1.02.2014

LET YOUR HEART BE LIGHT // A 2014 ESSAY


on the first day of the new year we walked to the park, the sun stretching our shadows long across the pavement. i hummed softly as we went, a song i've had stuck in my head and have hummed softly to myself to everywhere we've been, while doing everything we've done, for the last four weeks at least. in one hand i held a small toy bow and a red quiver full of pink foam arrows, and in the other i held huck's hand, covered in mitten. we went along slowly so huck could collect every rock we passed that looked interesting, and as he bent over to inspect a jagged brown rock covered in mud i thought about the one line in particular that has always jumped out at me as i've hummed to myself all christmas long.

let your heart be light. 

this has been quite a year in the life of the holbrooks. i've mentioned that, i know, but we got the wind knocked out of us more than a few times and it bears recording. first me, then brandon, then me again, taking turns, and in the process of standing back up and forcing that air back into our lungs we learned a hell of a lot about ourselves. good things, important things. we are fighters, us holbrooks. this has been a year for the fighting.

this year my body turned straight up sinister on me. huck stopped nursing back in january and then my hormones went haywire. completely off the grid. for two weeks of the month i've been a sick, anxious mess. it is so weird. and painful, physically. when i'm in the middle of it i sometimes forget that it is ever not there, but then as soon as it ends and the hormone fogs clear i think... there's no way that was real. was that real? that didn't happen, did it? no way. but i feel so fine right now? at first i thought i was just handling poorly all of the difficult things we were going through as a family in certain situations beyond our control, but once the weaning hormones were settled and the anxiety started coming once a month instead of all month long, i put two and two together, and blah blah blah specialists blah diagnosis blah.... so, yes. i've been dealing with premenstrual dysmorphic disorder this year (pmdd) and yes. it is nutso.

so, i decided to fix it. right? hell, why not. so i spent the year seeing doctors. doctors, specialists, i've seen doctor's doctors. i've been reading up on everything. i mean, i've tried it all. natural remedies, not natural remedies, lots of SSRIs, and for every symptom i relieve i seem to add a few new in, all of them awful, none of them worth it at all, and this is the thing. the thing is, it is too much. i'm exhausted and i'm tired of living every day in fear of my menstrual cycle. it's not enough that my hormones won't let me get pregnant, but now this, too!? duuuude, body! it's just... i suppose at this point i'm at sort of a loss. i've taken my pmdd by the horns and i've done my very best to find my groove in it, but i'll admit it. at times it's felt completely hopeless. at times i've felt sure that it's beating me. all this work later and i'm just where i started, with this confusing, mildly awful, but mostly really i'm doing pretty okay in the grand scheme of things kind of situation.

but i realized something today as i was watching, yes, i know, Frozen. (good movie, two thumbs up.) so, bear with me. i found myself relating to the elsa character today and look, elsa is great, she's a strong lady and all that, but the thing is, elsa is devoured by her fear, and i'm not an elsa. i've never been an elsa, and i don't want to be an elsa. but you're not born an elsa, is the thing of it. an elsa is something you become when you let your demons overwhelm you. and it was such a good reminder that we all have demons. this pmdd, and and any other struggle in my life, never needs to be bigger than me. i don't need to give anything so much voice that it swallows me whole in the process. i've let myself become a tense, nervous wreck, and i just don't like it. i am ready to thaw out. i am ready to live anyway.

i've always believed that every new breath is a new chance to choose happiness. it's been my rallying cry for most of my adult life. happiness is a choice. it isn't a place or a set of conditions, it is a fight that you take on and then take on again, every single day. you can't let yourself forget to choose to be happy. i mean, i let myself forget all of the time, but that's not the point. the point is to remember and then get back into the battle the second you can. i'm generally a very happy person because of it. but i'd forgotten that strength is a choice, too. as is warmth. and laughter. and light. 
i can choose to be light. that is a choice that is worth fighting for.

every year instead of making resolutions, i choose a word or a theme for the upcoming year. some idea i'd like to work on, or keep close in my heart. last year it was mindfulness, one year it was creation. this year, i'd like to focus on the line i've been humming to myself all month long.

i'm choosing to let my heart be light.

from now on our troubles will be out of sight. 
or so they say.

there are so, so, so many things i can't control. life is a control freak's worst nightmare. i can't control my hormones. i can't control my body. i've never been able to, why is this always surprising to me?! but i can control my self. my spirit. i can control the energy i put out into the universe. i can control my heart.

