Living a social (media) life ?

Refreshing…Insightful…Social Media Truth

Juli's Nom Noms

I guess I am what you call a food blogger. Some emails and cooperation requests are even telling me I am an influencer. Well if I am all I want to do is to influence people to use their own head, confront themselves with their emotions and problems and find solutions that in the end will make them happier with their lives.

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What I see is that social media is ….an insane thing! After shutting down any mobile devices for almost two weeks now I can see things more objectively again.

Some people, a very small percentage though, seem to be able to really and fully participate from their work on social media. I recognized though that it is predominantly the people who manage to TRANSFER their online based work and CONTACTS to REAL LIFE, make real life friends and build a business that actually includes working with people face…

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A Marriage of Crisis & Connection

A Little Girls Dream…

It seems it wasn’t that long ago when I would dream about my Prince Charming rescuing me. He would be tall, dark and handsome. He would have long arms to wrap around me and keep me safe. He would NEVER say a mean word to me-ever! He would do everything I asked and without hesitation.

Whether it was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Cinderella or perhaps Pretty Woman, there has always seemed to be this elusiveness that led many of us women on a trail of disappointment in the search for our so called “Prince Charming”.

Seventeen years ago I believed I had found my Prince Charming. I mean I met him in church, how perfect he would be, right? In just over a year we were engaged, married and expecting our first child. Life couldn’t be better. Truth be told, from the beginning after our honeymoon, things quickly disintegrated as we both experienced the lows and disappointments of unmet expectations.

From the Castle to the Dungeon..

It wasn’t long before I realized that my dreams of the perfect man were beginning to fade and the Castle I set up in my mind began to look more like a Dungeon.I was no spring chicken when I met my husband, I was 30 years old. The problem was not a matter of age but rather it was a matter of pride between two very broken people.

Intentional vs Unintentional

It was never our intention to wound one another -EVER! If your struggling in your marriage and feeling like giving up, keep reading. But the one thing I want you to know right now is, your spouse is NOT intentionally trying to hurt you. Pain is a natural symptom of brokenness, as you have probably heard before, “hurting people hurt people”.

Both my husband and I came into our marriage with a lot of baggage, like most couples do. So what made our path that much harder than the average married couple. Well, we both lacked the communication skills necessary for a successful marriage & we were not equally yoked in our relationship with God. Being “Christian” is not enough or be equally yoked.

The Chemical Reaction

I’ve often thought of the union of a man and a woman coming together as a science experiment, here me out; as men and women, most of us have the basic understanding of just how differently we are created by God. When you join a woman and a man together by a marriage covenant an amazing and spectacular event takes place, the two literally become one. It is a Spiritual Phenomenon . That is the first concept EVERY marriage experiences.

This is now a spiritual union that will take LOTS of discipline, a discipline many couples do not practice after the honeymoon ends.

So where does the chemical reaction go wrong?, when you take the complexities of a man and woman and the fleshy battles we face every single day and then add all the baggage from each other’s past, BOOM! you have a chemical reaction that goes wrong and the breakdown begins. This is the result of married people who do not nurture their marriage with prayer and the Word of God, but more importantly, who do not make an effort to heal from their past in order to become healthy for themselves first and then for their spouse.

Where there is Sin, there is MERCY

In saying all of this, I believe there are certain situations where God will step in and allow His grace and strength for those who spouses have either turned from God or never knew Him in the first place.

Let me just stop for a moment and say this; the single people who are looking to be married, pray first and truly get to know who your future partner will be. This is the rest of your life. Never look at marriage as a “chance” event, it is a destiny decision that is, well, till death do you part. That means forever. It is not a decision you want to make lightly. I had people tell me the same and of course, I took it lightly and it cost me, my husband and our children unwanted pain.

Perfection is not the Goal..

Finding a spouse for life is not about finding the perfect person. That will never happen, we all know that. But if you or your spouse or “spouse to be” have pain from the past you have not worked out, it’s a must before you commit OR if you want to salvage your marriage that is crumbly.

