Living for Two

Living for Two

My heart continues to look for you. It doesn’t understand the physical separation and wasn’t ready for you to go.

My soul knows that you are at peace and assures me that we will meet again.

As difficult as it is to accept, I won’t see you again this side of heaven. I will try my absolute best to live, this earthly life I have left, to the fullest.

Recovering People Pleaser

Recovering People Pleaser

I’m a, what I like to call, recovering people pleaser. I no longer feel bad for saying no to things that I don’t think I should do. I no longer give of my precious time to those that are negative and toxic. I no longer force my kids to be around people that haven’t actively been a part of their lives. I decided to stop explaining and defending myself to people who will only see from their chosen perspective anyway. I no longer make decisions based on how others might think of me. I now make myself a priority rather than being the last on the list. And you know what? I don’t even feel bad about it!

Letting Go 2.0

Letting Go 2.0

On this day 6 years ago, I had no idea that in one short week, our lives would be forever changed. In an instant.

Some days it feels like yesterday while other days it seems like it’s been an entire lifetime since I’ve seen you.

So much has happened.

You’ve missed so much.

What I’m finally realizing?

I’VE MISSED SO MUCH

The majority of the last 6 years has been spent going through the motions, getting by each day, surviving. We have come so very far, but the fact still remains that I haven’t been able to truly live.

Why haven’t I been able to live?

I haven’t been able to let go.

I wrote a post about this very thing nearly a year ago (click Letting Go to read that post) and I have done what I said I was going to do. I said I was going to try and give the pain over to God with the intention of moving forward.

How is it that I have been working at “letting go” for almost an entire year and my hurt is still so present that I’m wiping tears as I write this?

It’s a process. A long process. It takes intent. It takes work. It’s not easy.

I feel like I’ve done the work, but now what?

I have to make an actual decision, speak it out loud, and really let it go.

I know what this looks like in my mind, but my heart just can’t do it and mean it.

But I have to.

Stay tuned, friends 💕

How do you let go of someone who was so much a part of you? How do you let go when your heart still loves them with every beat? How?

Joni Grief to Life

Unapologetically Me

Unapologetically Me

I love this so much!

I remember a time when my Mom said, stop apologizing! I said, what do you mean??

She told me that I apologized for everything, all the time, even for things that I shouldn’t. What’s crazy is that I didn’t even realize I was doing that. I became so accustomed to saying I’m sorry that it basically became a habit.

I’m what I like to call a “recovering people pleaser.”

I’ve spent most of my life trying to make other people happy, a lot of times at the expense of my own happiness. What I realized is that, in striving to be everything to everyone, I forgot about me. I was like a chameleon, changing (sometimes moment by moment) to adapt to who I was around; just being who they needed at the time. Well, you do that for long enough and you can wake up one day with the realization that you don’t even know who you really are.

Losing one of my identities only complicated this further. I was Jonathan’s wife. So, when I lost him, I really lost my sense of self. For almost 6 years now, I’ve been on a journey of grief, only parenting grieving kids, trying to maintain a household by myself, navigating my way through changed relationships, deconstructing (and reconstructing) my faith, and trying to learn to live again.

One of the biggest things I’ve had to face is seeing myself for who I really am. I realized that I felt my worth was all about what I did for others.

I was Jonathan’s wife

I am Chase and Brenna’s Mom

I am a daughter, a sibling, an aunt, a friend

I am still all of those things and they are important, but above all else, I’m Joni.

I am not what has happened to me

I am not who I used to be

I am not the mistakes I have made

I am not who others think I am

I am not invisible or anonymous

I am not what I look like

I am not what I do

So many of us practically kill ourselves trying to be something or someone else. Desperately and tirelessly attempting to fulfill this imaginary list of qualities or capabilities that we think will make us feel loved or happy. And then we have to spend a ridiculous amount of time tearing through the layers of unrealistic pressures and expectations we have put on ourselves. It’s exhausting. I know because it’s what I have done.

I am the daughter of the most high God, who created me in His image. He doesn’t make mistakes. He formed me with His very hands. He loves me. He created me completely unique, down to my fingertips. So why shouldn’t that be good enough for me??

I am… ENOUGH

Be unapologetically YOU ♥️

Feeling Guilty For Grieving

Feeling Guilty For Grieving

Did you know that the majority of people who have lost a loved one are made to feel guilty about their grief?

