Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Life is BIG, or is it?

Depending on the time of month....sometimes life can seem like such a BIG thing. Like "WOW, this is my one life. This is my one shot at being all that I can be, all that I am supposed to be!" Depending on the time of month...that can feel daunting. I'll catch thoughts trying to sneak by and settle in, things like "I've wasted so much time already. I missed the boat. I didn't make it count. I could've been, I should've gone, I wish I'd have ... it's too late"

It's taken me a while to know who I am.  I had to go through a lot of faux mes to get to the real one. I had to dig myself out from under all the costumes. That took some time, like my whole life so far.

Maybe I did it all wrong. Or maybe, that is the way a lot of us do it. And what is wrong anyway? We try stuff. We think we know who we are and what we want, what we are meant to be in this life. We think we know what our strengths and weaknesses are. Then if you are like me you realize "Oh shit, wait a second, that's not it at all! That isn't me. That is a very watered down and much too fortified version of who I am."

I thought I was better because I held a high standard for myself and everyone around me. I thought I was intelligent because I over thought everything and analyzed it all to death. I thought I was strong because I didn't let people in, barely ever shed a tear, and got angry instead of sad. I thought I was mature because I was responsible and worked hard, all work no play. I thought I was faithful because I prayed before bed and read the bible.

I ignored the girl inside. I pushed her behind me every chance I had. Her silly whimsical dreams, feelings and fantasies. Her idealistic views and visions.

Then it started to hurt. I was suffocating and didn't even know. Like a flower with a box around it. Not enough light, or air, or life. It's not like I walked around sad and deprived. I just walked around asleep I guess. Until one day, when the veil was lifted, and I could for the first time see.

Life is a big thing, yes. We are all put here with a purpose, yes. We have to learn lessons. We have to try on different masks, until we are ready to go naked faced. Feathery sparkly dreamy ones, and smooth cold metal ones, and bright and fuzzy fun ones. We have to live life, to be able to LIVE life. It's all part of it. All the years I spent asleep...part of it. The things I dreamed of but didn't accomplish (yet)...part of it. The shedding of previous versions of myself...part of it. The realizations made...part of it. The good and hard and fun and crappy....all part of it.

Embrace it for what it is. This life is our gift. Our gift from God. Our life, the way we live it, is our gift back. So make it count. Don't stress about how BIG it is. Don't regret the path. Just live with a grateful heart for all of it.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Gratitude Shmatitude

Gratitude Shmatitude? Do you ever feel like you have very little to be grateful for? Times when all you see is the stuff you neeeed and waaaant and wish you had, cause then life would finally be good and easy and fulfilling? I've learned that I can work with what I've got...'cause you know what? When it comes down to it, what I've got is plenty and exactly what I need. You too....right now, what you have (and don't have) is all you need. You can make it work.

I know, some of you will read that and think I've lost my noodle, especially if you are going through a particularly difficult time right now, whether it be financial or health issues, marriage issues, whatever. But hold on...I'm not done..gonna rattle your cage even more...wait for it... not only do I think we can work with what we have and quit wishing for more, or different, or better....I believe it would benefit us all to be intentionally grateful for it. For ALL of it. Whatever our situation is right now, the good, the bad and the yucky. GRATEFUL. Don't roll your eyes at me. I'm serious. Gratitude = Joy. And I know we all want big joy.

"But Trish, you're an idealist. You've got on some designer brand rose colored glasses. Don't you know what is happening in the world today? Hello...Paris? How can you say we need to be grateful for that? For death and pain and destruction? How can you say we should work with that? I want some of whatever you're taking."

" But Trish, that is so much easier said than done. You don't know what it's like...to have ____________ (insert here...not enough money, a chronic health condition, a loveless marriage, a kid that is going off the deep end, a job I hate, etc...) I can't be grateful for this and how dare you simplify it to such a degree and make it sound like I can be, with just the flick of a switch. How can I be grateful when all I see is the hardship...and the hardship hurts, and it's draining and it sucks? Easy for you to say work with what you've got...I don't have what I need! grrrrrrr"

And I say this to you my lovies.....each one of us can choose to be grateful, everyday, no matter what. No matter what we "think" we are lacking. No matter how bad we feel. We can decide to see at least one good thing, and focus on at least one good thing. To ponder on how blessed we are by that thing.  How beautiful that thing is. How much that thing means to us. That thing is like a twinkle of light in the darkness. It is magical. It is bigger and stronger than that list of things that you aren't feeling so grateful for. It's the golden ticket you guys. That one thing!

Once you are able to do that, you can even try taking it a step further. Taking a disappointment, looking at it, turning it over in your sweet hands, and finding a way to be grateful for it. What did you learn? What happened instead? When that door closed what door opened, or do you hope to open?

For instance...I recently submitted one of my posts to an online magazine for publishing consideration. They emailed me back and gave me some recommendations on how to change my story to make it more of what they wanted. The first few minutes after reading that email I was disappointed. Thought maybe I wasn't good enough to be writing and actually sharing it. Then I took that little disappointment, tilted my head and looked at it again, from a slightly different angle. I realized I was thankful for the response (even if it wasn't what I had hoped for) and for the feedback. I have to assume they receive quite a few emails, and they took the time to email me back with suggestions. Then I thought about it. Did I want to change what I had written originally to suit their criteria? No. I didn't. I wrote it the way it was written for a reason. The metaphor I used (which didn't really resonate with them) was purposeful. So again, I felt myself grateful. Grateful for the "thanks but no thanks" because it gave me a chance to reaffirm my purpose in writing.

Within the last 30 minutes, as I am typing, my boys started arguing and calling names. Am I grateful that they like to tear each other down? No. Am I grateful that they are whining and yelling and driving me to drink? No. So what can I decide to be grateful for here. Besides the obvious and very general "I'm grateful for my kids", I tried to find more specific little nuggets to be grateful for. I am grateful that even though we have a small house, each of my boys has their own room in to which they are imprisoned presently. I am grateful for the "I'm sorry Mom"s that were half heartily spoken. I'm grateful that I get to have a glass of wine very soon.

Some things in life, are big. Much bigger than dissed stories and bratty kids. Some things tear your heart out, throw it on the ground and do a little dance. Death for instance. Losing someone you love, whether it be due to a violent act or due to illness, suddenly or slowly, whatever the circumstance is, death is BIG. It makes you look at life, at least for a while. It drains every ounce of emotion, numbs your mind, and wreaks havoc on your physical body. It makes you question your faith and the possibility of an afterlife. It leaves you lonely. How do we find gratitude in all of that despair? Can you find one thing in that big ol' sorrowful mess to thank God for? You can, you always and everyday can, even then.

We live in a world that always wants more. Wants better. Wants everything. But lovies, we can be responsible for our own perspective on life. We don't have to want want want. We can thank thank thank, if we choose to.

Choose gratitude every day and you choose joy every day.

