Ask Yourself ‘Why?’

Have you ever seen Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere? The premise is that Julia Roberts’ character (Maggie) has been engaged 4x and can’t seem to go through with the marriage part. Richard Gere’s character (Ike) is a journalist doing a story about why Maggie keeps leaving guys at the altar.

In the end, the two fall in love and finally get married. Spoiler alert.

What’s my point?

I was really thinking about the meaning of this movie while I was watching it, and ironically, it hits pretty close to home for me.

Not the being engaged part or the running (because I don’t run in general).

In the movie Richard Gere discovers that Julia Roberts’ character orders the exact same kind of eggs that her fiancé (at the time) orders. All four engagements, she ordered whatever her fiancé ordered. Ike realizes that Maggie didn’t have a mind of her own, and she morphed into whatever her fiancé, or anyone for that matter, wanted her to be.

That was me.

There was a joke my dad once said to me referencing 3 guys I had dated consecutively:

From Gucci to Sperry’s to Bass Pro.

What he really meant was, I morphed into what my boyfriends at the time wanted me to be, or at least what I thought they wanted me to be.

A boyfriend once told me to not cuss so much because it wasn’t lady-like. So I tried to not cuss anymore.

Another told me to put on more makeup because he liked when I looked “pretty.” So I tried to wear more makeup.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was morphing into what they wanted me to be.

And Kris has helped overcome that.

Now, this isn’t meant to be a love letter or anything, because quite frankly, Kris doesn’t read these posts unless I make him. Ha!

Kris is one of few to accept me for who I am – my faults, my weaknesses, my craziness… Everything. He’s actually the first person who just came right out and told me that I was a “chameleon.”

He noticed when I interacted with people, family, friends, co-workers, and even sometimes him, that I would be what others expected me to be.

That’s obviously hard to hear. But he was right (again).

However, partially because of him, I’ve been able to find my own voice. He pushes me to have my own opinion about things. He asks me what I want and why. He helps me come to my own conclusions.

What Julia Roberts’ character and I had in common is that we were unsure of ourselves. And we needed someone to see us for who we were.

I can’t say that I have it all figured out or that I know what I truly want in some instances. But I can say that I continue to ask myself ‘what do you want’ and ‘why.’

Those two questions alone have helped me understand myself better, and they’ve helped me come to my own conclusions, not someone else’s.

Finding our own voices and opinions is so important. Some of us struggle with it, while others couldn’t be more sure of themselves. But I don’t envy those people. I enjoy trying to better understand myself and my choices.

I enjoy asking myself ‘why?’ And I encourage more of you to do so.

Don’t just believe something because your parents told you that’s how it is.

Don’t just get married or have kids because you think that’s the next step in your life.

Don’t just do something because everyone else is doing it.

Why?

Because at the end of the day, we feel more fulfilled when we understand ourselves. We can go to sleep at night knowing that we are here in this very moment, because it’s truly what we want, not something someone else wants for us.

 

Cheers,

Laine

 

 

 

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Giving 100 Percent to Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, and Friends

I recently read the Inc. article, Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3, by Jessica Stillman.

I then read a rebuttal article, Forget Picking 3. How to Have it All: Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, and Friends , written by Kindra Hall.

Both of these articles really got me thinking about my life at it’s current state, including work, sleep, family, fitness, and friends.

Can we have it all? Or do we need to really pick 3?

For me, Work and Sleep have really become my top two. I attempt, inconsistently, to bring Fitness in there. Friends, mostly pop in when I need a break from work. And if I’m being honest, Family, usually takes a back seat. Naturally, that’s where these focus areas have fallen.

It’s not the greatest hierarchy, and different people would organize these focuses a different way. Some weeks I need Family and Friends. Others, I need Fitness and Sleep. It depends for me. And I’m working on the best for me.

However, Hall says it perfectly well:

“Be 100 percent where you are.”

It doesn’t matter if you pick 3 or if you want it all, you need to be 100 percent where you are at that moment. That’s where we’ll find success.