i suppose i can't hate on this year too hard without looking really silly in the process, because this year has been so good. the lessons i've learned about myself, about others, about what makes a person's intentions good or evil and what takes a friend from acquaintance into family, these are the lessons this year gave me that i wouldn't trade for the world. i can always use the reminder that i am so small, and that god is so big, and that amazing, beautiful things are happening all around me all of the time, if i just open my eyes to see it, forget all about myself, and dive all the way into it.

i have some goals for 2014 too, i suppose. i'm in portland this month about to finish this damn book. and then i'm in new york again about to force a baby into my uterus with such force and determination that even the devil will have to hide. i am taking care of my body and i am kissing huck's angel cheeks and i am loving up my bearded husband. i am counting my blessings. i've got them tight in my arms and i am carrying them with pride. they are beautiful and abundant and i am so grateful. and so i am ready. 

come at me, 2014. i got you.

118 comments :

  1. I love your writing style. Best wishes for a fabulous 2014.

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  2. this is so lovely. I too have found myself swallowed by fear. NO MORE. bitches be rolling in 2014 :). happy new year!

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  3. You got this my friend..stay strong, be brave and know there is a reason for it all. Cheers to 2014.. May it bring you lots of light, love and laughter xo

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  4. I really love this. You know when kindred spirits connect? Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Just perfect. Thank you.

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  6. Nat! Love you blog, I've followed you for a long time. I'm sure that people have suggested a million things, and if what I'm suggesting you've tried and failed, I hope you'll forgive me, but I had the SAME thing a few years ago and I took a saliva test to check my hormone levels and discovered that I was low on progesterone, and so I use that and it's literally changed my life. I'm not sure how that'll effect your baby making progress but I had to share just in case you haven't tried that, or in case it would work for you. For me I would have taken any suggestion just to lift that fog. Good luck and stay strong!

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  7. Unfortunately, it is easier said then done. I too have PMDD and tell myself every month it will be different, that I can control my reaction and it never happens. Just try to take solice in the fact that you are not alone and others suffer just as you do.

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  8. Oh, Nat. I pray that 2014 is the year of pregnancy for both of us. I feel you. I feel you.

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  9. poignant and true, natalie! i loved this essay. probably the most inspiring new year's/reminisce and refresh writing I've read in months and months. i feel encouraged by your words and I hope you do too! ps. '…even the devil will hide'. at home alone, laughing very much out loud by the gusto in that statement. you are hilarious. and you got this lady!

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  10. beautiful, beautiful. thank you for the gift of this. and godspeed and everything good to you and your family.

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  11. i really hope this year goes better for you vs. 2013. happiness is a choice, but on the days it's hard to come to that choice, it's ok. life is about experiencing it all, not just the good parts. i hope you continue to fight for the good things and are able to meet them most of the time. you seem to be very aware of your blessings, and i hope they continue into this new year.

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  12. I needed to hear that phrase right now "let your heart be light." Thank you for this.

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  13. You've got this! Only the best of wishes and positive vibes being sent for you and your family. Also, thanks for blogging throughout all your trials this year, you didn't have to, but you did, so thank you.

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  14. beautiful. absolutely beautiful. thank you for this.

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  15. Natalie, Thank you so much for sharing. This was beautifully written and such an encouragement. I am saving it for a bad day because it inspires me so much. You go girl!!

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  16. that has always been my favorite line in that song too. love this, can't wait to read your book and to see what the new year has in store for you!

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  17. Oh, this made me cry. Your essays always do - and okay, I am pregnant and pretty much EVERYTHING makes me cry right now, but this sometimes you just get out one sentence that grabs my heart and just squeezes it. This, particularly, "i'm in new york again about to force a baby into my uterus with such force and determination that even the devil will have to hide" and I believe you girl! I wish you and your family nothing but an impossibly wonderful 2014. xo

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  18. Usually just a lurker but felt compelled to respond. I too was overwhelmed by anxiety after having my daughter. They called it postpartum anxiety. It was so crazy. So awful. Gut wrenching really. We definitely came out stronger as a family! I do take medication now and feel good most of the time. It still likes to rear it's ugly head but I have to remind myself that I can't control the anxiety. But I won't let it control me either! Hormones are crazy! Thanks for the post. Made me feel a little more normal. Good luck with that baby! Your little guy is the cutest thing!

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  19. We are all pulling for you. And yours. Fingers crossed for that baby and sometimes it seems like there is nothing left to do but wish... I wish it for you. I really really do.

