Mean 

Fridays are usually my kids favorite days. No homework means straight up fun all afternoon. After the first full week of school I thought my kids would be stoked that Friday afternoon had finally arrived.
All seemed good in the car. Of course my momdar (mom + radar) should have gone off when my daughter asked, “Do you like my outfit?” five minutes into our car ride home.

By the time we arrived home and kids piled out of the car, tears were streaming down her face. “What happened?” I asked; still not putting two and two together.

After a long hug and a few sobs she tells me that a girl said to her, “What are you wearing? Seriously, if you had just changed the bottom of that outfit maybe it would have been okay.” 

Fury. White-hot anger. Pain. Hurt. All this washes over me for her. As that simmers to a calm, I try to clean away this comment that will forever leave a stain. Nothing I say can completely erode the hurt from her heart. I know from experience. Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” was a full-fledged dreamer and a stone cold liar.

We talk about responses for next time because apparently this girl thinks everyone needs to hear her opinion no matter what it is. My girl is finally calm and she decides to change her clothes. And even though we move past that hurtful moment, it sits with me still when my eyes pop open at 6 AM Saturday morning.

Kids say hurtful things. Adults say hurtful things. 

I feel that I am doing my part for humanity to teach my children that if something isn’t helpful, kind, or necessary that maybe that little piece of information is better left unsaid. We talk about the Golden Rule at least 10 times a day. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – or in our speak – treat others how you want to be treated.

But…will mean ever never stop?

Hurt people; hurt people. People who feel low and little feel the path to rise up is through stealing someone else’s power. 

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This quote is embroidered into my soul. 

Children learn to speak by listening to those around them. I hear the words I say spill from my children’s lips.

I have heard people say that parents cannot be blamed for how their children behave. I have heard moms excuse away mean behavior with “kid will be kids”.

If we don’t teach them, if we don’t take responsibility for who they become then who will? What will ever change?

I know what occurred Friday isn’t the first or last time that something like this will happen. Heck, I am an adult and I still face these challenges and comments from other adults! What hurts my heart more deeply is that this happens to all of us. That our world still has people in it that find excuses for hate – they hide behind religion, race, history or whatever excuse they can find to eradicate the simple fact that each of us alone is responsible for what we bring to the table. It comes down to the individual and if you can hurl a hate-filled slur at another human it has nothing to do with anything but your own bad behavior. There is no excuse you can hide behind. Your poor choices and actions stand alone. No circumstance, no religion, no difference, nothing defends that action. You hurt another human. That is all. 

We need to teach our children that simple fact. We are the same. Despite our exterior and cultural differences, we are the same. We all have a heart. We all want love. We all need the human basics – water, food, etc. Treat one another with respect. Do not hurt another person. It should just be that simple. 

Until next time,

Michelle

140 days

In 140 days I will turn 40. Maybe because it marks another decade it has me in knots. Turning  10 was a big deal. I can remember fifth grade in detail. I was excited for junior high and looking forward to being more grown up. My 20s had 40 years of hope before me. I couldn’t see the finish line at all. The crest of the hill was all that was ahead of me and the anticipation of what was at the top of that was exhilarating. I still was itching with the thrill of making the world a better place. If idealism was electric; I probably could have powered a small city. I was ready to stop making everyone happy. My 20’s were going to be spent doing the things that made me happy. I was going to be a teacher and inspire change daily. 

At the end of my 20’s marriage and babies came. I spent the beginning of that decade wanting to make a difference, wanting to follow my own dreams and I would end that decade feeling like I had lost all that ground.

My kids were my purpose in my 30’s. Knowing I was going to give birth to 4 beings whose light was so much greater than mine, who the Earth needed so much more than me kept my own life secondary. Everything was for them, the job I chose, where we moved, getting pets, driving myself out of my shell so they could have a better example. My 30’s felt like a decade of compromise and concession. There was exponentional growth that occurred here which was odd because it is also the decade where I took the worst physical care of myself.

Now with a decade of placating and concession behind me I see 40 ahead to the end. To the light at the finish and it has me slowing down, grasping at stillness. My past following close behind like confederate statues, constantly reminding me of my transgressions. 

Yesterday, I took a walk and turning 40 kept haunting my thoughts. The thoughts I wrote above came to me then. And I spent the rest of the day working, parenting, driving kids here and there, back to school nighting and as I was headed to a board meeting I was filled with so much angst about getting older. I was in a major funk. I prayed for guidance and clarity. 

Driving down the road, I notice the two cars ahead of me. One is stopped and the other is turning around and as that second car u turns I see the accident. I pull over and jump out of my car. There are other helpers. Establishing that someone has called 911; I look to the bodies on the ground. “What can I do?” I ask the woman standing with one of the injured. She hesitantly sends me to a young man in the middle of the street, next to the broken car. He is so angry and I know trying to keep him still is going to be a chore. I keep talking to him. A woman who says she is a nurse comes running up, but barely inspects him and moves on. I keep talking with him and in what seems like decades, he finally calms and reaches out his hand. “Hold it.” He says.

I take his hand and he grabs mine fiercely; squeezing it in pulses which must match the pain criss-crossing his body. I let him know I won’t leave him until the paramedic gets to him. We sit like that as the amazing teams of first responders work like angels in the glow of headlights. I finally have to let go so the medic can assist him. 

When I am cleared by the officers, I am shaken and the tears start to fall. We never stop making a difference. There is no age limit on when life starts or stops. Our heartbeats are in each and every minute no matter what is ahead of us. We can choose to u turn away and go a different path or we can find our way through the wreckage, hold a hand and see life in all it’s angst and beauty. See how that all blends together to enrich our lives in ways we can’t imagine.

No matter what lies ahead of me, an age, an accident, a hand to hold I want to carve substance into my existence every day of my life and stop thinking there is some sort of marker that defines that. We can make a difference in each moment regardless of what decade it is. After last night, I have no doubt that I will always walk into the wreckage and hold the hand of the person in need. Age isn’t a marker or a definition and I am going to stop measuring my life with it because there are so many moments to come and that is far greater than 140 days.

Until next time,

Michelle

Living in the WILD – lessons from afourytale

School has started. Enough said. Am I right? Whether you have kids in school or not if you live in the U.S., school starting changes traffic patterns, moods and daily life all the way around. And since my brain cannot function without examining the minutiae of everything, it started spinning and I thought this was as good a time as any to share the lessons that I have learned lately. As always, hopefully this helps someone else out there in this great big universe feel a little more normal – even though there is no such thing – and also maybe sharing will help my mind to stop spinning.

Mean people are people who are hurting

People who hurt act out. 

Don’t start judging me already; I get that is a pretty logical statement. However, when violence strikes we aren’t really acting in a logical manner these days. Experience has taught me control is an illusion. We make choices based on the events that face us, and we can make good choices or bad, but life doesn’t change. That shit has been rough since the dawn of time. I mean there has always been violence, destruction, hate, and awful stuff in general.

