Year End Lessons for 2018

Year End Lessons for 2018

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

First things first…

20 Dessert Inspirations

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

Make your own Fancy new year

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

Bake the Cookies

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

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

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

Make New Friends

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

RELEARN & REMEMBER YOUR OWN LESSONS

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

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

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

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Spiritual Awakenings and YouTube

Spiritual Awakenings and YouTube

Do you know your truth?

Lately, I have been working on listening to my inner voice and trying to be deeply observant of what it tells me and what the universe places into my life.

Since the beginning of this blog I have been trying to document my journey to an authentic life and share the lessons that I am learning and today it hit me: I am unlearning. What does that mean? 

It means that we start out knowing an awful lot. As children we are deeply connected to light and spirit. We are connected to one another and trusting. That is how we are meant to be, you know? That is what the Universe/God wants for us (I use Universe and God interchangeably, but really whatever divine power you believe in I believe it is all one in the same so you can input your word for the Divine in place of mine as it suits you).

We are born knowing the light and basking in it. The world changes that in us. But the good news is we can always reconnect to that light; we just have to choose to do so. We can do it through choice, grace and being present to witness the light. Then you just hit repeat on that cycle, and baby you got it. 

That is what I have started to do. I am surrendering my life to love and light and allowing the Universe to deliver me to where I need to be and the things I need to know. You have to be present. You have to be watching. I know I am getting somewhere when the signs show up and say, “Hey Michelle, you are NOT losing your mind. You are right on track. Keep paying attention and I promise you are going to change the world.”

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I had to go into San Jose today and I felt like listening to something uplifting. I figured why not listen to some TedTalks.

I happen across Gabby Bernstein’s mini Ted Talk. You can watch it here.  It was definitely a sign. Her truths resonated so clearly. So clearly in fact, I had a spiritual awakening listening to YouTube. So many things fell into place and I had an epiphany of understanding. I know what I know and it is the TRUTH regardless of what anyone else might think. It is my truth and if I choose to live it I will lead an extraordinary life filled with love and joy. Come on who doesn’t want that?

I am going share a little of that epiphany with you.

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Gabby starts her talk by explaining that she is worried about the time she has to give her talk, but after mediation this nugget of wisdom is revealed, “Tell your truth and time will expand.” You guys, remember when you were little and you felt like you had all the time in the world. That is because you were connected to the light. You had all the time in the world to learn what you needed to know. We need to let go of fear and believe and trust in the Universe that we have all the time we need to fulfill our purpose. Live our truth and time will expand.

She continues by saying that, “when inspiration is your guide you become a miracle worker.” Amen sister!

When we allow our creativity to run free without interference from fear of what other people might think amazing things happen…miracles happen. Think about the great people who have graced this world with their wisdom. Martin Luther King Jr. I am sure people thought he was crazy. Sure one day everyone will live in harmony. They probably still think he is crazy. But I believe him.

Mother Teresa. Come on, I am sure there were people who in the beginning were like, really you are doing to go live with the poorest of the poor and the sick? It took her two years to get approval, but that didn’t stop her.

I am sure we can think of a million others where the same logic applies – they followed their dreams and the calling of the Universe despite what other people thought and in doing so they changed the world. As I am listening to Gabby’s talk and thinking of people I consider heroes and mentors; they all have one thing in common they all follow their “crazy” callings. I am a medium. I speak to spirit. It doesn’t get any stranger than that, but when I lean into love, when I listen to my inner voice I see me speaking to thousands of people. I see me with a microphone in hand and several books under my belt. If I lean into love this life of my dreams is real. It is my truth. I know I am on my way to find it.

That truth can’t be any crazier than the advice I gave one of my dearest friends this morning…”It’s like Taylor Swift says, ‘the haters gonna hate’ which is basically what Mother Teresa says when she says, ‘do good anyway’. People are going to tear you down. People are going to say nasty things. People are going to disbelieve what you are capable of, but if you live in a way that you are constantly taking the next right step toward good people won’t believe them and so what if they do? You know you are doing the next right thing. God knows you are doing the next right thing and in the end that is all that matters.”

And if in one day I can compare the wisdom of Mother Teresa, Taylor Swift and Gabby Bernstein and see the sign of an angel on a Mexican Food Truck in front of me letting me know I am on the right path, than guess what?! Miracles can happen and we need to remember to believe in them just like when we were kids. Anything is possible. I believed in true love and love at first sight and I held out for it. I knew it had to be out there and it was. Did it show up like I expected? Nope. Was it when I expected? Nope. But that is how the Universe works. If you ask and believe it delivers, just in its own way.

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Miracles happen every day and every minute. Offer yourself the willingness to be open to them, the grace in missing them, and the knowledge that you will have the chance to choose again. Unlearn that misery and strife are a part of life. We are here connected to each other and the light to do good and be joyful. That is my truth and I choose to live that every day regardless of what else gets thrown down at my feet.