<3 Trishy

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I Just Turned 40 and I Want to be Like Gumby

Today I turned 40. Fooorrrty. It looks weird in print. That kinda seems like a big number. And ya know what, it is! It is a fricken' big rockin' number. I'm really stoked to be 40. Much happier about it than I thought I would be actually. I feel a little older, but in a good way. I guess it's not really older I feel...I believe it's actually wiser. Wiser. Yes, wiser. I like it.

This last year of my 30's has been interesting. A lot of growing and changing came to fruition this past 12 months. A bunch of stretching (physically and otherwise). Twisting and turning, sometimes painfully. I mean growth isn't painless now is it? We all know about growing pains. Growth spurts hurt a little. But, when the soreness subsides, you are stronger, in whatever way it was that you were supposed be.

I am excited about my new decade, I feel like big things are afoot. I feel like this last bought of growing cracked me open pretty wide. Like, wooosh, out I flew, all lit up and on fire. So I've thought a lot about what I want to be. The presence I want to be in this world we live in. What do I want to leave behind? Not when I die, but when I leave a room. How do I want those people left behind in that room to feel? And why do I care? I want them to feel loved, I want them to feel heard, I want them to feel embraced in a big cozy tight hug. I want them to feel understood. I want them to feel a little bit of joy in their heart, if even for a few minutes. Why? Why do I worry so much about what other people are feeling about themselves or their lives? I'm not really sure honestly. I just know I want to bring the light to every dark space. I believe in being forthright. In not beating around the bush and in just being real. Being who you are, right now, at this time in your life. Because I know we have SO much to learn from one another, if only we realllly knew, reallly knew what other people were living. Now, I know...everyone is not comfortable with that. Just reading that probably made some people barf in their mouth a little. And I'm not saying we all need to have these major revealing heart emptying conversations with every Joe Schmo we end up in a room with. All I'm saying is I believe we would all benefit from authenticity.

So what does all of this have to do with Gumby. And, for the youngsters reading this....who the hell is Gumby. For your reference I will add a picture :) I've decided Gumby had it all figured out and was pretty much a green rubber yogi. Let's look at these very convincing points:

Gumby was super bendy. He was so extremely flexible. Like that guy could take his leg and wrap it around his own neck! So why is this important and why does that make me want to be like him? Well, besides the obvious fact that I think every girl I know would like to be able to throw her leg around her neck and show it off if she could, it's the bendiness itself that is the qualifier here. Bendiness in life is crucial. We have got to be able to move with the punches, to go with the flow. Some of us are born bendy. Naturally flexible, and not ridged, Easily adaptable. Willing to see the grey, and not only the black and white. Those people...well, I was not born one of those people. I have worked the last 2 decades at being bendy, at purposefully relieving myself (and the people around me) of the "my way or the highway" (which of course was the RIGHT way) characteristic that I was born predisposed to. As far back as I can remember I was that way. I was bossy, a stickler for the rules and laying down the law, color blind and stiff as a board. I just took a long, cleansing, relaxing breath after writing that, because just remembering it made me tense. That was it...constant tension, like a guitar string strung way too tight. You can't really grow in that place. There is no room in your little box for anything to stretch out or open up. Not your body, not your mind, and most definitely not your heart. So if you, like me, have to put work into being flexible, I encourage you to do it. I know it is uncomfortable at first. It hurts to stretch. But if you can not bend you will break and that isn't going to do any of us any good.

Gumby was strong, like freakishly strong. I can attest to this because I distinctly remember trying to cut his foot off. I can't tell you why, I wasn't a violent child, but I did like to use my scissors. All my barbies had bad feathered Charlie's Angles hair. So anyway....I remember trying to cut his foot. It was impossible. The rubber was tough and the wire underneath was strong. Maybe if I had a pair of gnarly wire cutters, but I didn't have any of those in my "make up kit". We all want to be strong. And admittedly, sometimes we nedd to have thick skin. We can't take everything personally or we would be a big ol' mess. But to be the right kind of strong is the key. Strong AND bendy...that is the magic. Strong in love. Strong in joy. Strong in determination and perseverance. Strong in mind and body.....and flexible. Abracadabra,

Gumby was colorful. I mean he was bright green. I still tend to gravitate towards muted colors and neutrals in terms of my dress. My closet is a sea of grey, tan and black. But colorful doesn't necessarily mean I have to wear coral, I can just feel coral. I don't have to paint my house turquoise, or even my nails for that matter. I just need to feel turquoise, and to see it. To take in the color all around me. The beauty that is everywhere if we choose to find it and focus on it. For some, being colorful is a tough one. They aren't as able to find the beautiful colors in the drabness of everyday life. But that is why it's so important for those of us that can, to share it! To point it out, To shine the light on it.

I started practicing yoga about 6 months ago. It has helped me tremendously in all of these Gumby like areas. I haven't just been working on my body's strength and flexibility, I've been working on all of me. I've been learning to accept my predispositions and remember the person I believe that I am in spite of them, and really because of what they have taught me. I have given myself permission to not be great at it right away. There is so much to learn, so many itty bitty details to each pose. I have to be graceful with myself. I give myself credit for the work I put in and progress that I make. I keep in my mind's eye where I want to be, and I keep stretching, and growing and learning. It's fun. It makes me stronger, more peaceful, more forgiving of myself and others. It helps me to be bendy.

So here's to 40! It's gonna be awesome, I just know it. I feel it in my bones guys! Thank you for journeying with me.

Big love!

<3 Trisha

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Who Are You Going to Let Drive Today?

The day I started this blog was a day of awakening. You can go back to my first few posts to see it unfolding for yourself. The little girl inside of me, my true self, was so done being pushed aside and ignored. She had enough and wasn't going to quit jumping and shouting until I took notice. It was like getting lit on fire from the inside. I was finally AWAKE and there was no denying it, no turning back, no more ignoring or patronizing. I was awake and I had a mission.

Almost a year later, and here I am. Still awake and on fire. Wanting to learn more, wanting to share more, wondering what I can do next. It was a long weekend, I worked a couple of nights in a row, and was pooped today. Hubs was home and hanging out with the boys, so I went to try to take a nap. I secured my soft sleep mask over my tired eyes, got under the covers, and took a few deep breaths. Ready to sleep some good deep, drooling on the pillow, snoring out loud, kind of sleep. It didn't happen. The creative energy inside of my body was pinging around like a pin ball machine, lighting up little parts of me as it moved through me from my head to my toes. I tried to breath through it, tell it I'd get to it later, but I know by now....when it's there it's there for a reason. You are meant to be acting, in motion whether with your body, or mind, or spirit. I took out my journal and jotted down the ideas that were begging to be heard. They weren't new ideas, they have been there a while, but are getting ready to be realized. Ideas that are ready to be realized are relentless. They are so full of excited energy and longing for their debut. They can't help but dance around singing and shouting. Although the sleep I was hoping for eluded me, I felt grateful, really grateful. Grateful that I am awake enough in my soul to feel these stirrings and inspirations.

