Flipping the Questions: Opening Up to be Unapologetically Me

Flipping the Questions: Opening Up to be Unapologetically Me

For weeks, okay months, I have struggled with this deep gut feeling. It sits in the pit of my stomach and reaches up to my heart, where it rests. I call it loneliness, it feels like emptiness. A hollowness in my soul that no one will ever see me; no one will ever connect with me. Like I will be unfriended and voted off the island my whole life.

Yes, I know some of you are thinking I am being dramatic. It is possible, I am extra feely after all. In this motherhood gig, we spend all our time focused on tasks to complete; juggling schedules. We drift from our partners and become ships passing in a fog of life, like heartbeats in the wind. (Thank you Brian Paulson, sweet husband for that line). In this life gig, we get lost and confused and turn ourselves inside out, trying to figure it out.

My loneliness feeling began to cultivate in July. It just so happened that is when a blog post by Rachel Macy Stafford came across my FB newsfeed as I distracted myself from my life. It was called I Will Go With You: Encouraging Kids to Look Beyond Themselves When Stuck in a Place They Cannot Thrive. The words in the article found my wounded little girl heart and lifted it right up to the surface. Rachel’s message reminded me I wasn’t alone.

Something bigger than myself compelled me to reach out to her. Maybe because at the end of the post, I noticed that she was going to be at 1440 in Scotts Valley. This is about 40 minutes from my house. I sent her a FB message, and she responded. Y’all it was the stinking 4th of July, and she wrote me back. I was stunned. I was honored. I was touched. And a little bit of magic happened; that vacantness in my soul felt like someone had taken up room.

I looked into scholarship opportunities. I was able to get one to attend the Soul Shift class that happened there this past weekend.

Of course, life continues to happen, and from that moment in July to October, I have only receded further inside myself and away from my friends. It is hard to get together when you are all living lives that take you in different directions. We easily give up that time together to pour our energy into our families. So while I had seen my friends and texted them, I still felt like I just wanted someone in my life on the daily that I knew would be there to smile at me in the hallways of life. And my friends were not the problem. I thought I was the kind of friend, the type of person who just didn’t make enough of an impression, who didn’t reach out enough, that maybe I wasn’t friendship worthy enough for that kind of friend. Which, of course, are the kind of thoughts that force you into retreat mode.

I thought this class might help me with my connection issues.

At first no dice. At new things I dive into myself. And even though before class started, a group gathered around me at the fire pit, um duh, that means you put off a vibe that you are welcoming. Then during the first session I was seated next to a wonderful woman who talked for the both of us and didn’t seem to mind; I still stayed safely inside my quiet comfort zone of unworthiness.

But let me just say that when I walked in, I was greeted by Amy Paulson, and she is the most fantastic human ever. She instantly connected with me because we have the same last name, and the front desk personnel had almost given her my name tag. She greeted me like an old friend. Her presence at this conference invited me in and whispered to my heart, “Stay.”

There were definite ups and downs in relation to connection during the retreat. All of which were in my realm of perspective and control.

Saturday, I spent the day inside my shell. I was like a timid turtle viewing the world from just inside my safest space. Afraid I didn’t belong. Scared there wasn’t space for me in this place or this world where I would ever feel connected, enough. From this space though, I was able to determine that these women and one man, were like me. They were all craving connection from like-minded souls. They needed rest and restoration for their weary, lonely souls.

So Sunday morning I prayed. I prayed for God to send me where He needed me to be. I asked that He use me as a vessel for love and light. I ask that He guide my words so that I may offer His peace and love into the world. I asked Him to use me for His good. And of course, as is likely when you ask to be used by the greatest good in the world, miracles do happen.

How could you not find peace surrounded by these beauties?

I was led to a space in the room where I met a woman who had five children. We had the best conversation and instant connection. She asked me to eat lunch with her. Relief and gratitude filled my heart. I was chosen by someone else to share precious time. My lonely soul needed that desperately.

At lunch, two other women joined our table. The connection was magical. I discovered at the lunch that two of the women had lost someone dear to them just a few weeks earlier. Not only did the light inside of me help remind them that their loved ones were close by; I made them laugh. Laughter inside of grief is a ray of hope; a reminder that there is a way through; a way to grow around that grief and carry it with you. God had answered my prayer and placed me just where I needed to be.

We said our good-byes and talked about our takeaways. Amy came up in my mind. She had greeted me and left such a distinct impression on my heart with her photography work, with her personality, with the ease at which she stepped into life and invited others to join her. It dawned on me that the best people, the people that welcome you in are almost always unapologetically themselves. Amy also reminded me of why I started this journey to live out loud. She also thinks of her children, her daughter, especially when she feels uncomfortable or out of place. How would she want her daughter to feel? What would she want her daughter to think? And those are the things she tells herself.

