be a wonderful influence on their children as I spend time with them. I plan on reminding myself of the ripple effect of my action whenever I may feel like everything is meaningless.

Challenge // Take a moment or two to consider the seemingly small things that could be making a bigger ripple. The easiest way to do this is to consider a small thing someone else has done that has affected your life greatly.

Dating in College

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Today I thought I’d share a funny story from my first semester of college. I found “pop filler guy” one of the first days I attended DMACC and thought I’d joke with him, being the sarcastic brat that I am. He was filling Mt. Dew, which everyone knows is my favorite, so I asked, “Hey, since I’m around while you’re filling that I get a free pop, right?” To which he replied, “Since I’m here while you’re eating your sandwich, does that mean I get one?” Touchè pop filler guy, touché. For those wondering if I got a free Mt. Dew, I did.

Since that moment when we’d see each other on Campus we would say hi and occasionally talk for a moment. It seemed like the polite thing to do, no? Sometimes when we were talking, while he’d be stacking crates or putting pop into the machine he’d casually take a Mt. Dew and toss it to me, in which case I was always grateful. When talking about him to others I’d joke around and say we were friends, even though we’d just say hi and he’d give me Mt. Dew. I thought it was a lovely companionship!

When we had time to talk, we’d discuss all sorts of things, including his two daughters, which I saw pictures of. I told him about my degree and what I enjoyed doing. We’d joke and laugh and then I’d have to leave for my next class.

One day, towards the end of the semester, when stepping outside of Monte’s office, my favorite professor; I talked to him often, we ran into the pop filler guy. He shared that he was getting a new job filling up pop at gas stations instead of the Campus, so next semester he wouldn’t be around. We were both sad he’d be leaving, but happy for the promotion. That’s when things got a little, for lack of a better word, weird. In short, this slightly overweight, balding man about thirty, with two small children, ASKED ME OUT. No, I am not kidding. He said he’d miss us talking and wanted to still hang out. He asked if I’d be cool with going out to lunch and a movie with him! I said that wouldn’t be possible. In his exact words, “I don’t want to step on any boyfriend’s toes, but…” Yes, that got said to me. He asked for my number so we could text, to which I replied I don’t text; to which he responded with, “Then I guess I’ll just have to call to to get that beautiful smile on your face!” I literally…I just can’t.

I told him I was trying to focus on school and boyfriend’s never work out. He had an argument for every excuse I thought of! I then told him I had to go, and when I thought I saw him the next day, I ducked behind a bunch of cars and a dumpster in order to avoid him.

When I finally told this story to my parents and a few others, they said, “Abbigayle, for one, you’re just too cute for your own good! Also, remember that when you think you’re just being kind to a guy, to them it’s an “Oh! She likes me!” I guess I learned a life lesson, no? I’m still embarrassed when this story gets told, but I have to admit, it is sort of hilarious. It will be a good one to pass onto future generations, aha.

 

Have you ever experienced any awkward dating encounters in college? How did you deal with them?

 

JORD Wood Watches

I know I’ve been vastly MIA and I have some posts brewing that REALLY need to be written – posts like baby shower recaps, my pregnancy experience, moving into my mom’s house and holding my own through all of this. There have been so many charities I’ve wanted to partner with and support. I will get there, though.

For now, I have a giveaway! Because that’s easy and fun :)

JORD reached out to me to do this awesome wood watch giveaway and I am so excited for you guys to win $120 gift card to their company. Wood watches are so uncommon and unique! If you’d like to check out more of them, click here.

Watch Gift Ideas

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Join the movement: #GoDoFly

Hello darlings!

Today I wanted to share with you this movement: #GoDoFly!

#GoDoFly is all about spreading positive vibes through inspirational stories. It is based on all sorts of true stories, from people who where abused to people who started their own business. You will find anything and everything that will help you get up and follow your dreams. Its main intention is to let others know that they are not alone. These stories come from dark moments of people who overcame tough times or are still even going through them. These stories are here to help others see that it is going to be okay, that everything takes time and that there is always a reason to get up to achieve your goals.

