Category Archives: prompts

Weekly Prompt – Beauty

I am once again participating in Sometimes Sweet’s weekly journal prompts, and this week the prompt is:

How would you say your upbringing or background has shaped your idea of beauty? Were you taught to apply makeup or do you hair by your mother or friends? If not, where did you observe what is now your norm as far as beauty practices? And although most of us have been inundated by different cultural beauty “norms” via the media, would you say that television and magazines have had a strong impact on shaping what you think of as beautiful? This week, write about your idea of beauty- how your background has shaped it and what that means for you today.

What exactly is my idea of beauty? Without a doubt it has changed and evolved over the years, and has been influenced by so many things, both good and bad. I’m not entirely sure where and when it all began, though.

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I was a tomboy in my younger years, so my interest in makeup and fashion developed a bit later in comparison to many of the girls I grew up with. I don’t remember when I started wearing makeup, but when I did it was minimal and based on what I liked – not necessarily on what was trendy. The same went for clothing – I didn’t necessarily dress with the goal of being “cool.” I wore what I wanted regardless of what anyone else thought. I don’t think I was taught how to apply makeup or do my hair, but I’m sure I probably picked up on how to do it by watching my older sister.

As I got older, at some point I developed an unhealthy view of what was beautiful based on what I saw in magazines and also on what I heard from women around me. I was always thin when I was younger and sometimes got teased because of my gangly arms and legs, but as I got older the comments became something else entirely. I would get remarks on my weight and size that could be either positive or negative, and while some were harmless, many came from a place of jealousy and so I became slightly obsessed with numbers, keeping tabs on my weight and trying to stay at a number that I realize now was not healthy.

I think it changed when I finally got my mental health taken care of. I literally gained a good 10-15 pounds after I met Josh, and it didn’t really matter because I felt happy. I admit that post-baby I once again bounce back and forth between feeling beautiful and feeling very self-conscious about my body, but now I’m in a place where I don’t even care about the numbers. While physically I would like to tone some areas, beauty to me has changed – it comes in so many shapes and sizes. I’ve accepted that I’ll never look the way I did when I was in my early 20s, and I’m okay with that – my goals have changed. I don’t even care if I never fit into my old sizes again… I’m not falling for that trap that you have to be a size 2 to be beautiful and happy. My husband thinks I’m beautiful and his opinion is really the only one I care about aside from my own. 😉

Weekly Prompt – Beliefs

I am once again participating in Sometimes Sweet’s weekly journal prompts, and this week the prompt is:

Would you consider yourself a religious person? Quite simply- what do you believe happens when you die? Have you always believed this? Do your current beliefs align with what you were taught as a child? And if not, what was the turning point? This week, talk about your religion or spiritual beliefs (or perhaps your lack of), and try to sum up, if you can, what you believe happens “next.”

Who knew broccoli was so delightful when it flowered? Apparently this guy!

There are few topics that make me really uncomfortable discussing, but religion is undeniably one of those.  A person’s spiritual choices are their own, and I respect that no matter what they may be.  Would I consider myself a religious person? Not really.  Do I know what happens when we die? Not a clue. Sometimes I wish I had blind faith, though, as I can see how being religious and a part of a religion would give so many people some sort of comfort.  However, I am filled with uncertainties.

Without going into great detail or specifics, I did grow up in a mostly religious household.  When my parents divorced, only one household remained in that same faith, but it was a still a part of my upbringing to a certain extent. While I didn’t always see the value in some of the teachings when I was younger, I do value and appreciate many of the moral and ethical lessons that I learned. That being said, my current beliefs (which are still undecided) do not really align with what I was taught as a child. I don’t see myself as ever being a part of a religious organization mostly because I’m not sure I’d ever find a religion that suited me, but also because I’ve seen the negative effects organized religion can have on groups of people and would have trouble dealing with the hypocrisy that often seems so prevalent – or at least was in the area I lived in.

I knew from a very young age that I wouldn’t follow the same path that I was raised in.  I can’t remember all of the specifics of the day, but I do know it was on a Sunday and as I sat and listened (I must have been 8 years old) there was a moment when something didn’t add up to me. Whatever was being said and accepted by everyone around me, left me uneasy and with questions that went unanswered. So, I continued on… keeping the peace in my family and avoiding being baptized because I couldn’t live a lie, and ultimately becoming more and more alienated from that part of my life, which also meant becoming estranged from some family members.  I could have easily gone along with it all and gotten baptized and done what so many other kids were doing – living a different life behind closed doors, but I didn’t want to be a hypocrite and had to remain true to who I was.