Although I have always been this being, this soul, I went through a long time in life in which I lived in my head. Always thinking, analyzing, picking things apart and putting them back together in an attempt to make them better, more efficient, RIGHT. I, for the longest time, believed that is who I was and that those were my greatest qualities. The doer, the go getter, the make it all happen the way it needs to happen regardless of the feelings involved, matter of fact, uber organized.....machine. There wasn't a lot of time for creative living then. I was too busy. At the same time, I never doubted my depth. I've always known mine was an old and creative soul. A little complex, strong, and contradictory, but meant for things. Was my truest of true self just waiting for the big 4-0 to make herself known? I mean, she knew when I'd be ready. When I would accept her for who and what she really was, and harness her power. When I was strong enough to receive and share the gift of her.

It's an interesting place to be. Knowing suddenly who lives inside, underneath everything. I am still a doer. I still instinctively make a plan when there needs to be one, and put things in motion to bring it all to fruition. I still prefer to be organized and like my space to be tidy and aesthetically pleasing. But that's not what makes me who I am. My heart does <3. My heart's intense desire to reach you deep inside. My heart's need to share. My heart's hunger to bring light to the world, to draw attention to what really matters, to offer acceptance and encouragement. The prior version of me...the one that lived exclusively in her head, never would have recognized this version of herself. It's the whole ego versus soul thing. Are you living in your head or living in your heart? When you are living in your head, your ego is in charge. You are separate from the rest of the world. You are self focused. You find it easier to feel frustrated, judgmental, or resentful than you do to feel compassionate, accepting, or grateful. When your heart and soul are in the driver's seat, things like forgiveness, peace, and understanding come without much effort. Of course, when your ego is behind the wheel, it's hard to see it. It's almost like a shield, a veil. You might catch glimpses of the light, but they are fleeting, and you wonder if they are even real. But when the time comes, when the veil is lifted....WOW. That is when you start living intentionally, with feeling and purpose. With true concern for the well being of everyone, not just you and yours.

I still find ego trying to drive some days. Trying to push my heart and soul aside and go for a ride, coercing me to live in speculative thought instead of contemplative. Sometimes I even let it happen. God gave it all to us ya know. He blessed us minds and bodies and hearts and souls. He gave us free will to use them, for better or worse. To heal or to harm, ourselves and others. So many things can effect our decision on which way we live. The way we grew up, our past or current circumstances, our physical health, our financial situation, long held beliefs which may or may not serve us presently, on and on and on. So many.....excuses. But, we always get to wake up, and decide. Ego or Soul. Darkness or Light. Holding On or Letting Go.

Who are you going to let drive today?

With so much love <3 Trisha

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

So Many Stages

Do you remember being a new mom? It's been almost 10 years since my first born son gave me the title. I thought I was ready. I was 30 after all. Starting later than some. Had already been with my husband for over 10 years. It was the logical next step. I wanted to be a mom and I was gonna be good at it. My kids were going to be the bees knees and I was gonna be the bomb digity mommy. They were going to be adorable and good looking, well behaved, have advanced intelligence, and be talented in several areas. They were never going to eat on the couch, or in the car, and were going to be respectful and polite. I was going to be the mom after all. I would just set the rules, spend the extra one on one time with them and make it happen. How hard could it be? I wasn't going to be THAT mom at Target with THOSE out of control kids. You know the ones...kids screaming and arguing, running through the aisle, mom whisper yelling with that extreme look on her face, telling them they are NOT going to get those trading cards she promised them if they do not stop RiiiiiGHT NooooW. I would look at them, that mom that had no control and obviously was not doing her job, and those kids who just needed clear boundaries and an appropriate reward system, and would think to myself "Good Lord Lady. Get control of yourself and your kids would you?!"

Baaahhhaaaa! I almost laughed so hard just now that I peed a little. You should see me and the boys roll up to the store together these days. We pull up in my dirty car (with it's interior complete with half empty water bottles, gum and granola bar wrappers, and discarded McDonald's Happy Meal toys). Usually one of the kids will have conveniently forgotten his shoes. I, determined to get to the list, am walking maybe a step ahead of one, while the other one hangs on the back of the cart, half way underneath. The boys asking for popcorn and Minecraft cards. I engage them for a short time in helping Mom find the things on the list. They make a game of it and all is well, for about 10 minutes. Then the fighting starts. One of them starts antagonizing the other. Yelling, pushing, crying. Me charging down the aisle, plucking stuff off willy nilly, trying to remember my list that I left in the car. Oh yeah....good times. I have my shit together, just like I always knew I would.

After a pretty average to good pregnancy, an hour of pushing, and even 11 days early, Carter was born and I was a mom. Oh God! The bliss of falling head over heels for the most perfect little creature. And then the anxiety and worry that I would do it all wrong. The awe of EVERYTHING about him...his fingers and toes and eyes. The way he breathed and held my finger. The fatigue and lack of appetite from that first year of total fricken' sleep deprivation. Your first few years are amazing and scary and you look back at it all in a blur of giggles and tears, peeks and valleys. I can remember having the baby in the sling, walking through Target in a daze buying diapers and frozen meal stuff. The baby crying just as we get to the check out. Me, frazzled, just wanting to get out of there with my Pampers and Lean Cuisine. There would be another woman somewhere nearby. A mom who had been there and done that. And she'd say "I know it's seems tough but it gets easier as they get older. Enjoy these moments while you can, before you know it they are grown." So you pull yourself together, get a coffee, and tell yourself...."this to shall pass, and it's gonna get easier. The wise lady at Target told me so!"  Well guys, I call BULLSHIT! It's been 10 years and it is not easier. It is harder. Of course some parts are easier. Like I don't have a baby on my boob half the day and I can (at least most of the time) sleep in my own bed through the night. But now...oh now, there is so much more stuff. Now that perfect little creature, that would sometimes cry because he was gassy and would wake up every 2 hours through the night, is in fourth grade. He is a boy, with a mouth and a voice and a will all his own. I mean he always had that will, but wasn't independent enough to push the point, He needed me, for everything. There was no debate. It was pure survival, eat, sleep, bathe, cuddle, repeat. If he was asserting his will and an inopportune moment, you could put him in his crib with a toy. Now it's so much more. Now we are learning life lessons.

Really once they are able to walk and talk the lessons start. Hot Baby...don't touch. Use nice words. Don't hit. Say your prayers. Say please and thank you. Blah blah blah. But NOW, in this pre-tween stage, the real stuff begins, the foundation of who this boy will be as a man. How he will handle life's challenges. How will will look at tomorrow... with a hopeful heart? How he will treat people. Will he respect and accept people that are different then he is? Will he work hard, persevere and not give up? Will he recognize his special gifts and have the guts to share them? How can I help? What am I supposed to be doing to help this little man grow into the best version of himself? Am I being firm enough? Am I being encouraging enough? Am I steering him in the right direction?

