Showing posts from March, 2017

Life Lesson #138 ~ Go Through It

"If you're going through hell KEEP GOING." ~ Winston Churchill

If there is one thing I know well it's life is tough. Seems more than anything Struggle and I are old friends. We have this vibe thing going. Or rather Struggle seems to have a radar gun pointed in my direction at any given moment. As least that's how it feels anyway.  Struggle, has this "Oh it's going so well for you is it now?" thing going with me then turning around and chiming in, "Why don't I just stir this pot over here for you then?" Struggle just wants to be helpful I'm sure BUT helpful is not the word coming to mind. It's more like hassle and trouble with a capital T if I do say so myself. The bottom line is I'm a magnet for anything remotely related to the words difficulty, struggle and exhausting. If I have learned anything in my 43 years, it's this,"Strength does not come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once tho…

Life Lesson #137 ~ The Strength of a Woman

"She slept with wolves without fear, for the wolves knew a lion was among them." ~ R.M. Drake

I have been blessed by the presence of strong, humble and Godly woman in my life. Lions no doubt among wolves. My mother being my greatest example from the time I was little. My mom, a lioness in her faith taught me the art of trusting God even in the most dire of circumstances. From a child to this very moment I see a strength and a courage many have not always been privileged to witness inside my mama. For me, JM Storm best describes her ,"She is beautiful. But you really cannot comprehend it until you understand she is the result of the pieces that she refused to let life take from her." And the truth is that is a resounding theme in the women my Father has chosen to bless me with all my life. Through the years God has placed many wonderful, loving and amazingly strong, determined  women in my life. These woman have not only been there for me but have served as living e…

Life Lesson #136 ~ Insane Courage

"Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it." ~ We Bought A Zoo
Many of you know my son Joshua's story. Or at least parts of it anyway. At 15, he suffered a traumatic brain injury in the locker room. In the weeks afterward he began to suffer from seizures, depression, debilitating headaches, processing issues among other affects of the injury.  His nose had to be corrected due to his septum being shoved upwards and his eye muscle repaired. In an instant life changed forever. Everything that came easy for everyone else was a struggle in the first few years for Joshua. Driving, working and school were slow steps, one at a time. At times he felt he would never get there but he did. Some mocked him, while others overlooked him and still many more doubted him BUT that didn't stop Joshua. He did graduate, he has gone on to college, he's working, he's driving, playing drums like no ones business and h…

Life Lesson #135~ The Real You

"I try to keep it real. I don't have time to worry about what I'm projecting to the world. I'm just busy being myself." ~ Demi Lovato

Have you ever stood back and thought to yourself, will the real you please stand up? And as much as we can ask that of others, how many times do we actually ask ourselves that same question? In a world so wrapped up in social media be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any one of a dozen other outlets we seem to embrace the art of manipulated happiness or criticism without a second thought.  I often wonder if most of it is smokescreens and mirrors or if what we're seeing is the real McCoy. I'm pretty sure most of the posts and status updates we read are somewhere in the middle honestly. After all, we simply want our best on parade right? Or we want to shame and guilt others into feeling the same hurt or rage we're feeling. After all, it's just a  couple of sentences, a few words, and what consequences could there be…

Life Lesson #134 ~ The Girl in the Mirror

"WARNING: Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of 'beauty'." ~ Anonymous
How many times as women, even as men do we look into the mirror disappointed? We feel less than ordinary even, like we can never compare to the world's idea of beauty and perfection.  How many times growing up, did we step back into the shadows, afraid of our own reflection? How many times we were scared even to be ourselves? The fear of being judged by the outside world or even those close to us was stronger than drowning many times. I don't know about you, but the mirror has not exactly been my best friend through the years. Be it as a teenager, as a young woman, during chemo and the after effects of  breast cancer or turning 40, I have never had a great relationship with the mirror. In fact I was happier when I couldn't see my reflection, nose tucked away inside a book, hidden from the outside world in my room. I hated girly magazines, name bra…

Life Lesson #133 ~ Like A Tree Planted By the Water

"Don't be troubled because of the mountain tops you have yet to touch. Like a tree, you will grow, not from the sky, but from the ground up."  ~ Morgan Harper Nichols
As a little girl I knew I was different. It wasn't that I was prettier, smarter, talented  or more important than anyone else because the truth is I wasn't. I was pretty ordinary is what I was. And I was pretty much a hot mess too.  I struggled with math, self- confidence and my reflection in the mirror. I never saw myself as anything but less than ordinary. I was different but only because I didn't follow the stereotypes of the time. I swam upstream rather than downstream. I laughed too hard, sneezed too dainty and imagined a little too big for most people I knew. I was a nerd, a comic book geek and a type 1 diabetic. Life for  me was anything but normal and I stood out only because I was an oddball.

