Notes on fear…

Notes on fear…

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

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

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

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

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

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

The truth is…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love and light,

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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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A Seat at the Table

A Seat at the Table

The beginning of the year heralds not only the start of the next year, but also my birthday. Each New Year brings me to a nostalgic place full of reflection. For the last 4 and a half years I have been setting goals to become the best version of myself.

It really all began, ten years ago with a silly chain questionnaire and two honest responses. These responses haunted me. The question was would you be friends with yourself. I answered no. It was honest and true. I didn’t like myself; I had never and even though I was included in this chain with many of my friends at the time I felt more alone than ever.

The second response came from a friend. It took my breath away. The question was what is your biggest pet peeve and her answer was people with self-pity. I remember thinking she was talking about me as I read that response. Of course she wasn’t; but self-centered goes with self-pity and any reason to hate myself more was always welcome.

At first I didn’t know what do about it except let those honest answers to silly questions gnaw at me. Life kept me busy, twins came, we moved, but then as the dust settled I was faced once again with my low self-worth.

If I had to describe myself to others at that time I would have said; I am a lost and wayward soul just like anyone else. I do the best I can in each next moment, but I am mostly empty when I should feel so full.

I didn’t like that description, but I knew it was within my power to change it.

I made a decision to find out who I was and to be myself out loud. I was tired of hiding and hating myself. Thus this blog was born. It led me to open up every inch of my soul and pour it out.

Putting my heart into action became a practice; I did random acts of kindness on my birthday. Two years in a row I spent the day delivering gifts to others on my birthday because it was what I wanted to do more than anything else.Holiday Cheer was born.

It led me to tell the world about my ability to speak with spirit and my business was born. This need to be who I was out loud led me to quiet the voices that worked against me in my own head. Therapy, anti-depressants, self-loathing, fitness, healing and then the weight gain…I lived it all out loud here.

As my birthday and this New Year comes round again, I found myself again at square one. Silly after all this growth to somehow feel at the end of last year that I was back at the start.

I felt as if I was hiding more than showing up. That I was retreating and giving up more than finding the next step forward. And those honest answers to silly questions rose to haunt me once again. But this time there was an added haunt…I had someone recently tell me, “Why do you have to be such an overachiever?”

It stung. I wasn’t sure why exactly, but I think because it is true. This need to over do all the things; this force that if I am not doing it all then it is not enough always propelling me forward.

I am tired and unfortunately my health is taking the toll of my need to do all the things. My body physically can’t handle it any more.

As I sat down to make goals for this year; I found myself with writer’s block and it wasn’t the first time – I have several blogs still in my drafts folder because I couldn’t find my own voice enough to finish them.

I am tired of being sad when I should be happy. I am tired of being tired. I am tired of not showing up completely. I am just plain tired…

The answer was simple.

It was right in front of my face, but I just couldn’t see it. I looked up from my computer to the goal sheet from 2017 that still hung on my cork board. The beautiful chevron white gold tack gleaming like a beacon. Even though there were only 4 goals; there were sub-goals below detailing each one. A total of 20 goals to complete for 2017. Not all of them simple. While some of them were completed; it hit me that no wonder I always feel overwhelmed. No wonder the simple always seems so hard. Busy had become my default; filling time meant I wasn’t being still or quiet. I was hiding all over again; but this time just behind doing things. Adding things to a list; crossing them off only to add more.

Be still and know that I am God

I started to get still and quiet. I started to meditate again and think about the thing I most wanted in life. It was simple. I want to be present. I want to live. The past is the past and there is nothing I can do about that and the future is almost certainly out of my control, the only real thing is RIGHT NOW.

When I sat still and quiet and brought into view the RIGHT NOW; I envisioned a table.

My table was full. My family all in their chairs. Abundance overflowing on the table. Beauty, sustenance, love, friendship, all surrounded by green hills and the ocean. I could hear laughter and feel growth and success, but something seemed off. One chair at the table was empty. I looked around and everyone that should be there was there. Who was missing?

My family was there. Friends; check. Jesus; check. All my important people and beliefs were all accounted for. “Why is one chair empty?” I thought.

