What I have learned about life after death…part 2A

What I have learned about life after death…part 2A

If you have been reading along, dear reader, then you have a general idea about the end of life and what is happening to both soul and body. 

Then let’s shift our attention to what happens when our soul goes through the light and enters heaven. 

To do that, I have to talk about God, and faith, and miracles. So if you are faint of heart when it comes to these topics, maybe make sure you haven’t eaten recently so you don’t throw up a little in your mouth. Or go over to Instagram and scroll through your friends memes instead. I get it sarcasm can be my jam on occasion instead of serious, sappy stuff. But if you show up here, you also know that depth is where I live. Any way…we were talking about what happens when we get to heaven.

In my experiences with spirit, there is discussion of a higher power. Spirits describe God as a supreme being who oversees all and is the keeper of the master plans in all forms of life. All life comes from this source, and it is the ultimate power in the universe. Even heavenly souls look to this source for guidance and solace.

Spirits won’t tell me a lot about what God looks like, but they convey an awful lot about how God feels. God is love. God is light. God is acceptance, compassion, and boundaries. God truly loves us unconditionally and wants what is best for us. God has created all things, and God doesn’t believe in exclusion. God is forgiveness and immortal. God is awareness without severe judgment. 

God is not hellfire and fury. Don’t be too disappointed, I know there are days I want a wrathful and vengeful God, too. The pain and trauma that can be inflicted by humans is unfathomable and sometimes even I want that punished by a God who is fire and brimstone. God does see all things and God never forgets. I am not saying God holds grudges, but God is aware of what you have done and who you are. God is watching listening and ever present.

However, God is a being that can be reasoned with and accepts requests in the form of prayer. God doesn’t require belief in order for you to be accepted into the kingdom of heaven. God loves you even when you don’t or can’t love God. God loves you even when you don’t or can’t love yourself. God loves you even when you don’t or can’t love others. God pours love into you until you find that you can and will try to love again. God is the hope, resilience, and strength that is in the depths of your soul. God is what bubbles up when you sit still and remember what you are made of and choose to rise.

Some people find God in church communities and that can be a marvelous, resplendent thing. But, sometimes you can’t feel or see God inside those walls. Sometimes you aren’t even invited in. Some churches exclude and make people feel small or unworthy. That isn’t God’s plan, and even though He may be in the people who assemble there, he could still be difficult to see for those that are excluded. God may seem absent because of the hate or exclusion, but God is there trying to change the hardened hearts of the world. He is trying to whisper more love into their hearts. God is no exceptions; all are welcome. 

But do not worry if you struggle to sense God in your life; there so many places you can witness God. It just takes practice and patience. 

You can witness God…

In the giggling, bubbly laughter of children at play

The way sun warms your face on a clear, crisp day

In the excitement and wonder of birth 

In the soft whispers of your heart as your toes touch the dusty earth

In a long, full fresh breath

In the quiet stillness of death

In the fresh, sweet aromas of a home-cooked meal and the sustenance it provides

In the way a seedling sprouts in your garden or how a squirrel plants a nut just wherever its’ instinct decides

In the way, a breeze ripples through the redwoods and makes it seem as if they are conversing about the creatures in their branches 

In the light of the sun as it dances

In a long embrace

In the salt of your tears as they stream down your face

In the sound of the ocean; crashing and calm all in the same motion

In the long-forgotten corners of the deepest, darkest parts of the world

In each other’s eyes

In a helping hand

In a smile

In despair

In a prayer

In love

In hope

Even in moments that all is lost, God is there with you wrapped around your soul with all His might.

God is here.

God is there.

God is everywhere.

But God also doesn’t shrink away from those bad or awful things that happen to us. God is there, holding us and comforting us through the storms of our lives. He never leaves us even when we rage and fight against him. God never gives up. God never tires. God is forever and ever tries. 

If you noticed, I am using the male pronouns to describe God, but I get the distinct impression that God is genderless. God is all things. God is possibility. God is both male and female. God is neither male nor female. God is all things all at once. God is everything. 

We all go to heaven, and God is our biggest cheerleader. God wants us to be the best version of ourselves and never loses hope that this is possible. God loves us so deeply and completely. There is nothing like this kind of unconditional, never-ending love. It is all-encompassing. And it NEVER fails. Never. 

There are two pieces to the rest of this blog post. The first piece describes what happens if you lived a positive life, what entry to heaven is like. The second piece will explain what happens when you die if you caused harm and torment here one earth. Therefore, I have broken into two posts. The second part will appear tomorrow. But you aren’t surprised I had trouble with brevity, are you? I mean, really, it is me writing this piece after all. 

Scenario one, you lived a great life, and your body has died, and your soul ascends into heaven. 

What do I mean by great life? You lived by the golden rule as best as possible. You were kind. You did your best. You made healthy choices, and overall made a positive impact on the world and in your own life. That doesn’t mean you didn’t make any mistakes. God expects mistakes. God likes mistakes. Mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow.

Anyway, for these developed souls, the entry into heaven is a quick and painless trip. Your body is almost instantly restored to the happiest time of your life. You are welcomed by family, friends and other souls you are connected to from past experiences. You get to take a tour of all heaven as to offer. You are shown that you have access to your loved ones on earth. I mean how could heaven be genuinely wonderful if you were separated from the people you love? 

Heaven and earth are connected. Souls in heaven have a view into the lives of human souls and often visit. Visiting privileges have rules, and I will talk about that a bit later, but developed souls can visit their loved ones on earth. Heavenly souls see their loved ones on earth. They hear the thoughts their loved ones think about them. They can hear you if you talk to them. Even better, heavenly souls can experience the emotions their human loved ones feel. Our souls are meant to experience one other completely and once you are in heaven it is possible to just that. 

I have been asked if a soul can be in two places. Absolutely. Souls are vast and can spread across time and space. They can be everywhere and completely present all at the same time. A mentor of mine, James Van Praagh, once explained that the ratio of the amount of your soul that is in your body is the same as the ratio of your pinkie to the size of your body. So, our souls are much, much greater and much, much more vast than the container they can inhabit when we are having a human experience. 

When newly departed souls come through to me in sessions, they share that they can choose a job in heaven. Farmers can have land and grow crops. Nurturing souls can work in heavenly nurseries and hold new souls about to be sent to earth as babies. If you were a baker,  you can bake. If you were a vet, you can take care of the heavenly souls of animals. 

While other souls become counselors, guides, or aspire to be guardian angels. Others are peacekeepers and work to help calm the angry hearts in the world. You may think this sounds strange, but our souls are God’s helpers, and they work alongside God. They align with God’s plan to help create opportunities and pathways for the souls having a human experience to reach their highest potential and the highest good. 

Child souls who have passed due to cancer or other illnesses choose to help welcome souls whose bodies died the same way theirs did. They befriend these souls and become their heavenly companion. Why do they do this? 

Well, souls do grieve their deaths if they are untimely, painful, or sudden. Sometimes they need to work through and process what happened to them and what is happening to their families back on earth. The souls that have come before them on the same path often serve as counselors, confidants, and mentors.

