Tag Archives: change

working in my yard changed my life for the better monthtomilestones.com

Working in My Yard Changed My Life for the Better

*I’m a Jesus-follower. As such, my language is that of a “Christian,” although I haven’t called myself that in quite some time. Please feel free to insert the language of your religion, or the lack thereof, throughout my post.

Working in my yard is by far the best free therapy I’ll ever get.

a quote about working in the yard by monthtomilestones.com

Often I picture scenes from my life, as I work alone outside.

I remember sunny mornings helping my dad fix up our house.

He and my mom were going to live there for the rest of their married lives.

I travel to my grandma’s backyard and the brick patio where she kept beautifully potted plants and a little yellow bistro table.

She was going to pass it down to me some day.

Or the evenings I’d help my boyfriend scale fish after sitting out in a canoe all day doing absolutely nothing.

That boy and I were going to last forever.

I think about afternoons at the lake behind our college, kids jumping off the bridge after a six pack of beers and a super hard college algebra test.

All of us were invincible then.

There were days spent strolling my oldest son in his Jeep Cherokee stroller, all the young girls at the park stopping to ooh and ah over his precious dimples.

He would never grow up.

The lies I told myself back then weren’t lies when I was telling them.

I really thought my parents would stay married for good…until they divorced.

I wanted my grandmother’s table–and my grandmother–to stay young forever…until she died.

That boy and I were going to make it, come hell or highwater…until we broke up.

My college friends and I truly believed nothing bad could ever happen…until I lost two of them in a drunk driving accident.

And that little boy seemed to stay young for so long…until just like that, he was grown.

a quote that says, you don't mean to let it go, by monthtomilestones.com

You find yourself thinking of days gone by a little more each year, the older you get.

When I’m out in my yard, I think of old days even more.

I ponder questions about why this thing or that was allowed to happen.

I often ask God if life is as it’s meant to be.

I tell myself that maybe it’s okay not to have all the answers.

And then I ask the questions all over again.

I pull up the many vines in my yard. They choke the life out of the good things, the beautiful things, that I would like to see blossom and shine.

It’s true in life, too, isn’t it? How often we let those weeds suffocate all that is good.

Regret, envy, comparison, malice, greed, lust. Our hedonistic hearts want all the things, and we want them now.

we take pride in pursuit of perfection by monthtomilestones.com

We think the tender shoots of youth will last forever and the flowers will never fade.

But they do.

The winter comes. Oh yes, it always comes.

With it come long nights.

Then barren days with no growth in sight.

We wonder how long the cold could possibly last.

The first few months of sobriety feels like the cold of winter.

It did for me, anyway. White-knuckling my way through afternoons. Breathing heavy when my husband ordered drinks at dinner. Declining party invitations and beach trips because I wasn’t ready to give up, but I knew I wasn’t strong enough to say no.

And we just about give up during the dark days of winter, don’t we? Trust me, no judgment here.

Then, before we realize it, the trees start to bloom again, the days last a little longer, and all of a sudden, we’re shedding the heavy coat of winter and stepping out in the new.

The sadness of death gives way to the gladness of rebirth.

And all is new again.

Summer arrives, and with it, confidence, freedom, joy.

We savor the long days.

We watch the stars.

We float on the water and listen to God speak in the waves.

Soon enough, the first leaf falls, and a new season begins again.

this is the way quote by monthtomilestones.com

And like nature, the seasons of my life change the landscape of my heart, and I am still me, but new.

What have you discovered about yourself through nature? How does it speak to you? What are your favorite things to do outside? I’d love to hear from you!

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Visit my monmilgoods.com store, where you’ll find some goodies to help you celebrate your journey! And be on the lookout for my Month to Milestone bracelet, coming soon! 🙂

sacrificial love month to milestone

Growing Older and Losing Loved Ones

What Sacrificial Love Looks Like

I was just a little girl yesterday, it seemed.

Long, dark-blonde hair. Terrible bangs. Navy eyes. A gangly little thing.

Every summer, from the time I was a baby until I was a junior in college, I spent a couple of weeks at my grandmother and grandfather’s house.