It was then that I realized I was witnessing all of this and seeing all the people there. My viewpoint was not one looking across the table but from above. I was not seated at the table. I was the one missing from my own life.

Ah, I was hiding in the busy-ness and not showing up for the best part; the RIGHT NOW. I was missing from my own life. My seat was empty.

To actually take a seat; I had to figure out why I had left it in the first place. Why was I really hiding?

Stupid, silly, life-eating shame. My weight kept me from showing up. The fact that I have a job with negative connotations; one that God may even dislike, kept me from showing up. I cringe when someone asks what I do for a living.

On top of that, life was happening so fast the mom guilt of not being present for my kids was eating me alive. What would my kids remember about me? Would they just remember that I took them here and there and nothing of substance? That I was always too busy?

So, this year as I reach my fourth decade; I choose to take that seat back. I want to be in the RIGHT NOW. How do I do that?

It all became clear at a funeral the other night. My wonderful, beautiful friend stood and spoke about her father. He had told her at the end that he was confused why everyone thought life was so hard. It is easy he told her; you just have to go out and love others. That was the secret to it. There was nothing hard about it at all. My heart burst open. I can do that. But there is more than loving others; that I have figured out. My chair was empty because I wasn’t loving myself enough. I needed to love everyone; me included.

Just as the day before, I had chosen to be grateful instead of begrudgingly taking down the ornaments from the tree as in years past; I was grateful I had a tree and ornaments to take down. I was grateful for each memory that came with each ornament. I was thankful that I had a home and a family and memories that surrounded me as I carefully put away Christmas back into its boxes until next year. I have woken each day grateful for another moment. And that is what fills my heart each second. I am grateful for the RIGHT NOW. While I am grateful for everything that also means, I have to be grateful I am me. To treat myself with love and grace.

The only goal for this year is that I live in the RIGHT NOW with no shame.

This year I am going to tell myself it is okay.

It is okay…

to feel lonely sometimes

to be scared

to be nervous

to try new things

to decide not to try new things

to live in the RIGHT NOW

to let the past go

to let the future be what it will be

to hide when I need to

to show up

to believe I am meant for great things

to believe I am worthy, as I am, in the RIGHT NOW

to use my armor when I need it

to live outside the lines

to believe in a Jesus that guides me through what I do every day; even speaking to spirit. In fact, to believe in a Jesus that knows I am doing the right thing.

to believe in miracles and magic

to laugh, live and love

to always take my seat at the table

to be my own advocate

I was watching a video with Brene Brown and Glennon Melton and they said that an eviction from your live is an invitation to heal yourself. Invitation accepted. This year the focus will be on me and that is not selfish, no self-pity or shame will be attached to that.

I will heal myself; and live in the RIGHT NOW. There is no limit to what you can accomplish when you are your best advocate; when you are seated at the table in your own life, present and ready to live each moment the best way you know how.

Wishing you a RIGHT NOW, shameless, grace-filled, love abundant 2018,

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An intuition filled life

An intuition filled life

At 8 AM; I wiped the sleep off my face, downed the last of my chai latte, said my typical pre-reading prayer and called a new client on the other side of the United States. Even after four years and a lifetime of experience, I still get nervous. My faith is deep and wide and true, but there is still a small part of me that hopes all goes well each and every time.

The reading that took place this early Sunday morning was one of my all time favorites. The sitter (my client), was nervous, and had been anxiously awaiting this appointment for months. We got started with the what to expect mumbo jumbo and spirit started to speak.

Spirit is so unpredictable. They come through with their unique personalities full of love and hope. It still surprises me how much laughter happens during a typical reading. Spirit has waited ages to speak through the microphone of a medium to get messages through to their loved ones. And once that connection is made it is like years of healing take place in under an hour. It’s a miracle. There are no words that accurately capture what happens in that hour; and yet here I am trying to find a way to impart some wisdom and capture what happened in this particular session.

This reading, I still don’t have a better word for these spirit interactions, brought so much out of my client. She like me is intuitive and had spent years ignoring or down playing her intuition because other people didn’t understand the way she made decisions, how she knew things without having any access to the information prior to an event or “knowing moment”.

