Bear hunts, earthquakes & roller coasters

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skyfall fun ride at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

And what a view it is…

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

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

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My first reading.

This is a story that is told multiple times a week. Details are omitted to scrunch it into the allotted time. It is the story I tell before each reading; the story of how I got started doing readings for other people. I want to share it here in its entirety because I think just once it needs to be written down with all the details in place.

It was a regular day like any other. I was in grad school and had made a great friend. The kind that you meet and you already feel like you have known each other a hundred years. We had most of our classes together. We talked about lots of things; I had my first child in grad school and she had been teaching longer than I; married longer than I. She always had the best advice; but one day our conversation turned to one of her students. A student that had leukemia. An eight-year-old little boy whom she tutored. I had no idea when we started talking about Matthew the impact he would have on my life.

As my friend shared her worries and experience with Matthew and his family, I shared more about my gift with her. Opening something inside of myself I had held so close. Trying to share what little wisdom I had to bring comfort to the unthinkable situation that was facing this family, facing Matthew.

Matthew gained his angel wings in July of 2007.

A few months later my friend told me that I should share my gift with this family. That they needed my help.

Crazy town; I told her. Crazy people do things like that. I didn’t think I could help and I was sure that if I did everyone would think I was crazy. No one can talk to spirits for real. The things that happened to me were just random and I wasn’t about to do them out loud in front of the world. I played small and it suited me just fine. I had a sweet little life at this point. Two kids and a new job; I was moving forward into my sweet, quiet life comfortably.

So, I told her no. I thought that would be the end of it.

Sometimes you don’t hear when God is laughing at you. Chuckling at the notion that you think you have some control over what you are meant to do.

God and Matthew had different plans for me. Matthew was helping Him put those plans into motion.

Everything you want is on the other side of fear

Matthew began to show up everywhere. He was in my car; my kitchen, woke me up at night because I kept having the same dream. I would reach out for a tombstone that wasn’t there and carved into the rock were symbols I didn’t recognize. Each night I would trace them with my finger drawing symbols into a phantom tombstone.

Finally, I asked Matthew what he wanted. He had a family that loved him, why in the world was he spending all this time around me?

He asked me to talk to his mom. He asked me to help his family. Said he had something for his sister and turned into a butterfly and fluttered away.

Well, crap.

God knew if He sent me a child I would listen. God knew if He sent me a small boy that I would say yes. That with shaky legs, sweaty hands and my stomach in knots I would drive 40 miles into unknown territory and try to help this boy reunite with his family.

Arriving made everything worse. Encountering the eyes of this mother and father who had lost half their hearts and a whole child to Heaven was almost unbearable. What if this didn’t work? What if I was crazy? What if I just heard and saw things that didn’t really exist? I started praying in my head like a crazy woman. Dear God, please let me help this family. God please let this bring them some comfort. God please let this be real. God please don’t let this family down.

It took a good twenty minutes to get comfortable. Twenty minutes of small talk and looking at a few pictures. Matthew showed up right away, but I had never seen energy move so fast. I couldn’t slow him down enough to hear what he was saying. And then something shifted.

I started to hear him clear as day. I started to see him in his blue striped shirt and the wide grin expand across his face. He told his family about things he did in the house to let them know he was around. He described the item that he was buried with since I would have no idea what it was or how to pronounce what it was called. Matthew relayed to me the item he wanted his sister to have. He shared things he hoped for his family and wanted for the future.

We drove to his grave because of my dream. I had chills over my whole body as I stepped into the reality of that dream. Stepped into a solid, tangible reality I had only seen in dreams. I explained to them about the symbols Matthew wanted on his tombstone. His dad drew multiple samples on a napkin; skeptical trying to prove this was really happening; only one set of symbols represented what I had verbalized to them. Without hesitation, I pointed to the second set of symbols. The ones I had traced into stone night after night in my dream. Those were the ones. The ones Matthew wanted on his stone.

Heaven isn't some far off place. Heaven is all around us. You are a part of your loved ones heaven. Spirit is constantly sending signs to us to let us know they are there.

Then a little dog showed up and of course it had been theirs. Of course, that dog was with their son playing chase and being a constant companion.

That day changed my life. That day put me on a course with God’s plan for me. It unfurled my path; a path I had refused to step onto for 15 years.

When I was fifteen a line of spirits formed around me. A line. They would reach out one by one; tell me I was going to help them and I would shake it off. It couldn’t be. How could I tell people out loud this is me? I talk to dead people, seriously? I couldn’t handle the criticism. I wasn’t ready.

I wasn’t ready that day either and it would be about five years after this first reading for strangers that I would help other people out loud. Matthew never gave up. He would visit from time to time and nudge me down this path. Encourage me to keep the channels open; to pay attention to spirit.