If you have managed to get by and everything is fine in your marriage still but you have things you know are hurting you and you haven’t confronted it yet with yourself, God or your spouse, might I suggest dealing with it now before it shows up in a negative way. Unresolved hurt always has a way of revealing itself later in life at one point or another and when it does, it can be very painful. An untreated wound only gets worse.

Where it went wrong for Us

My husband and I both loved God and had a reverence for His Word, however, about 5 years into our marriage, selfish and pride set into our hearts towards each other and our marriage became a very cold and lonely place. Our past toxic relationships and toxic remedies were beginning to show up and those same self preservations we had all our lives took over our marriage and well, we became roommates…

For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:43‬ ‭KJV‬‬

We went about family life for the next 10 years living like a roller coaster. I can’t say we didn’t have great times together, we definitely had some beautiful moments as a husband and wife and with our children, but our marriage was lacking the fruit that a content marriage requires and that God desires for us to have.

The Tides of Change

I am happy to say that heading into our 18th wedding anniversary we have DEVELOPED and come a long way. Anyone looking on the outside or even those people who know what we have been through would have perhaps thought we would not have made it this far.

Well, we still have a long way to go, however, healing and growth will be a continual thing in our marriage and this is the consequences of not learning how to deal with unresolved pain from our pasts and during our marriage. Side note: sweeping any difficult situation from your marriage under a carpet will never resolve anything, it will eventually show up & when it does, it’s painful. Communication is a whole other blog one day.

Family is always worth the fight

There truly are some things worth fighting for in life, to me, FAMILY is one of them. Today, it doesn’t seem the norm however. The family unit has taken its fair share of dismantling over the last decade. Just look at the statistics.

I have chose to fight, again and again and so has my husband. Have we both wanted to quit, yes, many times, even this past year to be honest. But, there is something deep down inside of me that says, “Billie, you have fought for many things in your life, why not continue to fight for something sacred?, something that will have generational effects long after your gone. Fight for what you love, your husband, your children, heck YOURSELF!”

Let’s be honest, divorce is not at the top of anyone’s “to-do list” and my heart goes out to those who gave it all they had and it didn’t survive. I’m not here to judge anyone’s walk. I’m speaking of my own experience. There are clearly situations where divorce is sadly the only option for very serious reasons.

I just want to encourage you that if you feel you have done all that you can do, dig maybe a little bit more deeper, to the part of you that you don’t even know existed. It’s called “fight”, I believe we all truly have it deep down, here is the key to the “fight”, it’s not yours, you can’t do it alone. You will absolutely need the strength that is supernatural that only comes from the Spirit of God. Remember the same spirit that joined you both together? That’s the same One that will keep you together and give you the ability to overcome the unbearable.

LOVE is a Process….not instantaneous

I can truly say that by the end of 2017, my husband and I are falling in love. You may ask, “what? it took 18 years to fall in love?, YES!, true love and real lasting love I believe is built on struggle. The meaning of relationship is, the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.

We have always loved each other, but we were never “connected”. We are now becoming connected for the first time the way God intended, that is, connected to each other as one with God. The fruit is slowly growing and we are believing for a harvest.

I can honestly say today, without God, we would not be together today.

Our Fairy Tale & Unknown Certainties

My idea of finding the Prince Charming was not a bad idea, but it was totally unrealistic. Looking back I realize that it was both of us that contributed to the failures and the successes of our marriage and it will take the two of us to keep growing and staying connected. The KEY, keeping God at the centre where He belongs.

I cannot say what our future holds, none of us know that, but what we do know now is that we have lived a marriage without God and now we are living it with Him, and with Him at the centre and our willingness to stay humble there is no reason that our marriage shall not REMAIN.Strong in Him

What is Happening?Hormones & Havoc

Have you ever asked yourself, how can I feel like a loving kind tender woman wanting to save the world to a raging bull wanting to rip the head off of the idiot who just cut you off the road?

Or, perhaps you went to bed at night in a bed dry as a Sahara Desert and woke up startled by the cold pool of water you happen to be laying in from sweating all night.

Then your watching your husband who is lying under your car doing the oil change for you and all of sudden you start having thoughts of tearing off his clothes and acting out a Harlequin romance novel, then 30 minutes later you feel like knocking him out for eating your last handful of potatoes chips.