As we parted ways at the end of the retreat, my mind started to recalibrate to regular life. Instead, of settling back into old habits, I began to try and embrace the things that I learned. My soul did, indeed, start to shift.

I decided to call my dad on my way home. He is inspirational, real and always upbeat. His take on the world puts my mind in a positive place. This Sunday conversation was no different. It was soul healing. It was his insight that helped me draw the inferences through all the ideas that had bubbled up as a result of the retreat. So as the old questions encroached on my newfound happiness, I refused them. Instead, I began to turn and twist them into new questions that might help me find and rekindle connections in my life.

What if I don’t deserve the space I take up?

What if I not only deserve the space but am placed here with purpose?

What if I am not enough?

What if I am enough?

What if I am not a good mom?

What if I am the best mom for my children?

What if I am not meant to be a friend?

What if I am a good friend?

What if I fail?

What if I try?

What if I am too much?

What if I am just what this world needs?

What if I was unapologetically me?

What if I not only deserve the space but am placed there with purpose? If I am here on purpose then I have to show up. I have to be my best self and offer that to each situation I face.

What if I am enough? I always say I was born this way on purpose for a purpose. That means that I am exactly the way I am supposed to be. That means I am enough. And even though I am a work in progress, I am enough. Plus, all humans make mistakes. One practice I have implemented in my life are do-overs. It was years ago that I made the mistake of not greeting a friend the way I wanted because I was distracted and upset by my fighting children. Well, as soon as the children were settled, I found that friend, apologized and did the greeting over. From that moment on, I knew that each moment was a new shot, a second chance to get it right, or just a new moment to soak it all in. I can be flawed and enough.

What if I am the best mom for my children? It has come to my knowledge since becoming a medium that we chose our parents before we even get here. So it would follow that my own children wanted me as a parent. If that is true, then I am the best mom for my children. They knew I wouldn’t be perfect of course, but they also knew my love for them would never cease. They knew I would never stop trying to help deliver the nourishment they needed for their bodies, minds, and souls. And of course that would mean that I am the best mom for my children.

What if I am a good friend? This one is tough, because there are so many times I want to show up for people, and I talk myself out of it, or my own life wobbles like a top sputtering out of control that I don’t get the thing done I wanted to do for them. I am late to remember birthdays. I hesitate to ask for help or offer it. But I have good friends. How could I have such stellar people in my life if I wasn’t offering something in return? Maybe I am a good enough friend. I am going to work to be a better one and not talk myself out of showing up. But I am good enough as it stands today.

What if I try? Well, this one is an easy one for me. If I try, I have no regret. Regret is so much worse than trying and failing. I will take trying over regret any day.

What if I am just what this world needs? Even writing this, this truth sits a bit heavy with me. But if I was born just this way and I believe in divine timing, then it would follow that I am just right where I am supposed to be. Doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing at the moment and miraculously it is making a difference. In this crazy world I know we forget that if we do our best and help just one person that we have done what we set out to do. Just reach one person. The ripples that come off that action in their lives and our own create a catalyst of good in the world. Those ripples extend farther than we can imagine and create more ripples we may never even see.

What if I was unapologetically me? What if?! What if I showed up and felt like I belonged? What if I didn’t overthink everything I said? What if I allowed myself just to be? WHAT IF? Can you even imagine what that would feel like? The best people live their lives this way. Amy Paulson, my dad, Rachel Macy Stafford, all the people that influenced me the most last weekend and in my everyday life are unapologetically themselves. So I have decided I no longer am just striving to live out loud telling my truth, being vulnerable, I am going to strive to be unapologetically me. It is going to be a process, but I can’t wait to see where that will take me.

What I want you to remember, dear reader, is that you can shift your soul, your perspective, your heart at any moment, too. Each moment is a new moment, another chance, a fresh start. And it is a process, we can lose footing and our way and start over again. There is no end and no beginning; we are always becoming, growing, and if you keep showing up, believing you are supposed to be there just as you stand today, the good and acceptance that will flow into the world from that will be enough.

Meeting Rachel – she is as beautiful inside as she is outside.

You are enough.

You deserve the space you take up.

You are a fabulous parent and partner.

You are not alone.

You are worthy of friendship.

You will not fail; you will learn; you will soar; you will become unapologetically you.

Sincerely and unapologetically,

Secrets, Lies and Bossy Bossers

Secrets, Lies and Bossy Bossers

I tell people I am a recovering perfectionist. Quintessential oldest child, I wanted to set the example, follow the rules, make more rules to follow, and do it all with ease and perfection. People pleasing was how I thought you were supposed to live your life.

