Tag Archives: family

January 10th is a hard day for myself and my family. We used to totally dread it, and I know, for me, it now sneaks up. January 10th, 2004, we lost my little sister.

I’m honestly not sure what all I’m allowed to put in print about the cause of her death, but I will say that it was unfair and never should have happened. I get so angry thinking about it. Angry because I couldn’t grow up with her. Angry she won’t be at or in my wedding. Angry that she never got to meet my Kendall.

But I have to remember to turn the angry off and stay positive because that’s what she would have wanted. Around the time she died, I heard a song that has stuck with me. Shine On by Jet was actually written for the death of a band member’s dad and there are these lyrics that just UGH hit me so perfectly:

And if the moon had to runaway
And all the stars didn’t wanna play
Don’t waste the sun on a rainy day
The wind will soon blow it all away

Those are truly my favorite lyrics of all time. I used it in my speech accepting my Citizens Commission on Human Rights Award after co-writing and narrating Prescription: Suicide? Those lyrics are literally a part of me and I consider them a message from my little sister.

I see experiencing her death as a test and task from God. Because of going through what I did, I am able to empathize with other left behind siblings who aren’t sure what’s normal or what do to. It took a long time to feel normal and I still go into absolute fits occasionally at the unfairness of it all. But I know that’s not how she would want me to live my life so after allowing myself to feel sad for a bit I take a deep breath, count my blessings, and remember that I’m still here, and with so many people I love and who love me.

Do me a favor today~ hug your siblings if you can, call them if you can’t, and love them unconditionally because you never know when you might lose them


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Winter is upon us and you might already be feeling the bite. We all know how much fun the holiday season can be but there are downsides and challenges that need to be fought as well. Your wellbeing and general health should be at the forefront of your mind this season because you will enjoy the festivities and fun much more if you’re feeling positive and healthy each day.

 Chunky Knit Blanket

It’s not always obvious what you should be doing in winter to look after yourself and your wellbeing and that’s why this guide has been put together to help you out and clear things up. Don’t view these ideas as hassles or chores because they’re for your benefit. Without further ado, here’s what you should do this winter if you really care about yourself and your overall wellbeing.


Prevent the Cold Drying Out Your Skin With Face Masks

Your skin is particularly vulnerable to the cold of winter so it makes sense to take better care of it during the season ahead. Face masks are your ideal weapon against the effects the winter cold can have on your skin. They can replenish it and keep it properly moisturized; that’s exactly what you need because people often find that their facial skin dries out during the winter months.

Curb the Habits You Tend to Indulge in More Regularly During Winter

Our bad habits tend to be magnified and accentuated during the winter months. We eat more bad food, we drink more alcohol and we might even indulge in a little more social smoking than we normally would. If you want to curb your smoking habit ahead of the festivities, go to ecigwizard.com and consider using e-cigarettes. You should also pay more attention to your drinking habits. There is nothing wrong with indulging a little, but don’t let it go too far.

Start Each Winter’s Morning With Protein and Vegetables

The way you start your day is even more important during the winter because you don’t want the cold and bitterness to wear you down before you even reach your lunch break. Your body will be in a much better position to cope with the challenges of the day if you begin each winter’s morning with a breakfast of proteins and vegetables. Meat and eggs are good, and you can combine these with antioxidant-rich foods such as kale.

Sleeping mask

Boost Your Immune System by Getting More Sleep

Your immune system needs to be stronger during winter than at any time of the year because of the number of germs and viruses flying through the air. Not many people realize this but the amount of sleep you get has a direct impact on the strength of your immune system so make sure you put a special emphasis on the amount of sleep you get this winter. It might just help you to prevent those nasty illnesses.

Keep Your Mind Stimulated With Creative Projects

Let’s face it; we often end up sitting around, eating a lot and not doing much else when the holiday season comes around each year. That’s not what you should be doing if you want to keep your mental health in good shape; mental stimulation is key to your wellbeing so give your mind a workout. You can visit www.melyssagriffin.com if you’re in need of some ideas for creative projects to take on.

