An open letter to myself…

An open letter to myself…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay here it goes…

Dear End of 2019 Michelle,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Beginning of 2019 Michelle

Notes on a life well lived

Notes on a life well lived

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you live a life well in reality?

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

Drumroll please….

one damn second at a freaking time.

I know I am a genius.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copy of There is no one size fits all life 2

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

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

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

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

Copy ofThere is no one size fits all life 4

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

Love and light,

2016-09-11_0905

Notes on fear…

Notes on fear…

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

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

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

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

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

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

The truth is…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love and light,

2016-09-11_0905

Year End Lessons for 2018

Year End Lessons for 2018

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

First things first…

20 Dessert Inspirations

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

Make your own Fancy new year

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

Bake the Cookies

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

good times & tan lines

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

2019-01-01_0815

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

Make New Friends

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

RELEARN & REMEMBER YOUR OWN LESSONS

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

actions

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

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

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Snippets from Heaven – Part 6

Snippets from Heaven – Part 6

She was beautifully out of place.

Sometimes I believe she intended to be.

Like the moon during the day.

-D.R. Via the Minda Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But God wasn’t done with me.

God wasn't done

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

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

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

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

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

No soul left behind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

love is

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

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Pep Talk Part 2

Pep Talk Part 2

So a few weeks ago I gave myself a pep talk, (you can read it here). It’s one of those posts that caused a lot of hullabaloo.

See when I write about my personal life, and it causes chaos I want to run and hide and scream and then never, ever write again. Ever. Never. Ever. Ever. Never. Like, breaking up Taylor Swift style.

But Holy Christmas Cookies, keeping my words in my head isn’t a place where they can live peacefully. I finally have to surface when I am done processing and get the words out again. They erupt like a fire hose.

What am I talking about?

The Pep Talk Post and the Pass the Praise Post caused drama in my life. Some people thought what I wrote had everything to do with them. But these posts were all ME, by ME, for ME, about ME. And even though I put them out in cyberspace to read; they weren’t about ANYONE else. Not even a little. And they meant no harm. They still mean no harm. Just like this post. It’s about me processing what happened to me.

I put them here to read for the pure and reasonable purpose of possibly reaching someone who feels like me. That’s all.

So there you have it, my thoughts can’t stay quiet. It is just not how I function. Period. Okay, maybe how I operate, EXCLAMATION POINT.

I need a place to let my thoughts wander free. I know I could do it quietly, but then I am not living out loud. And that is a promise I made to myself that I must keep. I NEED to live out loud. Yes, as always the capitals help. Immensely. They make everything feel better.

So, as I begin again in a post about me, I brace for controversy, I know I need to write out loud. Why? Because there is more growth happening here and this is where I put it.

And there you have it. Processed, dissected and now I cannot contain my voice any longer. And here is another post all about me. And yes, this makes me feel selfish and self-centered, but I don’t think I am alone in processing life events through writing. And at the end of the day; I do not believe I am selfish. Again, queue controversy because I am sure some people would disagree, but we can’t make everyone happy I learned that the hard way.

So onward I write…

I have been continuing to workout and semi meal plan since late August. It has not been easy. From my perspective, I am one of the biggest girls in the group with a lot of weight to lose. I know I got myself into this mess. Yes, I just wrote about choices and perspective and mythical unicorns; I know, I know, but this has been difficult. Not always challenging, maybe more tedious, but it wasn’t like whew-hoo so easy, I can do it without any effort!

Yes, there is a step by step meal and workout plan to follow. I do love that. It takes out any guesswork.

Yes, everything is laid out perfectly, and there is a group for accountability; all positive check marks.

Yes, the program is sound and coaches and trainer are on point. There could not be better people involved.

Yes, I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I really, really enjoy it. But it still isn’t always easy. Even with a supportive coach; I still slip a little here and there in the food department and have missed a handful of workouts, but I have kept at 30 minutes of exercise 4+ times a week.

I feel like here I can be honest in this safe place, it is like home for me here on this blog, and if I don’t keep it real, it won’t ever be. And despite my slips, I have kept at it. And that means it works and it is good. It can be good and hard at the same time. Kind of like life, right?

My adhering to the food plan and keeping up with the workouts can be the problematic part some days. And I would rather be honest about how tough that part is than sugar coat it. We often know the right thing to do and even have incredible help, but taking the steps and making the right choices seem difficult.

Almost died

And that is why I wanted to share with you. I wanted to share what keeps me going despite my struggles and my weight slowly coming off or even seeming to stabilize. Just in case you were in a similar spot yourself.

One, I want to have more energy. So working out is a must to achieve that.

Two, I want to be healthy. Again, diet and exercise are the answers here.

And lastly, I want to keep a promise to myself to put myself on the list. I need to take care of me, too. This is an excellent way to do that.

And in an effort to adhere to doing those 3 things I had to take a good look at diet and exercise in my life.

put yourself on the list

Choosing to do this was wearisome at first. I didn’t really want to jump up and work out. But I said I would, so I did. Each day did not get easier at first. But over the weeks it did; I got stronger, and it became a part of my routine. I expected it and missed it when it was a rest day. And then it started to get a bit tedious again, so I took a chance and said yes to an opportunity my coach put out to the group. So, I say spice it up if you start to get a bit bored. This program that I am currently on, has a similar meal plan (let’s not go there yet) but I lift weights in addition to cardio. I know?! Who knew I would ever lift weights?

The video trainer is fantastic. There are several videos about form, and it is always stressed in each session, so you really feel like you are comfortable with all the moves. I love learning how to do this. Sometimes I feel like a wuss, but again over time, I have been able to up my weight and stamina during the cardio sessions. There are still things that I have to modify, but I keep moving and keep trying, and I know now that I will get better at it at some point. And sometimes I have to modify what is being modified, but I keep moving and keep getting better. You have to count each small success; one more sit up; finishing something in a new way, stepping up something that was modified before even if for a few seconds. All the little things count.