Souls that have come through during the sessions I have with clients have also described different privileges in heaven. I don’t think there are different levels of heaven. Still, I believe there are advantages that are afforded to a soul like Mother Teresa’s versus someone who committed petty theft regularly. I call these things a menu of services. For example, souls who lived a good life, like those I described earlier, can decide what they look like. These souls chose what they get to see and do in heaven. In addition, they have a free pass to visit their loved ones here on earth. What is more, they can design outfits and places that they frequent in heaven. They can be any dress or pant size they want. They can chose their age. They can relive past happy memories and are extremely at peace. I have seen spirits having parties, golfing, fishing, gathered around tables chatting, playing in the kitchens of their childhood homes, standing next to their dream cars, and sitting in their favorite chairs in the homes they lived in on earth.

These souls are also very active in their loved ones’ daily lives if they want to be. They can visit. They can offer comfort and support. They can send signs to the loved ones on earth (you can read more about signs here, and I will write more about it in this series). Souls in heaven love the people that are still on earth and often try to interact with them. They want you to know they are there. They want you to have peace. 

Overall, the menu of services is longer and more robust for those who did the best with their lives on earth. But you can continue to work towards growth and development in heaven and earn more privileges there. Heaven is a place for our souls to recharge, exalt in joy, reconcile our pain, heal, and reconnect with our loved ones. We all meet again in heaven. Heaven is where our souls can exist the way they were meant to when they were created. Heaven is home.

Tomorrow I will talk about what happens when you cause harm here on earth. Heaven is different for those developing souls. Until then, be well y and thank you for reading.

To be continued…

The Baggage of Expectations

The Baggage of Expectations

Do you ever pray and wonder if you’re heard?

Do you ever look out at the world and wonder what kind of God created humans who can hurt one another the way we do? 

It doesn’t surprise me that ancient Greeks thought multiple gods were warring with one another and using humans to their folly because there are days that would actually make much more sense. Because right now God’s plan seems a little sideways. 

Sorry, God. 

I know you believe in us, and we got this, but there are a lot of people dying and a lot of people hurting and angry. 

It seems like a lot right now.

And then I think we start to wonder what is expected of us and are we measuring up. And I wonder why I expect so damn much of myself. Why do I put so much pressure to measure up? And who created the scale I try to measure up to?

Truth be told, expectations can suck. These past few days, I have been in a spiral of blah. It is what I typically call my not enough-ness acting up. I have been sad, a little lost, and just feeling like no matter what I do, it isn’t enough, and this spiral just so damn repetitive because there is so much that needs to be done both on big and small fronts. 

Some of the thoughts rolling around in my head…

I am not pretty enough. 

I am not thin enough. 

I don’t know enough about marketing to grow my business; therefore, I don’t know enough.

I am crazy because I cannot prove what I do. 

I am not spending enough quality time with my kids.

I am not keeping the house clean enough.

I am not learning enough or doing enough with this time.

I am not helping those that need it enough.

I am not speaking up enough.

I don’t have the right words or ideas.

I am not being a good wife.

I am a horrible friend. 

No one likes me, for me.

My house isn’t clean enough. 

I didn’t do enough today. I watched too much T.V. 

My inner voice is killing me and I am not going to make it and then I feel guilty because really what do I actually have to complain about. I have it pretty great.

UGH! The negative self-talk is endless, and while I am better at not listening, it is still crippling some days. Today was one of those days. I cried a lot.

So I thought maybe I needed a pep talk. And if I needed one, maybe if I wrote it out, it might help someone else, too.

As a recovering perfectionist, I want to deliver a standard of excellence in all I do. However, I spent years, decades believing that what I DID defined who I was, and I could ONLY be good or successful if what I DID was good or successful. Over the last decade, I have diligently and consistently worked to make sure that I do things well.

That has never seemed to be enough because regardless of what I do, there is an emptiness that remains.

For instance, even though I work out – I stress eat and not the nutritional goodies my body needs. Therefore little difference.

Regardless of reading and studying and doing well in college, I now work a job with no measure of proof. People see me as a con artist, a phony, a fake, a liar, and it hurts. Now, I know word of mouth, repeat business, and glowing reviews are measurement, but for a hard-nosed perfectionist like myself, not good enough.

And even when I do well and have a lot of clients, I can never get in enough appointments, and if I do, then I am sacrificing my family and emotional well being, and it is just a vicious cycle or not enough-ness.

And don’t get me started on being enough as a wife and mother. I know it could be worse, but I am failing on the regular. I could go on and on how I could do better there.

I know you are waiting for the pep talk … me, too!

It all starts with a memory…

This past fall, I met one of my favorite writers, Rachel Macy Stafford, at a retreat. As I stood in line to get a copy of her book signed, I wondered what I should say; what I should ask. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, of course.

When it was my turn, we exchanged pleasantries. I am sure I rambled about nothing important as I am socially awkward. 

As we were wrapping up, I told her I was aspiring to be a published author myself. Awkward, right? I am sure she gets that all the time!

She suggested I blog. I told her I did. She asked if anyone read it; I said, yes, but that my words often catch somewhere deep inside me, and they have a tough time escaping even though I am compelled to write.

I asked her if I should keep writing. 

She looked a little taken aback. 

At first, and for several months I would think this was because I asked a dumb question and made a horrible impression. And likely wasted her time because how many people talk to her about the same exact thing I was! After a few moments, Rachel answered that if I was helping one person, I should keep writing. One person was enough to keep going. To keep putting words out into the world.

I thanked her and quickly moved on so that the next person could move up to have their book signed. I always feel like I am in the way and a burden. Learning it is okay to take up space is something I constantly struggle with.

Rachel’s response rattled around in my head for days, months even, because when I became part of her launch team for her new book, Live Love Now, it was still present in my mind. After it was released, Rachel posted how she watched as the world responded to her book and that numbers were not her friend. And her response to my question all those months before crept back into my mind. 

She wasn’t taken aback by my question about how to keep motivated because it was dumb. Instead, she was taken aback because she didn’t know exactly what to say because she struggled with that thought, too. She worries about getting her message out. How will people respond? Will people read it? Will it do well? She cares! Duh! We all do. We aren’t that different.

Thank you for staying with me the pep talk is coming; at least I think so…

Motivation and inspiration are great. They are the spark that ignites us, these things can be the fire that launches us to grow. Downside, motivation, and inspiration are fleeting and sometimes hard to come by.

How we achieve success, how we become productive, the secret is consistency. 

Writers write every day, even if it is terrible, even if it never gets read by anyone else. They keep writing and writing and writing until something clean and clear and golden emerges from the page, and they know they have something to share. 

Fit people, work out, work out, work out. They do something to keep their bodies moving, and they don’t stop or quit. It is routine that they move their body and so they stick to it. 

Neither of these things is easy, and that is why not everyone does it. It takes time, dedication, and consistent effort to produce results. And for most of that time, no one notices, and if they do, it isn’t to say, “Great job, keep going!” It is usually to say, “Why do you keep doing that?” or “Come out to eat with me.” or “Can’t you just skip your workout today and come out with us?” We can easily be derailed. And criticism comes easily from both in our heads and out in the world.

