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.

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!

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…

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

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

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 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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Legit

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

I am going to start with the heavy.

We need to pray people…

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

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

We need to pray.

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

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

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

We need to laugh people…

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

But a couple of suggestions if I may…

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

 

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

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

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

The family that dabs together stays together…

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

Even dogs get excited to order Starbucks…

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

Wear the crazy leggings…

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

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But mostly do what it takes to get through…

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

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

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

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

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

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Until next time,

Michelle

Life breathers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5 things happening in afourytale land

So I haven’t done a lessons post in awhile; I worry they are too preachy. I worry a lot. But you already know that. But I figured there are some things going on in my head these days that I have found a tad helpful that you might like to hear, too.

IMG_42521. I am a notorious cancel-er…I mean I am worse than ABC right now. I try to juggle the balls of life and I tell you what I drop them like they are hot! I schedule get togethers or try to host things and then people say they will show up and then I am a terrible reminder or a date has to change because of a school function and then no one can come. So it ends up getting cancelled. I think I am going to just stop planning things ahead of time. It just isn’t possible with kids, school functions, work, sports, and sleep. So if you want to see me, people who know where I live, stop by with wine or coffee and I will start-up the fire pit and we will hang. I am a home body so I will be here. That is it, that is the deal from now on. You are invited always and we can hang here whenever since I am not planning any more get togethers. This is easier – flying by the seat of our pants kind of works around here so now I am applying it to hanging out with friends as well.

IMG_43202. I am back on the wagon people. My fit bit thinks it has been stolen. I am on day 5 of exercise and have won badges and all kinds of fit bit announcements. It seriously didn’t know it had to work this hard with me. Of course I am waiting to weigh myself for several weeks because even though I am attempting to eat better there are occasions where chocolate peanut butter shakes or a scoop of ice cream may make it into the vicinity of my stomach. But sanity is important and these things keep me sane and happy so they stay.

IMG_40093. Tomorrow’s aren’t guaranteed; we all know that. So my advice and the lesson that I am learning is don’t wait. Try the new thing. Get the Henna tattoo even if they are for kids. Seriously that is it – just do the fun thing. The car that spun out of control and almost hit me as I waited at a stop light just reaffirmed that there are no guarantees.

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4. Find good people. I am so blessed. I have found amazing people. I have a tribe of friends and family that help with kids, listen to me whine, save the day, forgive me, and most of all love me just as I am. They are all authentic, kind, funny amazing people and I seriously could not do this life without them. My bunco group is the best group of gals around. I LOVE you all soooooo much! And to the moms that can make my day with just one look, you know you are, thank you!

IMG_42625. A girl who changes her hair is ready to change her life…I died my hair pink. Not my whole head mind you; just a few highlights here and there. Many of you know this already, but I am sharing because the feedback has been mostly positive. And even the one day when I had to see my friend’s parents with pink hair and I felt 16 all over again, they were super awesome about it which reminded me that I AM an adult. Even adults dye their hair crazy colors sometimes. But seriously, go for it. If it is something you have always wanted to do and have not; if you can (providing it is workplace acceptable) go for it! P.S. pink does fade, but it was AWESOME while it lasted.

See you all want hang out with me. I know, I know. I am a pretty cool introvert. Don’t worry there is a lot of room around the fire pit.

I hope you are all hanging in there and living the dream.

P.S. Enjoy the sweet moments in life, too. I can’t believe I have one summer left until these two are in school all day! I literally just threw up a little thinking about it.

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XO

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Lucky Socks

Today I am wearing my lucky socks one last time.

I love these socks, despite the hole that has appeared in my left heel and I think they deserve to be worn one last time.

These socks have been around for the birth of 3 of my 4 children. They still fit! Not something that can be said about very many other things in my closet. They have seen me through sleepless nights, presentations, late night writing sessions, my first reading, parties, and just ice cream nights on the sofa. They are my go to superstitious, Irish girl socks.

When I think about these socks I think about how I pull them on in the hopes that things will go well; that the chips will land in my favor. Maybe even that there are such things as miracles and pots of gold. That anything is possible. My idealistic heart beats a little brighter.