Another tip I want to share is not to watch the scale. Now weighing yourself is essential, but your body might be changing even when your weight isn’t. I can see minor changes in my shape and the way my clothes fit even though the scale isn’t seeming to budge too much right now. Overall, I am only 8 pounds down, but I know that I will get stronger and better at the meal plan and that will change, too. Remember sometimes if you have a lot of weight to lose, it took a long time to get that way, so the weight loss isn’t going to happen overnight. It will take time. Be patient.

You need to offer yourself grace and ask yourself these questions when you start to put yourself down:

A) Can you do more than you did yesterday?

B) How do you feel?

I think the – how do you feel – question is super important.

When I answer this question, it is transformative. How do I feel? I actually feel better in my body when I work out, and I think I look better. It must have to do with endorphins and all that jazz, but it does make a difference.

Copy of Almost died

And most importantly, I made a promise to myself to take better care of me. If you have known me since 2012 you know, I got into the best shape of my life since high school when I started running. I could run 9 miles without stopping. A dear friend, who I will love forever, even said I began to have a thigh gap. God love her! In 2014, regardless of how much I was running, I started to gain weight again. I went to doctors for over a year, and nothing could be determined to be the cause. And nothing seemed to help. So I gave up completely. I was exhausted, too and so I just stopped taking of me. I dove into life and running a side business and my kids, and before I knew it I was really getting sick and feeling awful, and I was way over-weight. In 2016 I tried acupuncture to start things up again. It helped at first, but by early 2017 I had completely fallen apart physically. And that is when I made a promise to get healthy again.

I went back to doctors, and after multiple visits to different doctors, we determined that I did have some things that could be causing my exhaustion. I had surgery and started medication, and my energy started to come back. Hallelujah! Queue the choir of angels.

When I felt better, I decided to take a plunge and start this work out program that was all online, with a virtual coach and accountability group.

It started in August, and now in November, I have been lifting weights for 6 weeks. I still get discouraged. I am still frustrated with my weight from time to time. Food is always my downfall, but with logic, the meal plan and my knowledge, i.e., I think before I eat something and decide if it is worth it. Yes, I fall off track occasionally, but I am better than I was yesterday. And I wouldn’t give that up, not now and I hope not ever.

So my point, if you are wanting to start again, do it. You will be glad you did. If you are like me and feel like a rookie all over again – we will get there. Keep going, and if like me you get behind a bit, offer yourself grace and don’t stop – jump back in there. And if you are already a pro, then I am happy to hear how you got to where you are.

And just as importantly you can use your voice to express how you see the world. And even if you think you are doing so kindly; it will make people feel things. It might even piss them off. That is okay. You can’t control that. You can only control how you react. Try to stay calm and kind. But don’t stop speaking up.

Stay in the game, offer grace, and keep it up. You got this!

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Pep Talk Please

Pep Talk Please

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

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

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

you are awesome

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

YOU ARE ENOUGH

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

YOU ROCK AS A PARENT

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

YOU LOOK GREAT TODAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go get it,

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Snippets from Heaven: Part 3

Snippets from Heaven: Part 3

“Maybe we can disarm the fear, stress, and anxiety of what dying represents.”

 -Juan Castaño

When I was twelve, I woke up in the middle of the night to find a Native American Man perched on the floor of my room. His deep brown eyes peered straight to my soul. His wrinkled face was stoic and still. The two gray, silver braids on each side of his head stretched all the way to the floor. He held a deerskin drum between his feet and began to speak in a language I didn’t recognize.

I looked past him to my mirrored closet doors, and instead of a human reflection, all I saw was a ball of light shining there. It looked like a star. Light shone out of this ball in four different directions giving it a diamond-shaped appearance.

Even though this wasn’t the first time I had seen a spirit in my room in the middle of the night; I closed my eyes counted to three and repeated, “I am not crazy” three times.

When I opened my eyes, he was still there. I wish I could say I dared to listen, but like any other twelve-year-old girl, I just wanted to fit in and be “normal.” No one else I knew experienced things this way. He kept speaking, and I continued to refuse to listen. I squeezed my eyes shut again and begged God for sleep. “Please God, please take this man away and let me sleep.” I knew without opening my eyes that the man was receding back into heaven because his voice was slipping away into the stillness of the night.

Because this was common, I fell back asleep shortly after. However, my praying that night didn’t stop the messages the chief would keep trying to send.

One afternoon, not too many weeks later, my mom ran a quick errand with my sisters, and I stayed back to finish homework. As I sat on the couch working on my assignment, I began to hear a commotion in the street. Hollers of men and horses hooves moved closer and closer to my house with a fury of speed. I peeked out the blinds to see a fight going on around me. Arrows whizzed past my window. I sunk back into my couch. “None of this is real,” I said aloud to myself. And in response, the spirit world flexed its muscles to show just how real it is. The walls of my house seemed to fade away, and there I was sitting on my couch in the middle of a valley – no longer did buildings and homes dot its landscape. Instead they had been replaced with open spaces and an occasional mighty oak tree.

Native American men (most likely members of the Amah Mutsun tribe) were trying to push back some rancheros. The Amah Mutsun men were fiercely protecting one man in particular. I had seen this man before. His deep brown eyes pierced my soul, his gray silver braids hung long at his sides, and his wrinkled, stoic face showed defiance and deep sorrow as if he could already see the future that would befall his people.

I buried my head in my hands and closed my eyes and asked again to be free of these images. I wasn’t scared. I was rarely frightened when these things happened. I was ashamed. I did not want to be different. Why did I keep seeing these things I could tell no one about? What difference could I make knowing these things? This cheif…his final resting place not far from my home…how did knowing that make a difference? And who would believe me if I tried to share this knowledge?

“I am sorry,” I said aloud to the chief, “I don’t know what to do.”

The chief continued to visit me on and off, but if he ever spoke again, I never heard it.

