It isn’t just our town.

It isn’t just our town.

Before I was born, Ted Bundy killed Deborah Kent. My dad knew her and her family. They always kept the porch light on for her. Years and years, they kept that light on for her waiting for her to come home. She never did. I know when I heard this as a little kid, I learned that bad things could happen. People were capable of bad things.

When we were little, a few blocks over from our house in Colorado, an entire family was murdered with a hammer. Not long after that happened a friend from school’s mom disappeared. Her picture was on a poster that hung near the door of our local supermarket for several months. Again I learned that the worst things you can imagine could happen and they could happen close to home.

In February of 1993, my family visited the East Coast. I was fifteen years old. My dad was there for work, and we made it a family trip. One of our stops was the World Trade Center. As we entered the building, something felt off. The bottom floor had glass walls and in the middle was a hallway with a line of elevators on each side.

I remember counting them at the time, but the exact number of elevators escapes me. We waited to enter one and then nearly forty people crammed into the elevator; I think we counted thirty-eight. Because yes, I counted them. That sinking feeling in my gut escalated as I counted each head, and it started to feel more like panic. I turned to my dad and said, “Someone is going to attack this building. You can’t get out. There is no way to get this many people out. Someone might blow it up.” Things like this sometimes escape from my mouth before being able to squelch them down.

He looked at me strange and tried to calm me down. I took that look as the cue to stop that kind of talk. But I didn’t feel any better. The feelings of uneasiness kept gnawing at me. We saw the view, came back down and continued our sightseeing journey. No more unsettling feelings visited me as we went to other attractions. So, I forgot about it.

Two days later we were in Maine, and the first attack on the World Trade Center was on the news. A bomb had exploded in one of the parking garages. My parents looked at me with disbelief. I was crushed. I didn’t understand that the feelings I had were real. That somehow, I knew. Again, I learned that bad things happen. The worst is possible. People can hurt one another.

I remember coming home from high school one day and the news was on. I watched as students were streaming out of a high school to safety. When the town name popped up on the screen, I was shocked. Littleton was home to one of my favorite theme parks as a kid. I had been to Littleton several times, and my friends lived a short distance away from there. I knew that town. I had passed that town on the freeway 100 times at least. I called friends to check-in. This time, I learned that even kids could do the bad things adults had been doing. And it can happen close to people you love.

I remember watching Scream 2 in my first year of college. I hated the first one and had to sleep with the lights on for a week, but my boyfriend and his friends wanted to go. So I went; I was mostly dragged, but I went. There is a scene in the movie where people in the theater are killed. I recall being so angry. I walked out of there telling my friends and boyfriend; they shouldn’t support a movie like that, something like that could happen in real life. They laughed off my concerns and said I was crazy. Movie theaters continued to not feel like a safe place for me. I lived in Aurora, where the Multiplex Theater shooting occurred. It was my home town for five years. It was where my best friend lived. It was a place that even far away from it at the time, I considered home. Again, I called friends and made sure they were safe. People still thought it was something that couldn’t happen to them. People thought this wasn’t something that would be typical. That it wouldn’t keep happening. That day I learned it not only could happen it would. Because bad things did happen. And they did happen again. In fact, they happened again and again and again.

I know I am not alone with stories like these.

And then this Sunday it was text messages and calls to my son’s phone that alerted me that this was happening again. Not far away, not in a place that used to be home, but 8 minutes from our house.

We were not at the Garlic Festival this Sunday; in fact, we only go sporadically. We have lived in Gilroy for nine years. I grew up in Morgan Hill and often attended the festival as a child. I have volunteered there. Last year, my oldest son helped set up and take down tents for the Chamber of Commerce. I don’t think you can live here and not have volunteered there at some point. It is the lifeblood of extra funding for schools, charities, scholarships, and foundations in our community. The festival weekend is always on my oldest son’s birthday and hence why we are sometimes there and sometimes not. Depending on what he wants to do to celebrate and how much we are preparing for those festivities often dictates our attendance. But, my history has made me feel edgy around large groups of people. That can sometimes dictate my participation at events like this as well.

This year, though, it was my youngest son’s soccer team that had us in Santa Cruz, and not at the festival. My oldest still spent every day prior helping set up again this July. It has become one of the events he looks forward to every year. He was supposed to be there Sunday taking down the tents with his friends. Something told me to tell him no. Tell him he couldn’t go. So, I did. I told him we wouldn’t make the extra effort to get him there. No, he couldn’t hang back with friends and catch a ride. Just no. He didn’t understand my adamant no and neither did I really. But I honor my gut feelings without reason these days.

