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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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How do you know if spirit is with you?

How do you know if spirit is with you?

Today, I took a little me time. Well, mostly.

I had to run to Target to get some things for the kids and their teachers to end out the year, but I wandered a bit since I had the morning to myself. Inherently I wanted to rush because there is a laundry list of things to do and appointments to get to, but something kept whispering to me to take my time and amble through. As I was leaving the grocery section, something told me to turn right. So, I did.

Sure enough, as I was walking down the aisle, a dear friend was walking right toward me. Within minutes we were in deep conversation about life, depression, motherhood, and friendship. It buoyed me up in a way nothing had in days.

On my way home, I was pondering this encounter and feeling grateful when another push came into my mind. Something urged me to change the radio station. And as I did, I hear Brett Eldridge live on the Highway. I leave it for a second. He is just talking, and not singing. As I go to change the channel, I hear this gentle, “wait” from deep in my soul, so I do.

Brett starts talking about Frank Sinatra. He alerts the listeners that he has decided to end his live concert (via radio) with a song by Frank Sinatra, In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning. He says he wants to end on this song for all those fans that feel lonely and are up nights and can’t quite sleep or are thinking about why are they here, etc. And he sings only this part of the song,

In the wee small hours of the morning
While the whole wide world is fast asleep
You lie awake and think about the girl
And never even think of counting sheep

When your lonely heart has learned its lesson
You’d be hers if only she would call
In the wee small hours of the morning
That’s the time you miss her most of all

Well, let me pause for a minute here and tell you my grandma was a huge fan of Ol’ Blue Eyes. His records were regularly playing in their house, and she would always tell you he was the best singer of all time.

To top that off, I have been feeling desperately lonely lately. No good reason to feel lonely, but just a feeling wedged in the pit of my stomach.

To hear this today, I know my grandma was reaching down from heaven to remind me that I am not alone. And it is no secret that the line “that’s the time you miss her most of all” is the last line sung. My grandma would want to be missed. It was so her to send Frank on Country radio to me today to remind me I am loved, and she is nearby. Plus running into such a dear friend so unexpectedly; it was spirit working to let me know I am not alone.

I know some people may say that is stretch and that the song doesn’t have anything to do with a grandma being missed, but I assure you I was her girl and she was mine. It makes perfect sense to me and when it comes to signs that is all that matters. Signs only need to make perfect sense to you.

So how do you know that spirit is all around you? Well, nothing I can tell you will make you believe; but that is the way to know – you just have to believe they are there.

Heaven is not some far off distant place; we are a part of it. I mean really, could you imagine a heaven where you had no access to more than half of the people you loved most in the world?

Typically, souls in heaven have family here on Earth that they love and miss. So of course, we are a part of their heaven. They can visit and interact with us, and they do. They are sending messages in any way that they can; using whatever tools that they can find. Wouldn’t you if you could?

Spirit delivers messages to their loved ones in a myriad of ways.

For one, spirit/soul doesn’t need words to communicate, and that means that our spirit loved ones can communicate with any living thing to get our attention. Animals, insects, plants, trees, the wind, water, rocks. Whatever has energy running through it, spirits can access. So you may see a particular bird, insect, or flower all the time. You may find a specific rock or wind chimes may sound when there is no apparent wind. All of these are signs and spirit’s way of saying hello to you.

And that is not all. Since energy can run through electronics, too, these can be used to deliver a message that spirit is close. You may have lights dim and get bright in your house; printers not work; poor Internet connection with no explanation; interrupted and dropped calls, these are all signs from spirit. Now, don’t get me wrong – sometimes things go on the fritz, or the power goes out, but typically with a sign, we feel or sense that something is behind it. Remember when I said soul/spirit doesn’t need words to communicate, well there it is. There is usually a sense of knowing that comes with a sign. You often will think of the person you miss or feel them near right after or before the sign. And again, sometimes you aren’t thinking of them, but they tie in a song that is connected to them or their name in a way to get your attention and let you know it is them; like my grandma did today.

Spirit can do many things. One of their favorite ways to communicate is called ghosting. I know, I know, spirit has a great sense of humor. Ghosting happens when you are out and about and out of the corner of your eye you see someone. Instantly you think; “Gosh, that looks like grandpa“.

When you look again, carefully, that person doesn’t look anything like your grandpa. You could have sworn that they did the first time you saw them. Well, a spirit will stand in front of a living person in a body, and for a moment you can “see” them there. This act is called ghosting and one way they try to say hi to you.