We now have media everywhere we freaking look, so it seems so very overwhelming, but it isn’t different in itself. It really is same shit, different day. We have to start reacting to what happens to us better and also being better at proactively offering solutions before the problem hits. It isn’t an easy deal to solve; I get that. But just as violence stems from anger and pain; great change also comes from pain and reacting with love, patience, compassion, understanding. We are meant to share our stories.

Don’t get me wrong, when people are acting mean that is my biggest pet peeve. Rudeness crawls up my spine and causes me to throw up a little in my mouth every.single.time. I am human after all. As a human though, we are the starting point of change. That starts with compassion, sincerity, honesty, the giving of our time to others. These things can heal someone else. We must listen to one another’s story and whether we accept it as our truth or not, we need to hear each other and offer understanding. Only then can we start to really change things.

I recently watched Brené Brown speak about privilege so beautifully, I fear trying to even touch that topic without mentioning her description could not even do it justice. Privilege is something you are born with and do not have to earn; like finding people just like you on TV or finding a doll with your same color skin in any store you walk in. We as a people, we can change that.

Change is all based on reacting with compassion. We know better and should be making better choices. There is far more good in the world and those acting out right now fear the change that is coming. We got this people – good and compassion and faith – we got this. We always have. Don’t lose faith and continue to respond with an open heart, ear and mind and then change will come. We can heal one another one person at a time; one choice at a time; one compassionate action at a time.

Like the size of your lifeLike the size of your life.

Some people choose big and lately that seems to be what our society is preaching and delivering. I choose simple. I choose small town everyday simple life. Simple, quiet beauty fills me up. I like the size of my life. I like it so much I am constantly trying to slow it down so I can soak it up with every fiber of my being. Somehow that never seems to work out; like sand it keeps slipping through my fingers.

There are advantages to playing small. Not many people write this down or preach it. Setting out each day to be a good human and do the simple, necessary things without a lot of hoopla; there is some real good in that. Doing what needs to be done every day without shouting look at me or tweeting it; instagram-ing it; Facebook-ing it; there is fullness in just the doing an act in and of itself.

Being who you are and doing the right thing when no one is looking means so much more than shouting it from the roof top. Choosing small, real simple life is wholesome stuff. It gives you time to really connect to those important to you. That is what really matters. The simple pleasures of homemade lemonade, family time, the view, and little love notes. Making a difference one person at a time in your every day ordinary life. I choose small. I choose simple. But whatever you choose; just like the size of your life.

Truth isKids keep it real.

This one is just what it is. Kids see things simply and say what they feel. Mythirteen-year-old has told me twice in the past three months two things that have profoundly changed the way I look at things. It isn’t that no one has said this to me before, but it is the simplicity with how and when kids say things that just rock your world.

I had been worrying about work stuff and change and as I tuck my son in at night he says,”You know mom, all that stuff you have been talking about lately it really isn’t big stuff that matters. It is really kind of small stuff that shouldn’t bother you at all.” Well take that slap in the face! Yikes! He was right. That shifted my focus lickety-split.

Then just this week, first day of school. The twins are in two separate classes. I have to rush to get my thirteen-year-old to school and so I can’t stay and walk the twins into class. Every other child has a parent walking them into their class, but not my two. And just like that there is not just one set of class parents judging me as I speed off with my older son, but two sets of class parents and two sets of teachers. Talk about the weight of judgement. My older son notices this affect me. I tell him that I feel bad; he always had a parent walk him in and now the youngest are getting a less than experience because I am pulled in different directions. To which he says, “Mom, you put a lot of unrealistic expectations on yourself. The things you think you should do aren’t really humanly possible.” Touché! You got me kid.

Not that I haven’t heard this before, but there is something about your child pointing this out to you that just makes it sting and set it in a bit deeper. If you have experienced this lately; I get you; I hear you; this parenting gig is not for the faint of heart and your kids change you in ways you never expected. And on that note…

Be dapper withPee protection is legit.

Not only does parenting take an emotional toll on you, but it also can wreck you physically. I am extremely tired of having to cross my legs to cough or sneeze. To have to stop jumping on the trampoline every five minutes so I can pee. Or to have to stop and pee when I run. Ridiculous! This seriously is not fair. Women give birth and carry these precious beings for 9 months and then we continue to love them despite the fact that they can push every single button and make us more upset and frustrated than we ever believed humanly possible, but NOW we also can’t even freaking sneeze without peeing ourselves. The injustice! The humanity! Good Lord why you got to do us like that?! WHY?! Okay, rant over. Just had to get that off my chest. Recently a friend recommends Poise pads because well the struggle is real and women around the world have this pee problem. The Poise pads help, they do. I just can’t stand putting one in my underwear every damn day. Blah! Blech! Ugh! But there is a solution and they do work; just in case you are wondering. Bottom line, getting older kind of sucks and I am still mostly just crossing my legs when I sneeze, but whatever – it is what it is.

Keep on plugging along peeps. Until next time,

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Sitting on the edge

It’s a Tuesday and I don’t even know where to start. There is just so much, too many feels to hold inside my body.

On the surface and mostly, life is good; really, really good.

And yet; there has been something missing lately.

Again don’t get me wrong the plusses in my life are major. For example, being a mom is my favorite and it is all I ever wanted to be. But my first world problems start when I think ahead. My oldest turns 13 in less than two weeks. I turn 40 in 6 months. What is next for me? What do I do when they are grown? I am technically an adult so what do I want for the rest of my life? Do I keep the job I have for the next 20 years? Do I practice what I preach and follow my dreams?

Answers always come. Once you let the universe know what your heart desires the answers come.

There are no coincidences. Everything happens on purpose – there may not be a reason, but there is purpose even if it doesn’t make sense; even if it’s not fair, there is purpose.

How does all this rambling connect? Well, let me share with you a bit about my past week.

This past week I was in LA for work and we had to introduce ourselves by sharing a hidden talent. Should be easy, no problem right. Well my hidden talent can be seen as adverse or cray-cray. This type of professional setting made it feel unsafe to share mine. But in my heart, this just felt wrong and it left a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach I just couldn’t shake for the next several days.

When I started writing this blog and started my journey to my most authentic self it was to break down walls and live out loud. I am tired of hiding; even if it is part-time. I don’t want to be in a place where I can’t be myself any more. In the life I want for myself I don’t have to keep the biggest part of who I am under wraps. But in reality, I am. That is how I live right now. I know I share here, and in my town, but I go to work and am a totally different person with most people. I stay quiet and keep my head down and just try to get through each day. Accounting, sales and marketing are my day job. Me and numbers; I can hear you laughing through the internet. But I get it, I totally get it.

So with the weight of hiding weighing on my mind, I sent a call out to God; a prayer to the universe: Show me the way. What should I do next? And then I wait because that is what you do. You wait and watch, and maintain your steady path until you hear back otherwise.

As we drove home from LA, we passed 3 different psychic studios (not that I am a psychic by any means) but still it is in the same wheelhouse if we are being technical. It felt like an answer that time and time again I would feel drawn to look up and nearby there was a literal sign for a psychic.

