What Are Ten Wonderful Things About You? Gratitude Wants To Know.

Happy Monday fraands, hope everyone’s weekend was good, decent, and uneventful in the best way. This moring’s blog is going to be quick because I forgot to write it last night and I’ve got twenty minutes before I really need to get ready for work. This might be my best blog yet because I won’t (can’t) allow myself to overthink each sentence and thought.

It isn’t always easy to remember our strengths or the good things about ourselves. Personally, I find it a helluva lot easier to call out my negatives than praise myself when this question is asked: What do you love about yourself?

When asked my hands usually go dry, heart palpitations increase and my brain literally freezes. The world goes in slow motion and I begin to stutter. My mind repeating one phrase, “what do I like about myself? What do I like about myself? What do I like about myself?”

Nothing ever comes to mind.

But this morning my gratitude journal asked me to name 10 wonderful things about myself and something about using the word wonderful helped me consider what I do think is wonderful about myself.

The word love is confusing for me so it throws off my way of understanding the question. So for the first time ever, I tried to consider 10 whole things I thought was wonderful about myself.

We each have personality traits that are really awesome, so I challenge you to answer the same question. I’ll share mine but I double-dog dare you to share your own answers in the comments.

Let’s do this together!

Ten wonderful things about me:

  1. My laugh is loudly sincere and wholeheartedly expressive of the joy I’m feeling in the moment.
  2. I’m a seeker of knowledge. I want to truly understand the why, meaning and perspective of any and all given situations, a.k.a staying curious.
  3. My want to be the change I wish to see in the world, nothing excites me more than giving back and helping make this world a better place.
  4. I love to cook and trying new recipes. A gift passed down to me from my Pops.
  5. Despite being armored up on the outside, any kind of unnecessary suffering truly bothers me.
  6. I am brave.
  7. I’m creative.
  8. Book smart and street smart.
  9. Incredibly strong, especially in the face of adversity.
  10. Fearlessly authentic.

This did me more good than I thought it would. It felt ridiculous and absurd when I spent (what I felt) too much time contemplating my wonderful parts, and then physically having to write them down.

There’s something solidifying to writing them down. I actually believe what I wrote, so I encourage you to write yours down and share them with me in the comments. This might be the best way to start off your Monday.

Don’t worry, it’ll feel silly at first, but I promise you it’s more rewarding than not.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for my spin class tonight. It’s going to kick my ass back into taking care of myself. 

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

My First Day at KidWorks KU Program

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My first day at Kidworks KU program was this past Friday and I have to admit, my nerves were jittery all day in anticipation of my first-afternoon volunteer teaching.

Would a bunch of 3rd through 5th graders eat me alive? Would I say something wrong and secure their place in therapy twenty years from now? What if they hate my course outline and/or despise me?!

PS: When the hell did I turn into a worry wart? My lifelong goal of not turning into my mother and worrying about everything has apparently flown right out the window. #smdh

KU (Kidworks University) is a 5-week program where kids elect to take courses they’re interested in after their regular school hours. I volunteered to fill in as the arts & crafts teacher as they hadn’t found anyone to fill the position.

Craft one was making dreamcatchers. In an hour. With 12 kids and one of me.

Holy crow have I never heard my name said so many dang times.

It was hilariously exhausting.

The entire day before Day One at KU I spent preparing for the ONE HOUR class. I was super convinced they’d finish early and all be looking at me begging for something to do. I was pre-imagining the panic I’d feel with 12 sets of little eyeballs waiting for my next move, so like any wannabe Boy Scout – I made a plan for the plan and went in prepared…

This is embarrassing because your girl had a powerpoint presentation, a word search just in case kids finished early and a story about where the dreamcatchers originated from…

And there has GOT to be some kind of life irony/hidden life message within this next paragraph describing how the ONE HOUR actually went. 

We didn’t start until 20-minutes after planned because the program manager wanted to make sure to get all the last minute kids in the classes they wanted. There was a class before mine so I couldn’t set up the room until it was my turn – but I was standing outside waiting for my kids to arrive (per protocol) and had zero prep time, especially since we all started 20 minutes late.