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  20. I love the paragraph on choosing happiness and how it is not easy, it's a daily fight. That is something I really needed to hear. Thank you!

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  21. I love your honesty. Keep writing! And I'm looking forward to your book.

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  22. What a well chosen line. I'm going to try and let my own heart be light, as well.

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  23. reading this while listening to bon iver was TOO MUCH!!! (am now crying nbd) This was just wonderful beyond amazing and good gravy i might have to print it out and hang it on my wall. because it is ART.

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  25. i feel like my words are so small when i try to describe just how very much this meant to me. there just aren't enough of them. but i'll start with thank you. for feeling these things. for writing and sharing them. and for your bravery. just thank you.

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  26. Love love love this! You so eloquently reminded me of the perspective that I need to grasp on life. You're absolutely right about life being a control freaks worst nightmare. My anxieties are a living proof. The forcing a baby into your uterus. . . I completely get that. Checked that one off in 2013. I'm excited for you . . .I think you will see it as another beautiful opportunity of growth. I know it was for me

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  27. this was so so beautiful. i'm cheering for you.

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  28. i related to this so much that it almost kind of startled me. and i am a natalie too. i think we are kindred spirits. :) i spent all of 2013 blogging about my search for happiness. and wouldn't you know, i've never had a tougher year. but the lessons i learned were grand and my theme continues to be choosing happiness. searching for it. finding it in the big things and in the insignificant. and then holding on to it with every fiber in me. beautiful essay. may 2014 be full of only good things for you.

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  29. You are amazing. Thank you for being you.

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  30. Absolutely beautiful. I love the idea you've always done with picking a word for the year. Like a theme to live by and always come back to.

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  31. Thank you for being open and honest. You got this, lady. GO, FIGHT, WIN!

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  32. This is definitely something I needed to hear, as I've let my fears overwhelm me lately. This really inspired me to get up and kick life in the butt. :) Thank you so so much for writing this!

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  33. I've also suffered, yes emphasis on the word suffered, from PMDD since I was 16 and I've never known anyone else personally who also suffered from it and reading your experiences confirmed to me that I am indeed NOT crazy! Maybe a little dysfunctional at times but not crazy! When I would talk to other women/girls about it they just couldn't really relate to my feelings and so it was difficult for me to deal with it at such a young age and I felt really alone. At the time of my diagnosis it had effected me in such a way that I was dealing with pretty intense depression. My doctor recommended that I take anti-depressants but I just couldn't do that because my personality and who I really am is nothing like who I become when the PMDD really effects me. I'm normally a very bubbly, happy, never anxious person! I can honestly say to this day the only way I got through it was my faith and the knowledge that I could choose happiness and on days I felt that wasn't a choice, or that making that choice was impossible, my faith made it possible. I really appreciate you sharing your personal experiences on such a personal subject! Thanks!! :)

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  34. PREACH!!!!

    You are the best! :)

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  35. This post is such a gift. You are such a beautiful writer and person and I am so thankful for you sharing this truth with the world. Thank you Natalie. And, I know you are going to rock 2014. And, in 2014, I am also choosing to be happy.

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  36. Where we get into trouble is when we say some things are good and some things are bad,
    this is the right way and that is the wrong way. In fact, this is the only world we have,
    this is the only moment that is, and we can call it perfect, imperfect, nothing -- it doesn't
    matter. It simply is as it is. There is no alternative.
    - Cheri Huber

    happy new year,
    your friend over at
    www.babycordle.blogspot.com

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  37. this was so good. here's to letting all our hearts be light and to kicking butt and taking names in 2014

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  38. Your writing is the best! Let all our hearts be light this year. Happy New Year Holbrooks!

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  39. This is beautiful. It spoke to me. I cried and laughed. I know that dark place, that control-freak feeling. But it's okay-- I can choose to let my heart be light.

    If you're reading this, please listen to Regina Spektor's "Firewood."

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  40. I know we have never met but this post sealed the deal. Thank you for benign brave and sharing real life Natalie. You are my soul sister. I just know it.

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  41. I'm a long time lurker, but I just wanted to pipe in and say that this is really beautiful. It is so brave and beautiful and inspiring.

    And although I'm guessing you've had every test imaginable done, if you haven't, might I suggest having your thyroid tested? And when I say tested, I mean, thoroughly tested. I had all of these symptoms and more for soooo very long. Initial thyroid tests came back clean. But when an intuitive nurse's assistant had the gumption to really look for answers, they discovered I actually have an auto immune disease. A treatable one though!

