Holiday Giveaway Tree-o | Sophia Blue

Welcome to the third and final day of the Holiday Giveaway series!

wswtreeo

For three days leading up to Christmas, I’ll be featuring some amazingly talented and generous artists.
The common theme? Courage, hope, and inspiration for the upcoming year!
Each giveaway will be open for three full days, with all winners announced on Christmas Day.
I hope you enjoy these lovely artists’ creations!

***

Today we are finishing up the holiday series in style with a wonderful giveaway from Sophia Blue. Diana, the owner, maker, and designer behind Sophia Blue, started with a single necklace. From her talent grew an entire jewelry line featuring one-of-a-kind hand-stamped necklaces and bracelets for both adults and children. Each piece is personalized just for you, creating the perfect piece of jewelry for whatever your sentiment. I love this delicate monogram pendant and this survivor pendant. And wouldn’t this necklace be adorable for a little lady’s first piece of jewelry?

In her own words, Diana says “I started this line because I wanted a piece of jewelry that felt special and unique that I could wear everywhere to remind me of my daughter. I started out with the single initial pendant with a swarovski birthstone and still wear it everyday. I recently needed some daily reminders of my mantras and inspirational words to keep me present and appreciative in the now. That need started my new aluminum bracelet line. I hope I can put a smile on everyone’s face who purchases from my shop when they look down and see their personal message to carry with them everyday.”

My favorite part of Sophia Blue is the aluminum bracelet line. If you know me, you know I am never without a bracelet on my right arm. Okay, more like six in a stack. I love bracelets and on any given day each bracelet I am wearing has a significant meaning. Some are inspirational, some were given to me, some were collected during my travels. Jewelry can be a powerful visual way to remind yourself throughout the day of what matters most to you. Diana says this is was the inspiration behind her bracelet line. Each one features an inspiration message or mantra to motivate you, such as “this too shall pass” and “enjoy the journey.”

As I was browsing through the bracelets, there was one that kept catching my eye with it’s empowering message: “Braver, Stronger, Smarter”

bracelet 1

I just love this message, and I know that many of you can identify with it as well. There are so many obstacles, heartbreaks, losses, and difficulties on our journeys that threaten to break us down. But we press on, we endure. Until one day you wake up and realize that you are surviving. And not only are you surviving, but you are thriving. You are braver. You are stronger. And you are smarter.

bracelet 2bracelet 3

To win your own empowering hand-stamped bracelet and encourage yourself to thrive, please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Thank you so much Diana from Sophia Blue!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jenny Stanek

I would love the bracelet reading “this too shall pass”

Caitlyn

The Personalized Initial Necklace with Swarovski Birthstone Charm is adorable!

Amy

I love the Handstamped Monogrammed Bracelet.

Sindy Murray

I like the I Love You to the Moon and Back bracelet!

ghwasd

Life is a gift – beautiful!

I love “Be the change”- it’s always been a favorite of mine.

Janet

I like the “follow your dreams”

I love the life is a gift bracelet!

Samantha L.

I like the Always Believe Something Wonderful is About to Happen – Aluminum Cuff, it’s really relevant to me right now in my journey to stay positive.

Angela Cash

My favorite item from Sophia Blue is the Enjoy the journey – Message on a cuff bracelet.

natasha

I Love you to the moon and back bracelet – I say that to my son all the time!

Sariah

I love the little girl bracelets, but my favorites it “follow your dreams” and “the way we talk to our children is their inner voice.” Sometimes a mother just needs to hear/see those words.

Jennifer Reed

My favorite item is the Double Strand Handstamped Initial Necklace.

judy mitchell

i like the Initial Necklace with Swarovski Birthstone Charm

KHBride

I like the namaste bracelet

Lindsay Thomas

I like the one that says “the way we talk to our children…”

Teresa Thompson

Baby’s First Monogram Bracelet

Christie

I love the “always believe something wonderful is about to happen” bracelet

Dorothy Teel

I like the Follow Your Dreams – Inspirational Hand Stamped Cuff bracelet, very neat and appropriate for our family.

Sara Wagner

I love the Baby’s First Monogram Bracelet.

