Category Archives: Faith

Anxiety v. Peace

A friend of mine wrote a blog post this week and it changed my life forever, I think.

It boiled down to this for me: Anxiety is caused by living in the future. Depression is caused by living in the past. It is only possible to achieve true peace and happiness when you live in the present.

As many of you know, my life has been riddled with trial over the last 6 weeks. I have experienced more than many people go through in a lifetime. From the hospitalization of my child, to an emergency 3-day move to a new home (mandated by CYS in order to retain custody), to new schools for both kids, to a knock-down drag-out fight over custody and finances… the list goes on and on. Each time a new challenge arose over a two week time period, I felt my anxiety rear its ugly head again. “How can you possibly do this?” “How will you pay the bills?” “What if he never gets the help he needs?” “How will I move all of my belongings on my own?” “Am I going to lose my job because I have to take time off for my kids?” “Will my kids hate me for this?” “What if my ex is trying to trick me?” “Where will I store all of my costumes and Christmas stuff?!?”

There were so many worries, and they came like fiery arrows, piercing through the darkness and only causing more blindness, confusion, and pain. But despite the colossal weight of despair and anxiety, a mother’s love conquers ALL. In 72 hours’ time, I researched schools, found after school care, arranged transportation, negotiated my work schedule, found a new home, created a new custody schedule, found a new home, met with my son’s team about medication and his release, AND moved all of mine and the children’s necessities. I was scared to death, but by doing what needed to be done right at that moment, I was able to conquer an enormous, insurmountable task list.

And now, I have a new home. My kids are successful and happy in new schools. They are making new friends. They have a better relationship with their dad. I have a brand new oven and made apple crisp in it already. I not only kept my job, but have grown even closer to the people I work with, one of whom filled my refrigerator when I couldn’t afford groceries. My friends helped me move all of my furniture, sacrificing their time and energy. And I even was gifted a beautiful television and a stereo to allow me and the kids to enjoy music and movies together.

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My bank accounts are empty, because I am also carrying the old mortgage in addition to my new place. But last week, my son’s best friend came over with his family, and they played together with my kids while his mom and I shared a cup of coffee and I got to catch up. In the midst of the madness, I managed to book the Vermont Burlesque Festival. (WHAT!?!?!?) And I was blessed to have time off on the weekends to regroup, including an impromptu treat from a dear friend to spend a weekend in NYC seeing Hamilton and Wassabasco.

I am never depressed about the past. I did that once, and it nearly killed me. But I do worry about the future.

Today, though, I realize that the best I can do for myself and those I love is to live here and now…. present in their lives, doing what I do best – singing, dancing, and loving my way through each day.

A deep well of thanks to my girlfriend who found those words from her yogi important enough to record. They’ve changed my life, and I am grateful to her for opening my eyes.


And to the rest of you, peace.

Lady Grey

Top 10 Tuesday: Self-Care for Women

Ok, ladies. Here it is. The moment of truth when I ask you if you are really taking care of yourself. No, I don’t care about your eyebrows or your workout schedule. I just mean are you forgetting to take care of yourself because you spend every waking minute taking care of others? So often, women consider themselves selfish if they dedicate any time or energy to self-care, as if the world is judging them for taking a moment to apply a little lipstick.

What the world needs from you is the energized, happy you, not the self-depraved, exhausted you. Your children need a mommy who is affectionate and patient. Your significant other needs someone to rely on. Your friends need you to be a good listener and loyal gal. Your coworkers need to know you are alert and bringing your A game.

So here are 10 simple ways (not the only ways, but 10 I came up with) to care for yourself without making extreme changes to your day and without breaking the bank.

1. Sleep. All of us are guilty of burning the candle at both ends so we can pay bills or waking before the rest of the gang to make sure we have some time to ourselves. But in doing so, do we sacrifice our own health and make ourselves more stressed out? You are better served sleeping your 7 or 8 hours a night and being more efficient during your waking hours. Sleep has been shown to improve everything from memory to weight loss, so don’t skimp here. So grab yourself a comfy pair of your favorite pj’s (or none at all, if that’s how you roll), and start dreaming!

eatinghealthy2. Eating healthy. I’m guilty as charged. I grab and go. I cheat when I’m at work lunches. I make dinners that are way too processed and hardly enough “clean” food. In our fast-paced, break-neck society, there is hardly enough time to breath, let alone make good food choices.

But it’s important to care for yourself (and indirectly, your loved ones) by stocking your home with healthy snacks. Hummus, baby carrots, bananas, apples, almonds – these are all great snacks I can throw in my purse. I even found little snack-sized containers of hummus at the grocery store this month. Perfect for dipping vegetables and laden with protein!

As for meals, I try and stick to fruit or whole grain bars without preservatives in them, occasionally succumbing to the bagel and cream cheese temptation when I’m having a bad morning. I do my best to balance my work lunches – salads with protein, even if eating at a fast food joint. I love grabbing hard-boiled eggs, which most markets have in their quick lunch refrigerator section now, too. Dinner is always a challenge with the crazy dance studio schedule I keep, but I try to make sure I balance meals and don’t eat after I’m done teaching (around 9 pm at night).

