Pep Talk Part 2

Pep Talk Part 2

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

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

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

What am I talking about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

So onward I write…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Almost died

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

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

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

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

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

put yourself on the list

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

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

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

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

A) Can you do more than you did yesterday?

B) How do you feel?

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

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

Copy of Almost died

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pep Talk Please

Pep Talk Please

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

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

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

you are awesome

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

YOU ARE ENOUGH

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

YOU ROCK AS A PARENT

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

YOU LOOK GREAT TODAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go get it,

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Life out loud

Life out loud

“You need to forget what society has told you about life and expectations, and don’t let anybody make you pretend. You are enough, just the way you are…”

                                                                                                        – Maddie Dawson

I think the majority of us probably spend too much time in our heads; wrapped up in our own lives. The magic starts to happen outside of ourselves. It’s hard to believe sometimes because pain is out there, too. But it’s true. Truer than true.

You have to be brave to show up as you are without a mask and to open your whole self up to the world and be damned what comes flinging back at you. That is not an easy feat, nor for the faint of heart. But it is required to live life out loud. It is just the way it is.

Michelle Murnin Paulson (3)

Even though it can be scary and the armor feels necessary it is best if we keep going out without it. It is best if we keep showing up as ourselves; brave and open. You will find your people, and you will find the people who aren’t yours. Keep and love your people and let the others ones go. It is okay. If they are meant to be, they will come back.

We can get easily discouraged, too. Get wounded and retreat. Lick our wounds and decide the world is just much too much to be out in it without any armor to shield our soft and easily pierce-able hearts. Some people stay in that place of retreat for the rest of their lives; they get so wounded. They start to believe they are damaged. That isn’t true. No one is so injured they can’t find some healing. Anything is possible. That is true, too. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have seen a mama bury her baby and then rise again. I have seen that happen more often than I ever wanted. I have seen heartbreak up close. Heartbreak so big that it starts to swallow you up with it and then somehow on a day down the road the same heartbreak finds laughter. Laughter that burns so bright it catches everyone within earshot and lifts them up with it.

Healing is hard. Healing is forever work, and sometimes we need rest from healing, and we get so cozy and comfortable we forget we need to go back to that healing work. When we forget that we should keep up that healing work; the universe gets involved.

It really can stick its ugly head into things and make a great big mess, and it is almost impossible sometimes to go clean it up after you have been so cozy and relaxed in the pleasant little rut you had carved out for yourself. So sometimes, people don’t clean anything up. They just leave that mess and live there because they already have had just about enough; thank you very much. So they sit right there and stay in that mess. They learn to cope and survive in that clutter and debris until they just can’t see it anymore.

And sometimes no matter where you might be or what mess you might have left lying around just a little too long; you wake up and decide today is the day, and you get right back to the work of healing. It feels so good to stretch your legs finally and climb out of that rut that you are so enamored with the way the world looks you don’t mind the healing work at first. It is okay that it is hard. Then one day, BAM! It is like the cycle is right back where you started and you remember how hard this thing called life can be. It makes you want to give up right then and there. And maybe you do, just for a little bit. It is okay to take a rest after all. But after a few days or weeks you pick yourself right back up and dust yourself off and start out again. Sometimes rest clears our vision just a bit and we can keep at it a little bit longer.

Copy of Michelle Murnin Paulson

You know, one thing that I have figured out so far is that life is going to happen however and whenever it wants no matter what we do. The best thing is to try again; even if we fall, even if we get comfortable, even if we are knocked down by the big old universe because we weren’t paying attention. The best thing to do is to keep at the healing work and keep unlearning and learning and re-learning what works best for us at the moment.

Copy of Copy of Michelle Murnin Paulson

Some things are seasonal and temporary, and others are built to last through thick and thin; through ugly crying and even some yelling; those things may even take a break, but they never really leave us because they were built to last after all.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Michelle Murnin Paulson

And most importantly, don’t forget to love yourself along the way. A great deal of us forget that part. We love our people fierce and well, but then we stop one day and realize we forgot our own hearts somewhere along the way. Remember that taking care of yourself helps you take care of those you love, too. Hearts are resilient creatures; once they are remembered they seem to find a way to start to refresh themselves even if we fight it.

Live out loud. It is worth every second. Even when you are lonely and lost. Even when you don’t think you can for one more second. Even if you have stopped for a while; go back again and be loud, be you. In the end, it leaves your life fuller and more well-rounded. It strips away the fear and unnecessary and what is left overfills every second of every space across all of your time here and you will look around on the good days and know that you are and have always been right where you need to be. And you will look around on the bad days, and you will know you have always been right where you needed to be.