Rules are easy. There are clear boundaries you have to follow. I was good at rules. I did as I was told all the time.

Fear is strong. I was terrified of failure, disappointing others and not being accepted. Fitting in meant a great deal. Unfortunately, I was not super great at that. But I could look the part and just try to be as small as possible so that I would be plastered against the wall and blend in. I blended in so well in most places I was almost invisible. And I kept my thoughts to myself. I said as little as possible about myself or what I thought. That was better. Smile and nod, little girl, smile and nod.

It is no surprise that I failed miserably at life in the first half of it, because that is not what life is about.

Life is messy. Life is learning. Life is meant to be lived, and done any way that suits you best. But life is not meant to be lived in secret, or by the rules you think others want you to follow.

I wish I could tell you why we tell ourselves false stories. I think there are too many reasons, really.

I wish I could tell you why we lie to ourselves. I think are too many reasons, really.

I wish I could tell you why others feel they can tell us what to do. What do those bossey-bossers think they know that we don’t? 

But at the end of the day the one thing we lose when we listen to the false stories, lies, the things others tell us, and we keep ourselves secret; the only thing we lose is self respect. And it is a great loss. What we think of ourselves matters way more than what anyone else will ever think of us.

What the world loses is also great. It loses the gift we would breathe life into if we would just believe and be our authentic selves. 

Each of us has the ability to change our own small corner of the world. Each of us has the ability to make one life better. Each of us has the ability to be satisfied with our time here. 

Our purpose, our light begins to shine the day we let ourselves be. The day we drop the false stories, let go of the lies, and stop listening to what other people tell us should be. 

At a recent retreat, I was asked to look at a picture of myself and describe the girl I saw. This wasn’t a new activity for me, but this time the words that came tumbling out left me wanting more of that girl in my day to day life. Of course, the girl in the picture was three and she was already beginning to hide secrets about herself and live a life she thought others expected of her, but there will still pieces of her soul that were visible to the outside world.

That three-year-old girl never apologized for taking up space. She posed for pictures in ruffled shirts and plaid jumpsuits. Her laugh filled her soul completely. She loved her sister so much she didn’t hesitate to wake her up, take her hand and lead her downstairs to watch Saturday Morning Cartoons together in their feetsy pajamas. She played Barbie’s like it was her job and her imagination had no limits. Impromptu dance parties were her jam and she was an epic dancer. She loved to learn and couldn’t wait to go to school, where she knew without a doubt she would find a very, best friend to share her time with.

The last few weeks I have been striving to let this three-year-old dreamer call the shots in my life. She is pretty right on when it comes to what makes me happy. She is the girl that laughs out loud with my kids. It is her idea to bake things and try new recipes. It was also her idea to be silly and take funny snapchat photos. I love laughing at them!

She also brilliantly tells me to quiet down and listen. When I do that, my people come to me. I have had more conversations with my husband in these two weeks than in the last few months. She is also the mastermind who tells me to reach out and hold my husband’s hand. She also insisted the other night it was okay to cuddle my teenage daughter, and to my surprise my teenage daughter loved the cuddle and started talking and talking. It was like magic!

What would your three-year-old dreamer tell you to do? What would you do if you could be fearlessly authentic? What if you stopped listening to the bossey bossers in life? What do they know that you don’t? Nothing! Nothing at all. They usually have it all wrong. They like control and life isn’t about that.

Try it today. Listen for that three-year-old dreamer voice and see what kind of magic opens up in your life.

Sincerely,

Year End Lessons for 2018

Year End Lessons for 2018

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

First things first…

20 Dessert Inspirations

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

Make your own Fancy new year

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

Bake the Cookies

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

good times & tan lines

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

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

Make New Friends

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

RELEARN & REMEMBER YOUR OWN LESSONS

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

actions

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

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

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On hostile unicorns and absolution

On hostile unicorns and absolution

A few weeks ago, my oldest son was explaining how he beat the hard mode in Terraria. For me, listening to how these games are played, even though I have watched them, is complicated, to say the least. Basically, Terraria is a game where you can dig, build, and fight. You work through different biomes and beat different bosses (the game’s language, not mine) to conquer the game. But don’t use my definition as a guide; I am just a mom and not a gamer after all. But for the purpose of this post, that is going to have to be good enough.

Anyway, he was telling me about defeating the hard mode and how it unlocks or spawns The Hallow. In this new biome, he can do more things and collect more goods. But the one part of his description that really struck me is when he told me to watch out for the unicorns. In The Hallow the unicorns are hostile.

That I can relate to.

I know, unicorns don’t exist. But it made me think of perfection, also a myth. It made me think of what we might all be continually searching for and seem never to find. And it seemed just a tad bit ironic that The Hallow (a sacred place) is where unicorns exist.

