The Series

“To live is the rarest thing of all, most people only exist.” Oscar Wilde

Throughout the years I have written several postings about specific series, topics, positive challenges. Each positive challenge series includes something positive, encouraging and is an attempt to better myself in various ways and to grow as a person while sharing my experiences and encouraging others to do the same. Each Series has a specific topic to encourage others to create a better life for themselves by sharing experiences. Current Series are: My Live. Love. Dream & 30 by 30 List s(bucketlists), Healthy Self Care, Spirituality & Faith, & the latest series “Journey to A New Normal”.

Some of the broader”topic’s” are controversial (faith topics, grief topics) and some readers may not agree, nor feel comfortable with what is stated.

That being said, this is a blog and this does share my past and current life experiences and if what is discussed here offends you, upsets you, makes you uncomfortable, or goes against your own beliefs or you do not believe in/nor agree with what is written then please find something else that you do like to read. Also keep in mind that you will not agree with everything you read but that does not make the author wrong.

 

 ** #CultivatingWhatMatters2017**(March 2017- present) 

#CultivatingWhatMatters2017 – Powersheets Goal Planning

** Journey to a New Normal Series**

Journey to a New Normal (July 2013 – present)

*DISCLAIMER*: These postings are written by various contributing writers. These writers were asked to write about a specific experience related to trauma, loss, or major life transition that they have experienced in their life. The writers are asked to give a brief explanation of the experience and then the primary focus of each article is how the individual has or is currently in the process of “creating their new normal”, any struggles or fears that they have worked through and what goals and hopes they have for their future.

*DISCLAIMER*: While I as the author of this blog maintain rights as editor of these posts, these are the actual words of the author. As editor I HAVE NOT made storyline changes to these posts. Other than grammar, tense usage and punctuation, I have not altered the content.

*DISCLAIMER*: I encourage my contributing writers to be honest, real, authentic and genuine in their writings therefore, some of these experiences will be difficult to read, you may find that they are offensive, you may find that the way the author writes is offensive, if you experience this please stop reading.

Introduction to Series – Provides background of the series, the purpose behind it, a listing of topics that will be discussed and a call for contributing writers to share their experiences.  “The purpose for this new series is to encourage others that they too can make positive changes, “Create a New Normal” and life a full life after experiencing, trauma, loss or major life transitions. It’s about empowering people to see that they can create a new life that is healthy and positive after experiencing: loss, trauma or major life transition.” (July 23, 2013).

Alisha’s Story as a Survivor of Physical & Sexual Abuse – I am so excited to start off this new series! It my pleasure to introduce you to my friend Alisha and to give her this space to share her story as a survivor of physical and sexual abuse. Alisha is in fact, one of the strongest women that I have had the pleasure of knowing. I know the Lord allowed our paths to cross for many reasons. She writes, “I still am not “healed” and have much growth yet to obtain but I have found happiness- happiness in life, happiness with my family, and happiness with myself. I have hopes of opening a safe house for kids who are on the streets or in unsafe home environments, and thankfully God has blessed me with a testimony that may just reach these kids when others can’t.” I hope that her story will resonate with some of you and will help you to see that if you are in a similar situation, YOU TOO can create a positive change in your own life. You too can create a “new normal” and break free from abuse. Here is Alisha’s story of survival, of finding herself and creating a new life for her and her family. (July 30, 2013).

Brandi’s Story as a Survivor of Multiple Traumatic Experiences – (Author of this blog’s personal story) After years of experiencing numerous traumatic experiences such as abuse, intimate partner violence, my parents divorcing and the death of two of my grandparents, both of whom were influential not just in my life but in shaping the person that I am today; in many respects, being with my fiancé Greg was in a lot of ways “creating a new normal” and moving forward in both my life and my own journey of healing from prior traumatic experiences in my life. Then, I lost my Greg and my life changed forever … I know that I cannot change that Greg died and that he isn’t here. But what I can change is how I live the rest of my life and how I put the love we shared back out into the world. I have an experiences that I can let either break me or I can chose to let it grow me. I have learned the hard way that life is worth fighting for and that there is beauty in every day. That every experience can help us grow into the individuals God created us to be. We only have this time and life is too precious to not fight for. I know that the Lord gave me all these experiences not only to shape me into the person that He created me to be but also in order to be able to help those that He puts into my life to help, to be an example of Christ helping us in the midst of our circumstances and to be an example of surviving and thriving after traumatic experiences. (Aug. 6, 2013).