But it isn’t motivation that keeps us going. It may get us started or be used to propel us forward, but the day in, day out continuation comes from something more profound.

It is the joy, the love, the feeling we get from doing the things that matter most to us. It is knowing in our hearts that we are the best versions of ourselves when we complete or have these activities in our day. Whether cooking, cleaning, writing, creating, running, weightlifting, nutrition, advertising, engineering, we do the things we love because there is a call deep inside of us that we answer day after day no matter what might stand in our way. And it is the consistency of showing up even when we don’t want to, even when we aren’t feeling it that catapults one into success.

So I don’t know how to motivate you to do something. And I am not sure that motivation will keep you doing that something, either. But I do know if you commit to something if you want it because it makes a difference to you and you alone, you will continue to do it day after day no matter what. You will make time for it. You will put yourself through the work for it. You will show up and get it done. And what is more, you won’t stop.

You may struggle. You may get caught up in what others think. You may get caught up in what you think. Expectations of what could or should be are a trap! 

You may tear yourself down before you decide to stand back up. You may stop and start again. But it is the constant motion toward doing what you feel you are supposed to do that matters.

Do you try your absolute hardest? 

Do you give it all you have? 

Do you work and learn and grow through it? 

Are you showing up in a way that is kind, helpful, generous, trustworthy, respectful, vulnerable, and open-minded? 

If so, then that is enough. You are doing what you can with what you have been given, and that is enough. That is all anyone can ask of you. Keep going. Keep creating. Keep being you. And if you stop, if you rest, if you fall, if you forget, keep trying to find your way back. Keep getting back up. Keep going toward who you want to be. You will get there, and everyone stumbles along the way. And stop thinking about what could or should be. What you did and what you do is enough. 

The truth is we just have to be okay with who we are. We have to drop expectations and just accept who we are. We have to search for joy and hold on to hope.

Weird, but yesterday, I ran my fastest 5k in a long time, and my average pace was 11 minutes and 11 seconds; 11:11, that is not a coincidence,  (I never said I was fast). Then to top it off, the song that came on at the precise moment I finished my run was No Judgment by Niall Horan. 

I have mentioned before that I turn my playlist over to God and pray that a message comes through. It has been weeks since I feel like I have had a response. But I keep running, keep praying, keep listening, and yesterday with an average pace of 11:11 I hear…

When you’re with me, no judgment

You can get that from anyone else

You don’t have to prove nothing

You can just be yourself

I think that all this isn’t okay, but we are going to survive it. We have one another and ourselves, and we are enough to get through the storm. If we consistently show up as ourselves each day and do our best, it is enough. Even if we feel like our prayers aren’t heard; they are. We will get an answer back. We just need to keep going and take each moment as it comes and handle it the best way we know how. 

Love to you and yours,


 

What happened when I chose faith over fear

What happened when I chose faith over fear

Recently I was asked to speak at event organized by one of my favorite business owners, Ahnna Goossen. She owns Yoga Bella and the Acupuncture and Herbal Clinic in Gilroy. The evening was a beautiful event that included Qi Gong instruction (there is a class each week at Yoga Bella) and sound healing with the amazing Dallas at S.I.M.M. If you have not experienced a sound bath you are missing out. There are classes at Yoga Bella every other Tuesday with Dallas and I highly recommend trying one. The night ended with a quick little Q & A with yours truly.  I have linked to Yoga Bella and S.I.M.M.’s webpages above so you can check each of them out. Ahnna will be doing a monthly workshop showcasing different speakers and healers. I for one, can’t wait for the next one.

I thought I might share here some of what I shared that night.

For years, and I mean decades, I literally ignored my calling. I hung up on it and blocked it repeatedly before I shifted my perspective and allowed me to become who I was meant to be.

That perspective shift came when I decided to choose faith over fear. I decided to listen to the whispers of my own heart and be my authentic self. I decided to write, and I became a truth-teller. In becoming a truth-teller, I had to tell the truth about what I saw and felt around me.

In deciding to tell the truth, it allowed me to open up and listen to an eight-year-old spirit boy who told me that I was meant to help other spirits like him. And that led me down a path where I decided to believe what I knew was true about God and embrace that He doesn’t make mistakes, he built me this way on purpose with purpose, and I am His vehicle. I deliver the messages He wants me to provide. And that has led me to where I am today. I have chosen faith over fear.

Does that mean that I am going to know what comes next instantly? No.

Does that mean I am going to be the best at what I do right away? No. But with hard work and dedication, I can be great at what I do. And so can you.

Does that mean everything will be perfect every single day? No.

But it is worth it to live outside of your comfort zone and believe that you can do hard things. Believe that you can have the life you want. The rewards outweigh the negative experiences. I can speak from experience on that. There is good, hard, harsh, ugly, and incredible, amazing, miraculous, joy all in the same life.

How do we choose faith over fear?

We listen to our feelings. That doesn’t we mean we ignore logic, it just means we trust what we know and believe to be true in our hearts. The more you listen, the louder that voice gets.

We do things afraid because fear is a liar that will keep us small.

We believe in the impossible. Do you know how many times I have heard that I was crazy, that I am going to hell, that it is impossible to talk to spirit, I have lost count and stopped counting?

Sometimes we want validation before we leap. And like my good friend Heather says, “Validation is only for parking baby!” She might not add the baby, but she is feisty and fun, so I added it for her. We can’t wait for validation, we have to believe those whispers in our heart and have faith we know what we know for a purpose. We feel what we feel for a purpose.

I read something Bob Goff said, which was, “God isn’t surprised we want more confirmation. He just hopes we don’t get stuck waiting for it.”

It is okay to be looking for that confirmation and to appreciate it when we get it, but we can’t sit around waiting, stuck, doing nothing that serves our purpose until we get the affirmation we need. And most of the time we just have to believe we know what we know and that is good enough to take the next step.

We also tend to believe that there is a right path and a wrong path. The truth is there is only one path, a path of life. We have free will and get to decide what we do next, but just because we take the long way or make a mistake doesn’t make it wrong, we are learning along the way. As long as we are not hurting ourselves or others, we are on the right track. That is the only genuinely wrong thing we can do; hurt another soul. And when we do that we have to do what we can to make it right. But I digress. There are nine hundred billion million (yes, I am aware that is not a real number) ways to get from point A to point B in life, and the joy is in the journey. When we surrender and have fun with not knowing what is next, but just allowing ourselves to do the next best thing moment to moment then we usually end up right where we need to be precisely when we are supposed to be there.

Here is what happened when I decided to choose faith over fear and surrender my control. I learned that

  • Heaven is all around us, not some distant far off place. We are a part of heaven.
  • Spirit delivers messages to their loved ones in a myriad of ways and is continually speaking to us whether we think we are hearing them or not. Signs are all around us; you just have to believe in them.
    We are built to understand one another. Soul has a language all its’ own. A soul doesn’t need words to communicate, and that means that our spirit loved ones can communicate with any living thing to get our attention. They are energy, and they can use that energy to connect with us in a multitude of ways. It also means our souls are communicating with one another here. Just because we are in a body doesn’t mean our souls stop talking.
  • Love never dies. We don’t die. Our bodies stop working, but our souls go on and on and on.
  • I can do hard things, and my purpose is to be my most authentic self no matter what. Other people’s opinions of me are none of my business.
  • I am stronger than I ever thought possible.