And I kept thinking about unicorns (perfection, every single day happiness, a place where everyone gets along, nirvana) and they are unattainable because they are not realistic.

Like how we can always be looking for just the right moment to try something new when we should just do that new thing right now. Or we think the grass is greener on the other side of the hill only to find out that there are the same weed patches and trouble keeping things green when we get there. Or wanting to make a new friend, but staying quiet and away from others. Wanting to be seen, but not having the courage to stand out.

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I probably scroll through social media channels more than I should. I probably watch the news a lot less than I should. I see happy people in the midst of life and wonder if I am where I should be. I read things that get me thinking about life and if I am doing as much as I should. Living in a way that I should.

Worthiness just might be my unicorn. It seems so elusive to me and right when I think I finally have found a cozy little place where I feel like; I am finally comfortable with myself there is some little reminder that I am still hanging onto my unworthiness.

Like how reading posts from a favorite blogger that says if we aren’t doing something to stop prejudice, gun violence, homelessness, sex trafficking, abuse, literacy, refugees, etc. and fixing it then we are complacent. We are part of the problem. And it makes me feel less than because I am not a warrior; I am not ready to strap on armor and fight or debate others. I definitely am trying to help defeat these things, but is it enough?

I try to help with Holiday Cheer. I try to help by raising my babies to be the helpers. I run toward car accidents to hold the hands of strangers until help comes. I volunteer. I donate. I vote. I treat others how I want to be treated, and yet when I see the things happening in the world, I feel so much not enough-ness I can’t even speak. I feel so wrapped in privilege that the guilt washes over me in tidal waves and I can’t breathe or even move for a few minutes. The weight of the wrong in the world sometimes feels so much bigger than the good. And it probably doesn’t help that I was built with the ability to feel things so deeply and to be able to feel what others feel so completely. It is sometimes so hard to live that way.

One of my social media friends posted a blog that made my heart drop. She wrote about how she isn’t sure she believes in unconditional love anymore. What the hell? This person is the epitome of unconditional love. She is the actual living, breathing embodiment of unconditional love. I guess when you are that, it is hard to find it, and even harder to see it, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I think we forget to look in the mirror sometimes. I think we forget ourselves in the equation of things.

And I can be a bit churchy and preachy even though I don’t go to church. I read Tim Tebow and follow Christian Instagram accounts and listen to Christian music. By the way, how freaking ah-mazing is Lauren Daigle?! I have her album on shuffle and repeat. I get goosebumps on just about every song. Her lyrics stop me in my tracks.

However, the irony is not lost on me when it comes to the relationship between religion and the problems that it causes in the world sometimes. The problem it can cause in myself sometimes. But, I remind myself, it is the interpretation of humans that causes the problem; believing in Jesus and God isn’t harming anyone. Anyway…

The whole unicorns being hostile; I get it. The beauty and magic of this world, of the moments with each other, can be plagued by the ugliest parts of humanity. Or how nature can destroy a city on a whim – through a tornado, hurricane, or a volcano or disease or freak accidents can take away a person we love in an instant. And everything seems lost and cruel. Or how a moment of hate can seemingly steal away every kindness that has touched your heart. And unfortunately, sometimes in beauty lies ugliness; unicorns can be hostile. Perfection is a plague. Feeling more right than someone else and that need to be right is cancer. And your world can turn on a dime.

Acceptance, understanding, and the constant choice to see the best is the way to peace in our own hearts. When we do our best to help others and try to reach them despite our differences that is how we can find our own absolution. When we learn to look in the mirror and see ourselves as a friend would see us or how our children see us; then we can start to feel that worthiness. We just aren’t looking at things with the best perspective sometimes, or we forget to look in the right places to see the things that matter most of all.

Staying centered in this life is definitely a practice. I do not wake up and feel like I am whole, worthy and ready to conquer the world. Those feelings have to be cultivated, curated and rebuilt. I am not the kind of person that was born with confidence to spare. And in an environment that moves faster and faster on to the next best thing – what is bigger, brighter, better – I am constantly reeling to stay in my lane. The good news is that when you have faith, and you continually check in with the universe and God; He can remind you that you are divine. It is the simple things that you do every day that make the most significant difference. Be rooted in who you are. Treat others and yourself with respect and compassion. It is that simple. Let the unicorns be a myth, and then the attachment to it can no longer hold you hostage – you can be pleasantly content in your imperfectness. Let go of your need to be right and open up to understanding and empathy. Once we let go, become open, and offer grace, we find our own absolution, we love ourselves and each other, which is what we were really after all along.