Today is the day. Set your armor down and try again or keep plugging away or lift your head a bit to see if you can look out of the rut you might have curled and cozied into. Today is the day to be you out loud for the world to see. Let love lead your heart and guide your feet, and you will always know the way.

Until next time,

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Hidden in plain sight

Hidden in plain sight

Ready…set…run.

Ready…set…hide.

Ready…set…blend.

Ready…set…invisible.

These are my default.

If you were to meet me or see me out and about after just knowing me from my blog I think you would be surprised. I am the girl who stands away from the crowd. I am the one who doesn’t speak up. The first to arrive and the first to leave a party. And if you do get close enough; if you do get in I find myself making sure there is distance…sliding just a little out of reach.

-Solitude matters, and for some people it's the air they breathe.-

It’s not that I am afraid of anyone seeing me; really seeing me. I don’t ever hide anything about myself anymore and what people think doesn’t keep me awake at night either; I barely give it a second thought, but I think it is knowing that if I do let you in that there is the possibility of hurt. The hurt that comes when someone I would like as a friend may decide I am not worth keeping. I don’t know; maybe it’s just the introvert in me. Needing distance. Needing space.

“I_m very picky with whom I give my energy to. I prefer to reserve my time, intensity and spirit exclusively to those who reflect sincerity.”

There are people who I trust. People who are my safe landing-place. I have lost friends like these in the past; the relationship falling out from under my feet. No ledge to cling to, just dropping and flailing after being on stable ground. Maybe that’s the feeling I am trying to avoid.

Or maybe it is that lately, I wonder if some people want to know the real me or the medium me. Knowing a medium is interesting; knowing a small town girl who stands in the corner; not so much.

I don’t know why I keep the distance or add it to a relationship. I don’t know why my default is run, but it is. If something goes wrong I shut down. I hide away and avoid confrontation; unless it is about my kids then I will speak up. That mama bear instinct triggers my temper and I can say things I normally wouldn’t. Other than that I am the girl who likes to hide in plain sight. I am most comfortable there. In view, but not attracting attention.

As we have settled in this small town over the last six years there are people who I have grown to love. I love them something fierce. Maybe that’s what makes me keep my distance, being afraid how much I love them will scare them away. So instead I try to act lukewarm so they don’t think I am too overboard with affection.

I know I have written here about letting that love shine and just scooping people up, and I do try to do that, but my default kicks back in and I create a distance. Distance becomes my security blanket.

Writing my thoughts out here I thought might untangle them and make them clear. Maybe it will, maybe this is just the beginning to unravelling them. Maybe I am just supposed to accept this about myself and the people who accept it become my tribe; make up my safe landing-place. But part of me wants to be not so far in the corner, just a little more out in front. A part of me wants to embrace those I love with full force. Maybe I will and my default will change. Maybe I thought I had already changed my default.

I don’t know.

I'm not ditching my running shoes just yet.

Not ditching my running shoes just yet,

Worry, fate and signs from heaven

Worry, fate and signs from heaven

There are moments when I am alone with my thoughts and usually that is a good thing, but sometimes my mind starts to stir with worry. Usually I am pretty good about focusing back in on the present. I know it isn’t healthy to live in the past or too far in the future, but to focus right here in the present. But today my mind wandered to my family. I started to think about my grandparents. Missing them, but that turned my thoughts toward my own future.

Both of my grandmothers had strokes and Alzheimer’s. My mom’s mom had early onset Alzheimer’s and for twelve years she lived with this disease. It struck right at the onset of her retirement; just after all 6 kids were out and on their own. I know it could not have been easy for her. But what I know more than anything is that it would have hurt her so much more to see those she loved in pain. She put everyone else before herself. She was selfless and kind. She was one of the best women I have ever known.

When we had the twins she had already passed and I longed to call her and ask her how she maintained her sanity with six kids. I only had four and I felt like I was barely holding it together. I wanted her advice so badly.

As fate would have it, I I did get the chance to ask my grandfather about her; about how she managed to keep it all together raising six kids the last time I saw him. The twins weren’t even in the picture yet, but somehow I had the wherewithal to ask. He told me he would get home from work and without saying anything she would just go get in the car and drive. He laughed as he said it. He said he always wondered if she would come home.

So there were days as the twins were older about 18 months, Brian would get home and I would just get in the car and drive. Drive and pray to her that I was doing enough; pray for her guidance to watch over me as a parent. To help me through. To know if she lost her cool, to see if she had tricks and tips on how she split herself into so many directions. I wanted to raise my kids to be as kind, honest, and loving as she had raised hers to be.