I truly cannot say definitively what I believe in or what happens after we die. I cannot say with certainty that it is the absolute end, but I also cannot say that there is something more.  It’s rather fitting that this prompt came up this week as Josh and I were having a conversation about spirituality in general and what we would teach our children.  Ultimately, we want to let them decide for themselves. We’ll offer the tools and knowledge that we can, but will not point them in any one direction. The truth is theirs to find, and quite honestly I’m not sure that there is just one truth. Perhaps another day I’ll delve deeper, but for now I think this will suffice.

Weekly Prompt – Social Media

I am once again participating in Sometimes Sweet’s weekly journal prompts, and this week the prompt is:

Do you use social media in your daily life? Do you think it adds to your relationships with others, or takes away from them? And furthermore, do you think social media adds more positive or negative to your life? Write about your relationship with social media, and talk a bit about how you got started, and what role it plays in your world.

Did a few more weekend trips as the year began winding down.

Nothing to do with this post… just dreaming of road trips and Spring.

I definitely have a love/hate relationship with social media. As with anything, it has its pros and cons and requires some balance.  I couldn’t tell you exactly when my relationship with social media began, but it started with MySpace.  Primarily I think I used it to connect with friends I already had, but I also met a number of new people on it as well.  It’s actually the method Josh used to ask me out on our first date, so social media has worked out quite well for us, I think you could say.  It was probably in 2008 when I made the switch to Facebook along with so many others, and it was again mainly to keep in touch with friends and family.  While I’m not always a fan of Facebook, I appreciate how easy it is to connect with other people. I can keep my family up to date with pictures of our kids and do the same with my blog.  It’s not always easy to pick up a phone (either due to lack of time or conflicting schedules), and with the click of a button I can quickly upload a picture or a video and reach everyone.  I also love that I can see what my friends and family are up to, especially those I haven’t seen in a really long time.

Overall I’d say that social media in my life has been primarily positive, but I do see some negative effects as well.  While it’s great to connect with other people, I find that it’s often hard to then disconnect. It’s all too easy to pick up the phone when at home, which is the time we should be spending together as a family rather than reading Twitter feeds and Facebook posts.  Sometimes I don’t even think people realize they’re doing it, and in our house Josh and I are trying to be more conscious of this and putting down the phone more often in the evenings. The last thing I want is for our kids to think it’s normal to always walk around with a phone in your hand.  When Josh and I were on our honeymoon we didn’t have smart phones, but were kind of shocked at how many people were on their phones while at dinner.  One nearby couple was on their honeymoon as well, but both spent more time interacting with their phones then with each other. We swore that would never be us.  Sure, we may post a quick picture if we’re out doing something fun, but what’s the point in going out together if you’re only going to spend the vast majority of the experience with people who aren’t even there.

I won’t bore you with all of my thoughts on social media and its effect on society since that would be more than anyone would want to read, and would veer off track from the original prompt.  Instead I’ll conclude by saying that social media has great potential and can be used in extremely positive ways and is a very useful tool, but (and not to sound too extreme) it can also be a powerful weapon in the wrong hands. While my experience has been mostly good and I will continue using it, I also know that I need to watch it carefully and be aware of how others are using it, especially as our kids get older.

Weekly Prompt – Motivation

I am once again participating in Sometimes Sweet’s weekly journal prompts, and this week the prompt is:

Everyone has different things that keep them going. Sometimes it’s the people around us, other times it might be what’s waiting for us on the other side of hard work. Whatever it may be, there’s usually some sort of motivation to get up every day, get things done, or maybe even go the extra mile. With that said, what would you say is your biggest motivation in life? Has it always been this way? 


I can’t tell you how many days I’ve wanted to throw the covers over my head when the alarm goes off.  I’m sure we’ve all had those moments where we’d like nothing more than to hide from the world and either sleep all day or at the very least not shower and stay curled up binge watching a favorite show on Netflix.  When I was single, I could do just that and not even think twice about. My only responsibility was myself and that was that.

The moment you become a parent, everything changes. You’re no longer responsible for yourself alone, and you have these amazing beings that look like you and depend on you for pretty much everything.  While Josh and I are a team and can singly look after our brood as needed, I have this innate need to be there and to spend as much time with them as I can.  Even on bad days, I feel like I have to make the effort to get up and do something just so that my kids don’t notice that mommy isn’t well, whether it be physical or mental or both. It’s important to me that I make the most of the moments we have together, and the effort that it sometimes takes isn’t without reward.  A simple hug or smile from my two favorite people is all it takes to brighten my mood, even if just a little bit.