As I’m learning the kids’ names, half of them start asking if we’re going to make slime instead of the pre-designated craft I’m in the process of setting up. Probably four kids in total repeatedly asked, when are we going to make slime?!

After getting the kiddos started all of them needed help. At the same time.

After helping one, another would ask, and then another, then another and then another.

I’ve never tied so many damn knots in my life. Which thinking about it now, why didn’t I just tell them to tie their own knot? Those fools got me <3

By the time the hour (and an extra 15-minutes) was up, most of the class finished their dreamcatcher and ran out the door while I was left trying to catch my breath, clean up the bead mess and figure out where I’d left my brain.

Nobody wanted to read my dreamcatcher story. And there was no extra time for the word search I had printed out. Not even sure where my flash drive with my PPT went.

I made an IG Story from the beginning to end, so I’m sharing it with you now so that you too can enjoy a laugh at my expense.

Moral of the story: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Once the party train starts rolling there’s no stopping it. And I must repeat – don’t try to make a bunch of 8 and 10-year-olds make a dreamcatcher in an hour. Safe a life, color a book.

PSA: Kidworks NEEDS volunteers. If you’re in the Orange County, California, area please consider donating some of your time. Check out volunteer opportunities here. Kidworks is a community development organization whose mission is to restore at-risk neighborhoods…one life at a time.

Join me in being the change we wish to see in the world. If you volunteer your time, tell us where in the comment section so we can love on you and each other!

Stay dreaming.

Cultivate it.

I’ve Got Stamina

I’m late, I know. This should’ve been posted by 9 a.m. but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to blog about today and was waiting for something to present itself.

Well, nearly two hours later it has hit me.

I’m sitting in my office listening to Sia’s The Greatest, typing up my first script for Someone Like You podcast and I’m tearing up.

If you can’t recall the lyrics by heart, here’s a snip:

Uh-oh, running out of breath, but I
Oh, I, I got stamina
Uh-oh, running now, I close my eyes
Well, oh, I got stamina
And uh-oh, I see another mountain to climb
But I, I, I got stamina
Uh-oh, I need another lover, be mine
Cause I, I, I got stamina

Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no
Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no

I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive
I’m free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest
The greatest, the greatest alive
The greatest, the greatest alive

 

For the first time in my life, I feel genuinely happy and not because a vacation is around the corner, my Hubs surprised me with a gift or I achieved a goal I was working towards.

My insides are happy just because…

Like, so happy I want to cry about it, haha.

I’m working on a podcast that focuses on solving (or creating a conversation that leads to solving — I’m good with either notion) the homeless youth problem we have in America.

It has lit a fire in me I’ve been waiting for and it feels so. damn. good.

What’s even more insane is that I’ve shared it with the people I care about. The fact I’ve given this goal a voice (instead of silently working it over in my head over and over) and it’s felt so good to talk about it, before (and kinda still now) I thought giving it a voice would jinx it.

Something inside me has been freed.

I don’t spend weeks editing a blog post before hitting publish. The words to describe my feelings, ideas, wishes or recent enlightenment, come a lot easier than in recent years.

And after almost 30 years of not liking myself as a person, I think I’m finally starting to truly love myself for the first time, ever.

Blogs are meant to serve the audience, and while I’m not sure this one does anything for you (the reader) I hope it (at least) encourages you to keep trying to find the ‘thing’ that lights you on fire, because everyone deserves to feel the warmth inside I’m now feeling for the first time and I want it for you, too.

Or maybe it helps you acknowledge you don’t love yourself and makes you want to find out how…

There’s no one solution to finding your fire or loving yourself, but I can tell you that surrounding yourself with people who are really for you and are safe is a start, because even when you don’t believe in yourself, that tribe of supporters will help you see the light, eventually (depending on how stubborn you can be or how resistant to a tribe you are, full disclosure: I was both).

You have to want to grow, acknowledge why you are the way you are and grieve the losses (slights from your parents, wishes that were never granted, privileges others got that you weren’t graced with, etc.) that have occurred throughout your life.

Everybody has problems. You’re not any different. Begin to figure out how to let them go and grow.