What happened when I started working for spirit; I witnessed miracles. Are there tough sessions? Yes. Are their clients I can’t help? Yes. But like I said before the positive experiences, the lessons learned, far outweigh the negative.

  • My client Donna was able to understand why her daughter’s car crashed the night she died, and finally, this last year visit her daughter’s grave on her 26th birthday and play her favorite song “When the lights go down in the city” and know that her daughter heard her. Donna knew that she could reach her daughter anytime she wanted. Something she hadn’t done in all the years since her daughter passed.
  • Helped my client Lauren connect with and grieve her mother. In fact, her healing led to her building a new business this past year. If you haven’t heard about Cranes for Kristina, you need to check it out. Her Business Facebook page is here. Lauren turned her pain into hope in the form of her beautiful origami cranes and is changing the world every single day she is out in it breathing.
  • My friend Katrina didn’t believe in ghosts. She believed in heaven, but not that spirit was here communicating with us. While we were in grad school, her uncle started visiting me. When I told her what he looked like she didn’t believe it was him until I said, “He didn’t what to tell me this, but he said a tree was involved in his death.” And having never told me about her uncle LaDon being hit and killed by a falling tree branch she nearly dropped the phone.

Fear will bind you to believe in only what you can see. It will keep you in other people’s comfort zones, and there is so much more to life than what we can see and the societal norms we are bound by. My wish for you is that you find your center, your truth-telling, authentic badass, self. That this more profound connection to yourself and your faith lead you to follow your dreams and the life you want to live. That it guides you to a more fulfilling understanding of life and allows you to surrender to living in the moment and making the choices you know to be best for you. Choosing faith over fear leads you to become who you always knew you were.

Until next time,

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Snippets from Heaven – Part 6

Snippets from Heaven – Part 6

She was beautifully out of place.

Sometimes I believe she intended to be.

Like the moon during the day.

-D.R. Via the Minda Journal

When I was little, I just wanted to be the girl next door. You know the one who is unassuming, beautiful yet she doesn’t know it, everyone in the whole town loves her, and at the end of the story, she wins the guy by just being her quirky self. Yeah, that is the girl I wanted to be. It never really happened. I sort of had the invisible part down, but because I kept a part of my soul a secret it was easier to try to hide in plain sight. And, unfortunately, you can’t shine as your quirky self if you are hiding something about your quirky self.

My whole life, I saw, heard, and felt things most other people didn’t believe existed. And I could sense everything about people with one look and never a spoken word. I somehow knew I would never be that girl next door. But that didn’t stop me from hoping.

By the time I was thirteen spirit thought that I was a place they could regularly visit and often they would ask me for help in telling their stories. I tried. I typed (literally typed, on a typewriter) up a story about one girl who died and tried to get it published. I talked to my sisters about the things I saw. But it just kept escalating. Combined with the angst and pain, I felt from others around me, at sixteen I tried to take a bunch of pills and silence everything forever. I couldn’t possibly be supposed to live like this right?

But, as always, God is in charge. The next morning when I woke up, HE was there. His loud voice boomed and told me, “Your life is mine.” I could sense the disappointment. And the voice continued, “Your work isn’t finished yet. I have things left for you to do.”

In addition to feeling extraordinarily guilty and having yet another secret to hide; I now felt that I was for sure crazy. Who hears GOD?! Seriously, now I was broken in all new ways.

I tried to reconcile my outside life with my inside life. I still didn’t talk about it much, but I definitely decided to learn more and put a little more effort into paying attention to what I heard and saw. Most of the time no one wanted to know anything about it, and I knew it was something most people wouldn’t accept.

For most of my young adult life, it was something that I pushed down and left out. I still saw and heard spirit. I could still read people like a book, but the girl next door appeal always won out, and I just tried to be ordinary.

By the time we moved to our small town, I thought maybe I had a shot. It was like a do-over, and I had whole-heartedly decided to keep the other piece of my soul a secret. I would be normal and ordinary like everyone else. Besides, I had my own family now and I didn’t want this to damage the way people saw them, too. And it started to happen, I was fitting in. After, being here for two years, I began to make some friends. The other moms would talk to me at pick up, and I was being invited places. I was so relieved.

Then a little spirit boy decided to change my whole life. I don’t know why I thought any different, I wasn’t in charge. And of course, he was asking me to be anything but ordinary.

Copy of cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out

If you have come to a session, you have heard me tell the Matthew story. (You can also read it here.) Matthew is a boy who visited me after his passing and basically became my teacher. One day six years ago, he told me it was time for me to follow this path and he warned that if I didn’t take care of it; spirit would.

Well, a part of the story I don’t tell is how I quit. Yep, I quit. I shut everything down for six months because of one bad experience, a tremendous amount of doubt, and general life chaos. And most likely my deep-seated need to be the ordinary, girl next door. And if I am being sincere, maybe I was a little glad for the break. As much as I wanted to help; I really didn’t believe I was strong enough. I mean, even though I was removed from the sadness of my clients; how many times could my own heart break? How much sadness and pain can one person carry? Spirit can feel everything, so during the sessions not only do I feel what they are feeling; I experience my client’s pain, too. And then the human side of me is also experiencing what is happening.

For six long months I thought for sure I was going to get to just be me; ordinary and regular, and live a life-like everyone else.

But God wasn’t done with me.

God wasn't done

He isn’t ever done with us. Duh! It was silly to think I still controlled my life. Well, newsflash, we can only control how we react to what happens to us.

Spirits would keep popping up in my life; clients’ stories would break me down. I couldn’t say no to some people and after six months; everyone including my husband thought that I was supposed to be helping spirit and their loved ones here on earth full-time. And the doors of my normal life were closing all around me. My job was changing and my place there didn’t feel like it belonged to me any more.

So, a little over a year ago I quit my day job and opened up my own little business. To say I was terrified would be an understatement. I have an -ish ton of faith because otherwise, I am just a crazy girl who hears voices; so I believed anything was possible, but I was still worried.

Since God knew this, the first client he sent to me was Lauren. Immediately her radiant smile and warm heart hit me, and I loved her. She came into my cozy little office, kicked off her shoes and made herself comfortable. And my whole heart breathed a sigh of relief; everything about her was exactly what I needed. While I was still nervous because I didn’t know what to expect, I was so much more at ease. I knew God had sent me the most perfect first client.

We cried, and we laughed. Lauren’s mom came through to her. And while it was a fantastic session filled with immense healing; my heart broke a little because her mother left this earth of her own volition. Now, we have a great deal of upset over things like this in the human world. But, remember, God is forever tries, and heaven is home, so God showers all souls with love. And everything that happens He has a say in. Nothing gets past Him. We talked about that, that day, too.

