What the what?! Lessons from afourytale

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

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…

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

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

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.

 

 

I still suck at small talk and other things I probably shouldn’t write out loud!

I still suck at small talk and other things I probably shouldn’t write out loud!

So I am back on the kinder party circuit. You know the parties where parents stay and mingle while the kids party. Yep; that kind of party. As I watched my kiddos bowl yesterday I struggled with small talk. I did better mind you; I actually sought a couple of people out and chatted, but each conversation lasted two minutes at most because after “Hi, how are you?” I have nothing left in the tank. Instead I have to hold my tongue. My mouth and heart want to discuss Aleppo, the epidemic of parents who have forgotten to teach their children respect for authority, and how do we find a way to quell a nation of entitled youth.

See, I suck at small talk.

So my kids had a blast at the party and that is why I was there anyway. Sometimes, I just feel bad that they are learning social skills from an awkward introvert.

We leave that party and head to a Christmas gathering with our friends. We have all been friends since college, husbands and wives, but the other three couples had children six years behind us; live in the same city; and their kids attend the same prestigious private school. I on the other hand, have a child taller than me with a deep, rich voice and my youngest kids are older than most of their oldest kids.

They can socialize about what is going on at the school and have common interests and I still don’t fit in among people I should. While they talk about picky eaters and where they buy their kids clothes – I can’t even relate. I hear myself say, “I buy clothes at Children’s Place and Target because the kids grow too fast and are too hard on their clothes for me to spend a lot of money on them.” And the looks on the faces when I say that are like I am some kind of whackadoodle and maybe I am, but it makes me feel old. I remember caring about that stuff when my oldest was four and my youngest was almost two. I remember buying GAP clothes and worrying about them not eating their dinner. Now with four kids aged six and over I know they have to eat some of their dinner or they don’t get anything else that night; that they will live and most of the time don’t even remember that the struggle over dinner ever happened. I have learned that we care way more about brand when that is of so little importance. What really matters are that our children are clothed, fed and loved.

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See I let my kids dress themselves. This is how we roll to school.
And now I can’t really complain about private education anymore either. I used to think when people paid for private school they were paying for status. On top of that, I truly believed public education was just as good as private. In some places I still believe that is true. But alas, after my daughter was choked by a boy at school to the point where she couldn’t breathe; enough was enough. What was so sad to me was the teacher was so desensitized to the actions of this young boy she just asked my daughter to document the incident and nothing else came of it. Her teacher was so used to that boy’s behavior she didn’t even think it worth mentioning to me. This was the last straw in a sting of incidents spanning a year and a half. We knew she needed a safer place to learn.

We toured a private school and decided to send her there. She starts after the break and I feel like a weight has been lifted. She is finally going to be in a classroom where the students respect the teacher and are excited to learn. That I have to pay an arm and a leg for that still makes my stomach churn, but she needs a safe place to thrive.

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This girl deserves her best chance. All kids do.
Hmmm…what else is running around in my head these days that you don’t want to hear about…well you may not get a Christmas card from us this year. Yep; I have been late in the past, but I am not even close to getting started this year and Christmas is Sunday. You might get a Happy New Year card instead. It isn’t that I am feeling Bah Humbug toward Christmas; even though this post probably sounds that way; it is more that I am feeling like I just wanted to slow things down this year and savor Christmas. To really hunker down and feel the Spirit of the Season and it got away from me again. I am not finished with the shopping or the wrapping and it is a week away. None of the Spirit of the Season stuff happened. And I guess I am struggling with traditions a bit and what I would like Christmas to look like and what actually happens.

Maybe it is just that my oldest son only has six more years in this house with us before he goes off to college and while that seems like a good while the first twelve of his life have happened in a blink and even though I have tried to savor it; it is flying by faster than I can catch it.

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This is as close as we get to a family picture these days

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Yep nose picking shenanigans
I know I am writing about first world problems here when much bigger world problems take precedent, but when these nonsense, first world problem words started to flow through my brain I just had to write them down. I just had to think about something else for a brief second. I think that is really why I feel like Oscar the Grouch. When innocent women, men, and children are being killed and no one is stopping it you just feel helpless and when you feel helpless and sad sometimes I think it manifests itself into anger and I am just angry that we live in a world where yet another holocaust can happen and the people with the ability to stop it can’t or won’t. So I thought maybe my first world, nonsense spewing would relieve some of that distress and Oscar-ness. Maybe that is the real reason I can’t whip up the Christmas card; I can’t send out a smiling happy picture of my children when in their faces I see the safety, love and security that all children should feel in the world and yet so many don’t have access to it. It breaks my heart into so many pieces I can’t complete the task.

And that my dear readers is a whole lot of junk I probably should not write out loud, but did any way because that is what I do. I do things any way.

Love your people tight and if you can love other people’s people tight, too. And teach your little people to love other people’s people. I know that is a whole lot of people, but that is what there is…a whole lot of people and all of them need love.

Until next time,

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The messenger

The messenger

Vague

Amazing

Insightful

Wise

Funny

Wordy

Transparent

Authentic

Relatable

Lunatic

Bully

Hate

Hypocrite

Liar

Monster

Sinner

Fraud

Stupid

Ignorant

Racist

Words are so powerful. Each of us has either been lifted or defeated by a few simple words.