We all operate differently. Some of us can only focus on a few things and get really good at them. And some of us can focus on all five of these things and get good at them.

It’s about what YOU can do for YOU.

We can read all the self-help and empowerment books and articles we want, but there is no one size fits all. It’s a trial and error of what works for you as an individual.

But if there’s one thing I can (and should) focus on, it’s being 100 percent present.

We can’t be half in and half out and expect to get results.

Can you give 100 percent to Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, and Friends?

Cheers,

Laine

Clean House

There’s something about a clean house. My exact feelings and my mood are reflected by the way my house looks on the inside.

For a couple weeks now there have been piles of dirty dishes, mail that I haven’t opened all over the coffee table, clothes (clean and dirty) scattered throughout my bedroom floor, and even the daily items I use to get ready for work (hair spray, deodorant, Qtips, etc.) lying in random places around the house.

Does that explain how I’ve felt?

Part of this mess is pure laziness. The other part… Well that’s the reflection of me.

Week after week, coming home to a messy house has taken its toll on my inner-self. I don’t know if it’s because I feel a certain way and project that onto my house, or if I leave my house a certain way and then begin to take in the mess. Either way, it doesn’t feel good.

For whatever reason I decided to get up this morning and do something about it. Feeling accomplished, like I did something today, that makes me feel good. Cleaning parts of the house, straightening up my mess (only so I can start the mess all over again tomorrow)– that makes me feel good. It lifts my spirits.

Who we surround ourselves with and how we surround ourselves, those are the two things that have positive or negative effects on our insides. If we surround ourselves with negative people, people who don’t make us better, then we will become those people. If we surround ourselves with a mess, whatever a “mess” is to you, then we will become that mess.

I’ve learned this twice when I stopped being someone’s friend. And I’ve learned over the years that when my house is a mess, I am a mess.

So I cleaned.

I can’t say I am my true self, but I can say I feel better. My insides and my outlook is more positive, simply because I cleaned.

We all have simple changes we can make in our daily lives to make us feel more positive energy around us. For me, it’s cleaning.

Surround yourself with what attracts more positive energy to you– a clean house, a good friend, a salt lamp, a dog, fresh air, the sun– and you will be a better you.

Find your clean house.

 

Cheers,

Laine

Wilfred

Here we are, Laine.

You’re a homeowner. You have a good job. You live in a great town. You have an amazing partner in crime. You’re living the good life.

But something had been missing.

I had a hole in my heart for quite some time dealing with the loss of Lucy. Call me dramatic, but she was a big part of my life as I’m sure you read in I’m Left in Good Hands and A Happy Life is the Best Life.

However, my heart began to mend and Kris and I started the conversation about getting another dog.

Don’t get me wrong, Kris wasn’t pumped at first, but because he knows how happy a dog would make me and how a dog would bring complete joy to our home, he was supportive in my decision to adopt.

I looked at rescue websites for months, and even had family and friends sending me photos of dogs up for adoption. I just never could pull the trigger.

I was scared.

But finally, out of the blue, I applied to be an adopter through the Fort Wayne Pit Bull Coalition (FWPBC).

So many people were against me getting a pit bull (again). People would ask me ‘why’ or say ‘are you sure?’

For the record, I have been making decisions (bad and good) on my own for quite some time. I think I can manage.

The application went through and I had some conversations with the great people at FWPBC regarding what I was looking for: I couldn’t have another Lucy. I needed someone who was easy. Someone who was chill. And that is exactly who I got.

Enter Wilfred.

Wilfred

This 6 year old, blue pit is everything I had hoped for and imagined. Kris and I brought him home and he has been an absolute blessing to us both. (Don’t let Kris fool ya, Wilfred is his guy).

To be able to adopt a special needs dog and be the person who is going to change his life forever, that is why I rescue. I rescue dogs who need someone special to take care of them. Someone who won’t judge them or leave them. I have a purpose for rescuing– I want to make a change in a dog’s life. Little do they know that they change my life too.