Did you know that someone grieving often isolates themselves, disconnects from people, because they feel misunderstood?

Unfortunately, a loved one left behind will often suffer in silence because they have been told:

It’s time to move on.

Aren’t you over this yet?

You need to stop dwelling on this.

It’s been long enough, it’s time to let go.

Aren’t you ready to get on with your life yet?

Or, some of my favorites:

He’s in a better place.

Time heals all wounds.

God needed another angel.

Everything happens for a reason.

Although, some of these things are said with the best of intentions, let me make this clear, they just aren’t helpful! At all!

We didn’t lose something that can be replaced. We lost a person. For a lot of us, this person was an every day part of our lives for many years. This isn’t something you just “get over.”

You are missed

You were special

You were beautiful

You were important

You are not forgotten

Your life had meaning

You were so very loved

You are more than a memory

~Joni ♥️ Grief to Life

Grief is a very personal thing and it is unique to each Individual person. There is a long and painful process you have to go through in order to learn to live without a person that meant so much to them. The path they have to walk isn’t going to look the same as it will for someone else. We have to work at finding our way in a new life that was not chosen or planned.

So, wherever they are on their journey…

Don’t judge. Don’t tell them what to do. Don’t tell them how they should feel. Because let me assure you, those things will hinder their grief process, it certainly won’t help it.

Be there. Be patient. Encourage them to talk about how they feel. Love them right where they are. Repeat.

For those of you who have lost an important part of your life, your loved one…

Take all the time you need. Don’t feel guilty for feeling however you feel at any point on your journey. Those that don’t understand, unfortunately, will someday. This is your life. Nobody is walking this road for you. Do it your way! And lastly; acknowledging, feeling, and expressing your emotions is an important and extremely critical part of the grief journey. Without that, you remain bound and unable to grow and work towards emotional and spiritual health. Yet, it’s one of the most difficult things to do, for many reasons.

For me, I have found that writing is my best outlet. It’s my therapy and where God most often speaks to my heart. I encourage you to seek out the way that best let’s you feel and express your emotions. It’s crucial. xoxo Joni ❤️

 

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Never Stop Looking for Rainbows 🌈♥️🌈♥️🌈

Never Stop Looking for Rainbows 🌈♥️🌈♥️🌈

I was hurt. Bandages around my wrist. Bruises on my face and all over my body. Still had pieces of glass that hadn’t been removed from my skin. Broken leg. An undiscovered pool of blood from broken blood vessels in my leg, which later developed into compartment syndrome. Two surgeries to follow.

There I stood, with our two young children, staring at a casket that would be lowered into the ground. The worst feeling of the whole experience hit me at that moment. It was time to walk away. We would leave him there. 15 years together, battling things that some will never experience, and I have to leave him now. After all we had been through.

I will never forget what it felt like to turn and be led to the car that would take us away from him. I would try to describe it, but there are no words in the dictionary that could adequately define it.

Then…

I see a friend of ours running toward the car, yelling my name and trying to get my attention. I heard, you have to get out, look up! I made my way outside of the vehicle and I see a line of people as far as I can see, all looking up. I look up. I can’t believe my eyes. There was the most beautiful double rainbow I had ever seen. It hasn’t been raining. Weather did not call for something like this. But, it wasn’t just a double rainbow. There was a perfect rainbow circle around the sun.

Ever since then, on significant days, I have seen rainbows. Too many to mention them all, but these stick out the most in my mind:

My son’s first baseball game without his Dad. My daughter’s birthday. My first trip with the kids without him. What would have been my 15th wedding anniversary.

You may call them coincidences. I do not. There is no way that anyone on earth could convince me that the very worst moment in my life that coincided with a moment of pure hope like that, is anything short of a miraculous sign from God. There’s no way.

I was reminded of this today as I stood in the pouring rain, getting drenched, looking for a rainbow. I didn’t see one. I felt silly coming in all soaking wet, but thought… I will always look for the rainbows. 🌈

When the rainbow is hidden;

When it seems that light doesn’t exist.

When you can’t remember or don’t believe in the promises anymore.

Hold on.

Don’t let go.

Refuse to give up.

Even when they aren’t there, I’m still going to look up. Even in the storms, through the pouring rain, when we can’t see light or the rainbow… there is always hope. Don’t ever stop looking.

Joni ♥️ Grief to Life

A RAINBOW = A PROMISE FROM GOD