I have talked to others and heard stories over the last several days of similar gut feelings. Why aren’t we all built with those? Why didn’t we know what the gut feeling meant? Why did this happen? Why does it keep happening? Why is this our new normal? Why do our kids have to be heroes? Why do our teachers have to shield our babies from bullets? Why?

Those are rhetorical questions, of course. There is no right answer and maybe no answer to some of them.

I am scared. I am devastated. I am still reeling. But, I am not surprised.

No, I have seen, heard and watched the terror we can bring down on each other for my entire life. Senseless violent acts have littered my entire existence. What happened Sunday in Gilroy isn’t about this town or one individual; it is about us. It is about our country, us as a people. What happened here can happen to your town, too.

It is a complex problem these mass shootings, there is no one answer, but a multitude of things that we need to resolve, examine, fix. And I am not going to make this post about the solution, but about the reality that this is happening in small towns. And it isn’t about the solution because I am done debating. I want action. And what we need to face is that when people say things like, “I never thought this would happen here.” Or, “Stuff like this doesn’t happen in small towns.” those statements just are not true. We need to stop being delusional. We need to stop ignoring the obvious. It is happening. It will happen again. It isn’t stopping.

Gilroy, California

* Sebring, Florida

* Aurora, Illinois

Blacksburg, Virgina – Virginia Tech University

* Virginia Beach, Virgina

Newtown, Connecticut – Sandy Hook Elementary

Killeen, Texas – Luby’s Cafeteria

Parkland, Florida – Stoneman Douglass High School

Littleton, Colorado – Columbine High School

Aurora, Colorado – Century Aurora 16 Multiplex Theater

*Source – https://abcnews.go.com/US/deadly-mass-shootings-month-2019/story?id=63449799

These are just a few of the small towns where this has happened. I am not even counting the big cities in this, and they count. Las Vegas, Nevada and the shooting that occurred there, I had friends there. My aunt and uncle live there. Oh, it counts. But I have heard it can’t happen in a small town so many times in the last few days, that I am just addressing that at the moment.

Some of these incidents in these small towns occurred as long as 28 years ago and some as recently as less than a week ago. This is what we can come to expect if we don’t start examining and changing our behaviors, laws, and societal standards.

This is our new normal. We need to face the reality that this will happen in your home town. It is precisely why every school in America has code red drills. Every town is preparing for it. But not every town is preventing it.

This will be something our children face in their lifetime or that we might face in our lifetime. There can be no more “this will not happen here” statements.

It happens in tight knit communities, big towns, small towns, homes, apartment complexes, churches, movie theaters, malls, parks, schools, it will and can happen anywhere. It will because it has. Start thinking like that and maybe we can start changing that reality. Perhaps we can actually get lawmakers to take action.

I saw the fear on my son’s face as he received call after call and made call after call to check and make sure his friends, his girlfriend were okay. That they were unharmed. I watched the terror when one of his best friends didn’t answer and the thought of her death flickered across his eyes. We shouldn’t have to see that. Our children shouldn’t have to face that thought. The past few days on Facebook I am reading of friends’ children who ran for their lives. Who huddled in corners wondering if this was how they were going to die. This needs to change. We can do better.

I watched my own children huddle on our floor and wait for the sounds of sirens and helicopters to stop. I watched my children the next day hear a balloon pop and all look at me with fear. What do we do mom? Their faces said. Do we run? Do we drop to the ground? Is it time to worry?

I stayed calm for them, but I am telling you all it way past time to worry. It is way past time to be calm. It is way past time to say this isn’t going to happen. It is way past time to think it can’t be your town. It is way past time to think it can’t be your child. It is way past time to debate. It is way past time to make this about politics. This is about our safety. This is about the welfare of the people in our country and nothing changes if nothing changes. It is way past time.

When I think about Gilroy, it is the best community in the world, but I am not ready to go out and put on a brave face. My heart is still hurting. I am not prepared to pretend that we can just say we are strong. I am not ready to go back to life as usual because life as usual means there is a genuine possibility this will happen again. It could be here. It could be in your home town. Why? Because it happened in ours. This is not just our town where things like this happen. It is in every town.

I am shattered. I am scared. I am reeling and I wasn’t even there. But I am not shocked. I am not surprised. This is what has been happening for decades. 

It makes me cry and sick to my stomach to read and hear first hand about how this is affecting my friends, their children, our town. I can only begin to imagine the devastation this has done. I know there is Gilroy strong and people are trying to look forward and already trying to heal; I understand the need for that. But I also think we need to slow down and talk about Gilroy hurting. What are we rushing for? I am not in a hurry to get back to status quo that wasn’t working. That isn’t working. I want to take stock and figure out what to do next. We can move past it as a people, but we need to remember and use that memory to fuel action, fuel the changes that have to take place so this doesn’t happen again. We need to recognize this is now the reality. This is now what we should come to expect until we start doing something differently.