My tribe is filled with people I didn’t want on the inside three years ago, including co-workers. I did a few process groups (aka, group therapy) and read a few self-help books (Safe People by Henery Cloud, The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks), and then did the work needed internally.

I’m not done, but I’ve got stamina.

Cultivate it.


RamblinRandol is about finding yourself and learning to love yourself again. Life is real and raw, there’s no room for perfection here. If you’d like to join the Hot Mess Express tribe where we discuss the daily struggle and bring real life to light, come hang out in my new Facebook group, here

OR

Be my friend on Instagram @shannahan22  

 

 

I don’t need to be taken care of and it’s a problem, sometimes…

From a very young age I was taught to never depend or expect anyone to take care of me, and over the years that mentality warped to include never asking for help.

I didn’t ask for it when I was trying to figure out how to pay for college. It never occurred to me to ask anyone how to plan a wedding. I was one week away from being homeless before a friend stepped in and offered her couch.

But in that same token, I moved out at 18-years-old and didn’t ask for one damn penny. Ever since my babysitting days, every dime I made went to savings. It was prideful to know I furnished my first apartment and not a damn soul had a string attached to me because all my bills, food and needs were paid for by me.

This is also how chips on shoulders are formed. My drive to push through college while working and doing three internships was driven by fear, not confidence (even though that’s what everyone looking from the outside in saw).

I was terrified of becoming a nobody waitress.

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Where did that come from? I got a double dose from both parents.

I think it derived from my Dad’s old school upbringing of keep your nose down and work your ass off mentality, which is what gave me my great work ethic.

My Mom had three kids under five by the time she was 28-years-old and knew how dependent she was on my Dad’s paycheck. She wanted her daughter to get the education she never got and be self-sufficient, which is why I made sure I finished college.

Even when I had to take a 16-month hiatus because of the military life, my mom’s voice in the back of my head reassured me I’d get back to college and finish.

I would be educated.

I’m self-sufficient and don’t need anyone to take care of me because I have proven time and time again, all I need is a strong me to get me through anything.

There’s kickback from certain friends and family who confuse need with love. I’m married and I love my husband, and yes I do need him to be my husband.

But, I don’t need him to provide the bacon so I can fry it up. The ideal life for me doesn’t include a husband who works and does all the providing while I pick up a hobby in hopes it makes me side-money, or pop out babies or both!

Does that make sense?

I need him to be the best husband he can be, just like he needs me to be the best wife I can be. We’re co-partners in a long-term relationship who need to work together to stick together.

Know what I’m saying, now? We’re equal shares.

There are goals I’ve been working to achieve and won’t rest until I get ’em. I’m lucky the Hubs is supportive and secretly hoping his wife makes it “big” so he can officially say he robbed the grave, futuristically.

When did my self-sufficiency bite me in the ass? The moment it got confused with asking for help.

There’s a damn difference between “being taken care of” and asking for help. A huge damn difference.

It took me a long time (almost 29 years) to really understand the difference. There’s power in being independent, and there’s power in reaching out to others when you need a good laugh, talk through a hard situation, for comfort or reassurance, or even literally help in making connections to peruse an idea that’s lit a fire under your ass that you’ve only realized it a month ago.

The last bit might have been the moment I had that opened my eyes to the difference between taking care of and help. And it might have only happened yesterday afternoon…full disclosure, never said I had all of the answers.

Yesterday was the first time I asked for help, and it was the best decision I made for myself. It’s going to lead to additional opportunities to help me reach my overall goal. The Beatles knew it, even if “I get by with a little help from my friends,” probably meant drugs. The philosophy is the same. 😉

Cultivate it.


RamblinRandol is about finding yourself and learning to love yourself again. Life is real and raw, there’s no room for perfection here. If you’d like to join the Hot Mess Express tribe where we discuss the daily struggle and bring real life to light, come hang out in my new Facebook group, here

OR

Be my friend on Instagram @shannahan22  

SMHS – “Cravings” defined by my Hubs

It’s Friday, so you know what time it is. Time for #SMHS – Sh*T My Husband Says!