#GoDoFly is here to remind you that you are your own hero, that you are capable of achieving what you want and most of all, you are supported by thousands of others.  Life is too precious to let it all go and that is where we come in. We want you to help you to Go – get up, know what you want; to Do – to start doing it, step by step, to reach for help, to see the light,to do what you really want to do and Fly – Fly off and live your dream.

Tough times and dark times, hard moments and all, we are all in this together. #GoDoFly is a great way to motivate others with your story, with your own PowerTalk and of course, it is a happy place for you to get inspired to continue living your dreams.

Have you gone through a hard time? Have you moved to a new city without having a clue? Have you created your own company? If you have done something from scratch or have overcome a life challenge, share your story. Be an inspiration, be proud of your story and spread the love.

If you want to participate all you have got to is send an email to: ariadnaarredondo@thealwaysbeliever.com with the title #GoDoFly and they will take it from there.

Every bit of help counts as we spread the love further and wider.

Thanks for the love and keep rocking it!

Ariadna Arredondo

YSM // Pain is Temporary

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Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. – Lance Armstrong

I have experienced challenges in my life while going after my dreams. There have been many disappointments and changes of plans. The biggest hurdle I can remember facing up to this point was completing my college degree. There were so many painful hurdles in the process, which schools, getting loans, getting rid of loans, working two jobs all while completing my degree. In that time of my life, I have learned the beauty of endurance and coming out on the other side so much stronger. After going through pain for the minutes, hours, days, or year while it lasted, I learn to appreciate the little things.

Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat. –Napoleon Hill

I’m not the only one who has learned the lesson of pain being temporary, so has Julie. She has some pretty cool stories to tell.

ysm-julie

Short-Autobiography // I’m a former engineer. I spent five years working up the ranks of my consulting firm, successfully navigating a number of twists and turns in the company. I was well networked. I was primed for a successful career. I was BFF’s with all the old dudes in my company and our competitors. And then I had a baby. And then I had that stereotypical “women make babies and can’t be taken seriously” experience. And then I left. And then I sued them. I feel like that’s a pretty warrior queen. :) Julie

Blog | Twitter | Instagram

What are you passionate about? I am passionate about living well. About striking a balance. And about inspiring others to do the same.

What are the achievements you are most proud of? Lots of things. Professionally, I’ve started and successfully navigated three careers and I’m starting my fourth. Also, I birthed a child, so that’s pretty awesome.

What are you most grateful for in Life? Stability.

What are the biggest things you’ve learned in life to date? That it’s impossible to advocate for your need and interests if you don’t know what they are.

What advice would you give to yourself 3 years ago? That it does get better. Everything is temporary. And you’re smart, you’ll figure it out in your own time.

When are you most inspired, most motivated, most charged up? When I’m starting something new. Especially when it’s with friends and/or people I respect.

I imagine many of you have experienced pain or disappointment. What I’ve learned during mine is it matters how you choose to handle it. It is easy to be bitter, it easy to hold a grudge, it easy to do many other things other than facing pain.

Before success comes in any man’s life, (s)he’s sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps some failures. When defeat overtakes a (wo)man, the easiest and the most logical thing to do is to quit. That’s exactly what the majority of (wo)men do. – Napoleon Hill

Instead of quitting face the pain it is only temporary. After a while, the feeling fades, and the lessons learned and the strength gained is worth it.

 

Insights from the End of the Dark Tunnel

I confess – I have been struggling with self-esteem issues lately. I have gotten into the habit of putting myself down, making up negative self stories, and questioning my worth.

Unfortunately, my partners have been getting the grunt of my emotional turmoil. It is a long story. I am not sure I can get into all the nitty gritty details. All you need to know is that I have been more emotionally reactive than usual lately. And, I have regrets. But, by the grace of God, my partners still adore me. They have been my greatest teachers – just when I thought they’d turn away.

This is what I have learned:

Just because you show weakness, this does not mean that you are no longer worthy of unconditional love and regard.