I often wondered what would have happened if I had been brave enough to listen, brave enough to be different and open. The next time I vowed to listen more carefully. I promised to share the spirit’s story.

I didn’t have to wait long, as was usually the case. A few months later right before my thirteenth birthday, a young girl came to visit and told me all about what it felt like to die young and how she died. I typed down every word I heard and then sent it off to a local college publication; passing it off as a fictional story I wrote. Be kind, I was a kid and still couldn’t figure out how to tell people what really happened, but this was progress. I was sharing her story with others.

Unfortunately, it was rejected. And again I wondered why? Why was this all happening?What good is seeing and knowing when no one will listen?

These types of events happened again and again throughout my life. It was only recently that I began to finally understand the purpose; to finally understand what spirit had wanted me to know all along.

About a year ago, I was in a session, and I thought, “Oh no, here we go again.” I was worried to relay what I was seeing to the two women who had come to visit me that day. Yes, dear reader, even I understand how far-fetched this all sounds, despite the fact I live it.

What was appearing to me slowly were two old shoes. Ancient shoes. As I started to get a clearer image of this man, who introduced himself as Edward, I noticed he was wearing short baggy pants with knee-high socks and a stiff white shirt that had a sort of frill around the wrist. He told me he was from 1620. And the word, “Mayflower” kept crossing my mind and I saw a ship. I literally thought to myself, there is no way I can tell these two women what I am seeing. But as I always say now, I am obligated to share the things spirit relays to me in a session. So, I prefaced my telling them, with “This may sound crazy, but…”

To my surprise, the two women had just finished a branch of their family tree and had been researching their ancestry for months. What they had recently found, was in fact, Edward. A distant relative who was in fact on the manifest of the Mayflower itself. We were all elated. I could not believe I was speaking with a soul who was hundreds of years old. We were all a bit giddy and teary-eyed. They were so excited that the work that they had done had led Edward to our session. He thanked them for connecting him to their family tree. He was happy to be found and spoke about how his values and his pride in his family still carried many of those values today.

It was after that session that I started to put together another piece of the spirit puzzle, See our loved ones in spirit, our ancestors, we are all tied together, and they want to be remembered. Giving our loved ones a place in the present gives them strength.

I don’t know if you have seen the movie Coco, but it details how we need to remember spirit to help them to continue to exist and be able to visit us here on Earth. It showcases this through the tradition known as El Día de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead.” (To learn a little more about this tradition click here.)

What spirit has been teaching me all this time is how important it is that we remember them. They gain strength and can feel our positive remembering energy even in Heaven. When we make a place for our loved ones in spirit, here in the present, we are helping them to thrive in Heaven. We offer them an invitation into our lives and enrich their Heavenly experience. We all need one another, they need us here, and we need them there. The connection between us does not die. Our history, our ancestors are alive within our souls. We are connected to them and breathe new life into their souls when we remember.

Maybe if we start to remove spirit and death from the shadows and corners of our life here on Earth, perhaps it can begin to enrich our experience here, too. Maybe we can remove the fear. Maybe we can see death as the transition it truly is for our soul; a way onto another life. A life without a body, time or space, just a life connected to all other life. Our loved ones in spirit regardless of how old, are not lost to us; they live within us and around us.

Love and light, until next time,

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Snippets from Heaven: Part 2

Snippets from Heaven: Part 2

On a Monday evening in July, I was making my second call of the day for a phone appointment. I never know what to expect in any session. As per usual, I only knew Michele’s name and nothing more. She had contacted me via email and given me just the details that she would like an hour session and phone was fine with her.

She had patiently waited a month to speak with me. During the session, we were able to connect with her father.

If you don’t know already, dear reader, I remember little about each appointment.

I know I enjoyed speaking with her dad and was in awe of his ability to connect so clearly with her as he had only been in heaven a short time. His messages were filled with love for his daughter, and he expressed a great deal of joy. I recall liking him and connecting with him in a way I would a new friend. I loved the comfort and peace that rested so firmly in his soul. But even more, I enjoyed his humor and that he couldn’t pass up an opportunity to give me a hard time.

As the session ended, Michele’s dad said,  “Thank you for calling me.” I relayed this message and I then thanked Michele, as well. And Michele said, “I think he is talking to both of us.” I was a bit confused and didn’t have to wait long for Michele to clarify.

She said that she and her dad shared a love of all things spiritual and had always wanted to go see a medium together. They didn’t know who they wanted to see and about a month before Michele’s dad passed away, he called her. During the call, he said he had just spoken to a friend and had found their medium. He told her to write down the contact information. Michele was excited and wanted to know when they were going to make an appointment to see this medium together. He told her that she should go see the medium first, by herself. She was confused about why they couldn’t go together. She shrugged it off. But when her dad passed a month later, it all became clear. She felt that he had found the medium that he, himself wanted to communicate through.

Then Michele said words that blew my mind, “The medium he found was you.” And I heard her wave a paper in her hand. Then as I expressed disbelief, she messaged me the below picture.

By the way, I may have asked for proof – I know I am totally the skeptic, and it is entirely ironic please remember my post on offering compassion before passing judgment; I am a human after all. 

36859018_10217126658309403_6342573944842747904_n (1)
Shared with consent from Michele

But there it was. Michele shared with me that her father and chosen me to speak through. I am still in total awe.

Not only is it remarkable to me that he picked me himself before he passed, but it also came at such a perfect time. As messages from spirit tend to do.

As you all know, I struggle with faith and how I fit into that picture often. (If you are new, dear reader, now you know and if you are an old friend, dear reader, you, of course, understood that already.) I love God, I knew God before I understood how to explain Him. And yet, I am some sort of abomination to those whose faith has them cling to literal interpretations. I have made my peace with God because it is only His opinion that matters. Only He knows my heart inside and out. Only He knows my soul with complete clarity. And He is my creator; so He knows I was made just this way with purpose and intent. Anyway, it still stings when I get messages about how people are praying for my soul and that they hope I don’t go to hell for what I do. And it still stings to be made fun of and reprimanded that I do this for personal gain. But I don’t think I would be human if it didn’t hurt.

