An open letter to myself…

An open letter to myself…

The rain came down yesterday. Puddles litter the ground and this afternoon’s storm is imminent. In fact, the call came through while I was at breakfast with a friend that all after school meetings and activities are cancelled, except high school athletics. So I am still waiting to hear from my son’s soccer coach if the game is on this afternoon.

I know it probably sounds silly to most of the world that California towns shut down at the threat of a thunderstorm; it seems silly to us, too but the roads flood fast when it rains here. These mandatory shut downs (not government ones – I am not getting political here) get our family home and cozy. It stops time for a brief moment and I couldn’t be happier. But that isn’t what this post is about.

As I sit here on my planned writing day with papers strewn about and a copy of Hands Free Mama by my side, I am still struggling to complete this post. It is one that needs to be written so I am compelled to keep at it.

This last year, I was introduced to a woman named Michele, by her dad. While that may seem ordinary, it was anything but. See by the time we met, via phone, her dad was already in heaven. (If you haven’t heard how we met you can read my post about it here). I still feel like he continually links us. Whether it is her seeing me on a morning run or an online post that shows how close we live to one another, we still find ourselves being connected.

She has this great online FB community where she writes motivating posts to help others live their best life. You see how we like each other now, right?

Well, one of her most recent asks, was for us to write a letter to our future selves. She said that we had to write a letter to ourself in the future expressing a sense of accomplishment for all we completed the past year. I originally thought this would be easy. But here I sit. With the letter still unfinished.

Writing about my success; that is complicated. More than complicated; arduous. A part of me still can’t think I am a success because I feel like I will jinx the good stuff I have going on in my life right this very instant. And I was taught to be humble, so saying “Hey look what I can do,” makes me cringe. I know you are reading an online blog about myself; the irony of this is not lost on me. So I get that you are thinking this can’t be that hard. But it is!

On the flip side, I could easily list off the things I have failed or what I want to do different next time or how I want to be a better at whatever. But to write a letter to myself about how proud I am of me; that is trickier than it sounds.

However, I think it is important. What we put out into the universe comes back. What we want for ourselves; what we see for ourselves; well that becomes our reality. So this exercise isn’t just for fun; I think it is necessary for my growth over the next year. I am doing it and sharing it in the hopes that maybe you will do the same for yourself. Maybe you will work at manifesting your own dreams this year.

Okay here it goes…

Dear End of 2019 Michelle,

There is so much I have to tell you. I know, no surprise there; we both know how long-winded I can be. 

First and foremost; I want you to know how proud I am of you for holding steady this year. When things got hectic or tough you remembered to consistently show up for yourself. And when life knocked you down you dusted yourself off and tried again. I know how merciless that bully in your head can be; and the fact that you never let her get the best of you; you should feel so satisfied. I am glad that failure wasn’t an option for you.

I know your job is life-breathing for you. You are helping people and doing what you are meant to do; but I also know it is breath-taking in both good and bad ways. Aren’t you grateful that you kept your faith, even on the days when appointments were heavy or they didn’t go your way; aren’t you glad you looked up and remembered whose you are. Always keep that faith. Always remember that God has your back. He is holding you and He held you, even when you thought you were alone or He couldn’t see what was happening. I love that prayer to you isn’t a word or a thing it is an action and you put its power to use. When all else fails, faith seems to center us. 

Girl, this one was hard. You left so much sweat on the floor of 2019. You lost all your extra padding and gained some sure-fire muscle. Look at you! You finished two 5Ks and made sure that you took time to better your health each and every day. But you also enjoyed food and gatherings and didn’t let it over run your life. You found a beautiful balance for your health and your sweet tooth. I bet you feel good in your clothes and are glad to have more energy. Well done, but remember don’t stop. This is lifetime work. Keep getting after it; you have got this.

In, the work world, you did a great job. You are the owner of a successful business. And you decided to take a risk and finally finish that book. The bravery it took to send off your completed manuscript to publishers was impressive. Hang in there. No matter what happens you wrote a whole book and shared it. You should feel content. That is enough. More than enough. Great work. And to top it off you started your own little podcast. You go girl. I know, I know the things that come out of our mouth. We can’t help it. The point is we are not on the sidelines any more watching other people’s dreams come true or hiding our own potential. You are out in the arena making your own dreams a reality and it takes my breath away to see you like this. Remember when we took out that picture of us at three. Remember that smile. You started all this to find that girl again and now you are her. How’s that for success? Let that settle in your bones and savor how that feels. 

Most importantly, you soaked in the sun, spent time watching the sky in wonder, gazed out at the stars, studied your babies’ precious faces and listened to their hearts until you knew them as well as your own, and  you were there for those that needed you most. You took the time to laugh, listen and love. You were present and made your people a priority. Don’t you feel like you added treasured moments to your life? 

All in all you had a productive year where you were a participant in your own life. You put blood, sweat, tears, laughter, love and adventure into 2019. I know you are grateful and blessed for all you have experienced; don’t let that pass you buy. Soak it up. Let it linger on your heart. It’s okay to take a moment and just be. I also know, you will think about what was lost or missed. Try and remember what is, is and what will be, will be. You did what you could. You did the best with what you had. You never gave up. You are the best you, you have ever been to this point in your life and I love you more today than ever. 

Sincerely,

Beginning of 2019 Michelle

Notes on a life well lived

Notes on a life well lived

Dozens of self-help books litter my bookshelves from Anne Lamott, Gabby Bernstein, to Shauna Niequist. I have also read Marianne Williamson, and I can’t quite stomach Rachel Hollis, but I have read more than half of Girl, Wash Your Face; sorry people she is way too overzealous and tough love for me. Brene Brown’s Gift of Imperfections entirely changed my life, and I have watched her Ted Talks more than once, and even taken her online course. I follow Glennon Doyle Melton and Jen Hatmaker. I have listened to speeches and audio books by Zig Zigler and learned how to give elevator speeches by reading Terri Sjodin. One common thread among all the things I have read, listened to, watched or studied is about how to live your best life.

When I started this blog six and a half years ago, it was a way for me to log my journey to be my best self, mainly how to live my best life. Since today is my birthday, it has me reflecting on this a bit. In addition, there is quite a lot of talk about resolutions as we have just entered a new year.

There are some common threads when it comes to living your best life based on what I have read or studied. One, you have to show up for yourself. You have to participate in your own life. Two, you need to make good, healthy choices, both physically and emotionally. Three, you need to take risks and follow your dreams. And lastly, you need to slow down and appreciate the simple things in life. While those things all sound fabulous on paper, I think it is often difficult to capture that in day-to-day living.

If you have followed me for any length of time, you know I get caught up on age. My own that is. While, people tell me that age isn’t a big deal; I logically understand that, but when death has been intertwined with your existence on this planet since as far back as you can remember it is hard not to examine mortality. I mean my job is to deliver messages from spirits in heaven to people here, so I think about life and death on the daily. Age sits on my mind in good and bad ways. So, I logically understand age is a frame of mind; I am not worried about aging; I just know that is how we measure time here and time as a human is an invaluable, precious commodity. Point of my ramble, I am 41 as of today and legit, I am halfway through my life, and I still want to make sure that I am living my best life.

What the heck does a life well lived mean to me? How do you have a life well lived in reality? What does that look like? And can it mean different things every damn day?

Let’s take a look at question one – what the heck is a life well lived mean to me? While I shared some components of a life well lived a bit at the top of this blog, a life well lived is going to be different for everyone. What that means to me will not be the same for you. Some of us need to have achievements and careers and awards. Some of us don’t need any recognition but instead need meaningful connection. The point is I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer here. For me a life well lived means doing the best I can each day to be present, make meaningful connections with the people I love, offer myself grace instead of criticism and learn instead of staying stagnant. I want to make healthy choices, and I want to help other people. If I have given my best and loved my people, then I have lived well.

There is no one size fits all answer to what makes a well lived life

For me, and this also seems to be popular in the self-help world, living your best life means loving yourself. That is one area, I can say I have improved immensely since I have started this blog. This girl is not perfect, but she is kind, loyal, generous, trustworthy, sincere, honest, hard-working. Of course, there are still areas that need improving. I am a stress eater who is addicted to caffeine and I struggle with being the kind of friend I want to be. For example, approaching people to have small talk is seriously still the hardest thing I am faced with every single day. But it is okay, I have that knowledge, and I do what I can to be better about it. That is enough.

And last but not least, I think a life well-lived includes eating chocolate and reading books. Those things are in my life well-lived. Some people need to travel or drink coffee or run or drink wine; I need chocolate and a good book.

How do you live a life well in reality?

Well, that is the real question, am I right or am I right?

Drumroll please….

one damn second at a freaking time.

I know I am a genius.

Copy of There is no one size fits all answer to what makes a well lived life

But really, in real life living a good life might look like this…

You are already running five minutes late to get your kids to school, and child #4 still has yet to brush their teeth, comb their hair and find their shoes regardless of your constant, calm, thoughtful reminders. You know that you should continue to be easy-going and choose your words carefully, but instead, you lose your cool and raise your voice. I mean really, you can’t believe how many times you have had to ask, and there is no way you are going to be on time at this point. And that matters because people should show up on time for important things; it is good manners. Manners are important. Anyway, you lost it. You are only human. You feel awful by the time you actually drop off said children because yesterday you may have made it through the same scenario with grace, calm and incredible restraint, but today your hormones are different, or you slept less, or you ran out of your favorite K-Cup or the dog got sick on the carpet or everything fell apart in your life, and you just cannot handle one more little thing, and you got snippy. Well, you are human, and you need to let that moment pass, apologize for your mistake, admit you are human and try again in the next moment. That is all you can do. Because in a life well-lived my friend, things are flawed and messy. Little things can seem like big things at the moment, and we mess up.

Or a life well lived may look like this in reality…

You are nailing it; you ditched the to-do list, and you got a load of laundry done (because keeping things organized and tidy is important to you in your life well-lived categories) you took a run (because health is important), you played a game with your family, made a home cooked nutritious meal and you are on top of the life well-lived world. I mean you were present and connected to your child at the moment when they said, “Mama, everyone should be happy.” And you just teared up at the profound innocence of that statement. You are the boss of a life well lived. Congratulations.

