Friday, March 4, 2011

i'm better for it Friday...LISA'S STORY

Lisa's story. 
I’ve always been a  happy person. 
Since I was a little girl my mom has called me “Sunshine”. 
I’ve always tried to look on the bright side, 
believe the best of people and situations, 
count my blessings and stop to celebrate the little things in life. 
I think living with joy has always come easily 
because I truly love life, people, and simple pleasures. 
Several years ago I purposed to become 
the most positive person I knew. 
I haven’t always succeeded but I have tried 
to remain positive and celebrate life every day. 
Of course there have been difficult times in my life, 
darkness even. 
But through it all I’ve always come out of things 
with a deeper appreciation for life, love 
and and the wonderful things that are available for me to enjoy. 
I write a lot of gratitude lists and 
write a lot about celebrating the big and small things 
that I’m thankful for. 
I try and bring goodness to the lives of those around me. 
I strive and be a loyal friend, passionate wife and loving mother. 

My art is bright. 
Most of my paintings have uplifting words or phrases in them. 
I feel like I do a pretty good job 
at being happy and spreading happiness. 
My blog is called “Happy Mama” for the love. 
I’m happy. 
You get the point :)

Recently a big mess of sadness has entered my heart. 
Old sadness that was never really full acknowledged before 
has come to the surface, and new sadness sets in 
as I begin to unearth the cause(s) of it all. 
As someone who typically focuses everything I have 
on the “good stuff” 
you can imagine how uncomfortable I feel 
sitting with this sadness, trying to listen to it, 
and wanting to learn from it. 
Some of this sadness is coming from seeing someone 
I dearly love in pain. 
In recent weeks I’ve come to realize 
that there is nothing I can do to make it better, 
and that is painful. 
But the main source of this sadness sets in 
as I look back on my childhood years.
There were definitely times of joy 
and happiness in my childhood. 
I've always been able to identify and celebrate those memories. Recently though, I've come to see very clearly 
that I grew up in a house where 
emotional abuse was common place. 
Control was had by one person. 
Only certain emotions were acceptable, and 
if you said or did the wrong thing on the wrong day, 
you’d be sorry. 
Authentic feelings were stifled by fear, control, and manipulation. 
Anxiety became a way of life for two small girls and their mama. Our carpets were made of eggshells 
and our hearts were made of glass. 
It didn’t take more than a few minutes of yelling 
before my heart was broken again. 
Sometimes it only took one cold look from him 
to make me collapse into myself. 
Sometimes it was just the knowing that 
the work day was over to send me into a cloud of dread. 
Dinnertime was coming and we didn’t know 
what to expect from him. Was it a good day? 
Would he be happy to see us? Or was work stressful, 
his life overwhelming, and he would lash out 
at the first person who dropped a cup, 
or disagreed with his opinion?

In the worst of it, usually hours of rage-laced yelling and fear, 
my little self went to a place of darkness. 
A place of hopelessness and fear. 
A feeling like nothing was ever going to be okay. 
I so desperately wanted it to stop, for things to be normal. 
To go to bed every night knowing that 
I wouldn’t wake up to yelling. 
To spend my day thinking about childish things 
and not worrying about what was going to happen next. 
To not see the sadness in my mama’s eyes. 
To not live in a house where tension 
was the fifth member of the family.
When I think of my little self, my sister and our young mother
holding tightly to each other in those years,
I think of a strong bond. 
We loved each wholly and every moment 
of fun and togetherness we had carried us through the bad days.
When it was just the 3 of us, I was on top of the world. 
Life was good and fun and full of laughter. 
I sometimes wonder what life would have been like 
had we always had that safety. 
When I think about all of this, I just cry and cry. 
I cry for what might have been, 
what kind of life would we have had without the fear, 
the sadness, the worry. 
Who might we have been without the 
yelling, the roaring, the raging? 
Who might we have been with stability, 
safety and a true sense of well-being?