Since an early age I have had a love of words. I love the shape and sounds of them. I have been in awe of their power both spoken and written. Words can stir people into action and bring people to their knees.

What I find amazing is the contrast of what we crave as human – positive affirmation and what we consume and download in mass quantity by choice – negativity.

Reality TV – Real Housewives, Real Crime Dramas, 24 hour Media Coverage of anything awful. These are highly watched, highly rated programs.

Ever read comments on social media posts? I know you do. One thing that always strikes me is those comments can get negative really quickly. People who are “friends” can exchange words through a screen that can alter their relationship. Words can create emotional wounds that are never forgotten.

It is interesting to me that while we want so much to be loved, accepted, and understood we purchase and buy into so much visual and auditory negativity. That we can quickly and angrily type messages to one another that are full of rage and hurt.

Many struggle with self-love. That has always been a struggle for me. Always. I need the Chip Gaines voice of self-confidence! Regardless of how we feel inside, it is how we treat others that matters when our time is up. I have that information on pretty good authority.

It is okay to disagree with one another, of course. We have to be open to critique. We can learn a great deal through the sharing of different opinions. It can change us for the better. Plus the world would be boring if we were all exactly the same. But it is paramount that we are respectful in our dissent. It isn’t open season for a personal attack because your opinion differs from another; especially in a world where tearing others down is becoming the norm; we must restrain from attacking one another and stick to thoughtfully and respectfully stating our difference of opinion.

Positivity starts and ends with us. If we focus together to be positive in our rhetoric and our actions that will change the world. Great leaders, local and worldly, are remembered by their actions, of course, but also by the words they chose to speak. And so are we. Maya Angelou was right when she said that people will be remembered by how they make others feel. Our words carry our emotions into the world. 

If we are going to change the tide of a nation it must begin by how we choose our words and actions. The frequency of the energy we radiate is the frequency of the energy that comes back to us. It is important to choose our words and tone carefully. There are people who I admire who have defined themselves as warriors and neighbors when it comes to their delivery of love and good news.

I think some of us are messengers. I am a messenger. Those of us that feel compelled to write and speak. Those of us that are filled with a knowing that we must share; we are the messengers. With the choice to share our words and have them read and then spread like fire we must remember that those words have power to build and to break. My choice is to deliver messages of hope, faith, peace, love and vulnerability. I choose to be a messenger that connects and builds. Some messengers are making the choice to breathe negativity and fuel a fire that continues to divide and separate. They think the power of potent and open hostility is what is going to spur change. It just breeds contempt and mistrust.

I know that when the warriors, neighbors, and messengers all move in a direction of positivity and love it will turn the tides of that flame. The good that flows through their actions will extinguish the pain and division. There is more good in this world than bad. I feel it in my bones; I know it in my heart, I see it in the quiet day to day actions of the people in my community. We have to stop paying attention to the negativity. Stop allowing its voice to roar.

So my friends, neighbors, warriors and messengers choose carefully and wisely and with a compassionate heart to listen as you work. To spread and share compassion and positivity so that we can build bridges to one another and continue to make this world a better place for each and every soul in it. It starts and ends with us.

With hope,


 

The time when acupuncture broke me

The time when acupuncture broke me

So I have been going to acupuncture for the past few months. It has really helped me. I know some people think it is whack and that I should probably see a real doctor, but after years of seeing doctors with no avail; I followed my soul and it led me to Anna. Plus, I am beyond what people think. I know this is working and I am all over people thinking I am crazy. Crazy is my jam.

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Ahnna is amazing. She is sweet and smart and best of all she listens to every word I say and she believes me.

Each time, I have gone something miraculous has happened. A little piece of me keeps getting put back together. The first time she truly set my energy right; I felt lighter and more centered than ever.

A few appointments later we talked about healing and how to make sure that I am also taking care of myself. Anna shared with me the work of Florence Scovel Shinn. Florence lived in the early nineteen hundreds and was a teacher and healer of sorts who prescribed words to people. You heard me right; she prescribed words. See crazy is my jam. Prescribing words is so simple and so right on the money.

Florence felt that what you put into the world came back to you – if you ask you shall receive. Sound familiar? There have been many before and after her that shared that same philosophy. Regardless, I think it is pure genius. Getting back to Anna, she incorporates Florence’s thought into her practice and has a blessing bowl filled with words that patients/clients can take on their way out.

Like I said we had been working on me taking better care of me during my session and on my way out, Anna said, “Don’t forget take a word.”

So, I reached in my hand and pulled out a word. Turned out it was just the word I needed – ‘beautiful’. That was the beginning of a transformation in me.

At the next appointment we did some serious energy cleansing. I know this will sound crazy, but she truly cleaned out all of this heavy weight I had been carrying in regards to being a medium.

Even though I believed in my gift at each of the reading appointments I went to I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop for the jig to be up; I guess maybe I didn’t feel deserving of the gift and that at some point it would be taken away. On top of that, I always felt the need to prove to people what I did was real and well there just isn’t an exact science to mediumship.