When life leaves you bitter and mistrusting,your gut reaction is to shut down and close up. Though you are afraid to trust, you will find greater peace when you CAN trust and allow yourself to be vulnerable with your loved ones. If you can’t let go with your partners, who can you let go with?

Living with hope and joy is a choice.

Life WILL throw you curve balls. You WILL get hurt. You can either submit to being a victim of circumstance, or choose to make lemonade out lemons. Mostly, your joy comes from how you relate and connect with your inner self, as well as with others. Are you mean to yourself every day? Or, do you tell yourself that you are beautiful and worthy?  Do you look for relationships that support you or hinder you? It is all important.

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It is okay to lean on your Loves. In fact, be grateful you have people who love you!

In my darkest hour my girlfriend says I am a strong, powerful women. Hubby says I am a partner that has great compassion and love. And, he still believes in me. I am not the worthless, isolated, powerless, victim I sometimes make myself out to be. Why I even think this about myself is beyond me. But, I sometimes have these thoughts and live them out.

A Belief Can Make Or Break You

We are as strong as those that believe and support us. We are also as strong as what we tell ourselves on a daily basis in our heads. I am learning to love all of me, including my dark side, everyday. This is for me, of course. But, it is bigger than me. It is for my partners who love me and have devoted their lives to stay with me, no matter what.

Take-away to all of you:


Don’t let your inner mean girl get the better of you. Don’t let yourself fade away into nothingness. You are way too deserving and amazing for such an horrific idea! And for God’s sake, let go of all those worldly judgments! You are loved, and you are unique in this life!

WQ: Embracing Happenstance

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Hi everyone! I’m Pam from Hodge Podge Moments and I’d love to take a moment to tell you about how I learned to embrace life and the adventures that it holds. With time, I’ve come to learn that every moment is precious and should be treated as such. I’m here on Raewyn’s blog today to share the back story of how I came to this lesson, which is also the backbone of my blog.

My husband and I are newlyweds. We were married in September of 2014 – that’s nearly 9 months ago. I have only seen him 3 of those 9 months. I spend a lot of time alone and I’m okay with this. I’m okay with this because my husband is in the Coast Guard and spends a lot of time out at sea helping keep us land lovers safe.

I’m not new to the military life. I grew up as the daughter of a man in the Air Force. While I love my father and I am very thankful for our military, I purposely crossed “military” off my list when I started with online dating. I was lucky growing up that we never moved around, but I had seen what the lifestyle could do to families and I didn’t want that for my future. In all of this criteria building for online dating, I forgot to take into account chance and happenstance.

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I met my husband in June of 2012 one night at a local pub. We talked the night away and even though I was drawn to him, I didn’t see our talk going anywhere because he possessed two qualities that were on my “do not date” list – military and smoker. Despite these qualities, I gave him a chance and I’m happy that I did. He has now quit smoking and I’ve embraced the military life, even moving across the country and away from my family to join him. That’s an adventure that has been told in many posts on my blog, Hodge Podge Moments.

Why am I sharing this story with you? I want you to know that you shouldn’t rule anything out as a possibility in your life. I used to live my life by plans and lists. Now, I still plan and make lists, but I know that they can change at the drop of a hat. I’ve also learned that change can be a good thing that brings big adventures that you never predicted. Make the most of the present, enjoy every moment, and don’t try too hard to predict your future. Enjoy the here and now.

Hodge Podge Moments buscard

 

 

Friendship Red Flags and What to Do About Them

It seems that nearly anything I read about motivating yourself to work out suggests working out with a friend. This makes perfect sense: working out with a friend makes exercise more enjoyable and keeps you accountable. However, healthy relationships, whether romantic or platonic, are important to your health for much bigger reasons. One of the biggest ways you can improve both your physical and mental health is managing your stress effectively. Many people, especially women, turn to their social network when they’re stressed. Of course, with the wrong people in your social network, you could easily become even more stressed. While you can’t pick all the people in your social network (family members, colleagues etc.), you have complete control over who you call your closest friends and spend the bulk of your free time with.

