The Gleeful Gourmand: The Power Of Saying Yes

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Power Of Saying Yes

I know it's been awhile since I've posted - I had one full, fantastic week of co-directing our Church's Vacation Bible School, which took up an enormous amount of time and energy, and then the day after it ended, we headed to the Outer Banks in N.C. for our yearly week-long vacation. And wow, was it ever fabulous!

You may remember this post last year around this time about how 2014's vacation didn't go according to plan. This vacation was so much better. First of all, no hurricanes! And no sick kids! And there were sharks, but we weren't worried (much). This was the first vacation I've had in about 4 years where I actually felt like it was a true vacation. My darling husband worked hard to make sure that I enjoyed time with my rear planted in a chair with a book in my hand by taking care of the kids. He told me he could literally see the stress rolling off me. I felt it, too.

On our first full day of our vacation, the skies were heavy with gray clouds and the beach was deserted. Buck had some business he needed to get done, so my Mom and I took the kids to see the Corolla Lighthouse, something my son had requested a few times that he'd really love to see. It's a truly beautiful lighthouse. Maybe not quite as iconic as the one in Cape Hatteras, but beautiful nonetheless. I knew the girls were too small to climb up to the top, and my Mom wouldn't be able to make it either, but Liam was interested, so up we went.

At the Corolla Lighthouse, Corolla, N.C.

I was excited to climb with him because I remember climbing it when I was a kid, and how thrilling it was to stand at the top and take in the glorious views of the Sound and Ocean with the wind whipping all around you. But Liam, who is the type of person who likes to hang back and observe before jumping into situations, was nervous as we started up the winding staircase. "What if I fall?" He asked nervously. "What if I can't do it?" 

"You're not going to fall," I promised him. "That's what the handrails are for. And listen, we'll stop at every landing (which were about every 15 steps) and take a break. You can do this!" We did just that, peeking out the windows at each landing, and reading the history of the lighthouse as we went. The higher we went, the more his confidence grew. When we finally exited the small doorway out onto the platform circling the light, he was ecstatic. He raised his hands in victory and whooped, "We did it!" I couldn't help but grin from ear-to-ear.

We did it! At the top of the Corolla Lighthouse.
After our wonderful lighthouse experience, I had some time to think. It occurred to me that the way we worked our way up the lighthouse was a pretty good analogy for what my life looks like recently. You see, when I gave birth to the girls four years ago, I retreated into myself in a way I had never done before. I was in survival mode for a full year, on autopilot. I still blogged, I tried to write, and I hung out with friends and family like nothing was amiss. But something was and I didn't realize it until they turned 1 year old. I looked back on their birthday and saw how I had been living like a hermit. How I had retreated, not from the realities of life, but from my own self. I felt like I was coming out of a fog, and that I could start to reclaim me.

And then we lost our company. Or rather, my husband lost his company, the one he had worked so hard to build over 13 years.

What followed were years of more survival, of trying to get back on our feet. Of trying to make sense of it all, to manage the crushing stress, to get back on solid ground when we felt like every time we moved forward a little, we would get knocked back down - and all the while trying to shield our kids. It's not easy to write about this stuff. I felt helpless as a stay-at-home mom of 3. I don't know if you realize this, but writers don't make much money to begin with. I wasn't making any. And while I realize that I was contributing so much to my family that wasn't monetary, I couldn't help but feel anxious and awful that I had nothing to give in the times when we were foundering.

This year the girls started Preschool 3 days a week, and I found my time opened up a little bit. I had the time now to put my head above the water line and examine my life, my career, and all the things I was doing (or wasn't doing) to help myself. There were things I could have been doing all along to help myself, but I wasn't. Every time I faced a new challenge, I simply felt overwhelmed and tired. I found myself in a weird transitional place where going back to work meant a paycheck that went directly to paying for daycare, and my old standby of freelance writing from home wasn't panning out.

And then I noticed on Facebook a childhood friend of mine posting a lot about a skincare line called Rodan+Fields (www.rodanandfields.com). She started talking about the type of money one could make for basically doing nothing more than washing your face, taking care of your skin, and talking about it. It sounded too good to be true. I asked my husband if he had ever heard of it, and boy, had he ever. It turns out that Doctors Rodan and Fields were the genius creators behind Proactiv, and Buck had worked with them when he was working for the advertising agency they used years and years ago. The product of Rodan+Fields, and the science behind it was legit, that much we both knew. And the results were real. I knew that too.

I talked to my friend quite a lot and asked a lot of questions, and did some research. But still, I hemmed and hawed. At a certain point, though, I realized that much like my writing, when I've lost confidence in the quality of my work, or lost all hope that I'll ever be published, I was standing in my own way. I was Liam, standing at the bottom of the lighthouse, looking up at all those steps saying, "What if I can't do it? What if I fall?"

It's a long way down, baby.
Why is it that the advice we give to our kids is so great, and we expect them to believe it, but we can't accept it for ourselves?

"You won't fall, I promise. You can do this, I promise. Don't let fear hold you back. Let's do this!"

This year, I've decided to say "yes" more than "no." When the girls were babies and wee toddlers, I got into the habit of saying "no" to just about everything. It was that tiredness thing, the overwhelming thing. The confidence thing. So I said "yes" to co-directing Vacation Bible School, even though I didn't have the first clue what I was doing. It turned out to be awesome, and I made connections and friends in my Church that I had been lacking for a long time. I said "yes" to putting my novel out there more than ever to agents, contests, and everything that scares me because of rejection. I've gotten amazingly positive feedback so far in the form of judges and professionals that are telling me I really do have something worthy of being published. And I've said "yes" to being a Consultant for Rodan+Fields. Because...why not? It's something I believe in. I'm only on day 4, so I'll get back to you on my progress.

The power of saying "yes" when all I want to do is scream "no," is awesome. "No" was my default. "No" didn't get me anywhere.

"What if I fall? What if I can't do it?"

"You can do it. We'll take it a few steps at a time, landing by landing. You'll see. We'll be at the top in no time."


P.S. - This blog will not become a space for selling Rodan+Fields. The Gleeful Gourmand will continue to be strictly a food blog. I'm in the process of adding even more things to bring The GG to the masses, like a brand-new Facebook page, and e-mail subscription for the blog! But, if you do want to discover more about how Rodan+Fields can change your skin and your life, please don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail. I'd love to talk to you!

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