During this time I dyed my hair dark brown because I didn’t want to have to color it as much. After seeing me a few times, my aunt told me how much I reminded her of my grandma, that having my hair darker I even kind of looked like her. Well if that wasn’t just the greatest compliment I could ever receive!

Over the past six years, I have had some medical hiccups. They can’t pin point any one thing to be wrong, but my whole body is out of whack and we are still trying to figure it out. About six months ago, a growth started on my nose.

The growth turned out to be noncancerous, it is what young children and infants have – we always called them strawberry birthmarks. The technical term is hemangioma and it is a noncancerous collection of blood vessels. It is rare in adults. My grandmother had a growth on her nose that was removed, my mom said she would have likely been my age. I remembered the zigzagged white scar she hated so much, but that I loved because it was a part of her. Sure enough it most likely was the same type of growth.

Thinking about her today, I wondered that if I am like her I have sixteen years until early onset. Sixteen years of a life of remembering. I don’t want my family to see that. I don’t want them to have to take care of me like that. So I started praying to her again. To God. Please don’t let my family suffer that fate, please give them more time. Don’t make them have to watch that. Don’t make my parents have to watch that again. How awful that would be. I know that I can endure anything, but I don’t want that for them. I have seen it and I don’t want that for them.

Do not ask me to remember

As soon as I said my last word of my prayer a white fluffy feather floated past my windshield at the stop sign. I thought there is no way that is a sign even though I have started finding feathers like that recently, still I shrugged it off. The next stop sign there was a hummingbird that hovered above my car. My dad’s dad always sends hummingbirds. The next stop sign a blue jay flew right in front of my car from one tree to the next. My other grandmother sends me blue jays. And I started to think that my fate will be different.

Those signs hopefully will spur me to learn whatever I can and get off my butt and work harder to do what I have to, to out run that fate. Those signs from heaven reminded me that I have a good team up there looking out for me. They will take care of my family and me. They will help us.

These signs gave me hope. These signs helped me realize I do not want to go down without giving myself the best possible chances. So I need to take better care of myself. I think that means more changes and better will power, but there is a damn good reason for me to make those things happen. That isn’t the future I want for my kids and I definitely want to know my grandchildren.

Morbid post I know, but I write here for me to release those things that roll around in my brain. To work through my fears so that I can face them and deal with them. That’s all. I just need to come here to let it all out.

Sunset

Thanks for reading if you got this far and don’t worry about me; just venting a fear that wraps hold of my heart from time to time. Today heaven sent me lots of signs to let me know my prayers are heard and that I am loved and cared for. My angels were there to let me know not to worry and to just live.

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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,


 

Life breathers

Life breathers

In a world that always has fire-breathing dragons we need life-breathers, too.

Yesterday was like any other day; work steadily flowing in and projects to complete, kids to love and instruct, bickering to manage, meals to prepare, guilt and stress to squelch, and of course the echoes of the outside world that sneak into our lives via radio and TV. But as life does there were some pretty amazing moments yesterday and a wonderful visit from a beautiful, sincere friend. Those are the life breathers, the moments that give my life the pick up that it needs, the moments that matter more than the noise.

Lately the world has been super topsy-turvy. But, somewhere in the world it has always been super topsy-turvy. I am like you though, I feel a bit like my nerve endings are open to the world and when I watch the news or read an article about politics I am left feeling anxious and disappointed and saddened by those people in the world whose poor choices hurt other people.

The thing that gives me hope are life breathers, the moments and people who remind me that there is love, courage, kindness, and just plain good in the world. For me yesterday when things were getting a bit crazy and I had sat at the computer long enough and the kids had bickered long enough, I dragged them on a bike ride. My daughter was less than happy about it to say the least.

As we peddled along, and she sulked along, her brothers began to laugh and smile in the open air. I praised their attitudes and got a, “WOW, mom! You are the worst mom ever!” It stung, it always does. But, then it also made me laugh. If I am getting under her skin and holding her accountable for her behavior I am doing my job. And for a moment I thought about how so many moms and dads, grandpas, grandmas, aunts, and uncles are all trying to do their job giving a child the things they need even when it is tough love so that the world can be filled with people who are compassionate, thoughtful, responsible, and well just plain good.

That in itself was a life breather, that thought filled me with hope for our world, reminded me that there is so much good out there.

We came home and my parents stopped by. They are leaving on a cruise and wanted to give the boys their birthday gifts. Just watching them interact with the boys and the joy everyone had at just being together…that was a life breather. And to top it off, the goofy moment when I was trying to get the Spiderman silly string figured out so that it would spray correctly and accidentally squirted it right at my dad’s face and the ceiling; that was a life breather. We both laughed so hard. It felt good to laugh that hard. Life is funny and that is a life breather. We need to laugh.