Spirit has a way of moving energy in a space as well. So I am sure this dates me, but for those of you know it; the penny scene from Ghost is an example. See below…

While spirit can’t entirely communicate with us in as blatant a way as Sam does; they can communicate in pretty powerful ways by moving objects. Why can’t they do what Sam does? Well, there are rules. I have asked and I feel based on the explanations that I have received, the answer is that we aren’t supposed to have proof. We have to take their existence on faith. It is part of the deal.

Regardless, they do move things. Whether it is a photo, or your keys or opening a door – which I have seen with my own eyes. They move things to get our attention. Sometimes, they can “move” things without moving them at all. For example, you might hear a knock on a door in the house, or a cupboard shut, or a door open or close, but there was no movement. You might hear footsteps and feel someone in the room. They do all of these things not to scare you, unless you have someone in your family with that kind of sense of humor, but to reassure you that they are with you.

And above all of that, sometimes, spirit uses a channel – whether it is a person like me or an unsuspecting friend or relative to get their actual emotions and words right to you. You may bump into someone, and they will tell you something that you know came from your departed cousin or sister. You know those words feel and sound like someone on the other side.

Another way spirit can communicate is with numbers. This one seems out there I know, but because I can feel energy whether it is a spirit or person or animal or plant or rock I sense the power that runs through things. If you are like me, you get this and if you are not like me, yet understand matter and atoms –  you understand there is energy in everything. So with that being said, numbers have energy. They vibrate with a frequency that is tangible. Spirit can access these frequencies – each number has a different vibration – and they can use numbers as a way to communicate. This can be through a clock and time; or it can be numbers on license plates, numbers found on receipts or deli ticket numbers. They will use a number to announce their presence in your life.

Truly spirit wants you to know they are with you. They are not dead, but living and thriving in heaven. They get to visit you every single day. You are a part of their heaven. Spirit is interacting with us all the time.

I had a friend ask, “What if I don’t feel like I have ever gotten a sign?

To that I say; first, you may be discounting things and explaining them away. For spirit, this is discouraging. It takes a great deal of energy for a soul to leave you a sign and communicate with us here. They have to slow way down and put a lot of focus into getting a message across. If they aren’t rewarded, with acknowledgment from us here there is no energetic feedback and signs can’t be repeated or delivered as often. And that can make it seem like they aren’t happening for you. BUT, there are no coincidences. (If you don’t believe me, I suggest you read this post here.) You know what you feel. If something strikes you as being a message or sign; acknowledge it.

If you still don’t feel like you have had any symbols or messages from the other side, ask for something in particular. I think you will be surprised. They will find a way to answer that call. It may not be exactly how you asked for it, but an answer will be delivered.

It is crucial for us here to remember that spirit has their own agenda and from what they tell me a particular set of rules they have to abide by when communicating. We can’t have expectations. We need to be open and willing to accept what is offered.

For example, I once was at a group reading where a woman who had listened to me relay messages from her dad for ten minutes discount every word. She ignored it because he didn’t bring up the ring she had brought with her in her pocket even though other people in the room heard the validity of his messages.

We have a choice in this life; we can believe that anything is possible and that somehow our loved ones can reach us or we can choose to need facts and exact information.

Did you know that Harry Houdini would often discredit spiritualists in the town he visited if they didn’t mention the one word he told his mother to say to him when she died? So, spiritualists would perform or approach him in town, and if they didn’t deliver that specific message from his mother, then he would ruin them. This made me so sad. What if? What if the spiritualist missed the message – sometimes it is hard to hear everything from spirit – what if his mom was in a hurry and said something without mentioning the word? Spirit can forget things, too. What if he missed something just because he was only looking for one certain word and hurt people in the process?

I don’t want to be Houdini when it comes to what is on the other side and what is possible. But the choice is up to you. I choose to believe.

 

 

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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An intuition filled life

An intuition filled life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,


 

 

Living in the WILD – lessons from afourytale

Living in the WILD – lessons from afourytale

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

Mean people are people who are hurting

People who hurt act out. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Truth isKids keep it real.

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

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

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

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

Be dapper withPee protection is legit.

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

Keep on plugging along peeps. Until next time,

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Speaking Soul: How I Discovered I was just a Translator

Speaking Soul: How I Discovered I was just a Translator

“Were you able to determine how the baby died, then?”

“Actually,” the medical examiner says. “That’s more complicated than most people think. We medical geeks make a distinction between the way a person died and the actual change in the body that causes the termination of life.”

Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult

It is easy to poke holes in the messages spiritual mediums deliver. That is not lost on me. Their messages can be vague in some cases and seem to apply in a broad sense. There are exact details given, but spirit does not come forward and say…”Hi, I am Jim. I am Marge’s brother and I died in a car accident on December 12, 1982.” It is frustrating that this isn’t how spirit communication works. I have asked spirit why it doesn’t work this way at least a gazillion times.

