An open letter to myself…

An open letter to myself…

The rain came down yesterday. Puddles litter the ground and this afternoon’s storm is imminent. In fact, the call came through while I was at breakfast with a friend that all after school meetings and activities are cancelled, except high school athletics. So I am still waiting to hear from my son’s soccer coach if the game is on this afternoon.

I know it probably sounds silly to most of the world that California towns shut down at the threat of a thunderstorm; it seems silly to us, too but the roads flood fast when it rains here. These mandatory shut downs (not government ones – I am not getting political here) get our family home and cozy. It stops time for a brief moment and I couldn’t be happier. But that isn’t what this post is about.

As I sit here on my planned writing day with papers strewn about and a copy of Hands Free Mama by my side, I am still struggling to complete this post. It is one that needs to be written so I am compelled to keep at it.

This last year, I was introduced to a woman named Michele, by her dad. While that may seem ordinary, it was anything but. See by the time we met, via phone, her dad was already in heaven. (If you haven’t heard how we met you can read my post about it here). I still feel like he continually links us. Whether it is her seeing me on a morning run or an online post that shows how close we live to one another, we still find ourselves being connected.

She has this great online FB community where she writes motivating posts to help others live their best life. You see how we like each other now, right?

Well, one of her most recent asks, was for us to write a letter to our future selves. She said that we had to write a letter to ourself in the future expressing a sense of accomplishment for all we completed the past year. I originally thought this would be easy. But here I sit. With the letter still unfinished.

Writing about my success; that is complicated. More than complicated; arduous. A part of me still can’t think I am a success because I feel like I will jinx the good stuff I have going on in my life right this very instant. And I was taught to be humble, so saying “Hey look what I can do,” makes me cringe. I know you are reading an online blog about myself; the irony of this is not lost on me. So I get that you are thinking this can’t be that hard. But it is!

On the flip side, I could easily list off the things I have failed or what I want to do different next time or how I want to be a better at whatever. But to write a letter to myself about how proud I am of me; that is trickier than it sounds.

However, I think it is important. What we put out into the universe comes back. What we want for ourselves; what we see for ourselves; well that becomes our reality. So this exercise isn’t just for fun; I think it is necessary for my growth over the next year. I am doing it and sharing it in the hopes that maybe you will do the same for yourself. Maybe you will work at manifesting your own dreams this year.

Okay here it goes…

Dear End of 2019 Michelle,

There is so much I have to tell you. I know, no surprise there; we both know how long-winded I can be. 

First and foremost; I want you to know how proud I am of you for holding steady this year. When things got hectic or tough you remembered to consistently show up for yourself. And when life knocked you down you dusted yourself off and tried again. I know how merciless that bully in your head can be; and the fact that you never let her get the best of you; you should feel so satisfied. I am glad that failure wasn’t an option for you.

I know your job is life-breathing for you. You are helping people and doing what you are meant to do; but I also know it is breath-taking in both good and bad ways. Aren’t you grateful that you kept your faith, even on the days when appointments were heavy or they didn’t go your way; aren’t you glad you looked up and remembered whose you are. Always keep that faith. Always remember that God has your back. He is holding you and He held you, even when you thought you were alone or He couldn’t see what was happening. I love that prayer to you isn’t a word or a thing it is an action and you put its power to use. When all else fails, faith seems to center us. 

Girl, this one was hard. You left so much sweat on the floor of 2019. You lost all your extra padding and gained some sure-fire muscle. Look at you! You finished two 5Ks and made sure that you took time to better your health each and every day. But you also enjoyed food and gatherings and didn’t let it over run your life. You found a beautiful balance for your health and your sweet tooth. I bet you feel good in your clothes and are glad to have more energy. Well done, but remember don’t stop. This is lifetime work. Keep getting after it; you have got this.

In, the work world, you did a great job. You are the owner of a successful business. And you decided to take a risk and finally finish that book. The bravery it took to send off your completed manuscript to publishers was impressive. Hang in there. No matter what happens you wrote a whole book and shared it. You should feel content. That is enough. More than enough. Great work. And to top it off you started your own little podcast. You go girl. I know, I know the things that come out of our mouth. We can’t help it. The point is we are not on the sidelines any more watching other people’s dreams come true or hiding our own potential. You are out in the arena making your own dreams a reality and it takes my breath away to see you like this. Remember when we took out that picture of us at three. Remember that smile. You started all this to find that girl again and now you are her. How’s that for success? Let that settle in your bones and savor how that feels. 

Most importantly, you soaked in the sun, spent time watching the sky in wonder, gazed out at the stars, studied your babies’ precious faces and listened to their hearts until you knew them as well as your own, and  you were there for those that needed you most. You took the time to laugh, listen and love. You were present and made your people a priority. Don’t you feel like you added treasured moments to your life? 

All in all you had a productive year where you were a participant in your own life. You put blood, sweat, tears, laughter, love and adventure into 2019. I know you are grateful and blessed for all you have experienced; don’t let that pass you buy. Soak it up. Let it linger on your heart. It’s okay to take a moment and just be. I also know, you will think about what was lost or missed. Try and remember what is, is and what will be, will be. You did what you could. You did the best with what you had. You never gave up. You are the best you, you have ever been to this point in your life and I love you more today than ever. 

Sincerely,

Beginning of 2019 Michelle

Notes on a life well lived

Notes on a life well lived

Dozens of self-help books litter my bookshelves from Anne Lamott, Gabby Bernstein, to Shauna Niequist. I have also read Marianne Williamson, and I can’t quite stomach Rachel Hollis, but I have read more than half of Girl, Wash Your Face; sorry people she is way too overzealous and tough love for me. Brene Brown’s Gift of Imperfections entirely changed my life, and I have watched her Ted Talks more than once, and even taken her online course. I follow Glennon Doyle Melton and Jen Hatmaker. I have listened to speeches and audio books by Zig Zigler and learned how to give elevator speeches by reading Terri Sjodin. One common thread among all the things I have read, listened to, watched or studied is about how to live your best life.