He just had his first experience with a changing friendship. Something happened between the boys, something my boy can't really put his finger on, but something just the same. He and his friend were no longer really compatible. they were rubbing each other the wrong way, getting on each other's nerves. His friend was feeling things, my little dude was feeling things. It was awkward and uncomfortable. The boy's Mom and I are friends, and his younger brother and my littlest dude are friends, so that just added to the weirdness. But it became clear, that my son and his friend were no longer friends. So, he and I and Dad got to discuss that. How he can continue to be in the same class with his former friend, have mostly all the same friends as him and still not be friends anymore. How he can still be respectful and kind. As Carter put it "Of course I'll be nice, there is no reason not to...I think we're just done Mom." Their friendship ran a course. It was not meant to be a forever relationship. So many of our friendships aren't. They happen for a reason, they teach us things, we enjoy some experiences together, and we move on. Of course there are those very special few. The ones that will be with you, through thick and thin, good and bad, always by your side, to laugh and cry, to hold you up and be supported, through decades of life. But those are different. Both types of friendships are blessings, both are meant to be in your life, some last your lifetime and some for just a short while. Both can be looked upon with gratitude in our hearts, even if the end hurts a little.

So we now have that life lesson under our belts. It's okay. He has handled things really well so far. I think I handled them okay too. My other little man will likely face something along the same lines at some point in the next couple of years. So what is all this babbling meant to say to you...what am I writing all of this for? Just this...we all have an idea of what this parenting thing is supposed to be, and how well (or not well) we will do it. We often think, the next stage of their childhood will be easier and we look forward to that like a light at the end of the tunnel, but at the same time, we turn around and look longingly back at the previous stage, when they were so young and innocent and sweet. We need to look at the one we are in right now. This stage. This is where we are. Right now is all that there REALLY is.

I like the stage we are in. It's not easy, but it's not supposed to be. In each stage we are meant to learn and grow, to find out even more about ourselves and each other. To strengthen our bonds. None of that happens easily. Easy is boring. I want more than easy for us.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Have you ever heard the saying "Do as I say, not as I do"? I heard it often from my Dad growing up. I was the oldest of two girls, growing up in an Italian Catholic family where kids were to be seen and not heard. Kids were to respect their parents, and all other adults for that matter. We didn't dare "talk back" for fear we'd get a swift back hand across the kisser. You did as you were told, and you did it at the moment you were told to do it. There was no "hold on a sec" or "let me finish this level first" or "why do I have to do that???" stuff. Oh no, no way. We went to church on Sundays and to catechism on Wednesdays. Dad worked and was the "man of the house". Mom stayed home and handled all the domestic and family duties. There were wooden spoons involved on occasion, sometimes worse. There was a lot of yelling on Dad's part, because that's what his Dad did, and his Dad before him. He knew it was his job to keep us in line and he did it with fear because that's what he thought dad's do.

Mom and Dad were quite different in many ways. Dad grew up in New York. He had tattoos, smoked, drank and was basically lucky that he lived past his teenage years. Dad had a very short temper. Mom NEVER smoked, would NEVER get a tattoo, barely ever drank (besides wine at dinner, because in Italian families that doesn't count), and wouldn't hurt a fly. When Dad was mad you were in for it. When Mom was mad, you started to giggle at her "mad mom" tone of voice and she ended up giggling too. Even with these distinct differences, there were some traits that they shared. And these were long held beliefs and ways of living that have been passed down for generations. Ideals and ways of being that were never questioned, that were part of who they were, part of who WE were. A legacy of traditions that were inherited over countless generations.

There is part of that way of living that is very cool, and that I even miss a little bit. The big family dinners on Sunday filled with homemade manicotti and meatballs, chianti and ricotta cheese cake, We were (are) so loud! Everyone talking over each other, and all at the same time. The little mystic remedies and prayers that Grandma conjured up to take care of ring worm (I remember that had something to do with a fig) or headaches, that had been passed down from her mother and would hopefully be passed down to me one day. The closeness, the loyalty,the affection and love (LOTS of hugs and kisses), the comfort of a family all on the same page. You never had to wonder if you were loved in our family.

There is also part of living that way that could never work for me now. There was no questions aloud. There was no thinking or talking about a different way. This is the way things are done, period, end of discussion (before one even started). There was no crying. That was pointless, and if you are crying "for no reason" then someone was going to "give you something to cry about". You held back. You held back your tears if you needed to cry. You held back your opinions if they were different. You didn't cause waves, because waves weren't good. Kind of the whole walking on eggshells thing.

This little story isn't anything extraordinary. We all grew up with families that had "stuff", both endearing and a little disturbing. No one had perfect parents. Some people grew up suffering abuse, some people grew up in seemingly perfect households with a family that kept their skeletons safely tucked away in the closet. We all go into our adult years with bumps and bruises from childhood. How else would we know how WE want to do it, to do life? How else would we have some idea what kind of parents we want (or don't want) to be? And now we are the parents. We are living out loud, in front of our kids. they are watching and listening to ALL of it. I don't even have to ask where my boys learned to roll their eyes or talk with sass. They are observing the way we interact, the way we communicate. How we handle stress, how we embrace joy. Do we follow our dreams? Do we ask questions? Are we patient? Do we encourage them to be themselves no matter what or do we try to stifle them or shove them in a box? Do we DO as we say or are we all talk? Do we treat people the way we tell them they should treat people? Are we kind? Are we assertive? Are we compassionate? Are we honest? Aahhhhhh!!!

Sometimes it can feel like A LOT, if you let it. If you worry and stress over how they are going to turn out. If you put all of the responsibility of who they are, and the people they will grow to be, on your own shoulders. As parents we try so hard. We agonize over decisions. We try to protect them from pain at every corner, We try to push them just enough but not too much. And here's what I think we should do. We live the best way we can. We live from our hearts, from our souls. We let that guide us. These little people learn life by watching us live it. Much much more than what we say. Let go of the inheritance that was passed down. Appreciate what it was, and love the people who gave it to you. Use what you can from it, and trash the rest. There is nothing to be resentful about. There is nothing that you need to carry with you that does not add to your quality of life. There are no victims, or grudges to be held. Now is now and then was then. If we want our kids to live a life of joy, we need to choose joy. If we want our kids to tap into their creativity and discover their gifts, we need to slow down and tap into ours. We need to live out loud. Be honest and transparent. Embrace what is with gratitude and hopeful hearts. The inheritance we leave is the life we choose to live. It's always a choice.

Choose LOVE.
Choose JOY.
Choose FAITH.
Choose WONDER.