Regardless, I had once again been thinking about my sessions and was wondering with a heavy heart if I was on the right path; if I was making a difference. And this reading happened. Literally not an hour after I had pondered those thoughts with a heavy heart. Here was spirit saying not only did they want to communicate with me; but I was being selected by them explicitly. My heart still bursts with honor and love. I can’t even imagine; out of all the souls that they could choose; they will pick me. And this beautiful reminder; helped me to remember just to keep going forward, helping one person at a time; doing the best I can right where I am and that, no matter what anyone else says; that alone is enough.

What else struck me about this was, Michele continued to connect the dots between spirit and how they chose to communicate. She sent me the following message (*names have been changed to protect their identity):

“Not sure if you remember Monica* – she came in a few weeks back, with her mom on the phone. She’s my girlfriend who’s father passed 10 days after mine,… My dad brought them into your life as well. When you said your 2 friends told 2 friends, I thought about how my dad’s friend told him, he told me & I told Monica*,… It’s amazing to step back and think about how life works and how we are all connected to each other.”

I think we forget how connected we are to each other. I think we forget that underneath our skin and bones is a soul, and that soul is intertwined with the other souls here on Earth deeply and profoundly. I think when we remember this; we remember to treat others with grace, and compassion, I believe when we remember this hate evaporates and only love can remain. We know each other at a soul level in a way our brains can only just begin to comprehend. And our souls are speaking to one another. And all the while our loved ones in Heaven are guiding us and working with one another to make sure we are loved and protected from Heaven, too.

I will close this with the same words I used when I messaged Michele back:

“We can tear up together. You are not alone. I am thanking him; over and over. He thinks it is appropriate, too. He absolutely thinks he deserves all the credit. The grin on his face is priceless!”

Hopefully, you will remember joy, love, and light are ever-present around you. Your loved ones are not lost; they are alive and well, thriving in Heaven finding ways to continue to be a part of your daily lives; holding you close and dear as ever. You are not alone.

Love and light, until next time,

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Pass the praise

Pass the praise

This weekend I had the opportunity for an all-girls overnight. A couple of moms and I took our daughters to the Niall Horan concert. It was refreshing. My daughter was in heaven with all the make-up and hair curling. She was excited to be around all that feminine energy. I was, too.

We had a marvelous time. It was enchanting to witness moms dancing and singing with their daughters. The smiling, the laughing. Empowering to feel the connection with others. And to top it all off, it was a magnificent night. Dazzling.

IMG_0111

What complicated things for me was the amount of judgment that I took in. I heard and saw women (both young and old) one-upping, dissing anything from clothes to dance moves, and condemning the behavior of others.

This is so normal. And it is so wretched.

In my heart, I believe one of the biggest things keeping women down is each other. We are truly capable of amazing, brilliant accomplishments. Yet, we stomp on each other until our fire goes out; until the spark that makes us unique is covered up and hidden so that it can’t be chastised by others.

In a group of women, I am quiet. I am so reserved and hidden. There are a few groups where I feel like I can entirely be me. And often even then I wonder what is said about me between them when I am not present. And this has everything to do with past experience. Ugh.

More than twenty years ago, I decided that I wanted to change the behavior I witnessed between women; the critical judgment of appearance as we look one another up and down when we first set eyes on one another. Not necessary. The ease of passing a snarky comment about how another girl is dressed or behaving. Instead of prepping for disdain when I looked at or spoke to a woman, I always wanted to have a compliment ready. I wanted to build my sisters up because I felt so beaten down. I was exhausted, and I wasn’t even 20 yet.

I still have a friend that teases me about how we met. I saw her leaving class; we had History 17A&B together in college. She was magnetic even then. People were drawn to her. She was always in a group in and out of class. But even the best of us have bad days. We were leaving class one afternoon, and she looked so sad. She was alone, and her movements seemed heavy and deliberate. Every fiber of my being wanted to cheer her up. The compliment I had ready spilled from my mouth. “I really love your hair!” I said as I jogged to catch her. I don’t even remember her exact words, but I remember the smile. I remember the change in her step after I said it. She always tells people I was hitting on her; that’s her story of how we met.

But, why can’t we offer praise instead of judgment? Why does judgment so easily trickle off our tongues? Why does criticism slide so effortlessly from our lips?

Compassion

When I was little my mom used to play this game with us. We would be sitting on the beach and be bored or eating in a restaurant and get restless, and she would pick people out and ask us to tell her their story. What made them happy? What made them sad? What were they doing there? Why? How did they get there? What was their family like? Where did they live? She would ask us how we got to a specific conclusion and would even offer alternatives if we had missed something or not taken some other reason into consideration.

There are so many times in my interaction with people I try to figure out their story. This game my mom had us play became something that helped me to work and always find a way to better understand what people might be feeling or needing from experience.

When I see a mom with a child who is misbehaving; I don’t pass judgment on her parenting – I offer her praise for how well she is coping at that moment; because – and this is IMPORTANT (yes, I am using preachy capital letters at you) what happened around that moment – I don’t know; and you don’t either. But I can imagine. I am a mom of four and have carried screaming children out of stores, I was also a kid, and there are several stories of my epic fits. I empathize with that poor mom the way I would with my own mother. The way I would want someone to sympathize with me. We don’t know the backdrop of what caused a particular moment to become a reality; we only have that one snippet. One small piece of someone else’s life and it isn’t ours to judge.

Granted, I am not saying that we give everyone a pass. What I am saying is trying to understand before you pass judgment on another human should be a more common practice. Or maybe just merely understand. And then perhaps just as simple, offer compassion instead.