I get emotional thinking about how no one wanted this guy and how people just passed over him. Until I realize that all of those didn’t work out so that we can be in this very moment.

Wilfred lays next to us at night in his own bed. He gives me a kiss goodnight and thanks me for bringing him home. I tell him and Kris I love them.

And that is living the good life.

 

Cheers,

Laine & Wilfred

WilfredLaine

PS. Thank you Debra, Suzanne, and the rest of the FWPBC family for everything you did for Wilfred and me. We are forever grateful.

Do You Wear Spanx?

When I purchase clothes, I do so by actively choosing items that hide my body shape. Yes, I’m a big girl and there is no hiding it. I’m okay with that, Mrs. She’s Too Big Now She’s Too Thin. I’m just not 100% comfortable showing my back fat roll if I were to wear a tighter shirt.

And let’s be honest, I’m all about comfort.

pajama-party

However, sometimes there are items you just have to have. They sometimes cling in weird places, or if you’re at a specific angle it just doesn’t look great.

So to be safe, we invest in Spanx (or something like it).

Props to the women that can wear these on a daily basis. I’m sure you feel and look fabulous. But, I feel like my inside are being crushed.

giphy

Are Spanx the modern day corsets? What is up with us wearing undergarments to make us skinnier or a more “desire-able” shape? I thought we moved past the Victorian age.

Maybe it’s just me, and most women find these things comfortable. But I don’t want to wear a full body suit underneath my clothing on the reg.

  1. I’ll constantly fidget.
  2. I get hot, fast.
  3. And I can’t breathe.

Why do we do this to ourselves?!?!

Here’s why…

We want to look good.

But for who?

That’s what trips me up. If I’m fully honest with myself, I wear one of those things because I want to look good for someone else. I want the people at the wedding who I haven’t seen in years be like “Dang… She got big… But she look good tho!” Compliments make me feel good. They make all of us feel good.

But I don’t want to rely on others to make me feel good about myself. Will I still wear the Spanx? When needed, yes I will.

Society makes us think that we need to be a certain size or shape or color. Or that one is better than the other. And it’s not.

th0CXGYLX2

Just the way you are.

How comfortable are you in your own skin?

 

Cheers,

Laine

Always Make Room For Dessert

I remember the day distinctly.

A woman looked at me and told me, “Those people… They’re not your family. Not really.”

SayWahhh

I was roughly 15, and in the prime of my back talking years (years, lots of years). If she hadn’t had been in her 60’s, I probably would have knocked her out of her chair. But I’m a lady and didn’t (physically) react.

However, ya’ll know me… I gave her a mouth full. Who the hell was she? She didn’t know what family meant, or who my family was. She had no clue.

I thought about this day a lot, today.

I can’t remember a single time I fought so hard for my family.

You see, my grandfather passed away yesterday. He had nine kids, none of which were my parents. Weird, huh? Technically, I share zero DNA with this side of the family. But who’s being technical?

What you need to know is that my mom was my grandpa’s daughter-in-law, and my dad was my grandpa’s son-in-law. And me and my sister, we were his grandkids. Just like all the other 16 hellians.

I don’t have a single memory that doesn’t include this side of the family. Not one.

And I’ve actually never really thought long and hard about how fortunate I am to have this third family. I hadn’t thought about it until I found out my grandfather passed. Unfortunately, grandma passed years ago at a time where I didn’t understand anything about death. So I was never able to fully comprehend the life the two of them made possible for me by welcoming me in as one of their own since the day I was born.

It’s one thing to be stuck with the family you have. I mean those people aren’t going anywhere (not pointing any fingers). It’s another thing to CHOOSE to include an entire other set of family members. And that’s what my grandma, grandpa, and the nearly 60 other family members did.

I have never once questioned if I was an equal part of this family. And I know I never will. And I can’t help but think that Grandpa Till, Grandma Till, and even Tom are looking down on me right now saying that I’ll always be a Till, with or without the DNA. Hell, the loud mouth and drinking ability is enough to include me as it is.