That is kind of how I approach the day. Right or wrong, I don’t know. My dad always tells me to walk in like I belong there. That it is confidence that people follow and are attracted to. There is truth in that for sure. I see it all over. Day in and day out. People follow others who behave as if they know what they are doing. People gravitate to far less secure people than myself because they are boisterous with confidence and charm. The confidence is so bright it seems to attract people like moths to a flame despite what might be underneath it. It always bothers me how people are so easily attracted to fake light, but they are none the less.

I guess I like to go out with my armor down lately. I find more comfort in what is real and raw. I know that leaves me as somewhat of an outsider at times; okay I feel like an outsider all the time.

I saw this from Humans of New York on FB this week and it struck me.

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This was so moving to me. It made so much sense and I think that it encapsulated the way I am facing things with my own life these days. I show up; maybe forgetful, quiet, timid, reserved, big-hearted, extra feely, overweight, underdressed at times, hurried, rushed, abrupt, not always present, but I show up and give it a go ready to learn and grow. Always with the feeling that I don’t belong and have so much to learn.

People are glamming themselves up these days. Whether it is in their facebook feeds, their make-up, or how they portray who they are, but the truth of the matter is a lot of us aren’t being our true selves when we go out. Or some of us are falling into a trap of hiding behind a cause, mentality or blame game that makes it less about us and more about “them”. Even though there is no them – it is always us, always. I think most of us know the jig is up, but there are quite a few these days that have worn their masks and been in hiding so long that they are starting to believe their own rouse.

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Me – with my make-up mask, best feeling self to go out into the world.

This is a parody of how many pictures I had to take to get a good picture of myself – see that may be how many tries we have to have or more to get something so we feel like it might be just right or at least close enough.

My husband is good at everything. He helps without question, pitches in, works hard, makes friends easily, is well respected, funny, kind, athletic, strong, can play any game, do any handy task, is up to date on current events, speaks intelligently, is knowledgable, seems to pick up new things easily and well next to him I often feel like I just don’t add up. We were talking about it today and it hit me that, that is more than okay. That is what I want people to see. I want to be anything but perfect and I want my own vulnerability to be a beacon for others to feel they can share theirs to.

What makes us different, flawed, unique and interesting is exactly what makes us humand and being human is what makes us the same. That is the common dominator. And in a world where it feels like differences are being persecuted and people are wearing their hate on the outside, wouldn’t it be nice if people started walking around wearing insecurity and vulnerability on the outside – open and ready to learn from one another. Welcoming each other for who we are instead of how we might be perceived to be.

Because look at the beauty that can be found in moments just as they are; no posing or filters…

Happy, little, blissful, real, raw moments.

So today I have my lucky, hole-y /holy socks on. Today I approach the world ready to learn, vulnerable, wearing my insecurities on the outside. I will walk in with my heart and my perspective open wide because there is so much to learn. I have so much growing to do.

Keep learning, keep growing, keep showing up and breathe,

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Lessons afourytale style

It’s been more than awhile I know. Life keeps a girl busy you know. I know you do…you are flying through it with me.

There have been many happenings in the fourytale hood and I hope I am learning lessons and growing; that at least makes it seem like the rough moments are worth something right? If you attribute it to a learning moment instead of just a rough patch or embarrassing minute in our lives as it moves with barreling speed toward the finish line it seems to make it all more worthwhile.

So what might you ask I have learned these past few months of 2016; well here it goes…

IMG_39301. I still have a teacher voice.

This past weekend my daughter was in a local school production and I volunteered to help. My assignment for this show was to be a mom backstage in the girls’ dressing room. Of course, they have to be quiet backstage or else the audience can hear them. Well they got a bit out of hand and from somewhere came this voice, “I want everyone in their seats right now. And I want your voices quiet.” I looked around to see where it came from and to my amazement as the girls rushed to their chairs quietly they were all looking up at me. I got them quiet and in their chairs. Another mom who was helping came back into the room after escorting a few to the restroom and she was impressed by the quiet. I told her I could still rock my teacher voice. The lesson here…sometimes you never lose the things that are truly a part of you and you can use those mad skills you acquire over your life time. Of course one girl in particular thought I was the meanest person in the universe, but all you got to do is behave and then you don’t have to feel my wrath – which just included taking her clothes bag which she was flinging and staying quiet and in her spot which was near impossible for her. Whateves…I know being tough and sticking to your guns gets results and respect so I will take her assessment as a compliment.