And more importantly; we can’t help someone we are rooting against. If we are rooting against them, we want them to fail. If we are rooting against them, then we are placing that negative energy on another and giving more negative energy life. We can only help; when we are rooting for; when we are the cheerleaders of others. So we have to offer compassion in the place of our judgment to help others heal and find another way. And maybe we should put the “us and them” language aside, too. Perhaps if we are rooting for one another, we are rooting for everyone all at once. And maybe that makes this world more livable, too.

Believe me, I am not void of passing judgment. And boy oh boy can I hold a grudge. But I remind myself that I need to release myself from the guilt of passing judgment and that I can do better next time. So, I get ready to have a compliment on hand and give that instead of judgment. I work hard not to partake in the negative talk that happens around me. That doesn’t mean I haven’t caught myself doing it, but I work to remove myself from these situations.

How you may ask? I work tirelessly to lift up others instead.

Seriously, you will find me in the grocery store, at Target, at an event, giving compliments to complete strangers. And I mean every word. It is essential to speak the truth in your compliments, too. You have to believe it. People see through bullshit compliments pretty easily. Just saying.

It is essential to speak the truth in your compliments, too. You have to believe it. People see through bullshit compliments pretty easily.

It is so worth the work! To see a smile and a difference in the step of another human because you helped to remind them of their strengths, is beyond powerful. It is like witnessing love in motion. It is spell-binding. Try it. I know it will make you both feel better. And then if you have a daughter or son, teach them this little trick, too. What a world we could live in if we all exchanged praise instead of judgment. We are going to slip up, we are human, we are built to make mistakes, but if we speak with compassion more often than judgment we are better off all the way around.

Peace and love,

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Life out loud

Life out loud

“You need to forget what society has told you about life and expectations, and don’t let anybody make you pretend. You are enough, just the way you are…”

                                                                                                        – Maddie Dawson

I think the majority of us probably spend too much time in our heads; wrapped up in our own lives. The magic starts to happen outside of ourselves. It’s hard to believe sometimes because pain is out there, too. But it’s true. Truer than true.

You have to be brave to show up as you are without a mask and to open your whole self up to the world and be damned what comes flinging back at you. That is not an easy feat, nor for the faint of heart. But it is required to live life out loud. It is just the way it is.

Michelle Murnin Paulson (3)

Even though it can be scary and the armor feels necessary it is best if we keep going out without it. It is best if we keep showing up as ourselves; brave and open. You will find your people, and you will find the people who aren’t yours. Keep and love your people and let the others ones go. It is okay. If they are meant to be, they will come back.

We can get easily discouraged, too. Get wounded and retreat. Lick our wounds and decide the world is just much too much to be out in it without any armor to shield our soft and easily pierce-able hearts. Some people stay in that place of retreat for the rest of their lives; they get so wounded. They start to believe they are damaged. That isn’t true. No one is so injured they can’t find some healing. Anything is possible. That is true, too. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have seen a mama bury her baby and then rise again. I have seen that happen more often than I ever wanted. I have seen heartbreak up close. Heartbreak so big that it starts to swallow you up with it and then somehow on a day down the road the same heartbreak finds laughter. Laughter that burns so bright it catches everyone within earshot and lifts them up with it.

Healing is hard. Healing is forever work, and sometimes we need rest from healing, and we get so cozy and comfortable we forget we need to go back to that healing work. When we forget that we should keep up that healing work; the universe gets involved.

It really can stick its ugly head into things and make a great big mess, and it is almost impossible sometimes to go clean it up after you have been so cozy and relaxed in the pleasant little rut you had carved out for yourself. So sometimes, people don’t clean anything up. They just leave that mess and live there because they already have had just about enough; thank you very much. So they sit right there and stay in that mess. They learn to cope and survive in that clutter and debris until they just can’t see it anymore.

And sometimes no matter where you might be or what mess you might have left lying around just a little too long; you wake up and decide today is the day, and you get right back to the work of healing. It feels so good to stretch your legs finally and climb out of that rut that you are so enamored with the way the world looks you don’t mind the healing work at first. It is okay that it is hard. Then one day, BAM! It is like the cycle is right back where you started and you remember how hard this thing called life can be. It makes you want to give up right then and there. And maybe you do, just for a little bit. It is okay to take a rest after all. But after a few days or weeks you pick yourself right back up and dust yourself off and start out again. Sometimes rest clears our vision just a bit and we can keep at it a little bit longer.

Copy of Michelle Murnin Paulson

You know, one thing that I have figured out so far is that life is going to happen however and whenever it wants no matter what we do. The best thing is to try again; even if we fall, even if we get comfortable, even if we are knocked down by the big old universe because we weren’t paying attention. The best thing to do is to keep at the healing work and keep unlearning and learning and re-learning what works best for us at the moment.

Copy of Copy of Michelle Murnin Paulson

Some things are seasonal and temporary, and others are built to last through thick and thin; through ugly crying and even some yelling; those things may even take a break, but they never really leave us because they were built to last after all.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Michelle Murnin Paulson

And most importantly, don’t forget to love yourself along the way. A great deal of us forget that part. We love our people fierce and well, but then we stop one day and realize we forgot our own hearts somewhere along the way. Remember that taking care of yourself helps you take care of those you love, too. Hearts are resilient creatures; once they are remembered they seem to find a way to start to refresh themselves even if we fight it.

Live out loud. It is worth every second. Even when you are lonely and lost. Even when you don’t think you can for one more second. Even if you have stopped for a while; go back again and be loud, be you. In the end, it leaves your life fuller and more well-rounded. It strips away the fear and unnecessary and what is left overfills every second of every space across all of your time here and you will look around on the good days and know that you are and have always been right where you need to be. And you will look around on the bad days, and you will know you have always been right where you needed to be.

Today is the day. Set your armor down and try again or keep plugging away or lift your head a bit to see if you can look out of the rut you might have curled and cozied into. Today is the day to be you out loud for the world to see. Let love lead your heart and guide your feet, and you will always know the way.