As sign after sign passed it made me feel like the universe and God were whispering back (okay slapping me in the face) take the leap; JUMP. And as the great Ron Swanson says, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” Thank you, thank you Parks and Rec; Amy Poehler and cast you make my days complete.

Right now, I am not whole-assing anything. I am half-assing a lot of things and not doing a great job. I am hanging on and it seems grand, I am sure to those outside looking in, but really something is missing and there is too much going on, to do one thing well.

I think it is just about time to make a big change. It’s what the universe and God are telling me, too. To do something about following this dream of mine. And I did meet Amy Poehler…’s star on the way home from LA so anything is possible, right? I mean really, we are going to meet one day and she is going to love me, I just know it! I even visited Beverly Hills for the first time and sat in the bar of the Beverly Wilshire and had a cocktail. I mean come on; I am meant for greatness right? That and two different clients texted me the same week to tell me that multiple people referred them to me and one even said I was famous and couldn’t believe I was coming to her house. WALK of FAME watch out I am coming for you! Am I right? Okay, okay I am humble, I promise. I wouldn’t be here writing about choices if I wasn’t.

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Seriously though; I think it’s time to wrap up this journey of mine in a nice little bow and take that final leap and love who I am; my whole-self and truly live out loud. Be who I am where-ever and whenever. No need to hide that I speak to spirit. I have faith. I trust spirit and I trust God. That is enough and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. God has crazy mad love for me and I should love myself that much, too. So, I think it’s just about time to make a change.

I am over here sitting on the edge, looking down and out and contemplating taking that leap while the universe keeps whispering, “jump.” It’s not a matter of if any more; it’s just a matter of when.

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Until next time or until I jump whichever comes first,

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This grateful, broken soul.

” I can dream when the lights are out.”

– Peter H. Reynold

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Do you ever have days when you feel like everything is going so right and you are on top of the world? You might even whistle to yourself a little bit and you suddenly feel a little like Mary Poppins with the birds whistling back at you?

Now do you ever feel the opposite? Like the odds are stacked against you and if it can go wrong it will? Like every little thing is just a little off kilter and you swear that somewhere the Wicked Witch of the West has ordered her flying monkeys to wreak havoc on your life?

For the past 30 plus days my life has been much more like the scenario described in the second paragraph. Now don’t get me wrong, I know most of my problems are first world and less severe than most, but I still feel beyond overwhelmed and we have to feel the feelings to get through them; so here I am…opening up my big mouth to the internet when I should be folding laundry instead.

Over the past 30 or so days, there have been a great deal of tears. Some have been joyful of course. But there are others that have left streaks of sorrow down my cheeks. There has also been a great deal of hearty laughter, too. So many moments in motherhood where I have been connected to each one of my children deeply; having the magical opportunity to witness their heart and mind as they discover new meaning and wonder in the world.

And there have been moments of anger. Boiling, steaming, piping hot anger that has bubbled up in me in ways I thought I had long outgrown. Venomous words have spewed out of my being with so much distaste I haven’t even recognized them as my own.

These emotions, I have come to understand, are the visible signs of my soul being broken, fissured and reshaped. A current, I believe, that has astrological roots.

So how did that all start, this astrological roots idea? Well, I feel that I have been led to some interesting places lately with what has been put in front of me to read. I am reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reyolds, and this blog post by James Van Praagh.

These things, like all else, were placed in my path for this moment.

Ann has spoken to me deeply through her book, but one story she relays sticks out in my mind and I keep coming back to it. She writes of a sermon that her preacher gave  when she was young that had to do with Jacob wrestling with God. Now Jacob does not know he is wrestling with God, only that he is wrestling with a man in the dark. It is only at the end near dawn when Jacob is touched by the man on the sinew of his thigh and it is broken with that one small touch that Jacob realizes he has been wrestling with God. He knows this because the sinew of the thigh is the strongest place in the human body and it is broken with barely a touch. Only God has power like that. What Ann remembers her preacher telling the segregation is that, “The Lord has to break us down at the strongest part of our self-life before He can have His own way of blessing us.” He has to break us sometimes. It is in being broken that we can be built up again. It is said that Jacob always walked with a limp after that battle for our broken-ness may leave its mark as a reminder of where we were and how far we have come.

And then the Happy Dreamer calls out to me from a School Book Fair shelf and I instantly fall in love. As I hit the pages about dreaming in darkness, I am reminded that God calls us into the dark; God asks us to bring out light to the places where it is needed most and often that is to a place where it seems dark and scary to us. We are led there any way. Sometimes breaking us open reveals our own dark, scary places and we can bring light to those once they are brought to the surface.

And last, but not least, James Van Praagh writes about three different planets being in retrograde. Retrograde just means that these planets appear to moving in a backward or opposite motion to their natural pattern in the sky. And one of those planets just calls out to me a bit more and as I begin researching. And in an instant it makes perfect sense why all has started to unravel and why it is of course a universal, cosmic occurrence. God is in ALL things and so of course, it would be the universe creating this energetic disturbance in my otherwise calm life. And it is no surprise that Saturn being in retrograde is apparently a big deal for me as a Capricorn. Saturn rules Capricorn and Aquarius. Saturn is the planet of limitations and discipline. It is in retrograde from April 6th through August 25th of this year. What this means is during this time if I work against things that I am bumping up against with force then I will experience discomfort. If I slow down and work according to the big picture and resolve my lessons then I will be rewarded, but I can not rush or push my own agenda. I must slowly and steadily do the work.

All of these things have stirred me to be more introspective and mindful. God is at work in the universe and in me.

I am off tilt on purpose because I am fighting to gain some control and the upper hand. I have forgotten to express gratitude and to show it with my actions, by taking the time to do and appreciate the things that matter. By remembering that it is God that is at the helm. Not me.

So instead of feeling spiteful and irritated for having been broken; I instead need to be grateful that the Lord saw fit to build me back up. To reshape my pieces into something fit to move to the next phase of my life. He is giving me the opportunity to learn the lesson of connection and patience, again. Again. Again. Again. And it is patient parenting of the self that guides us to where we need to be.

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So as I find myself feeling off tilt and broken; I am reminding myself to breathe, slow down, focus on what matters. I am finding the still quiet so that I can coax my intuitive voice to take charge again. God wired my internal compass so it cannot guide me astray, not ever. Not even when it leads me into the dark, with no flashlight, and no instructions. For I am not lost, we are always arriving. Always on our way.

We are God. God is in us. Our souls have been given everything they need to work through what transpires in this life. We are on the intended path. We will find our way, agian and again and again, and always.

And when you feel lost along the way just remember, as Ann Voskamp did. “[h]ow did Jesus do it again? He looked up to heaven to where this moment came from.” We just need to remember to look up. Find Him and be grateful. Find Him and ask to be led. Realize that the only control we have is in how we react and perceive what is laid before us on our path.

We are only human. We will feel these emotions and naturally lament our pains and grievances. Do not be too hard on yourself for what comes easier to each of us. But to find peace and find your way through look up. Breathe in the blessings and exhale with humble gratitude. Release what ails you and instead look to how it can be a blessing, a teaching moment that will shed light into your soul and reshape it to accept abundance and grace.