Hoping my truth, vulnerability and authenticity help you on your journey –

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The time when acupuncture broke me

The time when acupuncture broke me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

That in itself is a miracle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am choosing to let my light shine.

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

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

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

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

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A cup half full kind of girl,

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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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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

How my inner voice keeps me from joy and authenticity

How my inner voice keeps me from joy and authenticity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am a good mom.

I am a good friend.

I am a writer.

I am grace.

I am compassion.

I am worthy of joy and connection.

And doggone it people like me.

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

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

Feeling humbled –

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Cheer Day 19

Cheer Day 19

“Every child deserves a champion: an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be.”

– Rita Pierson, Educator

Cheer Day 19

Jacinda Barker embodies what Rita Pierson speaks of. Jacinda, mother of 3, works with special needs students in the Gilroy Unified School District. She is a mainstay at my children’s school and knows all the students by name. Her positive energy and smile follow her wherever she goes.

Most people wouldn’t know the things Jacinda does day in and day out because she never ever mutters an ounce of contempt or complaint. Last year I happened to sit next to her on the way home from a field trip to Monterey and as we started talking her beauty unravelled before me. Jacinda loves her job and her students. She believes in each one and does everything humanly possible to help them reach their potential. Her passion is contagious.

She is no different at home and you can see it in her children. Each of them exude their mother’s kind spirit. Jacinda also cares for her uncle who has been disabled since birth. He has lived with their family for the last ten years.

Cheer Day 19 gift

Presenting Jacinda with her gift yesterday was such a treat. Jacinda you are a love and I am inspired by how much time and effort you put into not only your own family but to other’s families as well. You work tirelessly to make such a difference in the lives of children and there is nothing that is more honorable than that.

Keep on keeping on sister!

All the Best Heroes

 

 

 

 

Love,

The Cheer Squad.

 

Cheer Day 5 2014

 

A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.
― Steve Maraboli

Cheer Day 5

Holiday Cheer Day 5 brought some much-needed cheer to Michelle. Michelle was nominated by Bettina. Bettina took a moment to put into her own words why she felt Michelle should be a recipient:

“Michelle is a single mom who loves her kids so much. Being separated recently, she took all the ups and downs in life with grace and I am so proud of her for holding her head high and sticking to her gut when it came to life decisions. Going through a separation is hard, but she also lost her father and brother to cancer in less than a year. She has been through so much pain in the past year and I wish her lots of happiness for the future.”

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There was a good luck penny inside this cute little Stella & Dot tech wallet.

 

Wrap Bracelet Cheer Day 5
Wrap Bracelet – my photo doesn’t do it justice

 

 

Click to see it on the Stella & Dot website
Click to see it on the Stella & Dot website

Today I am so grateful that these two friends had a moment to share how they inspire one another. I know that they spent Thanksgiving together and really are family to one another.

Letting those that nominated this year deliver the gifts has been so rewarding. Bettina wrote me last night and I just have to share:

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And now my friends, I will call all of you who have helped put this together the “Cheer Squad”. I can not tell you how grateful I am to all of you.

But, I think Michelle described it best in her Facebook post last night:

FB Post Cheer Day 5

Wishing you a year full of happiness to keep your cup running over, Michelle!

Sincerely,

Michelle and the “Cheer Squad”

 

Cheer Day 1 2014

So it begins Holiday Cheer Year 2

Yesterday was the very first day of holiday cheer. This is the second annual 25 Days of Holiday Cheer and I am just as excited as the first. The theme for this year is:

All the Best Heroes are Ordinary People who make themselves Extraordinary.

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This we have 30 nominees so it will be extended by 5 extra days because I wanted to recognize everyone! The more we can do the better and it all came together this year because of all the fabulous people who supported my crazy Holiday Cheer idea.

Alyssa Wagner, our Stella & Dot consultant and my dear friend made sure that she donated enough commissions to pay for the sales tax on all of our gift orders.

Tina Ramirez from thirty-one and Mama Luvs donated several of her Mama Luvs products to all the people who purchased thirty-one bags this year.

The Krafty B, otherwise known as Bettina Kraft, donated one of her beautiful scarves as one of our gifts this year.

Finally, I cannot begin to thank all those who donated money, frames, time, and support to help make this all a reality this year. Thank you all so much for helping to spread a little extra cheer this holiday season. Each of our recipients will be so grateful.

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Our first nominee was nominated by Kathleen from Utah. She wanted to nominate her cousin Mary Ellen because, “she is so dedicated, has so much love and patience while giving her mom the best of care. She is one of my heroes and I admire her for being such a wonderful caregiver.”

Mary Ellen cares for her mom and is a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada. She also spends time helping in the community. Recently she helped two council members run food drives for local food cupboards. This is a cause near and dear to her heart.