Until next time,

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Parenting: My truth

Parenting: My truth

** Special note: I write this with the intent and experience of my parenting journey. In no way is it meant to be hurtful to those families who have had severe and devastating struggles. Those of my friends that have endured this, my heart goes out to you all. Each and everyone. I know the names of all of your babies. I say them every day. I know how your heart hurts and that life will never be the same. This essay is genuinely written from only my perspective. It is just a simplified version of what I am going through with no intent to demean or diminish other people’s experiences.**

People mean well when they tell their harrowing labor stories, or crazy parenting moments, or offer their warnings about parenting teenagers, or offer advice and layout the total cost of raising a child. I remember all the breastfeeding, diaper changing, labor giving, toddler disciplining, Happiest Baby on the Block sharing, and all it did was exhaust me. Mostly made me feel pretty inadequate as a parent. So I stopped paying attention to what other people were doing, followed my gut instincts and did the best I could. That is what I am still doing. Now, people keep telling me parenting teens is the hardest. They mean well, I get it. But, just like the advice in the earlier years, I don’t think I am going to buy into it.

Before I had children, everyone would tell me you don’t know what you are getting into; your life is going to be so different. You are never ready for what is going to happen. When I held my son in my arms for the first time, my whole body shifted into mom mode. I had waited my entire life for that moment. Everything before was just practicing for that moment. Was I scared? Of course. I mean, duh. Brian and I got home looked at each other and looked at the helpless little human in my arms and knew we were going to have to wing it. We knew it was going to be harder than anything we had ever done before and we knew there wasn’t a rule book or guide that was tailored to us.

Regardless of whatever outside advice or stories I heard from other novice or experienced mothers, from day one with my babies, somewhere in me, I knew I could do it, and I knew I would know best, no matter what. Of course, it was scary, and I worry through every single step.

I remember being terrified they would stop breathing when I wasn’t looking or that they were going to have some severe food allergy, or illness, or God forbid, based on every book known to man, they would be less than in every way because they were formula fed. I worried about their psyche since I rocked them to sleep every single night and did not believe in letting them cry it out. Come on; there is enough crying in life already. But most of all, I loved being a mom to my babies. They way they smelled after a bath, the rocking to sleep, watching milestones be reached, hearing them laugh for the first time. Not sleeping was rough, but it was also so sacred and special to have those moments in the silence with them.

When they survived infancy, walking became the next terrifying event. There are stairs everywhere people. Everything seemed to have sharp corners, and my goodness floor tile is so freaking hard. Each place became an obstacle course of sharp edges, hard surfaces, and steep falls. But it was also miraculous to watch them take those first steps; to see the wonder on their faces as they were able to start exploring the world at their own pace.

After we survived walking – and running; I won’t even go there – with just a few bumps and bruises it was play-dates at the park. I know, I know those sound fun, but when the kids were little toddlers, my heart was in constant panic mode. Some moron believed it was a good idea that at the tippy, tippy top of the play structure next to the very best tube slide there needed to be an opening with a 20-foot drop. I mean who in HOLY HELL designs these things?! Regardless of the pitfalls and obstacle courses of doom; parenting a toddler was way more than amazing. The talking, the stories, the imaginative play, the silly and hilarious things that would come out of their mouths. Watching each one develop their personality, sense of style and interpret the world around them.

Then it’s preschool and the agony of leaving your child and then watching like a stalker behind two-way glass wondering why the hell they have to go to preschool anyway. I mean really. And it was hard to send them off to preschool because I enjoyed being around them; I hated missing anything about their life.

After that is kindergarten. There are no two-way windows there. You are left to leave and wonder what the heck is going on in there. Thank goodness you can volunteer. But still, you are left wondering: Is the playground safe? How good are the background checks? What kind of kids are in there? So many emotions. How can we possibly survive all the feelings – friendships happening or not, learning and the rate at which it is happening; learning disabilities, differences, and how are we going to survive 6 hours without our baby? Because I loved being with them. Teaching them numbers, the alphabet, counting, reading books and exploring the world with them.

But while you are worrying about all of that they somehow make their entire way through infancy, toddler-hood, pre-school, and elementary school.  Then middle school happens. You have to watch as your child walks off into that new territory all by themselves because “No one else’s mom is walking them on campus!” And at this place, there are kids holding hands, kissing, youtube-ing, social media-ing, conducting unsupervised google searches – and if you are monitoring all of this as best you can as a parent and limiting it you also are now so uncool and the worst parent that ever lived! Or at least your kid thinks so. Plus, when you monitor the damn text messages you always find something you wish you hadn’t. It is not a win-win, ever.

I am sure this continues through high school and adulthood. We will never stop worrying. Believe me; we just went to the first high school rally preparing for next year, and the fears keep growing. Tumbling into my mind before I can stop them. Plus my dear husband thinks it’s reassuring for me to know that we won’t always like how our kids behave. It never makes me feel better hearing that.

From the beginning, I think we are learning to let go. Learning how to navigate a world where we want our children to grow and thrive, but still be shielded just enough to have a happy childhood.

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So far parenting a teen has been just as rewarding and wonderous as parenting an infant or a toddler. Sure, I don’t get cuddles and conversations may veer into topics including sex, drugs, and violence in our world, but watching my children grow into courteous, educated, friendly, intelligent, curious youth with great ideas about how to contribute to their communities is beyond anything I ever imagined. We discuss novels, politics, rules, family dynamics, and I get a front row seat to watch them fly. Giving them room to grow is hard; I may have had some helicopter tendencies with my first one, but I think we all do. Having three more kids easily cured that. Each step they took away from me, to explore the world was preparing me to help give them that room to grow and thrive. It is terrifying at times, but our relationships are healthy and meaningful. I trust them. They have given me every reason to.

I know parenting is really about growing children into amazing adults – at least that is our goal. We are truly learning to let go from day one. But just because we are teaching them to fly doesn’t mean that one stage is harder than the next or that they grow entirely away from us; it is just the way things are. Being a mom is still my most treasured gift regardless of the stage. That is my story, and I am sticking to it.