However, the next day, your morning falls apart, the repairman comes late, you miss your conference call, your late getting the kids from school which they proceed to tell everyone you talk to that day, soccer practice runs over, and you have to hit a McDonald’s drive-thru because you cannot skip eating but have precious little time before baths and bedtime. Seriously, high-five yourself, because you got through that day. The kids are fed. The repairs were made. Everyone is home safe. Life goes on. Try again tomorrow. That is a life well lived in reality, my friend.

Copy of There is no one size fits all life 2

That is just how it goes, and you know what? You are doing it right; everyone has those days, and if they don’t I am pretty sure they are lying, or they have an assistant, a nanny, another assistant, and they are outsourcing other things, and they are still lying. But I am not saying this to be judge-y. I want you to understand that a life well lived, in reality, isn’t going to fit any self-help book wish list when it is actually happening. The truth is everyone has bad days; even those living their lives like a boss. True story.

What does that look like, a life well lived? Answered above. It is different all the time. Depending on the moment, depending on the day. But it should feel like gratitude and grace. Wonder and joy. Life is also going to hurt and be difficult. A life well-lived includes feeling all the feelings, showing up when it is hard, success and failure, mistakes, messiness, do-overs, loss, and love. I think it is more important to feel life than to make sure it looks any particular way. A life well-lived will look different to me than to you, but it will feel the same of that I am pretty sure.

And can it mean different things every damn day? Yes. Yes. And Yes. Some days a life well lived means sitting on the couch curled up with your family watching a movie and ordering take out because you just can’t do the things. Or maybe you are hiding in your cloffice trying to get your act together because everything you have felt that day has literally brought you to your knees, and you have to find a way not to let the pain you have witnessed and felt that day bleed so deep into your existence that you stop in your tracks and never start again.

So, as I enter my forty-first year, I want to settle into these bones and keep doing what I have been doing for the last six and a half years, living my life well. Embracing my flawed self with each new day, stretch outside my comfort zone and live beyond my fears. To show up and be present in my life. But to always offer myself grace when I can’t.

Copy ofThere is no one size fits all life 4

If you have read this far, I hope for my birthday, I hope today, you do something nice for yourself. Take a moment to enjoy where you are right now. I know I will.

Love and light,

2016-09-11_0905

Notes on fear…

Notes on fear…

The other day I read a post by Rachel Macy Stafford, otherwise known as the Hands Free Mama. She said we should share songs with people, you can read that post here.

Songs have spoken to me always. And today was no different. Coming home from the grocery store Zach Williams’ Fear is a Liar came on the radio. The lyrics fell over me in a blanket of truth that could be the soundtrack of my life…and so I want to share it with you.

“When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough
Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar.”

For most of my young adulthood and adulthood fear dictated the choices I made, from going away to college, to who I spent my time with, to what I thought about myself…but as I aged something inside my brain changed and while I was still afraid, it was harder not to be who I was. It was harder to hide. Or maybe the lies fear told me were just harder to believe.

When I started my living out loud, being vulnerable journey prayer was a big part of that. I was definitely moving beyond fear to accomplish this lifestyle. But my prayers shifted a bit. I wasn’t just talking to God, I started to listen to the world around me, to the stillness. Was God answering my prayers in what was happening around me?

I began to see that He was. One of the first phrases that started to play in my heart when I began to pray about being myself again, and living out loud was, “Fear not, remember.” When I kept hearing this phrase in my head, I started to research it. It felt like God’s word, but I wasn’t sure. Did you know that “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid” appears in the Bible over and over again. There are roughly 40 or so Bible verses on fear alone. So, I guess I was being answered. When my heart would whisper these words back to me, it was my divine blueprint coming back to life. Don’t believe fear it said, remember whose you are. I am a child of God and God loves me. God thinks the exact opposite of what I have been telling myself all this time.

The truth is…

Fear holds us still when we should be moving forward.
Fear keeps us ashamed and hidden.
Fear isolates us from everyone else.
Fear holds our tongues and tucks away our ideas from the world.
Fear feeds insecurity so it can breed depression and resentment.

I know there are advantages to fear…it can keep us safe… it can help us take a breath to think, it can keep us on our toes, but fear should not be the place from which we make our decisions. Fear will absolutely take “our breath and happiness”. Fear will lie and tell us not to move. Fear will lie and tell us not to speak. Fear will stop us in our tracks and keep us hidden from the world and only allow us to live in the shadows.

But as my journey to live out loud continued and I listened more to my prayers being answered, when I found myself afraid I would hear my heart whisper again, “Fear not, remember.” And I would decide to do something even though I was terrified.

No more shadows for me behind fear…I began to tell my truth. I started a blog, where my words are pieces of my heart bled onto a computer page where anyone can see them. It isn’t easy, sometimes fear has me pull those words back, take them down and hide again. But I have learned you can’t take them back. The words have already been seen, it is already written.

I started a business that is going a year strong. I am speaking my heart to others, even though it can hurt and sometimes I lose, but sometimes I win and get to be connected to amazing people who fill my life with love, laughter, and happiness.

Fear has stopped me in my tracks more than I would like to mention. Fear keeps me quiet when the bullies in my life wield their controlling ways.

But I am gaining on this fear. I am remembering who I am, whose I am, and I am rising like a Phoenix out of the ashes. Fear he absolutely is a liar and I choose to no longer believe because the life I want to live every part of it has been on the other side of fear.

Love and light,

2016-09-11_0905

Year End Lessons for 2018

Year End Lessons for 2018

It has been awhile since I have written a lessons post. I thought a new year would be a good time to reflect on what I have re-learned or learned or remembered from this past year. I am going to use this look back as a guide to help my way forward this year.

First things first…

20 Dessert Inspirations

Do it! If you can help it, don’t put things on hold. Go out, take adventures, and live. Even if you are hurt. Even if you are scared. Even if you think it’s too people-y. Go on the trip. Love your people well and soak in the rest and adventure. It is worth the memories.

Make your own Fancy new year

Or unfancy new year…but make it happen. We spent ours at a pajama party, but my baby wanted a sparkly fancy new year and she made it happen. From a sparkling jumpsuit with rainbow stripes and curled hair she was fancy head to toe. Who cares what anyone else thinks…be you! Do you and then make it happen.

Bake the Cookies

It is hard to find the time, I know. With kids, work, family, and regular life it is hard to sneak in the things that bring us joy, but you can make the time. Bake the cookies, take the walk, do the workout. Find your joy and add it into your life when and where you can. You are welcome.

good times & tan lines

This one is hard. I know. I sit with bereaved souls day in and day out and how in the world some people have to leave this earth while others get to stay and cause harm is beyond me, but there are still miracles. Even in pain and despair they will creep up like weeds in the sidewalk. They might be small and they may not take away your pain, but they can ease it. Miracles happen every single day. We just forget that we are one. Sometimes, we have to focus on the little, tiny things to see them, to hear them. But the point is to not stop believing.

2019-01-01_0815

I know, I know. I ask hard things of you. But we can do hard things. Go out into the world and do what you are passionate about. We need more of that. This sign was literally on the bathroom wall of a house I stayed at almost one year ago and it was like a beacon telling me I had made the right choice. I did. I am doing what makes me happy and it is making me happy. It isn’t always easy and I am still learning, but it is making me happy and others happy. So go do what makes you happy. What are waiting for? Certainly not me telling you…so what?

Make New Friends

This one can be a bit difficult as well. When you are in your forties people are established. They have formed their tribes and made their alliances and infiltrating those can be murky waters. But guess what? Making new friends and meeting new people keep us young and open. We can’t become who we are meant to be when we are being a hermit in a cave. Do you get hurt? Yep. I have learned a few people aren’t my people. That is okay, too. What is most important is to keep open. I have made amazing friends this past year. I am so grateful for them and their amazing text messages, company and gifts. I cannot imagine my life without these new people. They have brought me so much joy this past year and I cannot wait to grow those friendships.

RELEARN & REMEMBER YOUR OWN LESSONS

I said those things…this last year…these are my words. Remember who you are and where you want to be. You got this. Go out and impress yourself. Again, you’re welcome.

actions

This one is the one to end on. Actions always speak louder than words. Watch how people treat you. Watch carefully. It says more about them then what they maybe able to say. Some people are great at deceiving the world. They hide behind their smoothness and sweet talk, but what they do…well that doesn’t lie. Not even a little bit. So watch people carefully. And remember that people are watching you, too. Make sure you are following through on what you say with what you do.

Wishing you a 2019 filled with health, love, happiness, joy, adventure, good company, and fun,

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Snippets from Heaven – Part 6

Snippets from Heaven – Part 6

She was beautifully out of place.

Sometimes I believe she intended to be.

Like the moon during the day.

-D.R. Via the Minda Journal

When I was little, I just wanted to be the girl next door. You know the one who is unassuming, beautiful yet she doesn’t know it, everyone in the whole town loves her, and at the end of the story, she wins the guy by just being her quirky self. Yeah, that is the girl I wanted to be. It never really happened. I sort of had the invisible part down, but because I kept a part of my soul a secret it was easier to try to hide in plain sight. And, unfortunately, you can’t shine as your quirky self if you are hiding something about your quirky self.

My whole life, I saw, heard, and felt things most other people didn’t believe existed. And I could sense everything about people with one look and never a spoken word. I somehow knew I would never be that girl next door. But that didn’t stop me from hoping.

By the time I was thirteen spirit thought that I was a place they could regularly visit and often they would ask me for help in telling their stories. I tried. I typed (literally typed, on a typewriter) up a story about one girl who died and tried to get it published. I talked to my sisters about the things I saw. But it just kept escalating. Combined with the angst and pain, I felt from others around me, at sixteen I tried to take a bunch of pills and silence everything forever. I couldn’t possibly be supposed to live like this right?

But, as always, God is in charge. The next morning when I woke up, HE was there. His loud voice boomed and told me, “Your life is mine.” I could sense the disappointment. And the voice continued, “Your work isn’t finished yet. I have things left for you to do.”

In addition to feeling extraordinarily guilty and having yet another secret to hide; I now felt that I was for sure crazy. Who hears GOD?! Seriously, now I was broken in all new ways.

I tried to reconcile my outside life with my inside life. I still didn’t talk about it much, but I definitely decided to learn more and put a little more effort into paying attention to what I heard and saw. Most of the time no one wanted to know anything about it, and I knew it was something most people wouldn’t accept.