From the time I can remember I have fought back, pushing life as hard as it pushed me. Much lik…

Life Lesson #132 ~ Being Irish

"Protect your family. Honor your elders. Teach the young. Be loyal to your friend, Voice your opinion, Stand your ground. Take charge when others show weakness. Play when you can. Work when you must. Always leave your mark." ~ Celtic Wolf Code

It's no secret I come from a long line of Irish. I'm not quiet about being Irish either,but then when is an Irish woman ever really quiet? Our family is most definitely American - Irish, but our roots are still very much tied to Erie. County Limerick to be exact and our family there continues to tie us to our family tree. Now the reality is St. Patrick's Day is a completely different kind of celebration over here. We've more than Americanized it to be sure. From the green beer, to the corned beef to the beads. We tend to forget the religious part of the Feast of St. Patrick, emphasizing more on the wide spread idea that everyone is Irish for a day. No matter how we celebrate, if you're Irish it's a day to honor …

Life Lesson #131 ~ Finding Your Direction

"If you want to find the right road, follow many paths, be willing to try new things and don't be afraid to change the direction along the way. Leave your doors open."  ~ Anonymous

It's unbelievable for me to fathom today my baby turns 18. Today he officially becomes an adult, a man in the world's eyes but in mine he will always be my baby boy.  Seriously eighteen years ago today I gave birth to our second born. I had no idea then how fast time would fly, and how much this little baby would change our lives forever. How could I know our Micah would challenge me to think so far outside the box or how he would inspire courage within myself in ways I never dreamed? And yet he has, over and over again.

From early on we knew our son was authentic, genuine, the real deal and most definitely divergent. We saw his life, his direction moving towards a much less traveled path. Micah was not different, he was his own person, unique and contradictory in every way from socie…

Life Lesson #130 ~ Our History

"Families are like branches on a tree. We grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one."  ` Anonymous
I am a Dowling. I came to my name by way of my dad, the oldest of the five Irish Catholic children born to Robert and Mary Dowling. My dad is a third generation born American. As the great-granddaughter times two of my immigrant great- great grandparents I come from a long line of Irish. Immigrants who worked hard to come over on boats across the ocean to this great country. Our roots are planted deep in southern country roads and dirt floors. Poor men and women done good, working in the steel mills of Alabama and fighting for the freedom of their beloved adopted country. They most definitely faced demons, fought off devils and eventually found Jesus. Peering into our family history there is deep, dark struggle, heart-ache and difficulties. Some stories are best left unread while others should be retold time and time again, as often as possible. Truthfully, "…

Life Lesson #129 ~ The Pages of My Life...

"Everything has changed and yet, I am more me than I've ever been." ~ Iain Thomas
If my life were a book it would start something like this...There once was a little girl. She was kind, and good. She loved Jesus and her Mama. She was her daddy's little girl and had his grit to boot too. This little girl loved to sing and dance, to laugh, to play and to jump on beds. She was a bit of an oddball, wearing tiaras and capes, always full of spirit and adventures running wild through her own imagination. She loved silly thingys, nonesensey dodads, fantasy thingamajigs and make-believe whatchamacalits. She liked to read, write and create. And she loved to quote the great Dr. Seuss in such ways as this,"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, which is what I do, and that enables  you to laugh at life's realities." Birthdays, parties, cakes a…

Life Lesson #128 ~ Raising My Tribe

"Some days I wish I could go back in life. Not to change anything but to feel a few things twice." ~ Anonymous

Johnny and I would both tell you our boys, these amazing children we've been blessed by God with are the greatest gifts of our lives. Joshua and Micah are by far the most precious blessings to come from the merging of our lives and families. I often say I'd love to have a couple days a month with our children, as little boys again. Just one or two a days a month to experience our boys as the small little arrows they once were... to hold them, to brush their curly locks for a moment or cuddle up and read them bed time stories together one more time. If only we could right?

For 20 years Johnny and I have raised our tribe, our arrows. Teaching them both to shoot straight, be humble, kind and to be fully and completely themselves. We have worked hard to keep them covered under a tent of unconditional love, stitched together by God's grace and forgiveness. Bu…