Tag Archives: having faith

Accept yourself with no exceptions

“Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to happen every time, it is about accepting that whatever happens is the best for that moment”

We all have had those moments where we go to check Facebook for a quick second and end up spending a half-hour on there, scrolling through our news feed, comparing ourselves to other people. Asking ourselves questions the entire time like “They look like they’re having so much fun and do so many cool things, why is my life so boring?” Or “I wonder why they didn’t invite me? Maybe there’s something wrong with me.” Or “How do your selfies look so perfect? It takes me at least 5 shots to get a picture I don’t hate.”

Admit it. We’ve all been down that road, comparing ourselves to the people around us. Even the most confident and self-assured people are guilty of this. If you have never done that, well kudos to you.

Tonight I had my high school reunion and to be completely honest, I was kind of anxious about it. Seeing what everyone has been up to is awesome and how much everyone has changed. I am so happy for my friends and everything they’ve accomplished. But at the same time I couldn’t help compare myself, it’s human nature.

So after throwing a pity party and momentarily freaking out about my life, I started to come back to reality. The thing is although I am happy for my friends, I would never want their lives and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t want mine. Where I am in life right now may not be where I expected to be but as we all know too well, life is a wild journey. Having expectations just leads to disappointments.  And comparing ourselves to others is pointless. The world would be incredibly boring if everyone was exactly alike. When we accept ourselves and love who we are, we become empowered and respect ourselves. Therefore attracting respect from others too.

The other week, I met up with a friend for brunch. After spending hours catching up and laughing, we both went our seperate ways. As I was heading home, I thought how nice it was to see my friend and what great things she’s doing with her life but of course, I started comparing myself. Because of my disabilities, I will most likely never be able to drive and although it seems like no big deal, I feel like it holds me back in life. As my mind started to think how if I could drive, my life would more exciting like hers and started to get depressed, my mom and I were rear-ended. Everyone was fine thankfully and besides some minor damage, the car was okay. But in the quick second, I remembered why I’m glad I don’t drive. As a cancer survivor, I would rather go out in another way besides a car accident. Maybe something a little less dramatic. But moral of the story, guess that’s what I get for comparing myself to someone else.

“When you know yourself, you’re empowered.  When you accept yourself, you’re invincible”

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Keeping the faith

Providence has its appointed hour for everything. We cannot command results, we can only strive.

-Mahatma Gandi

For anyone who knows me, you probably are aware of how important my faith is to me. Being Catholic is a huge part of who I am and without my faith, I probably would have given up a long time ago. A couple weeks ago, writers block had hit me hard and I was searching for ideas of things to write about. After texting my friend, she suggested to write about God’s providence in my life.

 
Although, I speak at retreats and share my faith with others, I’m always hesitant to write about it in my blog. Maybe hesitant isn’t the right word, I just don’t want people to see the word Catholic or God and immediately be turned away. Not that I am ashamed of my faith, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I just understand that not everyone has a strong  religious foundation like I do and sometimes because of past experiences or a couple of over zealous individuals, religion isn’t your thing. Look, don’t let a couple bad eggs ruin the rest.  We’re not all crazy.
For me personally, instead of preaching my faith, I would rather live my life as an example.
 
Second of all, to write a blog about God’s providence specifically in my life, it would be a super long post. From growing up with brain cancer, watching my dad die of ALS, surviving cancer and radiation damage, becoming physically disabled, nearly dying too, overcoming those disabilities to succeed in life, going onto high school and college, graduating college and now working for the state of Maryland; think it’s safe to say I’ve experienced God’s providence in many ways throughout my life. There have been plenty of times when I’ve felt alone and in the dark, just stumbling along, trying to find a light or some sort of hope. 
For example, after graduating college, I spent a long time looking for a job. With a degree in Communications, I applied for jobs in writing, marketing, social media, grant writing, and development but interview after frustrating interview, none of them seemed to work out. I was annoyed and began to fall into depression, questioning my purpose in life. I did internships throughout college, wrote a book, and wrote for a successful newspaper; what else did I need to do to prove I was a worthy canidate?
In November of last year, I spoke at a cancer event which the governor attended and after handing him my resume, I had an interview with his office. One thing led to another and several months later, I had a job and it was right in my own backyard, like 5 minutes from my house! Shortly after starting, I found out, the director of my building has the same first name as my dad and his last name is ironically similar to someone very close to me that just passed away. What an odd coincidence! 
All of those jobs I applied to with their long commute and the time wasted worrying about my future and being depressed, now seems ridiculous. It was as if this job was waiting here for me all along, I was just too blind to see it or was looking in all the wrong places. I am so blessed and so thankful!
Whether you’re religious or not, you have to admit providence is all around us. And that somehow, someway, everything happens for a reason, no matter how messed up it seems at that moment.  
To go back to those dancing balloon men that I used in my last blog. I know they don’t have feelings but let’s just pretend.  Those poor guys are just waving in the air, struggling to gain control of themselves, and the only thing that keeps them grounded is the fact that they’re tied down. The business owners who use them as an advertising gimmick,  need to have  hope and faith that a really bad wind won’t come and take these guys away. Just like they also have to have hope that these airdancers will grab people’s attention and bring in customers. We are very much like these dancing balloon men, dancing through life, not really in control of our lives. But unlike the dancing balloon men, we can step forward and take that leap of faith into the unknown. 
It’s easy to give up when things are not working out as you planned but you must have faith. Whether it is in God, in yourself, or in those around you. But if you  are willing to work hard,  stay determined, and keep trying, providence will find a way.
 