For most of my young adult life, it was something that I pushed down and left out. I still saw and heard spirit. I could still read people like a book, but the girl next door appeal always won out, and I just tried to be ordinary.

By the time we moved to our small town, I thought maybe I had a shot. It was like a do-over, and I had whole-heartedly decided to keep the other piece of my soul a secret. I would be normal and ordinary like everyone else. Besides, I had my own family now and I didn’t want this to damage the way people saw them, too. And it started to happen, I was fitting in. After, being here for two years, I began to make some friends. The other moms would talk to me at pick up, and I was being invited places. I was so relieved.

Then a little spirit boy decided to change my whole life. I don’t know why I thought any different, I wasn’t in charge. And of course, he was asking me to be anything but ordinary.

Copy of cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out

If you have come to a session, you have heard me tell the Matthew story. (You can also read it here.) Matthew is a boy who visited me after his passing and basically became my teacher. One day six years ago, he told me it was time for me to follow this path and he warned that if I didn’t take care of it; spirit would.

Well, a part of the story I don’t tell is how I quit. Yep, I quit. I shut everything down for six months because of one bad experience, a tremendous amount of doubt, and general life chaos. And most likely my deep-seated need to be the ordinary, girl next door. And if I am being sincere, maybe I was a little glad for the break. As much as I wanted to help; I really didn’t believe I was strong enough. I mean, even though I was removed from the sadness of my clients; how many times could my own heart break? How much sadness and pain can one person carry? Spirit can feel everything, so during the sessions not only do I feel what they are feeling; I experience my client’s pain, too. And then the human side of me is also experiencing what is happening.

For six long months I thought for sure I was going to get to just be me; ordinary and regular, and live a life-like everyone else.

But God wasn’t done with me.

God wasn't done

He isn’t ever done with us. Duh! It was silly to think I still controlled my life. Well, newsflash, we can only control how we react to what happens to us.

Spirits would keep popping up in my life; clients’ stories would break me down. I couldn’t say no to some people and after six months; everyone including my husband thought that I was supposed to be helping spirit and their loved ones here on earth full-time. And the doors of my normal life were closing all around me. My job was changing and my place there didn’t feel like it belonged to me any more.

So, a little over a year ago I quit my day job and opened up my own little business. To say I was terrified would be an understatement. I have an -ish ton of faith because otherwise, I am just a crazy girl who hears voices; so I believed anything was possible, but I was still worried.

Since God knew this, the first client he sent to me was Lauren. Immediately her radiant smile and warm heart hit me, and I loved her. She came into my cozy little office, kicked off her shoes and made herself comfortable. And my whole heart breathed a sigh of relief; everything about her was exactly what I needed. While I was still nervous because I didn’t know what to expect, I was so much more at ease. I knew God had sent me the most perfect first client.

We cried, and we laughed. Lauren’s mom came through to her. And while it was a fantastic session filled with immense healing; my heart broke a little because her mother left this earth of her own volition. Now, we have a great deal of upset over things like this in the human world. But, remember, God is forever tries, and heaven is home, so God showers all souls with love. And everything that happens He has a say in. Nothing gets past Him. We talked about that, that day, too.

No soul left behind

Lauren’s mom showed me how Lauren shared her light with other people. How she would take a little bit of it and hand it off to others like hope, and it would spread far and wide. This spreading of light was like the festival of lanterns and one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

I asked Lauren about it at the end of the session, and she told me about how before her mom passed one of the last things they talked about was her mom asking her if she ever heard the song, 1,000 paper cranes. Lauren brushed it off and didn’t think about it again, until after she received the news of her mom’s passing. She listened to the song. It weighed on her heart, and she decided to make 1,000 paper cranes every year to honor her mom. And she was giving some of them away to other people. That was the light I saw spreading. Lauren was turning her pain and her mom’s pain into hope. Literally, an origami crane symbols the mystic legend of the crane’s 1,000 year life span and to give someone a paper crane symbolizes offering hope and healing through difficult challenges.

From that Cranes for Kristina was born. Today that is Lauren’s full-time gig. She is creating cranes every day, giving away a piece of her light to others and offering them hope. (If you come to see me you get to take one with you when you leave, my office isn’t complete without a little bit of Lauren’s light in it.) Lauren doesn’t stop there, she speaks up and out about depression and suicide prevention. Lauren has the most amazing heart and uses her grief as inspiration and motivation to help others.

So while, Lauren’s life has changed over the year since we met; mine has, too.

Moms don’t talk to me at pick up anymore. People recognize me around town, stare and whisper. I am not the girl next door; I am the girl who knows too much. The girl like the moon in the day time, just a little out-of-place.

My heart continues to break in new ways multiple times a day as I sit with people in their pain. And I can’t think of any other thing I would rather do with my life.

My faith has grown exponentially, and control isn’t even in my vocabulary any more except to say it is an illusion. I know I will never be the girl next door and ordinary is out of the question. I think I am okay with that. I wasn’t sure before. Not only because I wanted to fit in; but also because this sadness and heartbreak; I wasn’t sure how much I could take.

In fact, last night a friend and I were talking about how our hearts break faster than they heal and it is all just too much. And how was that possible when at the exact same time we were filled with so much gratitude and love for everything in our lives.

But today, even in the midst of my heart feeling so broken; I thought of Lauren, Kristina, the cranes and the light and love they shine into this world.

I realized then that my heart wasn’t actually healing; it WAS healed AND broken – both at the same time and that is what love is; it is being both broken and healed at the same time.

It is about moving one step more even when we feel like we can’t breathe. It is having the courage to move beyond fear and trusting in faith. It is sitting with the wounded and feeling all the feels knowing that we can rise from that spot. Knowing that love exists in the darkest places and anything is possible. And not being afraid to offer hope and light even when we are hurting, too.

love is

I think love and pain coexist. We are all a little bit of both. And maybe, I am the ordinary girl and also entirely out-of-place different all at the same time. Broken and whole. Love and loss. Death and life wrapped in an extraordinary ordinary package. That is what Kristina showed me Lauren is; it is what so many of my clients are…and their strength in the midst of deep pain constantly leaves me in awe.

I can’t think of anything I want to be more. It’s how I met people like Lauren and learned about turning pain into hope. Sitting in pain with strangers has broken my heart open wide and opened my eyes to the impossible.

I hope to be a person who instead of freaking people out because I can see things they may not believe in; to one day, because I decided to shine my light, become a little bit of hope that we can be broken and healed at the same time; that being out-of-place is sometimes right were we need to be. And that just because I do what I do, doesn’t mean that God isn’t a part of it; that in fact, He is at the center of it. And maybe just maybe, it’s what he wanted all along. Because maybe, just maybe I am supposed to share this with you. So that you know you aren’t alone. So that you know you are extraordinarily ordinary exactly out of place just like you are supposed to be.

cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out

Until next time,

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Pep Talk Part 2

Pep Talk Part 2

So a few weeks ago I gave myself a pep talk, (you can read it here). It’s one of those posts that caused a lot of hullabaloo.

See when I write about my personal life, and it causes chaos I want to run and hide and scream and then never, ever write again. Ever. Never. Ever. Ever. Never. Like, breaking up Taylor Swift style.

But Holy Christmas Cookies, keeping my words in my head isn’t a place where they can live peacefully. I finally have to surface when I am done processing and get the words out again. They erupt like a fire hose.

What am I talking about?

The Pep Talk Post and the Pass the Praise Post caused drama in my life. Some people thought what I wrote had everything to do with them. But these posts were all ME, by ME, for ME, about ME. And even though I put them out in cyberspace to read; they weren’t about ANYONE else. Not even a little. And they meant no harm. They still mean no harm. Just like this post. It’s about me processing what happened to me.

I put them here to read for the pure and reasonable purpose of possibly reaching someone who feels like me. That’s all.

So there you have it, my thoughts can’t stay quiet. It is just not how I function. Period. Okay, maybe how I operate, EXCLAMATION POINT.

I need a place to let my thoughts wander free. I know I could do it quietly, but then I am not living out loud. And that is a promise I made to myself that I must keep. I NEED to live out loud. Yes, as always the capitals help. Immensely. They make everything feel better.

So, as I begin again in a post about me, I brace for controversy, I know I need to write out loud. Why? Because there is more growth happening here and this is where I put it.

And there you have it. Processed, dissected and now I cannot contain my voice any longer. And here is another post all about me. And yes, this makes me feel selfish and self-centered, but I don’t think I am alone in processing life events through writing. And at the end of the day; I do not believe I am selfish. Again, queue controversy because I am sure some people would disagree, but we can’t make everyone happy I learned that the hard way.

So onward I write…

I have been continuing to workout and semi meal plan since late August. It has not been easy. From my perspective, I am one of the biggest girls in the group with a lot of weight to lose. I know I got myself into this mess. Yes, I just wrote about choices and perspective and mythical unicorns; I know, I know, but this has been difficult. Not always challenging, maybe more tedious, but it wasn’t like whew-hoo so easy, I can do it without any effort!

Yes, there is a step by step meal and workout plan to follow. I do love that. It takes out any guesswork.

Yes, everything is laid out perfectly, and there is a group for accountability; all positive check marks.

Yes, the program is sound and coaches and trainer are on point. There could not be better people involved.

Yes, I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I really, really enjoy it. But it still isn’t always easy. Even with a supportive coach; I still slip a little here and there in the food department and have missed a handful of workouts, but I have kept at 30 minutes of exercise 4+ times a week.

I feel like here I can be honest in this safe place, it is like home for me here on this blog, and if I don’t keep it real, it won’t ever be. And despite my slips, I have kept at it. And that means it works and it is good. It can be good and hard at the same time. Kind of like life, right?

My adhering to the food plan and keeping up with the workouts can be the problematic part some days. And I would rather be honest about how tough that part is than sugar coat it. We often know the right thing to do and even have incredible help, but taking the steps and making the right choices seem difficult.

Almost died

And that is why I wanted to share with you. I wanted to share what keeps me going despite my struggles and my weight slowly coming off or even seeming to stabilize. Just in case you were in a similar spot yourself.

One, I want to have more energy. So working out is a must to achieve that.

Two, I want to be healthy. Again, diet and exercise are the answers here.

And lastly, I want to keep a promise to myself to put myself on the list. I need to take care of me, too. This is an excellent way to do that.