    Of course, I am just one person. But you spoke of the fog, and the fighting to stay happy in the fog, I can honestly say I know what you're feeling. For me, it's the thyroid. When the thyroid is out of whack, my PMS symptoms go through the roof and beyond. But when I get the thyroid in order, things are so much easier. Normal even.

    So I thought I'd pass the thought along. Just in case.

    Best wishes, and thank you so much for sharing your life with us. :)

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  42. Beautiful. And such a perfect reminder. Sending you so much light.

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  43. I'm sobbing. I don't know what to say other than that I am right there with you. And I understand. And thank you so much for sharing your life. Your words are such a gift, Natalie. Here's to kicking some PMDD ass... And to a light heart. And to an amazing 2014. <3

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  44. "every new breath is a new chance to choose happiness" !! Wow - amazing post, Nat.
    Thanks for the inspiration. I am from India and I read all your posts with bundles of interest and kind of eagerly look forward to your every post! BIG fan of yours :) :)
    And that baby of yours!! OMG can he be any cuter :) <3
    Please share the name of your book once its published. love to read whatever you write!

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  45. Oh wow. This was such a beautiful post to read. I don't even know you but my heart feels for you! Here's to an amazing 2014!

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  46. I too am a lurker (love that term - so accurately captures the action of reading a blog but not being known to the blogger!). I read along and nod my head; but this post really did resonate. I admire your honesty and as ever with blogging, the more we share, the more the blog universe gives back with online shouts of 'me too!'. Good luck with your plight and over time things will get better. I promise. The body has a strange way of having phases even if they last a couple of years and you think you are never going to come out of it - you will. Happy new year. Lou x

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  47. your writing is so honest! we have the same hopes this year. i hope they come true for the both of us. i also choose for my heart to be light. so simple, yet so hard. i wish you the best this year. :)

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  48. Beautiful post Natalie. 2014 is going to be a good one, I'm sure of it. Best wishes from Paris :)

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  49. "but you're not born an elsa, is the thing of it. an elsa is something you become when you let your demons overwhelm you."
    Nat, you are wise, and brave, and beautiful. Thank you for being so honest. 2014 is your year!
    Love and prayers from Uganda :)

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  50. As everyone said above me, I am also cheering for you. You write so beautifully, and so honestly. And it is very refreshing.
    I hope 2014 is filled with light for you and your family - in all possible ways :)

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  51. Dear Natalie
    I just want to reach out and say thank you for writing this wonderful post.
    I might just have to print it out, and keep it in my handbag, to be read in moments when I need realigning.
    Your bravery in sharing your struggles, along with your triumphs is inspiring to me.
    Happy New Year to you and your entire family.
    Sending you good wishes from Australia.
    Your friend
    Amanda

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  52. just last night i chose my mantra... be a beacon of light. this post rallies that within, thanks, as always for bearing your soul. here's to a bomb ass book published and a baby made in 2014- and lots of other good stuff too!

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  53. this is perfect. so so so perfect.
    and that song is pretty much my entire mantra at Christmas. Praying for relief and a dang baby in that dang belly

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  54. And she does it again folks! This was perfect Natalie. I was thinking about my hopes for the new year. I am going to be more grateful because my blessings are too many to count. Like the song from White Christmas says "When I'm worried and I can't sleep I count my blessings instead of sheep. Then I fall asleep counting my blessings." I think Natalie and Bing are kindred spirits in some ways.


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  55. you are an inspiration. the perfect role model for women. I can't wait to read your book.

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  56. I always so enjoy the honesty in your writing. You're such a brave woman! Stay strong!!!

    Heather

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  57. oh, you. you always have just the best words. i'm going to let my heart be light, right along with yours.
    xo vanessa

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  58. I enjoy everything about your writing but especially how honest and inspiring you are. You certainly have a way with words. I'm very excited for this book you've been working on.

    I'm sure you're going to get a million annoying suggestions for what to do about it from this post. I don't know if this would be helpful at all, but Danielle's story (http://www.againstallgrain.com/2013/07/13/my-health-transformation/) is so incredible that I thought maybe I'd share. It's crazy how much food makes a difference for some people. I guess it makes sense, but for some reason it still surprises me.

    Anyway, it's one of those things that can take a while, but I truly do hope you find something that works. I think I'll try and let my heart be light along with you. What a beautiful thought to start the New Year with.

