Scared

Scared

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

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

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I am scared of the little and the big things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scared but hopeful,

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Unbounded

First and foremost, I am a deeply spiritual person who has a vast and limitless faith in God. Everything that I am able to carry out in this life is a gift directly from HIM. I rarely openly share my unbounded faith in the Lord. Spirituality is an exceptionally private matter that I feel resides deep within an individual and is not up for dissent from another human being. Each of us has an incredibly unique relationship with faith and spirituality and there are no right answers when it comes to this subject. And so I don’t discuss it usually because it can be a divide; something that we humans use to separate ourselves and that hurts my soul. There is no reason we should be divided over faith. Faith is beautiful, imperfect and immensely personal.

Faith

That background needed to be given before I speak more openly about the readings I do and what those experiences have taught me. First, these experiences have taught me that anything is possible and that there is always a divine purpose to the things that happen in our lives.

Secondly, I have learned that I am capable of anything with the right amount of prayer and the ability to follow that faith and intuition.

Allowing myself to follow my faith has led me to so much more than I ever could have imagined in this last year. In my readings, it has become clear that God’s love is unconditional. We are loved beyond what we could ever imagine. God never once gives up on us. That hope that we feel comes from that love. It knows no bounds. We are always enough and each time we get knocked down, God is our biggest cheerleader willing us to move forward and do better. God knows we can.

Live with pure and good intent

I have also learned that while there is a plan there is never a good reason we lose someone we love. Nothing that will soothe our human hearts. Somehow, some way when we reach the other side there is an understanding that is awakened in our souls and all is revealed. But there is never a reason that is valid to our human brains and hearts. 

 What is more, is that I believe all I do is speak another language. I am able to communicate soul to soul. We are all capable of this gift. Each of us has this ability. It is not void or missing in a single one of us. We just forget. The longer our souls spend in a body the more and more our brain and logic takes over. The more and more we operate in the physical realm. But we can all find a way to open up our souls. This is not something exclusive to me. We all have this ability. I just never allowed mine to shut down and continually cultivated the ability to speak with my soul. Just like if you learn Spanish, but you never use it you lose the majority of it. It is just like that. Nothing flashy about it.

we are lvoed

 

What I think is most important are these things: we are loved profusely, we are capable of all things; we are our only obstacle, and while there is no sensible reason to appease our grieving hearts we are forever connected to our loved ones through our souls. We are surrounded by those we love in a more emotional, spiritual plane and they are not as far away as they may seem.

Grief

I hope these things that have been revealed to me over the last year through my readings bring some peace to you.

Until next time,

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Cheer Day 30

Cheer Day 30

Cheer Day 30

On November 2nd I received a note from Leighan. Leighan knows my aunt and our daughter’s have danced together over the past four years.

She wrote to me that she would like to nominate her mom, Linda, for Holiday Cheer this year. She wrote to tell me that her mother is “a selfless and amazing woman.” I couldn’t agree more.

Cheer Day 30 gift

Linda is the embodiment of kindness. When I met her at dance a few years back and realized she was Leighan’s mom, I told her how much I loved her family and she answered, “Me, too.” I instantly like her. She then immediately opened up and shared how proud she was of her daughter and grandkids. Linda is just a pure pleasure to be around.

When you meet Linda you would have no idea the kind of battles she has fought behind the scenes. She is always upbeat and optimistic. Her smile and kind heart are what you always notice first. However, 10 years ago she cared for her husband as he suffered and then passed away from cancer. Amazingly she found love again.

But over the last few years she has cared for her second husband who was suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Seven days after Leighan nominated Linda, hospice was called in to help Linda care for her second husband.

On November 16th, just 14 days after I received Leighan’s note, heaven welcomed Linda’s second husband with a glorious sunrise.

Leighan Sunrise

Linda, we know your world has forever changed. While our holiday cheer is small, we hope that it brings some comfort in knowing that there is a circle of people who care and are praying for your continued strength as your navigate your new normal. You are most loved.

Love,

The Cheer Squad

Cheer Day 6

Cheer Day 6

Cheer Day 6

 

Cheer Day 6 is dedicated to Jolanta. She was nominated by her dear friend, Bettina. Bettina took a moment to share why she thought Jolanta should be one of this year’s nominees.

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Jolanta recently separated. “Knowing she had to take this step to head into the right direction in life was surely hard. But Jola is a very determined person. I admire her personality and that she does it all: full-time working mom, caring parent and hot chick. This mom recently lost over 60 lbs. Her determination to do that baffles me. I wish I had half her endurance and strength and determination.”

I completely agree, Bettina, Jolanta is one extraordinary person.

Jola

 

Wishing Jolanta much happiness this holiday season,

Michelle and “The Cheer Squad”

Cheer Day 4 2014

Cheer Day 4 2014
keep calm and kick cancer's ass
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It is only fitting that Cheer Day 4 be dedicated to Tracey. Tracey is Carole’s daughter from Cheer Day 3 and is a new wife, mother, and grandmother.  Lori also nominated Tracey as they are a part of the same Bunco group and she has known Tracey for years.