“Why the heck do you make this so difficult?” I ask. Never a clear answer. This hasn’t stopped my brain from trying to piece together an answer that makes sense. The beautiful thing about spirit is that it will answer you; you just might have to pay close attention to what information you are given and have the patience to sort through it to find the answer.

As with all great realizations, it took time for me to discover why spirit communicates the way that they do.  Okay, maybe all great realizations don’t take years to discover, some people have found the easy way and realizations happen via Google searches or by asking Siri a simple question. Unfortunately, Siri doesn’t ever answer my questions or understand them correctly for that matter. However, ironically Siri did help. Siri’s inability to understand my request to make a phone call led me to consider how Siri, a machine, translates human language. I mean I am speaking to a machine, after all. It doesn’t understand our language exactly. It is translating it and morphing it into a language it understands.

I mean Siri does say our own words back to us after all. Spirit should do the same, right? But, no that isn’t how spirit communication works. This is how some things work with Spirit. Sometimes I do hear and am able to pick up on exact phrases; whole conversation pieces. On the flip side; there is a ton of information that isn’t ever verbally communicated that I am able to pick up and have to decipher.

But this idea of Siri, Spirit and translation are still rattling around in my head as we head out across the Atlantic Ocean or pond, (I had to refer to it that way so that I wasn’t focused on being in a metal can thousands of feet above a vast ocean for HOURS to get there. I know, I know flying is safer than driving…yadda.yadda.yadda) to Ireland.

While in Ireland, our family had the opportunity to visit a Celtic Club where we learned how to play Irish Games – Hurling, Irish Football, and Handball. We were introduced to these games through a bit of Irish Culture because these games are a way that the Irish people preserve their Celtic Heritage. One of the things that I found illuminating in this brief overview of history was that there are no definite words for yes or no in true Gaelic Irish. There are as many shades of yes and no as there are shades of green across the Emerald Isle. Isn’t that a truly wonderful thing that there are shades of yes and no? Some people like definite, I like the shades of color and variance, open possibilities. The example below from a blog on mindfloss demonstrates an example of how questions are answered with out yes or no directly:

mentalfloss - Irish yes and no
http://mentalfloss.com/article/49480/8-fun-facts-about-irish-language

I started thinking about how words translate from language to language and it occurred to me that being a medium is like being a type of translator. It’s funny that the idea of mediumship being simple translation didn’t occur to me until now. But there it is. Spirit speaks soul and as with any language, translations aren’t exact. Soul is going to have shades and variances that English, Spanish, French, Greek, Gaelic Irish or any other human language might not be able to capture. So of course, spirit isn’t going to come forward and say, “Hi, I am Mary Lawson. I lived 58 years and died of ovarian cancer.” Those are our spoken words. Spirit will have a whole other set of words to describe that experience.

When spirit speaks they try to exude their personality, show the way they looked and share other vibrant characteristics because in the language of soul, that is their name. Duh! I don’t know why it took my so long to see that. And if I were to describe myself to someone the last thing I would use would be my name. I would tell them about me. Yes, we might say our name, but it doesn’t describe who we are, we are more than a name. Especially a soul; it is so much more vast than just a single name.

Our names often mean something or stand for something and spirit may try to describe that instead because that represents more about them than just the name. For example, Briana means strength. So Briana’s soul may come through demonstrating strength and exuding her character rather than simply saying, “I am Briana.” Granted, I get why this would be easier and better for the scientific community, and for our human brains to understand, but this makes perfect sense to me. I have spent years trying to make sense of why and how spirit communicates the way it does and have had little else stand out as a better answer. This right here makes some solid sense.

An additional puzzle piece to solving this riddle came when I was reading Jodi Picoult’s, Small Great Things. A must read by the way. My fave book of summer. While reading, I came across the quote I opened the blog with and wham-o, brilliance like lightning can strike multiple times and often has to, to sink into this thick skull, there it was again a difference in perception and translation.

For soul, the reason the body stops working isn’t translated exactly to what we might determine as cause of death. It is like the fictional character describes, “We medical geeks make a distinction between the way a person died and the actual change in the body that causes the termination of life.” So does soul. They don’t use the actual words, “heart attack”, “Alzheimer’s”, “Parkinson’s”, “car accident”, etc. They give me the feelings that their body experienced and how their body stopped working and then I have to use those items, just like a medical examiner would, to determine what I think cause of death might have been.

