Life Happens

From the Heart of Grace Waters…


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Just Keep Running

So, this weekend, I called myself making up for the times when I have been slacking in my personal workout routine. I had been teaching my fitness classes all week, but I had not been weight lifting like I used to, so I agreed to workout with my husband on this past Saturday. Now, why in the world did I agree to that?! My husband’s nickname is “the hulk”. He loves weight lifting and is amazing at it. I enjoy weight lifting, but nowhere near on his level. So, I decided to be crazy enough to join him. It felt great while we were working out. I remembered my love for weight lifting, and it was awesome just being in the gym with him, but I forgot the after effects of a grueling workout. That next day, my body was tight in places I had forgotten existed. I was shuffling along and sore, and I tried my best not to move too much because everything hurt. EVERYTHING! Sunday night, hubby was talking about running the next morning. Before I knew it, I had blurted out that I would join him. Again, what was I thinking?! So, the next morning at 5:30 we headed out for the run. Now, I had just BARELY rolled out of bed because it felt like my entire body had locked up, but I was determined to run. As I stretched, I second-guessed my entire life in that moment, and visions of me falling face first on to the pavement flashed through my head. Yet I pressed on. As we began to run, I slowly shuffled along behind him, just content to at least follow his lead. My legs groaned. My muscles tried to lock up and rebel, but in my mind I was telling myself I could do it. Step-by-step I grunted, groaned, sweat began to pour profusely down my face and back, but I kept going. I realized along the way that my body did not hurt as much anymore, so I picked up the pace. As we ran, things became easier. I still felt a throbbing ache in some areas, but I figured I had gone too far to quit. Before I knew it, we were headed back home. As we came up the final hill towards our house, I felt such a huge sigh of relief. That’s when hubby decided we would run PAST our house to the end of the road, and then turn around and come back. I stared at the back of his head without saying a word, but I kept going. Then, it was over. All of the pain, the heavy breathing, the moments when I thought I would pass out…it was all over. I had made it to my final destination. It may have hurt. Things may not have felt good along the way, but I picked up momentum, and eventually the pain could not stop me from racing towards my goal.

Life is like this. Sometimes things just hurt. Sometimes you cannot believe that you can take one more step and move forward. Maybe the “hill” seems insurmountable. Maybe that thing they did to you made you hard-hearted and unrecognizable. Maybe life has beaten you up so bad that it seems whenever you move, it is with more difficulty, and sometimes it’s just easier to roll over and “sleep” rather than face the world. I get it.. I have moments when I don’t want to put one step in front of the other, when it seems easier to ignore what is going on that facing the problems head on. Sometimes my own doubts and fears get the best of me, but there is more to life than this. Maybe, in those moments, we need to get so focused on the end goal that we press through the pain. Maybe we need to remember to keep running forward because if we just keep running, we can make it where we need to go. Maybe…I just know I learned something about myself that day. In the midst of my hurt and pain, I kept pressing. Yes, that was on a physical level, and I know that emotional pain sometimes goes much deeper, but if we can apply this principle to our physical pain, it only makes sense to make it work for our mental/emotional as well.

So, I challenge you to keep running. Push through. Finish Strong.


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Growth in Hard Places

Someone asked me how my book writing was going. I reluctantly admitted to them that I hadn’t been writing for various reasons…lack of support…feeling unneccesary…and the list goes on. They said to me that I should not let it go. In my mind, I admit I wondered if it was even worth it to write, but then I remembered that I don’t write for attention or applause, but to encourage and motivate. One person being encouraged is enough. So, I choose to keep doing what I am meant to even in a hard place. Sometimes it is in the hardest of places that great things grow. I remember hiking up a mountain in my area with a friend of mine. When we got to the top of the mountain, we noticed vegetation growing out of the rock at the top of the mountain. We could not fathom how the vegetation was still lush and green, and growing in, seemingly, an impossible place. But, despite the impossibilities, the vegetation still grows. It doesn’t need a lot to keep growing. No one waters it daily, but it’s still there, and it provides beauty in the stark landscape. It serves it’s purpose even when unnoticed. So, maybe you have been struggling to continue being and doing who you are supposed to be, but don’t let hard times stop you. Prove the impossibilities wrong.