While she worked, Anna talked about the history behind mediums, healers, and empaths and how those people, especially women, were persecuted throughout history and even killed for using their gifts. She felt that I needed to let go of all that history and weight. She kept saying it was okay for me to do what I did and that I needed to be comfortable with it. I didn’t need to carry the past burdens of other women like me with me to each reading any more. Something inside me snapped. I wouldn’t fully understand until later what exactly, but I left that day and pulled the word ‘faith’ from the blessing bowl. I clutched it tight in my grip because my intuition sensed I would be needing it.

That was one rough week, none of my readings went well. My sales job had some huge surprises I hadn’t expected. I was trying to navigate those hurdles and feeling overwhelmed. I was emotional and more exhausted than I had been in some time. Something had to give. By the end of that week I was closing down my medium business and choosing to focus on my family to rein it in an attempt to slow my life down.

What also happened in the time between then and my next appointment seemed ordinary, but I think it was another message whispering, yep you are on the right path.

I became obsessed with Fixer Upper on HGTV. We were able to watch the show as a whole family and it was just so wholesome and authentic. Two things that soothe my soul. During those few weeks, I received an email about The Chip and Joanna Gaines Story being on audible and I bought the book. It was great because we all listened in the car and Chip and Joanna read the book. I was moved to tears more than once. Not that anything that was happening to them was happening to me, but so much of what they were reading aloud hit home.

One of the main chords of the book is Joanna listening to her intuition and always choosing to put her family first. Another way the universe is letting me know I made the right choice. And I kid you not, I finally got to the dentist after skipping several appointments and what was on TV in the room they took me to, Fixxer Upper.


I know I seem to be talking about two different things, but I am not. We are given little messages each and every day and my messages keep intersecting. So the other day when I went to my acupuncture appointment I explained to Anna how I thought my last appointment broke me, but in a good way. She obviously didn’t like that at all. But it had. It broke my misconceptions about myself. The last remaining threads that were holding me back from true joy and happiness were severed and I ended up making choices that helped me choose me and to see my life for its successes and strengths. To help me see myself as beautiful and full of faith. To really center myself and get back to being who I was and focus on that.

That in itself is a miracle.

But, Anna still didn’t like my analogy. So we decided that she had found my reset button and put me back on the path to finding my true joy in life. The small, simple every day things that matter most. Taking care of me will help me take better care of everyone else.

Anna sent me away with homework like she always does; she printed a page of quotes from Marianne Williamson. The below really hit home with me, so I share it with you, too.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most. We ask ourselves,’Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually , who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson.

Sheesh, another crazy tidbit I have always felt that I was a part of something bigger that I mattered on a great scale, but tried to shove that feeling deep down. I would always give myself a hard time – “Michelle,” I would say, “be humble you are no more important than anyone else.”

But that is just it. We are all that important. We are all a part of something bigger than ourselves. We all matter on a great scale and how we interconnect with one another is that bigger piece. We all have to shine brightly. Can you imagine what that would look like? All of us doing the best to be our best selves for ourselves and each other? Holy, holy. I want that, but in order to have that I have to start with myself and guess what so do you.

So back to Joanna and her story… Joanna ends the book by talking about how she decided to stop surviving her life and start thriving in her life. Oh my gosh! This is something I say all the time – you have to find your joy. You have to find it and choose it every day. Sometimes you have to choose joy minute by minute. That is just how life is. It can be your darkest day, your darkest hour, your darkest minute and you have a choice to make do you let the dark swallow you up whole or do you choose joy and cling to it with all you have left? I chose joy.

I am choosing to let my light shine.

shine-bright-like-a-diamond

What does that mean exactly? I am still choosing my family and putting that first, but I am not going to hide who I am or shrink down in size to heal myself. I am going to continue to shine bright like a diamond (I can’t help it Rhianna has damaged me forever, any time I hear shine bright it now has to be followed by like a diamond) and be my awesome self. Helping others is also my jam. I am going to make sure Holiday Cheer gets off without a hitch and I am going to be more present for my family and friends.

I do think that my path is a forever winding. Last night, I just picked up Jen Hatmaker’s Interrupted and she talks about flipping the way we think and truly being a child of God. I know that I am being spoken to by the Universe. I am listening and praying and somehow all these messages that are flooding in are going to sort themselves out. There are big epiphanies coming I can feel it. Good ones; ones that are going to help fill my life with even more joy and faith.

But for right now the main message I want to share with you is this – choose joy; whatever that is and stop just surviving your life. Do the things you love. I know you have to pay the mortgage, but you don’t have to run yourself ragged doing all the things, making all the beds, scrubbing all the floors, mending all the fences, mowing the lawn every week, whatever it might be that is keeping you from digging into your life and relishing the good parts.

I am also not naive; I know people face real pain every day. People are fighting an up hill battle against disease, loss, pain, grief, or finances. And that can tear you apart and leave you as a shell of your former self. But I have witnessed first hand people in their darkest hour choosing joy, so I know I can too. My advice, you can take time to grab your kids and run out to the front yard to watch the beautiful sunset. You can choose to not lose your cool when the house is mess and instead get everyone involved in cleaning up together – make it a game. You can take your loss and turn it into something worth fighting for. You can take your pain and flip it into helping others. Life can be fun and full of joy. It is all in how you look at it.

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A cup half full kind of girl,

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Mom fail #978

Mom fail #978

So this past Wednesday was hat day for the boys. Did this mom remember? Nope. No dice. Read the newsletter, too darn it!