My grandparents lived in the Mississippi Delta, and it was truly what one would call a homeland, considering tons of aunts and uncles, “aunts and uncles” (what we called our older cousins–there were quite a few), and younger cousins lived there.

My older brother and I spent many mornings watching the old cartoons on Cartoon Network. We’d eat my grandmother’s homemade biscuits or a bag of powdered donuts from the Wonder Bread Factory.

Then, we’d get dressed and head outside to play. My grandmother’s backyard was like an enchanted wonderland. A master gardener, she’d spent what little money they had caring for the many plants and flowers that grew alongside the fence.

There was a small plum tree on the side of the yard. She used to to make homemade plum jelly, and it was the best I’d ever tasted to this day.

In the middle of the yard sat a swing I’d lay in, listening and laughing to stories my dad would tell about his three brothers and the shenanigans they all found themselves in.

We might drive to the Sack and Save for groceries, then visit my grandmother’s very best friend, my “Aunt” whom she’d spent every day with since birth.

That aunt had given birth to a child late in life, so we were close to the same age. One of my favorite people to this day.

Behind them lived my dad’s best friend, my “uncle.” His daughter and I were also the best of friends. That’s what cousins are for, after all.

I was blessed. These people, they provided a great deal of shade and stability when I needed it. As my childhood fell apart, they remained.

One of those in particular was my grandfather.

Radio Joe* was what we called him growing up, because he was always telling stories about inventing this thing or that. The radio, the airplane, MTV. He supposedly invented them all.

He was a tall man and strong. He’d spent his married life working in other countries for a construction company because he could make three times what he made at home.

By the time I was in high school, he’d retired from construction and had gone into the electrical business. He was smart and he was talented in music. I’m blessed to have a creative family, in that regard.

When I was in college, I attended a school not too far away from them. Every Sunday, before I went back, my grandfather would grill a steak for me and my grandma would make her famous potatoes. I was filled with good food and even better love.

The older I got, my grandparents seemed to stay the same, at least for a long time.

I got married and they were there.

I gave birth to my children and they were there.

We would visit and they were there.

They were there. Same house, same furniture, same town, same people.

They were there.

Until one of them wasn’t.

I’ll never forget the day I received the phone call telling me my grandmother was gone.

I’d recently moved about an hour from her, and all she’d talked about was coming to visit.

She never got the chance.

We thought surely my grandfather wouldn’t make it long without her.

The first year, he had a heart attack on the day she died.

But now, it’s been almost a decade.

He’s lived alone with little to no help.

The man is immortal, we always said.

Except, he’s not.

Yesterday, I received a phone call that he’d had a heart attack.

He’d been taken to a hospital near me.

I jumped in the car to see him.

Because of Covid, we haven’t visited in a few months.

So when I walked into the hospital room, I couldn’t believe how old my grandfather looked.

He was not my Radio Joe. He was just a shell.

My strong and funny grandfather couldn’t go to the bathroom and he needed my help.

With no shame, he took off his gown. He was in that much pain. He was that desperate.

I immediately jumped into to caretaker mode without a second thought. This was my grandfather. I’d once needed him to help me, and now he needed me.

With the nurse’s help, we got him to use the bathroom. She laid him back down, and I remained.

We talked for almost two hours.

I asked questions about his childhood, his early marriage, his family.

He told me funny stories about my Italian relatives, all twelve of the “originals,” we always called them.

It was a good visit.

When it was time for me to head home, I kissed the top of his forehead.

We said our I love yous. Only God knows if it was the last time.

And as I walked to my car, I thought about being a little girl, how fast it had all flown by.

You blink and your life is halfway over.

I thought about a conversation I had with my mother-in-law the other day, where she said she hoped she had “ten good years” left.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to get to the “end,” and to know it’s coming faster than you ever imagined.

But here’s the thing: we’re all actually at the end, every second of every day.

We never know when we might draw our last breath.

This year has made us all realize that a little more, I think.

So while I have that breath, I plan to use it wisely.

Forgetting the old…

Putting on the new…

Loving my neighbor…

Caring for the widow and orphan…

Loving my Earth…

Respecting my elders…

Honoring my parents…

Valuing my life and the blessings I’ve been given.

