We’ve all been there. We’ve all used this term and not really meant it.  I am fine today (for real), but I am “fine” other days. “Fine”, the one word answer that can mean so many things…

“Fine” = I’m pissed, at something or someone, in that passive aggressive way

“Fine” = I give up/I’m too tired to fight/ I am exhausted of talking about this subject

“Fine” = I’m not really well, but I don’t want to share with you, so I will just pretend I am so you’ll stop asking me.

“Fine” = I’m not really ok, but I’m scared to share my true feelings with you because you may think less of me

Fine = I really am doing ok (at this moment)

I have a hard time communicating when I’m upset about something. I don’t like conflict, I never have and I certainly don’t like to cause it. I have always been the “peacemaker” and the appeaser.  I also don’t like showing insecurity, unhappiness, and vulnerability to anyone other than my husband, certain family members and my very very very close friends. Sometimes I use “fine” because I don’t want to burden others. I’ve been very vocal in sharing my feelings about Delilah and her death, but other things are not as easy as sharing the love I had for her and the sorrow of her absence here with us in person. Sometimes it’s my job to make others uncomfortable, because the nature of the subject is uncomfortable, challenging others to think about what they say and do in wake of trauma, taking away a stigma from discussing infant loss with the public. I’m pretty certain that ignoring bad things don’t make them stop. “That’s sad, but It will never happen to me”, until it does. BUT, I digress. “Fine” applies to so much more than just one sad subject, though “fine” can certainly appear during times of struggle with it.

Sometimes people say they want you to be open and honest, but then when you are they don’t really want to hear it, or they will say or do something to completely invalidate your feelings or call it “complaining”.  It’s not always malicious when they do so, but it is always damaging. We fear the follow up when we give the real answers. I believe that’s a big part of what perpetuates “fine”.  So we have learned to bottle it up and hand out “fine” just as easy as we say “hi”.  In some ways it feels like it has actually lost meaning.  Sometimes, saying “I’m fine” is simply a denial. It’s us lying to convince ourselves that we are ok in wake of trauma, or not yet acknowledging that one has occurred or lying because everyone else expects us to be fine. But “Fine” doesn’t really bode well for anyone in the long run.  It causes self-doubt and inner conflict.  It damages relationships with those you love.  It may get you through a moment, but that’s all.

SO here is your next challenge; Find one person who you know isn’t “fine” when they say they are, even if it’s yourself, and open the door to share. You can’t force them to, but you can give them the option.  If they do, you may learn something valuable. Don’t say “fine” unless you actually mean it.  If you are feeling sad, say “You know, I’m having kind of an off day”, or if it’s in response to an argument or anger at something/someone, voice your actual thoughts to what extent you can. “It really hurt me just now when this happened….” or “I am really struggling with…..” , etc.  I’m not asking you to unload your biggest life challenges to complete strangers, but I am asking you to see through “fine”, and to move towards fine. There are many ways to accomplish these things, and it’s entirely up to the situational use of “fine” and who you are interacting with, but I think you get my point right?  Ok, Fine.

A second chance to respond

A post from my friend at Expecting the Unexpected….nails these interaction, with a unexpected interaction. 🙂

Expecting the Unexpected

She approached with a friendly smile. “Don’t you have a new baby?”

I was at bootcamp and the woman behind the words was familiar to me. I knew she had a little baby from an interaction I had with her a few months ago. I remembered her friendly face. In bootcamp we often have to pair up.   Many times I don’t know anyone in the class, so I look around to see who a welcoming face. This woman had caught my eye.

The words caught in my throat. Six months after my daughter’s death I don’t get choked up when asked about her; I can say the words with out crying. But I get hung up on what to say, how to say it. I almost dread disappointing people when they ask such a simple question, one that deserves a simple answer. I pause awkwardly when asked, thinking how they…

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Winning at life? Give yourself a little credit…

I saw this article here on and thought I would share, because sometimes we all feel like we’re not growing and going places and that can be hard.  Give yourself a little credit! I know that I’ve made a lot of progress over the last 5 years, but I’m still working on some of them… The point is to appreciate how you have grown and if you want to make your life “better” then pick one of these things and make it an active task to work on this week/month/year.


20 Signs You’re Succeeding In Life, Even If You Don’t Feel You Are

1. Your relationships are less dramatic than they used to be.

Drama is not maturity. As we age, we should develop maturity. So maybe your relationships were drama-filled in your past, but if you have moved beyond that, then you are successful.

2. You are not afraid to ask for help and support any more.

Asking for help does not equal weakness. In fact, it is a strength. No person has ever succeeded in isolation. It takes teamwork to accomplish goals. Asking or help is a sign that you have grown as a person.

3. You have raised your standards.

You don’t tolerate bad behavior any more – from other people, or even yourself. You hold people accountable for their actions. You don’t spend time with the “energy vampires” in your life anymore.

4. You let go of things that don’t make you feel good.

No, this is not narcissistic even though it might seem like it. Self-love is success. Love yourself enough to say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t make you happy, doesn’t serve your purpose, or drags you down.