 

Hallelujah anyway

Hallelujah anyway

Y’all I saw Jen Hatmaker last week on the Moxie Matters Tour, and I just have to say Hallelujah and Amen. She is such a down to earth, genuine human. She showed up sick and tired and persevered through the evening. She is just one of my favorite humans.

The theme of the evening centered around being a good neighbor and what that meant. She used the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37, to illustrate what Jesus taught us about being a good neighbor.

See, Jesus tells the story of a man that is robbed, beaten, stripped and left for dead and how a priest and a holy man not only pass him by when they see him; they move to the other side of the street. The person who stops to help the robbed and beaten man is a Samaritan. Now in biblical times; a Samaritan was someone who was cast off and despised. Yet, this is the person who Jesus uses as the helper and caregiver. (If you want to read the verses yourself check them out here.)

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I know, I have a blessed and beautiful life. I get that. But Y’all, we every single one of us, have experienced pain. We have all had some form of beaten down-ness even if it is in the metaphorical sense. Jen shared this, and I wholeheartedly agree. Pain is common ground.

For me it has been this journey to be my whole self out loud; to finally follow my calling to mediumship. Even though I know what I am doing is right, it still seems to strike shame, hurt and fear in me.

See I have been talked down to, told I was the devil, said I speak to demons, that I capitalize on other people’s pain. People who love me have said that the only reason they believe me is because it is me. While that is nice; it still means that what I have been asked to do; called to do, is something vile and wrong in their book; that there is this notion that it is all hooey. That what I do cannot be real.

Even I have doubts; I am human after all, but those doubts don’t come from my soul at all. The shame, fear and hurt all come from human interaction and logic. When I let my soul do the talking, there are no doubts; there is no fear, there is no shame. But when I have to interact with other humans, the lump in my throat stretches, and I can’t seem to get out the words to explain what I do without feeling some shame.

The trick is, I was born this way. Being able to see spirit is as much a part of me as my hazel eyes, bad temper, and the blood that runs through my body. This is me. This is my normal. This isn’t something I created out of thin air. It isn’t even something I can escape. Believe me I have tried. Baptism made it stronger. Hiding didn’t stop what I was seeing it just kept me safe from other humans knowing and their reactions.

I spent most of my life in hiding. Straddling two worlds. Living in them and between them. Being someone different on the inside than on the outside. I know many of you understand this. You get that it sucks big time.

I didn’t want that for my kids. I don’t want that for anyone at all. We should have our inside match our outside. We should be free to be ourselves. We should all love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And for Pete’s sake we should love ourselves.

But it was ironic listening to Jen speak. Listening to her talk about what she felt and how she had dealt with ridicule last year, and I thought; I wonder if you knew who I was, if we were sitting down talking to me, would you accept me? All of me? I didn’t feel like I would be allowed in. OUTCAST. That is how I will forever be branded.

Seeing Jen felt like going to church on a school night. I am not saying it like that is a bad thing. It made me miss a connection to God like that. Now God and I are good. Jesus and I are cool. I think I am okay there, but to have a church and a community that loves God also accept me; those things are mutually exclusive. I don’t believe that there is a church that would welcome all of me with open arms. It stings a little because I feel like that is something missing in my life. Not God or the four walls, but the community of like-minded souls in worship.

I sat in this event thinking I want to be a part of something like this and left feeling like that will never happen. Yes, I know having God love me is enough, but we are all human, and man it would be nice to feel whole and unashamed in a room like that.

It made me think of my event and how the people who have known me all my life, saw proof of things I could not conjure up, research or find out on my own, saw evidence that spirit can speak through me and still somehow wanted more clarification that God was okay with what I do. I can’t give anyone that. It isn’t my place.

I think a part of me felt that if I spoke my truth out loud it would wash away the hurt and the shame and I could be me without feeling wrong somehow. Nope. I will have to defend myself to my dying day.

Dentists, doctors, teachers, stay at home moms, marketers, gardeners, chefs, cashiers they don’t have to hide in shame when they tell people what they do for a living.

Just posting my live event brought out people who thought they could heal me with Bible Speak and damnation. I do not need to be healed. I am already whole. I am a decent person who loves her children, puts time and energy into the community she lives in, has a stable, healthy marriage, is kind to others, and hasn’t ever committed a crime in her life. Okay, okay, I once checked my email on my phone at a stop light; I have a ticket for that, but that is it. And still, I feel like some abomination. It just makes me tired.

I know sometimes it feels like it is only doom and gloom here on the blog, but this is where I can work out my shit. It is in my blog where I can feel all the feels and then get to the other side. I know, some people say you shouldn’t share your story until you are all the way through, but I get stuck in the middle a lot. I get stuck and need to vent to find the light at the end of the tunnel or to see the damn switch on the wall that has been there all along.

Some people told me after seeing me live that they didn’t know I was that funny or they didn’t realize I was that engaging. Well, duh I can’t be myself most places. But there in that room, people bought a ticket to see the real me, and I showed up.

My instinct to hide has been a part of me since I was two years old. I knew I wasn’t like everyone else. I was something different. That is all I have been all my life, something different. I count myself lucky, besides being female, I was able to hide who I was, to escape judgment because my difference is something that couldn’t be seen. And yes, I also know that I chose to speak up, I decided to let this loose. I get it. You can’t have it all.

But I guess because I was straddling both worlds and keeping it secret for so long; I miss my secret hiding place sometimes. I miss a place where I could pretend to feel whole and not have to feel what people think of me.

hallelujah anyway. I choose to stumble forward with as much grace as I can muster and hope for the best.

