Archives For happiness

Knowing how great life is

January 9, 2016 — 6 Comments

How’s life been treating you?

I’m guessing your answer to that question is probably influenced by your age, whom you depend on and who depends on you, the person you see staring back at you in the mirror, the struggles you’ve endured, the triumphs you’ve enjoyed, and how you personally define happiness.

Whenever asked, my go-to answer is normally “good!” without a second thought. But, depending on different life circumstances, what actually swirls around in my brain is more like this…

I can’t believe I’m leaving home to go live somewhere else for college.*

I kinda like Ryan Woodard. Like…a lot.

Saying goodbye to my teammates after all these years, and all we’ve been through together, is the worst.

I’m going to marry him. Are we technically grownups? This is crazy.

Finally graduating school…look out real world…I’m coming for you.

These can’t actually be the ONLY houses in our price range. Are these even up to code? Will we ever find a home?

What do you mean there are no paid breaks between New Year’s and Memorial Day? That can’t be right.

It’s surreal this will be our last dinner together as just the two of us before bringing a mini version of ourselves into this world.

I have to plan my social life and sleeping schedule in three hour increments because this kid is so hungry.

I kinda want to punch Ryan every time I wake up and see him next to me sleeping ‘like a baby’. Where did that stupid phrase come from? Our baby doesn’t sleep.

Returning to work sounded good on paper. But, man, it’s hard functioning with my head in one place and my heart in another.

I can’t believe our little boy will soon have a baby brother. I can’t wait!

What on earth were we thinking?

Trying to keep up with daily demands and hold it all together.

I’m not exercising as much as I used to, but at least I’m doing something one or two nights a week.

It’s not exactly the career path I’d envisioned, but it’s stable.

How on earth do people keep their homes ‘Open House’ clean all the time?

Why isn’t there a punch card for ER visits that every mom of boys automatically receives before leaving the hospital?

One last look before we close the door for the final time on our first home. I remember the day we moved into this place and our first night sleeping in the basement on nothing but a mattress. Such a great memory.

I guess we’ll be living in an apartment while we wait for the new home to be finished. With two small children. And two dogs.

Finally found our forever home, or at least where we’ll be until our kids leave us behind.

This is a longer commute than I’m used to.

MaternalMedia is officially launched! Online therapy. Less pressure than actually writing a book. I wonder if anyone actually relates to what I ramble about?

A trifecta of kids? WHY NOT?! Flat stomachs are overrated.

The rumor is indeed true: Girls are a different breed. She has strong opinions about what she’s doing and wearing and eating and planning. As a preschooler, she looked me over from head-to-toe and asked me if today was “mismatch day” at my work. It was not. 

I will do this damn triathlon if it kills me. There’s still an athlete buried in here somewhere!

I am guaranteed uninterrupted ME time if I stick with running.

Ryan is a supportive husband, a fun dad, and a caring coach. I think I’ll keep him.

My plan is to win over a dynamic duo of radio DJs and then keep showing up in their studio until they beg me to leave.

OHMEYEGAWD ALL OF THE KIDS NEED SOMETHING 24/7.

Goodbye friends. Goodbye sanity. Goodbye running. Goodnight Moon.

Hello minivan. 

I’m tired of working on auto-pilot. Eject! Eject!

New job. New challenges. New team. Onward.

I’m going to GiveTheGameBack because I love to watch my kids play.

I’m happy.

I’m exhausted.

Dark room, blankets, foo foo drink, Netflix. These are a few of my favorite things.

I never fully appreciated my mom and dad while growing up.

I’ve got the best parents and in-laws in the world. I would be lost without them.

How blessed am I to have colleagues like these doing the work that I do? Hoping for the best as my future lies in someone else’s hands.

I have to stand on my tip toes to see into the eyes of a boy who once weighed 8 lbs, 14 oz, and whose entire body was 22.5 inches long.

We are soon going to have three different kids in three separate schools.

My dog won’t live forever. But I will love my dog forever.

* I have retained very few memories prior to 1995.

 

So that pretty much summed up the last 20 years with one caveat: I left out some of the bigger experiences that have helped me gain perspective and cherish each new day for the blessing that it is.

Losing my grandparents, rocking my children back to sleep in the middle of the night, getting to know the woman whose son gave my mom a second chance at life, skiing down a mountain side with my dad, traveling to tropical get-aways with my husband, saying goodbye to one of our dogs, appreciating  just how far friends are willing to go to support me and my dreams, embracing the chance to serve as a witness when my sister marries her longtime girlfriend, staring in awe as my children morph into free-thinking, uniquely incredible people…hard to adequately articulate what these moments mean to me.

I do know that, in my 39th year of life, as my dear friend Ashli so eloquently puts it:

At least I get to spend the rest of my life knowing how great life is.

Video forewarning: Ashli’s favorite thing about life is connecting with people and once you hear her words and see her smile, you will forever be changed for the better. Take time to watch this beautiful video that was originally posted on the Her View from Home Facebook page and is sponsored by Team Concepts.

The next time someone asks How life’s been treating you?, be honest. If not with them, at least with yourself.

Take the time to genuinely thank those who have made your life great. Say goodbye to people or things who don’t.

Thank you for coming along on this journey that I originally thought was just a blog…but turns out it’s been so much more for me.

Written by Heidi Woodard

I had a chance to do something today that I’d never previously done in my 36 years on this earth. I visited inner-city poor people in a major U.S. city.

inner city housing

Me. A tall, doughy-skinned, somewhat naive woman who lives in a city where the vast majority of her neighbors look the same.