Take Some Time Out in the Country

Taking some time out in the country can be a massive relief if you’re used to spending winter in the city. It allows you to step back from the busy streets and Christmas shoppers, and you can instead make the most of the natural environment and feel a little more at ease and less mentally exhausted. The country has the fresh air and the lack of people that you need when city life is getting you down.

Make the Most of Time With Your Loved Ones

This is what the festive season should be all about. It’s the time of the year when family members who might not see each other all that much during the rest of the year come together to enjoy Christmas and New Year, or whichever other religious festivals might be celebrated in your home. Make the most of that time together because it will improve your relationships and your own mental wellbeing and life fulfillment going forward.

Winter can be harsh and hard to deal with at times so don’t lose sight of what matters most: you. Each of the ideas discussed here will help you look after yourself better and keep your body and mind in top shape.



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I’ve been considering writing this post for a while now, and I finally got a stretch of time where it is just me, my laptop, and a whole complicated mess of thoughts that I need to get out. As I’m writing, I’m already tearing up and sick to my stomach. I hope that this post helps whoever reads it, in some way.

I have lived an extremely privileged and blessed life, but I, like all humans, have experienced some heartbreak- breakups, disappointments, letdowns. I have never gone through the pain of losing a child and I can’t even imagine how that feels. But I can tell you that so far, losing my sister is the most gut-wrenching, permanent terrible pain I have ever felt. It stays with me every single day, but certain times it hurts more. Holidays are hard, birthdays are hard, and occasionally something extra hard comes along.

A few weeks ago, my hometown lost another bright, shining child and it stirred up a storm in me that had been relatively calm. I say child, but Carter was my age. He was smart, athletic, and loved by so many, as was evident at his service. I said this on Instagram, but I’m not going to pretend that we had stayed in touch or that we were ever very close to begin with, but we did grow up in the same little school in the same little community. For my birthday in 5th grade, he and one of our classmates choreographed a dance to the Thong Song as my present. (Weirdly enough, Sisqo re-released it the same week that Carter died, and the morning after his service, the original was on the radio.) His big sister was my best friend’s sister’s best friend, his little sister was always around for birthday parties of mutual friends. His mom basically took charge of Candace’s funeral. Our families were intertwined, as were many from St. John’s/ Olney.

My heart breaks for his whole family and everyone who loved him, but my thoughts have constantly been on his sisters. They now have the scars that will heal, but never go away. It’s like we’re part of a terrible club where nobody wants membership. Honestly, I wanted to write this post  to let people who aren’t part of the club to know how to treat us.

We’re fragile, sometimes, but not broken. Losing a sibling is a thing that happened to us, but not who we are. I actually had someone introduce me as, “the one who’s sister died” to her husband and I was floored and hurt.

Let us talk about it, but don’t force us. It took me a long time to be able to talk about my sister. I actually told a lot of my sorority sisters at first that I was an only child, with no further explanation but then felt so guilty about it after. Now, I have no problem talking about my sister. Even my best friend in the whole world has started asking me more questions about her. I love it. But it took me a long time to get there.

We need to cry sometimes. Little things, or big things, may sting in a way that not even we understand. Unfortunately, I’ve been to four funerals for “children” (anyone in my age group or younger) since college. Each one has been hard in different ways, each one has left cracks. So have weddings, or friends’ fights with their own siblings. It doesn’t matter if it’s logical, it’s still there.

We all handle it differently. I went to school literally the day after my sister died. Granted, I was fourteen so my classmates were also fourteen, but someone actually told me that I was lying about my sister’s death because how could I possibly be in school? I will never forget the slap in the face that was- was I a bad sister for not sitting at home and crying? Support us by letting us do what we need to do to support ourselves.