Until next time,

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Mean 

Mean 

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

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

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

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

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

Kids say hurtful things. Adults say hurtful things. 

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

But…will mean ever never stop?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

Michelle

An intuition filled life

An intuition filled life

At 8 AM; I wiped the sleep off my face, downed the last of my chai latte, said my typical pre-reading prayer and called a new client on the other side of the United States. Even after four years and a lifetime of experience, I still get nervous. My faith is deep and wide and true, but there is still a small part of me that hopes all goes well each and every time.

The reading that took place this early Sunday morning was one of my all time favorites. The sitter (my client), was nervous, and had been anxiously awaiting this appointment for months. We got started with the what to expect mumbo jumbo and spirit started to speak.

Spirit is so unpredictable. They come through with their unique personalities full of love and hope. It still surprises me how much laughter happens during a typical reading. Spirit has waited ages to speak through the microphone of a medium to get messages through to their loved ones. And once that connection is made it is like years of healing take place in under an hour. It’s a miracle. There are no words that accurately capture what happens in that hour; and yet here I am trying to find a way to impart some wisdom and capture what happened in this particular session.

This reading, I still don’t have a better word for these spirit interactions, brought so much out of my client. She like me is intuitive and had spent years ignoring or down playing her intuition because other people didn’t understand the way she made decisions, how she knew things without having any access to the information prior to an event or “knowing moment”.

It filled me with sadness that we aren’t recognizing these talents on a wide level. I know we don’t always understand it and logic rules the western world – don’t get me wrong logic is important, but so is a healthy dose of intuition.

Take for example, a mother and her infant. A worried mom brings her infant to the doctor because she “knows” something is not right. The doctor is not seeing that there is anything physiologically wrong with said infant, but the mother knows that there is. She is adamant that her child is suffering. She demands more tests, second opinions and lo and behold her baby has a severe case of acid reflux or Lyme or food allergies. Our society tells moms to trust their instincts. My friends these instincts are intuition.

My long winding point is intuition is getting a bad wrap and we need to trust that spidy-sense we get deep in our stomach that makes us feel like something is off or like something is just right. It is okay that we can’t explain it more than – it just feels right! That should be enough.

We ask our children to trust the feeling that if someone makes you uncomfortable in any way to physically change your proximity to that person and not ever be alone with them. Or at least I do and we should all trust our feelings even when they don’t make logical sense.

Intuition is our soul sending messages to our brain. It is trying to give us information when logic may not be enough or even when logic is failing us and we need to know the truth another way. Through the reading I had that Sunday morning this all becomes apparent. Spirit was validating my client’s feelings and telling her to listen to her intuition, it is her soul speaking. And I am reminded in this small session with her just how important that is for our safety, sanity and happiness.


How does one listen to their intuition or even find it in the first place? It is feeling all the feels. When you make a choice, become conscious of how your body reacts to that choice and then just keep practicing. Does the choice leave you a little off center? Does the choice make you a bit tingly all over and excited about what is coming next? Do you get a deep sense of calm throughout your being after you have made that decision? The more aware you are of how you feel the more likely you are to pay attention to these feelings.

Intuition can be practiced by entering a room and seeing how your emotions and body react to that space. The people you are with; how do you feel about them? What does your body naturally do around those people. If you are tense, there is probably a reason. If you easily relax; there is probably a reason.

Sometimes there is not a peep from intuition to guide you any one way and that is because logic is enough. You have it all figured out. Intuition steps up its game when it is trying to get you to see another perspective or make you take that big leap you are so hesitant to take.

When your soul is whispering to your conscious mind that is intuition and it has a place in our lives. It can keep you out of trouble and lead you into the right place at the right time. When we ignore intuition, our lives seem to be missing something.

Intuition has led me to so much success. Logic alone would not have led me down my current path. Intuition makes us a bit vulnerable which can be scary. Intuition often leaves us without explanation for our actions other than, “it just feels right”. I know some of you don’t need to hear this, but those of you that do, “it just feels right” is enough – no more explanation needed.

Our intuition is enough and it does us good to be in touch with how our soul is interpreting our surroundings and not just our mind. They are two separate things; sometimes they work in concert, but other times your soul wants something your mind can’t quite grasp and that is when intuition takes over. Let it. It doesn’t have to be what wins out, but intuition should at least be considered and trusted as a valid part of our daily lives and how it guides us through our experiences. It is our soul speaking to us after all.

Until next time,

Living in the WILD – lessons from afourytale

Living in the WILD – lessons from afourytale

School has started. Enough said. Am I right? Whether you have kids in school or not if you live in the U.S., school starting changes traffic patterns, moods and daily life all the way around. And since my brain cannot function without examining the minutiae of everything, it started spinning and I thought this was as good a time as any to share the lessons that I have learned lately. As always, hopefully this helps someone else out there in this great big universe feel a little more normal – even though there is no such thing – and also maybe sharing will help my mind to stop spinning.