So it is Wednesday morning and I am feeling a little pep in my step because BP is able to take both older kids to school and I get to walk the twins to kindergarten. Lovely. It is a good day for a good day.

We walk up to school and pass two kindergarten classes full of little ones in all different kinds of hats. The boys look up at me with funny looks. One says, “What is going on today?” Nothing registers. Not even a flicker.

Upon final approach to their class line we see that every single five-year-old head has a hat on it. Parents are taking pictures. It finally registers. “You guys it’s hat day.” I say thinking that it will register with them to. Their teacher had to have reminded them.

“What?” A little voice says with a puzzled look on his face.

“We didn’t know” A little blonde shakes from side to side and a frown starts to appear.

Crap. Double crap.

“I’m sorry,” I say. “I forgot you guys. Do you want me to run home and get you hats?”

Their little dejected faces give them away even though they are trying to act like it doesn’t matter.

“No, it’s okay,” they both say.

They say good-bye and saunter in with the rest of their hat wearing classmates.

They are the ONLY two without a hat.

Crap! Double crap!

Mom guilt takes over and I speed walk home to get them some hats.

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http://simmywade.tumblr.com/post/26314613653

Now, hold on! Before you judge me let me break it down for you.

Exhibit A: These two boys have already moved schools twice because of me. They went to a different school starting the second week of school and by the fifth week of school were back at the first school all because of little old me.

Exhibit B: I am also one of the only moms that doesn’t help in class because I work I outside the home.

Exhibit C: And last but not least, I am relatively anti-social and don’t quite fit in with the trendy moms so my boys aren’t always invited to the class playdates.

We don’t have to be Matlock to see that I am justified in running back to the house to get those sweet little boys hats.

So I chose to go get the hats. So sue me.

I wanted them to remember that I brought them the hats and not that I forgot them in the first place.

Believe me, I know there are worse things, but mommy wars are real. The movie Bad moms, the new T.V. sitcom American Housewife not so super far-fetched. Maybe it extends it a bit, but it is there. So long story short, I brought the hats. And on top of that I felt pretty damn good about it.

Of course now I am panicking because I volunteered to bring Rice Krispie treats for the Harvest Festival and I bought pre-made store-bought ones; really they don’t want me to make them, but crap were they supposed to by fancy home-made ones?!

bad-moms
original source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AWXNeMs9NG5osfXI60CdehkBxUIs9jiMSqlvaX1xGrZ104kyJghjE1s/

Yeah, first world problems I know. I know, really I do.

Anyway the day ended with mom fails #979, #980, #981 and #982. I mean there are no pictures because well, I forgot it was hat day.

Peace until next time,

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What matters…

What matters…

In a few short weeks I will be 39. There are always two ways to look at your life…as a success or as a work in progress. A big chunk of my life is a work in progress and I am okay with that.

I went to school to become a teacher. It’s what I did after I graduated from college fifteen years ago. I have two credentials and a Master’s Degree in Education. When the twins started kindergarten I was going to go back to my calling – teaching. I have been in sales for the last ten years and it has provided well for my family, but I thought that when the time came I would go back to do what I was trained to do.

Well this year I learned that I no longer want to be a teacher. It only took a couple of hours in a classroom to remind me of that. I definitely don’t see me teaching in a classroom any time soon.

As most of you know, I also started a side business about 3 years ago. Well this year it was really taking off. I thought that was great because I was helping people. I love helping people. But what I wasn’t noticing was the toll it was taking. Working both day and night my husband and I became passing ships, I was missing a mountain load of bed times, and I was starting to miss family vacations, family gatherings were missed or cut short, I no longer could meet friends or participate in book club, and last but not least I was in the worst physical shape of my life. What woke me up was a couple of rude, unfortunate readings and I snapped. I was done. I never wanted to go out into the night to a stranger’s house ever again to only be hounded or ridiculed or spoken to with little respect. I wasn’t ever going to take precious time away from my family or myself to do that again. You can’t pay me enough to make that happen.

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Original source – http://skinnyms.com/products/3-step-weight-loss-program/

My family has to come first. I don’t want to high-five my husband as he walks in the door at night so that I can walk out. I don’t want to come in late and kiss sleeping kids. If there is one thing that I know is a success in my life it is my family. My husband and my four kids are the most beautiful, wondrous gifts in my life and that is putting it mildly. The time where we are all together under one roof is precious and short.

They have to come first and I must have the health and energy to be there for them, so I took a step back and shut down my side business. A lot of people were unhappy, but I have to put my family first. Their happiness is what matters.

I know I recently wrote about God asking us to go into the dark and shine our light, but I also know God wants us to shine our light into our own families. That is something that is of the utmost importance.

This is what is right for me right now. The world can wait, but my family – my family can not wait one more second. They were super supportive, but it was taking its toll and I won’t let it any more.

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Original source https://www.facebook.com/mentorschannel/

So my 39th year may be most selfish, but I think it needs to be. I am going to continue to work my sales job that I never knew I wanted, but that has taught me more about myself and other people than I ever expected all the while providing for my family. I am going to pour myself into my family and last but not least take better care of me. That is what matters.

I can’t do all the things, but I can do the MOST important things. So I am going to do what matters most. The rest can wait.