If you ask me, sacrificial love looks a whole lot like real love, true love, lasting love.

The kind of love that remembers the little girl who once thought of her grandfather as immortal.

And chooses to believe she will see them both, little girl, strong man, again.

Have you lost a loved one? How did it make you feel? Did you realize anything about life that you didn’t know before? I’d love to hear from you.

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sacrificial love month to milestone

How to Be the Star of Your Own Show by monthtomilestones.com

How to Be the Star of Your Own Show

Do you find yourself watching other people?

I don’t mean casually checking out a soul here or there.

Do you social media stalk, or celebrity-watch, or keep tabs on the big wigs in your community?

Or do you live through your children, maybe? You weren’t popular so you want to make sure your daughter is. Or you push your son to play sports or go out for student government.

Do you weasel your way into mom groups you want to be a part of? Insert yourself into places you weren’t exactly invited but just know you need to be?

Maybe you’re done raising children, and the pressures of trying to be super mom and make them super children are over.

Or maybe you’ve never had children and it’s just been you.

Do you find yourself obsessively watching every reality show on the planet, wishing you had a Kardashian or Kathy Hilton-crazy life?

These are telling questions, but the most important is this:

At the end of the day, was the day itself the kind of day you have always hoped for?

I know every day won’t be perfect, but still.

Are you living a consistently content life?

I have to tell you the truth: I had not been.

For years, past trauma left me sleep-walking through life.

I would try to move forward, but something from my past would catch a hold of my brain and become a hamster wheel of negative self-talk that I couldn’t move past.

I would drink to distract, eat to comfort, binge-watch YouTube to escape.

And all those actions did was leave me feeling more distraught and anxious.

I’d jump back on the hamster wheel with a whole new conversation of negative self-talk.

Did anyone else believe 2020 was going to be the visionary year of change?

I know I did. I remember writing in my 2019 journal about all the many ways this new decade would bring out a new me.

It brought out a new me, alright. A me who was more insecure, less content, and angrier than ever.

But those feelings actually had started long before 2020.

After the birth of my fourth child in 2010, I turned 30.

I realized that I’d lost all my twenties to child-rearing, which I did not regret at all, but that I still wasn’t any closer to feeling content with my life.

Getting married so young, every year was an act of trying to survive, and in the midst of raising small children, just trying to keep your sanity felt like success.

But now here I was, thirty, and I felt no closer to getting anywhere that anyone would deem “successful.”

The only thing I ever knew how to do was work with children or teach, and so, once again, before long, I jumped back into a profession I really didn’t even like all that much.

Because it was all I knew.

We do that, don’t we? We choose comfort, and often times, it’s not even comfortable.

The kind of comfort that’s based on laziness really isn’t comfortable at all.

Because that kind of safety is based on fear. It’s rooted in remaining with what we know rather than taking a leap of faith to what we could be.

Thus began a cycle for me: return to teaching, go back to my old ways, hate my life, want to make a change, take a new teaching job, hate it, go back to my old ways, hate my life, want to make a change…

A vicious cycle that left me in a new city (thought it would make me happy), in an old house (I wanted a project), and with about twenty pounds more weight and a serious self-condemnation problem due to my struggles with alcohol…

Which I was drinking in order to not feel all of the above.

It’s a real smack-my-head kind of thing. From the outside, one might look at my life and say, How could she not see what she was doing?

But I was so not focused on my own life that I missed what I was doing to myself.

I was busy focused on other people, and I was jealous that I couldn’t make my own life better.

What I thought was going to be the year that I had my greatest success- 2020- ended up being one of the quietest years of my life.

With no one doing anything because of the pandemic, I was able to take a giant step back and reassess where I was going and why.

When 2021 hit, I’d built up such a restful resistance, I like to call it, that when all hell broke loose: job issues, Covid, death, suicide, children leaving home– I was able to survive.

In other words, if the worst thing ever had not happened, I would have crumbled when my life changed so drastically, so fast.

What occurred instead was that I had an epiphany. I was destroying myself, and it was on me, and only me to change.

It was time to be the star of my own show.

And what I learned about starring in my own life is what I hope will help you change yours:

To star in your own show you have to take your eyes off of other people.