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  59. This is the writing that I remember from your Lil ole blog way back when. You're a great writer, Natalie, which you know. It's the perfect honesty that draws us all in, especially about your life goals and emotions. Thanks for sharing a part of yourself with us.

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  60. You are awesome. This is so inspiring in such a realistic way. You can do this! : )

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  61. This is the writing that I remember from your Lil ole blog way back when. You're a great writer, Natalie, which you know. It's the perfect honesty that draws us all in, especially about your life goals and emotions. Thanks for sharing a part of yourself with us.

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  62. Thanks for sharing your PMDD struggles. I've been dealing with pmdd for around 2 yrs now (right after I finished nursing my last baby) - it's a tough road! Today is one of the hard days. The days were I just want to crawl under the covers and hide. I needed to read " I don't need to give anything so much voice that it swallows me whole in the process." Thanks for the words!

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  63. I can't wait to see what 2014 brings to you! Good luck, Natalie. I love following you and Huck. I feel like when I read your words that you are just talking to me. You write so well. Can't wait for the book!

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  64. You are lovely. And I am thankful for your words and that you put them out there for caring, kindred strangers to inhale and take strength from. Best and most heartfelt wishes for not just a light year but a merry and bright one for all you Holbrooks.

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  65. This was just what I needed to read. I'm terrible at not making things seem bigger than they are. This last year I dealt with demons that are terrible but I allowed them to be bigger than me and that's just not right or fair to me, my kids, or my husband. One of my biggest goals this year is to focus on being positive, especially when it's easier to just be negative. And now I'm adding to that: let your heart be light. Thank you, Natalie, for always being such an inspiration. And always so cute, I just love your blog and your adorable family. The Holbrooks are awesome.

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  66. Your description as being an Elsa (ruled by fear) is just PERFECT. You aren't born that way, we become that way by dealing with SHIT. And it's all how you deal with what you are given. Wonderfully written.

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  67. Love Huck's boots.

    Happy New Year!

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  68. Your honesty is so refreshing and relateable! And I admire you so much for writing a book. I'm hoping for a post this year about your process, because one doesn't just sit down and right a book (if it were only that easy!). I've been trying to write my book for years and it just won't come. I think I'm afraid of it, so this post was a much needed gird-your-loins pep talk.

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  69. This is seriously so good. That is all.

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  70. I love this so, so much. Whenever I feel like life is too hard or too much of a fight or too whatever, I visit your blog and it's a breath of fresh air. I think I've commented before that your writing makes me feel like everything might just be okay after all.

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  71. Beautifully put. Brought tears to my eyes.
    Wishing you all the best in 2014!

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  72. Natalie, I love your honest and transparent heart. I saw a small sign in shop a few weeks back that read, "It is not happiness that make us grateful; but gratitude that makes us happy." - It struck a chord with me. I feel like you do such a good job of stepping back to remember that when life is hard. Blessings in this new year!

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  73. Love this Natalie! I love reading your blog everyday, you are such a great mom to Huck and you always have the best stories and adventures. I wanted to share one thing on the health front too...My mom was a diet coke addict for almost my whole life(about 25 years) and she always suffered from major depression. One day she got bells palsy- basically half your face goes numb/droopy and bunch of other horrible stuff. She quit drinking Diet Coke(or diet anything) and has been great ever since. I dont know if drinking aspartame affects pregnancy issues but this is always something I think about when I read your stories. Thanks Natalie and Happy New Year!

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  74. Natalie, thank you so much for this post. It has been a really tough year for our family as well and it was a comfort and inspiration to read your words. Thank you for your honesty and for your optimism in spite of it all. Here's to a better 2014! Xo

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  75. I always love coming to your site to enjoy honesty and realism. Thank you for being so open with your readers and sharing all of your struggles as we can all relate (whether it be with fertility, PMDD or other personal battles). You will rock 2014 with all of your confidence!
    And I love this idea of attaching each year with a word to accomplish or associate with. Thank you for the idea ;)
    xo TJ

    http://www.hislittlelady.com

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  76. Your words, these words, are exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you so much for this post, and your candid honesty as usual. It means more than I could ever say. xoxo Happy New Year!