When I started this blog six and a half years ago, it was a way for me to log my journey to be my best self, mainly how to live my best life. Since today is my birthday, it has me reflecting on this a bit. In addition, there is quite a lot of talk about resolutions as we have just entered a new year.

There are some common threads when it comes to living your best life based on what I have read or studied. One, you have to show up for yourself. You have to participate in your own life. Two, you need to make good, healthy choices, both physically and emotionally. Three, you need to take risks and follow your dreams. And lastly, you need to slow down and appreciate the simple things in life. While those things all sound fabulous on paper, I think it is often difficult to capture that in day-to-day living.

If you have followed me for any length of time, you know I get caught up on age. My own that is. While, people tell me that age isn’t a big deal; I logically understand that, but when death has been intertwined with your existence on this planet since as far back as you can remember it is hard not to examine mortality. I mean my job is to deliver messages from spirits in heaven to people here, so I think about life and death on the daily. Age sits on my mind in good and bad ways. So, I logically understand age is a frame of mind; I am not worried about aging; I just know that is how we measure time here and time as a human is an invaluable, precious commodity. Point of my ramble, I am 41 as of today and legit, I am halfway through my life, and I still want to make sure that I am living my best life.

What the heck does a life well lived mean to me? How do you have a life well lived in reality? What does that look like? And can it mean different things every damn day?

Let’s take a look at question one – what the heck is a life well lived mean to me? While I shared some components of a life well lived a bit at the top of this blog, a life well lived is going to be different for everyone. What that means to me will not be the same for you. Some of us need to have achievements and careers and awards. Some of us don’t need any recognition but instead need meaningful connection. The point is I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer here. For me a life well lived means doing the best I can each day to be present, make meaningful connections with the people I love, offer myself grace instead of criticism and learn instead of staying stagnant. I want to make healthy choices, and I want to help other people. If I have given my best and loved my people, then I have lived well.

There is no one size fits all answer to what makes a well lived life

For me, and this also seems to be popular in the self-help world, living your best life means loving yourself. That is one area, I can say I have improved immensely since I have started this blog. This girl is not perfect, but she is kind, loyal, generous, trustworthy, sincere, honest, hard-working. Of course, there are still areas that need improving. I am a stress eater who is addicted to caffeine and I struggle with being the kind of friend I want to be. For example, approaching people to have small talk is seriously still the hardest thing I am faced with every single day. But it is okay, I have that knowledge, and I do what I can to be better about it. That is enough.

And last but not least, I think a life well-lived includes eating chocolate and reading books. Those things are in my life well-lived. Some people need to travel or drink coffee or run or drink wine; I need chocolate and a good book.

How do you live a life well in reality?

Well, that is the real question, am I right or am I right?

Drumroll please….

one damn second at a freaking time.

I know I am a genius.

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But really, in real life living a good life might look like this…

You are already running five minutes late to get your kids to school, and child #4 still has yet to brush their teeth, comb their hair and find their shoes regardless of your constant, calm, thoughtful reminders. You know that you should continue to be easy-going and choose your words carefully, but instead, you lose your cool and raise your voice. I mean really, you can’t believe how many times you have had to ask, and there is no way you are going to be on time at this point. And that matters because people should show up on time for important things; it is good manners. Manners are important. Anyway, you lost it. You are only human. You feel awful by the time you actually drop off said children because yesterday you may have made it through the same scenario with grace, calm and incredible restraint, but today your hormones are different, or you slept less, or you ran out of your favorite K-Cup or the dog got sick on the carpet or everything fell apart in your life, and you just cannot handle one more little thing, and you got snippy. Well, you are human, and you need to let that moment pass, apologize for your mistake, admit you are human and try again in the next moment. That is all you can do. Because in a life well-lived my friend, things are flawed and messy. Little things can seem like big things at the moment, and we mess up.

Or a life well lived may look like this in reality…

You are nailing it; you ditched the to-do list, and you got a load of laundry done (because keeping things organized and tidy is important to you in your life well-lived categories) you took a run (because health is important), you played a game with your family, made a home cooked nutritious meal and you are on top of the life well-lived world. I mean you were present and connected to your child at the moment when they said, “Mama, everyone should be happy.” And you just teared up at the profound innocence of that statement. You are the boss of a life well lived. Congratulations.

However, the next day, your morning falls apart, the repairman comes late, you miss your conference call, your late getting the kids from school which they proceed to tell everyone you talk to that day, soccer practice runs over, and you have to hit a McDonald’s drive-thru because you cannot skip eating but have precious little time before baths and bedtime. Seriously, high-five yourself, because you got through that day. The kids are fed. The repairs were made. Everyone is home safe. Life goes on. Try again tomorrow. That is a life well lived in reality, my friend.

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That is just how it goes, and you know what? You are doing it right; everyone has those days, and if they don’t I am pretty sure they are lying, or they have an assistant, a nanny, another assistant, and they are outsourcing other things, and they are still lying. But I am not saying this to be judge-y. I want you to understand that a life well lived, in reality, isn’t going to fit any self-help book wish list when it is actually happening. The truth is everyone has bad days; even those living their lives like a boss. True story.

What does that look like, a life well lived? Answered above. It is different all the time. Depending on the moment, depending on the day. But it should feel like gratitude and grace. Wonder and joy. Life is also going to hurt and be difficult. A life well-lived includes feeling all the feelings, showing up when it is hard, success and failure, mistakes, messiness, do-overs, loss, and love. I think it is more important to feel life than to make sure it looks any particular way. A life well-lived will look different to me than to you, but it will feel the same of that I am pretty sure.