I am heart-broken. I am grief stricken. I am disconsolate.

But I will not rest until there is a different reality for my children. I will not rest until there is different reality for your children. I will not stop bringing up this topic or voting for people who are going to make real change, or donating money to causes that call for change, because if we are complacent if we think someone else will handle it, it won’t change.

We need to be a voice. We need to speak up. And in this I am hopeful. In this is where I find strength. If we can come together and write to our politicians and talk to our kids, and look for signs, and work to really see one another I think we can be better. I believe our future can be brighter. I believe there is light in this darkness and I think we can find our way out, but it can’t be done by sticking our heads in the sand and thinking it won’t happen again. It won’t be done by holding to party lines. It won’t be done by clinging to our rights or our fears, we have to put the welfare of all above our own when it comes to gun ownership. We have to be ready to be uncomfortable and have serious conversations. We have to be willing to hear it might be our kid that needs help. We might have to face hard truths, but it is worth it. It will make a difference. And together if we really want change it is possible.

I don’t have the answers, but we can start by some of the ideas below, and if you are doing something I haven’t listed tell me, I will add it to the list.

The bottom line is hurt people hurt people, this is just that on a massive scale. Let’s start with the easiest thing first. See one another. Be kind. Be helpful. Think about others and how your actions affect other people.

Write to an elected or to all your elected officials: https://www.sccaor.com/contact-your-elected-officials/

Donate. Educate yourself. Join groups that want to change the gun safety regulations. Here are a few:

https://everytown.org/

https://momsdemandaction.org/

https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/

Talk to your kids. This article on the Parents Magazine website seemed to have a comprehensive overview: https://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-gun-violence/

I also liked this article on USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/05/08/stem-school-highlands-ranch-how-to-talk-to-kids-about-guns-shootings/1138840001/

Educate yourself and your kids on the signs someone might be exhibiting before they act. This website has a downloadable guide: https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/prevention_programs

I know I didn’t touch on everything. I know we have a lot of ground to cover to make this better, but I want to start here. I want to start where I am and maybe after reading this today you will, too. And that gives me hope.

Working for a better tomorrow,

Michelle

Surrender – there is no answer key to life

Surrender – there is no answer key to life

“When am I going to die?”

“When is __________ going to die?”

“Should I have another baby?”

“Am I going to have another baby?”

“Are we moving?”

“Should we move?”

“Should I be married to my husband?”

“I am thinking of switching careers; is it the right thing to do?”

These questions are none of my business! In fact, I think I visibly cringe when people ask me these things. Friends ask, clients ask, and they aren’t asking for my opinion; they want access to the divine plan. And I wish I was making this up, but people literally ask me when they are going to die or a loved one might die. I loathe this question as I do the others. BECAUSE THEY ARE NONE OF MY BUSINESS! WE AREN’T SUPPOSED TO KNOW OR WE WOULD KNOW.

For some energy workers or healers, maybe that is how their gig works, but for me; I work for God. That is my gig. And the divine plan is only revealed through Him. Since I am not Him, I do not have access to this plan. I don’t want access. My purpose is to allow you to connect and find a deeper faith that your loved ones are still with you.

Spirit, your loved ones, aren’t sharing the future 411 during a session with me either. They may share this with you. But that isn’t what they chose to share during a session with me, because again, it is none of my business. The information they do share is their opinion about what is currently happening in your life.

For those of you that ask these questions…there is no answer key. There is no right or wrong. The only thing we must NOT do is hurt other souls. We are to follow that golden rule – treat others as you would want to be treated. Treat ourselves well. Do our best moment to moment.

You, on the other hand, have all the answers. And you have access to HIM through faith and your own soul; so you will have much more information about the future and the decisions that you need to make than anyone else. We forget that we have to rely on ourselves and what we know to be true. We get to journey through this life, and we have to live for an eternity with the decisions that we made here; and we know ourselves better than most, so it is up to us to access faith, listen to our own soul and make sure we make the decisions that are going to suit us best.

We are a soul having a human experience.

And when things happen to us as they will; life is truly out of our hands in many ways, we have to surrender control. We then can only rely on what we can control. Ourselves. So you can follow your own intuition; your own faith, and make your own next best decision. No one can make that for us. Including spirit. It is up to us. End of story. No one else has to live with our choices the way we do. And when we chose to have faith, follow that internal compass that is our soul, and allow faith to be our guide, we will always find the answers that we need.

The good news is for those of you that are recovering perfectionists like myself or maybe even still a perfectionist, there is no wrong choice. Just treat other people well, and if you make a choice that doesn’t agree with you or you don’t like, guess what? You can remedy it. You can try again. You can do something different. You can make a new choice. You are not stuck. Each moment is an opportunity.