And in an effort to adhere to doing those 3 things I had to take a good look at diet and exercise in my life.

put yourself on the list

Choosing to do this was wearisome at first. I didn’t really want to jump up and work out. But I said I would, so I did. Each day did not get easier at first. But over the weeks it did; I got stronger, and it became a part of my routine. I expected it and missed it when it was a rest day. And then it started to get a bit tedious again, so I took a chance and said yes to an opportunity my coach put out to the group. So, I say spice it up if you start to get a bit bored. This program that I am currently on, has a similar meal plan (let’s not go there yet) but I lift weights in addition to cardio. I know?! Who knew I would ever lift weights?

The video trainer is fantastic. There are several videos about form, and it is always stressed in each session, so you really feel like you are comfortable with all the moves. I love learning how to do this. Sometimes I feel like a wuss, but again over time, I have been able to up my weight and stamina during the cardio sessions. There are still things that I have to modify, but I keep moving and keep trying, and I know now that I will get better at it at some point. And sometimes I have to modify what is being modified, but I keep moving and keep getting better. You have to count each small success; one more sit up; finishing something in a new way, stepping up something that was modified before even if for a few seconds. All the little things count.

Another tip I want to share is not to watch the scale. Now weighing yourself is essential, but your body might be changing even when your weight isn’t. I can see minor changes in my shape and the way my clothes fit even though the scale isn’t seeming to budge too much right now. Overall, I am only 8 pounds down, but I know that I will get stronger and better at the meal plan and that will change, too. Remember sometimes if you have a lot of weight to lose, it took a long time to get that way, so the weight loss isn’t going to happen overnight. It will take time. Be patient.

You need to offer yourself grace and ask yourself these questions when you start to put yourself down:

A) Can you do more than you did yesterday?

B) How do you feel?

I think the – how do you feel – question is super important.

When I answer this question, it is transformative. How do I feel? I actually feel better in my body when I work out, and I think I look better. It must have to do with endorphins and all that jazz, but it does make a difference.

Copy of Almost died

And most importantly, I made a promise to myself to take better care of me. If you have known me since 2012 you know, I got into the best shape of my life since high school when I started running. I could run 9 miles without stopping. A dear friend, who I will love forever, even said I began to have a thigh gap. God love her! In 2014, regardless of how much I was running, I started to gain weight again. I went to doctors for over a year, and nothing could be determined to be the cause. And nothing seemed to help. So I gave up completely. I was exhausted, too and so I just stopped taking of me. I dove into life and running a side business and my kids, and before I knew it I was really getting sick and feeling awful, and I was way over-weight. In 2016 I tried acupuncture to start things up again. It helped at first, but by early 2017 I had completely fallen apart physically. And that is when I made a promise to get healthy again.

I went back to doctors, and after multiple visits to different doctors, we determined that I did have some things that could be causing my exhaustion. I had surgery and started medication, and my energy started to come back. Hallelujah! Queue the choir of angels.

When I felt better, I decided to take a plunge and start this work out program that was all online, with a virtual coach and accountability group.

It started in August, and now in November, I have been lifting weights for 6 weeks. I still get discouraged. I am still frustrated with my weight from time to time. Food is always my downfall, but with logic, the meal plan and my knowledge, i.e., I think before I eat something and decide if it is worth it. Yes, I fall off track occasionally, but I am better than I was yesterday. And I wouldn’t give that up, not now and I hope not ever.

So my point, if you are wanting to start again, do it. You will be glad you did. If you are like me and feel like a rookie all over again – we will get there. Keep going, and if like me you get behind a bit, offer yourself grace and don’t stop – jump back in there. And if you are already a pro, then I am happy to hear how you got to where you are.

And just as importantly you can use your voice to express how you see the world. And even if you think you are doing so kindly; it will make people feel things. It might even piss them off. That is okay. You can’t control that. You can only control how you react. Try to stay calm and kind. But don’t stop speaking up.

Stay in the game, offer grace, and keep it up. You got this!

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On hostile unicorns and absolution

On hostile unicorns and absolution

A few weeks ago, my oldest son was explaining how he beat the hard mode in Terraria. For me, listening to how these games are played, even though I have watched them, is complicated, to say the least. Basically, Terraria is a game where you can dig, build, and fight. You work through different biomes and beat different bosses (the game’s language, not mine) to conquer the game. But don’t use my definition as a guide; I am just a mom and not a gamer after all. But for the purpose of this post, that is going to have to be good enough.

Anyway, he was telling me about defeating the hard mode and how it unlocks or spawns The Hallow. In this new biome, he can do more things and collect more goods. But the one part of his description that really struck me is when he told me to watch out for the unicorns. In The Hallow the unicorns are hostile.

That I can relate to.

I know, unicorns don’t exist. But it made me think of perfection, also a myth. It made me think of what we might all be continually searching for and seem never to find. And it seemed just a tad bit ironic that The Hallow (a sacred place) is where unicorns exist.

And I kept thinking about unicorns (perfection, every single day happiness, a place where everyone gets along, nirvana) and they are unattainable because they are not realistic.

Like how we can always be looking for just the right moment to try something new when we should just do that new thing right now. Or we think the grass is greener on the other side of the hill only to find out that there are the same weed patches and trouble keeping things green when we get there. Or wanting to make a new friend, but staying quiet and away from others. Wanting to be seen, but not having the courage to stand out.

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Elephantjournal is a must follow on Instagram if you are not already following.

I probably scroll through social media channels more than I should. I probably watch the news a lot less than I should. I see happy people in the midst of life and wonder if I am where I should be. I read things that get me thinking about life and if I am doing as much as I should. Living in a way that I should.

Worthiness just might be my unicorn. It seems so elusive to me and right when I think I finally have found a cozy little place where I feel like; I am finally comfortable with myself there is some little reminder that I am still hanging onto my unworthiness.

Like how reading posts from a favorite blogger that says if we aren’t doing something to stop prejudice, gun violence, homelessness, sex trafficking, abuse, literacy, refugees, etc. and fixing it then we are complacent. We are part of the problem. And it makes me feel less than because I am not a warrior; I am not ready to strap on armor and fight or debate others. I definitely am trying to help defeat these things, but is it enough?

I try to help with Holiday Cheer. I try to help by raising my babies to be the helpers. I run toward car accidents to hold the hands of strangers until help comes. I volunteer. I donate. I vote. I treat others how I want to be treated, and yet when I see the things happening in the world, I feel so much not enough-ness I can’t even speak. I feel so wrapped in privilege that the guilt washes over me in tidal waves and I can’t breathe or even move for a few minutes. The weight of the wrong in the world sometimes feels so much bigger than the good. And it probably doesn’t help that I was built with the ability to feel things so deeply and to be able to feel what others feel so completely. It is sometimes so hard to live that way.

One of my social media friends posted a blog that made my heart drop. She wrote about how she isn’t sure she believes in unconditional love anymore. What the hell? This person is the epitome of unconditional love. She is the actual living, breathing embodiment of unconditional love. I guess when you are that, it is hard to find it, and even harder to see it, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I think we forget to look in the mirror sometimes. I think we forget ourselves in the equation of things.

And I can be a bit churchy and preachy even though I don’t go to church. I read Tim Tebow and follow Christian Instagram accounts and listen to Christian music. By the way, how freaking ah-mazing is Lauren Daigle?! I have her album on shuffle and repeat. I get goosebumps on just about every song. Her lyrics stop me in my tracks.

However, the irony is not lost on me when it comes to the relationship between religion and the problems that it causes in the world sometimes. The problem it can cause in myself sometimes. But, I remind myself, it is the interpretation of humans that causes the problem; believing in Jesus and God isn’t harming anyone. Anyway…

The whole unicorns being hostile; I get it. The beauty and magic of this world, of the moments with each other, can be plagued by the ugliest parts of humanity. Or how nature can destroy a city on a whim – through a tornado, hurricane, or a volcano or disease or freak accidents can take away a person we love in an instant. And everything seems lost and cruel. Or how a moment of hate can seemingly steal away every kindness that has touched your heart. And unfortunately, sometimes in beauty lies ugliness; unicorns can be hostile. Perfection is a plague. Feeling more right than someone else and that need to be right is cancer. And your world can turn on a dime.

Acceptance, understanding, and the constant choice to see the best is the way to peace in our own hearts. When we do our best to help others and try to reach them despite our differences that is how we can find our own absolution. When we learn to look in the mirror and see ourselves as a friend would see us or how our children see us; then we can start to feel that worthiness. We just aren’t looking at things with the best perspective sometimes, or we forget to look in the right places to see the things that matter most of all.

Staying centered in this life is definitely a practice. I do not wake up and feel like I am whole, worthy and ready to conquer the world. Those feelings have to be cultivated, curated and rebuilt. I am not the kind of person that was born with confidence to spare. And in an environment that moves faster and faster on to the next best thing – what is bigger, brighter, better – I am constantly reeling to stay in my lane. The good news is that when you have faith, and you continually check in with the universe and God; He can remind you that you are divine. It is the simple things that you do every day that make the most significant difference. Be rooted in who you are. Treat others and yourself with respect and compassion. It is that simple. Let the unicorns be a myth, and then the attachment to it can no longer hold you hostage – you can be pleasantly content in your imperfectness. Let go of your need to be right and open up to understanding and empathy. Once we let go, become open, and offer grace, we find our own absolution, we love ourselves and each other, which is what we were really after all along.

Until next time,

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Snippets from Heaven – Part 5

Snippets from Heaven – Part 5

Sometimes the people we love most in the world leave it too soon in ways that leave us wondering if it could have been different. Whether it is an accident because of poor decisions, just an accident or an intentional act; loved ones here ponder alternative possibilities. Often, spirits with these types of circumstances surrounding their deaths will step forward and claim some responsibility for how they left this Earth when speaking to their loved ones through me.

To be the spokesperson for these souls is often gut-wrenching because these souls have some guilt for causing pain and their loved ones are also plagued with guilt and what ifs. Always these encounters are healing.

We have to remember God has unconditional, undying love for each of us – no matter what we do here. Now, don’t get ready to rob a bank or anything, we are most definitely judged by the choices we make here and have to remedy those in heaven, but God loves you. He loves us all. And God gladly welcomes all souls into heaven when we welcome him into our lives; even in the afterlife.