We sent them on their way and I filled the dinner table with plates of food I prepared; a home-cooked meal, and that was a life breather. Sitting all together as a family over food I prepared. It felt good to breathe in that life moment. It buoyed me up and reminded me how to let the little things carry the same weight as the big things, maybe even more sometimes. I tend to let my mistakes carry the most weight; in fact sometimes I think my actual body weight is proportional to the guilt I feel about what I mess up in life. It is important to allow the moments of success fill you up, too.

At at the end of the evening my dear, wonderfully vulnerable, honest and real friend came by in her pajamas. I was in heaven. That was such a life breather. She had a terrible, horrible, no good bad day and came to seek a few moments of refuge with little old me; I was almost in tears I felt so honored and thankful. We talked until midnight. Sitting and talking with her reminded me just how much people need other people. We need to be seen and loved and lifted up; it breathes life into us like nothing else can. It puts the fires out when we stop and see one another. When we stop and listen to each other’s stories and offer meaningful exchange, we change the world for the better.

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The bottom line is that life breathers can be little moments of happiness, peace, joy, sanctuary, ah-ha moments, or life breathers can be other people who love us unconditionally or the best part is we can be a life breather for someone else, or everyone else we meet.

Now, I know no one is perfect and thank goodness we aren’t. We would never learn anything or be even the slight bit interesting if everyone were perfect. The point being, we can’t always be life breathers, everyone once in a great while can have a fire-breathing dragon moment, that is just the way it is. But if we are life breathers most of the time what a wonderful world it would be; and what a wonderful world it is because if we really stop and pay attention and drown out the noise of the media saying, “Look here, look here” and we chose to look for the life breathers instead of the fire breathing dragons; I think you will find what I have found, there are way more life breathers in the world; way more.

In a world that always has fire-breathing dragons we need life breathers, too.

Until next time,

me

The other side of a reading…guest post by Katrina

The other side of a reading…guest post by Katrina

My friend, Katrina, is to put it mildly…amazing. She recently attended a writing retreat where she was asked to write about a life changing experience/person and she chose to write about a reading she had with me. I thought it might be interesting for you to read about a reading from the other side of the table. The following is a guest post by Katrina.

katrinaI’m sitting at my kitchen table, photographs splayed out across its scratched wooden laminate surface. My friend Michelle sits opposite me, furrowing her brow and deep in thought. If anyone had come across us,we looked like we were in the middle of a scrapbooking jam.

When Michelle speaks, it’s clear we are not creating a collage from my photos.

“Your uncle really loves this photo. He wants you to remember him like this. He was really happy on his wedding day and he’s proud of his beautiful head of hair.”

I laugh as I look at the 1977 photo of him with a beautiful head of blonde hair, wearing a white tuxedo with bellbottom flared trousers; I stop as I remember the last image I saw of his head as he lay in his coffin at the funeral home: shiny, cold, and rigid.

Disbelief claws its way into my mind but quickly dissipates as Michelle goes on to tell me more messages my uncle has for me, ranging from comical to mundane to knowing some of my deeply personal and never before verbalized thoughts.

The week before Michelle and I were having lunch when the topic of ghosts came up. She says she believes in them. I say I don’t, but I press her for more information out of curiosity. She confesses she has been able to see, hear, and talk to spirits since she can remember. She’s never told me this before and I am flattered she trusts me with such a vulnerable confession. Michelle goes on, telling me she has learned to switch it off and would prefer to live her life without that being a part of it. I ask her some more questions and we say goodbye.

Two days later Michelle calls me to say that our lunch conversation temporarily opened her to spirit communication and there’s a man who is adamant he speak to me. He gives no other details other than his appearance – a full head of blonde hair and some bellbottom pants. Those details don’t ring any bells in my consciousness and I tell her than man must be there for someone else. I hear her pause, then say, “He didn’t want to have to show me this, but he’s showing me a tree was involved in his death.”

Tears fill my eyes as I instantly connect this is my Uncle LaDon, who died unexpectedly in a freak accident two years ago when I was six months pregnant with my daughter. He had been pruning a large tree when a massive branch fell at just the right angle to his unprotected head, killing him instantly.

I rarely speak of him so Michelle has never heard me talk of his death. I carry grief from losing him and guilt from not seeing him more the last time I had the chance ; those feelings are still fresh and cut me at my core.

