Follow Your Spark Thanksgiving Edition

Um, is it just me or does Thanksgiving not exist anymore? On November first, I saw several memes with a picture of October 31st on one side, and November first on the other. The October pic sported a kid in a costume, while the November one highlighted a Christmas tree. It was a joke about how the Christmas season (shopping season, really) begins earlier and earlier, and how people want to celebrate it already. Which is fine; I mean, my birthday is Christmas, so it’s not like I don’t appreciate the holiday, but what about Thanksgiving? 

Our world spins at such a frantic pace, that we need to stop and give thanks. We can do that for literally one day, right? When I say the word “Thanksgiving,” what comes to mind? For me, it’s sitting around the dining room table with family, and the image conjures scents of turkey and mashed potatoes. Before I gave up sugar, I used to gulp down two servings of multiple desserts, but no more.  

Before the Black Friday chaos commences, let’s take a breather and peruse the first-ever “Follow Your Spark – Thanksgiving Edition!” This list details what I’m most thankful for this year.  

  1. Life – Do you ever have those moments when you look at your child, and you think to yourself, This is why I was born, I will remember this moment forever, or I know right now that this is one of the best seasons of my life? WE ARE SO BLESSED TO BE ALIVE. Life is full of loss, sadness, and doubt, but it’s also full of joy – the warmth of feeling your child against your chest, the sound of your significant other laughing at one of your ridiculous jokes, and the endorphin high after exercise. LIFE IS PRECIOUS. We flippantly rationalize indulgences or bad decisions with I’ll start again Monday, or I’ll tackle that next year, but we don’t know how many Mondays we will be granted. WE DON’T KNOW. We are about to begin a new decade. Let’s appreciate every second. 
  1. Children – I do not take my precious, sweet babies for granted. I know many women experience infertility issues, and some are ultimately unable to bear children. On the way to my 40th birthday trip to New York, I miscarried in the airport (you can read “My miscarriage story” here [link link lnk link], and it was one of the most horrific experiences of my life. Any loss that involves children leaves a hole in your heart that never heals. I thusly feel immense gratitude every single day for my children, even when Julia, my two-year-old, is throwing a tantrum because she wanted to carry her Minny Mouse backpack to the car instead of her brother, even though he was only helping her. And, exhale. “I do, mama, I do!” If you’ve had a toddler, you’ve undoubtedly heard those words. Sebastian’s love language is ninja fighting, and Julia is obsessed with Princess Anna of Arendelle, and I want to eat their little cheekies all the time. 
  1. Ambition – There used to be a time when, if my husband referred to me as ambitious, that I would disagree with him. I would try to explain that I wasn’t, as if the word held a negative connotation. For women, it kind of does. If a man is called ambitious, he is applauded. Ambition is an expectation for men, whereas for women, it’s become synonymous with negative attributes like not caring about your family as much, being selfish, and not valuing relationships. And I bought into that line of thinking.  

When I gave up sugar last year, I had no idea that my life would change in so many ways. I suddenly had more brain space to consider new projects and to be inspired. When you are in the middle of an obsession (or addiction, like I was), you don’t realize how much time you are spending on it until you aren’t. That’s what happened to me. This year has been a flurry of personal growth, including starting this blog, opening a Facebook account (Hi, I’m 43 and learning social media!), and creating a digital course (Your Power Hour – Your Master Plan for Creating and Conquering Your Morning Routine launches in February!). 

The year hasn’t been all roses and rainbows, though. With growth, comes fear, doubt, and insecurity, but that’s why my tagline is “embrace the butterflies to unveil your dreams.” You have to be willing to sit in the discomfort or else you will remain stagnant. The discomfort can be soooooo uncomfortable. Once a month, usually around my period, I second guess what I’m doing, question if my desires and goals are worth the effort, and doubt if this path will lead anywhere. 

But you know what? Amidst the fear and doubt, I wouldn’t change this year. Every day I choose to keep going because I believe in myself, believe in helping empower women through their morning routines, and because I enjoy it. We deserve to have something we enjoy that has nothing to do with our children or significant other. We don’t have to justify the pursuit of something that makes us happy and lights our heart on fire.  