Sincerely,

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Disconnected

Disconnected

Have you ever been in a crowd and still felt so alone? Have you ever been loved and had friends, but still felt so disconnected?

Almost four years ago I made a conscious choice to live out loud and be more vulnerable; be my authentic self inside and out. That has changed my life immensely. But I still struggle with friendships. I know there is baggage that makes me insecure with them. I haven’t been able to completely off load that yet, but I am pretty darn close. Yet, I still feel disconnected and lonely. So I have started to examine that more closely. Why am I feeling this way? What I am doing that causes this disconnect?

For one, small talk is my weakness. Asking about the weather or talking about topics across the surface is like nails running across a chalkboard for me. I love deep, meaningful conversation. Discussions about politics, relationships, creation, heaven, anything with substance is what I would prefer to talk about.

Most people like to keep things light. Not everyone is interested in sharing their whole heart in every conversation. Experience has taught me that oversharing and openness isn’t always well received. So instead of the open, happy, fierce little girl I used to be; I have bottled up my intensity. I often feel awkward in social situations. I am of two minds; I want to just share and be open; be me. But the other half of me knows this might be too much for the other person and I will suffer heartache and feel so dejected if the person shies away from me the next time I see them. So instead I have become socially awkward, saying hi, but then not knowing what to say next. Choosing instead to sit away from the group. I know I am not broken because I am too intense, too emotional, my too much-ness is just right. My too much-ness is just who I am. But sometimes this too much-ness leaves me feeling so lonely and disconnected.


Maybe we all feel this way. Maybe we all just really want to scoop people up in hugs and love them something fierce. If you watch children they are vulnerable and open and just run up and hug each other. They talk and play easily. They accept one another without question, until they are older and other people’s judgements have been handed down to them. But before that, in the innocent beginnings of childhood they just accept and love each other something fierce.
Maybe too, motherhood is just lonely. Maybe working motherhood is even lonelier. When your plate is so full with pick-ups, drop offs, housework, homework, laundry, cooking, email, conference calls, laundry (I know I said laundry again damn soccer jerseys and P.E. uniforms and favorite outfits that have to be cleaned and running out of underwear faster than you can keep up with) and practices, performances, games, and everything else in between just doesn’t leave time to make meaningful connections.

I try to make connections, but I just feel awkward, shaky, uncoordinated in my attempts. I can be me with others, but then I pull back worried my too much-ness will scare away the natives.

The smoothness of other people’s interactions boggles my mind. The ease with which they jump in and out of conversation, remember introductions, remember each other’s names even! I swear my mom brain decided people’s names are not necessary to its survival so every night when I sleep it deletes them. I have begged and pleaded with my mind to stop doing this, it is quite embarrassing and it is very detrimental to my interactions with other civilized people, but it is still not listening. So I watch in amazement with the ease of other  people’s conversations. And if I do connect; I make the mistake of sharing a story of how I relate. So stupid. Such a poor way to connect. But it’s what tumbles out of my mouth first because I am nervous, maybe even because I am so nervous about saying the wrong thing; it is what comes naturally for me – saying the wrong thing. So then I think throughout the whole conversation “don’t talk, don’t talk for the love of God woman stop talking.” It doesn’t always work. I have told you my mind doesn’t listen to my instructions. Sometimes I talk anyway against better judgement and then feel angst about it for days later.

Does this happen to you, too? Do you feel too much? Do you feel disconnected? Do you pull back as to not overwhelm others with how much you like them or want to know them?


I meet people and instantly know I want to be their very best friend. But as an adult that means getting to know them better, arranging interactions, all that takes time. I just want to scoop them up and say let’s be forever friends you and me right there on the spot. I want to be my childlike self and hug them on site every day. Go right to talking about the stuff that matters and just be friends without all the time spent getting acquainted. Time is short on this earth and I opt into the childlike way of making friends, but most adults aren’t as keen with that option and my too much-ness is over powering. So I decide instead to hold back and hide my intensity.

I have great friends; I have bonded and connected with amazing people. But I still hold back. I still feel awkward about showing up and being seen. Maybe it’s just time to let go and not worry about scaring people away because the right ones will stay. The right ones will stay and love you something fierce back.

Watch out people; this girl is done holding back. This girl is tired of feeling lonely and disconnected. Plus I think we need to all be loved something fierce right now, anyway. So I think I am going to do just that. You will be the first to know if it backfires on me. I will let you know how it goes. Watch out world here I come.


Sincerely,

Scared

Scared

In a weeks time I have written about bravery and grace and just being okay with the falls we experience in life and yet no matter how much I try there is an undercurrent of fear in my heart.

It’s okay to be scared right? Lately I am scared of everything. Okay longer than lately; it started when I was born. I think I was born with extra sensitivity to the world and somehow that made me more afraid of the world; well maybe not the world, but the energy and emotions in it.

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I am scared of the little and the big things.

For starters, I am scared that no matter how much I empty my heart and pour it into my writing that this blog will continue to be nothing more than a diary that is more important to me than anyone else, which is okay, but I want to be a writer so much it hurts. So much that sometimes I run and hide from my own writing and I don’t write because no matter how hard I try or much I write it will never be good enough for anyone else to read.