You can’t look outside before you look inside. I had to get to the heart and soul of why I’d been living the same cycle of misery for years on end.

It started with reframing my past.

One day, every member of my family left the house. I grabbed a candle, turned on some music and sat.

I began to recall many moments from my past that were hurtful and had left open wounds.

I sat outside of myself in each memory, really trying to understand what was happening in each moment, and putting myself in my own shoes or the shoes of the person who hurt me, and attempting to assess each scenario in a new light.

Then, I pictured what my “perfect” life would look like (understanding, of course, that no life is perfect).

When I was done, I wrote down that new life. I taped it inside the back cover of my journal, and I read it daily.

Every time I would speak, I would think about what I was going to say: was it going to help or hurt me? Hang or harbor others?

Every time I would eat, I would ask if there was a reason behind my eating. Am I hungry? Angry? Tired? Lonely?

I began cleaning my house daily, a huge step for me, since I thought cleaning was pointless. Everything had been pointless up to that point.

I committed to lifting weights just 15 minutes a day, 4 times a week.

I started walking my dogs and listening to good Ted Talks on the journey.

I stopped drinking alcohol altogether.

And I now take a Sunday drive, every single Sunday, where I sing, pray, cry and listen to God’s voice inside me.

If you’re going to be the star of your show, everyone else must become a costar, a guest, or an audience member.

And that’s okay. They’re busy starring in their own show, as they should be.

In fact, they’re so busy, they probably haven’t even bothered to check out your new season.

No one is watching us nearly as much as we think they are.

And this is comforting, really. Because it allows us to deep dive into the wide waters of discovering who we are.

Some people will quit you midseason- that’s okay.

You may change the script- that’s okay.

The ratings might go down for awhile- that is really okay!

Just don’t give up on yourself.

If you’re one of those who have read this and thought: Starring in your own show is so narcissistic, I’d ask you to reconsider.

We have far too many martyrs out there in the world, women who have sacrificed their whole lives being miserable so that others could be happy.

We have far too many women who were never told they could, so they didn’t.

Women who were never given the green light to create their own projects or to write their own narrative.

Women who gave up.

We need more women who are audaciously authentic, consistently content and who practice restful resistance.

@monthtomilestones.com

Those are the stars who shine the brightest.

And they make the world a better place.

In what ways are you wanting to be the star of your own show in the coming year? What changes do you hope to make? I’d love to hear from you.

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how to move forward
How to Overcome the Bad Habit Your Brain Loves

How to Overcome the Bad Habit Your Brain Loves

I am enjoying sobriety in a way I never have before.

During previous breaks from drinking, I always counted the days until I could end my self-imposed exile from alcohol and enjoy an afternoon glass of wine again.

I would tell myself that the new me would be different. I would stop at one glass (magically!), and I would skip days in between drinking.

It’s funny that I never noticed the correlation between alcohol and anxiety.

Never did I stop to think that the rules I was setting in regards to my drinking was a major warning sign that my self-control was haywire.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop drinking. I wanted to, but I didn’t want to.

I needed alcohol, but I knew I didn’t need it.

I craved the way it made me feel, but I despised it the next morning.

It wasn’t until a binger that ended my drinking for good (I’ll tell you in a moment why I’m holding onto that truth), that woke me up to the conflict in my life surrounding alcohol and my ability to control myself when drinking it.

I’d long known that I was drinking as an escape. I’d figured it out during one of the worst periods of my life, when I was using my nightly wine sessions as a way to forget all the pain of the day.

My job was awful, my marriage was crumbling and I was in a full-blown midlife crisis.

I was unhealthy and I was unhappy.

But I didn’t know how to change.

The truth was, all of my problems with alcohol were hidden in my problems with change.

It wasn’t the drinking of the alcohol that was bothering me. It was the shame I felt because I couldn’t stop.

I couldn’t change the things in my life that were bothering me.

But the reason I couldn’t change was because my thinking was all wrong.

Because I’d been raised in a traumatic environment, my thinking had become based on survival.

Survival mode is the lowest from of thinking, as Mel Robbins calls it, thinking from the “lizard brain.”