So often a soul tells me that their heart stopped or that they had pressure on their chest and had difficulty getting enough air, they had a mass in their body that spread, they were just plain exhausted, or even their heart was in so much pain they could not continue on in life.  The focus for the soul is on the change in the body that caused the termination of life. Which of course makes sense because the body stopped working and the soul had to leave the body behind. A soul isn’t dead. A soul is still living, so it’s not going to say how it died; it didn’t die. Souls refer to themselves as alive.

We often expect spirit to communicate in our human languages and often knock mediums because spirit doesn’t communicate the way we expect it to. That needs to change. Spirit speaks soul. Spirits are no longer attached to a brain that translates their language into words we understand. They are doing the best they can to speak to a medium – soul translator – to help the living understand souls and what life is like without a body.

Spirit speaks soul. A language with a culture, tradition, and history older than time itself – literally. The words soul uses do not have direct translations to human word. We have to change our construct and expectations of how information is transmitted from spirit to human. Soul is emotion based. Soul is intuition. Soul is how faith feels.

All this time I have tried to define a spiritual medium in a way that makes sense to me and it comes down to this: a spiritual medium is a person who speaks soul. Spiritual mediums are able to understand soul enough to translate the messages they receive into human language. They do the best they can, but of course translations are going to be off from time to time. Of course signals can get crossed. For a medium it really is like communicating across radio waves.

Think about it this way, does your satellite radio lose its signal from time to time? Does your power or cable go out? Yup. Yep. Yeppers. Being a medium isn’t much different from that. They are translating one language to another across radio-like signals trying to help people and soul communicate so that they know they are not ever lost to one another. Don’t blame the medium or criticize their efforts; a great deal of solid information is translated clearly, but it isn’t always exact; no fault to either communicating party. They are all doing the best they can.

My hope is that in understanding that soul and humans speak two different languages that humans start to better understand soul and those who speak it fluently. In truth, we all speak soul, most of us have just forgotten how. The more you try the more fluent you become. And I say, don’t knock it until you try it.

Until next time,

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Sitting on the edge

Sitting on the edge

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

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

And yet; there has been something missing lately.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Until next time or until I jump whichever comes first,

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Bear hunts, earthquakes & roller coasters

Bear hunts, earthquakes & roller coasters

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skyfall fun ride at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

And what a view it is…

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

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

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My first reading.

My first reading.

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

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

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

Matthew gained his angel wings in July of 2007.

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

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

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

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

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

Everything you want is on the other side of fear

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

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

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

Well, crap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

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Hidden in plain sight

Hidden in plain sight

Ready…set…run.

Ready…set…hide.

Ready…set…blend.

Ready…set…invisible.

These are my default.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t know.

I'm not ditching my running shoes just yet.

Not ditching my running shoes just yet,

The words that shook me awake

The words that shook me awake

So I had one of those Oprah “Ah-ha” moments today. I think it took a bunch of little things running together to help this “ah-ha” moment smack me in the brain and reach my stream of consciousness, but that is how these things work.

The beginning is always the best place to start. It all started in late December. Probably a bit in part to the hangover the holidays create. That is when I started to feel bogged down. There was a cough and wheezing that just hung on to my lungs with a white knuckled grip and just trying to take a walk up the stairs with a laundry basket had become tedious by late January. I went to the doctor, but after five days of antibiotics things weren’t kicking back into gear energy wise.

I could not for the life of me figure out what the heck was so draining. It was as if my gas tank was always on empty.  I literally wanted to Netflix all day. Yes, Netflix is now a verb. A beautifully wonderful verb. It baffled me how this could be, but even sitting I wasn’t at rest. I was constantly berating myself for just sitting. I didn’t ever fully rest and relax.

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The good news was that for the first time in as far as I could remember I was the most comfortable in my own skin. Best. Feeling. Ever. Don’t get me wrong, we all have days, but I feel like I am pretty darn awesome. It was a little boggling to me how I could feel so good and comfortable yet so tired and deflated at the same time.

This past Saturday, I finally had to be hit over the head with what I should have known all along, but that is what happens sometimes we have to be smacked upside the head to realize what is right in front of us.

Saturday morning has become one of my favorite mornings. My youngest son is playing in a basketball league that was created by several faith communities in our town. It is the single best league that I have ever been a part of in my life.  They pray with the kids before the games and have a half time devotional.

On this particular Saturday, my favorite referee read the devotional. Listening intently as always, since these Saturday morning devotionals had become such a source of light in my life, he reads, “One cannot burn out if they weren’t on fire in the first place.”

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Can I get an AMEN?

Enter “ah-ha” moment. These words stirred in me just the slightest mental shift. They shook me awake.

