A Lesson on Getting Through Difficult Times

Yes, I took off my clothes – but not entirely. Have I mentioned I hate running? More than mustard (if you have followed my blogs). Despite my disdain for it, I still do it. Not for exercise, though that is a bonus, but I do it for discipline, mental growth, and to remind myself that I can do hard things and accomplish them.

Just to be clear, when I say I ‘run’ what that really means is that I ‘jog, very slowly.’ The max I push myself to run is about 2 miles but typically settle at just one. With that said, you can imagine my reluctance when my 15-year-old asked me to go on a 3-mile run with her [insert blank stare gif here]. Any other day I would have said ‘no’ but given she has been quarantined for over a month and a half and feeling pretty down about missing out on track meets, I apprehensively agreed.

The route was from our house to the Marketplace Walmart, which was 1.5 miles away, round trip made 3 miles, with a lot of hills and straightaways along the way. We started off. My energy level was high. I was feeling good and thinking this might not be as bad as I thought, until I hit my first hill (not very far into the run). I immediately felt the burn in my legs as I attempted to truck up the hill. Breathing became more forceful. It hurt and I wanted to quit only 2 mins. into the run. I looked up and saw my daughter ahead and knew I could not quit because I was doing this for her. I pushed on. Once the path leveled out, things became a little easier and also much warmer. The clouds parted and the sun was beaming on me. I had on a pullover hoodie. I started to sweat and overheat. I took off the pullover and tied it around my waist. Immediately I felt relief from the release of heat; this gave me an energy boost to pressed on.

My daughter stayed ahead of me the whole time but when she would get to a marker, she would stop and wait for me to catch up. As I slowly approached, she would give me a big high five and then resume the lead position. I wasn’t even a mile in when everything hurt, I was panting for air, and wondering ‘Why did I agree to do this?’ I was coming up on another big hill and had no energy to take it on. I stopped and walked up the hill. Once I gained some energy back and my breathing normalized some, I picked back up to a jog. I immediately came upon another hill. This time, I was determined to jog it. The pain immediately rushed back into my legs. I kept pushing. If I looked up the hill, I knew I would be easily discouraged how far I had to go and how long I would have to endure this pain, so I looked down instead. I looked down and kept repeating to myself, ‘Just put one foot in front of the other’. I made it up the hill which was the middle point of our route; I was only halfway done and felt like I was going to die. I wanted to quit. This was not fun, but rather torturous. I wondered why I was doing this. These thoughts kept circling in my mind, but each time I would look up, see my daughter, and was reminded of my why. It was all that was needed to press on.

The trip home was similar, lots of pain, alternating between walking and jogging, forcing myself to each marker, high fives from my daughter at each, wanting to quit but choosing not to, and mentally pushing myself every single step. We finally made it back home. I was beat. Breathing hard, red in the face, legs and ankles in pain, but I did it.  

Whether I am pushing myself to complete 1 mile or pushing myself to complete 3 miles, I found I had to take the same approach because for me, both are hard, both hurt and cause pain. The only difference is the duration of how long I am enduring it.

We are all going through hard times right now. EVERY SINGLE PERSON has been impacted by Covid-19 in some way. We are all trying to truck up our own individual hills. Here is what my run taught me about getting through a difficult journey –  