Bonnie’s Story as a Survivor of the Loss of her Husband – This week’s post in our “Journey To A New Normal” series is from someone whom I am blessed to call my friend. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Bonnie and to give her this platform to share her story with each of you. She writes, “Creating a new normal isn’t about what you do. It’s about who you become in the face of your tragedy, and what you choose to create for yourself.” I hope that her story resonates with some of you and that you will be able to see through Bonnie’s story of surviving and thriving after losing her husband, that YOU too can create an amazing and fulfilling “new normal”and that you have it WITHIN yourself to create your “new normal”. Bonnie is a huge inspiration and has had an impact on me as I create my new normal. Bonnie has a powerful story to share and I hope that her story will inspire you! Here is Bonnie’s story of survival, finding who she is, taking chances and thriving as she creates a “new normal” for herself and her family. (Aug. 13, 2013).

 

My Own Journey In Creating My New Normal (March 2012 – Present)

(Selected posts discussing ways I have Created & I am continuing to Create My New Normal)

*DISCLAIMER*: Not all of these postings are positive in their entirety, however, they are a brief selection of posts that demonstrate where I was at when I “made the turn” in my grief journey and are examples testifying to how a person can experience deep grief for the time frame they need to, how they can chose to live again, “make the turn” in their own journey of grief, grow as individuals and progress in their journey of healing.

** I include these per request by my readers. Some of whom who are grieving the loss of a loved one to show them that grief does change, that grief does become different and that one day they too will come to the point in their own grief and healing journey where they too will want to create their new normal. **

“Finding Yourself Along The Way” – Poem comparing “finding yourself again” after loss to finding yourself during late teenage years. Defines titles I identify with. (March 2012)

Announcing The Unwedded Widow Support Website – Discusses the launch of the Unweddedwidowsupport.org website – an online support community for those who lost their bf/gf/fiance/life partner prior to marriage. Discusses information on how you can help Unwedded Widows that you know and a thank you section to those in my support system. (April 2012)

 My Path Back To My Yoga Journey – My journey back to exercise, better eating habits and my practice as a yogini. Discusses the impact yoga has played in my life “before” and my first time back in a yoga studio since losing Greg. (April 2012)

“The Desire To Try Something New” – Camp Widow East 2012 –  Reflection upon my workshop selections for Camp Widow East 2012, the growth and progress in healing that I have made up to attending camp. (April 2012)

“Normal” Is Mine To Create – Explains the initial purpose of changing the focus/ topics/ title of this blog. This is the beginning of the journey to how this blog currently is. (May 2012)

My Journey to Living – Reflective post about the normal grieving experience of not wanting to live after losing your spouse/partner; and how with time, I started wanting to live again and how I know God has a purpose/ plan for me. (May 2012)

Crying Is Living – Poem reflective of embracing the healing and growth opportunities behind expressing emotions and allowing yourself to feel the emotions and allow yourself to cry. (June 2012)

“Making The Turn” – Reaching Out & Helping Others After Loss – Disccusses “making the turn” in grief, how powerful and empowering making the choice to live again is for a person who is grieving and discusses how reaching out and helping others helps the person who is grieving. (June 2012)

Healthy Living Is A Lifestyle – Discussion of eating habits “before”, physical symptoms of grief that I experienced during the first two years of grief, choosing to eat healthier foods in year three and choosing to lead a healthy lifestyle in general. (July 2012)

The Power of Just “Being” & Feeling– Discusses the power behind allowing yourself to just be, feel and experience the emotions that you need to experience. (July 2012)

My Journey to Becoming a Writer – Describes my writing habits “before” or lack thereof, how I came to writing continuously after losing Greg, my journey to considering my self as a “writer” and some of the reasons why I write. (July 2012)

April 2012- Camp Widow East – Reflective piece discussing my experiences at Camp Widow East in April 2012, the limits I pushed within myself and exploring the question “So what has changed?”. (August 2012)

I Need Only To Accept Myself – Exploration of accepting myself, my grieving process and not what others say a grieving person “should be doing”. (August 2012).