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I want to share a session with you today that includes a young spirit who stepped forward during that session and took responsibility for his death, even though it was an accident. This piece is a little different from the ones before it in the series because as I was writing it, the spirit who is the subject of this piece visited me and wanted some things added. So this piece is written by myself with a little help from a ghostwriter (pun intended).

It was a Sunday in late October when I met Robin and Steve. One of my long-time clients gifted them a session with me.

I had a drive on my hands to get to their home, so in addition to my nerves being jittery because I had to drive CA 152 a windy narrow road over the hills to Santa Cruz; I was nervous about the session. I always am. I am just as surprised as my clients are by how a session goes. But I get even more nervous when it is a gift; because I represent the person who gave the present as well.

In any event, I arrive at a quaint, artsy home, and am greeted by a delightful, cherry Robin and a reserved and somewhat skeptical Steve. But both are gracious, none the less, and warmly welcome me into their home.

As the session starts (and remember my memory is always a bit fuzzy on these) a young man steps forward. He is handsome and strong, and right away I like him. He seems familiar like I know him somehow. (In fact, I had met him at a prior session, but I don’t realize this until the end of the session when Robin helps put all the pieces of our visit together). His charm captivates his listeners, as well as, his fun-loving sense of humor. He quickly takes over the entire session and what he wants to say seems to fly out of my mouth with rapid speed.

He does speak about his death. It is something that weighs on his heart. He continues to explain that he didn’t always make good choices in life, but he knows he was a good person. And I can feel that about him. He apologizes to Robin and Steve for his passing. It wasn’t intentional, he says, but he stills feels like it is his fault. And he continues to thank Robin and Steve for caring for his dog and for loving him so deeply.

 

At this, they bring the dog inside the house, and this German Shepherd warms to me pretty quickly. I can sense that the dog is aware of Andrew’s presence. We become friends.

This young man starts back up again and tells Robin and Steve he is thrilled for the arrival of his new nephew and how excited he is for his brother. There is so much he has missed in person, but he wants them to know he has seen it all from his side of life. Then, he mentions he likes to send monarchs to visit and tell his family hello. His humor is felt throughout the session, and we laugh as much as we cry. At one point, I say that I wish I had a big brother like him and he responds by slapping me on the back and says, “You want a brother, sure I will be your brother.”

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The session goes over our scheduled time as they usually do when I have such a dynamic, electric spirit with tons of energy and loads to say. I learn through the session that the entertaining soul I am speaking with is Andrew, Robin and Steve’s son. It is never lost on me the depth of pain that bereaved parents experience. Nor is it lost on me that my journey into this profession started with a little boy who wanted me to speak to his parents and continues with so many children who visit me and ask me to speak to theirs. Andrew was no exception. He had shown up at an earlier session I had with the client who gifted Robin and Steve the reading with me. Andrew had messages for his mom then, and he found a way to get me to his parents directly that Sunday in October. Children who leave Earth too soon for our standards always find a way to reconnect with their grieving parents.

The takeaways from this session that Andrew wants to share with you are these:

  • We all make mistakes, and we are all forgiven. God loves us so much. Andrew wants each of you to know that.
  • Our loved ones in heaven consistently send messages. What I didn’t even know during this session was that Robin had already planted specific plants to attract butterflies to her yard. She didn’t even know if it would work. But here Andrew was telling her during this session that indeed he was sending her butterflies. She has been caring for caterpillars and watching them turn into butterflies this month; almost a year after our initial session. And of course, they are monarchs.
  • Spirit knows what is going on in your lives. They are alive and a part of our lives here, too. Death stops our bodies, but not our souls. So the nephew Andrew spoke about was just a tiny nugget and the sex of the infant wasn’t discovered until one month after my visit when Robin sent me the ultrasound photo with the message, “IT’S A BOY!” Something Andrew happened to already know during the session a month earlier. And again Andrew, proved this to his mom when several months later he spoke up at an event I had and thanked his mom for letting his dog roam around the house more often. She was shocked! Andrew knew all about the big and little things going on in their lives from his view in heaven.
  • Most importantly, Andrew says, love never dies. It grows and changes even after we have left our bodies. But it never dies.

Copy of Copy of Snippets from Heaven Part 5 figure 3Andrew is so special to me because he helps to heal his parents’ grief from heaven. He always lets Robin know he is near and still has his charismatic and playful attitude. And he may have adopted me for real because monarchs show up around me often. In Hawaii, we had several monarchs following us daily. One day five monarchs flew and circled us. I shared a bit about Andrew with my kids and said he was the one sending the butterflies to say hello. So any time we saw the butterflies in Hawaii this summer my kids would yell, “There’s Andrew, mom!” Here is a quick clip of three of seven butterflies that came and circled above us during our lunch one day.

Our loved ones may feel lost to us, but we are never lost to them. They use all of their energy to try to help us understand that. Thank you for allowing me to share Andrew with all of you. He hopes that what he has shared here will help others feel their heavenly loved ones and be able to connect to them more deeply. And a very special thank you to Robin for giving me permission to share my version of this story and her Andrew with all of you.

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God bless you all,

Michelle and Andrew

Pep Talk Please

Pep Talk Please

Maybe this diet is driving me crazy, or perhaps it’s the news that another precious baby is now in heaven because cancer took over her nine-year-old body, which by the way is beyond awful…beyond devastating…or maybe it’s because it’s a Friday and I feel like there are so many damn problems in the world I just can’t fix. Like I keep pouring into a well that just gets deeper.

Usually, a chai latte would do the trick, and that is whack because seriously what a privileged treat to have to calm my nerves when scared humans all over the world are fighting just to live, to have clean water and a safe place to lay their head. But I am whacked and the latte does the trick. However, this diet says no bueno to the latte. SO HERE WE ARE. GRUMPY CAPS AND ALL.

So here’s the deal, we can feel helpless even though we are helping. I know you are like me and doing your part here and there and everywhere you go. We are all just surviving on this ball circling the sun. We are all only human when it comes down to it; doing what we can, when we can, where we can. We are good. Some of us are wounded, and the good is harder to see, but it’s there underneath the scars and the shields we use to cover it up. So, since I felt like I needed a pep talk; I thought I would have it online in front of a bunch of people, and maybe you would read along and feel pepped, too. Yes, pepped. It’s a word. It isn’t turning red with my spellcheck and Grammarly thinks it’s acceptable, so you know what? I do, too.

you are awesome

If you are breathing, and moving one foot in front of the other, and doing the very best that you can, regardless of mood – YOU ARE AWESOME! KEEP IT UP! YOU GOT THIS! YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS!

YOU ARE ENOUGH

If you are breathing, and moving one foot in front of the other, and doing the very best that you can, regardless of how you feel about yourself – YOU ARE ENOUGH! YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH! YOU ARE PRICELESS! YOU ARE THE SHIT! GO GET IT!

YOU ROCK AS A PARENT

Parenting standards these days are really high. I mean have you seen how many Pinterest posts there are for crafty crap, bento fancy shmancy lunches, and 99 million ways to keep your kids entertained while building their self-esteem and making them all around amazing. Like too many damn pins, people. Don’t get me wrong, I like Pinterest, but I can’t handle the standards of what a parent is supposed to accomplish. So if you are sending your kid to school with food or money for food and they are dressed, and mostly clean, and mostly well-behaved – KUDOS! YOU ARE ROCKING THIS PARENT GIG. YOU NAILED IT! I mean high-five yourself right this minute. If you discipline your child, if your child fights with their siblings, if you have yelled at your child because they have driven you crazy – YOU ARE ROCKING IT AS A PARENT! YOU GOT THIS! If your child has said you are mean, strict, rude, they don’t like you, they want a new mom or dad. You know what? KIDS DON’T ALWAYS KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. KIDS DON’T GET TO TELL US WHAT TO DO. OR WHAT IS TRUTH. WE ARE THE ADULTS. YOU ARE ROCKING IT AS A PARENT. ENOUGH SAID.

YOU LOOK GREAT TODAY

If your diet says you can’t have chai lattes, and you have been following it for days and days, and you have only lost 1 or 2 pounds. And you are working out like you have never worked out in your life. And if you happen to yell, “You can suck it!” to the TV Fitness instructor because really, why are there so many push-ups? YOU LOOK GREAT JUST AS YOU ARE TODAY! KEEP IT UP! YOU CAN DO THE PUSH-UPS! YOU CAN MODIFY, AND YOU ARE STILL A FITNESS WARRIOR!

If you are wearing yoga pants and your hair is up in a messy bun. YOU ARE HOT! YOU ARE KILLING IT IN THE FASHION DEPARTMENT! ROCK THAT LOOK SISTER! OWN IT!

If you are one of the ones that made it and successfully dressed in your best outfit and have your hair and makeup just so. YOU LOOK GREAT TODAY! YOU ARE A GODDESS! * SIDE NOTE: REMEMBER TO TELL THE YOGA PANT MOM SHE IS A GODDESS, TOO!

If you got dressed today; YOU ARE THE QUEEN OF FASHION! YOU ARE NAILING LIFE!

WHATEVER YOU LOOK LIKE; HOWEVER YOU SHOW UP – YOU LOOK GREAT TODAY!

If you are feeling alone, invisible and left out…maybe your best friend hasn’t called you, or you don’t fit in with the other moms at pick up. I want you to remember; YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON, AND GOSH DARN IT, PEOPLE LIKE YOU.

That’s my pep talk people. I hope you feel pepped. I know I feel a little better. We got this. We are freaking, amazeballs at this life. It’s supposed to be hard, and we are supposed to mess up. That means we are doing it right. Congrats for showing up, for living, for putting one foot in front of the other and doing the best you can. YOU ROCK!

Go get it,

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Snippets from Heaven: Part 4

Snippets from Heaven: Part 4

On the first day of March in 2015, I met with Peter* (Names have been changed to protect the identity of my client). I know Peter’s sister, and she arranged the session for him. I knew some things about him beforehand, but none of that prepared me for what was to come in that session.

I had only been seeing clients for just under a year, and I was still shaky. I met Peter at his home, and as we started the session, I just kept trying to keep my nerves in check. Men tend to be more skeptical, and for some reason, I feel like I am under a magnifying glass of introspection in a session with someone skeptical. I am better now. In the beginning, it was beyond hard to deliver the messages with my unsteady voice and worried mind.