5. You have moments where you appreciate who you see in the mirror.

Ideally, you should appreciate who you see in the mirror at every moment. But even if that doesn’t happen, if you do it more than you used to, then that is success. Love yourself. You are awesome.

6. You have learned that setbacks and failure are part of self-growth.

Not everyone can have success 100% of the time. That’s just not realistic. Life is about victories and losses. So look at your setbacks as stepping stones to something better. In reality, there really is no such thing as as setback. It’s all just part of a wondrous journey.

7. You have a support system that includes people who would do anything for you.

If you have figured out the people who “have your back” and recognized the ones who only pretend that they do, then you have succeeded. This is a painful realization, but once you learn to see the signs of betrayal, you can stay away from those people.

8. You don’t complain much.

Because you know there really is nothing to complain about. Unless you really have gone through some horrific life experience and had unimaginable losses, most of what we all experience on a day-to-day basis is just mundane. And successful people know that. And they live in a space of gratitude.

9. You can celebrate others’ successes.

Just because other people succeed, that doesn’t make you a failure. Applaud the people who rise to the top. The more positive energy you give to other people’s victories, the more you will create your own.

10. You have passions that you pursue.

You are not stagnant. You know you have something wonderful to contribute to the world. You have unique talents and gifts. Not only do you know that, you pursue it.

11. You have things to look forward to.

If you don’t have exciting things going on in your life that you are eagerly anticipating, then you are slowly dying inside. Successful people create goals that they are passionate about pursuing. They let this excitement drive their life.

12. You have goals that have come true.

Even though “failures” are a part of life, you have stuck to your goals and dreams long enough to make them come to fruition. You have  some tastes of victory. It fuels you.

13. You have empathy for others.

A person without empathy is dead inside. Empathy equals spreading love and positive energy into the world. Successful people know this. They love others as if they are family.

14. You love deeply and open yourself up to be loved by others.

Love is risky, and sometimes scary for people. It’s the one thing we all strive for, but it’s also intimately tied to the one thing we fear the most – rejection. If you open your heart enough to love and be loved, then you are successful.

15. You refuse to be be a victim.

You know that life doesn’t always happen to you. Many times, you are a co-creator of your life experiences. Successful people know this and refuse to be kept down by life experiences. The rise up and conquer anyway.

16. You don’t care what other people think.

You know you can’t please everyone. You know that the standards with which society judges people is many times unrealistic. So you just keep true to yourself and love the person you are.

17. You always look on the bright side.

Life can be full of disappointments – if you choose to see them that way. Otherwise, they are learning opportunities. No negative experience is ever wasted as long as you learn from it.

18. You accept what you can’t change.

Let’s face it – there many things you can’t change in life. All you can change is how you view what happens. If you can change your negative perspective on situations to a positive one, then you are successful.

19. You change what you can.

And let’s face it again – there are many things you can change in life. Successful people don’t sit around accepting the negatives that are changeable. They get out there and do something about it!!

20. You are happy.

To me, this is the ultimate definition of success. It doesn’t matter what the balance is in your bank account, how big your house is,  or how many fancy vacations you take. If you are happy, then you are succeeding in life.


So there it is.  Are you winning?  Are you setting some new goals?  Either way, you’re doing something, and that’s on the road to where you want to be as a human being.  So much more than fame & fortune isn’t it?

When the Humor is Gone

As I was trying to figure out what to write about last night, I checked out my facebook feed only to see the sad, sad news about Robin Williams.  I couldn’t believe it, like most of you out there I was a fan.  In fact, I don’t think there is a generation that Robin Williams didn’t touch through his gift of comedic genius.  As I read on, I couldn’t help but find myself thinking how could this happen? Why?

I don’t mean that in the open-ended “mourning” woe-is-the-universe way; I truly don’t understand. Was he so good at hiding it that his closest friends and family didn’t know how deep his sadness was?  Was he showing all the signs but no one paid close enough attention? Was this a reaction to one thing that put him over the top or a build up of things that finally came to this sad conclusion?  How did it get so bad that he couldn’t see the point in living anymore, that he couldn’t find an ounce happiness or purpose in life that made it worth fighting for? Why didn’t he ask for help?  Or did he??  I know that he spent years and years battling drugs and depression, and it could not have been easy (that’s quite the understatement isn’t it?), but at the end of the day he gave up, and we will never have the answers to these questions.  It’s another very public reality check on the detriment of battles with one’s own self and a heartbreaking way to call attention to something that has been needing it for some time. The scary thing is, we still don’t know how to fix it, and even worse, I’m unsure that “we” can. There is ample help out there for those who need it, doctors, medications, support groups, friends, but it takes the person who is suffering to choose life.  It may be a lifelong battle, it may be short term after tragedy strikes, it may be somewhere in between.  So what can “we” do?

We can care.  We can care enough to read between the lines of our loved one’s words and behaviors.  Sometimes we can care enough to physically intervene and get someone help they need.  We can listen to the uncomfortable truths of that person’s reality, and validate how they’re feeling. We can respond to people who are asking for help in their own way and not brush them off or turn them away because we don’t have time or energy to deal with them.  We can give them something worth living for, we can remind them that they are loved, and we can tell them that we need and want them around.  We can help them see that there is something worth fighting for.  In the end, It’s got to be the person suffering who makes their own choice.  It may not be our choice to make, but we can make it easier for that person to choose to fight, with whatever help and encouragement we can give. 