Sound familiar?

Well, if any of this resonates with you, You may just be entering the stages of perimenopause. Some of these symptoms you may experience during your monthly cycle as well, however they will become more intense depending on you and your genetic make up.

Learn to Let Go!

I have to tell you that from someone who suffered from crazy PMS her whole life, it’s got nothing on perimenopause.

If your like me and like to be in control, you better learn now how to let go! Or you will find that peace will be a rare commodity in your home.

And just when you think all is well and nothing can push that psycho button(you know y’all have it), BOOM! someone or something comes out of no where and takes you for a ride.

There are many ways to handle the unexpected when your hormones and body are going through these changes. We can either let them take over our emotions and live by our feelings,( and drive everybody nuts around us, including ourselves) OR, we can learn to start reasoning with ourselves and take responsibility for our actions and do the things necessary to help us walk through this “next stage” of our lives.

Understand, I am smack dab in the middle of this season of my life right now and I feel your pain ladies, however, just letting every emotion take over our minds will only lead you into more frustration in the end which causes more stress and leaves us in a tailspin, worse off than when we started. Learn to have those inner conversations and when you do lose it, de-brief with yourself, forgive yourself and move on.

It’s Serious

So as much as I joke or lighten up the topic of perimenopause, there is a also a serious side to this stage of life for many women. It is no joke.

Because of the drop in estrogen many women can begin to experience depression, anxiety & other mental health problems that can seriously affect every area of their lives, including, career, family, friendships and an overall healthy lifestyle.

a few statistics ………

Nearly 40% of women have mood swings associated with hormonal changes—from feelings of rage to intense moodiness, anxiety and even crying spells. Studies show that the risk of depression doubles when women enter perimenopause; and if you’ve suffered from PMS or postpartum depression, you may be even more prone.

Men are not Psychiatrists

Ladies, the men or boys in your life DO NOT understand women when it comes to hormones and the changes we go through. It’s a fact. They may know some of the science behind it, however, they will NEVER truly “understand” because their bodies will never go through the same changes. We need to lighten up on our men and stop making them feel like they can’t measure up when they drop the ball. They are going to annoy you on the worst days and it’s NOT intentional.

At the same time, if any of you men are reading this, NEVER say out out loud, “it must be her hormones” OR “she must be PMS-ing,”, if you have ever had the misfortune of saying that around a woman who was truly having just a rough day, you might have felt a little of her wrath and rightly so.

My suggestion of sharpening your communication with the men in your life is too teach them. Share some research you have done and pick a time when they are not distracted, you know, not while they are watching sports or reading their favourite magazine.

Give them the facts only, that’s all they want and thats all they can handle(I mean that respectfully), men cannot retain the amount of gigabytes our brains do ladies. And, you will also have to remind them often.

Finding Relief

There is hope for us women to reduce the problematic symptoms we face.

One place to start and the one I highly recommend is your nutrition. Every thing that goes into your body affects your body either positively OR negatively. This is one thing we do have CONTROL over.

Food is medicine as they say and whatever your feeding your body is how your body and mind will respond to the hormonal changes.

Here are just a few things you can do starting now to prepare & to help alleviate some of the perimenopausal symptoms;

  • Eat healthy whole foods
  • Reduce sugar intake
  • Eat through out the day healthy snacks in between meals
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise
  • Socialize
  • Remind yourself the changes are normal, your not alone
  • Let your loved ones know when your not feeling well-COMMUNICATE
  • meditate
  • Take a deep breath when you feel overwhelmed and remove yourself from the situation – I call it Take 5
  • Do something you enjoy..painting, shopping, dining out etc
  • Read a book
  • Start a new hobby
  • REST!! listen to your body
  • Deep breathing
  • Listen to music

Many of these tips will help with PMS symptoms as well.

Remember ladies, we have faced puberty, marriage, child birth, and who knows what else, and we will get through this too!

Suffering Leads to Love, Redemption & Healing

I have been reminiscing lately about when I first became a Christian in 1996. Before that I was living in Mississauga with a boyfriend of 4 years and life was just sailing along. I had no idea what laid ahead.