Beyond that, though, my kids are my motivation to do more and be the best I can be.  I want to be a good example for them and hopefully inspire them in return one day.  I want them to dream and hopefully will always encourage them to follow those dreams.  I think it’s important for them to see that their parents are living a full life, and staying true to themselves, though.  I’ve always been so indecisive in terms of what I want to do with my life, so I’ve stalled and gone back and forth for years, always worried that what I really want to do won’t be practical.  Sure, stability is great and a steady income, but I think being happy with what you do is the most important thing of all, so I really want to encourage our kids to do what makes them truly happy one day.

I’ve done a lot of thinking soul-searching over the past few months, and slowly I think things are falling into place, or at the very least I’m becoming more aware and certain of what I want to accomplish and do.  If it weren’t for the kiddos, I probably wouldn’t even think much about stepping outside my comfort zone, but thanks to them I feel more ready to take risks… small risks, but things that make me squirm nonetheless.

Weekly Prompt – We all Struggle

I am once again participating in Sometimes Sweet’s weekly journal prompts, and this week the prompt is:

We all encounter challenges on a daily basis. You may consider yours something small, like having enough time in the day to accomplish everything you set out to do, or it may be a bit bigger- perhaps something you have to overcome mentally or emotionally, or even a struggle when dealing with a difficult person. Whatever the case, take a look at your daily life- what would you say is your biggest challenge? Or if you have a past struggle you were able to overcome, how did you do it? This week, write about a challenge you currently deal with on a day to day basis, or discuss one you managed to get past.

I bounced back and forth on whether or not I would share what I have actually struggled with for the majority of my life, or if would choose something that felt more “safe” and less personal. I suppose part of the idea of these prompts is to dig deeper, though, so I’ll go with my gut and talk about the thing that first came to mind, which is the black dog  that has been following me around since I was a teen.  (One of the best books I’ve seen that simply and accurately describes what depression feels like).

First a little background, though, beginning somewhere in the middle when things took a turn for the better.



I couldn’t tell you what was different about Memorial Day weekend of 2007, but despite the shining sun and perfect temperature, I felt nothing but cold, alone, and lost.  It felt as though I were destined to continue living under a black cloud that seemed inescapable despite the therapy that I had undergone and the numerous prescription cocktails that my psychiatrist had prescribed over the years.  For so long I had been struggling alone because I didn’t know how to ask for help from family or friends.  How do you tell the people you love the most that you are hurting and tired and ready to give up?  I couldn’t do it, but I also knew I wasn’t ready to give up – not really. Though I couldn’t see a future for myself, I knew there had to be one. I hit a breaking point and drove myself to an acute treatment center and admitted myself for psychiatric care.  It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and yet I felt like such a weight was lifted once it was done.

My breakthrough led me to treatment that enabled me to deal with a fairly constant struggle with Major Depressive Disorder, even to this day.  For a long time I was on anti-depressants, but was determined to get off of them before I got pregnant, so I did.  It certainly wasn’t easy, but I knew that while I couldn’t control my brain chemistry, I could control some of my triggers and I knew there was always a light at the tunnel.  I had seen it, even when it was nothing but a pinprick, but that’s enough for me. I know that no matter how badly I may relapse, I can always find my way out again.  Granted, sometimes I can’t do it alone, which is why I’m back on medications after giving birth to Phoebe.  I had enough sense to know I wasn’t getting out of the tunnel without a lifeline this time around. It’s temporary, though.

While some days it is a very hard struggle, I’ve come to just accept it as a part of my life, and thankfully Josh has accepted it as well.  I know it isn’t always easy for him when I’m having a bad day (or week or more) and he’s left to pick up the pieces when I have difficulty functioning. Time and experience have made me more aware of myself, though, and I think self-awareness is key.  I know that while I’m a planner, I can only look ahead so far into the future otherwise I tend to get carried away and cause myself unnecessary anxiety and worry.  One question I’ve always hated at interviews is “Where do you see yourself in five years” because of how much anxiety it gives me.  Silly, right?  So, one of the things I try to do is stay present and in the moment, but also challenge myself to look ahead with an open mind and without fear of the unknown.

While I know many people rely on medications to help them with their illnesses (which is perfectly fine and acceptable), it is my goal to once again get off prescription drugs and focus not only on my mental health, but my physical health since they are obviously interconnected and if one suffers, so does the other.  The hardest part is time, or lack thereof. It seems like there is so little time in the day and my attention is pulled in so many different directions.  Ultimately I’ll have to change my priorities and use my time as wisely as possible, figuring out what will make the most difference for my physical and mental wellbeing.  It’s worth it, though… I’m worth it, and so is my family.