It filled me with sadness that we aren’t recognizing these talents on a wide level. I know we don’t always understand it and logic rules the western world – don’t get me wrong logic is important, but so is a healthy dose of intuition.

Take for example, a mother and her infant. A worried mom brings her infant to the doctor because she “knows” something is not right. The doctor is not seeing that there is anything physiologically wrong with said infant, but the mother knows that there is. She is adamant that her child is suffering. She demands more tests, second opinions and lo and behold her baby has a severe case of acid reflux or Lyme or food allergies. Our society tells moms to trust their instincts. My friends these instincts are intuition.

My long winding point is intuition is getting a bad wrap and we need to trust that spidy-sense we get deep in our stomach that makes us feel like something is off or like something is just right. It is okay that we can’t explain it more than – it just feels right! That should be enough.

We ask our children to trust the feeling that if someone makes you uncomfortable in any way to physically change your proximity to that person and not ever be alone with them. Or at least I do and we should all trust our feelings even when they don’t make logical sense.

Intuition is our soul sending messages to our brain. It is trying to give us information when logic may not be enough or even when logic is failing us and we need to know the truth another way. Through the reading I had that Sunday morning this all becomes apparent. Spirit was validating my client’s feelings and telling her to listen to her intuition, it is her soul speaking. And I am reminded in this small session with her just how important that is for our safety, sanity and happiness.


How does one listen to their intuition or even find it in the first place? It is feeling all the feels. When you make a choice, become conscious of how your body reacts to that choice and then just keep practicing. Does the choice leave you a little off center? Does the choice make you a bit tingly all over and excited about what is coming next? Do you get a deep sense of calm throughout your being after you have made that decision? The more aware you are of how you feel the more likely you are to pay attention to these feelings.

Intuition can be practiced by entering a room and seeing how your emotions and body react to that space. The people you are with; how do you feel about them? What does your body naturally do around those people. If you are tense, there is probably a reason. If you easily relax; there is probably a reason.

Sometimes there is not a peep from intuition to guide you any one way and that is because logic is enough. You have it all figured out. Intuition steps up its game when it is trying to get you to see another perspective or make you take that big leap you are so hesitant to take.

When your soul is whispering to your conscious mind that is intuition and it has a place in our lives. It can keep you out of trouble and lead you into the right place at the right time. When we ignore intuition, our lives seem to be missing something.

Intuition has led me to so much success. Logic alone would not have led me down my current path. Intuition makes us a bit vulnerable which can be scary. Intuition often leaves us without explanation for our actions other than, “it just feels right”. I know some of you don’t need to hear this, but those of you that do, “it just feels right” is enough – no more explanation needed.

Our intuition is enough and it does us good to be in touch with how our soul is interpreting our surroundings and not just our mind. They are two separate things; sometimes they work in concert, but other times your soul wants something your mind can’t quite grasp and that is when intuition takes over. Let it. It doesn’t have to be what wins out, but intuition should at least be considered and trusted as a valid part of our daily lives and how it guides us through our experiences. It is our soul speaking to us after all.

Until next time,

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,

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…

IMG_4893Legit.

Until next time,

Michelle

How my inner voice keeps me from joy and authenticity

How my inner voice keeps me from joy and authenticity

Sometimes on the way to an authentic, joyful life signs land in your lap and if you aren’t paying attention they reach out and grab you. This happened to me today.

BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert came to my possession through a dear friend. Now this friend, mind you, is someone whose opinion matters a great deal. Ironically, she is also the same friend that tells me that it is none of my business what other people think of me. So apparently I am not supposed to care what she thinks, but I do. I can’t help it.

This friend is someone who lives fully with grace, passion and compassion. I am incredibly fortunate that she has welcomed me as a friend. Today, I was reminded again just how fortunate I am to have her in my life.

I woke up before everyone this morning, took a breath, and filled my coffee cup. I was so happy to have some quiet time to read more BIG MAGIC ( I am capitalizing this title because not only is it capitalized on the cover; it kind of lends itself to capitalization because BIG MAGIC is kind of a living thing all its own).