Show our babies how to live life by living yours with purpose and intention <3

P.S. While living this life out loud, knowing my kids are watching, I take time to meditate. I encourage the boys to do it if they want to but don't force them. They surprised me with this precious moment at the beach last week. It made my heart happy.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Somebody SMACK Me

It was Sunday. The day of rest and contemplation. Family day. Chillax, unwind, connect. Kay, that's not happening for me. Sunday is the tie up all the loose ends before the week starts again day. The last few loads of laundry, trip to the grocery store (or God forbid, Costco) for lunch goodies day. The, hope you are enjoying that spot on the coach watching the football games for 8 hours husband day.

In the morning, as usual, I got up and had my cup of coffee. Mulled around a little bit. Decided what I would do and in what order. Then set at it. First throwing in laundry and starting on the floors. The DAMN dark wood floors. My nemesis, big fat thorn in my side, dark walnut wood floors. Oh my ggaaawwd! Why did I ever think it was a good idea to put in dark wood floors? In my defense it was PRE kids and dogs when we installed them. They were polished and deep brown and beautiful. Now they are scratched, dull, and show every single itty bitty speck of everything. The sand box the kids bring home in their shoes everyday.The dog hair from my white haired dog that sheds like a...like a... I don't know what! He sheds constantly. I have taken to vacuuming him with the hose extension on the vacuum. The crumbs and pieces of food the kids drop, the water spots from above referenced dog after he drinks from his water bowl and walks through the living room leaving a trail of water that evidently didn't make it all the way IN to his mouth. So I dry the water spots, sweep, then vacuum, then mop. It's a hot day. My sweet white dog (Zeke), goes to cool off in his favorite spot outside. His favorite spot is the big giant hole he dug under the trampoline. Before the floor is even dry the dog comes back in from his lounging to get more water. Trampling through the house, leaving dirty footprints every few inches for at least 8 feet. I almost cried. I did curse. And then I got angry and frustrated. I started to take it out on hubs who was relaxing on the couch in front of the fan watching the games (his favorite cool down spot).

I gave up on the floors, threw the laundry in the dryer, and headed to COSTCO, while the hubs watched football and the boys played video games. On the way I started thinking to myself..."are you really going to Costco now? On Sunday? In this mood? You know it will be packed. Everyone will be lollygagging, waiting for their food samples and trying to pull their kids out of the big bin of giant stuffed bears." I almost turned around, but decided it needed to be done. I could do this. After I parked the car I stopped, and sat there for a minute. I look at my bracelet reminding me to "be a light". I took several deep breaths. I decided this...I was not going to carry the floor frustrations into the store with me. I was not going to give everyone in my path the big gnarly stink eye, forcing them to move out of my way or pay! I was not going to share this negative energy. I was going to go in there, and smile at people. I was going to be patient as I waited for the family of five to get their cup of vitamin infused juice and little piece of bean burrito at the sample table. I was going to breath, and to take my time. I will not lie and say it was easy. There may have been a moment or two where I almost lost my shit. But I didn't! And I smiled. And I thanked people. And I remained focused on the energy I wanted to share.

The day went on much in the same way. I struggled to continually bring my focus back to joy, to gratitude, to slow down and find peace. I had to catch myself before I snapped at the dudes (little and big). Maybe it's hormones. Maybe I'm tired. Maybe it's just what it is. But some days are like that right? Some days are just a little more challenging, more trying on your patience. Some days it's more difficult to focus on the good stuff. A little later, after I decided I was over the floor issue...(whatever, it's not like I am really going to have a clean house for at least the next 10 years anyway), I laid down on the couch next to hubs and read a little bit of my book. I went outside with the boys and watched them do tricks in the trampoline. I reflected on the day of dirty floors and laundry and frustration and thought..."Good Lord, someone smack me." There are families in this world right now running for their lives, away from their homes, to who knows where, just looking for safety and shelter and a future. Their struggle is a struggle for LIFE, not clean floors and full cupboards! How very blessed am I to have a home and to be able to buy the things my family needs? To not have to wonder where our next meal will come from, if we'll have somewhere safe and warm to sleep. How lucky am I to be worried about dirty floors, when there are people that have no floors, or roofs over their heads at all?

I try to live intentionally. To focus on gratitude, on sharing my gifts, on truly living this life. The openness of our hearts and minds ebb and flow like the waves of the sea. It's work to keep open minds and soft hearts, it's not always easy. But the more you do it on purpose, the easier it gets. I guess kind of like running or any kind of physical conditioning. When you are just starting out, you think you are going to diiiee. It's so difficult and so much work. You are sweaty and tired and out of breath. But if you keep going at it, a little bit at a time, you are able to run longer and faster without breathing so hard or getting so tired. Some days you run like the wind, some days you chug along, but you keep going stronger and more able each time. I'm noticing the same thing with learning to live with gratitude, giving and joy as my focus. There are days when it's like coasting downhill on a bike, breeze blowing my hair back and a smile on my face. And, there are days when it's like climbing a steep hill on that bike, trying to not get off and walk it, but pushing hard to stay moving forward.

Thank you God for my dirty wood floors, for the food in my cabinets, for the dudes in my life. Thank you for the gifts that you put deep inside of me. Thank you for the little girl who speaks to me, who reminds me of who I am meant to be. Thank you for the sea and the sky and the beauty all around me.

I am a lucky girl indeed.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Decisions Decisions

This post has been milling around in my brain for weeks now. With the start of the new school year madness, I haven't found myself in a place to sit down and put it all into words. But I can only hold off so long. When there is something burning inside, it starts to keeps me up at night. The little girl is whispering in my ear as my eyes flutter closed...."you have something to share, remember girlfriend...wake up, go do it now!" After a night time vitamin and a little meditation I was able to fall asleep, but knew I better get my fingers on this keyboard directly after dropping the boys off or she would be yelling instead of whispering. So, I made the decision, to look away from the floors that need to be cleaned and the laundry set to be washed, and give some time to my passion.

Decisions can be tough, more so, when our perspective on life and it's meaning is askew. I can remember being a little girl, probably about 8 or 9 years old, paralyzed with fear if I had to make a decision. What if I made the wrong one?! Surely it would be the end of the world as we knew it, and it would be all my fault! I have a terrible memory, but I can still feel the anguish. Somewhere along the line, that took a 360 for me. I became a decision making BEAST. I wasn't holding back, or worrying about the what ifs as much, I was making a choice and pulling the damn trigger. I still tend toward that way now. I find it difficult to have several meetings regarding the same subject to discuss all the what ifs and possibilities. I would rather look at the situation, make a choice, move on it, and see what happens. I guess I learned something after my childhood of stealthy decision making avoidance....what ifs only matter if you let yourself see them with fear in your eyes. What ifs are really no reason to stop in your tracks. So, what if...what if it doesn't work? Well, then you learn lessons you were meant to learn from that and try something else. The world is not going to fall into a big dank sink hole.