IMG_39352. Still feel small

There are still times I feel so small and out of place. We have a family friend who is a great cook and beyond that she runs her home to a T and always seems knowledgable…about everything. I always feel small and out of place when I am around her. Like there is nothing that I have that can add to the conversation. See I am a mac n cheese, follow a Pioneer Woman Recipe, fly by the seat of my pants mama and sometimes that just doesn’t feel like enough when I am in her presence.

I haven’t watched the news in close to a decade (I read it occasionally, but there is so much bad I kind of skim it to be honest). My mom brain is so full of schedules, what needs to be paid when and who has what assignment due that I don’t have a repertoire of interesting conversation topics. Plus I have a knack of horrible small conversation skills, so I just feel plain inadequate around her.

My point behind this…sometimes no matter how comfortable we think we are there are times we can all still feel small and insignificant.

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Seriously who could say mean things to this cute face?! Kids can be so cruel.
3. What happens when someone calls your daughter an ass

See the flying by the seat of your pants mama also thinks that kids need to handle some of their own disputes because they have to become adults that can handle other adults. I have my own bully that I have to deal with on a regular basis and I know my kids will run into people who act like idiots in their lives, too. So when my daughter told me that another girl called her an “ass” I told her to ignore it and steer clear of this girl. If she felt she needed to she could address it and tell the girl in her own words that she didn’t appreciate being called names. We talked about how when someone else calls you names it says a lot more about them than it does you and that this girl was just reacting to getting into trouble and taking it own on her.

Well what I didn’t realize is that my daughter actually felt threatened by this girl. So she was afraid to go to play practice. In a nutshell we had to have other talks about how you need to tell an adult that someone makes you feel unsafe and if you feel like someone is going to hurt you that you need tell an adult, “I  think this person might hurt me” or something to that effect.

So if someone calls your child names you may want to inquire if they actually feel threatened instead of it taking two teachers and two days to figure that out. Just saying in case this ever happens to you.

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He looks sweet and innocent but he can dig in and be relentless.
4. Life isn’t fair.

So, your child orders chocolate chip pancakes. Then they take three bites of said pancakes and ask for dessert. You tell the child no, that their dinner is much like dessert because of the chocolate chips. Be prepared for your child to tell you, “You are not being fair” and that “You are so mean”.

Said child also after downing an extra large M&M cookie, a full can of pink lemonade, and two handfuls of M&Ms asks for more snacks and you say no, they have had plenty of sugar and can wait until the show is over, one hour without a snack will not kill them. Be prepared to listen to whining for an hour regarding how unfair you are and how hungry they are and how could you starve them to death.

I kid you not, no matter how much you ignore them or tell them life isn’t fair, or time out them, you have to keep up with this for days for it to sink in that they will not get their way EVER! Be prepared to repeat this at age 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 15, 18 as a child seems to forget this lesson every 18 months or so and needs to relearn it. It is exhausting and you know what…it isn’t fair…because life isn’t fair and your kids make you aware of that at every turn.

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I know only four lessons in two months. I am sure there were more and I am also sure that 4 is enough when your plate is full. So I leave you with those four lessons this month:

  • use the gifts you have even when you think you have lost them, they are still there
  • it is totally normal to feel inadequate from time to time we are human
  • always remember to ask your child lots of questions when they tell you things
  • last but not least life isn’t fair when you are 5 and can’t have dessert or when you are almost 40 and your dessert sticks to your thighs.