Baseline, lizard brain thinking is when your brain flies on autopilot and seeks comfort as a means to survive.

Changing your life is anything but comfortable.

So my brain was protecting me by doing the thing it did best: making decisions for me based on comfort.

But the comfort was bringing me anxiety, which was creating conflict in my brain.

The conflict was a signal that I needed to heal; but because I also suffered from something called Black/White Thinking, I didn’t know how to heal. Healing felt too hard because black/white thinking is all or nothing thinking.

And all or nothing is impossible. Humans aren’t made for perfection. We learn from failure and mistakes.

I woke up the morning after my binge with a realization that I could remain in conflict with myself and probably die, or I could live with a few years of discomfort if that’s what it took to change my habits.

Slowly but surely, month after month, I began my change.

It started with replacing my morning social media scroll, which made me feel worthless, with a Bible study and a 15 minute dumbbell workout. I still allow myself 15 minutes on social media, and I make time for pinning goodies on Pinterest, which my creative brain loves. But I no longer stay stuck in the frozen zone.

I also replaced my afternoon-that-went-into-the-evening wine session with a cup of aloe vera juice in a beautiful glass. I get just as much pleasure but zero anxiety because I know I’m making a better choice.

Finally, I write my concerns down before I sleep. Nothing about my life has changed all that much. I’m still not crazy about my job, I’ve settled with the understanding that my marriage is never going to be a Hallmark movie, and I’m constantly working on my weight.

But when I write those cares down and release them to God (you’re free to call Him whatever you’d like), I go to sleep in relative peace, knowing they’re out of my control and I’ve done all I could that day.

Forgiveness has also become the biggest change–and the best gift–I’ve given both myself and others. Nothing soothes the soul like truly letting go of the past.

And over time, my brain has formed new habits. I’ve retrained my pathways to find new things I love.

I’m not perfect, and I never will be.

But I’m content, and that’s good enough for me.

How have you replaced bad habits with good? What do you still struggle to change? I’d love to hear from you.

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*Visit the MonMil Goods store to rock sobriety in style! And be on the look out for our Month to Milestone bracelet, coming soon.

How to become more positive
a picture of the bible verse 1 corinthians

Who Are You Twenty Years After September 11?

I bet that if you close your eyes, you can picture exactly where you were when you heard about 9/11.

My husband was at the field house of our college having his shoulder looked at. A baseball player, he’d gotten used to these daily massages for his pitching arm, and he would sit at the field house and watch the news while the doctor checked on him.

I was at the bank, opening our first joint checking account. We’d just gotten back from our honeymoon, a quick trip after a small wedding the Saturday before.

Our son was two and a half months old, still just a little pea in a stroller beside me, my foot rocking the wheels back and forth as he enjoyed his morning nap inside the bank.

My cell phone rang as I was about to sign what felt like my twentieth document.

Hey, babe, tell the bank lady to turn on the news. There’s been a terrible accident at the Twin Towers in NYC. A plane flew into…

And then, Oh my gosh, oh no. This wasn’t an accident. We’re being attacked.

He’d just witnessed the second tower getting hit.

The three of us, my husband, me and our newborn son, had just moved to a new city to attend the state college where he would play baseball.

We felt incredibly alone, the three of us, in a new place, not having a clue whether that little town would be next and what else was going to happen.

We sat glued to the television. Everyone did. It was talked about endlessly over the next few months, as we cleaned the remnants of what once was and sent our men and women off to fight a never-ending war, a war that, for all intents and purposes, has been happening not since September 11, but since extreme forms of religions first came at odds with the rest of the known world.

I don’t know that we can win a war fought so deeply based on feelings. I don’t know that anyone has ever had the power to change another person’s mind.

But I’ve changed. In twenty years, I’ve changed a whole lot.

In the Last Twenty Years:

I’ve given birth to three more children, and they’ve changed my heart, my life and my body in unimaginable ways.

I’ve lost special people and animals, like my favorite grandmother and my first dog.

I’ve made some awful mistakes, said some harsh words, almost destroyed sacred gifts, and had to ask for mountains of forgiveness.

I’ve been a great and a terrible friend.

I’ve left home and found home.

I’ve discovered that who I was is not who I am meant to be.