Ariel

The “This too shall pass” bracelet is my favorite!

alicia k (Petite Pilates Pixie)

the braver stronger smarter is my favorite but i like the initial necklaces too

Brittany

I really like the “Never Give Up” bracelet. It’s cute and motivational.

rod jackson

The hand stamped monogrammed necklace

kelly mcgrew

This Too Shall Pass – Inspirational Handstamped Aluminum Cuff

Natalie yeoman

Always believe something wonderful is about to happen bracelet

The tiny heart charm necklace!!!

alison

I love the babys first monogramed bracelet

Crystal Rose

I like the Namaste with Om -Handstamped Aluminum Cuff Bracelet.

kelley roach

I like the Always Believe Something Wonderful is About to Happen – Aluminum Cuff, it’s really relevant to me right now in my journey to stay positive.

Allison S.

I’d like “never give up”

kathy dalton

i love the I Love You to the Moon and Back – Quote Cuff

beth cole

I love this: The Way we Talk to our Children Becomes Their Inner Voice – Cuff with Footprints

priya

I love Tiny Heart Charm Necklace !!

kathy S

I love the BE Happy Be Yourself bracelet.

Denise Davis

Be the change is my favorite.

Tallulah Jane

I like the personalized initial bracelet

Pam H.

I like “Be the Change You Wish to See in the World” Stamped Bracelet.

trenda t

Love the I Love You To The Moon stamped bangle!

mary j

I like the Create Inspire Believe – Aluminum Cuff With Butterfly

Diana Hatch

I love the baby’s first monogram bracelet

Marjorie R.

The symbol options are just lovely.

mechele johnson

I love the Double Initial Necklace with the Engagement ring stamp!

Jessica O

I love the Baby’s First Monogram Bracelet!

kaitlyn n

i love the “never give up” bracelet!

Definitely the This too Shall Pass bracelet

Montanna Lyndsey Sutherland

I love you too the moon and back

Brenda Witherspoon-Bedard

Namaste with Om -Handstamped Aluminum Cuff Bracelet

Maria B

Always Believe Something Wonderful is About to Happen – Aluminum Cuff I like

Jackee

I like the Be Happy Be Yourself bracelet.

Sherri J

I like the Be Happy Be Yourself bracelet too.

Brandy Fisk

Always believe something wonderful is about to happen bracelet is cute!

miranda

Dream Believe Do bracelet is great

Ashley

Wow – this stuff is gorgeous! I love the The Way we Talk to our Children Becomes Their Inner Voice cuff.

Nikki

My favorite item is the Follow Your Dreams bracelet.

gary

I like Follow your dreams bracelet

Claire

I Love you to the moon and back bracelet

Regina

I really like the This Too Shall Pass bracelet.

Jo

I like the “Never Give Up” as both my hubs and I are battling the big C

Lilith Katz

follow your dreams

Nesca C
wen budro

Besides this bracelet- I also love the create inspire believe bracelet.

1955nurse

Love so many pcs, this one especially: https://www.etsy.com/listing/101647245/double-strand-handstamped-initial?ref=shop_home_active / Thanks for the chance!

I love the initial charms!! I’d need three! :)

Ashley Fryer

My favorite item in their shop is the Double Strand Handstamped Initial Necklace.

linda w.

The double initial necklace

melissaandkeith miller

I Love You to the Moon and Back – Quote Cuff

Arik Issan

Double Strand Handstamped Initial Necklace

Angela Killingsworth

Double Initial Necklace with Engagement Ring Charm

Lily Wolfe

I absolutely love the follow our dreams bracelet!

Saundra McKenzie

I like the ‘Enjoy the Journey’ bracelet.

lissa crane

I love the “Life is a Gift” silver bracelet! So true!

Candie L

I love “This Too Shall Pass”. Thank you

Laura P.

The Lotus Flower bracelet is pretty and I like the “Enjoy the Journey” bracelet too.

jeremy mclaughlin

Like the Never give up bracelet

I like the Create Inspire Believe bracelet

Josette

Love them all! Would like one to say: I Love you More!