The session began, relatively flawless. Peter and I spoke with a soul from heaven who Peter knew through the war. Peter is a soldier. He had spent several years in the Middle East in combat. His translator, who had passed, came through to speak to Peter and offer him comfort. His translator’s objective was to try to ease any guilt, Peter might have had about his passing.

What happened next, shook me in a way I will never find the right words to explain. I froze. The soul that had entered the room resembled the statue that hung from a cross at St. Olaf’s where I went to church with my grandmother. I was terrified and awed all at the same time. How could this be, kept running through my mind as I tried to hold my composure.

Some sort of sacrilege must be occurring; was all I could think. How could I say I was seeing someone who looked and sounded like Jesus? How was that possible? Only priests have a direct connection to God, right? How was Jesus standing there? How could I tell Peter this is who wanted to speak to him? Starting with, “I know this sounds crazy, but…” seemed like a massive understatement. I still don’t remember how I initiated that introduction. I think I said, “I think this is Jesus that wants to speak to you. I know I already sound crazy because I say I can talk to ghosts and I am probably hallucinating, but I can’t explain who else this could be. He looks just like him.”

What surprised me the most is that Peter was open and willing to believe that Jesus was in the room with us. He told me to, “Go for it” and just tell him what this spirit had to say. I was seeing it and still in utter awe and disbelief.

The soul who looked like Jesus started to tell me what to say and out of sheer obedience to my faith I just spoke his words. He told Peter that Peter could go back to the front lines of the war if he really wanted, he would not be stopped. The spirit continued to say with such force I was afraid myself, that Peter’s life belonged to Him and that if Peter went back to the front lines that Peter was coming home and not in a box, but he would live and he would not be happy about his condition. This soul told Peter how vital his life here on Earth was, and that he had good work left to do. This spirit that resembled Jesus commiserated that life was hard and that trials are challenging, but that Peter was to stay here and do the work required of him. Jesus and God were the only ones who could determine when Peter joined them in heaven, no matter what Peter thought. I am sure I am summarizing this, but this is what I remember most.

It took me a second to regroup. Peter noticed and patiently waited.

“Did all that make sense?” I asked him. Still stuck in a surreal sense of denial.

“Yes,” Peter said, “I want to go back to fight, and I want to be on the front lines because I don’t think I can live like this any longer. It is so hard to be here.”

I was dumbfounded. What do you say at that moment? I am not even sure what I said or if the soul resembling Jesus spoke again. I know that Peter and I spoke a great deal and our session was more prolonged than per usual. I know I left hoping that, that soul and the messages shared had helped heal Peter’s heart somehow.

Believe me, I know this story is a leap. Who knows what will happen to me once this is in cyberspace. What I do know is this, the theme of this session and the story is supposed to be shared. Could I just make Jesus show up – no, that isn’t how this works. Do I claim to have a direct connection, no. I pray just like anyone else and hope my words move from my lips to God’s ears. I am not someone special, I just witnessed something miraculous. And that miracle is this; God is in us. God is with us. We belong to Him. No matter our trials or our defeats; whatever life hands us; He is there. Bearing witness; holding us and our pain and celebrating when we are victorious. We are never alone. We are never forsaken. And the story of our hearts and our prayers are always heard. And they are answered or unanswered for His divine purpose; which is for our best good, no matter what we believe.

And if I am keeping it real and sharing what else I think matters from this session, it is this:

Why wouldn’t Jesus show up? He died for our sins. He gave his life so that we could have eternal life. He loved children, the elderly, sick, destitute, and everyone in between. He wasn’t afraid to talk to anyone, even if society deemed them unfit somehow. In fact, I believe from what I have read in the Bible, and what I know of Jesus that those who were lost, wayward, cast out, forgotten, they were his favorite. The more human you were, the more he loved you and loved on you. Why wouldn’t he show up for each and every one of us? Why is it so hard for some of us to believe that he is right here with us? Peter didn’t have a single problem accepting Jesus was in that room. Not for a minute. And after years of thinking back on this moment; I can’t see why he wouldn’t have shown up for Peter. I don’t believe that Jesus would ever turn his back on anyone. He loved even the one person who betrayed him.

So I think what we need to remember is how much we are loved. How much God and Jesus or whatever deity you pray to is watching over each of us. Loving us and guiding us. We are all connected to one another and to the greater good. So whether you believe this or not; isn’t the purpose. What I hope you walk away from when you read this is that you are worthy. Jesus would show up for you in a heartbeat, without a second thought. He doesn’t need you to believe he would. He just shows up.

I am afraid to put this story out there, have been hesitant to tell it for years. And you know what? Jesus was frightened when he was here, but he did what was right anyway. He did what he was asked anyway. It isn’t up to me to keep this to myself and not share it with the world where it might do someone else some good. I can handle scorn, disbelief, sideways glances, and even those that pray for my soul thinking that my sharing this puts me in harm’s way. God loves me. Jesus thinks I am pretty awesome. And in the end, that is what matters to me above all else.

I hope you know how much you are loved by this universe. How precious and perfect you are. How everything came together over millions of years to create precisely you. That you and just being you is your sole purpose on this planet. There is no one else like you. That is all you have to be. And it is more than enough.

Until next time,

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Snippets from Heaven: Part 3

Snippets from Heaven: Part 3

“Maybe we can disarm the fear, stress, and anxiety of what dying represents.”

 -Juan Castaño

When I was twelve, I woke up in the middle of the night to find a Native American Man perched on the floor of my room. His deep brown eyes peered straight to my soul. His wrinkled face was stoic and still. The two gray, silver braids on each side of his head stretched all the way to the floor. He held a deerskin drum between his feet and began to speak in a language I didn’t recognize.

I looked past him to my mirrored closet doors, and instead of a human reflection, all I saw was a ball of light shining there. It looked like a star. Light shone out of this ball in four different directions giving it a diamond-shaped appearance.

Even though this wasn’t the first time I had seen a spirit in my room in the middle of the night; I closed my eyes counted to three and repeated, “I am not crazy” three times.

When I opened my eyes, he was still there. I wish I could say I dared to listen, but like any other twelve-year-old girl, I just wanted to fit in and be “normal.” No one else I knew experienced things this way. He kept speaking, and I continued to refuse to listen. I squeezed my eyes shut again and begged God for sleep. “Please God, please take this man away and let me sleep.” I knew without opening my eyes that the man was receding back into heaven because his voice was slipping away into the stillness of the night.

Because this was common, I fell back asleep shortly after. However, my praying that night didn’t stop the messages the chief would keep trying to send.

One afternoon, not too many weeks later, my mom ran a quick errand with my sisters, and I stayed back to finish homework. As I sat on the couch working on my assignment, I began to hear a commotion in the street. Hollers of men and horses hooves moved closer and closer to my house with a fury of speed. I peeked out the blinds to see a fight going on around me. Arrows whizzed past my window. I sunk back into my couch. “None of this is real,” I said aloud to myself. And in response, the spirit world flexed its muscles to show just how real it is. The walls of my house seemed to fade away, and there I was sitting on my couch in the middle of a valley – no longer did buildings and homes dot its landscape. Instead they had been replaced with open spaces and an occasional mighty oak tree.

Native American men (most likely members of the Amah Mutsun tribe) were trying to push back some rancheros. The Amah Mutsun men were fiercely protecting one man in particular. I had seen this man before. His deep brown eyes pierced my soul, his gray silver braids hung long at his sides, and his wrinkled, stoic face showed defiance and deep sorrow as if he could already see the future that would befall his people.

I buried my head in my hands and closed my eyes and asked again to be free of these images. I wasn’t scared. I was rarely frightened when these things happened. I was ashamed. I did not want to be different. Why did I keep seeing these things I could tell no one about? What difference could I make knowing these things? This cheif…his final resting place not far from my home…how did knowing that make a difference? And who would believe me if I tried to share this knowledge?

“I am sorry,” I said aloud to the chief, “I don’t know what to do.”

The chief continued to visit me on and off, but if he ever spoke again, I never heard it.

I often wondered what would have happened if I had been brave enough to listen, brave enough to be different and open. The next time I vowed to listen more carefully. I promised to share the spirit’s story.

I didn’t have to wait long, as was usually the case. A few months later right before my thirteenth birthday, a young girl came to visit and told me all about what it felt like to die young and how she died. I typed down every word I heard and then sent it off to a local college publication; passing it off as a fictional story I wrote. Be kind, I was a kid and still couldn’t figure out how to tell people what really happened, but this was progress. I was sharing her story with others.

Unfortunately, it was rejected. And again I wondered why? Why was this all happening?What good is seeing and knowing when no one will listen?

These types of events happened again and again throughout my life. It was only recently that I began to finally understand the purpose; to finally understand what spirit had wanted me to know all along.

About a year ago, I was in a session, and I thought, “Oh no, here we go again.” I was worried to relay what I was seeing to the two women who had come to visit me that day. Yes, dear reader, even I understand how far-fetched this all sounds, despite the fact I live it.

What was appearing to me slowly were two old shoes. Ancient shoes. As I started to get a clearer image of this man, who introduced himself as Edward, I noticed he was wearing short baggy pants with knee-high socks and a stiff white shirt that had a sort of frill around the wrist. He told me he was from 1620. And the word, “Mayflower” kept crossing my mind and I saw a ship. I literally thought to myself, there is no way I can tell these two women what I am seeing. But as I always say now, I am obligated to share the things spirit relays to me in a session. So, I prefaced my telling them, with “This may sound crazy, but…”

To my surprise, the two women had just finished a branch of their family tree and had been researching their ancestry for months. What they had recently found, was in fact, Edward. A distant relative who was in fact on the manifest of the Mayflower itself. We were all elated. I could not believe I was speaking with a soul who was hundreds of years old. We were all a bit giddy and teary-eyed. They were so excited that the work that they had done had led Edward to our session. He thanked them for connecting him to their family tree. He was happy to be found and spoke about how his values and his pride in his family still carried many of those values today.

It was after that session that I started to put together another piece of the spirit puzzle, See our loved ones in spirit, our ancestors, we are all tied together, and they want to be remembered. Giving our loved ones a place in the present gives them strength.

I don’t know if you have seen the movie Coco, but it details how we need to remember spirit to help them to continue to exist and be able to visit us here on Earth. It showcases this through the tradition known as El Día de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead.” (To learn a little more about this tradition click here.)