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Any way, I get to the section about Permission and Ms. Gilbert poignantly states that one does not need permission to live a creative life. She even gives stellar advice on how to speak to “your darkest interior voices” if they try to sidetrack you. I am starting to see how this book might be speaking directly to me.

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In the next chapter, Elizabeth (because who knows one day we may be friends), discusses how “[m]aybe you fear you are not original enough” and I get another pang, like hmm maybe Elizabeth is speaking to me. She concludes the chapter with, “[s]hare what you are driven to share. If it’s authentic enough, believe me – it will feel original.”

As I read that last sentence it hits me full on, not only is this book sending me a message, but this sweet friend with her sweet note tacked at the front is sending me one, too.

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I have had conversations with her about these very things, and some I have not. Some she must have read here in this little blog. But what a beautiful, wonderful thing to be seen and heard and then gifted such a magical message.

We can often sabotage ourselves into “not worthy” or “not enough-ness” thinking. It is just holding us back. In fact, my inner voice often keeps me from joy and authenticity.

Twice this weekend, I have been with friends. The first I was open and shared and we had a great conversation. After the evening ended all I could think was shoot, I said too much. I over shared and there is no way this person will ever want to hang out again. Then last night, my “darkest inner voices” kept me trapped and quiet. “Don’t speak” they said. “You have nothing to share. You will just sound stupid” they shouted.

These inner voices are not helping! They keep me distant and even make me look RUDE! I need to listen to the BIG MAGIC and if I have something I am driven to share; I should share. If I feel unoriginal it doesn’t matter; the idea might be out in the universe already, but not with my unique fingerprint attached to it.

So I got the message this morning. These dark inner voices keep me from cultivating relationships, creativity and success! I need to go Elizabeth Gilbert on them and believe in myself. Be open, work hard and be kind. Choose creativity, compassion, and connection.

Or if I need to I can start small. Start, Stuart Smalley (from Saturday Night Live fame) in fact:

I am a good mom.

I am a good friend.

I am a writer.

I am grace.

I am compassion.

I am worthy of joy and connection.

And doggone it people like me.

I will do better to keep my dark inner voices in check from now on.

May you also be blessed with the kindness of a dear friend who believes in you and bestows upon you the gift of reminding you that you are in fact worthy.

Feeling humbled –

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October lessons…2015 Style

October lessons…2015 Style

The weather here in California is not getting with the program that it is October. It has been hot and humid with very few cool days. We need rain out here and I know there are parts of the world where things are much worse, but I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t complain a itty bit. As the year draws to its last quarter, I think my reflecting on what I have learned is becoming more blunt and matter of fact. Hopefully my hard-earned wisdom with help you find the same knowledge without as much work.

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It is more than okay to say, “No.”

A few weeks ago I planned a playdate for a Friday afternoon evening, where my mom friends and their kids could stop by and hang for a bit. I promised pizza and drinks. Well my week quickly went from okay to crazy. My grandmother had a major stroke, the kids were giving me major run around on every teenie tiny thing, a few extra work projects fell into my lap and I finally decided it was all too much and cancelled the get together. I just knew if I attempted to pull it off I would stress and be over exhausted and bad company. What I found from this was the amazing group of friends I am blessed with. Almost each one of the women I invited praised me for cancelling. They totally understood. One of my dear friends dropped off flowers. All of them offered help and I sat back in awe and wonder of these fabulous friends. I am so blessed that these people are in my life. I know how great they all are, but by saying no and being honest with them that I couldn’t do it all I was able to see this side of them as well and I am so glad that I did. Of course, one said she would come TP my house and yes that made me love her even more.

If you are like me and need to hear that having a meltdown even as an adult is okay…then it is okay; really it is.