This might just be me, but I never know how to react when people tell me they’re sorry when they find out that my sister died. I usually pretend like I didn’t hear that because how do you answer? “It’s ok”? Because it’s not ok. If I’ve ever acted weird in a similar conversation, I apologize. I just don’t know what makes sense sometimes and I navigate it the best I can.

Think of it this way- if you have a bottle of perfume and lose the cap, there isn’t less perfume in the bottle and it doesn’t smell any less sweet, but the bottle looks different and it’s not quite as complete. It’s still functional, but different. Above all, remember that we’re still ourselves, just missing a piece that we had before.

The biggest takeaway should be this: we’re human, we hurt, and our feelings may not make sense to even us. Just stick with us while we try to figure it out.



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The above post may contain affiliate links and I may receive compensation if you click on any of the above links and/ or make a purchase from those links. Opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that I love!

Maintaining a healthy, loving relationship – living your life for you and someone you love, rather than just yourself – obviously takes a lot of work. One of the many things that can make them more difficult than they have to be is worrying obsessively about things that you shouldn’t. Obviously, staying in a relationship that isn’t right for you is one of the worst things you can do to yourself, but if you’re imagining issues that aren’t there, you could wind up throwing away the best thing that ever happened to you. Here, we’ll address some of the common, and usually unnecessary, worries that could ruin a wonderful relationship.

LOVE balloons

They’re Too Good For You

When you fall in love with someone, and they reciprocate the feeling, everything can feel very surreal. Your special someone’s so beautiful, smart, funny, and just generally amazing. Of all the people they could have had, you might feel flabbergasted by the fact that they chose little old you. This common relationship worry all comes down to self-esteem. If you feel you’re not good enough for your partner, try to find out what’s dragging you down. Do you think you’re too uneducated? Too shy? Too fat or thin? Whatever your fears about not being good enough for your partner are rooted in, you just need to get over the fact that you are good enough. They chose you, and everything that makes you the person you are makes them happy enough to stick around. Make a point to start loving yourself as much as they do, and soon enough, this niggling worry will melt away.

Their Friends and Family Don’t Like You

Again, this usually comes down to a lack of self-esteem, and convincing yourself of feelings that aren’t there. Seen as you’re reading this, you’re probably not a horrible person, and have no real reason for anyone not to like you. If your partner’s parents seem to be a little cagey whenever you come over for dinner, just bear in mind that maternal and paternal instincts are among the strongest in nature. Your partner may be an adult, but to their parents, they’ll always be that little boy they raised from infancy. Their child getting hurt is going to be up there with some of their worst fears, especially if they’ve had messy, painful breakups in the past. It’s also important to remember that differences in people’s personalities can be strenuous on the warm, open feeling you’d hope to get from a romantic partner’s friends and family. Think introverts and extroverts, intellectuals and non-intellectuals. If you’re different from the other important people in your partner’s life, then once again, get over it! If everyone got on perfectly, the world would be an insufferably boring place.

He’s Taking Too Long to Propose

If you’ve been with your partner continuously for four or five years, then understandably you might be waiting for him to take a knee and reach into a pocket. If he seems to be taking his time, you may be scared to bring it up directly, and ruin the magic when he does pop the question. A fear of commitment is more common in men than it is women, but him taking his time certainly doesn’t mean that he’s never going to propose. A beautiful betrothal ring isn’t cheap, and he may be in a tricky spot with his finances, or working on a long-term savings plan. Your relationship might be so strong, and have been going on for so long, that he might feel that there’s no need to propose and make it official. If he comes from a broken family, there may be a chance that he’s afraid of starting one, and putting a child through the messy divorce that he went through. If it’s really important to you that you sanctify your relationship, and he’s really taking too long, then you may have no choice other than to bring it up directly. Still, it’s important to remember that there are a range of reasons why a man will put off proposing, and hitting your five-year anniversary without a ring on your finger isn’t the end of the world!