As I look back across Michelle across my kitchen table, I’m struck by how “normal” she looks but what incredible things are coming from her mouth. Good friends since starting graduate school together four years prior, I see her as my peer in many ways – a mom, an elementary school teacher, a wife, and a fun friend to play Bunco with. But she clearly has an amazing gift as well.

Michelle delivers messages that evening from my uncle that validate our close bond, that tell me he’s with me all the time, that he’s happy in his new existence, and he loves me. The guilt I had previously carried in my soul dissipates, with an almost physical feeling of weight lifting off me. I still feel sad I can’t see him, but my grief is transformed knowing he’s still with me.

Michelle nervously looks at me across the table as we finish the reading and says, “I never know if I’m just imagining all this stuff or not.” I am in awe of what she is able to do and wonder how she can possibly doubt herself after being spot on about every single thing she said to me over the past two hours. My whole belief system has just been challenged and awakened in the most significant way it ever could be. In my heart I know this is just the beginning of her journey to embrace her gifts, continuing to transform my life and changing the lives of others for years to come.

Thank you, Katrina for sharing your experience.

Until next time,

Michelle

You are only given one spark of madness

You are only given one spark of madness

“You are only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

– Robin Williams

Even as I type this fear grips me, I am breaking out in a sweat and my fingers shake. Getting out of bed this week has been harder than it’s been in three months. The horror that depression won this week rattled me. I know I wasn’t alone. Those suffering from depression all had the same selfish thought at the news of Robin Williams’ death; the monster won, the disease won. It doesn’t matter if you have fame, fortune, love, adoration, success; depression will eat you alive.

It is hard for those that don’t have depression to understand. I have heard people talk of his selfishness –

“How can someone leave all their family behind?”

“How could someone do that to the people they love?”

I am so glad that those of use with mental illness are speaking up and letting our vulnerabilities shine this week. Those of us suffering are your best friends, mothers, daughters, sons, fathers, and neighbors. If we all speak up together, those that think they are better off in hiding will know it is okay to show themselves and get help in their fight.

Here’s the skinny for those still struggling to understand depression:

Our brains don’t work the same as everyone else’s.

Our brains tear us down from the inside out.

We feel alone in a crowded room full of people who love us, even when the crowd is there to celebrate us.

We are terrified to get out of bed in the morning, even on the best days because each day is a battle with ourselves.

We logically know that sounds crazy.

We logically know you can choose happiness.

We logically know that there is medicine, hotlines, doctors, friends, and support groups.

But when the deepest, darkest days of depression hit none of the logical thoughts matter. The logical side of our brains aren’t winning those days. The part that presses us down; the part that devours our goodness and light; that is the part of our brain that is winning those days. That part of our brain thinks we are a drain on those around us, that the world is better off and no amount of logic outweighs the feeling of worthlessness that consumes us.

Even when you are winning the battle against depression; it still whispers in the corners of your brain. It hides on the edges of your happiness. It is never really gone.

Lately, my battle with depression has been easier, but I am literally scared to death of the day it isn’t easy again. That the dark days will come roaring back. They do that, you know, sneak right up on you out of the middle of nowhere. The news the world heard this week only made that fear more tangible. I have actually felt depression in the air, breathed in its thick venomous fumes.

There was some relief for support and awareness that depression is what caused a great man to lose his life this week. The relief that the stigma of mental illness is easing a bit. However, in the conversations and opinion articles I have also heard that stigma and misunderstanding that has existed for eons still rearing its ugly head. I wasn’t going to weigh in on this topic this week, but I think the more of us that show our faces – the faces of depression, OCD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post traumatic distress disorder, postpartum depression and mental health disorders; the more the world will begin to understand. The more acceptable it will become to get help; to take that step away from fear and reach out into the world for assistance.

I have taken my Lexapro this week like it was a life saving elixir. I have thanked the gods of medicine over and over. I have never been more grateful for those few milligrams of magic brain saving goodness.

Looking forward 30 years though, when my house is quiet and the pattering of little feet filled with joy have moved on with their lives and I will be left to my thoughts more than ever is unnerving. When my book still sits unpublished or even if I am surrounded with success, but I still feel alone in a crowded room, I pray that my demons of worthlessness are not greater than me. I pray that every day. I pray that my own inner spark of madness does more good that harm.

The best way to honor the man who lost his battle this week is to speak out. To remind those still suffering and fighting the fight that you are not alone. To help one other remember that you can seek help; even on your darkest days. There is a safety in numbers my friend and there are a mighty good number of us in this fight against depression. We have each other if nothing else.