What spirit has been teaching me all this time is how important it is that we remember them. They gain strength and can feel our positive remembering energy even in Heaven. When we make a place for our loved ones in spirit, here in the present, we are helping them to thrive in Heaven. We offer them an invitation into our lives and enrich their Heavenly experience. We all need one another, they need us here, and we need them there. The connection between us does not die. Our history, our ancestors are alive within our souls. We are connected to them and breathe new life into their souls when we remember.

Maybe if we start to remove spirit and death from the shadows and corners of our life here on Earth, perhaps it can begin to enrich our experience here, too. Maybe we can remove the fear. Maybe we can see death as the transition it truly is for our soul; a way onto another life. A life without a body, time or space, just a life connected to all other life. Our loved ones in spirit regardless of how old, are not lost to us; they live within us and around us.

Love and light, until next time,

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Snippets from Heaven: Part 2

Snippets from Heaven: Part 2

On a Monday evening in July, I was making my second call of the day for a phone appointment. I never know what to expect in any session. As per usual, I only knew Michele’s name and nothing more. She had contacted me via email and given me just the details that she would like an hour session and phone was fine with her.

She had patiently waited a month to speak with me. During the session, we were able to connect with her father.

If you don’t know already, dear reader, I remember little about each appointment.

I know I enjoyed speaking with her dad and was in awe of his ability to connect so clearly with her as he had only been in heaven a short time. His messages were filled with love for his daughter, and he expressed a great deal of joy. I recall liking him and connecting with him in a way I would a new friend. I loved the comfort and peace that rested so firmly in his soul. But even more, I enjoyed his humor and that he couldn’t pass up an opportunity to give me a hard time.

As the session ended, Michele’s dad said,  “Thank you for calling me.” I relayed this message and I then thanked Michele, as well. And Michele said, “I think he is talking to both of us.” I was a bit confused and didn’t have to wait long for Michele to clarify.

She said that she and her dad shared a love of all things spiritual and had always wanted to go see a medium together. They didn’t know who they wanted to see and about a month before Michele’s dad passed away, he called her. During the call, he said he had just spoken to a friend and had found their medium. He told her to write down the contact information. Michele was excited and wanted to know when they were going to make an appointment to see this medium together. He told her that she should go see the medium first, by herself. She was confused about why they couldn’t go together. She shrugged it off. But when her dad passed a month later, it all became clear. She felt that he had found the medium that he, himself wanted to communicate through.

Then Michele said words that blew my mind, “The medium he found was you.” And I heard her wave a paper in her hand. Then as I expressed disbelief, she messaged me the below picture.

By the way, I may have asked for proof – I know I am totally the skeptic, and it is entirely ironic please remember my post on offering compassion before passing judgment; I am a human after all. 

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Shared with consent from Michele

But there it was. Michele shared with me that her father and chosen me to speak through. I am still in total awe.

Not only is it remarkable to me that he picked me himself before he passed, but it also came at such a perfect time. As messages from spirit tend to do.

As you all know, I struggle with faith and how I fit into that picture often. (If you are new, dear reader, now you know and if you are an old friend, dear reader, you, of course, understood that already.) I love God, I knew God before I understood how to explain Him. And yet, I am some sort of abomination to those whose faith has them cling to literal interpretations. I have made my peace with God because it is only His opinion that matters. Only He knows my heart inside and out. Only He knows my soul with complete clarity. And He is my creator; so He knows I was made just this way with purpose and intent. Anyway, it still stings when I get messages about how people are praying for my soul and that they hope I don’t go to hell for what I do. And it still stings to be made fun of and reprimanded that I do this for personal gain. But I don’t think I would be human if it didn’t hurt.

Regardless, I had once again been thinking about my sessions and was wondering with a heavy heart if I was on the right path; if I was making a difference. And this reading happened. Literally not an hour after I had pondered those thoughts with a heavy heart. Here was spirit saying not only did they want to communicate with me; but I was being selected by them explicitly. My heart still bursts with honor and love. I can’t even imagine; out of all the souls that they could choose; they will pick me. And this beautiful reminder; helped me to remember just to keep going forward, helping one person at a time; doing the best I can right where I am and that, no matter what anyone else says; that alone is enough.

What else struck me about this was, Michele continued to connect the dots between spirit and how they chose to communicate. She sent me the following message (*names have been changed to protect their identity):

“Not sure if you remember Monica* – she came in a few weeks back, with her mom on the phone. She’s my girlfriend who’s father passed 10 days after mine,… My dad brought them into your life as well. When you said your 2 friends told 2 friends, I thought about how my dad’s friend told him, he told me & I told Monica*,… It’s amazing to step back and think about how life works and how we are all connected to each other.”

I think we forget how connected we are to each other. I think we forget that underneath our skin and bones is a soul, and that soul is intertwined with the other souls here on Earth deeply and profoundly. I think when we remember this; we remember to treat others with grace, and compassion, I believe when we remember this hate evaporates and only love can remain. We know each other at a soul level in a way our brains can only just begin to comprehend. And our souls are speaking to one another. And all the while our loved ones in Heaven are guiding us and working with one another to make sure we are loved and protected from Heaven, too.

I will close this with the same words I used when I messaged Michele back:

“We can tear up together. You are not alone. I am thanking him; over and over. He thinks it is appropriate, too. He absolutely thinks he deserves all the credit. The grin on his face is priceless!”

Hopefully, you will remember joy, love, and light are ever-present around you. Your loved ones are not lost; they are alive and well, thriving in Heaven finding ways to continue to be a part of your daily lives; holding you close and dear as ever. You are not alone.

Love and light, until next time,

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Snippets from Heaven (Part 1)

Snippets from Heaven (Part 1)

I wanted to share with you some snippets from heaven. Since I have changed my line of work, I have noticed an increase in the number of miracles that I witness. One of these miracles is the resilience of the human spirit.

If you have watched the news at all last week, you have seen the story of the orca whale that has carried her dead calf for days. (If you haven’t read the story you can click here to read it). This story hit my heart like a target.

My journey with mediumship began because a little boy in spirit named Matthew; wanted me to help him connect to his family. So the first people I ever met were bereaved parents. I still cannot imagine what that kind of grief feels like, but this mama orca carrying her 400 pound baby day after day, a baby she grew in her womb for 17 months and was only able to see alive for half an hour; I think this captures visually the kind of grief a bereaved parent experiences.

Over the past five years, a good majority of my clients have been bereaved parents. To watch these parents live with the loss of their children is devastating and yet at the same time inspirational. These parents carry such intense grief, that grows and changes, that consumes and envelopes, and yet they grow and change around the pain they carry with them. They turn it into power and create change or bring about more goodness in the lives of others. Never will I be able to capture into words what this looks like. The statue below (shared at totallybuffalo.com) says what that this grief feels like better than my words ever could.

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Click here to be taken to the original source

Which is why I want to share some stories with you. This piece will be the first of several to follow. I can’t promise they will be in order – I may be moved to post other blogs in between, but there will be more of these.

These stories have allowed me to have a greater understanding of the communication from heaven. I want you to have that experience, too. I think we can all understand that there is a soul inside each of us that lives beyond our bodies; and that maybe, just maybe it is our soul that allows us to grow around our grief. It is our soul and its connection to the souls in heaven that help us here to cope with our loss and find a new way to survive.

Delia and David

I met Delia on a Tuesday in June. She came to my office for a session and like most people I meet; I didn’t know her last name, where she was from, who referred her or why she was there. And in like fashion, I rarely remember details of a session, but Delia and I spoke for a while, person to person, after the meeting, and she shared with me how some of the things her son, David had relayed through me, made sense to her.

These moments with clients are such a gift to me. I love to hear how the messages that I help translate are connected to real life events here on Earth. Plus I enjoy hearing about the lives that each of the spirits that speak to me, lived.

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David Surfing – shared with consent from Delia

Delia shared stories with me about David. His love of surfing, his son, and just how he was an all around great person. One of the things David conveyed to her through me, was that he left her signs with wings. He sent her these wings so she would always know when he was near and how much he loved her. I didn’t understand how he could make angel wings appear from up above, but he insisted that was what he was doing from heaven.

After the session, Delia explained to me that she saw angel wings in the sky all the time. Delia told me that “in [her] living room a Tiffany lamp over 30 years shines Angel wings on the ceiling [only] when turned on 6 months after [David] passed.” She feels these wings let her know that David continues to love her from heaven.

Below are pictures she shared with me so that you could also see the angel wings David sends his mom from heaven (the below photos were sent to me from Delia and shared with her consent):


I loved hearing these stories and knowing that what David shared through me on that Tuesday in June had brought Delia some comfort.

I want to share a little bit about Delia, too. She is a mom and grandmother. She has two children in addition to David. She is active in her grandchildren’s lives, and she is the most joyful person you could meet. You would never know her story by looking at her. She is patient, a great friend, and always ready and willing to help others in need; no matter how much her own heart is hurting. She helps to let David’s son continue to know his dad. She wants to insure that his son always knows and feels his father’s love for him.

Over the next few weeks, I thought about Delia and her son David a great deal because his death was so tragic and the connection between mother and son was so powerful; I was in awe of Delia’s strength and David’s ability to connect with his mom.

Then, through July, I started to see my own images of angel wings in the sky. Unfortunately, mostly when I was driving so, I couldn’t capture them. But I finally was able to take a picture of one such experience (shown below). I hadn’t seen Delia’s photos yet, but I remembered the wings and wanted to share with her that I was hearing from David, too. Spirit loves to be included in the present day world; not just remembered in the past. It always feels so important to me to let these parents know that their children in heaven still have an active impact on the world today and change my life in such significant ways.

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The day this photo was taken, I had a client come to visit who happened to be a friend of Delia’s. Which of course, is also how spirit works, connecting all the dots and making sure their message is hitting  home.

I shared with Delia’s friend that I had been seeing the angel wings for several weeks and that I would call up to heaven, “Hi, David” each time. Delia’s friend shared with me how the session that I had with Delia had helped her to heal in new ways and that there had been a noticeable difference in her. David’s connection and the things he shared with her had given her peace. He found a way to mend Delia’s heart just a bit so that she could grow around her grief a little more.

