A New Chapter


The beginning of a new year is always full of resolutions, goals, diets and people resolving to “start over”… and I guess this year I’m jumping on the bandwagon and starting fresh myself. I’m not a huge fan of resolutions, because honestly, I forget about them a few weeks or months into the year. This year; however, I am making a conscious EFFORT, instead of a resolution, to conquer STRESS!

Yesterday marked the beginning of a new chapter for me. I turned in my resignation at my job as Social Media Manger for Cumberland Heights. I have been in that position for a little over 2 years now, and it has been a wonderful opportunity that has allowed me the flexibility I needed and wonderful teammates I now call friends. But all good things must come to an end. Yesterday was just one step, amongst many, in my efforts to conquer stress.

It started in October after we visited our Lyme doctor in Philadelphia. He sat me down and basically said that the stress and anxiety I am experiencing, putting on myself or not able to control (because of life circumstances), was creating overproduction and dysregulation of cortisol that is affecting my health. He said my body is in “fight or flight” mode most of the time because of this, and then gave me a list of strategies and suggestions on ways to manage stress going forward. But like everything, it takes time and figuring out what works best for me.

I began taking inventory of things in my life that contribute to my stress and anxiety levels. I’ve made a few changes to eliminate, or at the least recognize, the small things that I can control, while also recognizing the things I cannot control (insert Serenity Prayer). I’ve also been trying to learn new ways to cope or react during times of high stress.

As Thanksgiving approached I wanted to go into the holiday season with as little pressure and stress as possible, so that I could be present, enjoy the time with family and make memories with the boys. I wanted to experience the true beauty of the holiday, instead of holding my breathe just trying to survive it. And I have to say, this may have been the best Christmas holiday to date!

Like all things in life, the rollercoaster must come down at some point, and that started on New Year’s Eve when the stomach bug hit our whole house. It’s been a rough start to the new year, and with mounting pressure of new goals, expectations and deadlines from my job, it all just seemed like too much to handle.

I’ve gone back and forth for almost a year now on whether working was the right thing for me and for our family. I’ve prayed for guidance for a long time about this. I’m not a quitter though and I hate letting people down – I want to be able to do it all (thank you Type A personality). So I’ve kept going, kept working and kept getting sicker.

It hit me like a ton of bricks on Wednesday night though. The stress and pressure that sometimes creeps in was too much. Once again, I prayed for a clear sign or answer from God as to what I should do? I hadn’t even contemplated not working in months, but in that instant I knew my working days were done (for now). I can’t explain it. I just had this overwhelming feeling that it was time to focus on ME, my health, my family, my faith.

So a new journey begins in 2018. While I’m sad to see that door close, I have peace about the decision and am excited to see what God has in store for our family in the weeks, months and year ahead!

Peace and blessings in 2018!

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.


January 7, 2013

unnamedI was cleaning out drawers the other day and found all my old journals. I had started this new blog not sure of the direction I wanted it to go…then I read my very first journal entry (below) from January 7, 2013 and I knew. HOPE!

We both knew, in the back of our minds, it was more than just “developmental delays” or “speech delays.” As much as I had Googled and read online, I knew all the red flags and warning signs to look for, which is why I had scheduled a visit with a developmental pediatrician at Vanderbilt. But it still didn’t make that visit on December 4, 2012 any easier.

I was a nervous wreck, sick to my stomach. I was nervous for little Chase and how he would feel and act during that three to four hour appointment. I was nervous about the outcome, the answer to all our questions, prayers, fears…the impending diagnosis for Chase’s regression and delays.

I hate the label and all the judgement and misunderstanding that goes along with it. As we pulled away from Vanderbilt that day, we decided not to tell anyone about the Autism diagnosis unless necessary. People just wouldn’t get it. I certainly didn’t, until I was forced to learn. It’s such a complex disorder, and our only comfort, at that point, was that we had already contacted TEIS and begun different therapies to help Chase in early intervention. He was two and half at this point. Almost all of the doctors’ recommendations were already in place, except for implementing ABA Therapy.

My husband, Chase’s, first comment once we were back in the car was “We can’t say in Jackson.” There aren’t enough resources and adequate services that will help Chase. And he was right, but it was not an avenue I wanted to explore at that point. I was still processing the diagnosis and trying to figure out what was next.

The next few weeks leading in to Christmas were consumed with getting Chase into every therapy he needed, getting him adjusted to a new school (Therapy and Learning Center), and making sure that every possible thing that was available in Jackson was being done. I still hadn’t really taken the time to process how I actually felt because my days were consumed with schedules, therapies, Miles…and in between all of that, more research online.

I just wanted to get through the holidays this year without having a complete and total meltdown. I wanted to hold my breath and for it all to go away. I wanted my healthy, happy baby boy back.

It was hard to be around family and friends with this “secret diagnosis” looming overhead. Once school started back and our weekly routine resumed it finally hit me…AUTISM!

The last week has been the hardest week for me, emotionally, since we left Vanderbilt on December 4. I guess after 2 months of therapies, working with Chase at home and a new school, it has finally sunken in that this is going to be a long, slow process of healing.

I am the type of person who wants quick and instant results and will do anything in my power to get them, but it won’t work this time. The power and control are out of my hands. I am realizing that the smallest of improvements are the biggest victories. I see change and progress daily with Chase; and while most people would take these for granted, or maybe not even notice, we are jumping for joy over the small things.

Chase may not speak, and he may not know how to play appropriately with toys or his brother, but he is the smartest, sweetest, most loving two year old I know and he has already taught us so much! I know God has big big plans for little Chase and will use him and us to help so many people down the road – that is my hope!

We are going into this whole diagnosis so blindly and with very little guidance, help or resources…I hope one day we can be mentors or help to other families on this journey, or at the very least provide hope and encouragement along the way.