And can it mean different things every damn day? Yes. Yes. And Yes. Some days a life well lived means sitting on the couch curled up with your family watching a movie and ordering take out because you just can’t do the things. Or maybe you are hiding in your cloffice trying to get your act together because everything you have felt that day has literally brought you to your knees, and you have to find a way not to let the pain you have witnessed and felt that day bleed so deep into your existence that you stop in your tracks and never start again.

So, as I enter my forty-first year, I want to settle into these bones and keep doing what I have been doing for the last six and a half years, living my life well. Embracing my flawed self with each new day, stretch outside my comfort zone and live beyond my fears. To show up and be present in my life. But to always offer myself grace when I can’t.

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If you have read this far, I hope for my birthday, I hope today, you do something nice for yourself. Take a moment to enjoy where you are right now. I know I will.

Love and light,

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Year End Lessons for 2018

Year End Lessons for 2018

It has been awhile since I have written a lessons post. I thought a new year would be a good time to reflect on what I have re-learned or learned or remembered from this past year. I am going to use this look back as a guide to help my way forward this year.

First things first…

20 Dessert Inspirations

Do it! If you can help it, don’t put things on hold. Go out, take adventures, and live. Even if you are hurt. Even if you are scared. Even if you think it’s too people-y. Go on the trip. Love your people well and soak in the rest and adventure. It is worth the memories.

Make your own Fancy new year

Or unfancy new year…but make it happen. We spent ours at a pajama party, but my baby wanted a sparkly fancy new year and she made it happen. From a sparkling jumpsuit with rainbow stripes and curled hair she was fancy head to toe. Who cares what anyone else thinks…be you! Do you and then make it happen.

Bake the Cookies

It is hard to find the time, I know. With kids, work, family, and regular life it is hard to sneak in the things that bring us joy, but you can make the time. Bake the cookies, take the walk, do the workout. Find your joy and add it into your life when and where you can. You are welcome.

good times & tan lines

This one is hard. I know. I sit with bereaved souls day in and day out and how in the world some people have to leave this earth while others get to stay and cause harm is beyond me, but there are still miracles. Even in pain and despair they will creep up like weeds in the sidewalk. They might be small and they may not take away your pain, but they can ease it. Miracles happen every single day. We just forget that we are one. Sometimes, we have to focus on the little, tiny things to see them, to hear them. But the point is to not stop believing.

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I know, I know. I ask hard things of you. But we can do hard things. Go out into the world and do what you are passionate about. We need more of that. This sign was literally on the bathroom wall of a house I stayed at almost one year ago and it was like a beacon telling me I had made the right choice. I did. I am doing what makes me happy and it is making me happy. It isn’t always easy and I am still learning, but it is making me happy and others happy. So go do what makes you happy. What are waiting for? Certainly not me telling you…so what?

Make New Friends

This one can be a bit difficult as well. When you are in your forties people are established. They have formed their tribes and made their alliances and infiltrating those can be murky waters. But guess what? Making new friends and meeting new people keep us young and open. We can’t become who we are meant to be when we are being a hermit in a cave. Do you get hurt? Yep. I have learned a few people aren’t my people. That is okay, too. What is most important is to keep open. I have made amazing friends this past year. I am so grateful for them and their amazing text messages, company and gifts. I cannot imagine my life without these new people. They have brought me so much joy this past year and I cannot wait to grow those friendships.

RELEARN & REMEMBER YOUR OWN LESSONS

I said those things…this last year…these are my words. Remember who you are and where you want to be. You got this. Go out and impress yourself. Again, you’re welcome.

actions

This one is the one to end on. Actions always speak louder than words. Watch how people treat you. Watch carefully. It says more about them then what they maybe able to say. Some people are great at deceiving the world. They hide behind their smoothness and sweet talk, but what they do…well that doesn’t lie. Not even a little bit. So watch people carefully. And remember that people are watching you, too. Make sure you are following through on what you say with what you do.

Wishing you a 2019 filled with health, love, happiness, joy, adventure, good company, and fun,

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Snippets from Heaven – Part 5

Snippets from Heaven – Part 5

Sometimes the people we love most in the world leave it too soon in ways that leave us wondering if it could have been different. Whether it is an accident because of poor decisions, just an accident or an intentional act; loved ones here ponder alternative possibilities. Often, spirits with these types of circumstances surrounding their deaths will step forward and claim some responsibility for how they left this Earth when speaking to their loved ones through me.

To be the spokesperson for these souls is often gut-wrenching because these souls have some guilt for causing pain and their loved ones are also plagued with guilt and what ifs. Always these encounters are healing.

We have to remember God has unconditional, undying love for each of us – no matter what we do here. Now, don’t get ready to rob a bank or anything, we are most definitely judged by the choices we make here and have to remedy those in heaven, but God loves you. He loves us all. And God gladly welcomes all souls into heaven when we welcome him into our lives; even in the afterlife.

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I want to share a session with you today that includes a young spirit who stepped forward during that session and took responsibility for his death, even though it was an accident. This piece is a little different from the ones before it in the series because as I was writing it, the spirit who is the subject of this piece visited me and wanted some things added. So this piece is written by myself with a little help from a ghostwriter (pun intended).

It was a Sunday in late October when I met Robin and Steve. One of my long-time clients gifted them a session with me.

I had a drive on my hands to get to their home, so in addition to my nerves being jittery because I had to drive CA 152 a windy narrow road over the hills to Santa Cruz; I was nervous about the session. I always am. I am just as surprised as my clients are by how a session goes. But I get even more nervous when it is a gift; because I represent the person who gave the present as well.

