Labor Of Love

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Sometimes I forget about the beauty in humanity, we are fed negativity, everywhere we look. I can get pulled into that deep dark place, where all I see is the ugliness people are capable of. It can be daunting, wondering, never knowing who to trust. Betrayal is a constant. Keeping my guard up is so exhausting, and there is nothing more comforting than finding true friends.

Last week two of my friends, Aimee and Alexis, took it upon themselves to give me a break. They knew I am emotionally run down, that I have too much on my plate and more responsibility than ever before. I was under the impression that our life would slow down, and the stress ease after the wedding was finally over. Well, it didn’t. We were thrown into the new responsibilities of school and homework (seriously, homework is a 3 hour event, that often involves tears, frustration and tantrums). So they decided to take me out to lunch (sushi, duh). Unfortunately Alexis was having “one of THOSE days”, her baby is teething, and they had no sleep, nap time just wasn’t happening and she has a home business, is a breast feeding mama, and needed to get some work done. Aimee and I were already at the restaurant when we found out that Alexis was not going to be able to make it. So we ordered her a golf pro hand roll, and took it back to the house, poured her (and us) a glass of wine, and Aimee immediately called dibs on the baby, so I was able to sit down with Alexis and help her get some work done. As we sat their chatting, I was blown away by the love and support friends so willingly give to each other. The simplicity, and and really the perfect circle this made, I needed time off from my stresses, my kiddos, and all of the baggage that I have adopted for my loved ones. (I have an inability to look at a friends difficulties and not somehow own some of it. I am empathetic to a fault, and I need to work on it). Aimee is also a fixer, and she had seen my frustrations, (and I think she also missed me, we used to see each other 3+ times a week!) and, let’s be honest, she LOVES BABIES! So Aimee was able to get her cuddly baby fix. Alexis needed a break, and to not feel so overwhelmed by everything she needed to do. It really was the perfect, almost therapeutic situation. And to top it off, I was able to be a part of Alexis’ dream job. I feel like it is something that every woman can relate to, whether you are a mother, pregnant, or simply have friends that may need a little encouragement. I was so inspired as I sat there and really grasped the beauty of her work, and felt compelled to share it.

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This is directly from her website http://www.laboroflovebeads.com/

“My name is Alexis Baxley and I am a new mom and creative jewelry maker located by the beaches in Oxnard, CA. I believe that childbirth is a rite of passage and that each birth is a unique experience for each mother…the path to motherhood is a highly personal journey. As I started to go to more and more friends’ baby showers, I realized that there was something missing. The baby gifts and games were fun but I always left wishing I could leave the mom-to-be with something to remind her of the love and support that her friends and family want to ‘shower’ her with. As much as the parties are about baby gifts, I feel that they should also be about connection and support.

When the time came for my own baby shower, I wanted to have a ‘blessingway’, something special to empower me for my labor. So I went to a few craft stores and put together my own bracelet making kit. It took some doing and quite a lot of measuring and testing to ensure that everyone would have enough beads, any skill level could participate, and each could be done in under 15 minutes or so. This is when it dawned on me that I was meant to produce a ready-made kit for others who want to create an empowering experience for their labor and the birth of their baby!

What better way to show support of a mom’s journey than by coming together to create a personalized gift through beading. When Mom wears her bracelets, she is reminded of those who created them and their loving support.

I had 16 bracelets from 16 different friends that I wore during my labor. After over 40 hours of hard work, I needed all of the strength that I could find. When I was slumped over my couch during contractions thinking “this is so hard! I don’t think I can do it”, I looked down at my wrists and saw my bracelets. That reminder of support that “I can do this” was what I needed to keep going. My baby girl, Harper Reese was born soon after and is to this day the greatest gift I have ever received! We believe in the power of giving back. Ten percent of each purchase is donated to the Bumi Sehat Foundation, a non-profit, village-based organization that runs two by-donation community health centers in Bali and Aceh, Indonesia. ”

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While I sat with these two amazing women, we each made one for ourselves, and as I type I keep glancing at this beautiful bracelet made of blessings. It is MY constant reminder that not only is there good out there, but I have the honor of knowing some of the most beautiful, women, with even more beautiful hearts. Women who make an effort for each other for no other reason than, we may not understand exactly what the others are going through, but we can ease the burden.

Having had a particularly difficult few weeks, I can’t help but think of my loved ones who need such a simple, yet powerful reminder, that they are not alone.

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*All of these photos are directly from www.laboroflovebeads.com*

**Feel free to check out Alexis on facebook https://www.facebook.com/LaborOfLoveBeads

and her amazing website http://www.laboroflovebeads.com/ **

The goal is happieness

I love that my tea gives me advice
I love that my tea gives me advice

A few months ago I was a stay at home mom who had an obsession with health food, and went running to curb my anxiety. Today I don’t have a title, but I do have so many jobs! I was thinking yesterday, I did not put all of my eggs in one basket, but I might have too many baskets. It is time to prioritize, and maybe accept that the next few months will be crazy as I follow each of the avenues I have opened. I recently decided to get my certification in Personal Fitness Training with my friend and soon to be Sister In Law. We have been very seriously discussing starting a workout group at the park by our house. We both know so many people who are uncomfortable in gyms, or just simply do not know where to begin with getting fit and healthy. We want to create an environment for women to be comfortable (not during the class… sorry!) and encouraged. We all deserve to be empowered, and beginning with health and fitness, the rest will follow. Personally my passion is healthy food, not so much because I love food, I actually don’t, but because food is where everything really comes together. You can go to the gym for an hour or two a day, but if you binge when you get home, if you are eating processed “food”, if you are not listening to your body, you will not get the results you want. However, if you change your diet, cut out processed foods, be mindful of carbs, avoid sugar, and eat *ORGANIC*  veggies and fruits you WILL see results, you will FEEL results! Pair the two, a plant based diet and exercising, it will make the biggest difference. That said, I am very interested in exercising, and I can’t wait to find out more. Knowledge is POWER! I cannot wait to learn, and more importantly, I cannot wait to teach!

I had a chat with my dad tonight, I was filling him in on my plans to get certified, and unloading (I can’t help but to vent constantly!) all of my insecurities. I know that I am capable, but I am so scared of this class! I have never been a school person and have avoided it. Certifications, however, I am no stranger to. I was a lifeguard for a few years and that required more certifications than I am getting now. I am also older and I have a WHY. Having a “why” when you make a goal is paramount! If you don’t know why you are working your butt off, losing sleep, worrying, studying, learning, and or changing, then what is the point? How do you put your heart into something that has no real reason? When my dad asked me my “why” I said, “Well, money, I guess. I need to make money.”

My dad said, “That is not why you started all of this. Remember when you first started blogging? Why did you start?”

I said, “To be happy.”

I had already lost sight of my WHY! When I started blogging I was having emotional outbursts, struggling to control my temper, my anxiety was through he roof. I was not happy. I was in love, and I loved my kids, but I was not happy. I felt so guilty for not being content with my life, the funny part was that all I needed was an outlet. When I began blogging, not only was I able to unleash my insecurities, fight demons and write as much as I want about my favorite subject: Health! I also, now have validation, you all send me messages, some of you have encouraged me more than you know, the comments are awesome, and I have built friendships with people I never would have otherwise interacted with. I also have gotten to know people that I was Facebook friends with, but we had never really had a relationship. All of these things especially all of you make such a huge difference to me. I really wanted to share with you all today, that I have reconnected with my WHY, and I plan to make the necessary adjustments to flourish!