I am scared that no matter how much I know that God loves me and believes that I am enough;  I will never feel like I am enough. That the weight I continue to feel will only continue to grow – this weight that I feel has already manifested itself into the weight that I carry and I can feel myself waving the white flag as I am crushed somewhere underneath it all. I am scared that no matter how much I want to be seen; that no one really sees me at all.

I stopped watching the news a decade ago because if it hurt my heart then it definitely could damage my tiny son’s ears and heart, too. So off went the news, because I was so scared and my heart was so hurt by the toxins that spewed from it. There had to be better things to report. But now when we are praising men for sitting during our national anthem, when our police officers are seen as the criminals and men are shot in the street for the color of their skin and whole groups of people are killed around the world for their ethnicity or beliefs and our leaders seem filled with more darkness than light maybe there isn’t better news to report. And that is scary. So scary that when I think about the world I am terrified that no matter how kind I am or how much good I try to put into the world that the darkness in it will swallow me up whole and not just me, everything that I hold sacred; everything and everyone that I love.

Scared doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about being a parent. Failing seems to be the name of the game. I know I have taught them manners and I know they are the kids that will help other kids and be kind; that part of life I think they understand. They are really great kids. But this year my kindergarteners have been kicked, choked, pushed, shoved, yanked and called names with words I don’t even allow out of my own mouth. My daughter continues to try to navigate a place where mean is the norm. That scares the crap out of me. I have had to teach them how to fend for themselves and that shouldn’t even exist at their age. What in the heck is happening in the world that our children are behaving this way? This scares me to death. Haven’t we come to be a civilized people where we don’t have to fear for our lives every time we walk out into the world?

The chaos is gobbling up the innocence of our world. The chaos and darkness are pushing out the light at a fierce pace and I can’t help but feel helpless. And that terrifies me. How can I help my own children understand a world that scares the shit out of me? Scares me to the point that I can’t read the news anymore either, because what I read leaves me shaky and nauseous.

Yesterday as we drove home from school the kids started to talk about how they feel things they can’t see. How the current of energy runs through them. Other people’s energy. This scares me to death. They are like me, extra feel-y. I still struggle with not letting other people’s energy invade my space, my emotions, my thoughts. How am I going to teach my littles not only how to fend off actual physical threats but also emotional, maybe even spiritual ones too? They feel this same unbalanced chaotic energy in the world that I do and can’t explain how or why it is hurting them.

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I know we have to go forward and love one another and do good and continue to live our lives to the fullest and that the darkness wins when we feel fear, but sometimes that isn’t enough to stop me from feeling it. Sometimes I am engulfed in fear and feel shaky all day.

I know people who the absolute worst has happened in their lives and they continue to take one step forward; sometimes because life forces them to, but they do it. I am inspired by that and I know that despite my fear that I will continue on as I have been and do my best to do good any way, but I feel better admitting the fear.

Maybe if we are afraid together something good can come of that. Maybe acknowledging the fear leads to a way to face those things we fear and conquer them. Maybe…

Scared but hopeful,

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Teaching them to fall

Teaching them to fall

One of my kiddos is obsessed with monkey bars right now. He has to try out the monkey bars at every park, no matter the height or complexity.

This triggers my panic and fear index – reflex – whatever it is; it freaks me the hell out!

I am a worrier. It is a trait that has plagued me forever – seriously I have worried about everything my whole life. I have worried about what I wear, who likes me, if I stink, about my skills as a human, you name it I have worried about it.

Now, being a parent you know that when you have kids you worry about everything times a gazillion. You put them to sleep and check to see if they are still breathing a hundred times. You hope you are feeding them enough of the best, healthiest foods. Will goldfish at every meal damage their brains? That is a rhetorical question by the way. You drop them off at school and you worry…

Will they have friends?

Will they be treated with respect?

Can they handle peer pressure?

Will they eat their lunch?

Will they get the help they need?

What if they get lost?

Will they be a good friend?

Will they choose kindness when it comes to others?

Did I read to them enough?

Maybe we should have listened to more classical music?

Maybe I should have fed them more Omega 3s?

And on and on and on…

So where were we? Oh yeah, I know monkey bars.

Monkey bars seem like no big deal, but they are up high and I worry. Kids are letting go one hand at a time and dangling! Dangling above the ground at arm breaking height mind you.

So after several monkey bar attempts and a park that has 3 sets of monkey bars – seriously why so many different kinds of death-defying obstacles at a park? Who created this jungle gym of terror? Those big chips of wood underneath- who the hell thought that was good landing material? 

But I digress. Any how, I got tired of feeling my own panic and trying to remain calm on the outside. Isn’t that the life of a parent or a human at all – calm on the outside, melty panic on the inside. Which then makes me think of chocolate and then makes me wish for M&M’s. Then I thank God there isn’t chocolate nearby because I am a stress eater and I would eat all of the chocolate at this death park.

Again I digress. But that is when I had an AH HA moment! (Yes, thank you Oprah for giving me the words for the moment when a life changing idea hits my brain.) This scenario I am in isn’t about being careful or worry or panic; he is going to fall. We are all going to fall. So instead of worrying about the fall; I need to plan ahead, I need to teach him how to fall.

So I proceeded to walk him through what to do when he felt like he needed to let go or when his hands got slippery.

“It’s okay to fall,” I say.

“Just let go. It isn’t that far to the ground,” I continue.