Me. A person who’s lived in five different places, all located within 15 miles of the other over three decades.

Me. A former spinner on the mouse wheel of corporate America turned advocate for change.

I don’t talk much on this blog about what I do for a profession. And that’s intentional. I learned long ago that it was best for me to separate my work life from my social life.

When my children were babies, I second-guessed my decision to work at all. On those dreadful mornings when one of them would cry out for me as I returned to my car to leave them at daycare, trying not to let them see me cry myself, I hated the idea that I abandoned them. I never wanted them to think their mom valued the almighty dollar over their happiness.

I saw those kinds of parents at the office. They clocked in early, left late, traveled often, and I wondered if they took pride in how many meetings and high-profile events they attended. Were they more concerned about being known by others than being known by their children? Did they justify their actions based on the size of their massive homes and the vastness of their personal toy collection? Did they need to be reminded that none of the credentials trailing behind their names was as important as the letters “M.O.M.” or “D.A.D.” in the eyes of their offspring?

It was during those years when I learned this about myself: No profession, no matter how fulfilling, will ever be more important to me than family.

So you can imagine my relief when, just over a year ago,  I found a company that allowed me to put my family first as well as gave me the opportunity to positively impact other families.

I now work with the poorer population, specifically on trying to improve access to health care and outcomes. What I do is not always considered useful or socially acceptable.

I’ve learned that as a people in general, we like to preach. We like to judge. It’s easier to criticize what’s going wrong (and, believe me, I know a LOT is going wrong in health care) versus build up the right.

I had the chance to shadow a young woman today who is building up the right. Her job is to visit with people who haven’t been to their doctors and ask them why. She goes to their homes, answers questions, schedules appointments, and shows genuine concern.

She’s also completing her last year of studies to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology. A mom of three just like me.

It costs money to send people like her out into communities. Some may wonder why on earth money is spent on reminding people to do something that comes so naturally to so many of us. I mean, come on, visiting a doctor isn’t that hard.

That is, if you have a car like I do. If you have a job that gives you PTO like I do. If you have someone to watch your kids like i do. If you had a mom or dad who introduced you to a pediatrician like mine did. If you speak the same language as the office staff who schedule the appointments. If….if…if…

I learned the power of not making assumptions today. Every person is an individual with individual needs.

helping hand

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” 
― Leo Buscaglia

Created by Heidi Woodard

Blissfully aware

March 3, 2013 — 2 Comments

I started this “series” back in September 2012 with my first entry dedicated to the things that contribute to my happiness. I’m adding my second installment a mere six months later (I had lofty goals of doing this much more frequently than I actually have.)

1. This video. If you only have time to watch one thing today, make it be this video!

2. My 11-year old son who says things like, “What’s up?” as he strolls into the room…like we’re buddies and actually have stuff in common to talk about.

3. My 9-year old son who no longer fits on my lap, but still lets me snuggle with him…when no one’s looking.

4. My 4-year old daughter who has a STRONG opinion of every piece of clothing she owns. And who does crazy sh*t like this on a daily basis.

5. My husband who has been rocking a weight loss challenge at work and is down 30 freaking pounds.

6. The amount of sleep I got this weekend (I was comatose for a good chunk of it).

7. The Saucony running shoes I just ordered online. I plan to wear them in the Lincoln Half Marathon on May 5.

winner shoes

winner shoes

8. Watching Saturday Night Live on the DVR as the rest of my family goes to bed.

OK, your turn. What are you blissfully aware of these days?

Created by Heidi Woodard

Blissfully aware

September 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

It’s good to recognize what makes you happy. Happy people experience lows in life just like everyone else; they just don’t remain in the valleys for too long. To steal a quote from the Brave Girls Club, “Life is absolutely meant to be enjoyed, not just endured.”

We all must endure hardship…such is life. We must also recognize when life is good and soak up every ounce of it.

I am sitting at one of my son’s baseball practices and it’s an absolutely beautiful evening. There’s no time like the present to start a new series about how I am blissfully aware of so much good around and inside of me. So here’s my first installment of what contributes to my happiness:

1. My dog rocks. She’s a crazy ol’ lady whose sole purpose in life is to make me smile.

2. My husband is a good coach and mentor to our boys and their friends. I have known my husband since high school and I remember how much fun it was to watch him play basketball. Now I get to see him transfer his love of the game to his sons.

3. I love to learn. Starting a new job earlier this summer reminded me that I am happiest when I am challenged and introduced to new people and new ideas.

4. As much as I love meeting new people, I value my tried and true friends even more. One of the best perks of every week is getting to sit next to my BFF and pretend we’re legit radio personalities on the Pat&JT Show. Total strangers are actually starting to recognize my voice outside of the studio and that’s awesome.

5. Freaking Panera. I don’t know if there’s a more perfect place on earth.

6. The joy I experience when I feel like I am making a positive impact on others. I hope my actions speak as loudly as my words when it comes to parenting my kids. I hope I always treat people the way they should be treated…not because I am being judged by others, but because I judge myself.

7. The feeling I get after a great workout is second to none. (Well, technically, eating super bad food feels pretty damn amazing too. Not gonna lie.)

8. I love this quote: “Don’t wait for inspiration or passion to find you. Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air, and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” – Taken from You Are Not Special Commencement by David McCullough Jr. 

OK, your turn. What are you blissfully aware of these days?