When I first started giving readings he would be there with me. Cheering me on. Letting me know I was right where I was supposed to be. Eventually he handed those reigns off to my loved ones, but from time to time he still peeks in; still says hello with that wide grin across his face and his head tilted slightly to the right. Always dressed in the latest trends and his jet-black hair just a bit spiky in front. It always makes me smile.

Spirit speaks to us through a variety of ways. If you believe a sign came from a loved one; than it did.

Matthew helped me get to where I am today. Matthew taught me how to listen. He helped me understand how this gift would work. Reaffirmed that as much as I am here to help the living that I work for spirit. That I am here to translate the messages of spirit to their families. When I give a reading I always let spirit lead. Spirit starts with their agenda, their messages; and those messages may not always be what their loved one may want to hear, but without fail they are always what their loved one needs to hear. Without fail loved ones end up finding a way to make sense out of the words and pictures that spirit gives to me. Spirit finds a way to make me feel both physically and emotionally what they want me to translate. God always leading the way; allowing this miracle.

I hope that what I do; that each reading pays Matthew back somehow. That he knows that this is how I say thank you. That I am forever grateful for his determination and patience. That it is not lost on me that a boy, not yet nine, changed my life in such a profound and wonderful way. Thank you, Matthew and thank you sweet family who welcomed me into their lives unsure of what that day would hold. Thank you all for changing my life and being the first step on my journey. Thank you for sharing your son with me and with the world.

Thank you,

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To good days and full hearts

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

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

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

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

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

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

To good days and full hearts. Until next time,

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Worry, fate and signs from heaven

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do not ask me to remember

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

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

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

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

Sunset

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

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The words that shook me awake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Can I get an AMEN?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

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End of the year lessons

 

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

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

Get creative…

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

 

Go camping in December…

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

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


Be silly and let your kids take pictures…

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

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

Wait for it…

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

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

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

Stop apologizing…

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

OR

OR even as simple as this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Holidays,


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

 

 

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

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

See, I suck at small talk.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

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The messenger

Vague

Amazing

Insightful

Wise

Funny

Wordy

Transparent

Authentic

Relatable

Lunatic

Bully

Hate

Hypocrite

Liar

Monster

Sinner

Fraud

Stupid

Ignorant

Racist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With hope,


 

The time when acupuncture broke me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

That in itself is a miracle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am choosing to let my light shine.

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

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

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

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

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A cup half full kind of girl,

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Permission to say no thank you

It’s Friday afternoon and I am beyond looking forward to the weekend and a little relaxation. As I sit in this safe, cozy chair I want to bare my soul to you. See you my dear readers are family and friends who support me. You have come to mean a great deal to me as I journey to find my most authentic self.

Lately my life has felt like a ball of yarn that someone grabbed the free end of and let unravel all over a hard wooden floor. As I have tried to scoop it back up and wind into back into a neat, little ball I have done a great deal of praying and introspection.

Is this where I am supposed to be?

Was not teaching this year the right thing?

Should I have shut down my side business?

Am I making the right choices?

I waited for God or the Universe to answer me back, but there was only SILENCE. But I have deep faith, and I knew God would answer back. So I just kept patiently listening…show me which step is next. I thought of all the ways God could answer me. That is when I remembered my very first prayer on this journey of authenticity; I prayed for friends. God had answered with abundance as he usually does. So I started to think about what I was hearing from them.

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Strung together they may still seem random to you, but to me it was all the answers I had been looking for.

I am going to back up a minute because I think the whole picture is important. For the last decade and a half, which is most of my adult life, I have been preparing for WHAT I was going to be; not ever really focusing in on the WHO I was. See I only lived on my own for two years out of college and the majority of that time I was dating my future husband and just starting my career as a teacher. We were married and in that first year of marriage I was pregnant and preparing for motherhood. We went on to have four kids in the next seven years. I was always preparing to be…

a teacher

a wife

a mother

The twins were two before the haze of my life was starting to wear off. Don’t get me wrong I loved all the moments, but they moved by at warp speed and I was so busy being WHAT I was that I never did stop to define the WHO. Maybe this didn’t happen to you, maybe you had it all figured out. But I sure didn’t.

So when I started to try and find my authentic self to see who I was, I figured out a couple of things quickly. I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to have deep relationships and have a life with purpose. I thought that meant career, home, and self all at once. So I set out to do all the things.

And I did. I performed well at my full-time job, now in sales, but none the less I rose to the challenge of a new career and was executing it well. I was raising healthy, well-mannered, kind children. I had a solid partnership and loving marriage with my best friend. I started a side business that was beginning to flourish. And last, but certainly not least, I was writing. A dream I have had from a very young age and to my surprise people were reading my little blog. Slowly at first, but more and more with each passing year.