Now, I have no problem claiming that I’m ambitious. What about you, friend? 

  1. I am so grateful for my marriage. We all have a story, and we all have baggage. Well, I started dating my husband after being in a long-term relationship that wasn’t good for me. The negative relationship mirrored many of the aspects I saw growing up with an alcoholic parent, and then, later, that parent’s significant other. I became isolated, started changing in negative ways, and felt unstable. It took years to undue this damage, which is one of the reasons I appreciate my marriage even more. My husband Kevin (we’ve been together for 15 years), is stable, funny, an incredible father, and a partner in every way. Had I stayed in the previous, destructive relationship, my life would look very different right now. I wouldn’t have confidence, have Julia and Sebastian, or my Babies (nickname for Kevin). 
  1. My obsessions – This slot is dedicated to my hobbies, aka, my obsessions. First up: reading. I loooove to read. I devour most books listed in Reese Witherspoon’s book club (Where the Crawdads Sing or Educated, anyone?) and enjoy anecdotal non-fiction and personal growth books. If you follow me on social, you know I love me some pizza. Confession: I’m fully aware that I’m compensating giving up sugar with pizza. I’m also grateful for my Peloton spin bike. I started seeing commercials for it when I was pregnant with Julia and bought it a month after she was born. Robin Arzon is my spirit animal, and her rides were part of my post-partum treatment plan.  
  1. Clarity – I started this blog in June with the mission to help empower women. I knew I wanted to write about topics that affect women every day so that they can overcome their insecurities and pursue their dreams. I write about body image, sugar addiction, goal setting, challenging yourself, relationships, and more. But recently I’ve begun to understand my purpose. Female empowerment starts with our morning.  

Hear me out. “Self-care” is a trendy topic, but I’d be willing to bet you don’t actively choose self-care very often. Maybe you get a pedicure every few months, grab a pumpkin-spiced coffee once a week, or touch up your grays, but that’s not what I’m talking about. To be the best mother, spouse, employee, sister, daughter, neighbor and every other hat we wear, that we can be, we must take time for ourselves every single day. That’s right – EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. That has to be a nonnegotiable.  

For many of us, that might sound unrealistic, BUT if you take that time in the MORNING before the daily responsibilities kick in, then you’ve already filled your own cup. You will be more patient with your children, more flirtatious with your partner, more productive, prouder, and happier. You will be all the things you wish you could be, if you could wave a magic wand.  

Well, you can. It starts with creating and conquering your morning routine. This clarity has increased my passion to want to help women in this specific way. If you conquer your morning routine, along the way you will gain confidence and willingness to try new things. Dreams, and then goals, might start peppering your mind because you have a more open outlook on life. This is why my digital course will include a workbook completely dedicated to goal-setting. 

While 2019 has been an emotional roller coaster, I’m grateful for this clarity. Helping women create and conquer their morning routines is my purpose – look for my digital course launch in February! If you’ve ever felt like crying from the stress of running late and rushing BEFORE YOU EVEN GET OUT THE DOOR in the morning, then I’m here for you, girl.  

  1. The sun – In my family, the boys love cold weather. Sebastian wears shorts and no shirt around the house frequently, and Kevin enjoys the snow. They both hate sweating and hot temps. When Sebastian was a baby, he would often sleep in only a diaper. The girls in the house, well, we aren’t so hot blooded. Specifically, I appreciate sunrays. It can be 30 degrees outside, but if the sun is shining, it puts me in a cheerful mood. So, it might sound random, but I’m grateful for the sun, too. 

Last, but not least, I’m thankful for you for reading this. Massive hugs, friend. Let’s continue the Thanksgiving train! Share below what you are MOST thankful for this holiday season! What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Share your plans, fave dish, or your go-to recipe! 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the “Follow Your Spark” blog to automatically learn about new postings! As always, thank you for reading!