Love, laughter, and lots of learning to you,

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Ring it out, baby! Last lessons of 2015

38. Yep in 12 days and roughly 5 hours I will be 38. My odd years (When my age is odd, not when I am odd. See I know what you are thinking.) have somehow always been my best. However, 2015 took its toll on me personally. I am not sure how you feel about 2015; I hope it was good to you, but most people I run into had a heck of a year even on a small scale. Don’t get me wrong I am a glass half full person, and my family and I are truly blessed, but this year had hiccup after hiccup. I am grateful for the hiccups for sure and I focused on the positives; that is where my lessons are coming from, but if you noticed I wrote a lot less this year. The reason for that was every time I sat down to write I wanted to vent about how much things stunk or how bad I felt this year about well; everything. Don’t worry I am not going to do that now, but what I am hoping for, for each and every one of us is a wonderful 2016.

Here are my lessons to close out 2015…

1.Get off the sidelines.

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At my daughter’s 9th birthday I noticed that a lot of the girls started out shy and sat on the sidelines. We had it at one of those make over places, but they also have a stage and microphones. Once my daughter was finished with her make over she threw on a boa and got right up on that stage and sang her little heart out. Some of the other girls followed her lead; those girls had a blast at the party. What she taught me is that you need to jump right in with both feet and live. There is no living done on the sidelines; nope. You have to go for it. So in 2016 I am all in baby…are you with me? Except for sky diving you can go do that yourself because seriously what sane person jumps out of a perfectly good airplane?!

2. Great people do things before they are ready.

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I think Amy Poehler and I would be the best of friends. Seriously if you know Amy you should have her call me; we would be BFFAEs (Best Friends Forever and Ever)! Seriously, I am not in the least bit kidding; if you know her call her I totally want to meet her.

Any way after reading Yes Please (yes you should take the time and read it for 2016 if you haven’t) and binge watching Parks and Recreation in my spare time I think she is my own personal guru. Two things I have learned from her and Ron Swanson are:

  • Great people do things before they are ready – seriously you can’t plan out the future. Life is bumpy and unexpected crap jumps out at you every single second (not really, but you get what I mean) and you just have to go after your dreams. If you don’t start now then when?
  • Also my personal favorite, “don’t half ass two things; whole ass one thing.” That is my favorite line from Parks and Recreation to date. There is even a mug and if you don’t know what to get me for my birthday get me that – don’t worry about duplicates either if I had a whole stinking set of those I would literally be the richest person in the world and Amy Poehler would be super impressed when I got them to pour our Vodka and Cranberry Cocktails into when she came over.  You thought they were for coffee didn’t you…so silly mugs can be used for everything. A good friend told me just about a whole bottle of wine fits into one of the travel Starbucks mugs in case you need to know that for your next Trick-or-treating excursion. Just saying. Plus they would totally go with my Duck Dynasty bobbleheads.

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3. Even if things seem sucky they are totally worth it.

IMG_3559 (1)So our Newport Beach Thanksgiving Vacation was a bit crazy. For starters we parked our car with the valet at dinner on one of the first nights there and they lost our keys. Then within a day the norovirus (more affectionately named Kim-O-Rea after patient zero) ran through 19 of the 23 of us. But despite the lost keys and vomit we had a pretty good time. We took bike rides, played on the beach, spent time playing games, had Thanksgiving dinner on the beach, saw a movie and went bowling. And the cousin time with the kids was priceless. So even though we may have stayed in the worst rental ever (on the inside – it was filthy) the time we spent together and the memories we made were totally worth it. Plus I got this awesome picture of me with Zach; win win! Or as Zach says…BOOM!

4. I love snow and the place I call home.

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I know you are wondering how I love snow is a lesson. Well just keep reading and you will see.

Our family made a trip to Salt Lake City for my grandmother’s memorial services and it snowed. Arriving there and seeing all the sites is so relaxing. Even though I only lived there for 3 years; literally from 0-3, it is home to me. It is the one place in the world that actually feels like I belong 100%. I love just about everything about it. I know that the snow made travel a bit hard and it was really cold, but I can’t help thinking my grandma knew how much I loved the snow; how much I loved home blanketed in snow and she made sure that it was covered in it just in time for us to be there. This made me realize that even if there isn’t always someone to go home to that maybe just the place needs to be visited to sooth your soul to feel that welcoming feeling. So I guess that means that you need to find that place that feels like home and visit it if you aren’t already there. See that is kind of lesson worthy.