Do you find yourself trying so hard not to lose your mind at the child that questions your every ask? Do you find yourself trying to stay calm as you wait for your child to find their shoe when you needed to leave for soccer 5 minutes ago? Are you constantly stepping on Legos that were supposed to be cleaned up 20 minutes ago? Do you find yourself breathing deeply while you listen to your children bicker and argue about who DID NOT spill the milk all over the kitchen and not tell anyone? Do you ever have to plunge an over-clogged toilet that some sweet child used even though it was already clogged and pray to the God’s of human waste to please not let anything spill over the edges only to have your prayers go unanswered? I can empathize. Sometimes all of this happens in one day and when your children start to argue in the car you lose your mind and snap at them all only to feel terrible 10 minutes later and have to apologize for yelling, but not for being fed up with their behavior. Yep, that’s an average day of parenting and you should cut yourself some slack because we can’t all be Mary Poppins or Florence Henderson – our days don’t fade to black and magically have help. Our days run together and we make it by flying by the ever-loving seat of our very own pants. So don’t feel bad if you lose your shit; it happens, it passes and then maybe two weeks later it happens again, but it will all pass and mostly your kids will remember the good times. Mostly.

Then there are moments like these:

play ball

#forthembecauseofher
#forthembecauseofher
thumbs up

brothers & friends

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Fluttering together

Fluttering TextFluttering

Give back to the community as a family.

This past September and October we fluttered; which is an awareness and fundraising campaign for a non-profit group Unravel that raises money for pediatric cancer research. They also give money to families with children who are battling cancer. We created some great memories out there, but also along the way learned about bravery, empathy, kindness, and hardship. It is such a wonderful opportunity to help and learn all at the same time. So pick your cause and then fight it together as a family.

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Being scared is human and also more than okay.

I am over-weight. I struggle with that a great deal. It would seem that it would be an easy fix, but so far it has not been for me. I am often afraid that people think I am lazy, undisciplined, and gross all because I can’t get a handle on my weight. Lately, I don’t even want to go out in public because of how I look. I know my life being crazy is an excuse, but still it has been hard to squeeze the “me time” I need into my days.

My best friend is coming to see me and I am terrified that she will no longer be my friend once she sees me. Totally illogical and off-base thinking, but it hasn’t stopped me from actually thinking it. But instead of brandishing myself for my fear; I am embracing it. It is okay to be afraid. I need to move past this fear because the most important thing is showing up and being seen.

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Sometimes those damn Facebook quizzes have too much truth in them for a Friday night or any day of the week really.

So I know you take these because I have seen you post the results from time to time. Those FB quizzes; they suck us in because really sometimes we want to know who our Hollywood boyfriend might be, or what our name really means. So I took the name one and it was great, but it also said I was moody. And right away I was like you stupid FB quiz what do you know…you don’t know me. And then I took breath and was like damn you; how did you know that. I am moody, but I did not need my iPhone to tell me that. Sometimes it’s better knowing and being in a blissful denial than reading in black and white and I right or am I right?

Before I sign off I just want to take a moment and say thank you! Thank you for reading my blog. I have a great audience of friends, family, and internet friends that join here to read and support what I write and I am beyond grateful.

Via Pinterest. Click photo to be taken to the source.
Via Pinterest. Click photo to be taken to the source.
Until next time,

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More musings from around here…

More musings from around here…

Just a couple of weeks ago I posted lessons for the summer so far, but my mind is a bit filled with jumbles of ideas I have finally decided to write them down all at once.  I am writing these things I am thinking about down to keep my own sanity, feel less alone and maybe just maybe these are things you think, too and then we can think them together.

1. I don’t like to freak people out.

I don't like to freak people out contrary to what this photo shows.
I don’t like to freak people out contrary to what this photo shows.
Recently I was told that I freak people out. Here is what is important to know; I am incredibly skeptical of my gift. I treat it as a gift and I do not abuse it. The only time I ever communicate with the deceased in reference to other people is during a scheduled reading.

I CANNOT read minds. I DO NOT do readings on the spot. I DO NOT pay attention to spirit during a run of the mill get together. They respect the awkwardness I feel about seeing them and usually keep their distance. This is important to me to keep these things separate. As Peter Parker says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Don’t think I am getting high and mighty – the point is that I treat the ability to speak with the dead as a gift and there is a responsibility that comes with that. It isn’t a parlor trick for fun; it is something that is possible and needs to be treated with the respect it deserves.