Mary Ellen is a life long Girl Scout and worked with youth leadership in the Las Vegas Community for several years.

This gift came at a great time as the last couple of weeks have been especially trying with her mom as she has had many sleepless nights.

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Glad we could help deliver some extra holiday cheer.

Happy December and Happy 25 (30) Days of Holiday Cheer –

Michelle and a circle of women who care

 

October Lessons…

October Lessons…

October Lessons

So it is only halfway through November and I am writing my October Lessons that seems right about on schedule.

As always I hope what I learn each month helps you find some enlightenment and joy.

1. K.I.S.S.

33 kids at a party

Keep it simple stupid. I know not extremely kind words, but it is a good mnemonic device (regardless if I forgot it – I remembered it and that is the key). It is so important to keep things simple. Simple and I have a hard time remembering one another, but I am vowing that moving forward I will keep it simple. The birthday party I had this month with 33 kids was not simple and it will not be happening again. I learned my lesson loud and clear this time – all that second grade girl drama was way too much for me. I do not watch Desperate Housewives; I was so unprepared.

2. I am so over puppies.

so over puppies

Don’t get me wrong, I love our new dog. She is bright, has a spunky personality and is super cuddly. But the poop, pee and vomit on the carpet; I am SO OVER THAT. The chewing on everything that she can get her paws and teeth on; I AM SO OVER THAT. The jumping, biting, and me constantly repeating myself; I AM SO OVER THAT. I know once she is fully trained we will be fine and she is only 4 1/2 months old, but holy moly I do not think I will ever need to do the puppy stage ever again. She is pretty darn cute thought, isn’t she?

3. I am way more comfortable with us hiding our crazy

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So this Halloween there were just a whole bunch of people who were out to scare children. This baffles me. I find it extremely creepy. There was a guy dressed like Jason that would just follow you around and then stare at you with his head cocked, and a house with a mad scientist complete with a chainsaw, and then people dressed super creepy at the grocery store just leering at you for fun. I do not need this sort of scary coming to life. I can’t even watch scary movies without sleeping with the light on for weeks and mostly I won’t watch at all. I am still scarred from Scream. In theater bathrooms I still think some scary freak is going to pierce metal through the side of the stall or that some crazy person is looming in the dark theater waiting to pounce. Totally judgmental I know. I just think when you bring that kind of crazy creepiness into life you are a little off your rocker. . I like it way better when people keep their crazy on the inside.

4. Take your kids out of school

disney during school

Blasphemy I know…sorry teachers. We decided to go to Disneyland this year during school. It was the best decision ever! It was way less crowded and we had tons of fun. We were able to finish almost all the work the teachers gave us so the kids were not too far behind when we came back so it all worked out. I highly recommend going to Disney when school is in session.

5. Find your joy and keep it – make sure to use baby steps

find your joy

Taking good care of myself is not something that I do. I come dead last out of 6. Each time I start to work on me and find some success, I let myself slide right back down the chain to last and I realize it again when my pants start not to fit. I know that may not make sense, but I eat when I don’t take care of myself. Literally feeding myself to try to fill the hole I created. It is silly and lame and I know better.

This time I am going to use baby steps. Take care of the little things a bit at a time until I am doing what I can take good care of myself . Like shower…I know that seems disgusting but you other moms know when mornings go awry you forgo a shower so that everyone gets where they need to be one time. I am going to try to make sure this one simple thing happen daily. Stopping and just reading a book for awhile because I need to do something I like that day. Writing in my blog again. Small simple things that I need to incorporate into my daily life so that I continue to keep myself on my list of things to take care of.

6.Balloon artists are awesome…

Balloon Jetpack

This Balloon Jetpack is awesome. That is all.

8. Keep past lessons top of mind

Last but not least, keep your past lessons in your mind because even though my kids drive me crazy with their bickering and selective listening skills in less than a decade my oldest will be graduating from high school and that thought makes me vomit a little in my mouth every time. So grasp the moments that you can and commit them to memory.

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Last minute trips to the Pumpkin Patch.

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Napping with balloons

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First rain of the fall

rock climbing

Rock Climbing through a park

Halloween Hot Chocoalte

Halloween Hot Chocolate

fantstic balloon crowns

Fantastic face paint and balloon crowns

Wishing you a very fabulous end to November,

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Today…

Today…

I am enough

Today I am thinking lots of things and my blog post might be a big, jumbly mess. But I won’t apologize…if you didn’t want to read it you wouldn’t. (I am trying to stop apologizing so darn much).

Today started with me waking later than usual which meant no run, which meant the nagging about my weight and laziness and no excuses was already buzzing through my brain rapid fire. As I stood in the shower I took deep breaths and did a lot of repeating,  “I am enough.”

And, “Right now I am enough.”

And, “God loves me right this minute and that means I am worthy.”