“Just fall like this,” I show a soft release and hop to the ground landing on my feet.

“Just do your best to land on your feet,” I finish.

Oh my gosh you guys!!! You guys!!! Did you hear that?! It is okay to fall. We don’t have to be afraid to fall.

While this logic applied to his monkey bar stunts, and worked extremely well I may add. He kept monkey bar-ring on without incident. This logic also applied to life. He might stumble in life, but it is okay. We can stumble, no big deal!

Like a roller coaster – life is full of these wild twists and turns. (I know I went from monkey bars to roller coaster, but bear with me. Both analogies fit what I am talking about here.) We may see them coming, but until we go through it we don’t know what it will be like. But if we buckle in and know the twists are there then maybe we will just roll through better. Maybe we won’t be so panic-stricken or uptight. I mean who goes through a roller coaster with every hair in place, and all their grace in tact?

When we embrace the fall and let it come then the ride might be a bit more enjoyable. We can be less afraid and worried all the time.

We are going to be okay.

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We are.

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So maybe falling is part of it; falling, getting back up, moving forward, balance, step, step, stumble, step. Maybe instead of all the worry and fighting against the current maybe we just accept the awkward, stumbling and recognize the beauty in that – maybe when we do that we will reduce the amount of pressure in our lives and feel free to explore and try new things. Maybe we will feel more free and able to connect. Maybe we feel free to love ourselves and show ourselves to the world because a fall is just a fall after all.

I don’t know all the answers, but I do know that teaching him how to fall made us both feel a whole lot better.

Your breakable, flawed, stumbling friend,

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Big mistakes and bravery

Several years ago I started to disarm myself. Piece by piece I set down my armor. I came out of hiding and decided in order to live fully I must be seen fully. That is why I started this blog and even named it “afourytale” – a fairy tale; four kids – a..four..ytale…get it.

I didn’t want the cliché version of a fairytale; I wanted to rewrite the standard fairytale. Fairytales aren’t beautiful stories with happy endings. Fairytales are messy, unkept, broken stories that do not always have perfect endings. When I read how the little mermaid really ended in her becoming foam on the ocean; my heart crumpled. But I think we need to rewrite these stories with more modern versions of truth. Fairytales are our lives – they are hard, broken, beautiful, messy, lonely, noisy, colorful tales of truth and vulnerability.

I wanted to share that even with all of the mess that life can bring our perspective can create that story into a fairytale. And in order to do that; I was going to have to set down my armor and show all the sides of myself and my life. I couldn’t hide behind perfectionism any more. I didn’t want to be seen as perfect anymore. In fact I had come to despise that word and every time someone would describe me that way I would cringe. I had to shed the armor and leave perfectionism behind me.

Now disarming myself and shedding my armor is something I have found that I have to relearn on a regular basis. My default button is to run and hide. It is so much easier to grab my armor, steel myself and let things bounce off of me and not feel.

After three years of constantly setting down my armor a strange thing has happened. Now when I try on my mask and armor it doesn’t fit right. Something feels askew.

Each time I try to put on my armor or retreat to its steely protection I hear loud and clear these words from the Universe: “Fear not. Remember.”

When I hear these words I set down my armor and go out into the world feeling extremely unprepared, totally naked and yet fully alive. I let what comes hit me and instead of retreating I feel each inch of it and decide not to let others dictate how I feel about something, but to define it for myself.

For instance, yesterday I was called selfish. It stung. It hurt fiercely. But I decided instead of retreating, instead of hiding my hurt, to fully listen to how it was said and decide for myself – is that how I define me?

I take things personally. Does that make me selfish? No, it makes me human. I do not have to change that I take things personally. I am a person after all. I just need to make sure the person that I am talking to; knows that I am hearing them as well.

I am not selfish. My truth is that I am kind, super extra feely, and that being personal and feeling everything that comes at me is how I best process the world. If I just allow myself to feel only what other people expect me to and to only react the way other people expect me to, then I am right back in my armor and that is not how I want to live my life.

Being brave is setting down your armor and being your true self. Brene Brown uses the Teddy Roosevelt quote about going out into the arena:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

Life is the arena; where we show up leaving our armor behind and let our blood and sweat show for all to see. When we do that we can become connected to one another. We can also become whole. We become fully alive.

Why am I telling you all this? I tend to make mistakes on a large-scale. I tend to make mistakes that affect other people and not just myself. Not on purpose mind you. I go in with my whole heart and do my very best. Daring greatly if you will. But I have also learned that if something doesn’t feel right then it isn’t something you should keep doing no matter what.

About a month ago I tried to do something I thought I always wanted; only to find that it didn’t fit anymore. It wasn’t who I was any longer; it was only who I thought I was. It was a part of me that fit into my armor. And since I can’t wear my armor anymore without feeling completely ridiculous and askew; this activity didn’t fit me either. I had to say, “No thank you; this isn’t what I want.” It was hard. It was scary. It was also just right for me. Being brave sometimes means saying no thank you, that’s not for me even when everyone else is watching.

And last but not least, being brave also means asking for help. A group of my friends decided to get together. I couldn’t fathom trying to join them. I felt like bad company and thought it would just be a bad idea to go. “No one wants to see me any way. I won’t be missed,” I thought.