And if all else fails hang on best you can until August 25th. We can make it through. Together we will get there.

Don’t forget to look up,

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Bear hunts, earthquakes & roller coasters

Earthquakes shake through the foundation of our lives. They just do. They aren’t planned and you can’t escape them. It reminds me a bit of the book Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. In the book, the family goes looking for a bear and they encounter long wavy grass, a deep cold river, thick oozy mud, a big dark forest, a swirling whirling snowstorm, a narrow gloomy cave, and they end up finally finding the bear and they race back through everything they encountered to end up safe and cozy at home. Each obstacle they meet, they have to go through them; they can’t go over, under or around, they MUST go through.

Just in case you want to hear the book you can listen to it below…

Life is just like that. We encounter obstacles all along the way and sometimes, most times, we have to go through them instead of over, around or under.

To me that is our lives day in and day out. We go out into the world through every obstacle, face our biggest challenges and then run right back through those obstacles to get to the safety of our cozy little homes only to do it all again the next day. Thankfully, I have a cozy, little home; some of us don’t even have that luxury. There is no safe place to land for some of us.

About two weeks ago, an announcement was made that shook my foundation to the point where the Earth opened up and a huge fissure was made. It was one of those life changes where events prior will be referred to as before and events occurring from now on will be referred to as after. The scary part for me this time is that I didn’t end up on the part of the Earth on the after side of things right away. I started falling right down that fissure. This event knocked me off my foundation in a way that I didn’t land right away.

You know the feeling. You hear some news and right away you just feel like you got on one of those rides like the Tower of Terror at Disneyland and you are free-falling. Your stomach reaches up into your throat and you just want to land. But somehow you don’t. There is this up and down motion as you travel through the ride and you just aren’t quite sure when it will stop and you will safely be on solid footing again. That is how I felt the past two weeks.

Skyfall fun ride at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, 2015

I guess if I am being honest, I still feel like that a bit, but the ride is losing momentum so hopefully I am nearing solid footing once again.

This event reminded me once again how little control we have over life. Life is a ride. We are born into it and there may be twists and turns where we can make certain life choices; like who is on the ride with us or what kind of track the ride will have, for instance bumpy or smooth, we might have some input. But, many times the track is decided for us. We can only choose how we react. Do we buckle up and enjoy the ride or kick and scream, beg and plead, and demand a refund?

Most times, I think it is human nature when life takes a turn we don’t like to whine a little bit. But the best way through it is to assess the situation, make the best of it and buckle up for the bumpy parts and enjoy what you can of the ride.

Life is going to happen to us. It just is. We can only choose how we react to it as the ride moves us forward. That is the only control that we have.

For me, the best thing I can do is sit back, make sure the buckle is fastened and enjoy the view and make the best I possibly can of the roller coaster ride of life.

And what a view it is…

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Hope you are surviving your roller coaster of a life, too.

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I keep this in my wallet to help me remember to have faith that it will all work out in the end.
Until next time,

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To good days and full hearts

I should have walked today. The past few months I have been working up my stamina; getting back into shape, counting calories. I think it’s working. Sunday I ran a 10K. Okay, I jogged 5+ miles of a 10K and walked the rest. The next day I ran another 5K and the day after that I walked/jogged another 3 miles. Yesterday my body needed a rest and so I walked a bit, but didn’t run. Okay jog. Semantics; shemantics. Well the day after that ended with a note sent home regarding my youngest that sent me into fiery mama bear mode and the day’s mode didn’t change much so while I stepped well there wasn’t much walking and peaceful calm in my attitude.

Today the universe seemed to know I needed to balance out yesterday and responded with a calm, stillness. I settled into that stillness in full gear; Uggs, sweatpants, and my favorite cozy sweatshirt. I hunkered down into work, reading, laundry, writing, and the small, even goodness of my life.

Plus I don’t do “shoulds” any more. There isn’t a place for them in my life any more.

My life fills me up and I thank God for that daily.

All the little moments…the smiles of my children, the way their hair smells after a shower, the unique ways they greet me at the end of a school day. My heart fills with the stories they tell, surprising my husband with 14 gifts for our 14 married years together. The coziness of my home, my clothes. The simple pleasures of a good cup of coffee, the way cold ice water quenches a thirst so completely. Or the smell of fresh-cut grass, a sunny day, a breeze that carries a hint of jasmine. Sweet, encouraging text messages from friends. You know all the little things that make you feel whole, complete.

There is a stability, a solidness that I feel in my soul on days like today. I wasn’t spinning in different directions, reeling from an act of unkindness, or torn in a thousand directions by a barrage of requests. Regardless if my day is still like today or chaotic like other days, my life fills me up. This life is greater than I ever imagined. I am so grateful for each second and so grateful for all the little things that make my cup run over.

To good days and full hearts. Until next time,

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The words that shook me awake

So I had one of those Oprah “Ah-ha” moments today. I think it took a bunch of little things running together to help this “ah-ha” moment smack me in the brain and reach my stream of consciousness, but that is how these things work.

The beginning is always the best place to start. It all started in late December. Probably a bit in part to the hangover the holidays create. That is when I started to feel bogged down. There was a cough and wheezing that just hung on to my lungs with a white knuckled grip and just trying to take a walk up the stairs with a laundry basket had become tedious by late January. I went to the doctor, but after five days of antibiotics things weren’t kicking back into gear energy wise.

I could not for the life of me figure out what the heck was so draining. It was as if my gas tank was always on empty.  I literally wanted to Netflix all day. Yes, Netflix is now a verb. A beautifully wonderful verb. It baffled me how this could be, but even sitting I wasn’t at rest. I was constantly berating myself for just sitting. I didn’t ever fully rest and relax.

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The good news was that for the first time in as far as I could remember I was the most comfortable in my own skin. Best. Feeling. Ever. Don’t get me wrong, we all have days, but I feel like I am pretty darn awesome. It was a little boggling to me how I could feel so good and comfortable yet so tired and deflated at the same time.

This past Saturday, I finally had to be hit over the head with what I should have known all along, but that is what happens sometimes we have to be smacked upside the head to realize what is right in front of us.

Saturday morning has become one of my favorite mornings. My youngest son is playing in a basketball league that was created by several faith communities in our town. It is the single best league that I have ever been a part of in my life.  They pray with the kids before the games and have a half time devotional.

On this particular Saturday, my favorite referee read the devotional. Listening intently as always, since these Saturday morning devotionals had become such a source of light in my life, he reads, “One cannot burn out if they weren’t on fire in the first place.”

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Can I get an AMEN?

Enter “ah-ha” moment. These words stirred in me just the slightest mental shift. They shook me awake.

Holy, holy. I am on fire! We all are. We burn with divine light. Of course we feel burned out from time to time. Wouldn’t any fire feel that way? Wouldn’t any light get so hot that it would need to be dark just for a short while?