There’s something special about being married and by special I mean hilarious. After a certain amount of time has passed you begin to get into the deep minutia of life and crazy metaphors, conversations, and ridiculousness get exchanged.

Here’s this week’s gem.SMHS6

I really wish you guys could’ve seen my face when the Hubs literally defined the word craving while dismissing its hold over him simultaneously. Good thing he’s cute ;).

Cultivate it.

Hercules Is The Most Underrated Disney Movie Ever

Not even sure why this one got stuck in limbo…


Netflix has released a number of new Disney movies for the month of September and to celebrate I watched Hercules.

Hercules is the most underrated Disney movie ever didn’t smack me upside the head until Hercules meets Meg for the first time and tries to save his first D.I.D. – Damsel in Distress. 7 reasons Hercules is the most underrated Disney movie ever blog image

Meg is being held hostage by the River Monster and isn’t impressed by this stranger’s offer to help save her. She stay’s calm and cool while dismissing the need for any help and still manages to slip out a sarcastic response.

Hercules, River Monster and Meg

Cheers to Meg for emulating every woman in the history, ever. Ladies have been pretending to be okay for ions, despite looking down the belly of the beast. We always know how to keep our cool, solve the problem and keep the program moving.

THEN when Herc asks how she got mixed up with the likes of a River Monster, her answer was again SPOT on.

meg and Hercules

Some men are plain stupid.

I’m a big tough girl. I can tie my own sandals and everything.”

big tough girl quote from Meg

Can I also say how impressed I am that a story about a young man finding his place in this world depicting all his struggles was told by Disney, too? Can I get an amen?

It’s easy to forget that Disney stories are based off the Grimm Brother’s Tales with a happier spin. Disney copyrighted the “happy ending” and Hercules is a tale from Greek mythology, but it’s still important.

Just like many get upset that Disney told little girls to be saved by Princes, they did produce other sides.

Zero to Hero in a broad sense shows Hercules’ struggle to belong, and how a little determination and hard work can beat the odds with the help from those willing to go the distance for you.

Not everyone is a stepping stone in our careers, but the good ones are and that’s not a terrible message to tell kids. We hear millennials are nothing but dreamers and searching for their passions, but a large majority are working hard in an economy built against them … but I digress … anyways

Be a Jerk and Get Treated Like a Jerk

Nothing made me giggle more than when Phil gets smacked multiple times for being a womanizer or perv. As a kid you make the connection Phil wants love but is going about it in the wrong ways, so he get’s what is due to him. i.e. getting pushed into the water, multiple times.

Take Care Of Mom

Hercules loves his biological parents as well as his adoptive parents and makes a point to take care of Mom. After Hercules made his name as a Hero, he buys them a house next to the leaning tower of Pisa. How sweet is that? C’mon. So extra.

Meg Saves The Day

I think you might’ve missed what happened there at the end. If it weren’t for Meg, Hercules would’ve failed and never gotten to the pearly gates to make the choice to be with his family.

She dived to protect Herc and Hades’ curse was broken because he had promised she wouldn’t get hurt. Meg knew she could repair what she damaged by sacrificing herself. Talk about accountability!

What’s the old phrase? Behind every successful man is a strong woman? Meg is the original OG of Disney leading ladies. Get it, girl!


If there are any F.R.I.E.N.D.S fans reading, did you know Hercules is voiced by the guy Rachel was madly in love with at her personal styling gig? #TheMoreYouKnow 

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Long Lost Love Letters

Hey Angel Dove,

I just got your letter from that you wrote on Jan 1st. It’s pretty boring here right now because we’re still getting settled in, so it’s still gonna be a couple days until my first live patrol. Mainly what we’ve been doing are classes, getting better body armor and getting everything ready.

I look to stars every night and I think there actually more beautiful than at home, I wish I could bring you here and that this country wasn’t at war, because this country is so beautiful. Especially the sunsets. It sux that these people are having so many problems with terrorists, gangs, mobs and tyranny leaders (dictators like the evil kind, not the sexy kind like you lol.)