I’ve allowed dreams to die, and birthed new ones.

I’ve sent two babies into the world, and I’ve held loosely the two I still have at home.

I’ve stayed married longer than my parents. And I’m happy.

The most important way I’ve changed in twenty years, however, has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the One who made me:

In Twenty Years, I’ve learned that at the core of every human being is a longing to be loved, valued and accepted.

And in loving my neighbor, I am fighting every evil act imaginable.

Because love conquers all.

Where were you twenty years ago today? How have you changed and what have you learned? I’d love to hear from you.

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a picture of the bible verse 1 corinthians
Where were you that day?

a quote by George R R Martin by monthtomilestones.com

Why You Really Miss Your Childhood

When I was a little girl, we lived in a small, white, two-story house on a quiet street.

Our immediate neighbors were older, but down the street lived children to play with, a creek to ride our bikes through, and all the popsicles in outside freezers you could find on a sunny day.

We spent spring through fall running the streets together. Rarely were friends allowed inside houses.

In the winter we were too busy celebrating Halloween, then Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day (which, in elementary school, was a huge deal) to worry about the bike riding.

Before long, it would be spring break, then Easter, and we’d be back to playing outside.

We knew two days by heart: when school started and when it ended.

My childhood wasn’t full of rainbows and unicorns. I endured a childhood that included alcoholism, abuse and divorce.

After my parents split up, there were nights I wasn’t sure where my food was coming from and days I didn’t know how I was getting to school without my own two feet (and our town was definitely not a walking town).

I think it was then, around fifteen or so, that I started to long for the simpler days of childhood.

The days where I could come home from school, make a snack, head upstairs to do homework while watching The Brady Bunch, and never wonder about what was going to happen to my family next.

Nights where TGIF was my biggest concern and I wasn’t worrying about my mom’s new boyfriend or how we were going to pay the light bill this month.

You’d think that I would delay growing up in an attempt to reclaim those innocent days of youth.

But I did the opposite. I married at twenty, and had four children before thirty.

I’m no psychologist, but I think there’s something behind starting a family so young.

People nowadays are too selfish to do it. We want to “find ourselves” or “live our life.”

When you start a family young, you’re either running towards someone or running away from something.

I was definitely running away.

I thought that having a new family could magically fix my issues.

Being a good mother would somehow make me forget that I hadn’t had that great of an experience with my own.

Having a husband would make me forget about the days I hated my father for his control and his madness.

Of course, no healing happened.

In fact, children opened wounds I didn’t know existed.

I celebrated twenty years of marriage yesterday.

My husband and I are proud, no doubt.

Married young, one child going into the marriage, one not far behind.

No money, no direction, no jobs.

Yet, we stuck it out. Through peaks and valleys, we woke up and chose to try again, day by day, for two decades.

We’re not special, and we’re certainly not alone. Many couples have fought harder and stayed together longer.

We’re also no better than anyone else. A couple choosing to end a marriage doesn’t deserve shame or judgment. They deserve empathy and community.

When people ask my husband and me how we did it, we both answer with one word:

Childhood.

His was wonderful and ideal. Mine, while not as surreal, also left me with a few good memories I cherish.

And maybe that’s what I really miss, after all.

It’s not so much that my childhood was perfect. It wasn’t.

It’s not the TV shows, the bike rides, the kids in the neighborhood, the holidays.

No, it’s remembering what I once had that no longer exists.

My family. What we were. What we’ll never be again.

It’s not the childhood I miss.

It’s the innocence that resided within it.

What do you miss about childhood? What’s changed in your life since you’ve gotten older? I’d love to hear from you.

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a quote by George R R Martin by monthtomilestones.com
clouds of change

Letting Go of Your Children (Why Change Is So Hard)

I had not one, but two, baby birds fly the coop this weekend.

My son moved into his first apartment four and a half hours away from us.

My daughter moved into her freshman dorm just down the street.

Both goodbyes were equally hard.

It’s bittersweet to be a mama sometimes.

You spend the earliest part of the parenting journey holding your children closely.

You pull them to your chest as they eat.

You rock them to sleep.

Catch them when they’re learning to walk.