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Embrace the Weird

I’m just a bit quirky…ok, maybe a lot quirky, but who’s really measuring? lol. I am the one in the room with a bunch of people who can choose to be extroverted and talkative, but who most likely will find the best corner to sit and watch others. I am that person who really does not care to say much, but finds it weird to be in the  midst of people talking, so I try to interject a little just to say I tried. I am that “weird”. Now when I use weird, it’s not in the negative connotation that many think about. My “weird” means peculiar, different, not like the rest, set apart, intentionally and innately comfortable being one’s self. That’s my weird. For years I tried to be different. I tried to be someone who everyone would embrace. I got hurt time and time again when people didn’t seem interested in me, but only what they could get from me. I shut down, opened, up, got hurt again, and shut down again. Cycle after cycle, my weird got me in trouble. That is until I decided to embrace the weird. Even now, I don’t always fit into the crowd. I often have nothing to say when everyone else has so much to say. Sometimes I just don’t want to talk or be around everyone, but sometimes my responsibilities force me to; however, that does not mean that I have to blend in with those around me. Just as in romantic relationships, there is someone for everyone. So, I choose to embrace those who embrace me…love those who love me…and be kind even to those who don’t understand or accept me. This life is too short to spend it being anyone or anything but who God created each of us to be.

So, if you are struggling with fitting in…struggling because you feel like the odd one out (which you just may be), struggling because “they” seem to like “everyone else” better than you…frustrated because your circle is small and the number of those you can really trust is even smaller…I get it. But this is an opportunity for you to get to know the intricacies of yourself, understanding that not everyone was meant to be “the life of the party”. Some were meant to stand out. As the saying goes, there really is a lid for every pot. Stop letting what people say and think change you into something that makes you dislike yourself. Embrace your weird. Embrace who you are. Enjoy being different. That makes you amazing. Some will like you. Some won’t. Some will love you. Some won’t. Some will understand you. Some won’t. Even so, it’s not your job to make anyone embrace you. Free yourself.


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Speaking Into the Silence

Lately, I have been a bit discouraged. Yes, even me…the motivator, the one who encourages others, the one who always has positive things to say and pushes others out of their low moments, yes me…and it has been one of those times when only those who are closest to me, or those who cared to really pay attention, have known just how discouraged I have been. Built in to the discouragement has been hurt, disappointment, let downs, and being looked over–a convoluted concoction of negativity. It almost made me give up, not just “throwing in the towel”, but burning it to the point where the thought of doing what I am supposed to do does not rise again. At least, those were my thoughts. Even the most optimistic people get down when it seems support is overwhelmingly lacking, when it seems “everyone else” gets the attention you wished you could, or even when those you count on to be there when you need them have better things to do. We are definitely all human, and no matter your purpose/passion, you still have a heart that can be hurt. So, I contemplated giving everything up, figuring no one would miss what I have to say or what I do, and just when I got to that point of give up, I heard something within me say “Speak to the silence”.

My first thought after that was, “Why should I? What difference will it make?” But when I thought about it more, clarity began to come. I began to remember the times when I have literally thought I am writing, speaking, or advocating to myself due to the lack of response, but then from nowhere someone would comment or write to me telling me how something I said had touched their lives. I then began to remember the times that even writing down what I was feeling was cathartic for me and got me out of my feelings. From there, I thought about how many times I have not responded to something others have said or written, and how they too could be feeling like I have recently felt, but the fact was that their words had meant something because I remembered them. So, as I thought, I realized that while the silence can be deafening, there is still life in the silence. There are still listening ears and watching eyes in the silence. Lives can still be changed, and passions can be built just by me deciding to do what I am meant to–even when I feel unheard and unseen.