So trust yourself. Look within and move forward. You got this!

Until next time,

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Fissures and Finding Truth

Fissures and Finding Truth

So many times this week (I know it is only Wednesday) I have wanted to literally drop to my knees no matter where I am and just have everything stop. I want to have a moment. A moment when nothing is happening. I want to stop time.

My not enough-ness is acting up again. The emptiness is filling me up and swallowing me whole.

What would happen if I dropped to my knees and time were to stop?

– Maybe there would be the foresight to see the balls that were slipping or already dropping, and I could run and catch them before they fell or grip them tighter so they wouldn’t slip.

– Maybe I could suck the words back into my mouth. And the noxious fumes of regret wouldn’t fill my mind and make me sick of myself.

– Maybe my babies would be visible to me for just a split second longer, and I could unlock the mysteries of their minds so that I would know better how to be there for them.

– Maybe I could hear something I am missing that would be the answer to my unworthiness. It would fill me somehow, so I could continue on without so much distaste or frustration.

– Maybe strength would fill me enough to show up more. Allow me to speak my truth and feel it’s ampleness.

But, I can’t drop to my knees and stop time. I would just be some crazy lady on the sidewalk on her knees.

I think harmful thoughts make us feel hallow. These devious thoughts enter your soul and make space by separating the positivity inside you so that the goodness that makes you whole feels impossible to connect back together again. The space they create causes an echo that allows the harmful thoughts to continue to ricochet over and over again across the chasms of our minds, seeping into the tissue, matter, bloodstream and eventually finding a home in our hearts. And then these thoughts nestle in with the tenacity of a prickle from a thistle so that it actually hurts to remove them.

Today on my run, as I felt myself wanting to drop to my knees to stop time, I handed my playlist over to God. I do this a lot. I hit shuffle and say, “Okay, God, speak to me.” Somehow it never fails. Lauren Diagle reminded me that I am not hopeless that God is carrying me, that he will always carry me, that is inevitable. Nichole Nordeman reminded me that I am a promise even if I have forgotten. Let me just pause for a second to let you know this same playlist holds roughly 100 other songs by non-Christian artists these popped up first, right after I handed the playlist over.

Anyway, the words I was hearing stopped me in my tracks. Right then and there I looked up at the heavens and asked God to take away my unworthiness. I told Him I didn’t want it anymore, it didn’t belong to me.

We carry our emotional burdens too long. We forget to set them down. Sometimes we keep them so long we think they belong to us even when they don’t. We forget we are born enough, the not enough-ness comes from somewhere else. It isn’t ours to carry.

Of course, I come here and pour all these messy feelings out and put them into cyberspace, but this is where they finally run free. I let them go. This writing, this release allows those harmful thoughts to escape so that I can shrink the space down and the parts of me, that goodness can reconnect and make me feel whole again.

I spend too much time hiding. Being authentic means, you have to be open and real for everyone to see, and that often leads me feeling overexposed, so I run and hide. I do the work I do and then run and hide. Sometimes this unworthiness sneaks up while I am hiding and leaves me feeling more alone. More lost. And I think I need outside light to fill me back up. And then just like that God opens me up a bit more. And it is when this happens that I start to set things free. Then my own light begins to shine out again. Then and only then, do I stop feeling so empty.

We all have to set our load down and let the things that poison us go free. We often feel better if we know that when we let something go, it won’t hurt anyone else and what better place to free it then out into the open where the God of things and the Amazing Universe can scoop it up and turn it into something healing.

So now, instead of hitting my knees out in the open, I will hit my knees in private and in prayer. God always seems to find a way to let me know He is there; He is listening, and all will be okay. In fact, this was on the car window as I made my last turn toward my house as if to say, “Yes, you are on the right path, and I have got you. I have your unworthiness, and it is free from you.”

IMG_1100

Now to just keep moving forward and living life the best way I know how. As Anne Lamott says, “Life feeds anyone who is open to taste its food, wonder and glee; it’s immediacy.” We just have to find that joy; choose life and take the next step whether we are ready or not. Or even turn around and take the picture of a back of a car that you think God is using to speak to you. All the best of us are messy and crazy!

Even when we want to hide, we have to find a way to be more open and let our light shine out so our unworthiness can escape and finally leave us. And that is when we remember the truth. The truth is we are not hopeless, we are full of possibility, we are worth exploring, and we are something to celebrate where ever we might be on our journey.

Until next time,

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An open letter to myself…

An open letter to myself…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay here it goes…

Dear End of 2019 Michelle,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Beginning of 2019 Michelle

Notes on a life well lived

Notes on a life well lived

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you live a life well in reality?