  • Life is full of hills and straightaways – There are no alternative routes. Hills are a part of every journey and THEY WILL BE HARD. Accepting this allows you to plan, prepare, and respond effectively in difficult times vs. becoming angry or resentful. This is when you may need to put your head down and just commit to putting one foot in front of the other.
  • Adjustment to your environment is necessary – I had to take off my clothes to adjust to the heat. Adjustment will be required to make it through, or you can get really hot and overheat. This is when you need to reflect and decide what you need to take off, let go off, or change to adapt to your environment and the season you are in.
  • You will have to slow down – Running at full speed is unrealistic. There are times you will be forced to slow your pace if you want to make it to the end successfully. These times are the most challenging mentally. This is when questioning starts. Is this worth it? Why am I do this? You will need to remind yourself why you started in the first place. Then just remember, the mountain will eventually flatten out.
  • Set mile markers and instead of focusing on the finish line – If you focus on how far you have to go, you can easily get discouraged. The end will seem so far that it seems easier to give up or not even start at all. Setting mile markers makes the journey seem a bit more possible and gives a sense of accomplishment along the way. Be sure to celebrate when you make it to these points. You may still have a long way to go, but you will be closer than what you used to be.
  • Support or an accountability partner is critical – Following my daughter helped push me to each marker and then her high fives gave me the boost I needed to get to the next marker. Having a strong support person provides a boost of strength and encouragement when you are having difficulty finding it on your own.
  • Healthy distractions make the journey easier – At times, you will have to just bow your head and endure the pain; healthy distractions can help make it a little more tolerable. I listened to music to take my mind off the pain and even give me the energy to push through it. For some, this may be switching focus to a hobby or spending more time with people you love while riding out the difficult times.
  • Attitude is everything – It is true that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it. If I kept going or if I would quit was 100% on me to decide. If I told myself encouraging words or discouraging words was 100% in my control. I was alone with my own thoughts and that is how every journey will be. It will always come down to you and your thoughts. There will be very little you can control in life, but you can 100% of the time control your thoughts and how you choose to respond to life.

How we handle difficult times will be the difference between success or defeat. You will come out on the other side a victim or a victor. The outcome is 100% your choice to make.  Choose victory. You got this!  

A lesson on pulling those pesky thoughts from your mind

Like many, I took advantage of the nice weather recently and did some yard work; I focused the day on pulling weeds and laying fresh mulch. As I pulled up each weed, I found myself examining their roots. Most of the weeds were small with weak root systems and could be pulled up easy, but then there were some I came across that were much larger, with much more extensive root systems. In order to eradicate these weeds, I had to dig them up and, in some cases, cut the roots off!

Is this not the same for the negative thoughts we let grow in our minds? Some are mild thoughts; they come, but we can quickly dismiss them. Others are extensive and have roots that are so entangled in our everyday thoughts, they often rob us of the joys that today has to offer. Anxiety, depression, and PTSD are examples where negative thoughts can consume our minds, all day, every day.

The sources of these negative thoughts are often criticism, rejection, neglect, abuse, and trauma. Unfortunately, most of us will not escape this world without experiencing at least one of these, so then what do you do? You pull your weeds!

“It’s important to rid your garden of weeds because they rob your soil and your plants of important nutrients and water.”


The only way to remove weeds and keep them from taking over your yard is by pulling them up from the root, and at times when they are too big, you have to just grab the shears and cut them off!

Here are the steps I follow when I need to weed my mind –  

  1. Schedule Time to Weed – I had to schedule time to clean up the yard. You must do the same with your mind. Be intentional about taking some quiet time to listen to the thoughts you tell yourself daily.
  2. Identify the Weed – When cleaning up the yard, I would have to stop, look at the plant and confirm it was a weed before I pulled it. Do the same with your thoughts. As they come and go, question them, determine if it is a fact or just a lie that is wearing a really good disguise. An example may be the thought you are not good enough. A parent may have told you this on repeat, but this is not a fact, it is person’s opinion, often fueled by their own insecurity. This would be a lie that is posing as a truth. It’s a weed!
  3. Pull the Weed – When weeding, it is important you pull the whole root or the weed will grow back. What do you need to completely remove from your life so the negative thoughts do not continue? You may need to break off the relationship, which can include the negative friend, distance yourself from that family member, quit the job, unfollow the negativity on social media, limit or stop watching the news or certain videos on YouTube.
  4. Plant Positive Seeds – Once soil is free from weeds, it makes room for seeds to be planted and life to grow. Do the same with your mind. Plant seeds of positivity and truth; this may include positive self-talk, hanging around more supportive friends and/or mentors, watching inspiring videos, reading self-help books or things that make you feel good, uplifting music, follow positive people on social media, or seek counseling.

“Weed seeds come in abundance and from many sources while also having the ability to lay dormant in the soil for years before germinating.”


It is important that you weed your thoughts often because different life experiences will cause different weeds to spring up and as stated, some do not spring up until years later.

Your mind is a garden. It is important that you tend to the garden of your mind so you position yourself to reach your highest potentials. Often, the weeds hold us back by instilling fear and self-doubt. It is time to pull your weeds and plant your seeds!

Plus a MUST try recipe!