Several years ago Tracey went through a very difficult divorce and motorcycle accident that changed her life.  She handled both with courage and a positive attitude. Tracey was a huge part of the Relay for Life effort on behalf of her aunt, who was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. Tracey even joined the Morgan Hill Relay for Life 2015 leadership committee prior to finding out she had cancer herself.

Lori nominated Tracey because of how she has handled her recent challenge with brain cancer. In awe, Lori has watched how Tracey has endured the cancer treatments at Stanford. Tracey has been incredibly positive and she continues to be a source of positive energy for those around her.

What cancer cannot do
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For those of you that are local may know Tracey and even be friends with her on Facebook where she keeps everyone updated with her treatments and surgeries.

To find out more information about Brain Tumors visit this link at the National Cancer Institute.

Tracey is a rock, a hero who inspires us with her true grace under pressure. Tracey we send our prayers, support and tons of positive energy your way.

Sincerely,

Lori, Michelle and a circle of women who care.

 

 

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.

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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?

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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.

 

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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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The Shirt

be kind

I tried to talk him out of it. Not because I didn’t want him to have it. Not because I wouldn’t be proud of him wearing it. Only because the world can be stereotypically biased and cruel sometimes.

My mama bear instinct just wanted to keep him safe. Shelter him from hurt and ridicule. That is what we do as mama bears. Protect and shield as much as we can and then send them off out into the world hoping they are strong enough. Wishing them as few bangs, nicks, and bruises as possible, hoping they can stay whole and happy.

My son wore the above shirt today. The shirt he carefully hand-picked at Old Navy because I told each child they could pick one since they were on sale. The shirt he jumped and hollered about so excited because not only did it have his favorite character of all time on it, but it was also his two favorite colors: pink and purple.

This shirt has been worn many times, but to be honest sometimes it sits in the wash pile a little too long. It may also be hung in the closet a bit too out of reach for my son’s small arms. All to protect. All out of concern. All out of my need to shield him just a little longer. I have written about this shirt before and the comments we receive when we are out in public.

Now that he has started school, I knew he would want to wear THE SHIRT. Last night I hung it carefully in his closet within his reach knowing full well it would be the first choice for him in the morning.

In the morning as I bustled about the kitchen, I heard his joyful feet bounding down the stairs. He leapt into the kitchen proudly boasting his Sofia shirt and that he had dressed himself. I steeled my heart for him and what the day ahead might hold; all because of a shirt.

I spent my morning in silent prayer. As I busied myself with the tasks at hand, a constant repeated prayer kept running through the back of my brain:

Please God let the world be kind to my sweet boy today. His soul is pure and full of light. Please let the world be kind to my four-year old who understands more about forgiveness than his thirty-six-year-old mom. Please, oh please, oh please.

Dropping him off at school he skipped his way to the entrance, so jubilantly thrilled to show off his most prized possession, hoping his friends would love it as much as he does.

As he proudly displayed his shirt to one of his teachers upon entry, she looked at him, his twin then me and said,”Well at least we will be able to tell them apart today” just a tad bit too full of judgement. I saw his shoulders sink a little as he heard it, too.

My heart broke a little more for him today. He arrived home and excitedly rattled through a string of wonderful things about his day, there was nothing and I thought for a moment we were safe just awhile longer. About fifteen minutes later, he found me sitting alone and said,

“Mommy when I was sitting next to Eliza* today she said, ‘why are you wearing a Sofia shirt?'”

He went on to explain that he had told her how excited he had been when he bought it and how he got to pick out as a special treat. He said he thinks she thought it was supposed to be just a girl thing and that he didn’t like the way she asked him why he was wearing it.  I reassured him that his Sofia shirt was a great shirt and that he needed to always wear just what he wanted. He said that he would, but it was the disappointment in his little voice that broke my heart.

My hope is that he continues to wear what he wants and do what he wants no matter what his peers think or say, but I know that today changed him a tiny bit. He was disappointed that the world didn’t love that shirt on him as much as he loved that shirt on him. These events are bound to happen in varying shades throughout his life; that is part of life; but the mama bear; my mama heart, wishes I could shield him a little more; take the brunt of it myself. That is what all of us mamas wish for. We hope that the world is kind to our babies and that they can be their shining selves without facing ridicule. Unfortunate that, that isn’t always the case.

I want to take a moment though and thank those of you who saw my Facebook post and prayed and well-wished with me today.Thank you all of you kindness warrior mamas who help make this world a better place and with me become the village of support for my kids. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Watching my littles grow and learn,

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*Names were changed to protect the identity of children.