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

Drumroll please….

one damn second at a freaking time.

I know I am a genius.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copy ofThere is no one size fits all life 4

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

Love and light,

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Notes on fear…

Notes on fear…

The other day I read a post by Rachel Macy Stafford, otherwise known as the Hands Free Mama. She said we should share songs with people, you can read that post here.

Songs have spoken to me always. And today was no different. Coming home from the grocery store Zach Williams’ Fear is a Liar came on the radio. The lyrics fell over me in a blanket of truth that could be the soundtrack of my life…and so I want to share it with you.

“When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough
Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar.”

For most of my young adulthood and adulthood fear dictated the choices I made, from going away to college, to who I spent my time with, to what I thought about myself…but as I aged something inside my brain changed and while I was still afraid, it was harder not to be who I was. It was harder to hide. Or maybe the lies fear told me were just harder to believe.

When I started my living out loud, being vulnerable journey prayer was a big part of that. I was definitely moving beyond fear to accomplish this lifestyle. But my prayers shifted a bit. I wasn’t just talking to God, I started to listen to the world around me, to the stillness. Was God answering my prayers in what was happening around me?

I began to see that He was. One of the first phrases that started to play in my heart when I began to pray about being myself again, and living out loud was, “Fear not, remember.” When I kept hearing this phrase in my head, I started to research it. It felt like God’s word, but I wasn’t sure. Did you know that “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid” appears in the Bible over and over again. There are roughly 40 or so Bible verses on fear alone. So, I guess I was being answered. When my heart would whisper these words back to me, it was my divine blueprint coming back to life. Don’t believe fear it said, remember whose you are. I am a child of God and God loves me. God thinks the exact opposite of what I have been telling myself all this time.

The truth is…

Fear holds us still when we should be moving forward.
Fear keeps us ashamed and hidden.
Fear isolates us from everyone else.
Fear holds our tongues and tucks away our ideas from the world.
Fear feeds insecurity so it can breed depression and resentment.

I know there are advantages to fear…it can keep us safe… it can help us take a breath to think, it can keep us on our toes, but fear should not be the place from which we make our decisions. Fear will absolutely take “our breath and happiness”. Fear will lie and tell us not to move. Fear will lie and tell us not to speak. Fear will stop us in our tracks and keep us hidden from the world and only allow us to live in the shadows.

But as my journey to live out loud continued and I listened more to my prayers being answered, when I found myself afraid I would hear my heart whisper again, “Fear not, remember.” And I would decide to do something even though I was terrified.

No more shadows for me behind fear…I began to tell my truth. I started a blog, where my words are pieces of my heart bled onto a computer page where anyone can see them. It isn’t easy, sometimes fear has me pull those words back, take them down and hide again. But I have learned you can’t take them back. The words have already been seen, it is already written.

I started a business that is going a year strong. I am speaking my heart to others, even though it can hurt and sometimes I lose, but sometimes I win and get to be connected to amazing people who fill my life with love, laughter, and happiness.

Fear has stopped me in my tracks more than I would like to mention. Fear keeps me quiet when the bullies in my life wield their controlling ways.

But I am gaining on this fear. I am remembering who I am, whose I am, and I am rising like a Phoenix out of the ashes. Fear he absolutely is a liar and I choose to no longer believe because the life I want to live every part of it has been on the other side of fear.

Love and light,

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Year End Lessons for 2018

Year End Lessons for 2018

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

First things first…

20 Dessert Inspirations

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

Make your own Fancy new year

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

Bake the Cookies

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

good times & tan lines

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

2019-01-01_0815

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

Make New Friends

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

RELEARN & REMEMBER YOUR OWN LESSONS

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

actions

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

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

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Snippets from Heaven – Part 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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Pep Talk Please

Pep Talk Please

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

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

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

you are awesome

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

YOU ARE ENOUGH

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

YOU ROCK AS A PARENT

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

YOU LOOK GREAT TODAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go get it,

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Sitting on the edge

Sitting on the edge

It’s a Tuesday and I don’t even know where to start. There is just so much, too many feels to hold inside my body.

On the surface and mostly, life is good; really, really good.

And yet; there has been something missing lately.

Again don’t get me wrong the plusses in my life are major. For example, being a mom is my favorite and it is all I ever wanted to be. But my first world problems start when I think ahead. My oldest turns 13 in less than two weeks. I turn 40 in 6 months. What is next for me? What do I do when they are grown? I am technically an adult so what do I want for the rest of my life? Do I keep the job I have for the next 20 years? Do I practice what I preach and follow my dreams?

Answers always come. Once you let the universe know what your heart desires the answers come.