5. Find your happy.

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Find your happy – whatever it might be. Maybe it’s a person; like these two pictured here. They are blissfully happy when they are together. Or maybe it’s a good cup of coffee or maybe it is a long hike. Whatever it is find it and make sure it becomes a part of your life on a regular basis. Life is hard and you need to make time for what makes you happy.

6. Keep going…

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The Barista at Starbucks wrote “good job on your 5k” on my cup – proof that I actually looked like I ran the whole thing. Which I totally did, even though my 11 year old son beat me by 10 minutes.
Sometimes you are your own worst enemy or at least I am. I want to be healthier and I want to be able to run 9 miles again. I will do that in 2016, but I know it will be one of the hardest things that I do to accomplish that again. I had to put all my focus and energy into it when I did it last time and this time I am busier and somehow more exhausted, but I must keep going. In 2015 the farthest I got was 5 miles and 20 pounds heavier. 2016 is going to be different. I hope you go after what you want in 2016, too. And I hope no matter how hard it might be that you achieve it.

7. Little things…

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Mother Theresa said do small things with great love. I have mentioned her before, I know. She is kind of a big deal. Any way I put that into action three years ago with the 25 days of Holiday Cheer and then adding to that by doing 36 random acts of kindness for my birthday and then the next year Fluttering for Unravel. So I took a trip down my Facebook feed (that is what memory lane is these days) and saw that most of what I do these days is small things with great love. I cannot tell you how much that helps me. See I am human and I mess up; rather a lot really. But doing things for others in small steps and sharing that with others has changed my life in such a drastic way. This is something that will continue through 2016 and if you have an idea about how to help others – go for it because amazing things happen.

8. You get old.

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This is my son…I cannot be old enough to have a son this age!
Holy Freaking Fruitloops kids put the fast forward button on your life. I cannot believe I have been a mom for over a decade and that my 20 year high school reunion is in 2016. That math doesn’t compute with how I feel, but that doesn’t change the fact that you get old. I have decided instead of being bummed about getting old I am going to enjoy it. I am going to love each day and what it brings. Of course crappy things happen when you age and there is more death than you ever wanted to face ever, but there are cool things, too. Like watching your kids become grown people and getting to stay up as late as you want and being able to drink alcohol in a mug that says “whole ass one thing” if that isn’t icing on the freaking age cake I don’t know what is.

9. Marriage matters.

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So as my husband was calmly putting together a doll house this Christmas Eve (yes that doll house above had more pieces than you can imagine) and we spent until 1:30 AM putting the final touches on Christmas; it really hit home what a good team we are. My husband, yes I know I have talked about him before as well, is just pretty amazing. He helps around the house, he is a hands on dad, and he works so hard to provide for our family. But we are a team and marriage is hard work. We went out a couple times just the two of us this year (I know I had a post about date night once a month-it didn’t happen) and we are still best friends. Yes of course at first the kids dominate the conversation, but we have found that our marriage is the key foundation to our family and it needs work to make sure that the family stays sturdy. In 2016 I am going to make sure I let him know how important he is and how much I appreciate all he does for us. And more importantly, I am going to make sure I let him know how awesome I am and that together we are like the Dream Team. Too much? Okay, well you get the idea.

10. Being a twin mom…

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I get it, I do…they are stinking cute and tons of fun. They also can cause quite a ruckus and I have blamed a lot of my failing memory, lack of sleep, disorganized ball dropping behavior on being a twin mom. And in 2016 that will not change. Having 4 kids is enough to drive one woman bat shit crazy. I love them dearly and I wouldn’t want my life any other way, but it is totally their fault that I am a completely different human than I was 10 years ago. It is completely their fault that I am losing my mind, but it is also completely their fault that I am a way better human than I was a decade ago. It is completely their fault, all four of them, that I know and understand a love that can’t be explained with words. I understand what it means to be selfless because of them. So even though I blame them 100% I also thank them 100% for all that they have done to help me become who I am today.

I wish you and yours a blessed and prosperous 2016.

Sincerely,

Amy Poehler’s BFFaE

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