So here’s to my Grandpa, Sam Till Sr., a man who always told his granddaughters there was still time to become a nun (not quite sure if he was joking or serious); a guy who never let any of us go hungry, and if we were full, there was always room for dessert, ALWAYS; and a man that almost always had a beer in his hand, because life’s no good if you can’t enjoy it.

Thanks for choosing me to be your granddaughter. I am forever grateful.

 

Cheers,

Laine

 

The Good

I’ve been struggling a lot with seeing the good in my life. Normally, I’m the one telling someone else to “put your big girl pants on and deal with it.” And I really haven’t been able to do that until now.

A year ago I had surgery to remove cancerous cells from my cervix. I only told my immediate family and closest friends. I didn’t want a pity party from people, and I didn’t want to make it seem like I was looking for attention. I finally made mention of it recently and for the first time publicly in my post, The Way It Is.

For the entire year of 2015 I was in and out of the doctor’s office more than 10 times. At first they couldn’t find what was wrong. It was this terrible waiting game. Half way through the year it got better. Then it got worse. You know, the whole vicious cycle. Finally, the decision was to go in and remove the cancerous cells. Low and behold, while they were in there, they found more. Fingers crossed they got it all.

Anyway, what’s my point? Why the hell am I telling a story about something that happened a year ago, and something I didn’t even necessarily want people to know?

Like I said, I’ve been struggling with seeing the positive things in my life. Some days are better than others. But today… Today I fully and wholeheartedly see and feel the good things in my life.

Today, I sit here thankful that those doctors were able to remove the cancer from my cervix. Today, I’m thankful for my life. So many other’s lives are taken too soon. And it’d be selfish of me to think that I wasn’t lucky. I should be thankful for this extra time I’ve been given. And I am.

If there’s anything in this life worth being thankful for, it’s the ability to live my life. With all the negative things happening around us, with all the negative thoughts and feelings we have every day, we still get to wake up. We still get to experience life and what it has to offer.

So today, I see the good in simply being alive.

 

Cheers,

Laine

The Way It Is

My 27th birthday has come and gone. To be honest, it wasn’t much. I received all this love and attention from friends, family, and my boyfriend, and yet I still wasn’t feeling up for a celebration.

I know how terrible that all sounds — this whole “poor me” bullshit. And I know how extremely lucky and blessed I am to have this life. So it’s pretty selfish of me to be acting like this, but I just can’t seem to shake it.

My 26th year of life had an overarching theme to it – things I cannot control.

Cancerous cells were found on my cervix.

I was basically let go from my job.

I had to put Lucy down.

A former player died in a car accident.

An old friend died from cancer.

Pretty shitty year if you ask me. Hence my “poor me” attitude.

On Christmas when I was spending my time with all our family, I was more reserved, quieter. I wasn’t in the holiday spirit. On my birthday, I felt nothing. No excitement or anything, and that is not like me.

I am full of life. I am full of spirit. I am full of spunk. I am full of smiles. I am full of positivity.

That is who I am. But, that is not who I am acting like.

So, I’m [trying] my own saying out and “putting my big girl pants on.” I’m trying to work out again in the hopes that it will make me feel better. I’m trying to meditate again so I can more easily accept the things I cannot control. I’m trying to do more things that make me happy. I’m trying to focus on the things I’m thankful for – the 27 experiences that have been a positive part of my life this past year.