Casandra

I love these bracelets! I really love the “Be the change” one. So pretty!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/110787929/be-the-change-you-wish-to-see-in-the?ref=shop_home_active

Debbie Lewis

I like the Always Believe Something Wonderful is About to Happen – Aluminum Cuff

Nancy

My favorite is the Baby’s First Monogram Bracelet.

megan

I really like the I Love You – Hidden Message Cuff

danielle lima

You Are Loved -Handstamped Aluminum Cuff with Heart

Meggie B

I love the hand-stamped monogram necklace with monogram and the lotus flower charm. It is so cute!

My favorite is the “Be The Change You Wish To See In The World- Aluminum Cuff With Lotus Flower” – this is my favorite quote. :)

Joni Caraway (trippygrandmaof3)

I love the Handstamped Name Necklace – with design of your choice

Laurie Nykaza

Small Heart Charm and Initial Handstamped Necklace – Valentine

Be the Change you Wish to See. Love this bracelet.

Julie Lee

Love the double strand handstamped necklace!

Dorrie Turner

I love the Love the Life you Live – Message Cuff. I would give it to my daughter!

Suzanne

I love the “enjoy the moment” bracelet!

Alex roach

I love the baby’s First Monogram Bracelet

The Create Inspire Believe bracelet is my favorite!

Janet Boyanton

I like the This Too Shall Pass bracelet.

Abby

I love the double strand hand stamped necklace!

I like the I Love You To The Moon and Back bracelet

Amy Capps

I really like the bracelet hand stamped with “Life is a gift”, because I truly believe it is.

I love the initial necklaces.

Holiday Giveaway Tree-o | Cynthia Elizabeth Linsenbardt

Welcome to the second day of the Holiday Giveaway series!

wswtreeo

For three days leading up to Christmas, I’ll be featuring some amazingly talented and generous artists.
The common theme? Courage, hope, and inspiration for the upcoming year!
Each giveaway will be open for three full days, with all winners announced on Christmas Day.
I hope you enjoy these lovely artists’ creations!

***

Next up in our giveaway series is the lovely Cynthia Elizabeth Linsenbardt. Cynthia is a super talented artist who I discovered through Etsy and I really like her style. Cynthia creates inspirational and thought-provoking paintings and prints, as well as adorable hand-bound coloring books for kids. I love that she uses her talent to reach hearts and minds of all ages.

Although I enjoy all of her art, I am most drawn to her bird-themed paintings. I am a sucker for birds; they just hold such a sense of wonder and freedom, so beautiful and delicate yet strong and resilient. Cynthia captures this essence in paintings like this peaceful one and this one that reminds me of the calm amidst the storm. I find birds so inspirational. Much like I do poetry and quotes. So when I came across Cynthia’s painting ‘Birds in a Tree‘ that also integrates my favorite ‘hope’ quote from Emily Dickinson, I figured we must be kindred spirits or something.

print 1

In her own words, “I paint whatever I find beautiful, inspiring, and truthful. I want my art to encourage, inspire, and provoke thought. I am happiest when my work makes someone’s life a little bit better.” See? Kindred spirits. What I aspire to do in words, she aspires to do through art. (And I must say, she has succeeded.) Today, we want to join forces and send some of that inspiration over to you. I know many of us are in need of a little hope, not only during the holiday season but year round. This quote from Emily Dickinson is one of my absolute favorites:

print2“Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches on the soul
and sings the tune without the words
and never stops at all.”

To win an 18×12 print of Birds in a Tree and let a little hope into your life, please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Thank you so much Cynthia Elizabeth Linsenbardt for your inspiration and generosity!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Karla Penman

I have been a widow for almost 3 years and it hurts as much today. I love the birds in the tree and your message of hope. Thank you

Michelle

Beautiful! I love the Letting Things Settle print

Lilith Katz

I like the Red Moon 48 x 36 Original Painting

Audrey Griffis

I love the 4 trees print

mattq

I’m sure this invoked emotions in the artist as it does in it’s viewers! Very inspiring.

mattq

All the artwork looks just as amazing as this one. It’s hard to pick but I absolutely love Birds flying from a tree!

Kathleen Richardson

I love the Wise Old Owl 17 x 11 print.