It’s the middle of the day and it’s freezing here, it’s supposed to be the desert, yet it’s like 35 degrees and rainy, but clearer at night. The base I’m living on Camp M. and it’s one of Sodom’s former military base villages. It’s an odd feeling because you can still see the craters in the ground, bullet holes in the walls, blown up buildings and destroyed vehicles from when the war 1st started.

God, I miss you so much, but time is gonna fly and you won’t need my bear to cuddle wit because then I’m gonna be there for real and then we can cuddle. I can’t wait to see you, hear your laugh and hold you, because that’s all I need. You.

After being here and seeing this country, I can honestly say. God, I am glad to be an American, with all of our freedoms and every day life. I definitly won’t take them for granted any more.

Sorry my handwriting sucks, but at least I can write to you. But hey baby I gtg time to eat. I’ll write again soon.
I love you, see you soon.

Love always-your sexy M.


It’s insane what can get shoved into a box and forgotten about for a decade. What’s even more insane is how some of that junk you shoved into a box can still make you cringe 12 years later.

Have you ever found an old shoebox filled with cringe-worthy memories? What was it? Tell me so we can cringe, together!

I Didn’t Have To Worry About You

Letting this one out of limbo, too. I was afraid any of my family reading would take this too personal, or misinterpret it in a harmful way so I kept it in the draft pile.

But that damn This Is Us episode really hit me in the feels, and I don’t want those emotions to hide because what if some of you haven’t seen the episode and this makes you feel some sort of comfort, too?

This was the morning after I watched it, so some of my thoughts are sporadic and choppy. Who doesn’t love a good, raw, blog post?


Man, who needs therapy when This Is Us seems to be hitting the nail on the head so accurately? I’m currently catching up on Season 2 and finally made it to episode 11, and WOWZA did the family therapy session tear my ass a new one! #allthetears #criedlikeababy

For those of you who don’t know: Kevin is in court-ordered rehab and when the family comes to visit, they are all asked to join him in a family therapy session. The audience knows how much emotional turmoil the family has faced with Jack’s death and at this point, we’re all holding our breath waiting to see what will be revealed.

And BAM,  Kevin begs Rebecca (his Mom) to admit she loved her other kids more and after a lot of commotion between all three kids and Rebecca, she (Mom) yells, “they were easier to love and didn’t recoil when I touched them!”

Later, Kevin and Rebecca have a one-on-one where she explains he was always the strong one, the brave one, and she thought there was no need to worry about him, but that now she can see she was wrong.

Cue ugly crying and hyperventilating. 

This hit a little to close to home for me because I think there is a good chance I held my mom accountable all these years for not “caring enough” about me while growing up. Most of her attention went to my other two siblings, and it left me feeling like I wasn’t a part of the group. Which for the record, is really weird to see written down. 

Rebecca’s line, “you were always the brave one, the strong one and always okay. I didn’t have to worry about you,” translated to, “you’ve always had a good head on your shoulders,” which is what my mom would say about me.

Where’s Oprah, I just had my ah-ha moment.

 

It’s not over because the fat lady hasn’t sung, and there’s still one more moment that went too deep…

Kevin is expressing his truth towards his mother when Randall steps in and says he’s “had enough,” and loudly defends his mom against Kevin’s accusations. Randall continues to scold Kevin for his behavior, proclaims they had a great childhood and will not tolerate another defamatory word being thrown towards their Mom.

Naturally, Kevin shuts down and the rest of the session goes to hell in a handbasket.

But then, Randall’s apology afterward is fireeeeeee. “I’ve been wearing glasses my whole life and this is how I see it,” he begins, “every kid sees their childhood through a different lens, and I didn’t come here to crap all over yours.”

Holly hell. How do they know?!

My siblings and I aren’t the closest, we love each other from a distance because that’s what we’re all comfortable with, I think. And I’ve always questioned the reality I remember growing up because I know they wouldn’t necessarily agree with all aspects of how I felt as a kid.

…we all see our childhood through a different lens…


Listen, everybody has a baggage they carry from their own upbringing, to claim you don’t is only doing yourself a disservice. For the most part, I have unpacked mine.

Some wounds were easier to bandage than others. There’s no need to cry over spilled milk or continue to hold a grudge because they should’ve done it differently. We’re all doing our best.