There are no coincidences. Everything happens on purpose – there may not be a reason, but there is purpose even if it doesn’t make sense; even if it’s not fair, there is purpose.

How does all this rambling connect? Well, let me share with you a bit about my past week.

This past week I was in LA for work and we had to introduce ourselves by sharing a hidden talent. Should be easy, no problem right. Well my hidden talent can be seen as adverse or cray-cray. This type of professional setting made it feel unsafe to share mine. But in my heart, this just felt wrong and it left a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach I just couldn’t shake for the next several days.

When I started writing this blog and started my journey to my most authentic self it was to break down walls and live out loud. I am tired of hiding; even if it is part-time. I don’t want to be in a place where I can’t be myself any more. In the life I want for myself I don’t have to keep the biggest part of who I am under wraps. But in reality, I am. That is how I live right now. I know I share here, and in my town, but I go to work and am a totally different person with most people. I stay quiet and keep my head down and just try to get through each day. Accounting, sales and marketing are my day job. Me and numbers; I can hear you laughing through the internet. But I get it, I totally get it.

So with the weight of hiding weighing on my mind, I sent a call out to God; a prayer to the universe: Show me the way. What should I do next? And then I wait because that is what you do. You wait and watch, and maintain your steady path until you hear back otherwise.

As we drove home from LA, we passed 3 different psychic studios (not that I am a psychic by any means) but still it is in the same wheelhouse if we are being technical. It felt like an answer that time and time again I would feel drawn to look up and nearby there was a literal sign for a psychic.

As sign after sign passed it made me feel like the universe and God were whispering back (okay slapping me in the face) take the leap; JUMP. And as the great Ron Swanson says, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” Thank you, thank you Parks and Rec; Amy Poehler and cast you make my days complete.

Right now, I am not whole-assing anything. I am half-assing a lot of things and not doing a great job. I am hanging on and it seems grand, I am sure to those outside looking in, but really something is missing and there is too much going on, to do one thing well.

I think it is just about time to make a big change. It’s what the universe and God are telling me, too. To do something about following this dream of mine. And I did meet Amy Poehler…’s star on the way home from LA so anything is possible, right? I mean really, we are going to meet one day and she is going to love me, I just know it! I even visited Beverly Hills for the first time and sat in the bar of the Beverly Wilshire and had a cocktail. I mean come on; I am meant for greatness right? That and two different clients texted me the same week to tell me that multiple people referred them to me and one even said I was famous and couldn’t believe I was coming to her house. WALK of FAME watch out I am coming for you! Am I right? Okay, okay I am humble, I promise. I wouldn’t be here writing about choices if I wasn’t.

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Seriously though; I think it’s time to wrap up this journey of mine in a nice little bow and take that final leap and love who I am; my whole-self and truly live out loud. Be who I am where-ever and whenever. No need to hide that I speak to spirit. I have faith. I trust spirit and I trust God. That is enough and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. God has crazy mad love for me and I should love myself that much, too. So, I think it’s just about time to make a change.

I am over here sitting on the edge, looking down and out and contemplating taking that leap while the universe keeps whispering, “jump.” It’s not a matter of if any more; it’s just a matter of when.

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Until next time or until I jump whichever comes first,

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Mediumship and the Bible – an answer to a client question

Mediumship and the Bible – an answer to a client question

“If there is no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to one another.”

— Mother Teresa

It has been a month or so ago now, but I had a client send a question that I thought you may have stumbled across as well. Sharing it here, with you, felt right.

This client reached out to me because she had been chided on her Instagram account for sharing a spiritual experience. We will call her Monica. Monica received a sign from spirit and she also had a reading that helped her realize that these signs were possible. Someone commented on Monica’s post using Leviticus as a reference basically stating she couldn’t be a good Christian if she sought the services of a medium.

The verse the commenter used was,

“Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.”- Leviticus 19:31

Monica asked how I dealt with things like this when they happened to me or if I had advice for her.

This has no easy answer and maybe there is no answer at all. I prayed on it for some time and one thing is for sure, I know I am not here to debate the Bible. That is definitely not my place. I won’t even begin to try. I can share some important things that mediumship and life have taught me, though. Some of what I shared with Monica, I will share here with you today in case you have wondered about this dilemma yourself.

Here are some of the important things.

The important thing about life and faith is that we all get to make our own decisions.

The important thing about a relationship with God, the Universe, etc. is that it is between you and God and no one else.

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For me personally, the important thing about my mediumship gift is that it has brought me closer to God. I hear Him crisper and clearer than ever before. That can’t be a bad thing.

The important thing about answers is we don’t have all the answers and we might not ever in our lifetime.