In any event, I arrive at a quaint, artsy home, and am greeted by a delightful, cherry Robin and a reserved and somewhat skeptical Steve. But both are gracious, none the less, and warmly welcome me into their home.

As the session starts (and remember my memory is always a bit fuzzy on these) a young man steps forward. He is handsome and strong, and right away I like him. He seems familiar like I know him somehow. (In fact, I had met him at a prior session, but I don’t realize this until the end of the session when Robin helps put all the pieces of our visit together). His charm captivates his listeners, as well as, his fun-loving sense of humor. He quickly takes over the entire session and what he wants to say seems to fly out of my mouth with rapid speed.

He does speak about his death. It is something that weighs on his heart. He continues to explain that he didn’t always make good choices in life, but he knows he was a good person. And I can feel that about him. He apologizes to Robin and Steve for his passing. It wasn’t intentional, he says, but he stills feels like it is his fault. And he continues to thank Robin and Steve for caring for his dog and for loving him so deeply.

 

At this, they bring the dog inside the house, and this German Shepherd warms to me pretty quickly. I can sense that the dog is aware of Andrew’s presence. We become friends.

This young man starts back up again and tells Robin and Steve he is thrilled for the arrival of his new nephew and how excited he is for his brother. There is so much he has missed in person, but he wants them to know he has seen it all from his side of life. Then, he mentions he likes to send monarchs to visit and tell his family hello. His humor is felt throughout the session, and we laugh as much as we cry. At one point, I say that I wish I had a big brother like him and he responds by slapping me on the back and says, “You want a brother, sure I will be your brother.”

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The session goes over our scheduled time as they usually do when I have such a dynamic, electric spirit with tons of energy and loads to say. I learn through the session that the entertaining soul I am speaking with is Andrew, Robin and Steve’s son. It is never lost on me the depth of pain that bereaved parents experience. Nor is it lost on me that my journey into this profession started with a little boy who wanted me to speak to his parents and continues with so many children who visit me and ask me to speak to theirs. Andrew was no exception. He had shown up at an earlier session I had with the client who gifted Robin and Steve the reading with me. Andrew had messages for his mom then, and he found a way to get me to his parents directly that Sunday in October. Children who leave Earth too soon for our standards always find a way to reconnect with their grieving parents.

The takeaways from this session that Andrew wants to share with you are these:

  • We all make mistakes, and we are all forgiven. God loves us so much. Andrew wants each of you to know that.
  • Our loved ones in heaven consistently send messages. What I didn’t even know during this session was that Robin had already planted specific plants to attract butterflies to her yard. She didn’t even know if it would work. But here Andrew was telling her during this session that indeed he was sending her butterflies. She has been caring for caterpillars and watching them turn into butterflies this month; almost a year after our initial session. And of course, they are monarchs.
  • Spirit knows what is going on in your lives. They are alive and a part of our lives here, too. Death stops our bodies, but not our souls. So the nephew Andrew spoke about was just a tiny nugget and the sex of the infant wasn’t discovered until one month after my visit when Robin sent me the ultrasound photo with the message, “IT’S A BOY!” Something Andrew happened to already know during the session a month earlier. And again Andrew, proved this to his mom when several months later he spoke up at an event I had and thanked his mom for letting his dog roam around the house more often. She was shocked! Andrew knew all about the big and little things going on in their lives from his view in heaven.
  • Most importantly, Andrew says, love never dies. It grows and changes even after we have left our bodies. But it never dies.

Copy of Copy of Snippets from Heaven Part 5 figure 3Andrew is so special to me because he helps to heal his parents’ grief from heaven. He always lets Robin know he is near and still has his charismatic and playful attitude. And he may have adopted me for real because monarchs show up around me often. In Hawaii, we had several monarchs following us daily. One day five monarchs flew and circled us. I shared a bit about Andrew with my kids and said he was the one sending the butterflies to say hello. So any time we saw the butterflies in Hawaii this summer my kids would yell, “There’s Andrew, mom!” Here is a quick clip of three of seven butterflies that came and circled above us during our lunch one day.

Our loved ones may feel lost to us, but we are never lost to them. They use all of their energy to try to help us understand that. Thank you for allowing me to share Andrew with all of you. He hopes that what he has shared here will help others feel their heavenly loved ones and be able to connect to them more deeply. And a very special thank you to Robin for giving me permission to share my version of this story and her Andrew with all of you.

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God bless you all,

Michelle and Andrew

Pep Talk Please

Pep Talk Please

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

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

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

you are awesome

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

YOU ARE ENOUGH

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

YOU ROCK AS A PARENT

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

YOU LOOK GREAT TODAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go get it,

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Snippets from Heaven: Part 3

Snippets from Heaven: Part 3

“Maybe we can disarm the fear, stress, and anxiety of what dying represents.”

 -Juan Castaño

When I was twelve, I woke up in the middle of the night to find a Native American Man perched on the floor of my room. His deep brown eyes peered straight to my soul. His wrinkled face was stoic and still. The two gray, silver braids on each side of his head stretched all the way to the floor. He held a deerskin drum between his feet and began to speak in a language I didn’t recognize.

I looked past him to my mirrored closet doors, and instead of a human reflection, all I saw was a ball of light shining there. It looked like a star. Light shone out of this ball in four different directions giving it a diamond-shaped appearance.

Even though this wasn’t the first time I had seen a spirit in my room in the middle of the night; I closed my eyes counted to three and repeated, “I am not crazy” three times.