We, as humans beings, make thousands of decisions every day. THOUSANDS. As soon as we open our eyes it starts. Shall I push snooze? Ugghhh, YES! What should I make the kids for lunch? How shall I respond to that email? Do I really need to spend that $6.00 at Starbucks...DUH. Just stuff, all day long right? But guys, these aren't the decisions that matter. The decisions that really matter, are soul decisions, because remember, we are not just the skin and bones and brains, we ARE the soul. How can I bring the light today? How can I share love? The lady in front of me in this line is doing 3 separate transactions and my physical self is getting tense, what is the best way to react to this? My little dude is talking back and being sassy, I want to yell at him, what should my response be? I'm frustrated with people at work not pulling their weight...am I going to let it make me resentful, or am I going to choose differently?

Every morning, when we wake, we have the opportunity to set our intentions. We can decide how we want to live. We can decide to choose joy, even if we find ourselves in a situation that threatens to bring frustration and anger. We can choose patience, even if our initial feeling is REACTION. We can decide to share our gift and live our passion, or to stifle it, let it slowly die inside. We can let our long held ways of behaving just run their course, following easier paths that take no effort because it's just "how we are", or we can decide on new ways, that bring health and peace. What an awesome gift guys! That every morning, we get to wake up and start over. Really...throughout each day we can do that too. Maybe you fell back into a negative reaction based on someone else's action or words toward you. No one can be a pillar of peace and light every second. Give yourself some grace. Decide in that moment to let it go, to refocus on how you INTEND to be.

I've been thinking about intention a lot. And as a family, each of us has things that we want to be or to remind ourselves of. Just little things to bring each of our own focus back. I admit, I spear headed this little revolution in my family, but it does slowly but surely seem to be taking hold. We started the school year with intention bracelets. I surprised the boys with them on the first day. My husband has one, and so do I. They aren't magic, but there are wonderful little reminders. I look at mine many times throughout the day. Mine..."Be a Light". I ask myself when I look at it..."Am I bringing light? How can I bring light in this situation? How can I leave this interaction with the other person feeling loved?" My hubs has "Breathe". He has been working towards not allowing circumstances to control his emotions. He is deciding to breathe, and remember that his reaction, to whatever the situation, is his choice and his responsibility. (That is one that everyone in my little tribe works on daily, with reminders from each other). Carter has "Fearless" to remind him, there is no reason to fear. No matter what, to have faith. Fear is a choice. To choose to not fantasize on the worst that COULD happen but on the awesome that likely will happen. Charlie has "Strong and Kind" to remind him that he can choose to be kind even when he is angry. And to remind him, even when he is feeling inferior to his brother, he is strong.

These decisions, these are the ones that MATTER. This life...we aren't guaranteed anything people. Although we look to tomorrow with hope and wonder, we can't live today like tomorrow is promised. We need to be thoughtful of our ways, of our intentions. We need to be conscious of how our actions and thoughts affect everyone and everything. Do we want to bring hope? Do we want to bring strength and grace and love? Do we want to judge harshly, ourselves and the world? Do we want to be fearful and skeptical? Do we want to feel powerless because there is "nothing we can do?" There is always something we can do. WE CAN DECIDE!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Get Naked

Vulnerability. Just the word can make some of us squirm in our skin and give a little shake like a ghost ran through us. It used to do that to me. Just the word would make my armor instantaneously 10 times thicker, stronger....and colder. I was like a knight of the round table surrounded with sturdy, steel armor covering every inch, especially thick at the breast plate. I stood tall and tough for my short stature.. impenetrable. You couldn't hurt me. You couldn't scare me. And You could NEVER make me cry. Don't mess with me, don't mess with my plans for this life, don't bother me with your weakness and squishy softness...and good LORD if you know whats good for you, please don't be a victim in my vicinity....ick!

Today, I am different. I am still strong, but I wouldn't use the adjective tough. I am softer and squishier, under the breast plate. My heart feels bigger, and lighter, more in tuned, more accepting. That thick skull under my helmet, used to be a helmet in and of itself. Guarding my beliefs, my perceptions of right and wrong, good and bad, life was so black and white when I was a knight at the round table. It was my way or the highway people. Do it, do it right, do it quick or get the heck outta my way. Don't bother me with your ideals, and your what ifs, your feeelllings, blech. Today my mind feels bigger but lighter. Easier....more flowy...like it's willing to take things at a slower pace and without such rigid filters in place, Before, my body, under all the armor, was often sore, burdened by the weight of the cold steel and lack of freedom of movement. Now my body feels more flexible, stronger, but lighter, still small, but longer somehow. Grounded but at the same time, ready to take flight at any moment. A whimsical flight, with out stretched arms, almost like floating in the sky. Not the type of flight I used to dream of, which was more like swimming upstream with all my might, breathless and desperate to reach my destination, while carrying weights around my ankles and wrists,

Certain parts of my knighthood still reside inside, but they have changed a little. I am still a big believer in making your own way, whatever "the way" is. Working to make your dreams come true. Making the life that you want to live. I believe in living in hopeFULLness not hopeLESSness, as I always have. But now, I have compassion in my heart for those who can't seem to do it.  I want to be a light for them, instead of squishing them with my shoe. I am still a hard, quick and efficiant worker at whatever I am doing. But I don't expect everyone else to be the same way, and I don't judge them as lazy or dumb if they aren't. Yes, I used to do that, and worse. I don't look at people struggling and assume it's their fault anymore. I try to see past those long held beliefs and create new possibilities. I work to make room in my heart and in my mind for more...more understanding, more love. And for less...less judgment, less frustration, less anger. I no longer want to smack people down with my sword, getting them out of my way, and out of their misery. I want to build them up. I want to help them see their worth, and their strength, and their gifts.

It's so trippy. Each of us are born with predispositions. With a bend toward optimism or pessimism. With a bend toward patience or impatience. Some are so young when they put up walls and clad themselves in armor, while others from a young age, lay themselves out naked and vulnerable without even realizing it. Vulnerable, there is that word again. I have decided to like it. I know now, through years of resisting, fighting hard against being vulnerable, that there is genuine strength and freedom found in being there that can not be found anywhere else. It takes a strong soul to be naked. To stretch out your arms, open your heart, and be there, unprotected. You can be hurt. You can be misunderstood. You can be judged and persecuted. You can be made fun of and criticized. OR you can finally be whole, and you can finally be accepted for YOU. You, with all of your fabulous gifts and strengths. You with all of your faults and areas of weakness. Crazy, silly, deep, creative, analytical, sensitive...all of it, whatever it is, all of it. You can finally accept others for who they are, without judgment. Freedom.