 

 

 

 

April Lessons…

April Lessons…

Hello April

Holy goodness, I cannot believe that April has come and gone. I know that I have been absent lately. I also know that you are not supposed to write that in your blog if you want to be a successful blogger, but I am all about honesty up in here so I say it like it is. Time is thundering by like a Japanese bullet train. Today I read Rob Lowe’s essay about taking his son to college (you can check it out here) and I was a blubbering mess. I know my kids are a ways from college town, but again Holy goodness time is just whipping by.

Well, I have looked back at the last month and this is what I have learned…hopefully you can benefit from what April has taught me.

1. Sometimes I sound like Si Robertson

Okay, okay a lot of times I sound like Si Robertson.

Si Bobblehead

Just for comparison here is the constant quote from my Si bobble head, “Hey can mean anything. It can mean yes, it can mean maybe, it could mean no, it could mean next week. Hey, the bottom line is you have to understand me to understand hey.”

So just the other day I caught myself twice in about twenty minutes using HEY.

“Yes, you look fancy, but HEY your drink doesn’t go there.”

“HEY, where do you think your going?”

I know what some of you are thinking – it isn’t just the “hey” part of Si Robertson that I sound like. You got me there. I do like to make up words as well. I don’t think I have ever come up with anything as fancy as “purnurple” but I have had some dooseys.

2. If a turtle can climb over a log and slide down the other side with no fear maybe I can face what I fear, too.

Brave Davis

 

Our baby tortoise, Davis is just 7 months old. He climbs up over the log in his cage at least one a day. As he starts down the back side of the log the drop gets so steep that he has to literally just let go and drop down. I watch him in awe because he doesn’t have the same ability we do to our catch ourselves and soften our fall. He crashes down into his wood chips head first and keeps on trucking.

Or my cutie patootie twins who started gymnastics this past month. My little C-man was so scared to go out by himself without me, but he did it. And ten minutes later he is waving at me from the mat.

Trying new things

So, what does this say to me? I need to make sure that I am constantly facing my fears head first and being as brave as a three-year old. I need to talk to others even when I would rather hide behind shyness. I need to go to things people invite me to even though I am worried about what I look like or what I wear and how stupid I may sound. If an itty bitty turtle can do it and an itty bitty three-year-old can do it, so can I.

3. I don’t want people to ask me hard questions

hard questions

This past month I had someone ask me gently if they were going to die. Please I implore you, please do not ask me this. I don’t want to ever tell anyone if I have a bad vibe about their future. Thank goodness that wasn’t the case this time, but I am a horrible liar because I can’t do it – it is against every fiber of my being to not tell the truth and once you ask it I pick up on what ever is going on around you, so please don’t as me that question. I will thank you in advance.

4. You can jinx yourself on potty training

Two boys are potty trained and it is awesome! No more pull-ups in our house. That is one “baby” thing if you will that I had no problem getting rid of. However, when you brag to your husband about your method of potty training and how it is superior to his ideas because you conquered potty training with twins super easily you might just find yourself changing soiled underwear for a week because that is how karma works baby, that is how karma works. I just wanted to warn you.

5. “People don’t want to read the same old mom crap over and over”

Or so my husband says. He might be right though so I will do my best to make sure I am writing about all kinds of things not just my daily jumble, stumble through parenthood.

6. You can be someone else for a minute

I hit the barista jackpot. I went into Starbucks a few weeks ago and when the barista asked my name I told her and then added, “I wish I could be someone fun for once, though.” And you know what she did…

Beyonce

Yup, I got to be Beyoncé just for a brief second. The first item came out and they actually called out, “Beyoncé” at the pick up counter. My drink came out a bit later and the girl at the pick up counter could not bring herself to call it out again. It was pretty fun though to run into someone with such a great sense of humor.

7. Your kids might just surprise you

sharing

 

Do you see that? Yes they are SHARING. Sharing CANDY none-the-less. I love that they share with one another, but don’t be too fooled minutes later I am sure they were yelling at each other or fighting or talking back or causing some sort of ruckus. 

8. I can still color

crayon self portrait

So the Brene Brown part two lifeclass has begun. I have only completed lesson 1 even though lesson 5 started this week. I will catch up, they leave the course open for a while, because well… apparently I am not the only slacker.

Any way one of the first things we had to do was to draw a self-portrait. The kicker was we had to use crayons. It ended up being really fun. I loved her message that we are all creative beings – there aren’t people who are not creative, they just aren’t using their creativity. I am down with that. So get creative out there – you are all creative!

9. People read my blog

I know I should know this, I have seen the stats and I get comments on FB, but it is really weird when someone is talking to you and they quote or paraphrase you and you look at them dumbfounded like, “Am I supposed to know what you are talking about?”

Only to realize that they are talking about something you wrote.

Yep, I have learned that several times this past month. Color me silly. I have literally looked at people like a deer in the headlights when they have either asked me about something I knew I never told them or paraphrased something I said. Only to realize seconds later that they knew this or were talking about that because they read what I wrote. Super cool to have people reading your blog and even super cool-er to have them mention it in conversation, but I am still getting used to it.

Still getting used to living out loud,

M