When I opened my eyes, he was still there. I wish I could say I dared to listen, but like any other twelve-year-old girl, I just wanted to fit in and be “normal.” No one else I knew experienced things this way. He kept speaking, and I continued to refuse to listen. I squeezed my eyes shut again and begged God for sleep. “Please God, please take this man away and let me sleep.” I knew without opening my eyes that the man was receding back into heaven because his voice was slipping away into the stillness of the night.

Because this was common, I fell back asleep shortly after. However, my praying that night didn’t stop the messages the chief would keep trying to send.

One afternoon, not too many weeks later, my mom ran a quick errand with my sisters, and I stayed back to finish homework. As I sat on the couch working on my assignment, I began to hear a commotion in the street. Hollers of men and horses hooves moved closer and closer to my house with a fury of speed. I peeked out the blinds to see a fight going on around me. Arrows whizzed past my window. I sunk back into my couch. “None of this is real,” I said aloud to myself. And in response, the spirit world flexed its muscles to show just how real it is. The walls of my house seemed to fade away, and there I was sitting on my couch in the middle of a valley – no longer did buildings and homes dot its landscape. Instead they had been replaced with open spaces and an occasional mighty oak tree.

Native American men (most likely members of the Amah Mutsun tribe) were trying to push back some rancheros. The Amah Mutsun men were fiercely protecting one man in particular. I had seen this man before. His deep brown eyes pierced my soul, his gray silver braids hung long at his sides, and his wrinkled, stoic face showed defiance and deep sorrow as if he could already see the future that would befall his people.

I buried my head in my hands and closed my eyes and asked again to be free of these images. I wasn’t scared. I was rarely frightened when these things happened. I was ashamed. I did not want to be different. Why did I keep seeing these things I could tell no one about? What difference could I make knowing these things? This cheif…his final resting place not far from my home…how did knowing that make a difference? And who would believe me if I tried to share this knowledge?

“I am sorry,” I said aloud to the chief, “I don’t know what to do.”

The chief continued to visit me on and off, but if he ever spoke again, I never heard it.

I often wondered what would have happened if I had been brave enough to listen, brave enough to be different and open. The next time I vowed to listen more carefully. I promised to share the spirit’s story.

I didn’t have to wait long, as was usually the case. A few months later right before my thirteenth birthday, a young girl came to visit and told me all about what it felt like to die young and how she died. I typed down every word I heard and then sent it off to a local college publication; passing it off as a fictional story I wrote. Be kind, I was a kid and still couldn’t figure out how to tell people what really happened, but this was progress. I was sharing her story with others.

Unfortunately, it was rejected. And again I wondered why? Why was this all happening?What good is seeing and knowing when no one will listen?

These types of events happened again and again throughout my life. It was only recently that I began to finally understand the purpose; to finally understand what spirit had wanted me to know all along.

About a year ago, I was in a session, and I thought, “Oh no, here we go again.” I was worried to relay what I was seeing to the two women who had come to visit me that day. Yes, dear reader, even I understand how far-fetched this all sounds, despite the fact I live it.

What was appearing to me slowly were two old shoes. Ancient shoes. As I started to get a clearer image of this man, who introduced himself as Edward, I noticed he was wearing short baggy pants with knee-high socks and a stiff white shirt that had a sort of frill around the wrist. He told me he was from 1620. And the word, “Mayflower” kept crossing my mind and I saw a ship. I literally thought to myself, there is no way I can tell these two women what I am seeing. But as I always say now, I am obligated to share the things spirit relays to me in a session. So, I prefaced my telling them, with “This may sound crazy, but…”

To my surprise, the two women had just finished a branch of their family tree and had been researching their ancestry for months. What they had recently found, was in fact, Edward. A distant relative who was in fact on the manifest of the Mayflower itself. We were all elated. I could not believe I was speaking with a soul who was hundreds of years old. We were all a bit giddy and teary-eyed. They were so excited that the work that they had done had led Edward to our session. He thanked them for connecting him to their family tree. He was happy to be found and spoke about how his values and his pride in his family still carried many of those values today.

It was after that session that I started to put together another piece of the spirit puzzle, See our loved ones in spirit, our ancestors, we are all tied together, and they want to be remembered. Giving our loved ones a place in the present gives them strength.

I don’t know if you have seen the movie Coco, but it details how we need to remember spirit to help them to continue to exist and be able to visit us here on Earth. It showcases this through the tradition known as El Día de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead.” (To learn a little more about this tradition click here.)

What spirit has been teaching me all this time is how important it is that we remember them. They gain strength and can feel our positive remembering energy even in Heaven. When we make a place for our loved ones in spirit, here in the present, we are helping them to thrive in Heaven. We offer them an invitation into our lives and enrich their Heavenly experience. We all need one another, they need us here, and we need them there. The connection between us does not die. Our history, our ancestors are alive within our souls. We are connected to them and breathe new life into their souls when we remember.

Maybe if we start to remove spirit and death from the shadows and corners of our life here on Earth, perhaps it can begin to enrich our experience here, too. Maybe we can remove the fear. Maybe we can see death as the transition it truly is for our soul; a way onto another life. A life without a body, time or space, just a life connected to all other life. Our loved ones in spirit regardless of how old, are not lost to us; they live within us and around us.

Love and light, until next time,

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Snippets from Heaven (Part 1)

Snippets from Heaven (Part 1)

I wanted to share with you some snippets from heaven. Since I have changed my line of work, I have noticed an increase in the number of miracles that I witness. One of these miracles is the resilience of the human spirit.

If you have watched the news at all last week, you have seen the story of the orca whale that has carried her dead calf for days. (If you haven’t read the story you can click here to read it). This story hit my heart like a target.

