In short, years ago I began to recognize a desperate need for positive change in my life. Hitting my self-esteem “low” as an insecure, directionless, totally unfit, depressed, financially-drowning, frazzled mother of two young children, I needed to grasp at anything that felt like it could start pulling me out of the deep emotional trench I felt that I was living in. I won’t go into the whole story now, but I will tell you that my next chapter began by coming across a quote from my most favorite parenting book, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: “If your children see in you a sincere celebration of who you are, they will return eventually to their natural joy, in themselves and in you…” Stumbling across this powerfully eye-opening message led to a long, soul-searching walk on the beach, which in turn led to an epiphany / out-of-nowhere decision to run a marathon in 2010. The journey I took went way beyond reaching the finish line of that first marathon; as I became a runner and ran “out of my shell” over the next several years I navigated (literally and figuratively) many mountains and valleys, twists and turns, and eventually discovered how to travel through my life everyday with wholeheartedness and true happiness. By consciously accepting my “flaws” and “inadequacies,” actively learning and growing, challenging my own perspectives, and repeatedly shoving myself out of my comfort zone mentally and physically, I have finally figured out how to see, to be, and to model for my children a version of myself that I can sincerely celebrate. I am committed to living in and sharing a constant spirit of peace, love and gratitude for the rest of my days.
If I had to describe myself in just two words, I would choose ‘rugged grace’. It’s who I was before I knew how to identify it, it’s who I finally recognized myself to be, it’s who I celebrated and built myself up to be, and it’s who I am and always will be. When used together those two words feel affirming and grounding to me, and I’ve learned that they are the foundation of my commitment to strength, gratitude and happiness as I continue to grow through and navigate this wild life. My jewelry business, Rugged Grace, was born from this transformative time in my life as well. (My website is in the works and will finally be coming soon, I swear.)
I am happily married to my husband of 17 years, and have two incredible children (a son and a daughter, ages 14 and 11), who have inspired me, more than they realize, to live my brightest, broadest and most fulfilling life. Everyday I learn. Everyday I grow. Every day is an adventure.
With peace, love and rugged grace,
My “why” for starting this blog:
I have considered starting a blog for a few years, but I never managed to squeeze out the time amidst all of my never-ending busy-ness. My original vision included keeping a log of my life’s adventures, and sharing my personal “rugged grace” reflections and discoveries on topics of personal growth, positive thinking, parenthood, travel, nutrition, fitness, work, home, etc. While I aim to expand toward including more variety down the road, I felt an immediate need to start logging the details of an unplanned adventure that life suddenly booked for me: a diagnosis of a rare brain tumor.
When I was first diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma in August 2017 and was terrified about having to walk the treacherous path ahead, I went online to learn all that I could about these tumors and treatments, and to read as many patients’ stories as I could find. Unfortunately, almost all of them were fairly nightmarish, especially from those who took the time to write a comprehensive account. (There wasn’t much out there to help calm my overwhelming fears.) Given that I also could not find answers to so many of my questions, I was immediately motivated to document my brain tumor “adventure” in great detail and with a positive outlook, with hopes that those diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma in the future will come across it and find a little beam of light in their sudden darkness.
You’ll see that the first few posts were written before my surgery, and the rest were written after, but from the absolute beginning I made a commitment to myself that I would hold tight to my happiness all throughout this journey, with peace, love and rugged grace in my heart. As of now, I haven’t yet traveled the full distance, but I believe I’ve managed to honor my commitment so far.
For anyone who was recently diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma (or anything else terrifying) who has stumbled upon this blog, I hope that by my sharing my detailed experience, thoughts and research along the way, you can find answers to your questions, or support in one way or another. Please free to reach out and connect.