This quote may seem kind of crazy and out-there but I felt like using it. Doesn’t everyone put faith and Eminem together?!
 

‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired
You feel weak and when you feel weak
You feel like you wanna just give up
But you gotta search within you
You gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that out of you
And get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter
No matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse

-Eminem

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The canticle of the sun

“We never lose our loved ones. They accompany us; they don’t disappear from our lives. We are merely in different rooms.”

-Paulo Coelho

Last week was a difficult week for me. I lost someone very close to me to cancer. I had seen it coming for years and had time to prepare myself but obviously not enough. Msgr. Art wasn’t just a priest and anyone who knew him can tell you that. He was a human and made everyone he met feel special, like they we’re the most important person in the room.. When my dad died in 2001, Msgr. stepped right up and became that father figure I needed. Everytime I saw Msgr., he would look at me and say “you look beautiful today Elizabeth”, just the way a father speaks to someone he loves. His death has definitely left a huge hole in my heart and feeling as though one of my strongest anchors in my life has been pulled out from underneath me, leaving me stranded and lost.

After living in the land of the dead all last week and being overwhelmed with sadness, I decided this weekend, it was time to return to the land of living. Something I’ve learned from watching two men I love die, it is that death is a beautiful miracle. Most people may think otherwise, that death is wretched and awful, separating us from those we love which I understand. But being who I am; I choose to see the positive side. Shortly after my dad died, my mom and I were talking about his passing and watching him take his last breaths. Something she said that will always stick with me, is how watching someone take their last breath is like watching a child be born. One minute they’re breathing, the next minute, they’re gone. Maybe this is just my own personal experience and I have been blessed to have positive experiences but I see death as a miracle, especially for those who are suffering.

This past Sunday as I was getting ready for mass, I put on my dress which was one of Msgr’s favorites and I actually wore it the last time we had lunch together. My mind started to drift back to memories of him but before I started to cry, I stopped myself and just said “What great memories, I’m blessed to have them and I’ll wear this today in his honor!” And that was how I approached the rest of the day and every day since. I am smiling today in his honor because it is another “Praise Jesus” day! Someone once said “Moving on doesn’t mean you forget, it means that you have to accept what happened and continue living”. I will never forget Msgr. Art just like I will never forget my dad and although it is easier said than to accept, they are both home now, no longer suffering, and probably having fun being reunited.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, loves leaves a memory no one can steal”

Death is an awful and painful thing but it is part of our journey in life. We can either choose to live in a world of constant sadness, focusing on what we no longer have or embrace the exciting adventure that lays ahead of us and be thankful for the memories of someone we have. Msgr. would want me to be happy and to be strong so therefore I am. I am choosing happiness and to move forward, being grateful for the time I had with him. What do you choose?

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September 15, 2015 · 3:27 pm

Butterfly kisses

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over,
it became a butterfly.”
~ English Proverb

Like many people, I absolutely love butterflies. They are beautiful creatures, so graceful and peaceful.  To me, it is also what they symbolize. I have always compared myself to a butterfly because like a caterpillar, I am constantly changing and transforming into something else. I’ve never let my disabilities keep me from succeeding just like the caterpillar never gave up on becoming a butterfly. I think that’s also true for everyone too, we are continuously trying to grow and are always overcoming the obstacles life throws at us in order to succeed.

Although lately, butterflies have another meaning to me. Shortly after graduating college, my mom and I went to the beach to celebrate graduating from the Mount, my upcoming birthday, and to just get away from the stress of life. (I’m so lucky to have a mom who is my best friend) Like most recent college graduates, I was panicking, wishing I was still in college, and had no idea what my next step would be. While we were watching the sunrise, which is my favorite part of being at the beach, I was complaining about my life and searching for advice. I just needed a sign that my life still had some purpose! All of a sudden, I looked down and there was a butterfly, just fluttering along the beach and  happened to land on the sand right in front of me. That was clearly my sign! And not to sound totally weird but I  knew right away that it was from my dad.

This past summer, my mom and I were at the same beach and she asked me why he communicates through butterflies and I said, without even thinking, “probably because butterfly kisses were our thing.” So now every time I see a butterfly now, I always feel extra sure that I am where I’m meant to be.

When I blog, I like my writings to have a moral or a deeper meaning. This blog really challenged me to come up with one but after days of thinking and asking for others’ opinions, I realized what the moral is. We all have moments when we feel pushed to our limits or think that our life is pointless and we search and look everywhere for a sign but it just doesn’t appear!  And not to super religious, but something I’ve learned is during those moments that it is best to just let go, accept that God (or some supreme being) has control, and allow Him to take over.

I believe it is because of this and because of my faith, that both God and my dad choose to communicate to me through butterflies.

“Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.”

-Sonia Ricotti

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