Recently I started sharing about my sadness on my blog. 
It’s been a big change since the focus of my blog 
has always been about joy, gratitude and 
enjoying the good things in life. 
It took me several posts to begin to feel comfortable 
writing about these uncomfortable emotions. 
Since I began sharing about this 
I've been delightfully surprised by the outstretched hands, 
open arms, and HUGE hearts of friends near and far. 
I am so thankful for each drop of kindness 
that’s been offered to me. 
I'm also completely blown away by the number of people 
who are now or have gone through something 
so similar to what I'm experiencing. 
It's comforting to know that I'm not alone on this journey 
through the cloud of grayness.  
Others have come before me, and are with me now, 
traveling the path toward healing. 
There is a pureness, and absolute beauty in vulnerability. 

I didn't realize that sharing some of my tender pieces 
would reach out to the tender pieces in others 
and connect our hearts together in such a meaningful way. 
I’m thankful for each word, each memory, 
each painful piece, 
each truth that has been shared with me. 
I cherish it all. 
Hearing the stories of other’s sadness has 
touched me and given me courage to face 
the darkness of my pain.

There is something so stunningly beautiful about the 
power of human connection. 
I am just in awe of it. 
As I face my fears of feeling exposed and 
step forward into the truth of my story, 
I am amazed by the village waiting to embrace me. 
My soul is soothed with every loving exchange with my husband, my family, my friends, and new soul sisters 
I'm having the honor of getting to know. 
I will never again underestimate the power 
of telling the truth, and honoring my story, 
especially the ugly parts.

It’s taking me time and practice to let go of needing 
to always be happy, always wanting to feel good. 
I think I’ll always crave joy, because I just love it :) 
But I’m learning that sadness serves a purpose, too. 
I’m learning that saying “I’m struggling” is a good thing, 
because it allows me to let go of holding everything by myself 
and open my arms to receive the love and support waiting for me. I’m learning that being vulnerable is good, 
when you have people you can trust with that vulnerability. 
I’m learning that talking about the ugly, or broken, 
or scary things is soothing this heart of mine. 
I’m learning that connection is 
amazingly powerful and healing. 
I’m learning that I’m not the only one. 

I’m learning that mothering my own babies is 
helping me heal my broken pieces.  
I’m learning that I can reach deep inside 
and comfort that little me who was scared and sad 
and just wanted her mama to be happy. 
I’m learning I can mother that little me and let her know 
that everything would turn out okay, that she would be alright. 
I’m learning that I can stop ingesting the pain of others. 
I’m learning that happiness is wonderful, 
and joy is at the core of my soul, 
but sadness and gray skies are part of life sometimes, too. 
I’m learning that I can heal. 
I’m learning that some things can’t be solved 
by the end of the day, 
that sometimes I just have to accept it for what it is and let it be. I’m learning that every phase of life is a season 
and I’m in a gray season right now.  

My heart is always full, as I’m a full-hearted person. 
In this moment I'm accepting that while joy is there, 
sadness overflows right now. 
I accept that and I'm trying to embrace it. 
It's part of my path, my truth, my unfolding story. 
The sadness takes me to places in my heart 
that have been unexplored. 
It shows me the beauty of my broken pieces. 
It reminds me that there is always hope, 
that healing is a necessary and healthy part of life.
With courage from somewhere inside, 
and the support of my village, I’m walking towards healing. 
This sadness is making me a stronger person 
and I suspect when I come out on the other side, 
I’ll have a whole new appreciation for my story 
and the stories of others. 
Soon enough the sadness will leave and joy will return 
full force but until that happens I’m here feeling how I feel, 
healing as I go, painting my way through the tears, 
talking about it, and writing it all down. 

And the sadness? 
I'm beginning to think that I'm better for it. 
I am better for it.

Thank you beautiful, inspiring, loving Lisa.
Hop on over and visit Lisa here:

if you would like to share your
I'm Better For It story...please email me at:
remember...we have to deal in order to heal
and in sharing our stories, the healing begins!!

happy weekend!