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  77. A wonderful piece of writing & I am sorry to hear of all you have been going through....having read your blog for most of this year, I would not have known that things have been this challenging for you. You have a tremendous attitude & I hope for only good things in 2014 for you & your beautiful family Xx

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  78. So lovely. I'm really glad to have found your blog and wish you lots of lightness in 2014. xoxo

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  79. I always enjoy your long posts but your essays top the cake. You are inspirational and I'm so glad you share your thoughts with us on this little space on the internet. Sending you lots of good thoughts. Excited doesn't even describe how I feel about your book. Cannot wait to read it. Wishing you and your family the very best this year and may you be blessed with another baby to love. ps: I am writing down 'let your heart be light' to hang up as a reminder. Love it.

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  81. Loved this essay. I have PMDD, too, and have actually been diagnosed as bipolar more than once because of it. Absolutely awful. I take an SSRI and try to cut caffeine a little during the premenstrual phase. I also drink a tea by Celestial Seasons called Tension Tamer, and it really does seem to take the edge off a little. My husband jokes that it was made specifically for PMDD (or just plain PMS, even) because there is a picture of a woman in a red dress riding a dragon on the package...
    Good luck to you and LOVE your blog. xx

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  82. I just read your post and I love it all! I was just trying to describe PMDD to a friend tonight and you described it perfectly. It's weird coming out the other side and not understanding how you could have thought such horrible thoughts and felt such horrible feelings. It is frustrating and terrible... Thank you for putting a voice to what many women are struggling with!

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  83. Oh how your blog shows and speaks such Truth, not only for You, but many more. As I write I'm preparing to forward this to my daughter. Truth that's Shared, and Love.... 2014 will be the year for many that Their Heart Will be Light! You are one Amazing woman Natalie Jean! P.S. Those hormones don't know how Strong a Woman Can Be. :)

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  84. i have pmdd as well. i started having the symptoms after my first son was born. it was agonizing. i referred to it as 'bitch week' because i had never had pms like that before. i would warn my husband and co-workers to just avoid me for that week. i would say and do things and the instant they came out of my mouth i would ask myself why i had just said/done those things. it was almost like being possessed. like i knew what was going on, but had no control over what i was doing.

    then i got pregnant with my second son and everything disappeared and i forgot all about it. once he was born i got the mirena, but had it removed back in may because of the extreme headaches i got. over the past seven months pmdd has been creeping back with a vengeance. i can still feel when it's coming on and i try to mentally prepare myself for being absolutely frustrated with every single thing in my life. i have to remind myself that even when my kids are driving me insane, it's not them, it's me.

    just wanted to let you know that i understand just how much it sucks and how crazy it makes you feel, and how you feel like you have become your evil twin.

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  85. Hey, my dad's a massage therapist and he's had a really high rate of success with using massage to treat hormonal and infertility issues. I was just thinking, maybe you already have a massage therapist, but if not maybe that would be a help! I so enjoy your words, Natalie!

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  86. love for you. i've dealt/am dealing/deal with my own hormone battle as well. just a young lass trying to enjoy life and nope! hormones go all cray and i'm in a hole but like you, don't realize i'm in a hole and it just sucks sucks sucks. life is so much better for me (personally) since i've been taking progesterone pills and creams and thyroid pills and other pills (but i like to think of them as supplements). anyway, not trying to preach or tell you to do this or that, but to say HEY! I like you and i'm sorry hormones suck and i feel you in some little way. and i think you are a wonderful woman and a beautiful writer.

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  87. Natalie! No te conozco pero Te Amo! Te deseo un 2014 maravilloso, estoy segura que lo tendras!!
    Saludos desde Puerto Rico!

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  88. This is such a beautiful essay. Everything you write always hits me in the best way, but this is just IT. Carry on Natalie! I know you'll make this year a great one. :)

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  89. As I've been circling around my word for 2014, I kept going back to Light. But I thought no, no, that's not strong enough. And as I've helped dozens of other women (and men) choose their word for 2014 as a life coach, I kept stalling on revealing mine to them. Then I saw this title and thought: it's absolutely strong enough. I have some other contenders: Confidence, Proclamiming, Release.. but Light may just win after all.

    I'm sure you've tried all of these things, and I know I've posted before, but I'd be remiss not to mention the three things that saved and changed my life: Paradox Process (Chelsea), Ziva Meditation (midtown), and Anne Marie Almirol, an Osteopath in Park Slope. And I mean, any excuse to go to Park Slope, am I right? :) Jokes aside, I truly hope your PMDD slows and softens until it disappears.

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  90. Love it, love it, love it! Thanks for the reminder - I needed this today.