The Fire’s Gone Out

Once again, this could be an issue that’s rooted in low self-esteem. More often than not though, it’s simply a reaction to the usual trend of you and your partner becoming less sexually active and passionate as the years go by. You may not be as crazy for each other as you remember being, but bear in mind that this happens to almost every couple. When you’re young, and just getting to know each other, the relationship is going to be far more centered on your physical attraction to one another, rather than a genuine, deeply-rooted love for the other person. There are any number of ways you can try to spice things up in the bedroom, and this can be great for a couple. However, the fire seeming to go out is really no cause for alarm. If you seem to want more of your partner than they want of you, talk to them about it, and try to meet somewhere in the middle.

They Love Their Friends and Family More Than They Love You

Sometimes, this worry comes up far too early in the relationship. This is the point where it’s actually true, and there’s nothing wrong with it. If your boyfriend of six months seems to connect better with a friend that he’s known from childhood, and this fact bothers you, then you might be expecting too much of him. The same thing goes for their family. However, if you’re several years in, and your partner seems to prefer spending time with their friends, family, or even their colleagues than with you, it’s important to get to the root of this. If they’re particularly extroverted, they might feel they need to spend time with a variety of different people. Introverts, on the other hand, might need their alone time. If you can’t think your way out of this worry, then talk about it.


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When the dust is settled from the proposal and the wedding photos are firmly ensconced in their frames, you settle into a life of marital bliss. One of the most exciting things about any relationship – and particularly a marriage – is the way two families blend together, to the point you can’t even see the joins anymore.

Getting along with your in-laws is a fairly vital part of being in a couple. After all, they’re an important part of your partner’s life, which by default makes them an important part of yours. While it can be a difficult relationship in some instances, for most of us, we begin to see our in-laws as a second set of parents. Then there are the siblings; the sister-in-law we didn’t know was missing from our life until this point, the big brother-in-law we always wanted.

Foliage Gift Wrap

Wonderful as this is, it can make life trickier when it comes to Christmases and birthdays. Obviously, you’re going to include your in-laws in your gift-giving – in fact, they will rank right up there in importance along with your own blood family. But it can be a tricky time, because what’s an appropriate gift?

If you know your in-laws incredibly well, then this might not be a problem for you. However, in some circumstances, while close, you might not feel that you truly know them as people. Some of that may be lack of time or distance; more and more people don’t live near their parents anymore, so you might have only met them a handful of times. While you can learn about one another and become friends, family even, through online communication and phone calls, it’s difficult to have the exact same level of intimacy.

If you ask your partner, they might have a good gift idea… or they might not. If they do have guidance, then follow it, because they know their parents better than anyone. But if they’re not more forthcoming than “I don’t know… socks maybe?”, then you might need to strike out by yourself.

While there’s no real way of suggesting perfect matches for your specific in-laws, here’s a few guidance ideas that can at the very least spark your imagination.

Play To What You Know

Let’s say that your in-laws like to travel a lot. That gives you a jumping off point for where to find ideas. You could go for a bag for their next weekend away, spruced up as monogrammed gifts at VivandLou.com/bags.html so they can do away with unsightly luggage tags. Or if they love golf or caring for their pets, you can theme a gift around these areas.

Not only does this technique provide them with something useful, but it also shows that you have taken the time to think about them and the things that they enjoy. A couple of free daughter-in-law points for you there!

Photos Always Play Well

Photographs are the gift that keeps on giving, displayed on walls to be enjoyed all year round. You could consider posing for a series of photos just for your in-laws, something special and unique for them to treasure. Alternatively for smaller budgets, find a new frame and choose your favorite photo of you, them, and your partner together. Or you could create a collage – http://www.techradar.com/how-to/computing/apple/how-to-create-a-photo-collage-1305665 has some great techniques to allow you to do this.

Ask Them!

Depending on how close you are with your in-laws, the best option might just be to ask them. It can even be a bonding moment if you phrase it along the lines of wanting to find something they will definitely love – your concern will be appreciated.

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The above post may contain affiliate links and I may receive compensation if you click on any of the above links and/ or make a purchase from those links. Opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that I love!