Robyn L

I love the Birds Flying from a Tree in front of an upcoming storm. Beautiful!

Alexis K.

I like the “Letting Things Settle” print- would be perfect for my office!

amaree

This is amazingly gorgeous!

Edna A

birds flying from a tree is beautiful

Nesca C

http://www.etsy.com/listing/92389809/birds-in-a-tree-with-dickensons-hope?ref=shop_home_active

I actually love the birds on the tree the best..would look amazing framed and in the bedroom

Caitlyn

I like the “Letting Things Settle” print.

jessica hager

I love The Cow Jumped Over the Moon print.

I love the Birds Flying from a Tree print

Elena S

Well I looked at them all and my favorite really is the one displayed here – Birds in a Tree

Lola Green

my favorite is Red Moon 48 x 36 Original Painting

I love all of the children’s coloring books!

I like the His Eye Is On The Sparrow print 8.5 x 11

I love Letting Things Settle 18 x 12 print!

Sara

The 4 Trees print is great

Angela Killingsworth

His Eye Is On The Sparrow print 8.5 x 11

I love the birds flying from a tree 2 & the red moon!

Sara Giresi

I love the Circus Stack 11×17 print! great for my sons room!

danielle lima

I love the Red Moon Painting

Mandala

I like the Letting Things Settle 18 x 12 print

[…] Site Name: With Swallows Wings Prize Description: 18×12 print of ‘Birds in a Tree’ featuring the original artwork of Cynthia Linsenbardt and a quote from Emily Dickinson. Open to: US, Canada Entry Deadline: 12/22/2013 Enter This Giveaway Here: http://www.withswallowswings.com/2013/12/holiday-giveaway-tree-o-cynthia-elizabeth-linsenbardt/ […]

My favorite is the Letting Things Settle 18 x 12 print.

Denise Davis

The four trees print is my favorite.

Karen Collier

Beautiful! This would be the perfect piece to be placed in the treatment center I work at. The clients would love it.

liz l

Rooster Chef with Corn 17 x 11 print

Sara Wagner

I love Letting Things Settle.

Jenny Stanek

I’m in love with the cow jumped over the moon print

Samantha V.

I adore the Letting Things Settle print…it’s beautiful.

Candie L

I like the red moon. Thankyou

Mer

These are all fantastic! I really love the rooster chef!

brandy Fisk

The circus stack is cute!

Kamah

The Red Moon original is beautiful!

“Letting things settle” is my favorite

William

I absolutely love the Red Moon painting!

Janet

I like the flying hippos

natasha severson

The Cow Jumped Over the Moon 11 x 14.5 print

Amy

I love the Rooster Chef with Corn print. Thank you!

Sindy Murray

I like the Rooster Chef with Corn print it would look good on my kitchen wall!

Ariel

Hard to pick my favorite from a set of such beautiful artwork, but I love the Coloring Thank You Cards!

Deanna S.

Four trees … and this one!

Claire

I like the Letting Things Settle 18 x 12 print

kelley roach

i like the red moon painting

ghwasd

I love Birds in a Tree, but the Cow Jumps Over the Moon and Wise Owl are also so very awesome.

Kellie Christensen

Birds Flying From a Tree print

Debbie Lewis

I like the “Letting Things Settle”

Michelle B

I love Birds Flying From Tree II!

Angela Cash

My favorite item from Cynthia Elizabeth Linsenbardt is the Red Moon 48 x 36 Original Painting.

Emily Wells

I like the birds flying from a tree 17×11 print.

The Cow Jumped Over the Moon 11 x 14.5 print

When hippos fly is quite lovely! :)

Sky Sparkle

I like Birds Flying from a Tree II 12 x 9 original painting

Nikki

I love the “His Eye Is On The Sparrow print 8.5 x 11.”

miranda

I like Letting Things Settle

judy mitchell

birds flying from a tree

gary

I love Circus Stack

Elaine R

Rooster Chef With Corn painting-would look great in my kitchen!

Ellen Goodman

so beautiful! would love to have this in my home

Danielle Jones

I like his eye is on the sparrow.

