Archives For Awareness


October 25, 2018

Acceptance is a tricky thing.

To feel as if you’ve done all you can.

To question if there is more to give.

Have you lived and loved and led enough?

Have you cut a corner here or there to maintain sanity?

As the autumn air turns brittle and cold

and you watch the sun retreat while dark shadows grow

you consent to the realization that another day is gone.

If you’re fortunate enough to appreciate it’s more important

to value all living things than it is to evaluate every little thing

you accept the gracious gift that fills your soul.

autumn leaves

This is the second (#2) in a series of 100-word posts I plan to write. My ultimate goal is to create 100 of these posts in no set time frame. If I follow into the same pattern of trying to reach a resolution (in comparison to diet or exercise aspirations), I may decide to throw in the towel prematurely and move on to other pursuits. Humor me while this writing trend lasts. Thanks for reading.

Written by Heidi Woodard

What I know today

September 30, 2018

What I know today is a result of a decision I made back on Sunday, January 7, 2018.

On that day, I attended church. Going to church on Sunday is not a big deal normally. Plenty of people do it.

rainy leaves

But you see, it had been awhile since I personally went. And the reason I attended service that day was because a friend of mine, whose son committed suicide at the tender age of 15 exactly two years prior, gently nudged her Facebook friends to go to whatever house of worship they felt most comfortable with in his honor.

And I just couldn’t come up with any good reason why I shouldn’t fulfill that lovely woman’s request.

So, on January 7, I walked into a church and thought of her son and reflected on his life as well as my own. I thought about how I am parenting my own three children. I contemplated the job I was working, that was located far too far away from our family’s home.

While I don’t publicly share much about my faith on this blog, I am beginning to question why I don’t. People often share their opinions on perceived polarizing topics without fear of repercussion or being misunderstood. I don’t automatically agree with all of my friends’ beliefs, nor do I expect them to adopt all of mine.

Friendship is not something that I think you must believe a certain way to earn or share. I think the best we can all do is talk less and listen more on this short thrill ride we call life.

As a reader of this blog, I ask that you listen to me as I would you while I share what I know today. And if you’re up for it, tell me in the comments (or reach out to me privately) what you know today.

  • I know that I walked into church wanting answers, especially after having suffered my own personal loss at the untimely passing of my cousin.
  • I know I signed up to receive Wednesday prayer reminders and that I look forward to those moments of reflection to break up my otherwise hectic weekly routine.
  • I know that one of the verses that has meant a great deal to me is John 3:30 that reads “He must become greater; I must become less.”
  • I know a quote that resonated with me was originally offered by D.L. Moody, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.”
  • I know that, earlier in my life, my goal was to be noticed. Now that I am later in my life, my goal is to make a conscious effort to notice and be grateful for life’s blessings.
  • I know that job satisfaction can be determined in just six weeks. I have known how it felt to realize I wasn’t where I should be, as well as what it feels like to fit in naturally.
  • I know that God is looking out for my children when I am not, connecting them with friends who they can rely upon in times of triumph or tribulation.
  • I know that I don’t always agree with everything that’s affiliated with organized religion, but I will always believe in God as well as the power of connecting with people.
  • I know that God believes in my immeasurable value. Just as my life is enriched beyond measure simply because my children exist (not tied to what they do), it is an amazing feeling to know that I am worthy of unconditional love by being, not competing.
  • I know that many of my friends and family experience every day suffering and that their struggles remain in my heart and mind even when I don’t always reach out to tell them so.
  • I know I am a big fan of Hands Free Mama, Rachel Macy Stafford, and I encourage my friends to read her blog and books.
  • I know I am grateful to have supportive people in my corner…at the top of the list are my parents, my husband, and my in-laws.
  • I know that tomorrow is not guaranteed so I ask that you let those you love know how much they mean to you as freely and as often as you can.

For the young man who made that final choice to end his life because he thought he had no other solution, know that your story has impacted my life and countless others.

Remember to #bekind.

Written by Heidi Woodard

I have been told by several of my well-intentioned female friends over the years that spa days are necessary. I will never argue that a day of pampering doesn’t feel amazing, but I generally feel guilty spending money on myself in an effort to relax and recharge.