I really was doing it all and doing it well. But with so many balls in the air at once things were slipping and falling. Unfortunately, my focus was on the things that dropped, not the things that rose to the surface. I was just noticing the things that went wrong or didn’t get accomplished.

I was running on empty.

It was too fast. I was on a hamster wheel and I needed to get off.

Fear gripped me though. Wasn’t I supposed to fill up my life with the things I wanted? And I was successful, so why pull back? Outside looking in; I had it all. But…

I was in the worst physical shape of my life and nearing an emotional low. How was this happening?I had listened to my intuition and by some blessing or luck I was achieving all of my dreams. But the problem was in the whirlwind of doing it all I wasn’t actually enjoying them. So I have started stripping things down. If something didn’t feel right no matter the public humiliation or sense of failure at the time I stopped doing it.

I needed to put my oxygen mask on first.

Maybe saying no to soccer so we weren’t gone all afternoon was saying yes to the precious down time we needed to re-energize. 

So I stripped it all away – learning the things I didn’t want to do.

I’m still a work in progress, but I knew being a mom was what I really wanted. So I chose to put my family first. I am home afterschool and at bedtime. If my kids need me, I drop what I am doing and make sure they get what they need.

I am also putting me first. I am trying to find my way back to running. I am writing again. I have made overdue dentist and doctor appointments and am trying acupuncture to put myself back together again.

I am also taking stock in my success. My mediumship gift is just that a gift. It belongs to me and God will continue to show me when and where to use it. If it is meant to be a business again when my kids are older it will be. Just because others are demanding it of me doesn’t mean I have to share or answer their demands. My family and myself need to come first. Each of us is a gift. We must nourish ourselves, too.

I was “fucking crazy” not to like myself. I may be an introvert and run and hide. But I am kind, hard-working, bright, determined, compassionate and contrary to what I said on an Internet questionnaire 10 years ago – I would LOVE to be my friend.

So the last of what I heard hit home, too. I know that what I am doing is the right thing. When I got to hold my friend’s infant son for the first time, I was “glowing” holding that baby. I felt a sense of peace wash over me. God was answering me. Yes, taking the time for my friends and family – this is right.

I can say no thank you or maybe later. I do not have to do all the things all at once.

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So I guess what I am hoping to share with you all is…

have faith…

If you can’t find or see your answers, don’t stop looking for them. Handle yourself with kindness. You have permission to NOT do all the things all at once or ever if you don’t want to.

A wise person always tells me, “You can do one thing really well, two things okay and three things not all.” It is okay to slow things down and focus on the one to two things you really want to do well; the rest will fall into place.

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What matters…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

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May God hold you in the palm of His hand

When our loved ones move on to heaven our human hearts want the world to stop. There is a need for everything to be frozen and covered with ash gray quiet. Forward movement seems so unbefitting when we are mourning loss. We yearn for a blanket of stillness to cover the globe and keep us isolated while we adjust to a life where they are no longer physically present. And yet, somehow everything keeps moving,  changing, evolving, growing. There is an abundant amount of laughter and light that seems so out-of-place. For me it seems this must be God’s way of trying to soothe us to let us know that one day forward movement will not seem so odd. His way of reminding us that life is all forward movement. There is no pause button, no still frame except for in our photos and even then sometimes nothing is standing still.

All four of my grandparents are in heaven. My fingers shake as I write this because a world without their stories, advice, unconditional love seems a bit colder, less comforting. As each of my grandparents passed I tried to merge some of who they were into me; into my soul because if I did that then they continued to live. If I have to move forward because of the will of the world and the will of God, then it is my need to take the essence of who they were with me.

Twenty-one years ago, my grandfather (papa) went in for a routine surgery, and then I got the news he wasn’t going to ever leave the hospital again because his body had decided the surgery was not so routine. The day I heard I ran up and down the stairs in our house and did sit up after sit up. I thought if I could feel some physical pain that matched my emotional pain then that would bring harmony and peace. It did not. Time would come to pass and I would learn that nothing brings back the peace you had before you lose someone. Nothing is ever the same. I wish I could have had more wisdom in my adolescent brain that June, but I did not. For my grandfather, who was Irish to the core, I decided to move on with the importance of heritage being a core value.

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Papa, my friend Shannon and I on Antelope Island the summer before my Sophomore year of high school. 1994ish
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At Coyote Reservoir probably 1992
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New Year’s Eve at our house in 1993 probably

He also loved his family fiercely and that too I incorporated into the fiber of my being. I know that he watches over us; his pennies from heaven are everywhere when I need them. He was also a wonderful story-teller. I think that I chose to write again because of a need to make his story-telling live on. Slowly picking up my once abandoned journals after his passing and beginning to fill them with my own stories. His picture sits at my desk and I talk to him every day. The hole he left will always be empty. I wish I had done more to remember all that he was, record his stories, ask more questions, learn more, but I was too naive and young to gather those extra memories of him when I had the chance.