Melody

I love the Birds Flying from a Tree II print. The colors are so pretty as well as the silhouettes of the birds.

Julia

Love “Birds Flying From a Tree”

Lora W.

I really like this print and the “Birds Flying from a Tree” print.

Casandra

These prints are absolutely amazing. I was debating between this one (linked) and a coloring book. Amazing work! http://www.etsy.com/listing/154190304/his-eye-is-on-the-sparrow-print-85-x-11?ref=shop_home_active

Megan

I love the Birds Flying from a Tree II

Tracy Pryor

I like the Letting Things Settle 18 x 12 print.

Pam C.

I love the give-away print best, Birds in a Tree with Emily Dickinson’s Hope Poem! Just reading that brought me a sense of calm…

Michelle G.

I think they are all amazing but my favorite is probably Red Moon.

Amy Tolley

love the green monkey print

beth c

i love the animals coloring book! so cute! thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

Allyson Tice

I really like the Wise Wild Owl print

Andrea Amy

Birds Flying from a Tree II – 11×17 print

Linda Trinklein
Dorrie Turner

I also love the Wise Old Owl 17 x 11 print!

Cassie sudduth

I like all the birds and trees art!

Jean

The giveaway item is stunning, but I also like the Wise Old Owl print.

Emi

My favorite is the 11×17 circus stack print

Meredith

My favorite item is the one displayed in the giveaway.

Lauren Becker

I really love the Birds Flying from a Tree II 12 x 9. Beautiful.

Alexa Cohen

The Cow Jumped Over the Moon 11 x 14.5 print

amy

i like Coloring Thank You Cards, Flowers, set of 4

Christie

I love the wise old owl print

courtney hennagir

I am in love with this print! I also really love the wise old owl print!

Ashley Fryer

My favorite is Letting Things Settle.

wendy b

My fave item- besides Birds in a tree- is Red Moon….beautiful.

jeremy mclaughlin

Like the Letting Things Settle print.

I like the Wise Old Owl 17 x 11 print.

Pick me!!! :) This is so pretty!

Holiday Giveaway Tree-o | Pattie Jansen Studio

Welcome to the first day of the Holiday Giveaway series!

wswtreeo

For the next three days, I’ll be featuring some amazingly talented and generous artists. The common theme?
Courage, hope, and inspiration for the upcoming year! Each giveaway will be open for three full days, with all
winners announced on Christmas Day. I hope you enjoy these lovely artists’ creations!

***

First up in our giveaway is the wonderful Pattie Jansen of Pattie Jansen Studios. I came across Pattie’s work when browsing Etsy recently and I was smitten with her style. If you know me, you know I have a serious love for all things stationary. There is nothing quite like a note hand-written on a gorgeous piece of paper or a day’s memories recorded in a crisp journal. Hand-lettering and letterpress make me weak in the knees, and I have drawers full of note cards.

Well, it turns out I have a kindred spirit in Pattie. Her bio begins, “Pens + paper = happy” and I couldn’t agree more. Pattie has combined her talent for art and her love of all things paper, resulting in beautiful creations such as cards and calendars. And not only is her work gorgeous, it is inspirational as well. In her own words, “I hand-draw, hand-color, and hand-letter all of my art with pens, pencils, and ink. I am an ardent and longstanding fan of great quotes … words of truth, hope, wisdom or wit.”

There are so many items I love in Patties shop (such as this print and this one too), but one that really stood out to me is the 2014 Courage Calendar.

calendar1

This 5×7 unbound and delicately illustrated monthly calendar features twelve quotes from the wisdom of Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and others to inspire courage, confidence, and believing in yourself….every day of the year.

calendar2

calendar3

To enter to win your own dose of courage for 2014, please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Thank you Pattie of Pattie Jansen Studio!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jennie

I like the chocolate word art. Her drawings are beautiful.

Kathlyne

I like the “You feel like home to me” valentine’s day card.

brandy Fisk

Love print!

Samantha L.

I like the Amaryllis Christmas Card, reminds me of my grandmother.

Caitlyn

I like the mistletoe Christmas card.

Senny

I love the cupcake note cards! everything is so sweet!