Last week I played a little sand volleyball. Anyone who has known me for more than a handful of years knows that I love playing that sport, even though my vertical jump and reactionary speed are all but nonexistent these days.

Perhaps the only thing I’d rank higher in terms of recreational enjoyment than my love of sand volleyball is my love of sleep. Again, all of my friends know (and tease me about) this. I’ve required a restful night of shut eye ever since I was a child.

Whereas some people can survive on five hours of sleep a night, I require more like nine in order to function. The good news is I’ve never been much of a partier/night owl so catching extra those zzzz’s has rarely been an issue.

Put it this way: If I had to take one survival item with me on any of the survivor-type reality shows, I’d be hard pressed to think anything would be more useful than a good set of ear plugs.

Why do I spill these seemingly unrelated personality quirks? Because one person cares about, dare I say honors, all of them more than anyone else. My mom.

I’m at a stage in my life right now where I have an equal amount of friends who still have their moms around as compared to those who do not. And every time I learn about another person, especially a woman young or old, learning to live without their mom, it makes me appreciate even more all the ways mine has supported and nurtured me.

When my mom learned about how late I would be playing sand volleyball last week at a sports bar incredibly close to her and my dad’s home as well as my work (but extremely far away from my own home that I share with my loving and loud family), she offered up a simple question, “Would you like to just stay the night at our place after your games?”

((record scratch))

WOULD I?! I thought.

“Well, yeah, if you don’t mind. That would be awesome.” I replied.

Spa Home

Here are all of the reasons why I have no shame in my spa game at mom and dad’s place:

  1. Their house – thanks in large part to my mom – feels like a page out of a magazine, where wind chimes are singing their melodies while soft breezes are blowing and time takes its time. I’ve never known it to be messy or disheveled, which incidentally are the two words I’d use to best describe the 15 hours of my average waking day.
  2. Snack time at 10 p.m. Guys, my mom had a sandwich prepared for me as I walked in their front door after my game. But she waited to put on the lettuce and tomato because she “didn’t want the bread to get soggy.” At this point, we might as well have been John and Ray Kinsella in her Field of Dreams kitchen with me posing the question, “Is this heaven?” and her answering, “It’s you reliving your childhood.”
  3. Fresh towels. I showered before going to bed and wrapped myself in ultra soft comfort to dry off. As I took in a deep breath of gratitude, I wondered how my mom keeps her towels feeling and smelling so wonderful. Towels in my own home, even freshly washed and straight out of the dryer, feel scratchy and smell like where you don’t want to be.
  4. Open windows. Three out of the four people I share my own home with prefer air conditioning approximately eight months out of the year. The other four months are basically the dead of winter in Nebraska. As I pulled down the sheets of the perfectly made bed that magical evening at mom and dad’s house, and collapsed into total comfort, I felt the fresh outside air snaking its way into the room on an unseasonably and refreshingly cool evening in July.
  5. Peace and quiet. Not once did I have to threaten teenage boys to take away Fortnite if they didn’t stop yelling during their games. Not once did I have to tell their sister to turn down YouTube. Not once did I have to nudge my snoring husband. Not once did I hear the dog barking. Not once did I move after I fell asleep.
  6. No group consensus required. I ate when I wanted. Fell asleep when I wanted. Took up as much room as I wanted. Woke up when I wanted.
  7. Freshly prepared breakfast. Cut up fruit, baked blueberry muffins, and hot chocolate with marshmallows. Yes, I am the youngest child.
  8. Full toilet paper rolls. No additional explanation needed.

It wasn’t until I was a mom myself did I realize how hard the gig can be. As with most things in life, experience breeds appreciation and understanding.

My mom has told me many times that she doesn’t know how I do it. The full-time job, the shuffling activity calendars, the coaching, the rushing around, the holding it all together, the everything. And I only need one night with her to realize that all of the “stuff” I do pales in comparison to what she does…which is to make every person who comes into their house truly feel as if they are home. And can exhale.

Thank you, Mom. For this. For everything.

Written by Heidi Woodard