The good news, I guess, is that I am who I am. I know that my relationship with God is intact. If HE was pissed at me, I am pretty sure I would know it. And if I keep doing what I think is the next right thing that is all I can do. That is all we can ask of anyone. To do the best they can with what they have. So even if I can’t fit in places I would like to, and I might be seen as an evildoer in some circles; I just have to be the best me I can be. That is all I have to offer and at the end of the day that is good enough. So I say, hallelujah anyway. I choose to stumble forward with as much grace as I can muster and hope for the best. I will be a good neighbor and a good human. That is enough and it is okay if I stumble through it. I think moving forward with as much grace as I can muster is A-okay.

Miracles

Miracles

Gratitude is still lingering in our minds as it was Thanksgiving for some of us just a few months ago. I saw the Facebook posts blowing up with the 30 days of thanks. I saw the pictures about being thankful and blessed. Then, December brought us Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Advent, and many more holidays around the world. In our neck of the woods the Holiday Cards come zipping in (mine will be a New Year’s card this year, or around then) and the pictures of families fill them. Smiling kids, dogs, and little notes about what is going on in everyone’s worlds. I love them, cherish them to pieces, but my heart breaks a little when I think of who might be missing from those photos or my friends that will never have a complete family photo ever again. How crushing this time of year can be for some. And with it being January that doesn’t just lift away like a fog; even in our happiest moments; pain becomes a lifeline on our hands, the words on the tips of our tongues we do not speak, and the ache in our heart that never quite goes away.

Some of you have heard me share this story, but I want to share it here again. A preacher shared this at a sermon.

A property owner needed to drill a well. Out came the man with the tools to drill the well. As they began drilling they ran into difficulty because it was winter and the ground was frozen. Frustrated, the land owner was ready to give up, “I guess we will just have to wait until spring,” he said.

“Oh no,” replied the man drilling. “You need to keep drilling. If you find water in the winter you will have water all year-long.”

It reminds me of all of those that are grateful; that have had moments of great loss as well. And that sometimes our hearts are frozen over with the cold grief. While it may seem impossible; we can drill down, even in the winter, even in the bleakest of circumstances; which I know we are hearing about on the news and some of us are living through. We must keep drilling to reach the water; to reach faith and gratitude so that it becomes something we have 365 days a year. So it becomes our habit and pattern of behavior; not just for the end of the year, but all year long. It can be the thing that sits beside us when we have fallen and it can be the voice that whispers us awake again and again. It can be the cheerleader that helps us forge ahead with each step that we take.

When I was very little I knew I was different because I could see and hear things others could not. I learned to keep this part of myself hidden. And when I hid that part of myself it became easy to hide. I have spent the last several years unveiling my hidden pieces. Breaking open and becoming vulnerable. It has been one of the most difficult things to do. And yet it is yielding powerful results in my life; this drilling down. It has led me to things and moments I never dreamed of having.

We burn with divine light

I get to witness miracles. God gave me an amazing gift and I am fortunate enough to help others with it. Even with the joy that comes with what I witness, the weight and sadness of the lives I interact with weigh heavy on my heart. I would much rather my clients loved ones were still physically with them then me have the job that I do. It’s a tough one and most days it makes me feel less than, instead of unique because no matter what I do it will never be enough. That is just the nature of it.

The point is that I suck at this life thing on the regular. I am pretty sure most days I make more mistakes than not, but in the end, I win more than I lose. Breaking myself open to being completely vulnerable has made me unable to sit at many tables; it quickly separates me from people, and definitely makes me an outcast. I am readily seen as different. But aren’t we all seen that way in some realm of our lives?

When I look at my family, my friends and see those family cards flowing in; I can see between the lines. I see the triumphs and the fears; the dark and the light in their lives. We are all just surviving the best way we know how.

It would be a beautiful thing if we stopped using our differences as weapons and instead used them to be the light in one another’s lives. We have one thing in common; each of us is human. Each of us has a beating heart with emotions and a body with basic needs. If we started where we are, THE SAME, and cherished where those similarities ended and made room for everyone at the table that would be a miraculous world. And not just because we would all find a way to coexist; but because when we start to allow miracles into our lives; they start to show up over and over again.

Because I take a blind leap of faith every day – yes, it is blind; there is no way for me to know what I believe is truth – I witness miracles in my work and life every single day; multiple times a day, but I know that is because I believe in something greater than myself; I believe miracles happen every second of every day and I watch for them and give thanks for them. That is what allows their frequency in my life; that I expect them to be there. I know this is not easy for all; believing in something you can’t see is so very hard.

Welcome

Clients of mine often express their struggle to comprehend a session and truly believe what happened was real. Even when we are presented with a direct, divine answer from the universe that there is something greater, that we are not in control, it is hard to believe. I get it. Nothing anyone can do, or anything you witness can force you to believe in anything; you have to choose to believe. But, that is the thing, what I do isn’t about proof; it isn’t about the idea that frequency will make it real and solid; you have to believe on your own.

As always, with what I do and how to explain it; I think of God. I think of Jesus.

Jesus was given to us as a most precious gift and he gave his life for us. He wasn’t invited to every table in life and he isn’t invited to every table in death, as there are people who do not believe in him. People make a choice to believe or not to believe. Regardless of how others viewed him, he lived his best life, vulnerable, open, and believing in something greater than himself.

When we believe, when we chose to be open, we find the miracles in life; we witness greatness that has no other explanation. I think being vulnerable, open and choosing to believe is enough. It is what I chose each day. Right or wrong it leads me toward faith, miracles and blessings. I wouldn’t choose any other way.

Peace be with you,
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A Seat at the Table

A Seat at the Table

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The answer was simple.

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

Be still and know that I am God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is okay…

to feel lonely sometimes

to be scared

to be nervous

to try new things

to decide not to try new things

to live in the RIGHT NOW

to let the past go

to let the future be what it will be

to hide when I need to

to show up

to believe I am meant for great things

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

to use my armor when I need it

to live outside the lines

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

to believe in miracles and magic

to laugh, live and love

to always take my seat at the table

to be my own advocate

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

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

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

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