God doesn’t need me to rush and rush and rush without stopping ever. Life is meant to be enjoyed number one and number two God rested! On the seventh day he rested. The end. He didn’t go on and on about how he should add a little something extra to the world or show off by creating another Universe. Nope. He just rested. So why can’t I just rest? Do nothing all day and feel productive. Yes! If I am feeling the need to rest then I need it. Rest is being productive. Rest is the self-care we need to keep our flame burning.

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I started to examine these periods of rest in my life. The times I always just thought there was something off about me because I would just want to crawl in bed for days and do nothing.

The first time this happened I came out of it and started my blog. I started writing again and choosing vulnerability and connection over perfection.

The second time this happened I came out of the rest ready to share my gift and start a business.

The last time this happened I came out of rest with a strong sense of self-worth and a peace my soul hadn’t known for years.

So what is this “ah-ha”moment that hit me – when we rest we rise. When we rest we can burn again. Our fire is ignited brighter and wiser than before.

I finally truly understand the saying when she wakes she will move mountains. Each time I wake from rest my life is stronger and richer. This time will be no different.

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Rest my friends because when you rise you will move mountains.

Until next time,

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 Validation

“You are so needy.”

It’s those words that almost ended one of my most important friendships. Those words split my soul. I didn’t think I was needy. I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. Low self-confidence – yes. I have that. I get that. But I never saw myself as draining or needy. And I never expected to hear that from someone I thought cared about me.

Funny, I haven’t been able to escape those words for over a decade. They hit a chord, deep in my soul.

It is probably true that I seek external validation of my worth. But I am human. And I like to hear that I am good at what I do or that I am loved and appreciated. I guess some people don’t need that to thrive, but it sure helps me be the best me. Those words don’t bother me so much anymore. It is just a part of my human-ness and it is okay to want to hear how other people feel about you. To know that what you are doing makes an impact or that you are an important person in someone’s life. To know you are wanted. That is okay and it doesn’t make you needy; it makes you human.

I also find it a bit ironic that I would get into a career as a medium where people seek validation. A career where you cannot validate its authenticity with tangible proof.

Being released from those words just recently happened. This past weekend I attended the James Van Praagh workshop. At this workshop, he asked us to do a mediumship exercise where we did a reading for ourselves and ask for messages from spirit that we need to hear.

I don’t often ask for messages for myself. I ask to see glimpses of my own loved ones to know they are okay. To feel them around me. Same things everyone else asks, but I don’t ever sit down and try to do an actual reading for myself like I would for a client and this is exactly what James asked us to do.

After lunch I headed outside and said guide me to the spot where I need to be. I kid you not I walked directly to this tree that had a statue of St. Francis of Assisi who is the patron saint of animals. This is my papa’s saint. It is also the prayer that I have been repeating most often. In fact, I had read it three times that morning before attending the retreat and had read it each morning prior to that.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

Landing at this spot was no accident. I sat down and found a quiet centered place in my mind and heart and asked for a message from spirit.

The first thing that I saw was an elephant. She was beautiful. She walked toward me and extended her trunk. Her rich brown eyes were deep. I could see each wrinkle in her trunk and could feel her warm breath. Immediately I heard a voice that echoed my own heartbeat. “You are exactly where you need to be.”

A peaceful calm washed over my whole soul.

Partial image of a black and white elephant

Then she evaporated and behind her were all four of my grandparents. Each in pairs holding hands, smiling and waving. My papa stepped forward and said, “We all love you and we are all with you.”

My heart nearly exploded. Often I wonder if they are proud of me. I wonder what they think of me sharing my mediumship with others. What they think of me as a parent, friend, daughter, wife, human. In that moment, when I heard his words, my heart nearly exploded because their love washed over me. Completely unconditional. They were so happy and so glad to see me.

I share this experience because I think we all need love and validation. I think each of us needs these things to grow and become the best versions of ourselves. You don’t need to be ashamed of wanting these things or asking for them. You don’t need to wait for someone to tell you to do something nice for yourself; you should just be doing it because you deserve time, attention, and affection as well.

There are many people who do this naturally, but one thing I have learned about parenting and motherhood is often we as parents have to put ourselves last to insure that the needs of those we love are met and accounted for. It is important for us to remember to take a day or an hour or ten minutes and do something that helps remind us that we are loved and nourish ourselves so that we can move forward.

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You are not needy if you do this. You are human. You are worth it.

Until next time,

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Crabby Patty

Yes, yesterday I talked about the kindness revolution starting within all of us and today I am writing a blog titled Crabby Patty; the irony is not lost on me. Promise. No crossies.

There is just this itty bit of crabbiness that is lingering in me.

Maybe it’s because we can’t get out the door on time for school.

Maybe it’s literally hearing four “moms” at once every two minutes for 6 hours a day.

Maybe it’s that I am not exercising – and don’t get started with judgment on that one. I judge myself enough for a thousand judgements.

Maybe it’s the smiling happy moms that join together at school pick up and greet each other excitedly while I stand off by myself. I know I can join in. Come on you want to be the one that people walk up and say hi to, too. You don’t always want to initiate the contact, either.

Maybe it’s getting removed from the FedEx account at work and wondering if is this the beginning of the end for my job.

Maybe it is the messy playroom or the fact that for every one thing I clean up another seven things take its place. For the love of God, this is non-stop.

Maybe it’s the 23 piles of laundry every single week without fail. Even on vacation.

Maybe it’s spending too much time on social media and detached from real people.

Maybe it’s a lack of sleep.

Maybe it’s because my reading last night didn’t go as well as I wanted. And to top it off she was the sweetest client ever on the planet. She had the nicest things to say about me and I couldn’t give her what she expected.

Maybe it’s that I want to choose happiness and I am mostly happy, but there is just this nagging crabbiness and I don’t know what the heck is causing it.

Does this ever happen to you?

I feel it in my body. My shoulders won’t loosen and my jaw stays tight.

My husband is seeing it. He is being super extra nice and making a real effort to let me know I am appreciated. It is sweet and he is sweet. But I still feel crabby.

Thank goodness Winter Break is next week and I am taking time off, too. Maybe that is it. Maybe we all just need a little bit of a break.

Maybe…

Maybe it is the feeling that something big is coming and the anticipation waiting for it is driving me crazy.

Maybe it is because of a million things. Or maybe it is just a crabby patty kind of day.

 

Spongebob quote source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/erinchack/the-most-iconic-lines-from-spongebob-squarepants?utm_term=.ceGNRDjJB#.eggLMGX3E

Until next time – and hopefully the crabby patties will have lifted.

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What the what?! Lessons from afourytale

What, the what? That’s right it’s time I revisit and review what I have learned, unlearned, or re-learned this past month or so. I am sure that is happening in your neck of the woods, too as our social climate in the US is an interesting one right now to say the least.

And with that said I start with this lesson…

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That is right. Evil is man-made. We humans create evil through separation and fear. I truly believe our soul is divine love. Our humanness may try to hide or run from that and live a life guided by fear and fear leads to evil, but our core is love.