Getting help was the best thing I ever did. Please get help if you need it. If you know that someone needs help, gently offer it. We can help the world recognize that mental illness is just that, an illness. It is an illness that takes lives like any other illness. Be kind to each other because after all that matters most.

Letting my spark of madness shine today,

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A wish come true…

Cousins
Cousins

Today was so much fun! I had wished and dreamed for a day to spend with my cousins. A couple of weeks ago my cousin asked if I would want to go to the wine stroll with her and my other cousin. I didn’t want to sound too desperate so I casually said sure, when what I was thinking inside was, “YES! YES! Of course. CAN’T WAIT!”

See I don’t get to see my cousins very often (most of them live out-of-state) and I am the oldest of 19. I don’t get asked to join them often.

It was such a nice day. Sunny and casual. I loved spending time with them. We talked about all kinds of things. It was just so pleasant to be in their company. Plus I got dressed in real clothes – not my regular yoga pants – and I wore make up. It was really a big deal.

Just in case you are wondering, a local wine stroll consisted of local wineries setting up booths downtown and we were able to go from station to station tasting wine. I am not a big wine drinker, but I do like white wines and many of the stations had white wine.

I also ran into family friends and my sweet Stella & Dot stylist that helps with the Holiday Cheer. We were both wearing our go to CAbi clothes and if you haven’t heard of CAbi my dear friends get your GOOGLE on and check it out. These are clothes you can only get through a stylist. Like remember when your mom had an AVON lady – you need a CAbi stylist it is of the utmost importance. CAbi clothes fit all sizes and shapes and look fabulous. They are a little pricey, but last foreves. They beat out my Target wardrobe any day. But I digress…

Moms of four don’t get out much so this was really a special treat. Being with my cousins was the best thing ever!

I am so glad that I was able to have this day.

Wishing you all a special day,

M

 

Be – you – tiful

My most recent homework from my therapist was to say 3 nice things about myself daily and then finally to say 1 of those things out loud to a family member.

I know, seems easy right? Not easy for me.

In fact it has been the most difficult homework assignment ever! I have spent most of my life being who people thought I was.

“Whether true or false, what is said about men often has as much influence on their lives, and particularly on their destinies, as what they do.” 
― Victor HugoLes Misérables

“Perfect child”

“Responsible”

“Confident”

“Leader”

“Hard-working”

“Smart”

I know that these are great things to be, but I spent so much time being those things that I didn’t really know what was me and what was just my reputation.

So, homework assignment in hand; I had to really think about me and who I actually am.

What do I like? What do I do well? What makes me, me?

This all got me thinking about how I like being some of the things other people think about me. Like, responsible and hard-working. Those are two things that I think are deeply ingrained in my soul.

But just thinking about the word “perfect” makes me SHUDDER.

I am IMPERFECT, just one great big beautiful oops.

In fact, Beautiful Oops is also one of my favorite books. If you haven’t read it. Buy it. Read it. Read it to your children. Buy one for a friend.

Beautiful Oops

This short children’s book wonderfully illustrates how making mistakes is natural and that so much learning and grace can come from mistakes.

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Now I am not saying that we should strive to make mistakes; I am just saying we should be comfortable in making them as long as we learn from them and see them as opportunities for growth. But I digress, point is I like being imperfect. There is a great deal of beauty in the imperfect.

I also am a good mom. I am the kind of mom that let’s her little girl plant kisses in the garden and makes sure that it grows into something tangible…

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I am the kind of mom that helps her kids make forts, masks, 6 foot long drawings, and make their very own salsa.

photo 1-3

And always makes sure we have birthday cake pancakes for special occasions.

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But I am also the mom that always explains why, that has never-ending hugs and kisses, is incredibly patient and apologizes for mistakes. I am the kind of mom that always puts her family first and loves unconditionally.

I also realized recently, that despite spending the past 10 years as a hermit and afraid of making connections, that I am a FRIEND JUNKIE.

When I decided to do this whole vulnerable and live out loud business I never thought that I would end up making such great friends or needing them around so much. And I have made GREAT friends.

This last little while, I have spent a lot of time with them, too and when I don’t see them I am lonely and I miss them. This is weird for me because I have spent a good deal of time convincing myself I didn’t need friends. Well, I totally need them and kind of adore them and wish I could see all of them everyday. I know I don’t have pictures of some of you (Debbie, Dorothy, Janet, Nadien, Alyssa, everyone…but you are loved none-the-less). I love my friends!

Me and the bestie
Me and the bestie
Cheese!
Cheese!
Crafty Rebecca
Crafty Rebecca

And my family – I adore my family. I am still head over heels in love with my husband and feel so blessed to have 4 great, funny, AMAZING children.