  1. Lisa you wrote this so beautifully and just from reading your story I have learned so much. You are so lovely, so full of grace. Thank you for sharing in this very honest way. Love and hugs to you from me.

  2. first . wow you did good chickadee.
    second . getting to watch you bloom
    and put it out there is a gift to each
    of us reading this.
    third . i adore you and all that you
    bring to my world.

    when you said that saying "that struggling" a good thing. thank you for that. when i say that,
    i tend to cringe a bit. as in i am defeated or
    have lost. but really we haven't. we are healing. and i need to remember that.

    i am so happy that our connection has become something that i cherish.

    a big smooch happy soar.

  3. Wow. Ok, so now I have tears!

    I have always felt guilty for the sadness that just keeps coming back. Am I not good enough to even heal that, now I know what it is that it's more of the onion peeling away, I guess. Prolly triggered by a whole bunch of family stress lately. Phew.

    Love to you Lisa! ♥

  4. dear lisa, what a renaissance you are experiencing of yourself, your whole self, & nothing but yourself. love to the sadness & the joy in you & freedom of being vulnerable & real.

  5. Lisa I am always impresed by those who can overcome the tragedies of their lives and live a success. You are amazing and I love your "happy" art".
    Thank you for sharing your story.
    It brought back memories of a life that made me stronger individual.

  6. Thank you dear Kolleen for these amazing stories.

    Have a beautiful weekend!

  7. This was beautifully written Lisa! What an amazing gift you have to truly illlustrate your feelings through your words! It's such an important lesson ...accepting the sad right along with the happy. And, taking it a step further, being greatful for it. Because you can't know the beauty of the light without knowing the ugliness of the dark. Without that context you can't appreciate it. And it sounds like YOU really do!
    Thank you for your inspiring lovely story!

  8. What a beautiful story ! It touched my very soul! Thank you for sharing and making this world a better place by having shared and learned from your sorrows,pain and grief. I understand all to well of all of these. And I too am better for this !!

  9. Dear Sweet Lisa, You are so brave and mighty! I cried a few times while reading these beautiful words. Without even realizing I had my hand on my heart the whole time. It's so touching. I'm so blessed by your friendship & the village of wonderfulness that is You! Thank you so much for sharing your story and being alongside me in this journey.


  10. I'm overwhelmed by the encouragement and support in these comments. I feel the love and comfort. Thank you!

  11. Dear, sweet much love in my heart for you. I hope you can feel it.

    These could have been my words, right up to the part about the eggshells. It seems we grew up in the same home.

    It was very brave of you to come here and tell your story.

    Thank you for sharing.

  12. Much Love to you Lisa! It takes a lot of heart to come through with a smile on your pretty face. Thankfully we can give our babies the loving homes we dreamed of. Keep on painting and spreading happiness!

  13. Lisa, I am so touched by your story. I love that you are sharing your truth here. Makes me have mountains of love for you.

    And I ADORE you too Kol! xoxox

  14. Lisa,
    Your art work reflects the joy in your heart. You wrote about seasons, I hope this too, shall pass.
    Art and words extend boundaries we aren't aware...
    The truth sets us free, maybe sharing the fragments of your soul, will enable you to heal and more sunshine will be exposed. It's in there...keep doing your art and exposing you!xXx

  15. i'm glad your mom called you sunshine and that you've been able to appreciate the good things! :)

  16. I've come to your blog from Catherine and I'm so glad I did. I hear all that you are saying and have been where you are now. When you get through to the other side of this grayness you are now experiencing, (and you will), you will KNOW so many things. You won't have just heard about them, thought about them, you will be them. The personal growth that comes for recognising the sad, the bad, the ugly as well as the good and lovely is enormous. It makes you strong, it makes you know who you really are and what you stand for. You are very brave because so many of us do not want to confront the pain that was or is. I like the way you say you can accept some things for what they are and just let it be. And that is SO O.K. I too am having to learn this and it's often very hard.
    So here is to your happy and your sad self, they are both precious.
    Take care,


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