I used to struggle with balance.
Through most of my 20s and 30s, I was harried and overly busy, disorganized, and unfocused. Juggling my career, my home, my marriage, my ministries, and eventually my babies, left me feeling drained and inadequate. I desperately wanted balance, but balance felt impossible. I remember looking at other women at work, at Target, in their cars passing by me, and I assumed they all knew something I didn’t. I was convinced I was the only one who couldn’t figure it out. I thought everyone had everything together, but me.
This was the 90s, so I couldn’t Google “balance” for answers. For half that decade I had stirrup pants and a spiral perm, but no Internet. (These were desperate times.) Yet, I was determined to crack the code. If there was a tip, a system, a secret ingredient to life-balance, I would uncover it.
Two decades of searching, and I still don’t have it all figured out. But I have learned a lot about what balance is and what balance is not. Turns out, there’s no secret ingredient, but there ARE healthy ways to approach life that lead to balance. I write on this blog to share all the stuff I’ve learned.
As you read my posts, it won’t be long before you realize how flawed I am–I mostly use my flaws and mistakes as illustrations for showing how NOT to live a well-balanced life. If you want to feel better about yourself, stick around.
Ten Things You Probably Should Know About Me
1. I have been married to Jon for 23 years. We refer to our marriage as “The Best 21 Years of Our Lives.” That’s because the first 2 years were really hard. For real–we almost didn’t make it. Marriage can still be hard, but I’m sure we’re going to make it, now. (Plus, I really like him —here’s 34 reasons why–and he’s totally hot. You can read about his unusual love language here. You can read about how much we’ve changed since we got married here. You can read 21 Things We’ve Learned in 21 Years of Marriage here.)
2. My oldest son, Noah, died suddenly and unexpectedly when he was 9 months old. (Would you believe me if I said this was not the same 2 years I described as “really hard” in item #1?) I would describe the year following Noah’s death as, “my worst fear come to life, except worse than I imagined it to be.” It was that bad. If I could point to one event in my life that shaped me, more than any other, it would be Noah’s death–without a doubt. (To read Noah’s story, click here.)
3.I have an 18-year-old biological daughter, born exactly 9 mos after the death of my son. She’s the reason I got out of bed, fed myself and went outside after Noah died. And–holy smokes–she’s an adult now. What in the actual heck? (To read my letter to Rebekah about real beauty, click here.)
4. I have 2 adopted children: Elijah, age 15 (domestic) and Elliana, age 10 (international). They taught me that biology has absolutely nothing to do with parental love. And they make me laugh (hard) every single day. (For Elijah’s adoption story click here. For Elliana’s adoption story, click here and here.)
5. I battled clinical depression most of my life, except I didn’t know it was depression until I nearly had a nervous breakdown—I just thought I was really crabby. (To read about my battle with depression, click here.
6. I have been mostly depression-free since 2008. (Though, still sometimes crabby.) I manage my depression with a combo of natural supplements and lifestyle choices. I write about that quite a bit around here. Here is one really popular depression post.
7. I have relocated across the country to places where I knew nary a single person—twice. (and I like the word “nary”)
8. I am a health nut. I read food labels. I love being physically fit. I make my kids eat vegetables. (That’s technically 4 facts, but who’s counting?) (to read my favorite posts on fitness, click here.)
10. In the midst of my pitiful, neurotic and sometimes-highly emotional state, I am utterly amazed that God speaks to my heart and guides my steps daily.
That should tell you more than you ever wanted to know. But just in case…
10 More Completely Useless Facts About Me:
1. I place a high premium on someone’s ability to make me laugh.
2. I place a high premium on good hair—mine and yours. I recently renewed my driver’s license, and the pressure to have good hair was almost too much for me to bear.
3. I can remember the lyrics of nearly every song written between 1972 and 1986, yet I cannot for–the-life-of-me remember people’s names.
4. I prefer to be home.
5. But if I can’t be home, I prefer to be at the beach.
6. Ideally “home” and “the beach” would be one and the same, and hopefully WILL be someday.
7. I love to cook. (For my cooking philosophy, click here)
8. I have zero tolerance for life-sucking people, and firmly believe we are all just doing the best we can.
9. I dream of having my own TV cooking show, but fear not being able to cook and talk at the same time. (Seriously, when I see Giada on The Food Network mincing garlic in her amazing kitchen with that ocean view?!? I covet.)
10. I like lists. (And parenthetical phrases.)
My Official Bio: (written in 3rd person, as if someone else wrote it)
Sandy Cooper is the Leader of Women’s Ministry at New Life Church in Louisville, a Bible study teacher, and author of her personal blog, The Scoop on Balance (www.thescooponbalance.com). Her passion is to encourage women to live a life of balance through intimacy with God and hearing His voice in everyday life. Her greatest accomplishments include surviving the death of her 9-month-old son (Noah), surviving a seven-year battle with clinical depression, and finding a laundry system that actually works (the search for which may or may not have contributed to the depression). She lives in Louisville, Kentucky with Jon (her husband of 23 years) and her three living children Rebekah (18), Elijah (15) and Elliana (10). But she longs for her eternal home where laundry piles will cease, life’s battles will make perfect sense, she will be reunited with Noah and stand face-to-face with the God who sustained her through it all.