I Know This Is My Calling In Life – Discusses my continued feeling of Gods purpose/ plan for my life; even after experiencing a devastating loss. (August 2012)

Finding Happiness In The Little Things – Reflection of getting to the point in my healing journey where I began to like colors, objects, bubble baths, etc in the same manner that I once did “before”. (September 2012)

Experiencing An Awakening & Coming Alive Again – Discusses my definition of an “awakening” &  reflective of my experiences with “awakenings” through my healing journey, and my experience with coming live again. (Also published on Open To Hope Foundation under the Title “What It Feels Like To Come Alive Again”). (September 2012)

Embracing A New Year of Life – Reflective of my first two birthdays without Greg and embracing my third birthday after loss! (Also published on Open To Hope Foundation under the Title ‘Three Years Into Widowhood, Embracing A Birthday). (September 2012)

It’s A Beautiful Day To Be Alive!   &   It’s A Bright Sunshiny Day!– Two different photo blogs of nature scenes from a walk on a beautiful September & a bright sunny October day in Texas! (September 2012)

Living With Grief & The Loss of “Our Normal” –  Reflective posting discussing secondary losses – including not getting to have a “normal” with Greg – the transition period we were in, differences in my grief journey and how I cope with Greg not being here at this point in my grief and healing process. (September 2012)

Artist Has Hope of Working Through Block – Reflective of desire and hope to work through a 7 year artist block. (September 2012)

Experiencing Peace During New Adventure – Reflective of experiences that I had at Camp Widow West in August 2012, limits and boundaries where I pushed myself to “go-beyond” my anxieties and fears and TO LIVE. (October 2012)

Living To See The Beauty In Each Day – Process of cho0sing to see the beauty in life, to be thankful and to chose to live again after loss and experiencing deep grief. Example of my experience with this process. (October 2012)

Creating Normal After Loss Often Feels Like Climbing A Mountain – Reflective comparative analysis of the process of creating a new normal and getting to the point in your journey of wanting to create a new normal. (October 2012)

Live.Dream.Love – Principles I choose to live by as a Christian woman. (November 2012)

Let Hope Arise (Pt. 1): A New Beginning In Life – Reflective piece discussing my third year of grief thus far – the changes/ healing/ growth I have experienced – comparisons made to first two years of grief, making plans for the future and trusting God and His plan for my life. (December 2012)

Let Hope Arise (Pt. 2): Embracing Changes In Life – Discusses new dreams, aspirations and changes in my life;. Also discusses taking a huge leap and walking by faith in order to pursue a lifelong dream of mine that brings with it numerous changes, challenges and transitions. Also discusses all the opportunities 2013 holds and the hope that I have for the future! (December 2012)

2013 A “Hopeful” Year – Discusses my power words for 2012 and for 2013 and my excitement for all that 2013 holds and the opportunities this new year brings! (January 2013)

The Little Reminders – discusses recent conversations with widowed friends, how “It’s the little reminders that our loved one is not here that catches us off guard” and shares a recent experience I had with a “little reminder” of Greg’s absence and how I chose to move forward instead of holding on. (February 2013)

My Next Chapter: My New Beginning – Discusses the changes and transitions that I went through the first three months of 2013. This post also discusses the role my faith played in making these changes, how I took a step in faith and walked out of the boat and followed Christ and how my faith is what keeps me going. (March 2013)

13 Years In The Making : Letting Go & Moving Forward – Discusses my return to playing competitive indoor soccer after a knee injury 13 years forced me to stop playing competitive indoor and outdoor soccer. (May 2013)

Life Is Worth Fighting For – Reflective of a lesson that I have learned since losing Greg and my journey to accepting that I have a purpose here on earth and that life is worth fighting for. (July 2013). (Also published as an article on Open To Hope Foundation as “Grief Lesson: Life Is Worth Fighting For)

 

Poetry

Finding Yourself Along The Way – Poem reflective of the process of finding yourself again after traumatic loss, and coming alive again after feeling like a part of yourself died.  (March 2012)

“Every Day I Wish You Didn’t Leave” – Poem is included towards the end of this blog post. This is the poem that I shared at the Camp Widow 2012 “Blog Slam”. This poem is reflective of the emotions I felt with losing Greg, the questions, the why’s, the what ifs,  This poem connected to my subconscious and the emotions and cognitive thoughts that I compartmentalized early on after losing Greg because it was difficult to think about and brought pain at the time. (December 2011)

The Survivor – Reflecting of how one can life life after loss as the survivor and how being the survivor can be difficult at times. (Published on Open To Hope Foundation)  (February 2013)

The Road To Here – Poem reflective of my journey from May 2012 to May 2013 and how much healing I have experienced. (May 2013)

The Days of Sunshine – Poem reflective of my love for sunshine and the lack of it “before”, my experience during grief, and my journey back to loving sunny days again. (July 2013)

 

 

Positive Challenge Series (2012 – present) 

A Month of Letters (February 2013)

#1 A Month of Letters Challenge – discusses my love for writing letters and why I love to write them, overview of the Month of Letters

Challenge!