Love my husband
Love my husband

My dad, mom and two sisters are the best and I love them dearly.

mom & dad
mom & dad
Me and My sista
Me and My sista
sister
sister

And my niece is pretty amazing, too. I love her to pieces!

fairy princess
fairy princess

I have also come to realize that I am kind. I LOVE helping others and making other people happy. That is really important to me.

Today while I was running, I also realized that there is an athlete that lives inside of me. She is kind of awesome and I have to do a better job of helping her thrive.

Even though most of the time I am terribly afraid to do new things; I love to do and learn new things. I love to bake and am pretty good at it, too. I love the smell of fresh-cut grass, going on walks, and curling up with a good book.

Silly

Most of the time though I am just a silly girl doing her best to find her way to the best version of herself. I want to be the kind of adult I hope my kids become.

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So here is to believing I can be the best version of myself and to completing my homework assignment…

I am imperfect.

I am kind.

I am a good mom.

I am a helpful person.

It’s a start.

Shine on my friends…

M

I think what I would miss most is the ordinary, day-to-day bustle

“It occurred to me that if I were a ghost, this ambiance was what I’d miss most: the ordinary, day-to-day bustle of the living. Ghosts long, I’m sure, for the stupidest, most unremarkable things.”
Banana Yoshimoto, The Lake

I think we all want to be remembered. It must be written in our subconscious or part of our DNA, but we have a common need to be noticed and remembered.

These days that need has catapulted into something more extravagant; almost everyone wants to be famous. Between social media, reality TV and the news it seems like just about everyone has some claim to fame these days. And if they don’t already have a claim to fame they can quickly get one; or so it seems.

I noticed this in myself on Friday, while I was scrolling down through my Facebook newsfeed and came across a picture on Jen Hatmaker’s Facebook page (if you aren’t familiar with Jen Hatmaker you can check her blog out here). She was standing with other writers; one of which happened to be Glennon Melton Doyle – and if you don’t know who she is check out her blog here. And if you do know who they are; I know you felt like I did. I was knee-deep in envy. I so wanted to be in that picture!

The infamous FB picutre Click it to be taken to its original source
The infamous FB picture
Click it to be taken to its original source
I thought about this a lot since Friday. I started out thinking about how I want so desperately to be a well-known author. But the more I thought it about it, the more silly it seemed to HAVE to be extraordinary. To have to be famous or how much that even counts really. So many things have become so OVER the TOP extraordinary these days that maybe there is something to just being ORDINARY.

For instance, you can’t even get into a four-year college any more without being a 4.2 valedictorian, concert pianist, who also happens to volunteer twice a week at the local convalescent home and lettered in field hockey.

Our young kids are so over scheduled with soccer, guitar, language lessons, extracurricular math programs and robotics camps on top of school in the hopes that they will be extraordinary, they don’t even know what it is like to just play.

I think we have forgotten how extraordinary it is to be ORDINARY; to sit content in the daily hustle and bustle of our average lives and find peace in that. We are so busy trying to be someone famous and special that we have forgotten that we are already special to begin with.

I think I would much rather be the voice of the ordinary, the voice of being content with what we have, the reminder for all of us that we are already extraordinary because we are unique and have our own personalized God Given Gifts than one of the extraordinary that HAS to be famous.

There is so much beauty in our lives already that we don’t have to add fame and flash and paparazzi to make a difference or be remembered. We just have to be ourselves and open our eyes to what we are already doing every day.

To find comfort in the simple beautiful moments of laughter, goodnight kisses, a job well done, a phone call from a friend, fresh-cut flowers, a warm bed and clean sheets to sleep in.

Or for example, letting our little ones pick their own clothes, so they can express their independence…

3 year old fashion
3-year-old fashion
Mike Wazowski
Mike Wazowski
Our remembering that one little love story created something magical…

The ring
The ring
Pumpkin patch maze
Pumpkin patch maze
Daddy and Z with the perfect tree
Daddy and Z with the perfect tree
Or watching the world through a child’s eyes…

photo 2(17)
kite flying in Newport Beach
Thanksgiving bead necklace making
Thanksgiving bead necklace making
A 3 year old created castle
A 3-year-old created castle
Being with your best friend
Being with your best friend
Or just remembering to look at the beauty of the world around us…

Sunset at the beach
Sunset at the beach
The view from the top of my street
The view from the top of my street
A handwritten note from one of my favorite bloggers
A handwritten note from one of my favorite bloggers
My desk
My desk
It is definitely what is in the small stuff that is going to be remembered and cherished. So after much thought; I don’t want to be in that Jen Hatmaker picture any more. I would much rather be the girl I am; whose life is ordinary and filled with small, magical extraordinary moments.