Protect Your Mental Health- Friendship

Last month, I got the chance to see Alexis Jones from Survivor speak at my university. While everything she said was fantastic, one part in particular really stuck out to me. She said, “You are the sum of your five closest friends” and went on to explain the kind of people you should surround yourself with. This quote from her book, I Am That Girl, sums up what she said perfectly, “We need a shoulder to cry on when we are sad, encouragement when we are down, accountability when we stray, strength when we are weak, a calming voice when we are angry, and grounding when we’re too proud…Begin bringing into your life a group of like-minded women [and men] who support you and your dreams no matter how different they are.”

There are certain things you should never have to put up with in any relationship, romantic or platonic, and certain things you are entitled to (assuming you are willing to do the same for them.) I racked my brain and while this certainly isn’t an exclusive list, I think it’s a good start to analyzing the relationships in your life.

  • You should never have to put up with someone who consistently puts their needs before yours and expects you to do the same.
  • You are entitled to honesty and trust in all of your relationships.
  • You should never have to put up with someone who is petty and vindictive. If you find yourself uncomfortable or tired of constant gossip, you can speak up or remove yourself from the situation.
  • You are entitled to respect and support. While a true friend will watch out for you and gently advise you if they believe you’re making an unsafe or hasty choice, they will ultimately support you in your decisions.
  • You should never have to put up with someone who makes you feel judged or like you have to put up a façade. You should feel free to be yourself around your friends and they should never criticize any part of you, including your appearance.
  • You are entitled to friends who are capable of empathy and can be there for you in tough times. While not everyone expresses sympathy well and you certainly shouldn’t expect your friends to be your therapist, a good friend will always acknowledge that other people have problems too and lend a listening ear from time to time.

I hope you take the time to analyze your friendships and make sure you’re spending time with people who build you up. While some people are simply toxic and should be removed from your life as much as possible, you don’t have to cut everyone out that doesn’t live up to these standards. I’ve found most people are pretty reasonable and will listen if you tactfully approach them about the problem. It’s also important to realize not everybody’s perfect: sometimes the friends who are good to go shopping or running with aren’t the best to spend time with in other situations, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop shopping or running with them. Finally, it’s also good to analyze your personal behavior in relationships. There’s always room to improve and become the kind of friend you want to have. :)

4 life lessons cancer taught me

Receiving treatment for cancer at the age of 12 definitely taught me a few lessons about life. I have spent a lot of time wondering why cancer chose me; why the tumour grew on my ovary, and tried to take my life away. I have had to come to terms with the fact that I will never completely understand.  However, I have also thought a lot about what cancer taught me, and that’s what I want to share today.

Cancer is a part of life that we can’t ignore.

So many people are affected by cancer.  Everyone knows someone who has received a diagnosis.  There is a huge community out there who are going through cancer on a daily basis; they could be receiving chemo themselves, grieving over a loved one, or supporting someone through treatment.  Knowing that cancer touches so many lives inspires me to share my own experiences in order to help others.  I learnt that cancer does not discriminate and anyone can be touched by it.

Cancer makes you grow up, fast.

Before cancer, I was a 12 year old girl, much like any other.  During and after cancer, I was a different person.  I had aged beyond my years.  I had been through so much surgery and treatment, lost my hair, and thought I would die.  After that, I never quite fitted in with my peers and it was a cause of great turmoil to me in the years to come.  However, I also knew that I was strong and mature and that was something to be proud of.

Life is a precious gift.

Nothing makes you appreciate life more than fearing that you are close to losing it.  I feel blessed to have learnt how magical life is at a young age, and it is something which I carry inside me every day.  I am beyond lucky to live a life which is cancer free now and it is something which I am grateful for and constantly meditate on.

We have so much potential to create good in the world.

I never would have believed that my young body could go through such a traumatic process as cancer, and heal.  I felt that a deep strength had unlocked inside me, and I knew that I could go on to build a successful life for myself.  We as humans have fears and doubts but we cannot let them trap us.

What has life taught you?