No soul left behind

Lauren’s mom showed me how Lauren shared her light with other people. How she would take a little bit of it and hand it off to others like hope, and it would spread far and wide. This spreading of light was like the festival of lanterns and one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

I asked Lauren about it at the end of the session, and she told me about how before her mom passed one of the last things they talked about was her mom asking her if she ever heard the song, 1,000 paper cranes. Lauren brushed it off and didn’t think about it again, until after she received the news of her mom’s passing. She listened to the song. It weighed on her heart, and she decided to make 1,000 paper cranes every year to honor her mom. And she was giving some of them away to other people. That was the light I saw spreading. Lauren was turning her pain and her mom’s pain into hope. Literally, an origami crane symbols the mystic legend of the crane’s 1,000 year life span and to give someone a paper crane symbolizes offering hope and healing through difficult challenges.

From that Cranes for Kristina was born. Today that is Lauren’s full-time gig. She is creating cranes every day, giving away a piece of her light to others and offering them hope. (If you come to see me you get to take one with you when you leave, my office isn’t complete without a little bit of Lauren’s light in it.) Lauren doesn’t stop there, she speaks up and out about depression and suicide prevention. Lauren has the most amazing heart and uses her grief as inspiration and motivation to help others.

So while, Lauren’s life has changed over the year since we met; mine has, too.

Moms don’t talk to me at pick up anymore. People recognize me around town, stare and whisper. I am not the girl next door; I am the girl who knows too much. The girl like the moon in the day time, just a little out-of-place.

My heart continues to break in new ways multiple times a day as I sit with people in their pain. And I can’t think of any other thing I would rather do with my life.

My faith has grown exponentially, and control isn’t even in my vocabulary any more except to say it is an illusion. I know I will never be the girl next door and ordinary is out of the question. I think I am okay with that. I wasn’t sure before. Not only because I wanted to fit in; but also because this sadness and heartbreak; I wasn’t sure how much I could take.

In fact, last night a friend and I were talking about how our hearts break faster than they heal and it is all just too much. And how was that possible when at the exact same time we were filled with so much gratitude and love for everything in our lives.

But today, even in the midst of my heart feeling so broken; I thought of Lauren, Kristina, the cranes and the light and love they shine into this world.

I realized then that my heart wasn’t actually healing; it WAS healed AND broken – both at the same time and that is what love is; it is being both broken and healed at the same time.

It is about moving one step more even when we feel like we can’t breathe. It is having the courage to move beyond fear and trusting in faith. It is sitting with the wounded and feeling all the feels knowing that we can rise from that spot. Knowing that love exists in the darkest places and anything is possible. And not being afraid to offer hope and light even when we are hurting, too.

love is

I think love and pain coexist. We are all a little bit of both. And maybe, I am the ordinary girl and also entirely out-of-place different all at the same time. Broken and whole. Love and loss. Death and life wrapped in an extraordinary ordinary package. That is what Kristina showed me Lauren is; it is what so many of my clients are…and their strength in the midst of deep pain constantly leaves me in awe.

I can’t think of anything I want to be more. It’s how I met people like Lauren and learned about turning pain into hope. Sitting in pain with strangers has broken my heart open wide and opened my eyes to the impossible.

I hope to be a person who instead of freaking people out because I can see things they may not believe in; to one day, because I decided to shine my light, become a little bit of hope that we can be broken and healed at the same time; that being out-of-place is sometimes right were we need to be. And that just because I do what I do, doesn’t mean that God isn’t a part of it; that in fact, He is at the center of it. And maybe just maybe, it’s what he wanted all along. Because maybe, just maybe I am supposed to share this with you. So that you know you aren’t alone. So that you know you are extraordinarily ordinary exactly out of place just like you are supposed to be.

cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out

Until next time,

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A Seat at the Table

A Seat at the Table

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The answer was simple.

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

Be still and know that I am God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is okay…

to feel lonely sometimes

to be scared

to be nervous

to try new things

to decide not to try new things

to live in the RIGHT NOW

to let the past go

to let the future be what it will be

to hide when I need to

to show up

to believe I am meant for great things

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

to use my armor when I need it

to live outside the lines

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

to believe in miracles and magic

to laugh, live and love

to always take my seat at the table

to be my own advocate

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

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

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

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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

Scared

Scared

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

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

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I am scared of the little and the big things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scared but hopeful,

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Prelude to Holiday Cheer

Prelude to Holiday Cheer

Each year I do a fundraiser and then deliver gifts to 25 people (1 each day in December) to people who need a little extra cheer. These people usually have touched, inspired, or changed someone’s life in our community (or far away – we have delivered to Denver, Utah, and well all over actually) and they are nominated to receive one of the gifts.

I recently received an email about one of our recipients from last year. I didn’t write about her last December because tragedy struck her family just after she was nominated. I waited. I wanted her to have some space to heal and even now I am going to call her Kate to protect her identity.

Kate and her husband, like many couples, had to do extra work to become parents. They have miscarried several times and decided to take one final attempt last year. Kate and her husband were thrilled because she was expecting twins. She was put on bed rest in the second trimester. At the beginning of December tragedy struck when she lost her babies; twin girls.

The person that nominated her still wanted to deliver something, but the basket that had been prepared for an expectant mother on bed rest would no longer do at all. So I found a small business on Etsy where the woman creates angel necklaces for women who have miscarried. The name of the shop is Blue Room Gems (you can check it out by clicking here). Creating a necklace for her seemed perfect. So a new basket was crafted with this handmade jewelry and a hand-made throw. My dear friend ensured that this was delivered at just the right time to Kate.

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Necklace from Blue Room Gems.

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Well, Kate was so touched by the basket and the gift that she took our idea and continued it. She began to turn her grief into energy to help others, as grieving mothers tend to do.

She began creating and delivering baskets of her own to women in hospitals who were on journeys similar to her own. She wanted to gift them hope and love; just as she felt she had been gifted.

The blessings continued and Kate’s story evolved and grew and the hope she felt led her to try again for a baby. Kate is expecting and everything is going smoothly as of now. Continue to pray for her and her family and I promise to keep you updated.

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A display at “Kate’s” house with the framed phrase we included with her gift.

Kate inspired me to keep Holiday Cheer going and this year I want to help as many people as we can. I am shooting for 31 nominations so that we can gift a nominee every day in December. I know we can make it a success this year, too. This is such a wonderful way to give back; because like Kate so many of the recipients pay it forward. This sparks so many to keep giving and hope continues to grow. Our world needs hope and so here we go again with our  3rd annual fundraiser – 31 Days of Holiday Cheer!

It is easy – YOU dear readers, nominate a person you think is worthy and YOU my dear readers can donate, make, or just share this with others so that we can make this the most successful Holiday Cheer EVER!

So how does this work:

To nominate someone: It can be anyone, adult or child, male or female. The person nominated just needs to be someone who could use some cheer or just needs some hope breathed into their life. To nominate someone is easy – just email me a short paragraph about the person, with their name and why you think they should be a recipient. Then include something you think they might need this holiday season. Email me at mlmurnin@yahoo.com.

To donate: I will have several “parties” that will allow you to purchase gifts for the holidays or just for yourself or you can purchase for one of our nominees. Then I use the proceeds of these parties to purchase gifts for our nominees. There will be an online Stella  and Dot party and a Thirty-one party online. I will host a LulaRoe pop-up for those close by. And last but not least the things that worked best last year anyone can donate gift cards, cash, or even sponsor a recipient by purchasing something directly for them. Again, email me at mlmurnin@yahoo.com to arrange for donations to be collected and Like my facebook page for details about the parties.