  1. The surgery to remove the cancerous cells from my cervix was a success. Cancer free.
  2. I went on an amazing vacation with Kris. We didn’t kill each other in the car.
  3. Kris moved back to Indiana to be closer to me.
  4. I’m applying for my Master’s degree, which is something I would have never done if it wasn’t for my current employer.
  5. My baby sister got married and I gained a new brother-in-law. Now, for babies!
  6. I spent a lot of my summer weekends at the lake. It’s good for the soul.
  7. Lucy, Kris, and I took up the hobby of hiking. Mainly because it was the easiest way for us to enjoy exercising.
  8. I made the plunge to leave Fort Wayne and move in with Kris. We’re both still alive, aren’t we? (Read Bring It On Bloomington, Indiana and It Ain’t All Rainbows and Butterflies)
  9. My old employer gave me glowing recommendations and their blessing to find a new job. (Read Take Back Control)
  10. I was appointed to a new board of a directors to a group of people who didn’t even know me.
  11. I was voted VP of my alma mater’s alumni association board. Nobody else wanted it.
  12. I helped bring three great nights of free concerts to downtown Fort Wayne.
  13. Kris tells me he loves me every single day. He also laughs at me. (Read I Can Live Without You)
  14. I paid off $5,000 in debt on my credit card. (Read The Debt Ball and Chain)
  15. My parents have been very supportive with paying for my new tires, helping me out when I didn’t think I could pay a bill, you name it, they did it.
  16. I got a new job with a lot more money.
  17. I received a prestigious award as one of the top Millennials in Fort Wayne making a difference.
  18. I hiked 2,000ft up (it was terrible) to the most beautiful view I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
  19. I swam in the Smoky Mountains. But not the deep end, because I couldn’t see the bottom.
  20. I got to see all of my friends from college and put on my old jersey to attempt to run up and down the court.
  21. As soon as I’d park my car in front of Fortezza, the barista would start making my coffee before I even ordered. I miss that.
  22. Lucy made me happier than I could have ever imagined. (Read I’m Left In Good Hands)
  23. I accepted that I was a “thick girl” and finally bought clothes that actually fit my big hips. So much more confidence after that. (Read Mrs. She’s Too Big, Now She’s Too Thin)
  24. I stopped partying so much. Weird, I know. (Read Growing Old Not Up)
  25. I babysat my nephews for the very first time. All three of them, at once. I’ve never done it since.
  26. I began meditating daily.
  27. I realized how effing lucky I am to have this life, good and bad. (Read A Happy Life Is The Best Life)

As much as I bitched at the beginning of this post, I do know how lucky I am. Sometimes, we just need a little reminder. In my case, I needed a swift kick in the ass.

But in all seriousness, life is never as bad as we think it is. If we just simply TRUST in the Universe then we will be able to more easily accept life the way it is.

And usually, “the way it is” has more good than bad.

 

Cheers,

Laine

A Happy Life Is The Best Life

Over the last four weeks I’ve dealt with more death in such a short amount of time than I ever thought possible.

I had to put my baby girl, Lucy, down which was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. She was my saving grace. (Read: I’m Left In Good Hands).

Four days later, a former player of mine died in a car accident. She was 17 and the starting PG for one of the best basketball teams in the state of Indiana.

Eleven days after her death, one of my oldest friends lost his two year battle to Leukemia. He and I had more history than anyone could ever understand. He would have been 27 on Christmas.

Life’s short, apparently. And we never actually realize it until shit like this happens. We say it all the time, but none of us can really grasp the concept of how short it really is.

So I have to pose the question… Are we truly living to our utmost fullest? If you were told how and when you were going to die, would you live differently?

I can tell you right now, I am not living my life to its utmost fullest. And yes, if I were told how and when, I think I would live differently. But sometimes that’s just not how life goes.

My former player didn’t know she was going to die that day on her way to school. And even though my friend had Leukemia, I’m sure he didn’t know the exact day he would leave this world.

It’s unfortunate we have to experience death in some fashion to try and understand the meaning of life. And even then life goes on and we forget. Until the next death.

But how selfish is that?! Someone has to die or become sick in order for your life to be put in perspective. I bet you, the father of my former player would rather have his daughter back than for us to have a different outlook on life.

Now, I’m not saying I have the answers nor that I even understand the questions I’m asking. But at what point do people stop dying around us? People who have barely lived. How are we supposed to understand that? Or are we?

I talk this big talk about:

What’s meant to be will be.

