My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. ~Michael J. Fox

butterfly I have been writing through this website since November of 2011.  Eighty-four posts as of this week.  This site was created on the heels of my publishing a book about some of the challenges life has handed me.

I wrote the book, My Mothers Footprints: A Story of Faith, Calm, Courage, Patience and Grace,  in seven weeks (because at the time one of my classes got dropped, and I decided it was God's way of telling me to get off my butt and write the book I kept talking about before my next semester began).

The book  is a very open look at how I decided to handle getting pregnant at the age of eighteen, my subsequent marriage, the arrival of four additional children, and my work as an interior designer.  The second half of the book is essentially how I maneuvered the obstacles of life when I found out my son (who was nineteen at the time) had a very serious problem with alcohol.

Some aspects of my story, when revealed to the reader, are very intimate.  When I see people for the first time after I know they have read the book, I do a bit of an internal pause...almost like bracing myself for the judgment I expect to see in their eyes or hear from their mouths. I think to myself, how will I handle that?!  Yet, let's be honest, I was the one who wrote, published and then shared the story with them to critique.

Most of what I have heard from those who have chosen to read my story is very positive, and includes comments about how much courage I had to share my story.  So many of the readers can personally relate to one aspect of the book or another.  I have even had a few people I barely know tell me things they haven't told anyone else because they read my book and know their thoughts and feelings are safe with me.  Safe from judgment, criticism, gossip...and what a privilege it is to have someone trust you in that way.

For me, the essence of writing my story, and continuing to write here on this website, is this: only when the words are out of me and thrown into the world, do I begin to find true peace.

In writing about myself I really began to find out who I truly was.  Am, actually.

It is like that line (pretty sure it is from the Bible...), "The truth will set you free."

Because the more truthful I get in my writing the less anxious I am about myself.  And my life.

I recently finished the book "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown. God I love that woman!!!!!!!!!!

I love her because she has spent a significant amount of time in the past decade studying the how and why around people's happiness and overall life satisfaction.

She reports about the importance of our relationships and the essential value in being courageous enough to show the world who you REALLY are (owning your story, and not being afraid of what others will say about it).

At the moment, in my mind, she is the ultimate freak'n truthteller and I am incredibly grateful for her work and for her candid, awesome sense of humor!

Brene is essentially telling me I will live a happier, more fulfilled life if I can get past my bull@#$% self and be my true self!  It is not a one-day decision, it is a process [journey] which will span my lifetime.

Because of her research and findings I desire to continue the path I have been walking for the past few years.  A cathartic path that I had no idea was even going to bring me this far.

I believe my authentic self unravels with each and every post I hit the publish button on.

You see, the further I travel down this path the more at ease I am with not only myself, but with my family.  It's as if the more I expose who I am to the world through my writing about the topics close to my heart (my marriage, my children, my family and friends, my faith in God, my struggles....) the less anxious I become.

I do an exercise in my group, simply called:  "I AM...".  It is helpful because often when someone is in treatment for drug/alcohol abuse they begin to think ALL they are is an addict.  And that is just wrong.  I tell my group that addiction is only ONE aspect of who they are, IT DOES NOT DEFINE WHO THEY ARE.

We are all multi-faceted.  If we can just find the courage to get past the masks and the shields and the walls we put up around ourselves, we can really discover our incredible potential!

The secret here is this:  In truth there is freedom and release!  Honestly!  The more truthful I am, the more I want to be.  And the more I want my life's actions to be consistent with what comes from my mouth (or out of my fingertips onto the keyboard).  I cannot write one thing and live another.

Because it is wrong and it doesn't feel good.  Yet, people live behind their masks/shields and walls everyday!  So, my message this week is to find some way to begin the process of finding out who you really are, and even more importantly, BEGIN TO BE THAT PERSON!!!!!!!!!!!