Yes, I am still taking lexapro – this self-doubt happens any way.

Of course from the shower it was straight into mommy world as many of you know…getting breakfast, and kids dressed, and then straight to work. But at 12, I walked away from the screen and made us all lunch and ate it outside in the dazzling sunshine.

I am trying to slow things down and get my joy back. I am not a good routine person and life is very routine these days. So I am trying to remember what takes the stress away. What I like to do and where the joy is. I know that some of you are thinking, “you have to find the joy in the moment.” I agree. However, I also think you need to make room for the joy you want and to make those moments happen.

do something that makes you happy

Anyway, writing used to be a joy for me.  Yes, I wrote used to, you read that correctly.

I am sure you noticed I am not writing as often as I was before. I brought this up with my therapist and she asked some questions that led to me thinking about myself of course. That is how the therapy thing works – the therapist asks you a lot of questions to get you doing a lot of thinking. Luckily my therapist also does a good deal of telling out right.

Again, I digress, I told you it would be a jumbly mess…So during our conversation she asked me what I was avoiding? Was I avoiding accepting my accomplishments? Was I avoiding the audience? Was I avoiding myself?

I guess I was avoiding all of that a little. Avoiding myself a bit and what has blossomed out of this blog. This blog, while it still has a relatively small viewership, and I am I am grateful for each and every reader…has created some miraculous things. I started it because I had a dream of being a writer one day, and to also smash the perception others had of me, as well as have a bit of documentation on my journey to be more like the kind of human I want my children to become.

I never expected people to really read it…I started sharing it of course because I wanted people to see the real me…the me underneath the quiet. And when I started writing I had no intention of sharing as much as I have. But when I did start writing it all just started tumbling out and it felt like the right thing to do. To be open and vulnerable and courageous about just being me seemed like the right thing to do.

Recently as more and more people started to talk to me as intimate friends, and don’t get me wrong it is a really cool thing; it also made the shy me; the quiet me want to hide again. Run for the hills and let someone else do the writing and sharing, someone who was good at it and okay with the attention. I just wanted to blend back in with the scenery for a while.

I don’t wear make-up or dress fancy or even fashionable for the most part because I just want to blend in and not be noticed. Drawing attention is not my cup of tea.

This blog had started something else though; I have shared that I am a medium. I have begun doing readings and that drew more attention. Attention I thought I was ready to handle, but I guess I wasn’t. I get asked some pretty hard questions and I don’t have all the answers. Even though this has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember (and that is since I was 2 years old). I don’t understand all the ins and outs. I am still learning. Plus, I am as skeptical as the next person. I am constantly looking for proof as I do my readings. Proof that I am not a loony toon and that the communication that I am able to aid is nothing short of miraculous. Each time I have been surprised at what happens and added that proof to my arsenal, yet I still remain skeptical.

I guess I have come to the conclusion that hiding isn’t really the answer. I have to continue to be open, honest, and share my gift because that is who I want to be. A short escape is definitely necessary, keeping some things to myself is probably a good idea, and one of these days the pieces will all fall into place and I won’t even feel the need to hide any more. Okay, that might be stretching it a bit, but I have always believed you should shoot for the stars and if you land on the moon you did pretty darn good.

Writing again,

M

 

 

Goodnight 35…

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy-the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown.

Hapy Birthday Candles

Tomorrow I turn 36 years old, so I say goodnight 35….

Goodnight Sweet Chalkboard Drawings…

Chalkboard card

Goodnight sleeping toddlers…

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Goodnight 10 year anniversary…

10 year anniversary

Goodnight Favorite Book…Favorite Book

Goodnight Dance Class Afternoons…

Dance Class Divas

Goodnight Silly Cousin Antics…

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Goodnight Teacher Appreciation Supply Cakes and Amazing Art Creations…

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Goodnight First Ever Color Run…

Color Run

Goodnight Scootering for the First Time…

Scootering

Goodnight Kindergarten Graduations…

Kinder

Goodnight Beach Days, New Pinterest Recipes and Batting Cage Bravery…

photo 1(3)photo 4Batting Cage Bravery

Goodnight Golden Gate and Summer Sidewalk Chalk…

Golden Gate

Summer Sidewalk Chalk

Goodnight Cardboard Extravaganza, First Kid Trip to the Circus and Our Second Spring Garden…

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Goodnight Pumpkin Hunting…

Found it!

Goodnight to becoming a brunette, Holiday Cheer Inspiration, and Brene Brown Lifeclass Learning…

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Goodnight Newport Beach Thanksgiving Sunsets…

Sunset

and Goodnight Christmas Parade Walking and the perfect Christmas Tree…

Christmas Parade

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Thank you 35 for all the wonderful memories, good health, and personal growth. I am so grateful for this year and can’t wait to see what next year brings. Goodnight 35 because…

A day well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

35 for a few more hours,

M