No more soda. Is this even a question? Just don’t drink it. It’s like putting sugary formaldehyde in your body. Just say no.sallyhansenhardasnailssterngthener

3. Nails. As a little girl, I watched my mother paint her nails meticulously at least twice a week, once on Saturday evenings and once midweek when she had done most of her gardening. No excuses – you don’t need a professional manicure. You don’t. Take care of your SELF. At least buff your nails and push your cuticles back once a week, even if you have to do it in the shower. To protect your nails, use Sally Hansen Hard as Nails products. I have always used them to help my nails bounce back after gels, acrylics, splits, etc. Amazing products and even just the top coat will perk up your nails and keep them healthy and shiny.

remingtonrollers4. Hair. I’m a dance teacher and a mommy. I’ve spent the last 27 years in a ponytail, a bun, or a french twist. In the last few months, I bough myself new hot rollers and a few new hair products. Now, when I’m tempted to just throw my hair up wet, I’ll make myself blow dry and style it. Now, when I have a messy bedhead, I have a great straightener and can use it to clean up my tresses in just a few minutes. I have gotten countless compliments on how much younger and less “serious” (read: severe) I look with my hair down. I love feeling like I’m channeling my inner Rita Hayworth!

5. Skin care. This isn’t all that hard. Just get yourself a beautiful jar of coconut oil. Seriously. I’ve never fallen so madly in love with any skin care product EVER. Ditch all the chemicals and nonsense, and cut straight to the chase. I use it as eye makeup remover, moisturizer (all over my body), deep conditioner on my hair, and more. If you don’t believe me, check out this article.

6. Undergarments. A little story for you. I once had thousands and thousands of dollars of lingerie – corsets, garter belts, stockings, bras, panties, you name it. Then I got married and had kids. It’s a long story, but I literally got rid of all but one corset. Do you know how lovely it feels to buy yourself cute panties again?!? I’ve put a small allowance in my monthly budget to replace all the crappy undergarments that currently take up residence in my dresser. I’ve begun wearing stockings to work, matching (gasp) bras and panties, waist trainers, and more. Talk about reminding yourself how to feel feminine again! If you don’t belong to Victoria’s Secrets Angel Reward program, make sure you join so you get your coupon in the mail each month for a free panty. That’s what originally got me back in the store!

7. Time with friends. So often, we forget that there are friends who have our back. We often can pick up with them right where we left off, and they will understand every last success and struggle you’ve had. It need not be a coffee date; a phone call will suffice. I like to call my friends when I’m traveling to and from work. Work your way down through your contact list and then start back up at the top again when you finish. Bogged down by kids all day? Try texting a friend and having a shared “virtual” glass of wine while you chat for 20 minutes just after the kids go to bed!

8. Quiet time. Maybe I’m strange, but I can’t live without this. Some of us pray, some of us write, some of us meditate. But everyone needs time to just BE. No obligations, no distractions. So go somewhere alone, whether a walk in your neighborhood, a moment in the kitchen with a hot cup of coffee, a fragrant candle and a good book, or just quiet, silent space in your room. Recharge for 15 minutes. Five, if you can’t manage 15. Allow yourself to be filled up again with positive thoughts and happiness. Breath deeply and remember not to sweat the small stuff.

vintagelife9. Small luxuries. Speaking of small stuff, can you really afford to NOT grab a copy of Vintage Life? (By the way, I am now accepting subscription gifts if anyone is feeling generous today!) Mentally, is it going to make the world of difference if you get yourself a new travel mug or buy that dark chocolate in the checkout if everyone at home is grumpy tonight? It is, it will make the difference. And you will be a better woman for it this day, week, month. Work it into your budget so you can pamper yourself just a little – those little luxuries go a long way to making day-to-day life less daunting.

10. That one little thing (OLT). For you, this might be clean sheets. It might be cream in your coffee. It might be jamming out to your favorite song in the car. Whatever sets you right and makes you pause for even just a moment to be thankful… that’s your one little thing. My OLT today is my blog. Talking to all of you helps me remember that we’re real, we’re human, and we’re all in this together.

Inspiring Movement

This song has special meaning to me for a number of reasons, but when I saw this man dance it… well, watch for yourself. There aren’t any words to express the raw emotions that bubble up inside of me when I see him soar through space and time, smashing into his boundaries, spinning out of control, hitting the floor, frantically moving because he MUST.

Beauty will save the world, friends.

Lady Grey


Independence Day

I never thought this day would hold any meaning for me other than pride. As a Daughter of the American Revolution, I am proud to say that I’ve had a relative fighting in almost every single American conflict since.

However, today I was reminded dedicated by a dear old friend that gratitude is really what we should feel… not pride that our country is better than another. We should be grateful for the freedoms we have, for the brave men and women who have fought for those freedoms, and that God saw fit to plant each of us here, on this blessed ground.

I am increasingly grateful to God for my life change, as well. Divorce has finally been agreed upon by both parties as the impending next step. When I say I’m celebrating Independence Day this year, please believe me. I truly am grateful for the freedom, my independence, and the light at the end of the tunnel!!!

Happy 4th, everyone!