When we treat each person with compassion and stop and listen to one another and share our stories that is when we find a way to connect to one another. When we do that then we start to move the world in the direction of good. We need to do that with a level head and compassion. Not raised voices and pointed fingers.

Good starts with us. Not our President, not our neighbor, not the news, not the teachers, not our boss…its starts with us. The only one we should be looking at to start a revolution of kindness is ourselves.

When we choose to learn through love then we choose to act with love. Not everyone is going to react in kind, but most will. I see it every single day. You hold the door open for someone or compliment someone and their whole face lights up.

So as much as we can get caught up in the world and be angry, we need to center ourselves and choose love. If we all did this the world would be an amazing place. But it starts with us.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have had a car cut me off and my first reaction is chicken biscuits what the heck is wrong with that person. But three deep breaths later and I am wondering maybe they were lost, maybe they had a bad day, maybe they didn’t see me. If we choose to see through a lense of compassion and love it makes a big difference. Just like Hannah Montana says…

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Come on…some of you must have daughter’s watching the Disney Channel right now… Hannah Montana is back.

And may I digress here just for a second because all the “this is us” talk and TV it has me thinking I am totally enthralled in This is Us on NBC. But what the heck?! They cannot have Jack die in a DUI accident. Really?! Our hero has to go down like that? Please say it ain’t so NBC, please say it ain’t so! I could be wrong and the writers could just have us thinking that, but it would break my heart into itty bitty bits because Jack is my favorite character in a long, long time. He reminds me of Atticus Finch a bit.

Which leads me into the next lesson so I can keep it light and not think about Jack’s fate.

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I relearn this one probably every single week. Maybe even day by day, but my grandfather who passed away 9 years ago used to say, “A good day is not complete without laughter!”

My goals for 2017 even have learn a joke a day on them. It doesn’t happen every day, but I try. Also, did you know you can ask Alexa to tell you joke? She is pretty darn funny. For example, what do call a pig that does karate?

Wait for it…

Wait for it..

A pork chop.

Okay, so I may be the only one that likes corny humor. My all time favorite joke is…

How do you make a tissue dance?

Wait of it…

Wait for it…

You put a little boogie in it.

Hey I am a mom of four under 12 cut me some slack.

For those of you a bit older I found this on the Internet the other day…

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Don’t ask me, I am not a dipshit cross my heart and pinkie swear. But when I did send this to a friend to make him laugh he asked a guy he works with who chews tobacco and the answer was two. Yep, that is right there is answer to every question people. But it’s funny stuff and so is life. So, hold on to your humor and don’t let go, it can get you through a lot of tight jams.

I am going to bring it down to a serious note for a second. My next lesson relates to one of my favorite Amy Poehler quotes, “Great people do things before they are ready.”

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And no this doesn’t have to do with learning how to navigate the myriads of roundabouts our town just installed. Seriously if I wanted to live and drive through windy roundabouts I would have moved to England, but I digress again.

Recently I went to see psychic medium James Van Praagh. He is a medium I have watched and read about since I was in my early teens. When I went to see him he mentioned a workshop coming up nearby and I looked into it. It wasn’t too pricey so I decided to go.

I was nervous out of my mind and scared to walk into a room full of people I didn’t know. But I showed up any way.

It was mind-blowing.

He asked me to come up on stage in a room full of people to give my very first live reading!  On a stage. With an audience, full of people.

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Yep,  he called me up on stage just like I dreamed he would and then I gave a reading. It wasn’t my best because I was nervous out of my mind, but it was life changing. And fun! I used my humor and my bravery together.

So, my advice to you is show up and do the things because your dreams can literally come true. For realsies; I am living proof.

Of course, the girl who got up after me was all of like 25, thin and super-hot so there might always be someone younger and cuter than you right around the corner, but that is why we need humor and love to keep going no matter what.

So keep choosing to learn through love, have fun and laugh along the way and be ready to show up before you are ready because bravery yields results.

Until next time,

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Spiritual Awakenings and YouTube

Do you know your truth?

Lately, I have been working on listening to my inner voice and trying to be deeply observant of what it tells me and what the universe places into my life.

Since the beginning of this blog I have been trying to document my journey to an authentic life and share the lessons that I am learning and today it hit me: I am unlearning. What does that mean? 

It means that we start out knowing an awful lot. As children we are deeply connected to light and spirit. We are connected to one another and trusting. That is how we are meant to be, you know? That is what the Universe/God wants for us (I use Universe and God interchangeably, but really whatever divine power you believe in I believe it is all one in the same so you can input your word for the Divine in place of mine as it suits you).

We are born knowing the light and basking in it. The world changes that in us. But the good news is we can always reconnect to that light; we just have to choose to do so. We can do it through choice, grace and being present to witness the light. Then you just hit repeat on that cycle, and baby you got it. 

That is what I have started to do. I am surrendering my life to love and light and allowing the Universe to deliver me to where I need to be and the things I need to know. You have to be present. You have to be watching. I know I am getting somewhere when the signs show up and say, “Hey Michelle, you are NOT losing your mind. You are right on track. Keep paying attention and I promise you are going to change the world.”

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I had to go into San Jose today and I felt like listening to something uplifting. I figured why not listen to some TedTalks.

I happen across Gabby Bernstein’s mini Ted Talk. You can watch it here.  It was definitely a sign. Her truths resonated so clearly. So clearly in fact, I had a spiritual awakening listening to YouTube. So many things fell into place and I had an epiphany of understanding. I know what I know and it is the TRUTH regardless of what anyone else might think. It is my truth and if I choose to live it I will lead an extraordinary life filled with love and joy. Come on who doesn’t want that?

I am going share a little of that epiphany with you.

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Gabby starts her talk by explaining that she is worried about the time she has to give her talk, but after mediation this nugget of wisdom is revealed, “Tell your truth and time will expand.” You guys, remember when you were little and you felt like you had all the time in the world. That is because you were connected to the light. You had all the time in the world to learn what you needed to know. We need to let go of fear and believe and trust in the Universe that we have all the time we need to fulfill our purpose. Live our truth and time will expand.

She continues by saying that, “when inspiration is your guide you become a miracle worker.” Amen sister!

When we allow our creativity to run free without interference from fear of what other people might think amazing things happen…miracles happen. Think about the great people who have graced this world with their wisdom. Martin Luther King Jr. I am sure people thought he was crazy. Sure one day everyone will live in harmony. They probably still think he is crazy. But I believe him.

Mother Teresa. Come on, I am sure there were people who in the beginning were like, really you are doing to go live with the poorest of the poor and the sick? It took her two years to get approval, but that didn’t stop her.

I am sure we can think of a million others where the same logic applies – they followed their dreams and the calling of the Universe despite what other people thought and in doing so they changed the world. As I am listening to Gabby’s talk and thinking of people I consider heroes and mentors; they all have one thing in common they all follow their “crazy” callings. I am a medium. I speak to spirit. It doesn’t get any stranger than that, but when I lean into love, when I listen to my inner voice I see me speaking to thousands of people. I see me with a microphone in hand and several books under my belt. If I lean into love this life of my dreams is real. It is my truth. I know I am on my way to find it.