To the bullied child or teenager, I’m talking to you.  To the parent suffering from post-partum depression, I’m talking to you.  To the man who spends 80+ hours a week working to support his family, I’m talking to you.  To the struggling college student who doesn’t see the point of all their labor, I’m talking to you.  To the GBLT community, I’m talking to you. To the suburban housewife, I’m talking to you. To anyone who has lost someone so dear, that you don’t want to be here without them, I’m talking to you.  To anyone who leads a perfectly “average” life, I’m talking to you. To the one who always makes us laugh, yet is dying on the inside, I’m talking to you….. To all of you –

You are all fighting different battles, every day. Remember even when you may feel at your worst, someone has seen your best. It will not be easy, but don’t be afraid to let someone see you are hurting. They may not be able to fix what is making your world cave in, but they can be a lifeline at times when you can’t keep yourself afloat, all you have to do is choose to hold on long enough.  Every. Single. Time.  It’s a lot of work that I’m asking of you, I know that.  I also know there is something or someone out there you will be glad you were around for.

10 (non-grief) things about me

I write so much about infant loss, grief, preeclampsia and the like, I thought it would be nice to change it up a bit for this one. So, in the spirit of some of the other blogger mamas I follow who have been giving us a little more insight about them lately, I thought I’d share 10 things about me:

1. At one time, my career goal was to be a marital & family therapist.  When I finished up school with my B.S. in Human Development / Family Studies, I wasn’t quite ready to move from the area to go to the school to get my Masters degree at that time, so instead, I took a job at a banquet center, and that led me to my flair for event planning…. so……

2. I woke up one day and said “I’m going to be a wedding planner”, and with that my entrepreneurial spirit was born. I ran a successful event planning business while also working full time for 8 years until we moved and my kids were old enough to start noticing & being effected by the late nights and weekends with me gone from the house.

3. Thanks to the wedding planning, I am now a cake snob. Cake is not my personal dessert of choice (that would be french silk pie), but If you come to a celebration I’m hosting, you can expect it not only to be there, but to also be from the best local bakery there is, and to look just as good as it tastes.  And while we’re on the topic of sweets….

4. I don’t like ice cream unless its in sundae form.  That’s right, i said it. It’s gotta be the real deal; hot fudge, whipped cream, sprinkles or chocolate chips, nuts and the maraschino cherry on top.  But enough about my food quirks.

5. I am an introvert.  Despite my love, understanding, and compassion for people and the many relationships I’ve made throughout my careers and active community involvement, I need my own personal time and space to stay sane.  There’s nothing I love more than that recharge time. Except my family…

6. I have a phenomenal husband of 11 years so far who hasn’t kicked me to the curb yet, and two kiddos, currently ages 7 & 5. I’m very lucky, and I ❤ them all, most of the time…….

7. I’m an only child, but a handful of my cousins and I are really tight. They may as well be siblings, because I couldn’t live without them. They’ve been there for every milestone, and I have and will be there for theirs. 

Confession: Every now and then I think about dropping them off with said cousins for a week or two and going for a vacation in Hawaii (well, maybe not the hubby, he can look after himself; maybe if he’s nice I’ll let him tag along).  But then I remember that would miss them too much as I’m sitting there soaking in the sun and drinking my pina colada, and I don’t want said cousins to hate me for dropping children into their laps while I am off on an island somewhere, so I don’t. Instead….

8. I like to decompress by playing video games or watching movies / tv shows, oddly enough, they are usually zombie related.  Although that is just substituting those who consume your heart and soul (in both the most loving and tiring way possible) in real life right?  The movie Zombieland taught me the keys to surviving the impending apocalypse (Cardio, seatbelts, double-tap, etc.), I do the happy dance on Sundays in the fall when the Walking Dead is going to be on (and then again after their return from a way too long mid-season break), and I’ve beaten State of Decay on XBOX 360 at least 5 times now….I need to find another hobby. Maybe I will finally organize something…..

9. I once organized my closet by color and put them in the order of a rainbow, not to make things easier to find, but because I liked the order, it made sense to me and rainbows are pretty.  It was a win-win,  Now I continue that vicariously through my kids clothes because their laundry is almost always done, and mine is usually just a remnant of when I use to have time to do such things. This is because I spend far too much time organizing other things and other people. It’s what I’m good at, it’s how I thrive, and it’s a great adaptation for my passion in life.  I could plan 20 concurrent weddings and tell you which vendors would be at each one, at what time and what place and what the songs are, etc, but I can’t find my keys (again)?  How one can be so “messy” in a workspace or at home, and so opposite in everything else I don’t know…. Obviously I do not have the power of photographic memory. But…

10. If I could pick one superpower to have, I’d choose the power of telepathy. I just think that would be pretty damn cool. Flying is overrated, strength isn’t smarts, invisibility is only as good as your stealth skills (I have none), and moreso, because Communication, my friends, is everything.