But let’s be real. When it comes to death, that mantra goes out the window. How is it that a 26 year old newlywed finds out he has Leukemia weeks after his wedding then dies two years later? That’s NOT meant to be.

You’re supposed to be a kid, make stupid decisions, learn from them, grow up a little, make some more stupid decisions, have fun somewhere in there, and continue to grow old. Then it’s your time to go.

But these three weren’t given that chance. Their lives were taken sooner than any of us could have even fathomed. And now we get to sit here and live with it. Live with the reality that a father lost his daughter, a wife lost her husband, and I lost my best friend.

Like I said, I don’t understand it. I don’t think anyone does. But the least we can do is to not forget how this makes us feel, and remember that life is short. Not just today or next week, but truly remember and make choices every day that make us happy. Because in the end, happiness is all we want. Whether we go now or 50 years from now, a happy life, short or long, is the best life lived. And I want to make sure I have that life because I know for certain these three did.

Tell someone you love them today. Hug them. And thank them for how happy they make you.

Life is short, but we can make it a short happy life.

Thinking of you always Lucy, Peytin, and Chris. And I’ll see you shortly.

 

Cheers,

Laine

 

I’m Left In Good Hands

For a week I went to work, came home, and got in bed — for five days straight. Now, I lay in bed all weekend, with no shower, and sleeping for hours on hours.

I think that’s what they call sadness. Depression. Emptiness.

That’s how I feel.

All of those things wrapped in to one, and then some.

Kris and I came home for the first time after having to put Lucy down, and I broke. I dropped all my things in the hallway and lost my sense of balance. My sense of purpose. And hysterically cried. Over and over again. It was  like a bad dream.

I had never known loss like this before. My person was gone. The one that brought me out of complete darkness and into utter joy. She saved me. Literally. Read the post: The Pitbull That Saved My Life.

It seems dramatic, I know, but never in my life have I cared more about another living thing than I did Lucy.  She taught me how to love unconditionally. She showed me that it was okay to open up and to put my faith in to the universe — that everything would work out the way it was supposed to.

Which turns out to be quite a funny story…

Here’s a quick timeline:

Mid October 2013 Kris and I began dating (round one).

End of December 2013 Kris and I ended our relationship.

Mid December 2014 I adopted Lucy.

End of December 2014 Kris and I rekindled an old flame. (More like I got my shit together.)

Mid February 2015 Kris and I were officially a couple.

As you know, I’m sure, Kris and I started our relationship with a 6hr drive between us. And continued that relationship with that drive for over a year.

The funny part about all of this is that, until now, until sitting here and reflecting on Lucy’s life and our time together, I always associated her with bringing me out of that darkness, which is true. But, she also brought me much more.

You see, if I didn’t have Lucy in my life while Kris and I began dating again, I don’t think he and I would have stayed together. (Another me problem.) Imagine, my crazy ass dating a guy 6hrs away with no sense of responsibility… Right?!? I’m laughing too.

I mean in all seriousness, that’s what happened in round one. I was this crazy, let’s go out and party, unhappy girl in round one.

The difference this time was that I had Lucy. I had something to teach me unconditional love. I had something to ease me in to the feeling of being in love with another, and letting myself be loved.

We don’t ever realize it until they’re gone, but animals can have an amazing impact on us. And to be honest, I never in my wildest dreams knew this would be this hard or that she would be this impactful on my life.

I know time heals and eventually I’ll be able to focus solely on the good and not the sadness of her being gone. But I do take comfort in knowing that she has left me in good hands. She showed Kris the same unconditional love and he will forever love me the way she did.

For that, I will never forget her and there will always be a place in my heart for my girl.

lucy

If you are thinking about adopting an animal please consider these places for your adoption. I promise you, these animals will bring you more than you could have ever hoped for. And if there are other reputable animal rescues you know of please share them in the comments below.

Allen County SPCA

Fort Wayne Pit Bull Coalition

Tribe Dog Training and Rescue

 

Cheers,

Laine & Lucy

LucyatAllenCountySPCA