Your ordinary friend,

M

Bandwagon girl

Bandwagon girlSo yes, I got my book – the book. And yes, I am on that bandwagon – the Glennon Melton/Momastery bandwagon. I think it’s a pretty good bandwagon to be on though. This woman changed my life – just by writing her story. A woman I have never met speaks to me in so many ways. We aren’t that much alike except that I think our core values, our deep down beliefs are the same and that is why she speaks to me.

Her struggles are far greater than mine ever were, but her lessons have definitely helped me view my life events differently. For example, I wasn’t the nicest girl growing up. I had a hard time with friends and wasn’t really a good friend – not because of my friends, but because I was looking for someone to match me exactly and that wasn’t/isn’t going to happen ever, but as a silly, young girl I went through friends and often dropped friends because of some simple thing they did that hurt me and I didn’t forgive – I just moved on. Not fair or nice. I don’t have friends now and the one good friend that I did have – I hurt; not on purpose, but hurt her still the same. I have often thought that was karma. I deserved to lose that friend for something stupid I did that she couldn’t forgive. I have run from making friends because I feel like karma will just whack me in the butt again and it will be well deserved – so instead I shy away in fear of getting hurt. Through Glennon, I have realized that the past is past, move forward and most of all – we are all in this together. So basically, I can’t hide any more – I have to be wide open and deal with what comes, because there is going to be good that comes, too and hiding from that isn’t living. This message changed my life because I am starting to make a friend, a friend I think will be a great friend; someone two years ago I shied away from because of fear and then thank goodness God plopped her back down in front of me again. I will try not to mess this one up this time.

Glennon also helped me see that being normal is enough; just being a plane, old regular run of the mill Jane is all it is cracked up to be; in fact it is better than that. Through junior high, high school, and college my nightly prayer always ended with “please God, let me help just one person and my life will be worth something.” I felt that would make me valuable, but I also thought that it would have to be on some grand scale – like Oprah style with fan fare and all. I think that in this day and age with everyone being on talk shows or reality shows with access to FB and all that social media we think we all have to be famous. But through reading Glennon’s book, through taking up running, my thoughts on this have become a bit more clear. I used to think I was meant for something great; and that, that meant I would be doing things on a grand more “famous” type scale. However, I have discovered that I already do things on a grand scale. God gave me 4 – that is right 4 people to help make their lives better. My babies are my gift. Why he thought I was capable of this; I am not sure. They are my grand scale, though. I have to shape and help these four beautiful, crazy, entertaining little beings become a productive part of the world. This is what I am supposed to do – prayer answered.

I think for the majority of us, that are just regular every day people who go through life trying to do the right thing are way more famous than we think. Everyone is watching; and this is what we forget. What we do every day means something to others and we are most the time not even aware of that impact. This happens with our children of course, but also with outsiders. There is a mom that I met through soccer – our boys played together. We are not friends, just knew each other because the boys were on the same soccer team. Yet, this woman inspired me, still inspires me. She is a runner, always running. I was in awe that she fit in this ritual multiple times a week – a mom of two boys, who works outside the home, and was always driving kids to and from activities. Yet, she ran 5 miles multiple times a week. She is one of the people who inspired me to get up off the couch and run. When I run, I think about her and I can run a bit further. She doesn’t know this, but how she conducted herself every day changed my life. This past year I have taken more chances to do GOOD. Each day is an opportunity to live like everyone is watching; that isn’t such a bad thing. Be the best you, you can be every day and that is ENOUGH – YOU ARE ENOUGH. Maybe it is paying for the coffee for the person behind you, maybe it is picking up the phone and calling someone to ask how they are today and listening, just listening. Maybe that means that you make a mistake and forgive yourself for making it.

I try to live my life each day like I am setting an example, and that doesn’t mean that I don’t make mistakes or do stupid things – in fact I think that means it is okay to be imperfect. Being imperfect is good – it is how we handle our mistakes that makes us great. So in Glennon style – just live wide open, mistakes and all – it is what we are meant to do. Get up each day and move forward doing the best we can. The other great thing about this bandwagon – the thing I probably LOVE THE MOSTEST OF ALL – ANYONE CAN BE ON THE BANDWAGON!! How wonderfully beautiful. So I am proud to be on the bandwagon and maybe you will join that bandwagon, too.

Sincerely,

The girl on a bandwagon

**I know there were a lot of shouty capitals in this post – I found they were necessary and in no way was I yelling in a negative way – they were shouts of joy.**