A Diagnosis Changes my Direction in Life

It was the middle of the afternoon on October, 1IMG-7130994 , I was visiting my sister and spending time with my little niece, Brandi-Jo. We were about to have our Thanksgiving dinner when the phone rang. My brother-in law answered the phone and then came and got me and told me it was the Hamilton Wentworth Police. I thought to myself right away, “what did I leave behind in Stoney Creek”? lol. I picked up the phone and the first thing they asked me was, “is your mother’s name ___________”?, of course I said yes right away. They began to explain to me that my mom had been admitted to the hospital and that I needed to come to Hamilton to see her.

A Very Long Trip

As my sister and I drove to Hamilton, my sister and I were very quiet. We knew something was wrong with our mom because the police had contacted us. All the way to the hospital I wondered what illness had she been diagnosed with. Mental health 20 years ago was still not talked about much but we knew something was up because she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

We arrived to the hospital and after going through security a very kind nurse walked us down the very long corridor to our mom’s room(it seemed like forever). At one point the nurse stopped by a door of a lady’s room and called us back as we had kept walking. My sister and I walked towards the nurse and asked what was wrong, the nurse looked at me and said “this is your mothers room honey”. I had already looked in the room but didn’t recognize that the woman she was talking about was my mother. I could not believe my eyes. She had lost so much weight and her hair colour was so different. She looked so ill and so gone. This was not the mother I remember all my life. I would have walked right passed her on the street not recognizing her. I hadn’t seen here for over 4 years up until now.

The Diagnosis

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When the doctor met with my sister and he explained to us that our mom had been diagnosed with schizophrenia , I didn’t know what to say or think. I didn’t know the first thing about the mental illness but I knew it was serious and I saw how it not only affected my mom mentally but also physically.

 

The Path to Light

I never thought in a million years I would return to Stoney Creek, I loved the big city (Mississauga)at the time and I also had been living with my boyfriend for almost 4 years and couldn’t see my life without him. But, I knew I had to go back to take care of my mom, even if it was temporally.

By January 1995 I had moved back in with my mom. Months later after getting settled in and regulating my mom’s medication and symptoms, I had met a friend of my mom’s who was also her neighbour. She had been there for my mom before I knew anything of my mom’s illness. So I thought, I have to meet this woman. Well, she was spunky and great to talk to and she also liked to roller blade and workout which I had just started doing.   She was 44 years old mind you, but I thought she was pretty cool, really cool. Until one beautiful spring evening when we were spending time hanging out on her step. Out of the blue she looked at me and asked, “Billie-Jo, do you know Jesus?”, right away panic struck in my chest and I thought to myself, great, this lady must have an illness too. Within minutes I told her I had to go home and had to work in the morning. I avoided her for the next couple of months.

It wasn’t long after that I had become homesick and missed the big city and my boyfriend. By the end of Spring I had made the difficult decision to move back to Mississauga. I felt terrible leaving my mother behind but I missed the big city and my boyfriend and I felt that she was well enough again to live a productive life to the best of her ability, besides, I would call her everyday.

Divine Intervention

The weekend before my move I was coming home from work at the YMCA downtown on the bus and lo and behold who got on the bus?, my mom’s neighbour. I pretended like I didn’t see her but she sat down right beside me and said Billie-Jo, where have you been? Talk about uncomfortable. Anyways, not long after we started talking did she ask me why I was leaving Stoney Creek and my mom. I could feel my face getting hot as I didn’t like people meddling in my business back then, I was a very private person and well guarded. I explained the truth to her(it was hard to lie to her). All of a sudden she begins to tell me that I won’t last 2 months back in Mississauga and that my boyfriend and I will split up; that was in July.

By September 1995, I moved back in with my mom. I remember thinking, was my mom’s friend a psychic? what she predicted ended up happening, how did she know this?. My boyfriend and I did have a falling out and it wasn’t long before I realized I needed to be back with my mom, someone who really needed me.

What was Going On?