Maybe you have felt that you are unnecessary, or that your words mean nothing. As you look around, it seems others have support, but you are alone…and maybe if that is the case at the moment, know that you were built for this. Who you are and what you do is necessary for SOMEONE on this vast planet of ours, and if you stop speaking/writing/motivating/marketing/encouraging, you will miss your opportunity to put an imprint even on that ONE person’s life. I know the process is difficult. I understand wanting to be embraced and encouraged. I also understand wanting to just sink into the background not thinking you will be missed, but keep speaking even when the silence gets deafening. Keep being even when it costs everything within you to be. Keep believing when everything around you makes it seem that what you are believing in and for will never happen. As long as you are alive, there is a possibility of having everything your brilliant mind could ever imagine, so get back to speaking to the silence. One day, there won’t just be echos, but a response. Keep going.


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I Am Enough.

For years I struggled with low self-esteem and with a persistent feeling of people rejecting or not liking me. Now, I know where my feelings of rejection came from–I remember vividly the day I was taken from my mother’s home, then placed in my Aunt’s home, only to end up in foster care. I remember thinking that I must have not been good enough, pretty enough, smart enough…just “anything” enough because no one seemed to want me. Then, I remember going from foster home to foster home, and ending up in a home where I never felt I belonged or was accepted. So, my insecurities years later were no surprise, as frustrating as they were. These insecurities and thoughts led me to not really have friends or close acquaintances throughout the years. I did not trust anyone; Nor did I think that anyone could really care about me. Besides, I did not want to open a door to possibly getting hurt. Even now, I think about the fact that I never had that “best friend” that many people around me have–that one you have known for 20 years and gone through many of life’s changes with–the one who knows ALL of your deepest, darkest secrets, and loves you just the same. Yeah, I missed out on that, and sometimes that hurts, but my childhood was just different from many others.

So rejection, fear, abandonment, low self-esteem, and this feeling of not being good enough constantly bombarded me through the years. At some point, I learned to open up enough to let people in, but even then, a small part of me would be looking for the slightest reason to run away. Then, when I finally had a few people who seemed to like me even a little, I began to cater to them, and I slowly lost me. I thought that if I was exactly what they wanted, if I never caused strife, if I did what they wanted, laughed when they laughed, thought like they thought, if I became their mirror image, then of course they would not walk away from me. Somewhere in those thoughts, I believed that I was not good enough to keep the right people around. So, I became a wallflower, always around, but hardly noticed–afraid to do anything that would make people walk away from me. I became a shadow of my shadow’s shadow, lost somewhere in the dark waters of unrealized potential and untapped dreams. For years, that was me. Then something changed for me. I got tired of being overlooked and of being someone else. The stress of trying to be liked, and people still walking away even for trivial reasons, and the realization of what is inside of me, caused a quantum leap into a new dimension.

I don’t remember the exact moment, but I know that one day I stopped caring about who liked me, who wanted to be around me, who was there one day and gone the next. I remembered that before the lost hopes and dreams, before the truncated childhood, and before the hurt had a chance to burrow into my heart, I used to believe…I believed that I could be whatever I wanted to be. I believed that I was lovable, beautiful, necessary. I believed that I did not have anything to prove to anyone but God. I remember years ago when I believed in me. I wanted that girl back, so I brought her back to stay. The reunion has been bittersweet and lonely, but it has been worth it.

Maybe you are now like I was, lost in the cacophony of noise brought on by trying to be everything else to everyone else, and maybe you are just now realizing that you lost yourself. Maybe you forgot that it is ok for you to speak up and express your opinions without fear of being discarded. Maybe you have gotten so far off track in trying to be “just right” for everyone else, that you don’t even know if you can get back to being who you are supposed to be. Maybe, just maybe, you have forgotten how to breathe and appreciate the amazing entity that is you. Maybe…but I have good news for you. As long as you’re alive, it is not too late. Now is the time to pull out every bit of power left in you–to stand up and no longer have to slink on the sidelines. This is the perfect time to rediscover who you are, and allow yourself to appreciate your quirky inconsistencies and even your insecurities, and even in that understand that it is those things which make you the priceless jewel that you are.