That truth can’t be any crazier than the advice I gave one of my dearest friends this morning…”It’s like Taylor Swift says, ‘the haters gonna hate’ which is basically what Mother Teresa says when she says, ‘do good anyway’. People are going to tear you down. People are going to say nasty things. People are going to disbelieve what you are capable of, but if you live in a way that you are constantly taking the next right step toward good people won’t believe them and so what if they do? You know you are doing the next right thing. God knows you are doing the next right thing and in the end that is all that matters.”

And if in one day I can compare the wisdom of Mother Teresa, Taylor Swift and Gabby Bernstein and see the sign of an angel on a Mexican Food Truck in front of me letting me know I am on the right path, than guess what?! Miracles can happen and we need to remember to believe in them just like when we were kids. Anything is possible. I believed in true love and love at first sight and I held out for it. I knew it had to be out there and it was. Did it show up like I expected? Nope. Was it when I expected? Nope. But that is how the Universe works. If you ask and believe it delivers, just in its own way.

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Miracles happen every day and every minute. Offer yourself the willingness to be open to them, the grace in missing them, and the knowledge that you will have the chance to choose again. Unlearn that misery and strife are a part of life. We are here connected to each other and the light to do good and be joyful. That is my truth and I choose to live that every day regardless of what else gets thrown down at my feet.

Hoping my truth, vulnerability and authenticity help you on your journey –

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Birthdays…

So over the last 39 years I have learned some things about birthdays. I thought I would share what I have learned with you here.

Here are the 39 things I have learned about birthdays in no specific order.

  1. Buy yourself a present. Maybe it’s a grande non-fat, vanilla, chai latte or maybe it’s a new pair a shoes, but do something nice for yourself as a treat.
  2. Do nice things for other people. I have spent the last three years doing Random Acts of Kindness on my birthday and you just feel so good after.
  3. Prepare for the ordinary. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean this in a bad way, but it is another day after all so know there might be some birthdays that are just like any other day, and that isn’t always a bad thing.
  4. Be glad. So many people don’t get to see another birthday or even another day for that matter. Cherish the day you were born and be glad.
  5. You don’t have to have cake. I know some people live for cake, but if you aren’t a cake person you can have whatever you want with a candle in it. Seriously we do birthday pancakes at our house. Or you don’t even need a candle, maybe you need a birthday vodka or birthday yoga. Whatever you like; it’s your birthday.
  6. You can throw your own birthday party.
  7. You can change your mind about a party and throw your own last-minute party the day of your birthday or the day after. When-evs.
  8. Look back on your year; good and bad; and soak it all in.
  9. Make a goal for your new year. What do you want to accomplish?
  10. The youth is not wasted on the young. Young is a state of mind and nothing is wasted.
  11. If you drop off cookies at a fire station as one of your random acts of kindness – there is a bell at the door. Just saying, in case you don’t want to walk around the fire station like an idiot with a plate of cookies.
  12. Let your loved ones spoil you.
  13. Get excited.
  14. Laugh a lot.
  15. Cry if you want to…it’s in a song. That makes it official.
  16. Don’t half ass two things; whole ass one thing – thank you Parks and Recreation you nailed it. Serious go out and do you and be you and make no apologies. It’s your freaking birthday.
  17. You are never too old to try something new.
  18. There are do overs every single day, minute, and second. So offer yourself grace. There is no set time or age when something HAS to be accomplished.
  19. Leave a place better than you found it. Always make time to do good. To notice good. To compliment good in others. Even on your birthday.
  20. Make time for your friends and family right that minute. It’s icing on the cake.
  21. Dance – even if it’s in the kitchen for 5 minutes to your favorite song and no one else witnesses it. Everyone should dance on their birthday!
  22. Let someone sing you happy birthday; even if you think it’s dumb.
  23. Do at least one thing that makes YOU happy.
  24. Call your mom. And your dad. Or whoever raised you. Thank them for putting up with you for however many years. It is a special day for them, too.
  25. Make new memories. The best things aren’t in the past. The best things are right now.
  26. Let others celebrate you.
  27. The day is what you make of it; not what everyone else makes of it.
  28. It might be okay to have a birthday week. Some people who I love celebrate for a whole week. I mean if you can, why not?
  29. If you want something to happen on your birthday ask for it. People aren’t mind readers.
  30. You can get a free scoop of ice cream at Baskin Robbins if you are a member of the birthday club, you can’t just walk in and ask for one. It apparently doesn’t work that way. Just in case you are wondering.
  31. Don’t wait for next year. The year moves fast and if you want to do something make the plans and do it.
  32. Birthday hugs are gold.
  33. Most gifts do not come in packages.
  34. You DO NOT have to laundry or dishes on your birthday – for realsies – and if someone says you do. Put up the hand. You do not have to do that on your birthday.
  35. Bills still come in the mail on your birthday – it’s not just birthday cards in the mailbox. Seriously, they should work that out at the post office. You have to write your birth date down on everything. It’s not like they don’t know.
  36. You still have to drive your kids to all their stuff. It is another day after all.
  37. Let your light shine (bright like a diamond) – it’s okay to LOVE your birthday.
  38. Find a way to truly love yourself. This year is my best yet. At 39 I finally LOVE who I am. But if you can do it sooner I highly suggest it.
  39. One year, do something you have always wanted to do. Even if everyone else thinks it is silly. Like if you want to go to Nashville and your husband is like, “What of all the places in the world you want to go to Nashville.” Go anyway. Do it any way. It is YOUR birthday after all.

Those are just a few of the things I have learned. I am sure you have learned other valuable lessons. But as I say good-bye to 38, I have no regrets. I am looking forward for another year, another moment, another second to live this life.

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So grateful,

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Two questions and a dose of divine love

At a reading last week, a client asked me  why does this year suck so bad? Why is everything so damn hard? (Side note: Yes, I am slowly doing readings again – but be ready for a wait: I am doing them very little and most will NOT be in person)

Shit, life is hard people. I don’t have a good answer to that except LIFE IS HARD. But life is also fan-freaking-tastic. Life is a roller coaster ride of emotion good and bad. Plus, no one knows what the heck they are doing all the time. Some people may make it seem easy, sure – but we all have something crappy going on at sometime in our lives. We are all just doing the best we can.

That is part of the gig called life. 2016 has really sucked for some people, but so did 2015 and 2014 and 1988 and 1908 and every year in between or before. And you know what? Some people had a killer (and I mean that in the 90s cool way) 2016. Like best year ever – they got married, they had their first baby, they finally finished their thesis and graduated from grad school, or just had a relatively quiet year that they are grateful for. Point is the glass isn’t half full or half empty – it is refillable. Life is hard, but we can find hope and fill our cup back up again.