2. There are tons of people who do the same thing as you and there will always be someone better than you.

Stay in your lane
Stay in your lane
To this I say – STAY IN YOUR LANE. Comparison seems to be a naturally occurring phenomenon for most humans. It can be a destructive habit. You need to stay in your own lane. I believe life is about achieving your own personal best; not your neighbor’s, mentor’s or even a societal ideal “personal best”. You just need to pay attention to what you want to achieve, stick to that and do the best you possibly can; that is good enough.

3. The Facebook Showcase

Sometimes I get wrapped up in looking at everyone else’s best self and how spectacularly shiny other people seem and I forget that I am usually seeing the best parts of them. People don’t always post a snapshot of when the kids have gone BAT SHIT CRAZY and the HOUSE LOOKS LIKE A TORNADO hit it and the DOG THREW UP and the PHONE IS RINGING and you have a DEADLINE TO MEET and PEOPLE ARE WAITING TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT with you and you still haven’t got the 10 minutes you need to look at your schedule to answer them – no people don’t post that REAL LIFE stuff. They post the best moments; the smiling shiny moments. We all have them and that is the stuff we want to remember, but really there are moments of all kinds every day and I need to remember that everybody has both kinds of moments.

4. Put your load down

Just set it down – it doesn’t have to be folded and pretty. Just drop it and pick it back up when you can.
My therapist missed me…not really I just decided to start back up again. Basically because well; I have a breakdown about every 4-6 weeks where everything makes me sad and I feel so OVERWHELMED I think I am going to just explode from the amount of crap I am trying to get accomplished in a day. Which I know is silly, I should not be sad and I should not feel overwhelmed, but then I do and then I feel bad about feeling that way. Any way you get it the same vicious cycle. I know some of you are thinking it is a hormonal thing, but it isn’t – I checked – okay there may be some of that there. Any way, when I was talking with her last week we realized I feel OVERWHELMED, I finally set my load of THINGS – HAVE TOS, SHOULD HAVES, WANT TOS, DIDN’TS – down. But these feelings sort of force me to set them down. Of course, my wise therapist says, “Have you ever thought maybe you should set those down more often?”

Well the clouds parted and light shone down from above and there were birds singing – maybe not, but it felt like that. I had written before about another wise friend who said I needed to remember to put my gas mask on first (you know when you are on a plane and the attendant tells you if you are flying with small children put your mask on first before you help them – that her is analogy to me – I know I have really smart friends). I need to at least once a day put my gas mask on first. For me this is exercise and reading. I need to find ways to fit this into my day first and the rest of the stuff can follow.

I am working on this – I AM A WORK IN PROGRESS and that my friends is a beautiful thing. I don’t ever want to be a polished piece of art; I want to be a messy, bunch of paint thrown against a wall in many different colors on different days so when I get to the end of my life and look back I can see all the wacky pieces and see that in all that chaos and uncertainty there was a beautiful work of art.

5. There is no introvert-ing today.

Yesterday, I put all my stuff down (actually took the day off and left my phone in the glove compartment of my car) and spent the day with friends and our kids at the pool. Can I just say it was like breathing in pure oxygen? The mommy guilt that I had felt melted away in the sunlight. Sitting with those moms who talked about their days, which mirrored my own, was refreshing.

At one point as I was off on my own, one of the moms said, “The mommies are over here, Michelle.” And another said, “There is not introvert-ing today, Michelle.” It was just so nice to be with people who knew me, understood where I was at and lovingly reigned me back in. There are no words to express the gratitude I feel for yesterday, for those friends, for the sunshine, and those precious moments of sharing that reminded me we really are all in this together.