Mean people are people who are hurting

People who hurt act out. 

Don’t start judging me already; I get that is a pretty logical statement. However, when violence strikes we aren’t really acting in a logical manner these days. Experience has taught me control is an illusion. We make choices based on the events that face us, and we can make good choices or bad, but life doesn’t change. That shit has been rough since the dawn of time. I mean there has always been violence, destruction, hate, and awful stuff in general.

We now have media everywhere we freaking look, so it seems so very overwhelming, but it isn’t different in itself. It really is same shit, different day. We have to start reacting to what happens to us better and also being better at proactively offering solutions before the problem hits. It isn’t an easy deal to solve; I get that. But just as violence stems from anger and pain; great change also comes from pain and reacting with love, patience, compassion, understanding. We are meant to share our stories.

Don’t get me wrong, when people are acting mean that is my biggest pet peeve. Rudeness crawls up my spine and causes me to throw up a little in my mouth every.single.time. I am human after all. As a human though, we are the starting point of change. That starts with compassion, sincerity, honesty, the giving of our time to others. These things can heal someone else. We must listen to one another’s story and whether we accept it as our truth or not, we need to hear each other and offer understanding. Only then can we start to really change things.

I recently watched Brené Brown speak about privilege so beautifully, I fear trying to even touch that topic without mentioning her description could not even do it justice. Privilege is something you are born with and do not have to earn; like finding people just like you on TV or finding a doll with your same color skin in any store you walk in. We as a people, we can change that.

Change is all based on reacting with compassion. We know better and should be making better choices. There is far more good in the world and those acting out right now fear the change that is coming. We got this people – good and compassion and faith – we got this. We always have. Don’t lose faith and continue to respond with an open heart, ear and mind and then change will come. We can heal one another one person at a time; one choice at a time; one compassionate action at a time.

Like the size of your lifeLike the size of your life.

Some people choose big and lately that seems to be what our society is preaching and delivering. I choose simple. I choose small town everyday simple life. Simple, quiet beauty fills me up. I like the size of my life. I like it so much I am constantly trying to slow it down so I can soak it up with every fiber of my being. Somehow that never seems to work out; like sand it keeps slipping through my fingers.

There are advantages to playing small. Not many people write this down or preach it. Setting out each day to be a good human and do the simple, necessary things without a lot of hoopla; there is some real good in that. Doing what needs to be done every day without shouting look at me or tweeting it; instagram-ing it; Facebook-ing it; there is fullness in just the doing an act in and of itself.

Being who you are and doing the right thing when no one is looking means so much more than shouting it from the roof top. Choosing small, real simple life is wholesome stuff. It gives you time to really connect to those important to you. That is what really matters. The simple pleasures of homemade lemonade, family time, the view, and little love notes. Making a difference one person at a time in your every day ordinary life. I choose small. I choose simple. But whatever you choose; just like the size of your life.

Truth isKids keep it real.

This one is just what it is. Kids see things simply and say what they feel. Mythirteen-year-old has told me twice in the past three months two things that have profoundly changed the way I look at things. It isn’t that no one has said this to me before, but it is the simplicity with how and when kids say things that just rock your world.

I had been worrying about work stuff and change and as I tuck my son in at night he says,”You know mom, all that stuff you have been talking about lately it really isn’t big stuff that matters. It is really kind of small stuff that shouldn’t bother you at all.” Well take that slap in the face! Yikes! He was right. That shifted my focus lickety-split.

Then just this week, first day of school. The twins are in two separate classes. I have to rush to get my thirteen-year-old to school and so I can’t stay and walk the twins into class. Every other child has a parent walking them into their class, but not my two. And just like that there is not just one set of class parents judging me as I speed off with my older son, but two sets of class parents and two sets of teachers. Talk about the weight of judgement. My older son notices this affect me. I tell him that I feel bad; he always had a parent walk him in and now the youngest are getting a less than experience because I am pulled in different directions. To which he says, “Mom, you put a lot of unrealistic expectations on yourself. The things you think you should do aren’t really humanly possible.” Touché! You got me kid.

Not that I haven’t heard this before, but there is something about your child pointing this out to you that just makes it sting and set it in a bit deeper. If you have experienced this lately; I get you; I hear you; this parenting gig is not for the faint of heart and your kids change you in ways you never expected. And on that note…

Be dapper withPee protection is legit.