There is bad in everything, but the important thing is, there is way more good in everything. It is all perspective.

The important thing about grace is that we should offer it to ourselves and others.

The important thing about what other people think about us is none of our business.

When people try to steal our light, our joy, the important thing is that we recognize and acknowledge it and then do not let them take that from us.

I try my best to live with a Jesus heart and a deep faith in the Lord. I hear His voice in my heart and it guides me to the next best choice. He knows my heart better than anyone else and the important thing is that is what matters. The good news is that goes for you, too.

Remember the Important Things

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what other people think, do your best, you won’t have all the answers, but offer yourself and others grace in finding your way because we belong to one another; that’s the important thing.

Until next time,

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This grateful, broken soul.

This grateful, broken soul.

” I can dream when the lights are out.”

– Peter H. Reynold

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Do you ever have days when you feel like everything is going so right and you are on top of the world? You might even whistle to yourself a little bit and you suddenly feel a little like Mary Poppins with the birds whistling back at you?

Now do you ever feel the opposite? Like the odds are stacked against you and if it can go wrong it will? Like every little thing is just a little off kilter and you swear that somewhere the Wicked Witch of the West has ordered her flying monkeys to wreak havoc on your life?

For the past 30 plus days my life has been much more like the scenario described in the second paragraph. Now don’t get me wrong, I know most of my problems are first world and less severe than most, but I still feel beyond overwhelmed and we have to feel the feelings to get through them; so here I am…opening up my big mouth to the internet when I should be folding laundry instead.

Over the past 30 or so days, there have been a great deal of tears. Some have been joyful of course. But there are others that have left streaks of sorrow down my cheeks. There has also been a great deal of hearty laughter, too. So many moments in motherhood where I have been connected to each one of my children deeply; having the magical opportunity to witness their heart and mind as they discover new meaning and wonder in the world.

And there have been moments of anger. Boiling, steaming, piping hot anger that has bubbled up in me in ways I thought I had long outgrown. Venomous words have spewed out of my being with so much distaste I haven’t even recognized them as my own.

These emotions, I have come to understand, are the visible signs of my soul being broken, fissured and reshaped. A current, I believe, that has astrological roots.

So how did that all start, this astrological roots idea? Well, I feel that I have been led to some interesting places lately with what has been put in front of me to read. I am reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reyolds, and this blog post by James Van Praagh.

These things, like all else, were placed in my path for this moment.

Ann has spoken to me deeply through her book, but one story she relays sticks out in my mind and I keep coming back to it. She writes of a sermon that her preacher gave  when she was young that had to do with Jacob wrestling with God. Now Jacob does not know he is wrestling with God, only that he is wrestling with a man in the dark. It is only at the end near dawn when Jacob is touched by the man on the sinew of his thigh and it is broken with that one small touch that Jacob realizes he has been wrestling with God. He knows this because the sinew of the thigh is the strongest place in the human body and it is broken with barely a touch. Only God has power like that. What Ann remembers her preacher telling the segregation is that, “The Lord has to break us down at the strongest part of our self-life before He can have His own way of blessing us.” He has to break us sometimes. It is in being broken that we can be built up again. It is said that Jacob always walked with a limp after that battle for our broken-ness may leave its mark as a reminder of where we were and how far we have come.

And then the Happy Dreamer calls out to me from a School Book Fair shelf and I instantly fall in love. As I hit the pages about dreaming in darkness, I am reminded that God calls us into the dark; God asks us to bring out light to the places where it is needed most and often that is to a place where it seems dark and scary to us. We are led there any way. Sometimes breaking us open reveals our own dark, scary places and we can bring light to those once they are brought to the surface.

And last, but not least, James Van Praagh writes about three different planets being in retrograde. Retrograde just means that these planets appear to moving in a backward or opposite motion to their natural pattern in the sky. And one of those planets just calls out to me a bit more and as I begin researching. And in an instant it makes perfect sense why all has started to unravel and why it is of course a universal, cosmic occurrence. God is in ALL things and so of course, it would be the universe creating this energetic disturbance in my otherwise calm life. And it is no surprise that Saturn being in retrograde is apparently a big deal for me as a Capricorn. Saturn rules Capricorn and Aquarius. Saturn is the planet of limitations and discipline. It is in retrograde from April 6th through August 25th of this year. What this means is during this time if I work against things that I am bumping up against with force then I will experience discomfort. If I slow down and work according to the big picture and resolve my lessons then I will be rewarded, but I can not rush or push my own agenda. I must slowly and steadily do the work.

All of these things have stirred me to be more introspective and mindful. God is at work in the universe and in me.