Get others involved: Share this post with your friends, family, friends of friends, and community. I know if we have enough involvement we can raise more donations and help people even more than we did last year.

What do we need to beat? Last year we collected over $2000 in cash and gift card donations. Last year we purchased nearly $2000 in gifts and other goods. All together with hand made donations and other purchased items we topped over $5000 in gifts for the recipients.

Can we go bigger this year? Can we do 31 days of Holiday Cheer? YES WE CAN! 

I can’t wait to see what happens this year,

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Big mistakes and bravery

Several years ago I started to disarm myself. Piece by piece I set down my armor. I came out of hiding and decided in order to live fully I must be seen fully. That is why I started this blog and even named it “afourytale” – a fairy tale; four kids – a..four..ytale…get it.

I didn’t want the cliché version of a fairytale; I wanted to rewrite the standard fairytale. Fairytales aren’t beautiful stories with happy endings. Fairytales are messy, unkept, broken stories that do not always have perfect endings. When I read how the little mermaid really ended in her becoming foam on the ocean; my heart crumpled. But I think we need to rewrite these stories with more modern versions of truth. Fairytales are our lives – they are hard, broken, beautiful, messy, lonely, noisy, colorful tales of truth and vulnerability.

I wanted to share that even with all of the mess that life can bring our perspective can create that story into a fairytale. And in order to do that; I was going to have to set down my armor and show all the sides of myself and my life. I couldn’t hide behind perfectionism any more. I didn’t want to be seen as perfect anymore. In fact I had come to despise that word and every time someone would describe me that way I would cringe. I had to shed the armor and leave perfectionism behind me.

Now disarming myself and shedding my armor is something I have found that I have to relearn on a regular basis. My default button is to run and hide. It is so much easier to grab my armor, steel myself and let things bounce off of me and not feel.

After three years of constantly setting down my armor a strange thing has happened. Now when I try on my mask and armor it doesn’t fit right. Something feels askew.

Each time I try to put on my armor or retreat to its steely protection I hear loud and clear these words from the Universe: “Fear not. Remember.”

When I hear these words I set down my armor and go out into the world feeling extremely unprepared, totally naked and yet fully alive. I let what comes hit me and instead of retreating I feel each inch of it and decide not to let others dictate how I feel about something, but to define it for myself.

For instance, yesterday I was called selfish. It stung. It hurt fiercely. But I decided instead of retreating, instead of hiding my hurt, to fully listen to how it was said and decide for myself – is that how I define me?

I take things personally. Does that make me selfish? No, it makes me human. I do not have to change that I take things personally. I am a person after all. I just need to make sure the person that I am talking to; knows that I am hearing them as well.

I am not selfish. My truth is that I am kind, super extra feely, and that being personal and feeling everything that comes at me is how I best process the world. If I just allow myself to feel only what other people expect me to and to only react the way other people expect me to, then I am right back in my armor and that is not how I want to live my life.

Being brave is setting down your armor and being your true self. Brene Brown uses the Teddy Roosevelt quote about going out into the arena:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

Life is the arena; where we show up leaving our armor behind and let our blood and sweat show for all to see. When we do that we can become connected to one another. We can also become whole. We become fully alive.

Why am I telling you all this? I tend to make mistakes on a large-scale. I tend to make mistakes that affect other people and not just myself. Not on purpose mind you. I go in with my whole heart and do my very best. Daring greatly if you will. But I have also learned that if something doesn’t feel right then it isn’t something you should keep doing no matter what.

About a month ago I tried to do something I thought I always wanted; only to find that it didn’t fit anymore. It wasn’t who I was any longer; it was only who I thought I was. It was a part of me that fit into my armor. And since I can’t wear my armor anymore without feeling completely ridiculous and askew; this activity didn’t fit me either. I had to say, “No thank you; this isn’t what I want.” It was hard. It was scary. It was also just right for me. Being brave sometimes means saying no thank you, that’s not for me even when everyone else is watching.

And last but not least, being brave also means asking for help. A group of my friends decided to get together. I couldn’t fathom trying to join them. I felt like bad company and thought it would just be a bad idea to go. “No one wants to see me any way. I won’t be missed,” I thought.

The words of the universe stirred in me again…”Fear not. Remember”… and I began to reevaluate my thoughts. Ah-ha! There I go again defining myself using other people’s ideas. What do I want? What is best for me? And my answer changed. I wanted to go. I was still scared and nervous that I would chicken out at the last-minute. I know some of you think this rather silly to be scared of your own tribe, but letting myself be seen by the people I love is terribly difficult, because what if they woke up today and decide they don’t like me anymore. They can see all of me now and if they don’t like me after they have seen everything then what? Fear of pain, fear of rejection still creeps into my soul and takes away my courage to be seen.

So instead of retreating and hiding – my default – I sent them a group text. “Guys, I want to go tonight. But I am scared I will decide to hide here at home instead. Can someone please come pick me up so I can’t back out.” And guess what; someone came and picked me up. Everyone rallied behind me. Everyone understood.

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I can’t live in my armor anymore. I have to live in the arena. My soul is the only thing that feels true any more. Just because my armor doesn’t  fit doesn’t stop me from trying to slink back into it mind you.

Armor has many names…perfectionism, fear, hatred, addiction – the things we use to numb are armor. The things we use to hide ourselves it is all armor. You have to know what your armor is to know how to take it off and set it down.

I have had many people comment on my courage and bravery the last year and I never thought this was me. “I am just a girl,” I say. “I am just trying to take the next best step for me.” But I have taken time to define bravery for myself.

Being brave is….

not letting fear dictate your choices

not defining who you are by other people’s standards

taking your next right step

remembering who you are

remembering to ask for help

setting your armor down and stepping into the arena unprepared, raw and wide open.

I guess by that definition I am brave. But I am also just a girl trying to take the next right step. But I am not doing it in the quiet darkness, steeled against the world. I am doing it here, and in the arena, and out in the open for all to see. Some days that feels really difficult, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. So here is to big mistakes and bravery because I have more to make and more to learn.

Fear not.Remember –

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Legit

My heart is heavy tonight as I write my life lessons post for late June/half way through July, but I still felt this need to write so here I am.

I am going to start with the heavy.

We need to pray people…

France, Dallas, Baton Rouge, the whole globe. We need to take a moment and pray.

We ate out tonight and the family at the table next to us bowed their heads and prayed and offered gratitude before their meal. I was struck by how this simple act was so profound and healing.

We need to pray.

We need to lean in together and pray. No color, all religious preferences, all sexual orientations, just gather as humans and pray for one another.

And now on to the lighter side of things just because I feel like if I keep thinking about the heavy and the world my children may inherit if things don’t change I don’t know what…

Where does the title legit come from? Well, I have this awesome friend, Cristal and she is always saying how things are “legit” and well life lessons and life in general are just legit; I mean you can’t get more real than every day life.