Grab their hand as you cross the street together.

You and your child are intertwined, day in, day out.

Then, slowly, you let go of your child.

You wipe their tears as you leave them in their kindergarten class.

Wave goodbye to them as the bus pulls away for summer camp.

You watch them drive away in their first car.

You wipe your own tears as they receive their diploma.

The day eventually comes when they leave home.

And while they may return periodically, you know your family dynamic will never be the same.

Life changes.

I heard someone say once that change is really nothing more than an education in how to die well.

Really, all of life is teaching us how to deal with change.

Some people love adventure and crave the unknown.

They despise the monotony of a routine.

But even the biggest thrill-seekers will have their world rocked by change at some point.

Maybe it’s the death of a parent, the loss of a job, or the shock of a divorce.

Change might involve dealing with a new world amid an ever-changing pandemic.

Or realizing that what you once thought you believed, you no longer believe. A death of who you thought you were, I guess.

When we get married, we die to self. We put away thinking only of ourselves to make room for our spouse’s wants and needs.

And when we become parents, we sacrifice it all. There is a living being, walking around outside of our body, who is a part of us in some way, shape or form.

We literally sacrifice the urge to control a piece of our own life, even though we’d been in control for such a long time.

You know, if you think about it, eighteen summers is a pretty short time.

That’s it, really. That’s what you get as a mama or daddy. The standard eighteen years.

They leave for college, and, even if you see them frequently, control the purse strings, and make certain decisions, you don’t hold the clout you once did.

If you’re lucky and you’ve done your job well, your children will want to see you. They’ll seek your company and need your advice.

Maybe not at first. Remember, you, too, were once a young adult trying to prove yourself.

But give it a few years. There will come a time, maybe years after they’ve left home, when your child will come to you, needing you to parent once again.

And when they look into your eyes, you will see that same small child you raised.

The one whose tears you wiped, hands you held, cheek you kissed goodnight.

And you will realize that while life has changed, a parent is a parent forever.

Have you had to let go as a parent? How did you handle it? I need advice as I begin my own journey of letting go.

Comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

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6 Reasons Why Moving to a New Place Won’t Make You Happy

(Here’s What to Do Instead)

When I was a little girl, we left the only home I’d ever known in New Orleans and moved hundreds of miles away to Mississippi.

I was six years old, and I remember being very sad about leaving home and very anxious about the change.

A mere six months later, we moved again, out of a rental and into the home across the street from it. I lived there for almost nine years, until my parents divorced and my mom and dad moved to separate homes. From there, I moved a total of four more times before I ever graduated high school.

My husband and I got married young, which has some bonuses but also a whole lot of negatives, mostly in the financial department. We were ignorant about a lot of things where money was concerned, but we were also just trying to survive the day-to-day life of two college-aged kids with two kids of their own. We used student loans to pay for a lot back then, and we moved multiple times when leases were up, summer arrived and we wanted to move in with our family so we wouldn’t have to pay rent.

Our first real house was a wonderful little home. It was brand spanking new, and we were two proud, albeit slightly naïve, people in our young twenties. We quickly realized that the neighborhood was awful and the property values were plummeting. So we sold the home after two years, barely breaking even.

The same year we sold our home we bought a new one in a nice golf course neighborhood that happened to be the same neighborhood my husband had grown up in. He was thrilled to live there, and buy his own golf cart, and join the country club. But what we didn’t know was that it was 2007, and the market was about to bottom the heck out. We’d bought at the top. You can imagine what happened when we went to sell it.

Here’s the thing. We didn’t have to sell our house. It was a good neighborhood, we had plenty of room even after having two more kids, it had a great backyard and we were relatively happy. In fact, by 2011, I was the happiest I’d been in years. I loved our little house, our big family, and our life.

What I Didn’t Love Was My Past

We were living in an area surrounded by vestiges of my past. There were awful memories associated with the area we lived in. Not only that, so much of the town had changed from the time of my husband’s childhood to the time we’d moved into that house. Even he felt like his home town just wasn’t home anymore.

Having lived the decade before that in our college town for a couple of years (which is the town where we now live), I had fond memories of our time there. It was where we’d started our little family, where my husband had gotten his first job, and where we’d been a “normal” couple and not the couple who “got married because they had a child.”