Holy, holy. I am on fire! We all are. We burn with divine light. Of course we feel burned out from time to time. Wouldn’t any fire feel that way? Wouldn’t any light get so hot that it would need to be dark just for a short while?

God doesn’t need me to rush and rush and rush without stopping ever. Life is meant to be enjoyed number one and number two God rested! On the seventh day he rested. The end. He didn’t go on and on about how he should add a little something extra to the world or show off by creating another Universe. Nope. He just rested. So why can’t I just rest? Do nothing all day and feel productive. Yes! If I am feeling the need to rest then I need it. Rest is being productive. Rest is the self-care we need to keep our flame burning.

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I started to examine these periods of rest in my life. The times I always just thought there was something off about me because I would just want to crawl in bed for days and do nothing.

The first time this happened I came out of it and started my blog. I started writing again and choosing vulnerability and connection over perfection.

The second time this happened I came out of the rest ready to share my gift and start a business.

The last time this happened I came out of rest with a strong sense of self-worth and a peace my soul hadn’t known for years.

So what is this “ah-ha”moment that hit me – when we rest we rise. When we rest we can burn again. Our fire is ignited brighter and wiser than before.

I finally truly understand the saying when she wakes she will move mountains. Each time I wake from rest my life is stronger and richer. This time will be no different.

let-her-sleep

Rest my friends because when you rise you will move mountains.

Until next time,

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 Validation

 Validation

“You are so needy.”

It’s those words that almost ended one of my most important friendships. Those words split my soul. I didn’t think I was needy. I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. Low self-confidence – yes. I have that. I get that. But I never saw myself as draining or needy. And I never expected to hear that from someone I thought cared about me.

Funny, I haven’t been able to escape those words for over a decade. They hit a chord, deep in my soul.

It is probably true that I seek external validation of my worth. But I am human. And I like to hear that I am good at what I do or that I am loved and appreciated. I guess some people don’t need that to thrive, but it sure helps me be the best me. Those words don’t bother me so much anymore. It is just a part of my human-ness and it is okay to want to hear how other people feel about you. To know that what you are doing makes an impact or that you are an important person in someone’s life. To know you are wanted. That is okay and it doesn’t make you needy; it makes you human.

I also find it a bit ironic that I would get into a career as a medium where people seek validation. A career where you cannot validate its authenticity with tangible proof.

Being released from those words just recently happened. This past weekend I attended the James Van Praagh workshop. At this workshop, he asked us to do a mediumship exercise where we did a reading for ourselves and ask for messages from spirit that we need to hear.

I don’t often ask for messages for myself. I ask to see glimpses of my own loved ones to know they are okay. To feel them around me. Same things everyone else asks, but I don’t ever sit down and try to do an actual reading for myself like I would for a client and this is exactly what James asked us to do.

After lunch I headed outside and said guide me to the spot where I need to be. I kid you not I walked directly to this tree that had a statue of St. Francis of Assisi who is the patron saint of animals. This is my papa’s saint. It is also the prayer that I have been repeating most often. In fact, I had read it three times that morning before attending the retreat and had read it each morning prior to that.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

Landing at this spot was no accident. I sat down and found a quiet centered place in my mind and heart and asked for a message from spirit.

The first thing that I saw was an elephant. She was beautiful. She walked toward me and extended her trunk. Her rich brown eyes were deep. I could see each wrinkle in her trunk and could feel her warm breath. Immediately I heard a voice that echoed my own heartbeat. “You are exactly where you need to be.”

A peaceful calm washed over my whole soul.

Partial image of a black and white elephant

Then she evaporated and behind her were all four of my grandparents. Each in pairs holding hands, smiling and waving. My papa stepped forward and said, “We all love you and we are all with you.”

My heart nearly exploded. Often I wonder if they are proud of me. I wonder what they think of me sharing my mediumship with others. What they think of me as a parent, friend, daughter, wife, human. In that moment, when I heard his words, my heart nearly exploded because their love washed over me. Completely unconditional. They were so happy and so glad to see me.

I share this experience because I think we all need love and validation. I think each of us needs these things to grow and become the best versions of ourselves. You don’t need to be ashamed of wanting these things or asking for them. You don’t need to wait for someone to tell you to do something nice for yourself; you should just be doing it because you deserve time, attention, and affection as well.

There are many people who do this naturally, but one thing I have learned about parenting and motherhood is often we as parents have to put ourselves last to insure that the needs of those we love are met and accounted for. It is important for us to remember to take a day or an hour or ten minutes and do something that helps remind us that we are loved and nourish ourselves so that we can move forward.

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You are not needy if you do this. You are human. You are worth it.

Until next time,

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