Not only does parenting take an emotional toll on you, but it also can wreck you physically. I am extremely tired of having to cross my legs to cough or sneeze. To have to stop jumping on the trampoline every five minutes so I can pee. Or to have to stop and pee when I run. Ridiculous! This seriously is not fair. Women give birth and carry these precious beings for 9 months and then we continue to love them despite the fact that they can push every single button and make us more upset and frustrated than we ever believed humanly possible, but NOW we also can’t even freaking sneeze without peeing ourselves. The injustice! The humanity! Good Lord why you got to do us like that?! WHY?! Okay, rant over. Just had to get that off my chest. Recently a friend recommends Poise pads because well the struggle is real and women around the world have this pee problem. The Poise pads help, they do. I just can’t stand putting one in my underwear every damn day. Blah! Blech! Ugh! But there is a solution and they do work; just in case you are wondering. Bottom line, getting older kind of sucks and I am still mostly just crossing my legs when I sneeze, but whatever – it is what it is.

Keep on plugging along peeps. Until next time,

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

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

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

See, I suck at small talk.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

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What matters…

What matters…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

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Scared

Scared

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

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

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I am scared of the little and the big things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scared but hopeful,

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Teaching them to fall

Teaching them to fall

One of my kiddos is obsessed with monkey bars right now. He has to try out the monkey bars at every park, no matter the height or complexity.

This triggers my panic and fear index – reflex – whatever it is; it freaks me the hell out!

I am a worrier. It is a trait that has plagued me forever – seriously I have worried about everything my whole life. I have worried about what I wear, who likes me, if I stink, about my skills as a human, you name it I have worried about it.

Now, being a parent you know that when you have kids you worry about everything times a gazillion. You put them to sleep and check to see if they are still breathing a hundred times. You hope you are feeding them enough of the best, healthiest foods. Will goldfish at every meal damage their brains? That is a rhetorical question by the way. You drop them off at school and you worry…

Will they have friends?

Will they be treated with respect?

Can they handle peer pressure?

Will they eat their lunch?

Will they get the help they need?

What if they get lost?

Will they be a good friend?

Will they choose kindness when it comes to others?

Did I read to them enough?

Maybe we should have listened to more classical music?

Maybe I should have fed them more Omega 3s?

And on and on and on…

So where were we? Oh yeah, I know monkey bars.

Monkey bars seem like no big deal, but they are up high and I worry. Kids are letting go one hand at a time and dangling! Dangling above the ground at arm breaking height mind you.

So after several monkey bar attempts and a park that has 3 sets of monkey bars – seriously why so many different kinds of death-defying obstacles at a park? Who created this jungle gym of terror? Those big chips of wood underneath- who the hell thought that was good landing material? 

But I digress. Any how, I got tired of feeling my own panic and trying to remain calm on the outside. Isn’t that the life of a parent or a human at all – calm on the outside, melty panic on the inside. Which then makes me think of chocolate and then makes me wish for M&M’s. Then I thank God there isn’t chocolate nearby because I am a stress eater and I would eat all of the chocolate at this death park.

Again I digress. But that is when I had an AH HA moment! (Yes, thank you Oprah for giving me the words for the moment when a life changing idea hits my brain.) This scenario I am in isn’t about being careful or worry or panic; he is going to fall. We are all going to fall. So instead of worrying about the fall; I need to plan ahead, I need to teach him how to fall.

So I proceeded to walk him through what to do when he felt like he needed to let go or when his hands got slippery.

“It’s okay to fall,” I say.

“Just let go. It isn’t that far to the ground,” I continue.

“Just fall like this,” I show a soft release and hop to the ground landing on my feet.

“Just do your best to land on your feet,” I finish.

Oh my gosh you guys!!! You guys!!! Did you hear that?! It is okay to fall. We don’t have to be afraid to fall.

While this logic applied to his monkey bar stunts, and worked extremely well I may add. He kept monkey bar-ring on without incident. This logic also applied to life. He might stumble in life, but it is okay. We can stumble, no big deal!

Like a roller coaster – life is full of these wild twists and turns. (I know I went from monkey bars to roller coaster, but bear with me. Both analogies fit what I am talking about here.) We may see them coming, but until we go through it we don’t know what it will be like. But if we buckle in and know the twists are there then maybe we will just roll through better. Maybe we won’t be so panic-stricken or uptight. I mean who goes through a roller coaster with every hair in place, and all their grace in tact?

When we embrace the fall and let it come then the ride might be a bit more enjoyable. We can be less afraid and worried all the time.

We are going to be okay.

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We are.

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So maybe falling is part of it; falling, getting back up, moving forward, balance, step, step, stumble, step. Maybe instead of all the worry and fighting against the current maybe we just accept the awkward, stumbling and recognize the beauty in that – maybe when we do that we will reduce the amount of pressure in our lives and feel free to explore and try new things. Maybe we will feel more free and able to connect. Maybe we feel free to love ourselves and show ourselves to the world because a fall is just a fall after all.