Dorrie Turner

I really like the Valentine’s Day Sweetie Pie I Love You card. Very pretty and cute things!

The Love Art Print. You Are So Loved is my favorite.
xo

Thank you, Erin! And thank you, everyone! I’m honored to be featured and I so appreciate all the kind words. Beautifully written, Erin! Happy Holidays and sending best wishes for an inspired, courageous new year ;-)

The gingerbread men card is cute. :)

Laura

I really love the Christmas Candle card, it’s so beautifully done!

Michelle

I love the Christmas cottage card

The “Lets Stick Together” Card with peanut butter and jelly was really sweet! ;D

amaree

The flowers are beautiful!

Wehaf

I love the “you are so loved” card!

Monja Blue

I love the Cottage Kitchen Art II!
Thanks for a chance to win this wonderful giveaway!
Merry Christmas!

Dawn Hecke

I love the You Are Braver than You Believe Card.

Claire

I like the Amaryllis Christmas Card,!

wendy rozema

my favorite is the Calendar 2014. Sweet Treats and Comfort Food Kitchen Calendar. 5×7 Desk or Wall Calendar

Angela Killingsworth

Personalized Love You Card. Anniversary Card. Love Pillows

I love the personalized stationary!

Danielle Jones

I like her sometimes you just need pie note cards.

Mandala

I really like the Coffee Art. Espresso Cup. Kitchen Print. Wall Art 8 x 10 : http://www.etsy.com/listing/75018037/coffee-art-espresso-cup-kitchen-print?ref=shop_home_active

Karen Collier

Beautiful! Love your work!

liz l

Daddy’s Little Girl Card.

Jenny Stanek

I love the Christmas cottage cards!

Kamah

I loved the 2014 cookie classics calendar!

Janet

personalized stationary are my favorite

Megan

I love the 2014 Calendar. Cookie Classics. Desk Calendar. Wall Calendar 5×7

Sindy Murray

I like the Gingerbread Men Christmas Card!

debra daigle

Cottage Kitchen art is adorable!

linda w.

I like the cupcake notecards.

Ariel

I LOVE the Magic Christmas Cards Set. Christmas Typography Card. So adorable for Christmas!

susie king

Magic Christmas Cards Set. Christmas Typography Card is my favorite item.

Amy Honious

I really like the personalized sewing print-that would make such a nice present for my mom in her craft room! Thanks for such a lovely giveaway :)

Cindy Bowling

I like the Inspirational Quote Print. Leave A Trail

Leah Shumack

I like the cookie calendar!

kelley roach

i like the mistletoe christmas card

Shea Balentine

I like the you are so loved print

Melissa Botelho

Christmas Dog Cards. Corgi Dog Christmas Card Set

Dorothy Teel

I love this calendar = 2014 Calendar. Cookie Classics. Desk Calendar. Wall Calendar 5×7

rose

What a beautiful shop full of so many great items! I really like the Mason Jar Flowers Note Cards. I could send those anytime just for fun. ambrerose at(aol) dot(com)

Kellie Christensen

You Are Loved Print

I LOVE the Gerbera Thank You Notes!! Thank You!!

Marija

I love the Mason Jars Flowers Note Cards.

Courage Calendars

jeremy mclaughlin

Like the cookie calendar

wen budro

My fave item is the You are braver than you believe card….very nice. https://www.etsy.com/listing/156028453/you-are-braver-than-you-believe-card?ref=shop_home_active

Emily Wells

I love the cappuccino coffee art yellow kitchen print!

Gingerbread Men Christmas Card. Christmas Cookie Recipe Holiday Card

cindy

I love the You are braver than you believe quote from winne the pooh

Kim Reid

I like the Cat Christmas Cards – Boxed Set of 10 Cards – Eat Purr Nap, thanks!

Lily Wolfe

My birthday is coming up and this would make the best present ever!

Happy Birthday Kiddo!

Five years ago right this very moment, my life changed forever.

Happy 5th birthday to my sweet, funny, high energy, smart, compassionate, wise,
and loving little boy. You are the raddest kid ever and make the world a better place!

