My first reading.

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

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

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

Matthew gained his angel wings in July of 2007.

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

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

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

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

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

Everything you want is on the other side of fear

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

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

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

Well, crap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

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June and July Lessons 2014…

Hello August

 

Summer is one of my favorite times of year for so many reasons. This summer has not disappointed that is for sure. I have taken some time to reflect on June and July and what I have learned. I hope these lessons are meaningful to you as well.

1. Family pictures are worth it even when no one is looking.

Even when no one is lookingEven though no one was looking at me when I was attempting to take a family photo I love it any way. I did finally get the shot, but this one shows my daughter’s striking profile, my oldest son actually looking at my daughter with wonder instead of contempt, my husband and youngest son looking out for something my son is eager for my husband to see, and my middle son with candy in hand watching the street behind me in wonder. Family photos are worth it, each and every shot you take.

2. Road trips are the best.

Now don’t get me wrong I didn’t drive the 816 miles, my husband did, but I still think road trips are the best. Our family spent 4 days total driving – two on the way out and two on the way back to visit family and attend my cousin’s wedding. It was one of the best vacations we have had so far.

The kids were on cloud nine because they could play video games and watch movies to their heart’s content. My husband and I shared some good conversation and I read two books. We had snacks and fun pit stops.

Loosey the Moose

Road trips are a great way to spend time as a family. We also stumbled upon Hot August Nights in Reno, NV.

Hot August Nights

 

A super fun exhibit of restored cars from just about every era. The kids got to watch the opening night parade and catch candy from the passing cars. They thought it was just as fun as Halloween.

Reno

 

Plus if you are ever in Truckee, CA you have to try the Squeeze In – super yummy breakfast and I am sure lunch is good, too.

Squeeze In

 

3. Read, Read, Read.

Whenever you have the time or the chance, read. Reading is the best escape for me and it is just a great activity with so many benefits.

This summer I read…

Sycamore Row by John Grisham – two thumbs up

Woman of Ill Fame by Erika Mailman – two thumbs up

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – one and a half thumbs up

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – two thumbs up and then some

3 a.m. by Nick Pirog – two thumbs up

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens – two thumbs up

The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth – two thumbs up

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King – one thumb up

Hopefully this last two weeks of summer I can get in two more books. Fingers crossed.

4. Comfort regardless of size.

These past few weeks I have worked on seeing my own beauty regardless of my size. This has been a difficult one; especially when I visited my family and the majority are in really good shape or very thin. I put on my bathing suit any way and enjoyed a day at the pool with my kids. I tried to look in the mirror and not condemn my appearance, but instead praise what I liked. It is a work in progress, but it definitely feels better than the reverse that I have done the last six months. Baby steps.

This blog post circulated FB and other social media sites as well as Huffington Post and it is well worth the few minutes it takes to read it. This mom was caught on the beach by her son taking a picture of her. He thought she looked beautiful and it took him seeing it for her to see it to.

click photo for source
click photo for source

 

5. Birthday Parties should be low-key.

I have spent almost ten years trying to play Martha Stewart at birthday parties. We have had jump houses, Jedi Training Camps, Balloon artists and face painting, turned our garage into a dance room complete with disco ball, and I always attempt fancy cakes or cupcakes. See some of the proof below…

Exhibit A – Jedi Training Academy complete with Luke and Princess Leia

Jedi Training Academy

 

Exhibit B – Star Wars cupcakes, there were also airplane cupcakes and Mickey Mouse cupcakes as all three boys had their birthday party together and a Frankenstein cake for my daughter’s birthday which was a Halloween Costume Party.

star wars cupcakes

IMG_1434

Exhibit C – Face paint artist giving tattoos to the adults,after the piñata and treasure hunt the kids are counting their candy, and fancy spreads with tons of people.

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This summer I went low-key for the kid’s birthdays – no fancy goodie bags – just gift cards for ice cream. We ate pizza and had a sleep over with just a few boys. The family party was separate and I just did snacks and ice cream cups that I bought from Safeway. We played Pin the Tail on the Donkey and had sack races.

It was nice to actually have the chance to visit with everyone that was there and have little stress. It was fun and the kids enjoyed the party just as much as the other ones. So all the frill really doesn’t make a big difference.

6. Write anyway…

In seventh grade my English teacher had a GREEN BOOK and she would add quotes to it from all the great writing that she would come across from students in the classroom. I never made the GREEN BOOK. That same year, I submitted a short story to a local college magazine to be published. It was rejected.

For a long time I quit writing. I didn’t even write in a journal any more.

Now here I am 23 years later, writing any way. I am not the best at forming grammatically correct sentences, my vocabulary is not as robust as most, I use a passive voice more often than not, and I am sure I use prepositions when I shouldn’t, but I write any way.

My content is sometimes over the top or a little much for some and I write any way. The feedback I get sometimes makes me want to crawl under a rock and stop writing again, but I remember what it felt like to stop and I write any way.

Whatever your dream may be – don’t let excuses or others get in your way – do what you love any way.

7. Just when you think you should give up…DON’T.

Doing this whole medium side business thing has been a great deal of work and I know anything worth having is a lot of work. However, there are times I think it may not be worth it and I should just go back to having weekend mornings and my evenings free. And then along comes someone who reminds me that I am supposed to be sharing this gift, that it is helping others; regardless of who may not believe it; it is making a difference for the people I do the readings for and that is all that matters.

So you need to set your doubts aside and move forward if you know you are doing the right thing. Sometimes the right thing to do is the hardest thing to do.

8. Sparklers…

It is not a good idea to light all the sparklers at once – they will go off in one big flash and then you have no sparklers for the kids. Just a FYI if you ever attempt that trick. Also, foot long sparklers are really the way to go; just keep children two feet apart on the side-walk or street while in use.

Sparklers

9. Last but not least…

If the kids are asking “Are we there yet” one too many times and you are about to lose your mind, just tell them you will get there when it is dark or light depending on your driving time and that they can ask you when it is dark/light because that is when  you will be there. It worked great on our road trip. The kids didn’t ask for hours because they were waiting to ask again until it got dark.

 

Cheers,

M