I don’t know all the answers, but I do know that teaching him how to fall made us both feel a whole lot better.

Your breakable, flawed, stumbling friend,

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Do souls die?

Do souls die?

Do souls die?

Do souls and bodies die at different times?

One of my sweetest clients wrote to me the other day and she included these questions in her email to me. She wrote to me about dementia and Parkinson’s Disease. She has witnessed these first hand and wants to know what happens to the soul when bodies are afflicted with these conditions. Many of you know that Alzheimer’s is a disease that hits incredibly close to home for me. So these questions resonated with me and I wanted to answer them here for anyone else that wanted to know about souls, too.

Over the past two and half years I have delivered messages from souls who are still in a body here on Earth. These souls had or have bodies afflicted with mental handicap or illness, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, strokes, cancer, paralysis, and other conditions in which the body and mind deteriorate and the soul may seem to be trapped.

What I have learned, mind you I am no expert – nor do I presume to be – I am just sharing what my experiences have taught me. In this case it seems that the soul continues to remain vibrant and unscathed by what may happen to the body. Our bodies may not be able to withstand these conditions over time, but our souls can.

A soul is tethered to its body – connected by an invisible pull or in some cases I have seen an actual thread. But this does not mean that a soul exists solely inside a body while it is alive.

Did your mind just explode a bit?

Mine does, too – every. single. time.

So let me explain by example. I have met with clients who have loved ones who are still living and are afflicted with dementia, Alzheimer’s or who may even be in hospice care on the verge of their ascent to heaven. These souls can communicate with me even though their bodies cannot and even though they are still in a living body. Again, a bit mind-blowing. I try to explain it by saying: I speak soul. So I don’t talk to the dead or just deliver messages from heaven – I speak soul. So if your soul chooses to speak to me I can hear it.

So these souls have delivered messages to me about what they want to be buried in, what pictures they would like at their funerals, how they know who is caring for them and the sacrifices that they have made. These souls exist both in and out of their human forms. They can see and feel what is happening around them. They can feel their loved one’s care and concern for them.

It is important to note that these souls do not feel trapped. I have communicated with these souls both before and after they have crossed over and they speak of how they were visited by other souls while they were alive. Somehow their souls exist in both Heaven and Earth. They exist and feel unencumbered.

For example, one spirit came through to me and told me how when he was alive he would often awake in the night and wonder through the house. He was always heading for the front door. He didn’t know why, but we all know that would be treacherous for a man with Alzheimer’s to be on the street in the middle of the night. He relayed to me that spirit loved ones would come to him and would help keep him safe inside his home. They would dance, walk and distract him from his path to the door. From his description of events, it would seem that this idea of a soul being able to experience both worlds – both Heaven and Earth – would seem accurate.

The other item that I think is important to share is this…souls feel no physical pain. Not one soul has ever told me something hurts…instead they always tell me what NO LONGER hurts.

Souls for the most part, are light and at peace. They remember physical pain they experienced, but no longer feel it. I always say it’s like childbirth. Us girls always tell our harrowing stories of childbirth, and yet we do it again and have another one because we remember what it was like, but can’t feel that pain any longer. Or even if you have broken a bone – you remember the pain, but don’t feel it any longer. It is like that.

So if a particular person’s brain failed them at the end of their life, know the soul’s consciousness did not. A soul flows through our bodies, but does not exist because of the body – our bodies are just a casing for our souls – souls have cognition, memory and emotion because they are made up of energy; they do not experience physical pain the way we do.

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I speak soul and it is my understanding that a soul does not die. It can change, evolve, grow, but it does not die. A soul is always becoming, it is infinite. Our souls are always on the horizon of new emotion or understanding.

Souls abhor when I say they are dead or if I describe what I do as speaking to the dead. They ALWAYS correct me – they are LIVING. They exist. Souls are always alive.

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So my sweet, dear client first I am so sorry for your struggles and what your family is going through and what it has been through. I hold space in my heart for you and send healing prayers. Know that even though I may not be right next to you; that I am here step in step with you and if you need someone to just listen; I am here.

But a great woman also told me to not just be sorry, but to be active. So for me, my way of being active was answering this question that you sent to me. My way of being active is sharing what I have learned and to continue to bring some peace to both bodies and souls. May this help answer your questions and bring you some comfort.

Sincerely,

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Big mistakes and bravery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Being brave is….

not letting fear dictate your choices

not defining who you are by other people’s standards

taking your next right step

remembering who you are

remembering to ask for help

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

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

Fear not.Remember –

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