Example: Last year for holiday cheer one of our nominees was a woman who had been through several pregnancies and right before Christmas lost twins. Two little girls that were weeks away from being delivered did not get to make the entry into the world that was expected. Needless to say this mom was devastated that instead of holding her twins she was burying them. She was done. No more miscarriages for her. No more babies she wouldn’t get to raise; no more. And yet a small gift was delivered to her with lots of hope and prayers behind it that she would somehow find a way to cope and survive her new normal and you know what I received last night. The below photo. This momma is bringing home a little girl. A sweet baby girl. A healthy sweet baby girl and in the email in addition to this picture was this, “One person really can make a difference…” You all helped do that. You helped give her hope. See? What a great 2016 for this family.

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A New Year Miracle
As I take this time to reflect on my year and what lies ahead for me (I am a goal person okay) all started with the above question and one other question I happened across: what would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Let me back this post up for just a minute. I have started walking/jogging again and also reading The Universe has Your Back – (thanks Janessa) and so instead of just going through the motions of my life; I am taking it back. Which I know I have discussed in my recent lessons post. Don’t get me wrong, I am no guru – I still eat way too much chocolate, get irritated when my kids don’t listen, choose to sit on the couch and read instead of doing dishes, avoid confrontation at all costs and spent my staycation being pretty darn lazy. The point is, I am doing a better job of taking care of me and listening to/watching for signs.

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Example: I am resting. I am not giving myself a hard time for reading a book or not organizing my closet. I am not beating myself up over the “shoulds” and instead am trying to do one thing every day just for me and I am not calling myself a narcissist for doing it. That is a pretty big win my friends.

So back to the second question: what would I do if I could not fail? I would be a full-time medium, write my book and be my own boss. And you know what, for the first time that doesn’t seem impossible. I have talked about it before, but it was as if it were some sort of dream. This is what I would do if I could not fail. Hmmm…I am not saying that this is what 2017 will bring, but I do know that I am unstoppable. If I choose to go after something, I can. So can you. One person can make a difference in someone else’s life and that same one person can make a difference in their own life, too. Deep thoughts by afourytale…okay so I am no Jack Handey. Any way, I think we are all pretty amazing and unstoppable when we set our minds to it.

I will leave you with this. The last word I pulled out of the word bowl at acupuncture was “divine love.” The truth is we can’t really fail. We are all deserving of divine love and mistakes are just part of the process. The only way to fail is to literally sit still and do nothing at all. So as long as we move forward and do our best some measure of success is always within our grasp.

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So whether 2016 sucked and you hated it and can’t wait for 2017 or 2016 was your best year yet and you know you are going to have an even better 2017; I think for me the point is life isn’t predictable, it can be hard and wonderful all wrapped up together and I will have good days and bad days when it comes to achieving my dreams and goals. So will you. But each day we get is pretty darn remarkable; each moment is a possibility and if we add up all the moments and possibilities and just do the very best we can in each of those moments it can’t be all bad. Can it?

Happy New Year dear friends.

Wishing you all the best,

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End of the year lessons

 

Good gosh that Miss Poehler is dynamite. I really think we would be great friends. She is funny and profound and God love her those are my two favorite things in a human. But unfortunately this post isn’t about Amy Poehler, it’s just about what her words inspired me to write. Just warning you so you aren’t disappointed.

I figured it was high time I share what I am learning about over here in afourytale land. Maybe what I am learning is something you can relate to as well.

Get creative…

We have a great place in my town that let’s you paint pottery and they glaze it for you; Green Glaze Pottery. If you haven’t been it is well worth a visit to check out for an hour or two and the family that runs it is wonderfully kind and helpful. I am sure if you are in a different town that you have a place like it. We have been a couple of times and even had Dana’s birthday party there. It is one of my favorite places. Everyone of us has fun there. Well four of the six of us do and that is a pretty good success rate. Creativity is the expression of your soul. Plus the cup I made wasn’t too shabby. Being creative just makes you feel better. Period.

 

Go camping in December…

It may seem odd, but if you live in California I don’t see why you can’t go camping in December. And I am sure you can in other places, too. We sure had a great time. We found an oasis of forest right outside of the city and as Zach said, “we hit an animal jackpot.” We saw deer, cranes, ducks, geese, wild turkeys and woodpeckers.

We also bundled up and grabbed our umbrellas and went for a hike in the rain. It was my most favorite camping trip ever! But more importantly what the heck are we waiting for?! If there is something you want to do, go do it; time is short. Don’t wait for the perfect time, just go do it. As Miss Amy Poehler says, “Great people do things before they are ready.” I am pretty sure she is some kind of genius I tell you that. And if any of you all out there know her can you let her know that for me. I am sure she already knows it, but it’s nice to hear things like that, you know?


Be silly and let your kids take pictures…

This is a lesson I often forget and have to be reminded of from time to time. I take myself too seriously…I know shocking. But this year there were lots of moments for me to look back on where I was silly with the kids. I hope they remember these times.

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If you have an Amazon Alexa pretty please ask her to tell you a joke. My kids figured this out the other day and she is pretty hilarious. For example: What do you call a small fortune-teller that is hiding from the police?

Wait for it…

A small medium at large! Come on that’s clever and funny.

Plus Alexa tells funny short bed time stories with your name in it. Check them out. So much silly fun.

And to top that off let your kids take pictures. We now have 57 pictures of the boldest turkey I have ever met. Colby could not stop taking pictures of this turkey that stopped by our trailer any time we were cooking something. But he is so proud of those photos.

Stop apologizing…

Son of a nutcracker I wanted to make sure I did more Christmas-y stuff with my kiddos this year. Stuff like…

OR

OR even as simple as this…

But I have only wrapped a third of the gifts, stuff was still arriving from Amazon yesterday and we don’t even have a Christmas cookie in this house.

Heck, I wanted to lose 25 pounds this year and keep the house clean and tidy. Shoot, I started aiming lower and just hoped to keep up with the laundry. But it’s today and none of those things are done.

And I have this hideous habit of apologizing for everything even the stuff I didn’t do. Like being sorry I didn’t make the Christmas crafts or get my Christmas cards out.

We can’t keep apologizing because it focuses on the shoulds. I am not sorry I have rested this past six weeks. I am not sorry, I am not sorry, I am not sorry.

Instead of saying I am sorry – say I am kind, silly, smart, rested, creative, growing, learning, playing. Whatever else that positively fills in the blank after I am, say that instead. “I am sorry” is defeating. It is shame-filled. Only apologize when it’s necessary; don’t let it be your default phrase when something happens or you don’t get to a task on your to do list. And never ever apologize for something you feel.

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Miss Amy, I am learning not to be sorry, but to be comfortable. This 38-year-old, flabby skin is starting to feel just right these days. Okay, okay not the flabby part, but I am working on it. Any way, get creative, don’t wait to do fun stuff and stop apologizing. And that my friends is a great bunch of things to get yourself for the holidays. No need for Amazon Prime, wrapping paper or paper mache. You are welcome.

Happy Holidays,


P.S. I know some of you are wondering where the holiday cheer posts are. I decided this year to do one big post and it is coming. We have two more gifts to deliver. Once those are done I will write it. Everything else has been delivered and well received I assure you. Thank you to all who contributed.