Life has a way of turning things upside down, but it also has a way of turning things right side up again, and sometimes that is up to us to do. Are you tired enough yet of being someone else? Then it is time for you to stand up and declare that, “I Am Enough”.


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Lifestyles of the “Not So Famous”

I have been writing for years….I mean, like years and years…since I was a little girl. I started writing professionally when I was in high school, and the rest, as “they” say, is history. I write because I love to encourage. I write because it gives me an outlet. I write because it makes me feel alive, and I am passionate about reaching the world beginning with the tip of my pen or the tap of the keys. I am undeniably a writer, and most definitely a motivator. Those facts are intrinsic; however, sometimes I get weary. Sometimes it takes everything to muster up a few words of encouragement. At times, I get serious writer’s block, to the point where I don’t write for weeks.  Then, maybe life happens, and I get distracted; Out of all of that though, one thing never changes, and that is that I am a writer.

Recently, I have been getting a lot of random encouragement to keep writing from some really unexpected places. My grandfather, who admittedly does not like to read books, just told me that he is blown away by my writing and my book makes him want to read. My friend sent me a message telling me that my words have power and are necessary…and more from others. Their words have lifted me up, and pushed me to be and do even more. Sometimes, in the midst of feeling like you are being overlooked, what you do may be even more far-reaching than you realize.

So, don’t stop being who you are because you feel unappreciated or not taken seriously. What is in you will not change just because you don’t feel like “being” it. It is still there. It is still waiting on you to walk into your full potential. Maybe you are not “famous”, and you do not have worldwide acclaim, but to who it matters, you are a “star”…and just maybe you are right where you are supposed to be, processing through the lifestyle of the “not so famous” to come to a place of wholeness and potency to where the very essence of your life’s purpose oozes from your pores even without you having to say a word. So, write…dance…speak…create…be…someone is still watching you…


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Bloom Where You’re Planted

My life is sometimes full of randomness. I can be walking down the street when a discarded tire on the side of the road gives me inspiration. A single word out of an entire conversation can get me daydreaming for the rest of the day (in the midst of my other work, of course 🙂 ) Sometimes, it just happens like that. It used to annoy me, this overactive imagination and mind of mine, but now I have learned to flow with it. So, one day as I was arriving home after a long day of work, I happened to glance at the tree in my front yard. I noticed that while it was blooming, it was not full-fledged in bloom like all the other trees in my neighbors yards. I began to compare the trees, and my tree was not as “good” as the others. But, then I remembered the Spring before, and I remembered that it had been in full bloom at some point. So, I began to think about what is needed for the tree to bloom (yes, all of this happened as I stood outside my car looking at the tree before walking in my house). For the tree to bloom, it needs sunshine, water, nutrients, and the optimum environment in which to grow. The tree had all of these things, yet it was slow in blooming. I then began to think of instances in life where things seemed a bit slow, and when it seemed that some things would never change, but seemingly within moments, things shifted. In that time, I took my attention away from those slow moments and focused on other things, and when I came back to the things that I was concerned about, the circumstances had changed. I think my tree will be the same. Right now, it does not look how I want it to look. It is not blooming as I believe it should be blooming, but it is in the midst of the process, and the end results will be beautiful. Life is like that sometimes–frustrating, daunting, not going as planned–but some way or another, things work themselves out. In the processing place, I determined that I will live my best life now. I will go after every dream that manifests itself in my life. I will have those things I desire. I will glorify God with my life. I will love, laugh, and experience all there is to offer. No, things are nowhere near perfect, and I do not expect that the path will always be smooth, but the end result of the process will be flawless and just for me. So, maybe you are feeling like my tree, not blooming where you are planted, and not seeming to be on the same level as those around you. That is perfectly ok, because though you are in the same environment, your process is different. What you need to bloom is strategically allocated just for you, so bloom where you are planted. Live your best life now. Experience new things. Challenge yourself. You CAN have it all and BE it all if it was given you to have and be. So, what’s stopping you?