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  91. I am weeping, just weeping, as I read this. It always seems to be that the most personal things are also the most universal things, aren't they? Your struggles are different than mine but the feelings are similar. 2013 hurt, a whole lot, and I am praying for all of us that 2014 will bring a little healing. Thank you for your words! I can't wait to be among the first to buy your book!

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  92. This is truly lovely, thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us here.

    I've worked with a woman in NY, Alisa Vitti, she is amazing. A hormonal guru. Her program FloLiving and her book Woman Code are incredible and she has helped women (like me!) make major changes in their hormonal health, bringing them more sanity and helping them get pregnant. She's worth checking out. If you can work directly with her or one of her coaches I would really recommend it. :) Dr. Sara Gottfried's book, The Hormone Cure, is great too. (I'm a nutrition coach with a thyroid disease, so I've done my fair share of hormonal research, these are great ladies!).

    You're an inspiration and a beauty, inside and out. I hope this year brings you balanced hormones, babes, and better times. :)

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  93. Ahhh Natalie, you always outdo yourself with these life essays. This is beautiful. I love your line "life is a control freak's worst nightmare." Amen! Cheers to a new year of God teaching all of us control freaks to chill out and let him work. Praying for that future baby of yours and the highly anticipated book - ahhh can't wait!

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  94. When I was younger I had weird stages of happiness and then two seconds later I would feel not so happy anymore (to say the least). So one day there was a doctor who diagnosed me with cyclothymia (which is a fancy word for saying you suffer mood swings constantly but not as badly to be considered bipolar). Anywho, once I discovered that word I started to investigate a whole lot about it to the point that I made a whole thesis about it and during my investigation I discovered an amazing book that made me understand what I had and with that knowledge I was also suddenly feeling better, because now I knew I was not any psycho, but that my beloved hormones were messing with me. So after that whenever I feel those strange mood swings (which by the way are not that often anymore) I feel slightly better knowing that everything around me is just fine, and only my perception of the world and life is distorted. I hope you get to that point as well and I know hormones are messy. Just keep that in mind whenever you are not feeling well: everything is fine, it is just that your perception of reality is being distorted. ;) Have a happy new year.

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  95. "...there are so, so, so many things i can't control. life is a control freak's worst nightmare. i can't control my hormones. i can't control my body. i've never been able to, why is this always surprising to me?! but i can control my self. my spirit. i can control the energy i put out into the universe. i can control my heart."

    Thank you, Thank you for writing this post. I had a horrible reaction to a hormonal birth control earlier in 2013 and my body is still recovering. Almost 6 months later, I'm still having crazy mood swings, my skin will never be the same, and its produced an insane anxiety that I can't seem to get under control. This post was exactly what I needed to read at the dawning of this new year. "I can't control my body, but I can control my spirit." Praying for your healing as well.

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  96. "i've always believed that every new breath is a new chance to choose happiness... happiness is a choice. it isn't a place or a set of conditions, it is a fight that you take on and then take on again, every single day. you can't let yourself forget to choose to be happy." SO TRUE.

    Your words have truly resonated with me, Natalie. Thank you for sharing your heart and your spirit. I am making "let your heart be light" my personal mantra as well... it has given me the strength to turn a not-so-good situation into something positive and fulfilling.

    Thank you again and best wishes to you in the new year!!

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  97. You write so honestly and beautifully. So many good truths and reminders. Thank you. Fun to know you're in Portland now! I live in Newberg now but was (and still am) a Portlander at heart. = )

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  98. I love his little jacket its uber cute.

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  99. Thank you for writing about PMDD - I don't have it (that I know of) but I am in the mental health field and people need to know it's a real thing!!! Wishing you many blessings in 2014.

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  100. absolutely beautiful post. perfect theme for 2014. have you heard of ali edwards' one little word? thought i'd point it out in case you are interested in documenting your theme throughout the year. http://aliedwards.com/shop/one-little-word-2014 this is my second year participating and i have loved it. (normally you choose a word - mine is TODAY. but a phrase would work.) i know you're a busy lady but just thought this might be up your alley... if not, i know you'll rock your 2014 theme all the same. :)

    thank you for continuing to so candidly share your life with strangers on the internet. i hope all the good vibes you put out into the world are reflecting back on you and your family too. wishing you a year full of light, happiness, and love.

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  101. also, check out the book Hormone Hell to Hormone Well!

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  102. So glad I read this... I've always lived by this type of motto. "live the little things." "choose happiness." you're in charge of how you're going to decide to be when you wake up! Thanks for sharing friend....