As I thought about that, I realized that this was David reaching out to me to say thank you for being a small part of that. And in full circle, I reached out to Delia later that day to share my photo; to which she shared her photos with me and now she is letting me share David with you.

I am sharing this with you because I want you to know like I do, that spirit can do anything, and God wants us to feel their love. I always say, how could Heaven really be an exceptional place if we were cut off from our loved ones here.

Of course, there are ways spirit can communicate and reach us. Of course, God wants that for us. He sent his only son to Earth out of his love for us. God can understand the kind of grief that bereaved parents feel. He holds that grief close to His own heart. He will always find ways for spirit to reach and heal us here on Earth. David and Delia are an example of this kind of love in motion. That our transition to the other side cannot severe love – that love is something that can cross through the veil between heaven and earth.

Love and light, until next time,

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Pass the praise

Pass the praise

This weekend I had the opportunity for an all-girls overnight. A couple of moms and I took our daughters to the Niall Horan concert. It was refreshing. My daughter was in heaven with all the make-up and hair curling. She was excited to be around all that feminine energy. I was, too.

We had a marvelous time. It was enchanting to witness moms dancing and singing with their daughters. The smiling, the laughing. Empowering to feel the connection with others. And to top it all off, it was a magnificent night. Dazzling.

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What complicated things for me was the amount of judgment that I took in. I heard and saw women (both young and old) one-upping, dissing anything from clothes to dance moves, and condemning the behavior of others.

This is so normal. And it is so wretched.

In my heart, I believe one of the biggest things keeping women down is each other. We are truly capable of amazing, brilliant accomplishments. Yet, we stomp on each other until our fire goes out; until the spark that makes us unique is covered up and hidden so that it can’t be chastised by others.

In a group of women, I am quiet. I am so reserved and hidden. There are a few groups where I feel like I can entirely be me. And often even then I wonder what is said about me between them when I am not present. And this has everything to do with past experience. Ugh.

More than twenty years ago, I decided that I wanted to change the behavior I witnessed between women; the critical judgment of appearance as we look one another up and down when we first set eyes on one another. Not necessary. The ease of passing a snarky comment about how another girl is dressed or behaving. Instead of prepping for disdain when I looked at or spoke to a woman, I always wanted to have a compliment ready. I wanted to build my sisters up because I felt so beaten down. I was exhausted, and I wasn’t even 20 yet.

I still have a friend that teases me about how we met. I saw her leaving class; we had History 17A&B together in college. She was magnetic even then. People were drawn to her. She was always in a group in and out of class. But even the best of us have bad days. We were leaving class one afternoon, and she looked so sad. She was alone, and her movements seemed heavy and deliberate. Every fiber of my being wanted to cheer her up. The compliment I had ready spilled from my mouth. “I really love your hair!” I said as I jogged to catch her. I don’t even remember her exact words, but I remember the smile. I remember the change in her step after I said it. She always tells people I was hitting on her; that’s her story of how we met.

But, why can’t we offer praise instead of judgment? Why does judgment so easily trickle off our tongues? Why does criticism slide so effortlessly from our lips?

Compassion

When I was little my mom used to play this game with us. We would be sitting on the beach and be bored or eating in a restaurant and get restless, and she would pick people out and ask us to tell her their story. What made them happy? What made them sad? What were they doing there? Why? How did they get there? What was their family like? Where did they live? She would ask us how we got to a specific conclusion and would even offer alternatives if we had missed something or not taken some other reason into consideration.

There are so many times in my interaction with people I try to figure out their story. This game my mom had us play became something that helped me to work and always find a way to better understand what people might be feeling or needing from experience.

When I see a mom with a child who is misbehaving; I don’t pass judgment on her parenting – I offer her praise for how well she is coping at that moment; because – and this is IMPORTANT (yes, I am using preachy capital letters at you) what happened around that moment – I don’t know; and you don’t either. But I can imagine. I am a mom of four and have carried screaming children out of stores, I was also a kid, and there are several stories of my epic fits. I empathize with that poor mom the way I would with my own mother. The way I would want someone to sympathize with me. We don’t know the backdrop of what caused a particular moment to become a reality; we only have that one snippet. One small piece of someone else’s life and it isn’t ours to judge.

Granted, I am not saying that we give everyone a pass. What I am saying is trying to understand before you pass judgment on another human should be a more common practice. Or maybe just merely understand. And then perhaps just as simple, offer compassion instead.

And more importantly; we can’t help someone we are rooting against. If we are rooting against them, we want them to fail. If we are rooting against them, then we are placing that negative energy on another and giving more negative energy life. We can only help; when we are rooting for; when we are the cheerleaders of others. So we have to offer compassion in the place of our judgment to help others heal and find another way. And maybe we should put the “us and them” language aside, too. Perhaps if we are rooting for one another, we are rooting for everyone all at once. And maybe that makes this world more livable, too.

Believe me, I am not void of passing judgment. And boy oh boy can I hold a grudge. But I remind myself that I need to release myself from the guilt of passing judgment and that I can do better next time. So, I get ready to have a compliment on hand and give that instead of judgment. I work hard not to partake in the negative talk that happens around me. That doesn’t mean I haven’t caught myself doing it, but I work to remove myself from these situations.

How you may ask? I work tirelessly to lift up others instead.

Seriously, you will find me in the grocery store, at Target, at an event, giving compliments to complete strangers. And I mean every word. It is essential to speak the truth in your compliments, too. You have to believe it. People see through bullshit compliments pretty easily. Just saying.

It is essential to speak the truth in your compliments, too. You have to believe it. People see through bullshit compliments pretty easily.

It is so worth the work! To see a smile and a difference in the step of another human because you helped to remind them of their strengths, is beyond powerful. It is like witnessing love in motion. It is spell-binding. Try it. I know it will make you both feel better. And then if you have a daughter or son, teach them this little trick, too. What a world we could live in if we all exchanged praise instead of judgment. We are going to slip up, we are human, we are built to make mistakes, but if we speak with compassion more often than judgment we are better off all the way around.

Peace and love,

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Spirit and Symbols: What You Should Know

Spirit and Symbols: What You Should Know

For many of us, it can be hard to believe that someone who has passed can communicate with us here on Earth. We shrug things off as a coincidence or find some other reasonable explanation. But what if?

What if your loved one is trying to reach you? What if that feeling you get every time you see a dragonfly, you just have this knowing feeling your mom is near? And to top that off, what if you see two together; one green, one blue each and every time? Is that just a random coincidence?

If we let go of the what if and just believe, then when we see these things we can give gratitude to our loved ones. We can embrace the comfort it brings into our lives. We can let go of the what if and stop feeling lost and alone. Heaven wouldn’t be heaven if our loved ones lost the ability to interact with us on some level. They love us. They miss us. They want to be a part of our lives. Heaven isn’t a disconnect; it is just a veil that they are allowed to bridge from time to time to help guide us through our pain and grief.

Sometimes signs don’t always make sense, but we see the same thing repeated again and again. It is worth taking notice and examining these signs as something more. Don’t get me wrong; my husband used to tell me I was over thinking it. But, he doesn’t say that anymore. When we start to embrace these signs, they happen more frequently and with more clarity than ever before.

For example, I recently started seeing a single crow everywhere. I figured someone was trying to tell me something. Now, I thought crows were a sign of death and was a bit spooked. Okay, a bit more than spooked; I may have thought I was dying for an entire day. Then I might have gone into denial. But that is beside the point. I decided to see what I could find. Sure enough, seeing a crow can mean many things, but the things that resonated the most with me were that observing a crow implies someone who has departed is nearby and also that if you can communicate with spirit you should do so.

When you look into the spiritual meanings of the things you are seeing, you are going to find there is a correlation between what you are seeing and someone who has passed and that the meaning can be attributed to you and your life.

Spirit uses any and every way that they can to communicate. For example, today I saw a feather on the ground that was sticking up in the grass, and the top was bent toward me. It looked like this feather was waving at me. I felt like my loved ones were saying hi. So I said hi; thanked them for being with me and went on my way.

And sometimes you will get the answers you were seeking. For instance, I was walking one day and I just was really praying that Jesus was always with me; guiding me to what is right and just in my life. And guess what? This was on the next street post I passed. It is not a picture of Jesus but there is a strong resemblance…

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Bottom line; spirit sometimes provides answers with the signs they give us.

What do you need to do to let go of the what if and embrace these signs? It isn’t too hard.

Be observant – first and foremost pay attention. Guides, Guardian Angels, and our Spirit Loved Ones are trying to communicate with us all the time. It could be as simple as hearing the dog collar jingle even though your pet has crossed over. Or as loud and clear as hearing someone say your name or tap you on the back. Or anything like the above mentioned examples. Signs can be anything and everything. Just make sure you are open to what is offered out to you each day.
Acknowledge the sign – second and just as important, make sure if you see a sign you acknowledge it. You don’t have to say anything out loud. Spirit can hear your thoughts to them. They can feel them. So just say your thank you or your hello, and that is enough. Spirit can use our positive affirmations (energy) to send us more signs. They can use this energy instead of their own, and that can increase the frequency of the signs they are sending.
Check for meaning – next, if you aren’t sure about a sign, but you feel something is a sign, Google is your friend. You can look up spiritual meanings of signs for just about anything. I don’t have a secret sauce to the best method, but I just use Google and input my search and then use my gut or intuition to guide me to the link to click on that will give me my best match in meaning. It usually works. Sometimes I have to click on more than one link, but not very often. The more you do this, the better you get at it.
Keep a symbol or sign journal – last but not least; you can keep a journal of all the things you have noticed or the signs you have received and their meanings. Sometimes you will notice a pattern or even develop your system of assigning meaning. Signs don’t always mean the same thing for everyone, and you might need a more personalized definition. A journal is an excellent way to keep track of the messages you receive and their meanings. It will help you become more skilled at understanding everyday spirit communication in your own life.
When you open yourself up to the universe and what it has to offer, you won’t be disappointed. Your what ifs start to lessen and your faith begins to deepen in a way you didn’t expect.

I know that my relationship with God has deepened and expanded in ways I never thought possible. In my day-to-day life, I experience so much reassurance in the form of signs, messages and just in my steadfast faith in something greater than me that I cannot even put into words the difference it makes.

Signs are everywhere; every day. Keep your heart and eyes open, and hopefully, you will see the messages meant just for you.

Many blessings,

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