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SUnday brunch image for SMHS

SMHS – Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

It’s Friday, so you know what time it is. Time for #SMHS – Sh*T My Husband Says!

There’s something special about being married and by special I mean hilarious. After a certain amount of time has passed you begin to get into the deep minutia of life and crazy metaphors, conversations, and ridiculousness get exchanged.

Here’s this week’s gem.

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What joke have you heard from your husband 100 times and then some?

What's Love Got To Do With It blog image

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

What’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a second hand emotion
What’s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken

Tina Turner said it best, what does love got to do with it? Apparently a lot, love has a lot to do with it.

Love is defined as an intense deep feeling or connection. Does that sentence make sense to you, do you grasp the concept of love based off that sentence? Well, I don’t.

When I read the definition of love, I feel a protective film of hazy fog fill up the spaces between my cognitive thinking and my heart. A few weeks ago I couldn’t understand what the haze was doing or recognize it was there, but now I understand.

The fog is protecting me, protecting me from feeling and absorbing love. The fog is confusion and it’s my defense.

What's Love Got To Do With It blog image

I’m lonely and my prayers for comfort fall on deaf ears. I don’t look into a mirror because if I catch my own eyes, they give me away and I’ll have to explain. Instead, the mirror is exclusively used to examine how far out my gut sits and help make mental notes on what to do at the gym.

It’s easier for me to digest the negative and hate than comprehend the love and compassion. This doesn’t mean I don’t have love or compassion for others, my heart is huge for others suffering.

I just can’t give it (grace) to myself.

A few weeks ago I was speaking to a youth pastor about God and why I’m not a believer. I explained it’s not religion that makes me uncomfortable, I find the stories of creation interesting (all of them). The psalms, prayers and big guy in the sky doesn’t scare me out of church. “It’s not even because I didn’t grow up in church,” I told him.

It’s the unconditional love from God that keeps me away. How can someone who doesn’t know you or have to love you, just give you love? “God loves all his children and died for you,” as the saying goes. I don’t get it.

What's Love Got To Do With It blog image

A dusty box that sat unnoticed for many years made its way back to the light a few months ago. It contained journals, diaries and notes from when I was 7-years-old all the way up to my Senior year of High school.

It seemed like a good time to relive old memories. My twenties have been tough and there’s still two years left of them. I had been feeling like I didn’t know who I was and could use reminding, so I popped them open and started the Dear Diary series, but I still avoided one box. Until yesterday …

That one box contained a handful of letters that were written to me by the first man who tried to love me.

He wrote me poems, called me Angel Dove and would go into great detail about how much his love for me burned and loved to tell anyone who would listen how much he loved me. As of yesterday, I still couldn’t read his letters in their entirety.

It’s not hard to guess what happened next.

I broke his heart, shattered it. Told him he made me sick and that I never wanted to see him again. When he came back to town for the first time after I split it off, my yard got trashed, car got egged and my voicemail was filled with a few hurtful messages. But in a way I knew I deserved it, so I didn’t fight it or respond.

A number of years later I fell in love again and did everything in my power to fuck that up, too.

Love seems easy. You read about it all the time and plenty of movies depict the art of falling in love, so is it possible to not understand what unconditional love feels like when its all around you?

If it’s possible, is that why I feel so disconnected?

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What if love felt like it wasn’t supposed to be a feeling because those things were for pussies and love was only conditional and through actions, because actions speak louder than words? Can someone who can’t feel love figure out how to be loved?

Is any of this making any sense?

In a nutshell, life has been considered unstable in my book. Friends don’t exist because in a few years you’ll lose them when you move again and acquaintances can only be trusted as far as you can throw them. This is what I tell myself.

What’s the point? Nothing lasts forever so don’t get attached, have an out and wait for the bottom to fall out.

But I’ve been telling myself a lie and doing myself an injustice. I deserve love and it deserves to have me. I matter and I am enough. Ignorance may be bliss, but awareness is enlightening. My quarrels with love and loving myself can only get better if I recognize the problem.

I deserve to be the person I know I can be and so do you.

I will rise up, despite the ache.

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