Deviled eggs. You will find them at picnics, potlucks, holiday celebrations, and cookouts. They are so embedded in our culture that they have come to be expected, and if not delivered, the event does not seem complete.

Despite being a signature dish, I never ate them. I never even tried them. I assumed all deviled eggs were made with mustard and I hate mustard! Just so we are clear, I love eggs. I eat them almost daily. Boiled. Scrambled. Omelets. Sunny side up. Egg salad (made with mayo, not mustard). Prepare them how you wish, I will eat it, except when you add mustard.

It was Thanksgiving and I went to my daughter’s Nana’s house who of course had some good ole deviled eggs as part of the spread. As we prepared plates, she offered me one. I cringed at the idea of taking a bite into the bitter tasting egg with all its yellow mustard glory, but because it was offered, I just could not say no. I took the egg. It sat on my plate as the last thing to eat. I was clearly avoiding the devil himself in this egg. As I finished the last bite of sweet potatoes, I then turned to the single egg that sat on my plate. I slowly picked it up and with much resistance, forced myself to take a bite. Then I took another one and another one and then I got some more! What is going on here?? They were actually good, REALLY good. I thought, ‘maybe deviled eggs did not have mustard in them after all.’

I asked Nana how she made them because clearly something this good could not contain mustard. She replied, sweet relish, Miracle Whip, and yellow mustard. WHAT!?! Impossible! Those are the three worst condiments created my man! There is no way such horrible ingredients combined made something so good!

This made me think, how often do bad things come together for our good? We have all heard the saying, ‘No Pain, No Gain’. This saying references the need to go through something uncomfortable or painful in order to experience growth and success. This is true for those trying to achieve any goal in their life. Maybe it is losing weight, getting out of debt, excelling in the workplace, or starting a new business; whatever it may be, the same rules apply.

Reflecting on my own journey to start a new business, to say I have struggled a bit would be an understatement. I thought it would be easy, but boy was I wrong! Like most of us, I was looking for the success without having to do the hard stuff. What I quickly learned is you can’t avoid the hard stuff if you want success because they are necessary ingredients.

What I have found to be the most concrete, fail proof recipe to achieve any goal is the following –

Discipline + Hard Work + Consistency = Success

In order to taste the sweet experience of success, you must add in these key ingredients. Unfortunately, those key ingredients are not favorites on anyone’s list. We do not like them so we avoid them, just like I did when I knew mustard was in deviled eggs. The sad result is a lot of missed opportunities, lost dreams, and untapped potential.

I would never eat mustard by itself or sweet relish or Miracle Whip. The only time I eat these three things is when combined with a boiled egg. No one wants to work hard, just to work hard or discipline themselves, just to say they did, but when you combine all three together and eat them with passion, you will be sure to achieve success EVERY TIME.

I want to encourage you today, to just take a bite. Take one goal and apply these three key ingredients and then prepare to savor in your success.

Now back to deviled eggs themselves; I have since made them more times than I can count for various events and they are a hit every time! Today I share this recipe with you. Enjoy! 

Recipe for the Best Deviled Eggs


  • 8 large eggs
  • 2.5 tbsp Miracle Whip
  • 1.5 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1.5 tsp sweet relish
  • Salt to taste
  • paprika, for garnish


  1. Bring large pot of water to boil, carefully place eggs in the pot, and then boil eggs for about 15 mins.
  2. Drain water from pot and replace with cold water. Let eggs cool.
  3. Once cooled, peel them and slice in half lengthwise. Remove the yolk with a spoon, place yolk in a small bowl, and place the egg whites on a plate.
  4. Mash the yolks with a fork and add the Miracle Whip, yellow mustard, sweet relish, and salt to taste. Stir everything together.
  5. Use a spoon to add a portion of the deviled egg mixture back into the hole of each egg white. Sprinkle on paprika for garnish.
  6. Enjoy!

A lesson on how to forgive, for you and only you.

Forgiveness. That is what we were discussing in today’s counseling session. I figured this would be a short meeting because I really didn’t hold grudges. I had learned the art of forgiveness, so I was prepared to be in and out in no time and carry on with the day. 