6. What the hell is up with media?

I just have to add this because – really – they are the problem. News reporting has become a complete circus – it is overdone, way too dramatic, and way to slanted. What happened to an impartial recording of events that included both good, bad, and just plain old stories?! Sometimes you can find that still on your local news, but I am at a loss with the news. Years ago I stopped watching it because I couldn’t have it on with kids around. So I would read it, but now even that has become difficult. I am just saying…

7. Junior High

Holy Freaking Fruit Loops

HOLY FREAKING FRUIT LOOPS – my oldest is going to be starting Junior High in under four weeks – WHAT THE WHAT?! That is all. My mind is still reeling with thought and yes, I will be throwing up after I drop him off the first day.

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That is mostly it…hopefully you gained something from my jumble and maybe you feel a little less alone. I am hoping now that some of these things sit with me better and make some peace with my own mind.

Until next time,

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P.S. Yes, I used a lot of CAPITALS. YES THEY WERE NECESSARY. No that does not mean I am yelling – it means I am saying it with emphasis.

September Lessons 2014 Style…

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Ah, September…

I know people love fall. My grandmother loved fall with the change of leaves and seasons, but I am not a fan.

Nope.

Fall = start of school craziness.

September is not my favorite month, not by a long shot. It might actually come in 12th out of 12.

However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have anything to teach me; I definitely continued to learn through September; hopefully you will gain some wisdom from my lessons, too and if you don’t gain wisdom then maybe a good laugh or at least a sense of solidarity for a moment knowing that you are not alone.

shit could be worse

1. I CAN NOT DO IT ALL

This lesson keeps slapping me in the face and somehow the resiliency in me keeps ignoring it. I jump right back up and try to do everything again; then a wave of overwhelm comes and knocks me right back down. I need to remember this lesson. You just have to do what matters to you most and forget the rest. What you got done in a day, you get done and really things could always be worse.

2. Tell everything

People that wear masks make me nervous. My favorite people are the people who are open, honest and you know exactly where you stand with them.

I always have been able to see right through to someone’s soul. I know you even if you don’t want me to, so when you wear a mask that doesn’t jive with who you are it gives me the heebie jebbies.

I know a lot of people buy other people based on exterior images all day long, but most of us see past that.

Be who you are. Be open, be vulnerable.

Take my word for it; the past two years I have done my best to be completely open. I haven’t regretted one minute of it. Not one.

It is still scary and I have been hurt, but my life is way more complete now that I am just all out there.

 

Small Town Girl

3. I am a small town, down home girl

Crowds are not my thing. Bypassing any event that has more than 10 people is always a must on my list. I like being where I know people and people know me.

My daughter started a new school this month and having the community there welcome her and make her feel important was HUGE. Her other school was over crowded and she was often overlooked. Being a part of our small town community is a blessing.

I love passing cows on my way home. Seeing pumpkins and corn grow and then being able to buy that same produce at our local produce stands is nothing short of awesome.

Cities smell like sewers and are over grown with people who push, rush, and stampede past one another. No thank you.

Love my small town.

4. It’s way too easy to fall off the wagon

One year of running like a mad woman. One year down 22 pounds.

One year later, I watch too many shows on T.V. and love my couch. I am up 30 pounds to my heaviest ever and crave COKE.

Easy peasy is just too easy peasy.

It is so easy when you are tired to stay sedentary and just flop to sleep. I know I have four kids, two dogs, a full-time job, a new part-time job, am a struggling writer, and try to have some time for friends so it makes sense to be exhausted.

I know I should not give myself too hard a time for not being as fit as I could be right now. I know beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, but I still need to get back on that wagon. I know many of us hop on and off… I know lots of you have been in my shoes.

I have to start where I am every day, accept that and be good with it.

start where you are

I would just like to stay on the wagon and have it be easy. Not going to happen I know, for right now I am just waiting for that wagon to come back round the mountain again so I can jump back on. I will keep you posted.

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5. Parenting strips you of your dignity

Parenting is not a bowl full of Lucky Charms. Parenting absolutely without a doubt takes every ounce of dignity you ever had and up-chucks it out in front of every available audience to see.

At a local school fundraiser, I had to drag a child screaming through the crowd and the parking lot all because he dropped his glow stick in the dark way past where we were going back for it and he lost his mind because I wouldn’t go back for it. This is the up-teenth time I have had to drag a kid screaming from some event or store because the started to throw a fit and I wouldn’t cave.