I am off tilt on purpose because I am fighting to gain some control and the upper hand. I have forgotten to express gratitude and to show it with my actions, by taking the time to do and appreciate the things that matter. By remembering that it is God that is at the helm. Not me.

So instead of feeling spiteful and irritated for having been broken; I instead need to be grateful that the Lord saw fit to build me back up. To reshape my pieces into something fit to move to the next phase of my life. He is giving me the opportunity to learn the lesson of connection and patience, again. Again. Again. Again. And it is patient parenting of the self that guides us to where we need to be.

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So as I find myself feeling off tilt and broken; I am reminding myself to breathe, slow down, focus on what matters. I am finding the still quiet so that I can coax my intuitive voice to take charge again. God wired my internal compass so it cannot guide me astray, not ever. Not even when it leads me into the dark, with no flashlight, and no instructions. For I am not lost, we are always arriving. Always on our way.

We are God. God is in us. Our souls have been given everything they need to work through what transpires in this life. We are on the intended path. We will find our way, again and again and again, and always.

And when you feel lost along the way just remember, as Ann Voskamp did. “[h]ow did Jesus do it again? He looked up to heaven to where this moment came from.” We just need to remember to look up. Find Him and be grateful. Find Him and ask to be led. Realize that the only control we have is in how we react and perceive what is laid before us on our path.

We are only human. We will feel these emotions and naturally lament our pains and grievances. Do not be too hard on yourself for what comes easier to each of us. But find peace and your way through looking up. Breathe in the blessings and exhale with humble gratitude. Release what ails you and instead look to how it can be a blessing, a teaching moment that will shed light into your soul and reshape it to accept abundance and grace.

And if all else fails hang on best you can until August 25th. We can make it through. Together we will get there.

Don’t forget to look up,

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Bear hunts, earthquakes & roller coasters

Bear hunts, earthquakes & roller coasters

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skyfall fun ride at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

And what a view it is…

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

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

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My first reading.

My first reading.

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

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

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

Matthew gained his angel wings in July of 2007.

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

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

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

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

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

Everything you want is on the other side of fear

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

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

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

Well, crap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

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Hidden in plain sight

Hidden in plain sight

Ready…set…run.

Ready…set…hide.

Ready…set…blend.

Ready…set…invisible.

These are my default.

If you were to meet me or see me out and about after just knowing me from my blog I think you would be surprised. I am the girl who stands away from the crowd. I am the one who doesn’t speak up. The first to arrive and the first to leave a party. And if you do get close enough; if you do get in I find myself making sure there is distance…sliding just a little out of reach.

-Solitude matters, and for some people it's the air they breathe.-

It’s not that I am afraid of anyone seeing me; really seeing me. I don’t ever hide anything about myself anymore and what people think doesn’t keep me awake at night either; I barely give it a second thought, but I think it is knowing that if I do let you in that there is the possibility of hurt. The hurt that comes when someone I would like as a friend may decide I am not worth keeping. I don’t know; maybe it’s just the introvert in me. Needing distance. Needing space.

“I_m very picky with whom I give my energy to. I prefer to reserve my time, intensity and spirit exclusively to those who reflect sincerity.”

There are people who I trust. People who are my safe landing-place. I have lost friends like these in the past; the relationship falling out from under my feet. No ledge to cling to, just dropping and flailing after being on stable ground. Maybe that’s the feeling I am trying to avoid.

Or maybe it is that lately, I wonder if some people want to know the real me or the medium me. Knowing a medium is interesting; knowing a small town girl who stands in the corner; not so much.

I don’t know why I keep the distance or add it to a relationship. I don’t know why my default is run, but it is. If something goes wrong I shut down. I hide away and avoid confrontation; unless it is about my kids then I will speak up. That mama bear instinct triggers my temper and I can say things I normally wouldn’t. Other than that I am the girl who likes to hide in plain sight. I am most comfortable there. In view, but not attracting attention.

As we have settled in this small town over the last six years there are people who I have grown to love. I love them something fierce. Maybe that’s what makes me keep my distance, being afraid how much I love them will scare them away. So instead I try to act lukewarm so they don’t think I am too overboard with affection.

I know I have written here about letting that love shine and just scooping people up, and I do try to do that, but my default kicks back in and I create a distance. Distance becomes my security blanket.

Writing my thoughts out here I thought might untangle them and make them clear. Maybe it will, maybe this is just the beginning to unravelling them. Maybe I am just supposed to accept this about myself and the people who accept it become my tribe; make up my safe landing-place. But part of me wants to be not so far in the corner, just a little more out in front. A part of me wants to embrace those I love with full force. Maybe I will and my default will change. Maybe I thought I had already changed my default.

I don’t know.

I'm not ditching my running shoes just yet.

Not ditching my running shoes just yet,