My journey with mediumship began because a little boy in spirit named Matthew; wanted me to help him connect to his family. So the first people I ever met were bereaved parents. I still cannot imagine what that kind of grief feels like, but this mama orca carrying her 400 pound baby day after day, a baby she grew in her womb for 17 months and was only able to see alive for half an hour; I think this captures visually the kind of grief a bereaved parent experiences.

Over the past five years, a good majority of my clients have been bereaved parents. To watch these parents live with the loss of their children is devastating and yet at the same time inspirational. These parents carry such intense grief, that grows and changes, that consumes and envelopes, and yet they grow and change around the pain they carry with them. They turn it into power and create change or bring about more goodness in the lives of others. Never will I be able to capture into words what this looks like. The statue below (shared at totallybuffalo.com) says what that this grief feels like better than my words ever could.

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Click here to be taken to the original source

Which is why I want to share some stories with you. This piece will be the first of several to follow. I can’t promise they will be in order – I may be moved to post other blogs in between, but there will be more of these.

These stories have allowed me to have a greater understanding of the communication from heaven. I want you to have that experience, too. I think we can all understand that there is a soul inside each of us that lives beyond our bodies; and that maybe, just maybe it is our soul that allows us to grow around our grief. It is our soul and its connection to the souls in heaven that help us here to cope with our loss and find a new way to survive.

Delia and David

I met Delia on a Tuesday in June. She came to my office for a session and like most people I meet; I didn’t know her last name, where she was from, who referred her or why she was there. And in like fashion, I rarely remember details of a session, but Delia and I spoke for a while, person to person, after the meeting, and she shared with me how some of the things her son, David had relayed through me, made sense to her.

These moments with clients are such a gift to me. I love to hear how the messages that I help translate are connected to real life events here on Earth. Plus I enjoy hearing about the lives that each of the spirits that speak to me, lived.

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David Surfing – shared with consent from Delia

Delia shared stories with me about David. His love of surfing, his son, and just how he was an all around great person. One of the things David conveyed to her through me, was that he left her signs with wings. He sent her these wings so she would always know when he was near and how much he loved her. I didn’t understand how he could make angel wings appear from up above, but he insisted that was what he was doing from heaven.

After the session, Delia explained to me that she saw angel wings in the sky all the time. Delia told me that “in [her] living room a Tiffany lamp over 30 years shines Angel wings on the ceiling [only] when turned on 6 months after [David] passed.” She feels these wings let her know that David continues to love her from heaven.

Below are pictures she shared with me so that you could also see the angel wings David sends his mom from heaven (the below photos were sent to me from Delia and shared with her consent):


I loved hearing these stories and knowing that what David shared through me on that Tuesday in June had brought Delia some comfort.

I want to share a little bit about Delia, too. She is a mom and grandmother. She has two children in addition to David. She is active in her grandchildren’s lives, and she is the most joyful person you could meet. You would never know her story by looking at her. She is patient, a great friend, and always ready and willing to help others in need; no matter how much her own heart is hurting. She helps to let David’s son continue to know his dad. She wants to insure that his son always knows and feels his father’s love for him.

Over the next few weeks, I thought about Delia and her son David a great deal because his death was so tragic and the connection between mother and son was so powerful; I was in awe of Delia’s strength and David’s ability to connect with his mom.

Then, through July, I started to see my own images of angel wings in the sky. Unfortunately, mostly when I was driving so, I couldn’t capture them. But I finally was able to take a picture of one such experience (shown below). I hadn’t seen Delia’s photos yet, but I remembered the wings and wanted to share with her that I was hearing from David, too. Spirit loves to be included in the present day world; not just remembered in the past. It always feels so important to me to let these parents know that their children in heaven still have an active impact on the world today and change my life in such significant ways.

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The day this photo was taken, I had a client come to visit who happened to be a friend of Delia’s. Which of course, is also how spirit works, connecting all the dots and making sure their message is hitting  home.

I shared with Delia’s friend that I had been seeing the angel wings for several weeks and that I would call up to heaven, “Hi, David” each time. Delia’s friend shared with me how the session that I had with Delia had helped her to heal in new ways and that there had been a noticeable difference in her. David’s connection and the things he shared with her had given her peace. He found a way to mend Delia’s heart just a bit so that she could grow around her grief a little more.

As I thought about that, I realized that this was David reaching out to me to say thank you for being a small part of that. And in full circle, I reached out to Delia later that day to share my photo; to which she shared her photos with me and now she is letting me share David with you.

I am sharing this with you because I want you to know like I do, that spirit can do anything, and God wants us to feel their love. I always say, how could Heaven really be an exceptional place if we were cut off from our loved ones here.

Of course, there are ways spirit can communicate and reach us. Of course, God wants that for us. He sent his only son to Earth out of his love for us. God can understand the kind of grief that bereaved parents feel. He holds that grief close to His own heart. He will always find ways for spirit to reach and heal us here on Earth. David and Delia are an example of this kind of love in motion. That our transition to the other side cannot severe love – that love is something that can cross through the veil between heaven and earth.

Love and light, until next time,

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Parenting: My truth

Parenting: My truth

** Special note: I write this with the intent and experience of my parenting journey. In no way is it meant to be hurtful to those families who have had severe and devastating struggles. Those of my friends that have endured this, my heart goes out to you all. Each and everyone. I know the names of all of your babies. I say them every day. I know how your heart hurts and that life will never be the same. This essay is genuinely written from only my perspective. It is just a simplified version of what I am going through with no intent to demean or diminish other people’s experiences.**

People mean well when they tell their harrowing labor stories, or crazy parenting moments, or offer their warnings about parenting teenagers, or offer advice and layout the total cost of raising a child. I remember all the breastfeeding, diaper changing, labor giving, toddler disciplining, Happiest Baby on the Block sharing, and all it did was exhaust me. Mostly made me feel pretty inadequate as a parent. So I stopped paying attention to what other people were doing, followed my gut instincts and did the best I could. That is what I am still doing. Now, people keep telling me parenting teens is the hardest. They mean well, I get it. But, just like the advice in the earlier years, I don’t think I am going to buy into it.