Lord knows, embracing vulnerability does not come easy for me. I still have to "work" at allowing it. My default mode is walls up, cannons ready, battle on. That is how I have operated for almost 40 years. I have a difficult time accepting my weaknesses and exposing them for the world to see. But these days, I catch myself when I start gazing into the closet, admiring my shiny armor hanging there, longing to be put back on. I know now, that although that protection feels safe and secure, it is really more of a prison then a shelter. It isn't really strength that is found inside that steel shell, it's intolerance, fear, self preservation. I don't want it anymore.I can't be a light for you, if I'm bound in my armor ready for war. So for me and for you, I shed my steel shell. I crack  myself open a little bit more each day. Here I am guys...the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Here I am to encourage you, if you need it, to let your walls down too. A little bit at a time, baby steps is fine. Crack yourself open a little bit, you'll be surprised at how good it feels.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Boys in the Bubble

Right now, at this very moment, I am contemplating how to put my two boys inside of bubble. It would need to be be a big roomy bubble so they don't kill each other. They can maybe have a little separation in the middle. When I was little my sister and I shared a room, and I always used to put up various types of barriers to section of MY side from her side. I'm crafty, I could make the bubble cool...like a super neat high tech fort! I can feed them in there. They can get lots of exercise running around like hamsters in a ball and even do their homework. I think it will work!

The most recent news of the 8 year old little girl who was taken while riding her scooter in front of her apartment complex, killed and put right across the street in a dumpster has me plotting the bubble. I can't get her sweet little face out of my mind. I keep thinking about her last hour. How confused she must have been. How very very scared. How very badly she must have wanted her Mommy. I keep thinking of her parents. This isn't real to them. I wonder when it ever becomes real. I don't know how they are even breathing in and out, as I can only imagine the pain is breathtaking. My heart is broken for them and I am frickin' awestruck at how one second can change your entire existence. This of course isn't the first innocent child to be abducted. There are many young people missing right now, parents and families searching and praying. She also won't be the last. That is why I need the bubble.

It can not be my child's picture circulating the Internet in hopes of someone seeing him, finding him alive. It can not be my child who gets into a car with a "friend" of Mom and Dad's to never return. It can not be my kid who chats with someone online and goes to meet them to talk about Minecraft and is then flown away to some child trafficking compound. It can not be my boy found in the dumpster. It just CAN'T!

The last couple of years I have really been becoming more comfortable trusting the unknown and facing my fears (I am a recovering control freak). A couple of anniversaries ago the Hubs and I went zip lining because we were both afraid of heights. Facing fears is empowering and really puts things into perspective, When I feel scared by something or worried about an outcome, I've learned to release it. To trust that what is meant to happen will happen. "Every thing happens for a reason, we are meant to learn from it, we all die sometime" kind of thing ya know? I've reminded the kids on several occasions, that we are not guaranteed things in life. We have to be okay with uncertainty and have faith. But when it comes to the boys...WOW...that is so much more difficult. I don't want to let things "just happen", I want to control them! I want to control the environment around them. The people that they interact with. The things they see and hear. I want to put them in my impenetrable bubble.

I want them to experience things. In my soul, I hope and dream that they find themselves and do special things with their lives, using their unique gifts. I  know that those gifts are often found by going through the fire. I understand they will struggle sometimes. They will grow and growing can hurt. We don't get stronger or smarter, more compassionate, or more secure in ourselves by not living life, by avoiding potential danger and pain at every turn. I don't want to shelter them from growing, from being the amazing men they are meant to be. Damn it! If I put them in the bubble to protect them from harm and bad people, I also "protect them" from life. Shit shit shit!!

So here I go...taking a deeeeep breath. Refocusing my mind and my heart. Praying for faith and for wisdom. Coming back to living life now, not hiding from it. Acknowledging this world is not always a safe place for our kids. Bad things can happen to any one of us and pain is very real. But I refuse to leave my mind in fear and worry. I refuse to put my boys in a bubble (even though I still think I could make a super awesome one that would be da' bomb). I will cherish the fleeting moments we share in this life the best that I can. Yes, even the crappy ones when I feel like I want to tie one of them up and lock him in his room. I choose to live with faith. I choose to believe it's in His hands, and His hands is the best place for it to be. Tomorrow is unknown and is not promised. Still I will look forward to it with hope in my heart.

I guess I'll delete my "Bubble Planning" Pinterest board.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Knockin' on 40s Door

I'm knockin' on forty's door ya'll. Only 3 more months until the big 4-0. It's weird because I swear I was just 25. Right? Like, how did that happen so fast?! I've been feeling a shift within this year. An awakening. Like the girl inside was asleep for a while, kind of hibernating, and this year started to stir. She started stretching and wiggling around slowly. I felt her then, ever so slightly at first. Then...POW...she jumped up like a bat outta hell. More awake then she had been in years, if ever. Full of energy and fire. She's ready for 40! She's ready to kick some ass and take some names.

I don't always feel the same way. Some days, there isn't enough coffee in the world. Some days, I wake up tired, with a sore neck because I slept on my belly, and now that I'm old, I can't sleep on my belly without hurting my neck. Some days I look in the mirror and notice, all too easily, the shiny grey hairs popping out through the brown and the major luggage under my eyes. "Is it just the terrible lighting in this bathroom, or is that really ME?" My muscle tone is softer and it takes a lot more work to keep my muffin top from exploding over my jeans. I noticed the saggy skin around my knees the other day while I was jogging. It reminded me of my Nana. I can't enjoy ice cream like I used to because now my old lady stomach can't tolerate it well, but I crave chocolate on a very regular basis. I have crazy grandma hairs on my chin that I have to pluck out on a regular basis and the pimples that I spent too many years and too much money battling have reappeared. Apparently, these things are all part of "getting older" for us ladies. Lovely.

But even as I write this, I can hear the girl inside laughing at me and see her rolling her eyes. She thinks I'm over exaggerating, as usual, and being a big ol' whiner. And, as always, she is wise beyond her years. Yes, that stuff is true. Our bodies try to change, and energy isn't as easy to come by. But there are other aspects of getting older that are pretty rad, and hearing her again is one of them. She is my voice and my fire, and I'm super grateful to her for waking up from her long nap. My thirties have been so busy. I became a mom, and a working mom at that. It's been constant motion, constant energy expenditure and sleep deprivation. Constant expectations to be met (often self imposed). I have really spent the last ten years giving every last drop of myself, physically, mentally, and spiritually, and not stopping to refill. Who has time to refill when you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off? That's just another task, another thing to do. You just keep going. Perpetual motion, don't stop. Don't stop to breath, to rest, to feel.

My boys are still young. I still work outside of the home. as well as inside of the home. Life is still extremely busy. But, she has reminded me of who I am. Not just a mom. Not just a wife. Not just an employee. Not just a friend or sister or daughter. I am a soul. A beautiful loving soul. Full of life and energy and fire. Full of creativity and wisdom. I'm a giver, and I'll continue to be a giver, but she has reminded me about what it is that I am meant to give. It's not my blood sweat and tears. It is not every ounce of physical energy I can muster. It's my light. It's encouragement and compassion. It's something inside that is special and unique to me. Something that only I can give.