We need to laugh people…

Laughter is truly the best medicine for the soul. We need to laugh and play and just enjoy the moments that we do have when we can. (Sometimes you have kids crying and shit is legit and you cannot laugh at that moment, but you will laugh later and that is the thing to remember…laugh when you can laugh). For example, one of the twins locked themselves in the bathroom 4 years ago and then seriously did it again this week. I was quick to laugh because I learned from that first lesson and that nifty little key to unlock the door this time was a life saver.

But a couple of suggestions if I may…

Download Snap Chat and play with it. My son thinks I am whack because I don’t post anything on Snap Chat, I have it just for the filters. And I say so what?! Because seriously I have never laughed so hard. And really do I need another place to post crap?

 

Because that is too legit to quit…am I right?

And play like a kid because sometimes it is just freeing and fun…

Billy Beez, I highly recommend it. It’s legit.

The family that dabs together stays together…

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Enough said, because they did this over and over and over and laughed and laughed.

Even dogs get excited to order Starbucks…

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Seriously, I think that dog ordered a latte and a lemon scone. I hope he paid for the car behind him, because random acts of kindness are legit.

Wear the crazy leggings…

So I know, LuLaRoe is kinda cray, cray the way people hunt and shop and talk about unicorns. You don’t have to get sucked all the way in…but those buttery soft leggings, I mean, I pull those on and I feel 12 all over again. It’s the 90s with Full House and Rave Hairspray. And that is worth $25 and a little embarrassment when you are wearing them at the grocery store right?

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But mostly do what it takes to get through…

Life is not fair. I know I have first world problems, but I empathize and understand that a lot of people do not. I know that things can be so hard. I deal with death on a daily basis and I know first hand what shattered lives look like. I know. I do.

I think we each have to do what we can to get through. To find our way.

For me, it’s knowing that I will teach my children to leave a place better than you found it, use their manners, do their best, chase their dreams and always help the person up behind them. To listen to other people’s stories.

I will work to make sure they take responsibility for their actions and pitch in and help out wherever they can. To teach them understanding and compassion in a world that so desperately needs it. And mostly to love them. But also to love my life and set the example. To be a person who shows not tells. To be a person that is afraid, but lives life any way.

And these sweet faces help keep me legit. Two of these faces turn 6 tomorrow. Two of these faces are closer to being a teen than a kid. All five of these faces are the best parts of my life. All five of these faces can drive me absolutely bat shit crazy and at the same time make my heart explode with adoration and unconditional love. These five faces get me through each day…

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Until next time,

Michelle

Life breathers

Life breathers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

me

Not too proud for do-overs and other random musings…

Not too proud for do-overs and other random musings…

Two blogs in a row people…What!? What!?

I know I can hear your cheers through the computer and yes, it is a miracle.

Well I guess because the twins are going to officially be big kids and we have been pretty busy up in our hizouse that I have a lot that I feel I need to share. I know I over share people…that is beside the point.

Any way back to my over sharing; I wanted to let you in on some more stuff that I am learning this month…

I talk too much. No for realsies…I really, really do. I am going to start carrying duct tape in my purse or on my person at all times. I think I will get some of the cute kind from Hobby Lobby though. Enough said.

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I am passionate about education and yet I always feel under-educated to share my opinion on things. I speak from the heart and what feels right from experience. I should probably stack up some facts and research to back those feelings up before I go spouting them off. It’s just a thought. Don’t get too nervous for me.

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Parenting is serious business people. It is daily marathons without any training or experience. This shit is for realsies. Like for real, for real. I have been peed on, pooped on, spit up on, thrown up on and scariest of all hovered over in the dark and scared to death by a child whispering “mom” in the middle of the night. That is some creepy-deepy stuff right there.

I have felt more joy and pain that I ever believed capable by a human heart all due to my children. But I have to say having four small humans all upset at you because of the choices you made as a parent sucks big time.

Mind you I know that if they are all upset at me I am most likely nailing it. All four mad at me that is a 100% success rate in the parenting world. I know you’re jealous. Don’t worry you can do it, too. If I can do it, so can you. Plus it was super easy, I just made them do homework, clean and help out instead of playing on their iPad/Video games and they lost their minds! Can’t say it didn’t sting a bit though to have them all gang up and be angry at me at once. With good friends to vent to and cocktails it is survivable. Also, learned that from experience. Just saying.

Having friends that you can pour your heart out to even if it is crazy nonsense like why do I care if my kids are all unhappy with me because I make them do their homework is absolutely priceless. Find your tribe and hang on for dear life because your people, friends who will hold you up and tell you the truth; they are invaluable. I mean I called a friend yesterday as I hid in the closet from my children just to vent about my crazy mom life and I can’t thank you enough for always having my back and always, always telling me like it is. Find your people. Hold on to them. Invaluable. Got it? Okay, next thing I am learning. Ready. Go.

When your parents are the absolute best people on the planet; let them know it. I already knew this before but being a parent really drives it home. I mean they are serious proof that you can survive your own children.

I have called my mom numerous times to apologize to her when my own kids have served up karma right in my face. I am sure I need to apologize to my dad too. You raised three girls, and I am learning girls have mad attitude, those are some serious survival skills, Dad. You made it through three girls. Mad props to you. Thank you for being amazing and still being my biggest fan. I am a lucky girl.

Last one, see I started with I talk too much to prepare you – see that now?

I am literally living on hope and faith and pixie dust these days. I make mistakes and learn. But one thing I have learned is that I am not too proud to ask for do-overs when I can. Whether it’s admitting I did something I shouldn’t of to my kids or asking for a do over from a friend; it is worth the ask.

Exhibit A. Sunday our family was at the Unravel 5K Family Fun Run and the kids complained all morning about every little thing trying to get out the door. It must have been too early for them on a Sunday. Any way by the time we get there I am doing everything possible to hold it together to try and SHOW them how they should behave and that they should be grateful that we are here to support this cause.

Two separate friends come over to say hi. And I said a very quick hi to them. Well once everything was calm I realized I was probably kind of snappy to them so I found them both and asked for a do-over hello. It went awesome and I felt much better. I am sure they did to. There is that saying people will always remember how  you made them feel and I wanted to make sure I hadn’t made anyone else feel bad just because we (my kids and I) were having a bad morning. But it all worked out okay.

So I talk to much; I am working on that one. It’s a hard one for me. You are still reading this so it can’t be all that bad, right?

In a nutshell: Remember this too shall pass and keep living the dream.

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Peace (And I mean that in the true 1990s since of the word)-

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Signs from Heaven

Signs from Heaven

Do you ever hit every single red light? I am not talking just in one trip out, but continuously for a week.

Have you been out and about and swore that you saw a passed loved one only to take a second look and it was not them at all? The person didn’t even really look like them all that much, but when you saw them the first time they were a dead ringer.

Do objects in your house, like your keys, go “misplaced” even when you know you put them in specific spot?

Are you frequently changing your lightbulbs? Or do you have lightbulbs that pop?

Do you catch a whiff of a loved ones perfume, cologne, or cigarette smoke from time to time?

Are you electronics always on the fritz?