The words of the universe stirred in me again…”Fear not. Remember”… and I began to reevaluate my thoughts. Ah-ha! There I go again defining myself using other people’s ideas. What do I want? What is best for me? And my answer changed. I wanted to go. I was still scared and nervous that I would chicken out at the last-minute. I know some of you think this rather silly to be scared of your own tribe, but letting myself be seen by the people I love is terribly difficult, because what if they woke up today and decide they don’t like me anymore. They can see all of me now and if they don’t like me after they have seen everything then what? Fear of pain, fear of rejection still creeps into my soul and takes away my courage to be seen.

So instead of retreating and hiding – my default – I sent them a group text. “Guys, I want to go tonight. But I am scared I will decide to hide here at home instead. Can someone please come pick me up so I can’t back out.” And guess what; someone came and picked me up. Everyone rallied behind me. Everyone understood.

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I can’t live in my armor anymore. I have to live in the arena. My soul is the only thing that feels true any more. Just because my armor doesn’t  fit doesn’t stop me from trying to slink back into it mind you.

Armor has many names…perfectionism, fear, hatred, addiction – the things we use to numb are armor. The things we use to hide ourselves it is all armor. You have to know what your armor is to know how to take it off and set it down.

I have had many people comment on my courage and bravery the last year and I never thought this was me. “I am just a girl,” I say. “I am just trying to take the next best step for me.” But I have taken time to define bravery for myself.

Being brave is….

not letting fear dictate your choices

not defining who you are by other people’s standards

taking your next right step

remembering who you are

remembering to ask for help

setting your armor down and stepping into the arena unprepared, raw and wide open.

I guess by that definition I am brave. But I am also just a girl trying to take the next right step. But I am not doing it in the quiet darkness, steeled against the world. I am doing it here, and in the arena, and out in the open for all to see. Some days that feels really difficult, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. So here is to big mistakes and bravery because I have more to make and more to learn.

Fear not.Remember –

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Legit

My heart is heavy tonight as I write my life lessons post for late June/half way through July, but I still felt this need to write so here I am.

I am going to start with the heavy.

We need to pray people…

France, Dallas, Baton Rouge, the whole globe. We need to take a moment and pray.

We ate out tonight and the family at the table next to us bowed their heads and prayed and offered gratitude before their meal. I was struck by how this simple act was so profound and healing.

We need to pray.

We need to lean in together and pray. No color, all religious preferences, all sexual orientations, just gather as humans and pray for one another.

And now on to the lighter side of things just because I feel like if I keep thinking about the heavy and the world my children may inherit if things don’t change I don’t know what…

Where does the title legit come from? Well, I have this awesome friend, Cristal and she is always saying how things are “legit” and well life lessons and life in general are just legit; I mean you can’t get more real than every day life.

We need to laugh people…

Laughter is truly the best medicine for the soul. We need to laugh and play and just enjoy the moments that we do have when we can. (Sometimes you have kids crying and shit is legit and you cannot laugh at that moment, but you will laugh later and that is the thing to remember…laugh when you can laugh). For example, one of the twins locked themselves in the bathroom 4 years ago and then seriously did it again this week. I was quick to laugh because I learned from that first lesson and that nifty little key to unlock the door this time was a life saver.

But a couple of suggestions if I may…

Download Snap Chat and play with it. My son thinks I am whack because I don’t post anything on Snap Chat, I have it just for the filters. And I say so what?! Because seriously I have never laughed so hard. And really do I need another place to post crap?

 

Because that is too legit to quit…am I right?

And play like a kid because sometimes it is just freeing and fun…

Billy Beez, I highly recommend it. It’s legit.

The family that dabs together stays together…

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Enough said, because they did this over and over and over and laughed and laughed.

Even dogs get excited to order Starbucks…

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Seriously, I think that dog ordered a latte and a lemon scone. I hope he paid for the car behind him, because random acts of kindness are legit.

Wear the crazy leggings…

So I know, LuLaRoe is kinda cray, cray the way people hunt and shop and talk about unicorns. You don’t have to get sucked all the way in…but those buttery soft leggings, I mean, I pull those on and I feel 12 all over again. It’s the 90s with Full House and Rave Hairspray. And that is worth $25 and a little embarrassment when you are wearing them at the grocery store right?

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But mostly do what it takes to get through…

Life is not fair. I know I have first world problems, but I empathize and understand that a lot of people do not. I know that things can be so hard. I deal with death on a daily basis and I know first hand what shattered lives look like. I know. I do.

I think we each have to do what we can to get through. To find our way.

For me, it’s knowing that I will teach my children to leave a place better than you found it, use their manners, do their best, chase their dreams and always help the person up behind them. To listen to other people’s stories.

I will work to make sure they take responsibility for their actions and pitch in and help out wherever they can. To teach them understanding and compassion in a world that so desperately needs it. And mostly to love them. But also to love my life and set the example. To be a person who shows not tells. To be a person that is afraid, but lives life any way.

And these sweet faces help keep me legit. Two of these faces turn 6 tomorrow. Two of these faces are closer to being a teen than a kid. All five of these faces are the best parts of my life. All five of these faces can drive me absolutely bat shit crazy and at the same time make my heart explode with adoration and unconditional love. These five faces get me through each day…

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Until next time,

Michelle