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  103. "there are so, so, so many things i can't control. life is a control freak's worst nightmare. i can't control my hormones. i can't control my body. i've never been able to, why is this always surprising to me?! but i can control my self. my spirit. i can control the energy i put out into the universe. i can control my heart."
    You just put in to words something I have been realising, accepting and feeling more often for the past year or so.
    This was such a heartfelt, wonderful essay - the kind that reminds you why you're blogging and why it pays of too open yourself up and just be honest!
    Also, Frozen is a wonderful film with plenty for us adults to take from it.
    I wish you Holbrooks a very wonderful 2014, with more laughter than all the pain and strife.
    Lou xxxxxxx

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  104. "there are so, so, so many things i can't control. life is a control freak's worst nightmare. i can't control my hormones. i can't control my body. i've never been able to, why is this always surprising to me?! but i can control my self. my spirit. i can control the energy i put out into the universe. i can control my heart."
    You just put in to words something I have been realising, accepting and feeling more often for the past year or so.
    This was such a heartfelt, wonderful essay - the kind that reminds you why you're blogging and why it pays off to open yourself up and just be honest!
    Also, Frozen is a wonderful film with plenty for us adults to take from it. I love that you referenced that.
    I wish you Holbrooks a very wonderful 2014, with more laughter than all the pain and strife.
    Lou xxxxxxx

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  105. Natalie, this was the best blog post in a while. I love your stream-of-consciousness. I hope 2014 treats you well!

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  106. Hell yeah! I'm behind on blogs so I just got to this post. But it's an invigorating one. Thank you for sharing your struggles. It somehow, in some weird way, gives us all a little bit more strength.

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  107. this is beautiful. it is unbelievably beautiful.

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  108. Natalie!! This is exactly the message I needed to read today! I just weaned my baby from nursing last month and the last two weeks hit my like a ton of bricks! I didn't even think to make the connection to the two. I haven't had an actual period in like two years because I've been pregnant, nursing, IUD, ect. But as a teenager I had some pretty serious PMDD and I'm starting to feel like perhaps thats where my sudden depression is stemming from! Not to mention, I needed the reminder that we can choose to rise above our challenges! Thank you for continuing to be open and honest and real! Love reading your words!
    XOXO

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  109. I found this a few months back as I was researching PMDD. I know I've had it for a very long time but haven't had a name or diagnosis for it until recently. It is a nasty, destructive thing. You writing was like reading a page from my journal (except you string sentences together in a much more beautiful fashion!) and it was so nice to not feel alone. It struck me so much that I shared it with the closest people in my life. One of my darling friends sent me a necklace etched with "let your heart be light" and I wear it often.

    For happier news I want to share what is currently working for me. I am doing the Whole30 program and on Day 18 I can say that I feel incredible - and more importantly - I feel hopeful. I'm not looking with dread toward the future, I'm looking with optimism. I always considered myself a pessimist but that was the PMDD, I may actually be an optimist! After the first few days of cravings and withdrawals I noticed a difference in my mood, sleep pattern, and skin. I now know that I can control my PMDD by what I decide to put in my body - my PMDD no longer controls me.

    I hope this finds you well and thriving, from one PMDD sister to another. xxoo

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  110. I found this post a few months ago when I was researching more on PMDD. I think I've always had it but just haven't had a name for it or a diagnosis until recently. Your words struck me so strongly because I recognized myself in your experiences. I quickly forwarded it to my people and received such amazing warmth and support because finally I could share with them why I do the things I do. One of my darling friends even sent me a necklace etched with "let your heart be light", as you can imagine, I wear it often.

    I wanted to come back and share something amazing that is working so well for me. I'm not trying to sell you anything, just tell you my experience. The Whole30 program has completely changed my life. I no longer have the daily rollercoaster of emotion, I'm sleeping like a champ, my acne is gone, and for the first time in my life I'm not looking to the future with dread. I actually feel hopeful for what's next. I always considered myself a pessimist but I think that was the PMDD talking - I may actually be an optimist!

    Whole30 may work for you and it may not. There's just a book (It Starts With Food) to buy and after that, you're on your own to make it work for you. It has been the best $10 investment of my life. In fact, I told my mom all this the other day and she said it's the best Mother's Day gift she could have ever hoped for. I guess I forgot how much our loved ones suffer as they watch us struggle.

    I sincerely hope this finds you well and thriving, from one PMDD sister to another. xxoo

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