I have cleaned up poop off of public restroom floors because kids have gone in their underwear and as I remove it to change them it drops right out on the floor. I have had poop splash in my face, same type of scenario.

This month on three separate occasions one of my younger children has asked if the bump on my belly is a new baby – NO IT IS NOT for those of you wondering the same thing – but that of course did not make me feel any better about my appearance.

Kids tell it like it is and embarrass you to no end with their antics. I still content their should be some sort of academy awards for moms. We need a red carpet event that celebrates us and all we do in a day. C.K. Lewis could host with and help bring humor to our stories. And really we could all use a night out where we could enjoy our own dinner without having to be interrupted or cut up someone else’s food. Am I right or am I right?

 

- Sam Parker
– Sam Parker

6. Kindness matters

Sitting in a restaurant this past weekend listening to a grown woman berate her aging mother within earshot of the entire front house and waiter who was standing at their table it was completely clear how much people are disgusted by rudeness.

The same can be said how astonished and cheered people are by kindness. When you wait to hold open a door, stop to help them pick up dropped items, return a dropped item, or even ask if they need help.

This time last year I participated in the 21 Day Kindness Challenge and it made me focus on doing one Random Act of Kindness a Day. I still do this, every day and the acts of kindness have a greater impact on my life than they do on those I help.

Do one RAK a day; it really does make every day sweeter.

7. ADD

Check email, check Facebook, check messages, fast forward through commercials, DVR favorite shows, listen to Sirius Radio, check Google for answers, ask Siri, all these things have made me prone to attention deficit disorder.

I had to watch regular, love TV the other day and could not believe how irritated I was at the commercial break. At one point, I almost forgot what I was watching. The pitfalls of technology.

Sometimes I think we do need to drop all the devices and remember how to get things done without them and how to soak up what is around us.

8. I have issues with things taking their time

Delayed gratification might just be a nemesis of mine. Relationships take time and you have to let people get to know you, but I have never been good at that. I am a quick judge of character and I am ready to be your friend right away if we get along. When it takes two years to finally get to know people and start to do things together that drives me crazy.

That and lost socks.

single socks

I mean really where do these things disappear to?

OldSchool59

9. I used to be…

intelligent, witty, current, driven…then I had kids. Now I am home Friday nights preparing for a big day of soccer, Home Depot maybe pick out some wallpaper and Bed, Bath and Beyond if we have time.

 

soccer

10. I am a crazy, embarrassing mama bear

At soccer one Saturday, you may have heard a crazy mom after her son was pushed several times by the other team and no call was made by the ref say something like, “Don’t let him push you! Push him back!” If you did, that was me. I don’t know what came over me.

Doing the best I can, right where I am, one day at a time,

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What’s it all about anyway?

click photo for original source
click photo for original source

Exactly two years ago I decided to become the best version of myself because I wanted to be the kind of grown-up I want my children to become. Most of my life has been spent wishing I was more like this or had more of that. Or wishing I hadn’t done or said something stupid. Mostly I wanted to choose happiness and find joy even though I was mostly AFRAID. That is how this little bloggity-blog got started.

I needed to have a way to hold myself accountable and to track both the successes and failures on this journey to what I call “LIVING OUT LOUD”. I always wanted to be a writer and so naturally blogging it out seemed to be a pretty good idea even though I was mostly AFRAID. Afraid because I am not grammatically correct (it’s like politically correct, just with grammar), run-on sentences are a specialty of mine, and I love inventing random new words. I figured since this journey was about being authentic and wide open writing something imperfectly fit even more wonderfully.

Plus, I figured if I wrote it down and shared my stumbles and triumphs that I could help others like me. LIVING OUT LOUD is scary, hard work and I can’t be the only one who wants to do this better…there must be more of us out there…at least I think there are. And so this blog was born.

I want it to be a place you can visit and know that motherhood, marriage, love, courage, fear, food, hair, clothes, and everything else will be discussed with complete authenticity – out in the open. And maybe, just maybe that would not only help me be the best version of myself, but help you all, too.

Authentically yours,

M