Do you ever get strong cravings for things that someone that passed loved, but you didn’t really ever like?

Do sightings of birds, insects or specific skylines catch your eye and you just know that your loved one made that appear just for you?

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Are you constantly finding specific objects like feathers, buttons, or coins?

These are all common signs from the other side. When I say they are constantly communicating with us; that is not an understatement. I have come across all kinds of signs both through readings and personally.

I have lost all four grandparents and miss them deeply. One of my grandmothers suffered with Alzheimer’s for years before she passed. She raised 6 kids and even though I only have 4, I long for her guidance all the time. For the first three years that we moved to Gilroy and I was carting around my 4 and doing school drop off I would cry once the house was quiet because I just missed her so much and would send my questions to the heavens up to her, but I did not get an answer. I know she was listening; and even answering, but my own pain caused me to miss her signs.

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I borrowed this pic Aunt Lisa – I hope that is okay, but I thought this was a perfect picture of Grandma

I have been able to open my heart more and more the last two years and with guidance from other mediums have been able to connect to my grandmother more and more. What is odd is I feel her all around me now. But it started with my unusual craving for Diet Dr. Pepper. If you know me I have never liked diet soda. I would drink anything but. Lately however, I have to have Diet Dr. Pepper. I think it is her way of telling me this little drink helped her cope day to day and it can help me, too. I am a bit of a caffeine junky.

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I am also constantly craving Doublemint gum. This was her gum of choice. She always had it. It is not my favorite gum, but I feel the need to have some on hand all the time and no other gum tastes as good as that gum. I have been fighting my weight gain and I think this is her way of saying have some gum on hand it helps.

There are so many ways that our loved ones try to come through to help us and guide us. They often literally whisper in your ear to help your intuition know the best choice for your soul. If your gut is telling you something it is wise to listen. If you feel something and can’t explain it – you just know – that usually means something.

There are many ways that signs can be discounted or explained away. That is the easy part. Believing is the hard part. Trusting in something you can’t see; believing in what you know is true even when you can’t prove it. That is what is hard for us; accepting something is real without being able to prove it. Believe anyway.

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Spirits have ways of saying hello through numbers. If you are awoken at the same time every night or constantly look at your clock every day at the same time that is your loved one saying hello. If your phone seems possessed and you even receive strange calls and no one is on the other line, your loved one has called to say hello.

Dreams are a common way our spirit loved ones connect to us. Even if the dream doesn’t always make sense and we can’t remember what is said, but everything else about the dream feels so real then you connected with them. We are so open in our sleep and they can reach us a little more easily than when we are awake.

If you aren’t seeing these signs, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It may mean you aren’t ready to see them yet; your pain and grief can block some of these things from sinking in. Your brain is wired to protect yourself from pain and so it creates blocks so that our emotions are safe guarded. Your loved ones are around you. You are a big part of their heaven.

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Your loved ones are just a thought away. If you think of them; they receive the call and are right there for you. Always.

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I would love to hear about the signs that you have received from loved ones and I know that sharing them will help others, too. So share in the comments or on my FB page. I can’t wait to hear your stories.

Sincerely,

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Day 20: Strength

First let me introduce you to Jane and Hilda. Jane nominated Hilda for Holiday Cheer this year. Jane and Hilda are great friends and definitely teaching BFFs. If you aren’t clear on what that is exactly, this Buzz Feed post here will help you out.

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They have been friends for years, taking trips, teaching together and many other adventures.

This past year has been a difficult one for Hilda, to say the least. Her sister passed away and then her partner, Rodney fell ill. He was in and out of the hospital and Hilda cared for him until he passed in May. They had only recently finished renovating the home they purchased together when he became so ill he had to be hospitalized.

Jane sat with Hilda the night that Rodney passed. Staying with her until late into the evening or early morning depending on how you look at it. Only to be texted a short time after she finally went home to catch a little shut eye that he had in fact passed peacefully.

Hilda is an amazing educator, a wonderful mother and grandmother and the best friend anyone could ask for. She is the first one on your doorstep to help when you are going through a difficult time or you just need some extra hands to complete a project. She always has time to listen to your troubles and will always offer a shoulder to cry on, but she helps lift your spirits and you can’t be sad around her for long. Her positivity is absolutely contagious. Nothing stops her from achieving what she wants to do in life.

Even though this year was filled with much sadness, Hilda forged ahead and has continued teaching in the Evergreen School District. She continues to hike, travel and spend time with her friends.

Thank you Holiday Elves and Gina Guglielmo for donating to Hilda’s gift and helping offer her some cheer and support during the holidays. You were able to provide Hilda with a beautiful wine basket from Guglielmo Winery with a complimentary tasting for two and a Spa Gift Certificate.

Best wishes to Hilda,

Michelle and the Holiday Cheer Elves

 

 

Day 14: She is the perfect combination of Princess and Warrior

 

I am so excited to introduce you all to Elayna. She is absolutely radiant! I first came into contact with Elayna and her mom, Lucy while our family was fluttering in September for Unravel. (If you haven’t heard about Unravel yet is an organization that was founded to help raise funds for pediatric cancer research and you can learn more here). Elayna is a cancer survivor and she wanted to be a part of the Unravel Fluttering Campaign to help children like her. Her mom shared pictures and videos via a group on FB and well…we all just got to know her so well. Her vibrant, energetic passion and love of life was contagious to say the least. I mean just look at this kid!

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At 6 she has already beat kidney cancer and was 9 months into remission when I “met” her via the Unravel Fluttering Facebook Group. What happened next was heartbreaking. This princess warrior was diagnosed with lung cancer. Elayna and her family are once again fighting a battle against cancer.

There are two fundraising pages for Elayna in case you are interested in helping her and her family since I know many of you have asked how you can help more:

Her new gofundme page is at: https://www.gofundme.com/Elayna

Her original youcaring page (which is still set up and working!) is at:https://www.youcaring.com/medi…/let-s-go-team-elayna-/171690

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What was amazing was that a pair of donors came forward that wanted to get Elayna an American Girl doll. Not only did they get her a doll they also purchased matching pjs for her and the doll, the movie, book and accessories for the doll. I was in awe of their generosity. We also had someone hand make a scarf and matching hat for Elayna.

Elayna’s mom Lucy had this to say about the gift once it was delivered,

“This girl is so loved. Thank you so much for caring enough about her fight and her path to want to send her some joy like this. I looooove the frame picture. And the hat and scarf are sure to be favorites right away. 💕 Elayna has never had a “real” doll before and it was hilarious to see that she didn’t know what you did with one at first when she unwrapped Kit. When I explained all the things you could do with her (and that she came with a story and all) she said ‘Can you even put pjs on them?’ And I said, ‘I’m sure we can get pjs someday for her.’ Then she couldn’t stop smiling and giggling when she opened the pajamas next. Ha! Please thank everyone who was involved in Elayna’s gifts. We are so touched by the generous spirit.”

Thank you so much, Holiday Cheer Elves: Bella, Kim and Rebecca for bringing a smile to Elayna’s face.
All of the Holiday Cheer Elves are praying and cheering for Team Elayna.
Sincerely,
The Holiday Cheer Elves