Before I had children, everyone would tell me you don’t know what you are getting into; your life is going to be so different. You are never ready for what is going to happen. When I held my son in my arms for the first time, my whole body shifted into mom mode. I had waited my entire life for that moment. Everything before was just practicing for that moment. Was I scared? Of course. I mean, duh. Brian and I got home looked at each other and looked at the helpless little human in my arms and knew we were going to have to wing it. We knew it was going to be harder than anything we had ever done before and we knew there wasn’t a rule book or guide that was tailored to us.

Regardless of whatever outside advice or stories I heard from other novice or experienced mothers, from day one with my babies, somewhere in me, I knew I could do it, and I knew I would know best, no matter what. Of course, it was scary, and I worry through every single step.

I remember being terrified they would stop breathing when I wasn’t looking or that they were going to have some severe food allergy, or illness, or God forbid, based on every book known to man, they would be less than in every way because they were formula fed. I worried about their psyche since I rocked them to sleep every single night and did not believe in letting them cry it out. Come on; there is enough crying in life already. But most of all, I loved being a mom to my babies. They way they smelled after a bath, the rocking to sleep, watching milestones be reached, hearing them laugh for the first time. Not sleeping was rough, but it was also so sacred and special to have those moments in the silence with them.

When they survived infancy, walking became the next terrifying event. There are stairs everywhere people. Everything seemed to have sharp corners, and my goodness floor tile is so freaking hard. Each place became an obstacle course of sharp edges, hard surfaces, and steep falls. But it was also miraculous to watch them take those first steps; to see the wonder on their faces as they were able to start exploring the world at their own pace.

After we survived walking – and running; I won’t even go there – with just a few bumps and bruises it was play-dates at the park. I know, I know those sound fun, but when the kids were little toddlers, my heart was in constant panic mode. Some moron believed it was a good idea that at the tippy, tippy top of the play structure next to the very best tube slide there needed to be an opening with a 20-foot drop. I mean who in HOLY HELL designs these things?! Regardless of the pitfalls and obstacle courses of doom; parenting a toddler was way more than amazing. The talking, the stories, the imaginative play, the silly and hilarious things that would come out of their mouths. Watching each one develop their personality, sense of style and interpret the world around them.

Then it’s preschool and the agony of leaving your child and then watching like a stalker behind two-way glass wondering why the hell they have to go to preschool anyway. I mean really. And it was hard to send them off to preschool because I enjoyed being around them; I hated missing anything about their life.

After that is kindergarten. There are no two-way windows there. You are left to leave and wonder what the heck is going on in there. Thank goodness you can volunteer. But still, you are left wondering: Is the playground safe? How good are the background checks? What kind of kids are in there? So many emotions. How can we possibly survive all the feelings – friendships happening or not, learning and the rate at which it is happening; learning disabilities, differences, and how are we going to survive 6 hours without our baby? Because I loved being with them. Teaching them numbers, the alphabet, counting, reading books and exploring the world with them.

But while you are worrying about all of that they somehow make their entire way through infancy, toddler-hood, pre-school, and elementary school.  Then middle school happens. You have to watch as your child walks off into that new territory all by themselves because “No one else’s mom is walking them on campus!” And at this place, there are kids holding hands, kissing, youtube-ing, social media-ing, conducting unsupervised google searches – and if you are monitoring all of this as best you can as a parent and limiting it you also are now so uncool and the worst parent that ever lived! Or at least your kid thinks so. Plus, when you monitor the damn text messages you always find something you wish you hadn’t. It is not a win-win, ever.

I am sure this continues through high school and adulthood. We will never stop worrying. Believe me; we just went to the first high school rally preparing for next year, and the fears keep growing. Tumbling into my mind before I can stop them. Plus my dear husband thinks it’s reassuring for me to know that we won’t always like how our kids behave. It never makes me feel better hearing that.

From the beginning, I think we are learning to let go. Learning how to navigate a world where we want our children to grow and thrive, but still be shielded just enough to have a happy childhood.

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So far parenting a teen has been just as rewarding and wonderous as parenting an infant or a toddler. Sure, I don’t get cuddles and conversations may veer into topics including sex, drugs, and violence in our world, but watching my children grow into courteous, educated, friendly, intelligent, curious youth with great ideas about how to contribute to their communities is beyond anything I ever imagined. We discuss novels, politics, rules, family dynamics, and I get a front row seat to watch them fly. Giving them room to grow is hard; I may have had some helicopter tendencies with my first one, but I think we all do. Having three more kids easily cured that. Each step they took away from me, to explore the world was preparing me to help give them that room to grow and thrive. It is terrifying at times, but our relationships are healthy and meaningful. I trust them. They have given me every reason to.

I know parenting is really about growing children into amazing adults – at least that is our goal. We are truly learning to let go from day one. But just because we are teaching them to fly doesn’t mean that one stage is harder than the next or that they grow entirely away from us; it is just the way things are. Being a mom is still my most treasured gift regardless of the stage. That is my story, and I am sticking to it.

 

Mama Bear

Mama Bear

Despite my hopeful nature, fear must have taken root in my heart somewhere in the beginning of motherhood or maybe that is just what happens to moms; we steal our hearts and strengthen them because we know the world can hurt those most precious to us without any warning. Going worst case scenario becomes an easy leap to take. Our toughened, ready for the worst hearts keep us on edge and ready to protect our sacred children; our most blessed gift at any cost.