I begged my husband to let us moved back here because, just like when we’d bought our first house and then our second, I thought moving would make me happy. I’d temporarily forgotten about how I’d always wished I’d lived right by my grandparents, as my kids were getting to do, or how I’d always hoped my children would live in just one home, like my husband had. And because my powers of persuasion are unusually good–and because he didn’t understand how hard it was to move–Clayford agreed, so in 2012, we packed our bags and moved two and a half hours away from home.

But guess what? Moving didn’t solve my problems.

Because moving to a new city cannot make you happy.

Here are six solid reasons why:

1. Moving items from your old house to your new house is a pain- especially when you’re moving to a new city.

Does this need to be explained? Shouldn’t this be first? Moving is a pain! It is time-consuming to move items out of your home and equally time-consuming to buy new ones. Pushing couches out of small spaces (Pivot!), taking down bed frames, maneuvering mattresses, and dealing with all the stuff you’ve been hoarding in the attic is a nightmare.

2. Paying for a new home is super expensive, and home values vary depending on location.

You are likely up-sizing, not downsizing when you’re moving. And while this is definitely a seller’s market and you might make some money, the flip side is that it’s a seller’s market, and you’ll pay top dollar for your new house, too. Factor in closing costs, down payments, etc. and you could be out of pocket big time.

3. Even downsizing has its drawbacks, even in a new place.

You don’t need that big closet until its gone, and you realize there was a reason why you had it. That dining room seemed pointless until your kids left the house and returned for Thanksgiving with a new family. Those high cabinets felt ridiculous until you now had nowhere to store your blender and the Moscow mule glasses you only pull out for company. Downsizing seems like a good idea until its not.

Those are all practical reasons not to move, but these reasons are just as important, if not more.

4. The older you get the harder it is to make friends.

According to The New York Times article, “Why Is It Hard to Make Friends Over 30?” by Alex Williams, people in midlife tend to gravitate towards old friends instead of attempting to make new ones. While you may find things in common with other moms in the new town you’re moving to, chances are there will be many people there with established friendships, and, let’s face it, grown ups can be just as cliquey as kids.

5. Most children do not want to leave the comfort of their childhood home.

I feel this on a personal level, and now I’m living it again with my college-aged daughter. We’ve lived in our current home for almost a decade now, and we love it, but it definitely isn’t baby or elder-friendly. The house has two sets of wooden stairs that we’ve all accidentally slid down once or twice now, and the laundry room is downstairs, away from the main part of the house. The driveway is also downstairs, which means we have to park our cars down and walk up, or park on the street to the chagrin of our neighborhood. I’m feeling the itch to move, but at the same time, I remember the love I had for my childhood home and the depression I felt leaving it behind. I’d give anything to walk through that house now, but without my parents married and living there, it wouldn’t be the same. I totally understand why my daughter wants to hold on to that, especially now that she’s leaving for college.

6. Moving Will Not Fix Whatever Feels Broken Inside You

Running sometimes feels like our best option, right? But as the saying goes, “Wherever you go, there you are.” I learned this the hard way. I really thought running away from our home near family was the “right” thing to cure my unhappiness. I thought it would fix my dissatisfaction with life. I’ve run from lots of things in life: jobs, people, places, and I’m here to tell you, wherever you go, there you are. Whatever isn’t working in your life, often isn’t working because of you. You have to fix what’s inside of you before you can change your circumstances. Get counseling, seek therapy, read, journal, talk it out. If you’re a believer, pray and ask God to reveal to you what’s missing. Only then can you find true peace.

I know it’s tempting to want to move. We believe moving will fix the things in our life that are making us unhappy. But they won’t. Often times, they will only make things worse, because now on top of the move that didn’t make you happy, there’s a whole lot of regret. And in addition, once you’ve moved and your kids have gotten settled, they will likely never want to move again.

So what should you do instead?

Make the choice to find out your reason for wanting to move.

If your motives are pure or you have no choice about the move, okay, but if you’re moving to find happiness or fix something, please reconsider before it’s too late.

Are you considering a move? Drop me a comment or email me and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.

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