Shortly after I returned home, I went to visit my mother’s friend. She welcomed me with open arms, even after the way I treated her before I left, I never even said good bye to her.

Over the next several weeks I visited my mothers friend and she quickly became a dear friend to me. She would stay up all night listening to my life story and all my troubles. Then one night she asked me if I wanted to know who Jesus was. At this point in my life I had already tried relationships with men, Buddhism, Karate, alcohol, drugs and I had thought to myself, what do I have to lose? she seems pretty happy and she has a peace I find interesting.(she was dealing with a lot of problems)

I kept returning for more as she started to read the bible with me. I actually could not believe some of the things she told me about the bible and Jesus. One night I got really upset and challenged her about something she told me. She had explained to me that if Paul Bernardo had repented and truly turned his heart to God and asked for forgiveness that he would be forgiven and that God would judge his actions one day in judgment. I could not believe this, how could God ever forgive such an evil creature?

An AMAZING Love I Never Knew

IMG-7127I began slowly to understand the unconditional, merciful, compassionate and amazing love of God and how He gave us Jesus, His Son to die for us.(that’s another blog). I began to weep one night in anger of how Jesus was treated when He was completely innocent. I didn’t understand. I also at the same time felt like my whole view of the world was changing and that my heart was even beginning to soften. I had a very tough exterior and often hid behind alcohol and a false exterior BUT for the first time someone was breaking through all that facade. His name was JESUS!

On a cold night in February 1996, my friend asked me if I would make a decision that would change my life forever(I’m crying right now), she wanted to know if I would trust my life completely to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. I didn’t even hesitate by this time. In my eyes anyone who would die for someone else’ wrong doings and who would have the courage to confront people in power when no one else would and who stripped Him and beat Him to nothing….knowing He didn’t fight back, but still loved them?, I had to take that chance that He knew something I didn’t and that He had something to give me, something  I never knew or had experienced, REAL love.

Life was never the Same

IMG-7122My life changed that night. All I did was say a prayer and invite Jesus and God the Father into my heart and I surrendered everything I had ever known to Him. In other words “Jesus took the Wheel”

I didn’t step foot in a church for 2 years after making that decision that night. I was on a personal journey with my Saviour and I soaked up every minute of it.  Just me, Jesus and my bible, that was it and of course my very dear friend.

I lost her not long ago, it will be 4 years this Christmas. To this day I believe she was an angel while she was here. As much as I might help and inspire others, I will never attain the heart and mission she did. If it wasn’t for her being obedient and sacrificing all her time and energy into me I’m not quite sure where I would be today. I miss her deeply.

Who Am I Today?

Trust me when I say this, I was reckless and messed up. I am still broken today but held together by the marvellous love of an incredible, loving, merciful, kind and almighty God.

Life did not get easier when I made that decision that night in February 1996, as a believer it did not exempt me from more pain and suffering, in fact, I’ve experienced quite the opposite. The difference? the ability to stand strong in the face of adversity knowing that this life is temporary and that a greater promise awaits me(that’s another blog too :)).

I received a peace deep in my heart that night over 20 years ago and I have never lost it since then, I have had to fight to keep it many times and I have lost faith in seasons of my life and I’ve had to learn to trust in God with my whole being.

I am still learning to trust in Him, it can be very scary at times, however, my faith has only become stronger for all the trials and suffering I have experienced. Strong in Him.

Who am I today? I am a daughter of the BEST Father any woman could ask for. My God and His Son, Jesus Christ taught me how to love and how to show mercy and grace where it would not otherwise be possible.

The Vessel of Suffering

In my mother’s suffering and pain, God brought good out of it. It is very simple to understand, let me explain. He brought us back together because before her diagnosis I didn’t care if I ever saw my mother again. Yes, it’s true, we had a very wounded past. There were very deep wounds in my heart towards my mother. Her diagnosis brought understanding and forgiveness. It revealed TRIMG-7128UTH that brought healing to both of us.

My mother later lived with me and my family that God would bless me with years later. We have been inseparable from the day I moved back in with her in September 1995.

I love her with all my heart and I thank my God for where He lead me through it all-to His loving arms and grace. GOD is LOVE…..