Mommy loves you thiiiiiiiis much. <3

5thbday

p.s. — check back tomorrow for the beginning of my holiday giveaway series!!

What a sweetheart. Belated Happy Birthday. :)

I love your progression! It’s hard to think that my baby will be 5 one day :)

[…] Man is a Kindergartner! Can you believe it? This kid, this same little kid, this same one I freaked out about starting preschool, is now a big […]

A Widow’s Body Perception, Dating, and Self Worth.

deservevia

I think I realized tonight why I have let myself go so much over the past few years.

I have allowed myself to gain weight over the last four years. Simple fact. I have stopped putting as much pride in my appearance, stopped trying to look my best. And I always just assumed it was because I was busy, because I struggled to lose the baby weight since I lost The Hubs when Little Man was just 8 months old, because I’ve had issues with some medication issues that caused me to gain weight, etc. etc.

Yes, those things played into it. But tonight I was watching a movie and something one of the characters said struck a nerve in me and I immediately burst into tears.

If you know me, you know this is not normal for me. I don’t cry easily.

Maybe it was the three vodka cranberries I’ve had tonight.

Maybe.

Anyway, I can’t remember what the guy said, but it was something sweet to a lady. And it made me realize, I have let myself go because deep down I haven’t wanted to look attractive to another guy.

Yep.

Deep breath. Let it out. Phew.

Big things here.

The Hubs used to compliment me so much on my appearance; my shape, my hair, my face. I mean, we first fell in love when we were teenagers; of course he always mentioned the physical stuff. He used to love to tell the tale of seeing me in my bathing suit for the first time when we were all hanging out at a friends house. But regardless of how my body looked or how much time passed, the hubs used to always tell me he loved my face. That was what he found most attractive, and he always let me know how he found me so beautiful.

These days, my face looks nothing like it used to. And not only because of the way time and experience has aged it.

Mostly because I’ve allowed myself to gain weight.

Yes, I’ve been on some meds that made me gain regardless of my own level of control. However, I’ve allowed myself to ignore it. Or pretend to ignore it. To be content enough with it not to find a way to break out of it, I guess.

Until recently.

Recently, my self esteem has plummeted. For my own health, my own happiness, I need my body back. I need to feel like I’m back in my own skin again. I just didn’t realize how much I’d surrounded myself with a protective layer, with a shield, with a layer of tough skin. Literally.

I know now I’ve been trying to protect myself. If no one else can find me attractive, I won’t have to deal with the true intimacy of real relationship. I won’t have to deal with being vulnerable again. I won’t have to deal with the fact that The Hubs can never again be that person who tells me I’m ‘beautiful’. And even though I really do desire a new love, a new relationship, that new partner to share my life with, perhaps before now I wasn’t really ready to face the fact that that new person may say the exact same words to me that The Hubs used to say. Maybe before I wouldn’t have been able to handle them calling me the same words, looking at me the same way, treating me the same. Maybe that’s why I covered myself up.

Anyway, now I know. And now I need to truly begin to shed my skin. Now I must truly become vulnerable. Because love requires vulnerability. I would never have been blessed with The Hubs without vulnerability back then…and he would kick my newly-fat ass for doing this to myself now.

As much as I never expected it, I have to let someone else find me attractive…and not feel like that is wrong or shameful.

Such a huge realization. Yet another layer of the widow life I never knew I’d have to live with.

But damn it, I’ll conquer it.

Oh, Erin. You are gorgeous inside and out.

I can see now how my new year’s blog really resonated with you. I’ve hidden behind weight for a very long time. It piled on after I met Kevin, suddenly relaxing. My weight became almost like an ultimatum for me – you love me fat, or don’t love me at all which really isn’t fair to anyone. It means I can’t be active the way I want to be. It sucks. I’m happy to walk this with you. I see you’re stepping away from Facebook, so feel free to check in by email for encouragement/venting/whatever. Walking with you.

Erin

Although I wish you didn’t have to, I’m glad to have your understanding. Walking beside you as well. Let’s definitely encourage, hold accountable, and feel comfortable sharing all parts of this journey. <3 (I’m sure I’ll eventually be back on FB, too! ;) )