My kids; all kids; face so many pressures. Childhood is no longer the breeze of playing kick the can in the street until dark.

I know our family has more to be grateful for than not. Unfortunately, no one is unscathed in this life. Suffering is heavy and universal.

Maybe it is the time of year; or maybe it is the shift from two jobs to one, but my awareness of my children seems to be in laser focus.

I have been watching my littles closely lately. Their struggles and hurts rippling through my own heart. One in particular is on my mind a great deal. He has Tourette’s; I have written about it before. I don’t feel right telling his side of the story or giving too much information here. However, I think voicing my side might heal me a bit; help me a bit.

As I watch him shake and hear his vocal tic I want to help. The recent increase in frequency isn’t slowing down. I haven’t seen him like this in years. It hurts my heart and I try to have open conversation, but anything I bring up lately just makes it worse. I don’t know how to help him without drawing attention to the tics. I am trying to ignore it; yet for some reason it is proving difficult. I wonder if it is bothering him at school. I know it is in his file and he doesn’t want me stepping in at school yet. It just hurts my heart to see his body jolt and jerk against his wishes.

I am grateful for his positive attitude, caring friends and his health. It doesn’t erase the hurt I feel though. I still worry that it bothers him; I still want to give him resources and options and that seems to be the last thing he wants. And I know that is his right and so I must wait on the sidelines as he makes the plays until he asks for my assistance.

I know it is just best to be a safe place to land and for weeks I have not spoken a word about it to him or anyone else. He will come to me if he needs me. The door is open and he knows it. So instead, I will have faith he is really unbothered and comfortable. To know he is confident and at ease is what is most important after all.

With four they each have their struggles. As I tucked in one of my youngest, he started to cry. When I asked him what was wrong, he said that kids make fun of him. Ah, the tale as old as time. And as I calmed him this Mama knew it would not be the last time we faced this challenge. Such is the way of the world. Hopefully, I help build his confidence enough the taunts from others fall at his feet instead of pierce his heart, for that is all we can do. I have to be the soft place to land, the cheerleader on the sideline.

Mistakes come on my end, too. Sometimes they call you in for a hurt or a scrape and in an effort to make them tough, you nurture too little. The balance between that becomes difficult as they get older. Kissing a bumped knee was easy, now too much or too little attention is harder to navigate with my pre-teen.

Mothering is not for the faint of heart. But as I tell my kids, I am doing the best I can and the therapy you may eventually need from my mistakes is on me.

From one mama bear to the next, do the best you can, hold on tight, keep those cheers from the sidelines coming and strengthen your patience because the older they get the harder this parenting gig becomes, richer and more rewarding for sure, but a whole slew of variables make it more nerve racking and moving from front and center in their lives to the side is tougher than you expect.

Mean 

Mean 

Fridays are usually my kids favorite days. No homework means straight up fun all afternoon. After the first full week of school I thought my kids would be stoked that Friday afternoon had finally arrived.
All seemed good in the car. Of course my momdar (mom + radar) should have gone off when my daughter asked, “Do you like my outfit?” five minutes into our car ride home.

By the time we arrived home and kids piled out of the car, tears were streaming down her face. “What happened?” I asked; still not putting two and two together.

After a long hug and a few sobs she tells me that a girl said to her, “What are you wearing? Seriously, if you had just changed the bottom of that outfit maybe it would have been okay.” 

Fury. White-hot anger. Pain. Hurt. All this washes over me for her. As that simmers to a calm, I try to clean away this comment that will forever leave a stain. Nothing I say can completely erode the hurt from her heart. I know from experience. Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” was a full-fledged dreamer and a stone cold liar.

We talk about responses for next time because apparently this girl thinks everyone needs to hear her opinion no matter what it is. My girl is finally calm and she decides to change her clothes. And even though we move past that hurtful moment, it sits with me still when my eyes pop open at 6 AM Saturday morning.

Kids say hurtful things. Adults say hurtful things. 

I feel that I am doing my part for humanity to teach my children that if something isn’t helpful, kind, or necessary that maybe that little piece of information is better left unsaid. We talk about the Golden Rule at least 10 times a day. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – or in our speak – treat others how you want to be treated.

But…will mean ever never stop?

Hurt people; hurt people. People who feel low and little feel the path to rise up is through stealing someone else’s power. 

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This quote is embroidered into my soul. 

Children learn to speak by listening to those around them. I hear the words I say spill from my children’s lips.

I have heard people say that parents cannot be blamed for how their children behave. I have heard moms excuse away mean behavior with “kid will be kids”.

If we don’t teach them, if we don’t take responsibility for who they become then who will? What will ever change?

I know what occurred Friday isn’t the first or last time that something like this will happen. Heck, I am an adult and I still face these challenges and comments from other adults! What hurts my heart more deeply is that this happens to all of us. That our world still has people in it that find excuses for hate – they hide behind religion, race, history or whatever excuse they can find to eradicate the simple fact that each of us alone is responsible for what we bring to the table. It comes down to the individual and if you can hurl a hate-filled slur at another human it has nothing to do with anything but your own bad behavior. There is no excuse you can hide behind. Your poor choices and actions stand alone. No circumstance, no religion, no difference, nothing defends that action. You hurt another human. That is all. 

We need to teach our children that simple fact. We are the same. Despite our exterior and cultural differences, we are the same. We all have a heart. We all want love. We all need the human basics – water, food, etc. Treat one another with respect. Do not hurt another person. It should just be that simple. 

Until next time,

Michelle

Bear hunts, earthquakes & roller coasters

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.

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

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

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

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.

i-literally-wanted

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.”

one-cannot-burn-out

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.

we-burn-with-divine-light

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.

let-her-sleep

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

Until next time,

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