After a series of questions and some discussion, I realized there were actually a few people that I still needed to work on a little more fully forgiving. As I was discussing each person with the counselor and the hurt they caused me, the counselor randomly handed me a rock, and a rather large rock at that. At the conclusion of my sharing, I looked down at the three rocks in my hand, one for each person. I figured she was doing an illustration of the heavy burden I carry as I choose not to forgive, and she was. At the end of the session, I went to return the rocks but the counselor stopped me. She instructed me to carry these rocks around everywhere I went, all day, until I fully forgave the people I mentioned. Being honest, my immediate thought was, “I should have lied and said there was no one I held a grudge towards”, but it was too late for that. I am committed to my growth and change so I figured ‘Ok, whatever, I can knock this out quick. I will say I forgive them and then get rid of these rocks.’ As I went about my day, the rocks became pretty annoying; I carried them everywhere I went. What I noticed immediately was not the extra weight I was carrying, but the limitations they caused me; because I was carrying the rocks, I was limited to what else I could carry in my hands. As the day continued, the weight did get heavier. I could feel the strain on my shoulder as I carried my purse with the extra weight of the rocks. 

In the following days, I was so busy that I really did not have time to sit and work on forgiving the people whom I held hurt against, nor did I really want to, so I continued on carrying my rocks; it was just easier that way. As the days passed, I would often forget the rocks were there. My bag was heavier, or my hands were full, but I became used to it; it no longer bothered me. I didn’t even try to carry things I may have wanted because I knew I couldn’t and my shoulder had already adapted to the heavy weight in my bag. Despite getting used to the added weight and limitations, I knew what I still needed to do.

I finally did sit down and took the time to search my heart and truly forgave the people who caused me such a deep level of hurt and pain. Once I forgave, I was finally able to put the rocks down; I didn’t have to carry them anymore, and I never had to pick them back up. Once I did this, I noticed something immediately, I had two hands free and open to carry those things which I wanted, my shoulder was relieved of the extra weight I was forcing it to carry, and heck, I noticed how light my purse actually was without rocks in it!

We all hold on to past hurts. That parent who abused you, the teacher who said we would never become anything, the boyfriend/girlfriend who rejected you, the friend who betrayed you, the supervisor who criticized you and if you are like me, maybe it is yourself you can’t forgive for something you may have done to someone else; we all have experienced this. Truth is, if you have not truly forgiven those people, then you are carrying around rocks, just like I was. Some of you have carried them so long, you do not even realize they are there. You are so used to carrying the extra weight, the heavy burden, that it no longer feels heavy. You are so used to living with your hands full of past hurts, that you do not even attempt to open yourself for new and greater things to happen in your future. Reality is, you won’t, you can’t experience the release of these burdens and the fullness of life until you forgive. 

Forgiving is not easy and in no way does it make permissible the wrong that was done to you or maybe even the wrong you did to someone else, but for you to truly live a life full of the love and joy you deserve, it is critical.

“Forgiveness does not mean what happened is ok. It means not letting what happened take any more of your happiness.”

Michelle Maros

Here are the 6 steps I take to truly forgive – 

For each person, on a blank piece of paper, I write out the hurts. I write out exactly what they did to me that caused me pain.

I close my eyes and picture the person in my head. I imagine that person, not as the person who hurt me, but as a person who has been hurt in the very same way they hurt me. See hurt people, hurt people, so they are the ones in most need of grace.

After I realize the person who hurt me, is hurt as well, with my eyes still closed, I tell them I forgive them. I say this out loud as if they were sitting in front of me and I was speaking to them. I go down my list from #1 and forgive each hurt individually, starting each one with ‘I forgive you for….’.

Once you say you forgive them, destroy the list of hurts. Rip it up, burn it, whatever you wish to do to let it go for good. I personally burn it.

Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for carrying the burden for so long and robbing yourself of the fullness of life you deserve. 

Choose grace when interacting with that person, or towards yourself, going forward (only if you absolutely must interact with them). Some people are ok to love from afar, really far, or even not at all.

One of my favorite artists says it best, “Grace wins every time!” – Matthew West

Freedom awaits. Once you forgive, the person will no longer have a hold on you. A go to reminder for me is the quote that states, ‘He who angers you, controls you’. They no longer get control. You are now in control. What they took from you, you have now taken back and a limitless future awaits.