365 Day Challenge Expressive Arts Project (2013)

#1 2013 A “Hopeful” Year – Discusses my power words for 2012 and for 2013. (January 2013)

“30 Days Of Gratitude” (November 2012)

#1 November – 30 Days of Gratitude – discusses the concept behind 30 Days of Gratitude and reflects upon how in previous years

November has been difficult for me and how I embraced the idea of finding something to be grateful for for 30 days!

#2 Embracing the Changes In My “Self” – reflection upon the previous two Novembers and the emotions surrounding this month,

acknowledging my growth and healing, being mindful of what my “self” needs. Sharing Day of Gratitude # 13

#3 A Reflection of “30 Days of Gratitude” – reflecting of my experience with the 30 day challenge, my process of finding things to be

thankful for and a complete listing of what I was thankful for in the 2012 “30 Days of Gratitude” sorted by date.

 

Positive Psychology (July 2013 – present) 

Change Your Life: Do Something Different Today – Encouragement that an individual has it within themselves to create positive change in their life. Encouraging individuals to make positive changes in their lives. (July 2013)

Life Is Worth Fighting For – Reflective of a lesson that I have learned since losing Greg and my journey to accepting that I have a purpose here on earth and that life is worth fighting for. (July 2013). (Also published as an article on Open To Hope Foundation as “Grief Lesson: Life Is Worth Fighting For)

Thankfulness: A Journey to Reconnecting to Life – Encouraging individuals to start reconnecting to life after experiencing loss/ trauma/ or major life transition. Discusses the cognitive exercise – “Things I am Thankful For”. (July 2013)

Reconnecting To Life – Encouraging individuals to start reconnecting to life after experiencing loss/ trauma/ or major life transition. Discusses the cognitive exercise I created – “My Three Things For Today”. (July 2013)

Embracing Self – Care; Why Self Care Is Important – Discusses several points as to why proper and healthy self care is important. (July 2013)

 

Spirituality/ Faith/ Religion/ Religiosity (2011 -Present)

Embracing Grief Does Not Mean Rejecting Faith – Defending grieving while having strong faith. (Also published as an article on the Open To Hope Foundation) (2011)

What Are Your Spiritual Gifts? – Explanation of spiritual gifts, includes a link to a reputable spiritual gifts inventory. (June 2012)

Fruits of the Spirit: Finding Peace – Discussion of my response to the question, “What character trait do you want God to grow in you and why?”. (June 2012)

An Angel in Disguise – Describing my experience with an Angel in Disguise. (August 2012)

Being In The Word – Psalm: 46:1 – Reflection upon Psalm 46:1 and applying it to my life in the midst of the current circumstances that I was experiencing during this time, having God- centered confidence and trusting God. (September 2012)

Where God Wants Me Doesn’t Mean The Journey Is Easy … – Reflective piece discussing trusting God, following God and how by doing so doesn’t mean that life will come easy, nor will life be easy. Discusses trusting the Lord during the trials, tribulations and storms.  (January 2013)

What is Spirituality? – Moving Forward In My Spiritual Journey – Discussion of a general/ universal definition of spirituality, common misconceptions of spirituality, what spirituality means to me and an example of a recent experience I have been given to grow in my faith and also in my spiritual journey. (Written for a general audience, not written towards any specific faith system). (January 2013)

My Next Chapter: My New Beginning – Discusses the changes and transitions that I went through the first three months of 2013. This post also discusses the role my faith played in making these changes, how I took a step in faith and walked out of the boat and followed Christ and how my faith is what keeps me going. (March 2013)

Searching For Community In A Faithless Culture – Reflective of searching for Christian Community in a culture that is different from the South and the Bible Belt and being immersed in a culture that looks down upon faith and religiosity. (May 2013)

Reigniting the Desire For Community – Reflective upon how my spiritual life was when Greg was here and my journey back to a spiritual discipline similar to where i was at in my personal faith and walk with Christ in 2010. (June 2013).

Keeping Faith While Riding The Waves – Reflective of my strong faith in the midst of continuous storms. (July 2013).

Having Faith In God’s Plan: Reflection on Jeremiah 29:11 – Reflection upon the strength that I gain from Jesus’ words in Jeremiah 29:11 and how that influences my reaction to life’s circumstances and my steadfastness to remain strong in my faith. (July 2013).

All Material Copyright @ Brandi 2010 – 2013

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