My mother’s father passed on Valentine’s Day almost 8 years ago. It doesn’t seem like that, but time keeps moving propelling us forward. I had been so fortunate to see him two weeks earlier. He lived in Utah, so it was a treat that I was out there visiting friends and was able to escape away for a day and spend it with him. We visited my grandmother. Then, watched a part of the series “Earth”. We made plans for breakfast the next day and I headed back to the house my husband and I were visiting. A freak snowstorm set in that night and I was not able to get back to see him for breakfast. I called to tell him and of course he put my safety first and understood. I told him I loved him and he told me the same. As I hung up, I cried uncontrollably. Everyone thought I was crazy, but I knew I would never hear his voice again. That was the last time we spoke.

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My Grandpa goofing around at my wedding in 2003
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Grandpa toasting at my wedding in 2003
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Grandpa and Grandma together at my wedding in 2003

When my dad called to tell me two weeks later, I sank to the ground in my kitchen. And a cruel joke that on Valentine’s Day he left the Earth, leaving behind the woman he loved so much. My grandfather took care of my grandmother as she struggled through Alzheimer’s for 12 years. His unconditional love became an example to me; to our family to love those dearest to you through anything. His goofy jokes and singing became part of his essence that I needed to carry on. A sign of his hangs in my kitchen, “A good day is not complete without laughter.” That is what I carry with me and try to incorporate into my soul. Also to always drive the back roads, that is where the good stuff happens. There is no need to take the freeway when you can avoid it.

A few short weeks later, the love of his life, my grandmother passed away. My sweet, kind, generous grandmother who fought early onset Alzheimer’s for 12 years went to heaven to be with him. My grandmother was one of the most selfless, thoughtful people I have ever met. When I would complain about how someone being rude or grumpy she would say, “Michelle, they might be having the worst day of their life. Maybe they need a little kindness.” or “You don’t know their story.” This has become a mantra of mine, to give people the benefit of the doubt, to offer kindness no matter what. She had the best giggle and enjoyed her family and grandchildren so much. She was always finding the neatest toys for us to play with. Little People became a favorite of mine for my own children because it reminded me of her house. She also was a writer; she had written for the paper in college for a brief time. She is another reason that I write. Her grace, kindness, and love of knowledge and life I try to absorb in every way.

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My grandma with the love of her life my grandpa in the late 80s. I wish I had more pictures of her before she started to get sick. She loved to giggle and was such a beautiful person.

I call on her daily because she raised six with ease and sometimes I feel like I am drowning raising four and I long to hear her words of wisdom. My drive to help others comes in part from her.

This past Friday, November 6th at 8:15 PM my grandmother went to join my papa 21 years after he passed. That is a long time to be a part from one another, so I know they are catching up on lost time. I am grateful that she can be with him and her brothers and sister that have passed. I know she missed them dearly. But as I stood on the Boardwalk, listening to my dad tell me she had passed, the dazzling sunlight and joyful volleyball games and happy adventurers that passed and buzzed around me seemed so wrong. Why couldn’t everything stop just for a minute; my last grandparent had left this Earth. Why wasn’t there quiet and calm? Why hadn’t clouds at least dulled the blazing sun?

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My grandma and my dad in 2002
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My grandma and me in church 2000
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The summer before my wedding at Los Gatos Opera House 2002
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My grandma as always the life of the party – my wedding 2003

My grandmother talked to everyone. When I would visit in the summer, it would take us an hour or more to get through the aisles in the grocery store. The first time I thought she knew everyone and then I picked up that she was meeting all these people for this first time. She always talked to anyone like a friend, an important note that I need to gather into my soul and become one with so that she can live on through me. She also loved to laugh and was always about a good time; even though she hated parties that were thrown in her honor. It will be good for my soul to laugh even more and something I will fold into the fiber of my being so that she can continue to exist here on Earth. My grandma won everything all the time, so I know the Bingo Game in heaven will be forever changed; she is pretty unbeatable. There was a lot my grandmother didn’t talk about from her past and I know there was a great deal of pain that she carried with her from that. I hope that escapes her soul as she settles into heaven. My grandmother also loved to give back to the community, she helped with Girl Scouts, the Soup Kitchen and her church. I think a part of me knew this was coming, a need to make this year’s 25 Days of Holiday Cheer bigger and grander than the past two years a need to make a mark, a memory in her honor.

Life keeps going. We can’t stop it. We can only join it as best we can. I try to do that with my grief; warp it into a part of the person I loved and use it to move forward and pass that piece of their memory onto others I meet. If I keep pushing them forward with me in the best way I know how, a piece of them will always exist here on Earth.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Until we meet again,

Michelle