So 40 is upon me, and I'm excited. I'm thrilled to get to be who I am. I'm happy that I get to take care of my people and get to take care of me. To share what I've learned, what I hope for and dream about. To inspire and lift up whoever I can. The next decade is the REAL deal. I am going to live it fully and truly. I'm jumping for joy! I hope you do the same because there is no time like now guys. Now is the time to live this life with intention.

Love ya

Monday, July 13, 2015

Listen Up Little Sista

Listen up little sista, hear my words. Don't turn your head, letting what I have to say go in one ear and out the other. I know you think you know all that you need to. I know you think you know yourself. I know I may be waisting my breath, but you are worth it.

Slow down little sista. Don't be in such a hurry to "grow up". Stop to think, to feel, to explore. Travel little sista. Go places, go lots of places, and do it now. See the castles of Scotland and the cathedrals of Italy. Go to South America, to Asia, to Africa. See how the rest of the world really lives before you stuff yourself into your little box. Try new things and have adventures for life is honestly short. I know you think you have lots of time, all the time in the world, to go places and do things. You'll get to it eventually. But there is no time like now and later doesn't always come.

Let down your walls little sista. Let yourself feel. Yes honey, there will be times it hurts, times it hurts bad. But you can't truly and deeply feel the good if you are trying to keep out the sadness and fear. The walls keep it all out sis. I know you think you are stronger with your walls up, tall and wide, impenetrable. But you're not. You are stronger when you give yourself the chance to be vulnerable. When you open your heart, when you lift up the steel door that guards it.

Shhhhh, quiet down little sista. Listen to the one inside. She whispers in your ear all you need to understand for now. She knows where you are meant to be, where your gifts lay, where your soul will find it's utmost joy. She is not ready for her box just yet. She wants to sing and dance. She wants to climb and jump and run like the breeze that blows. She comes with you wherever you go, and she will be with you always, even when it is time to grow up. She will still be there, but now, at this time in your life, you can enjoy her. You can play with her and let her lead you into magic.

I know you think of the future little sista, and you feel anxious and excited to get there. But hear me little sista, you will, in time, you will get there. Enjoy now! Enjoy now, because when you do get there, it is harder than you think. Life gets more difficult, busier, more tiring. You have more responsibilities, more obligations, more people to consider. There are always "things" to get done. You will still find joy, you will still experience new things, and maybe go to new places. But it's not easy. You will still have the little girl inside tagging along, keeping you company, but sometimes you will forget all about her, all about YOU, until she can't take it any longer and pulls the rug out from under you and breaks open your box.

Remember little sista, we all grow stonger and healthier and happier through experience. Going through doors, sometimes pretty, carved, graceful doors and sometimes cracked, old, ugly ones. But learning from each one and choosing a perspective. That's right little sista, you can choose your perspective. You can decide how to look at life no matter what happens. You can decide if you are grateful, if you are hopeful, if you want see the silver lining.

Love your people little sista. Love them with all of your heart. Give them what you have to offer with joy and generosity. You are a blessing to them sis. You are a light. You are a gift. Give yourself with honesty and vulnerability and trust them to love you back.

Take care of your self, sweet little sista. Breathe often and breathe deeply. Take time to still your mind and shift your awareness to the parts of life that mean the most. Feed yourself, feed your creativity, feed your mind, feed your body, and always everyday feed your soul. They all matter, they all work together to keep you healthy, but your soul my sweet sista, your soul is your fire. Your soul is who you are. Don't just feed your soul, sista, nurture it. Nurture it and care for it with baby gloves. Grow it, strong and fierce.

Life is short little sis. Let it be a life of unfettered joy. Use everything you've got inside of you, use it all up to the very last drop. Enjoy the journey, all of it. Live a life of meaning and truth. Be a blessing, by being YOU!


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Downward Dog and Bubble Baths

You may remember reading a while ago, in The Struggle is Real,Girlfriends post, how difficult I find it most of the time to care for myself in ways that matter. I know I'm not the only one. The girl inside requires more than the 10 minute bubble bath, the solo getaway to the grocery store, or even the Mom's Night Out once a month (or every 6 months).We tell ourselves that this is our me time. We pretend to enjoy the rushed bubble bath, in which we probably just squirted in some of the kids 3-in-1 pineapple scented bath wash to make our luxurious foam. We try to look at the shopping excursion, minus the "helpers", plus a stop as Starbucks, as alone time. But none of that counts guys. Sorry to burst your bubble. None of that stuff is feeding your soul, or your creativity. None of that is letting the girl inside feel valued and alive. Those things are quick fixes, band aids. Little moments of supposed sanity in the chaos of it all.

So you might be thinking, "Well damn. I was feelin' pretty good about my bath time. Pretty accomplished, like I was taking some time for ME." Ya....I know, we've all done it sweetie. We've all fooled ourselves (or rather tried to convince ourselves) that we give ourselves the necessary care. I mean we all know we aren't doin' it. We eat last, and usually in between standing and sitting. We go to bed last, after all is settled and everyone else is tucked in tight as a bug in a rug, but wake first. We make sure everyone gets their vitamins and exercise, while we drink coffee and watch the martial arts class, baseball practice or whatever your kids' thing is. Then we get home, close the bathroom door, slip into a bath and think we are gonna be all shiny and new tomorrow? The girl inside could care less about the 10 minute me time you indulge in, it's not enough, and she thinks you suck!

Of course Chicas, we are all different. Different things feed me, then feed you. I'm not going to try to tell ya what you need to do to to let your girl know she is treasured. To give your soul a drink and your mind some rest. To feel alive again and fuel your fire. Not going to give you "The 5 most important things you can do for you" blog post. But I can tell ya some of what works for me. Take it or leave it.

I've always found myself the type of person to enjoy being outside. I'm a sun worshiper...solar powered California girl through and through. When the sun is out and the weather is warm I am at my happiest. I have no control of the weather though, I'm not that cool. But I've found that even when the sun isn't shining as brightly as I wished it were, just being outside feels so good. Maybe it's not just the sun after all, but nature. I love being out "in the wilderness", which to me is usually a well marked hiking trail. I love being at the beach. Feet in the sand, just watching the ocean, listening to it, imagining all the life so far out in it's depths that we have no clue about. Letting the sound of the waves lull me to a little meditative state. I could live there, in the sand, like a beach wandering nomad. When I can't get away, I'll even just go sit in my back yard. Sometimes I'll plant something or just deadhead my flowers. Sometimes I relax with a book, sometimes with my music, sometimes with nothing but closed eyes and open heart. Nature soothes me, and speaks to me, makes me feel closer to God. I feel things deeply in those places and am able to think more clearly.

About a month ago I decided to finally try a yoga class. I've wanted to for a long time. I've always had a pull towards the spiritual aspect of it, not to mention the physical strength it seems to build. I signed up for a beginner's course. I wondered if I would totally make a big ol' fool of myself. I've done a yoga dvd before in my living room, but never a class...with people... who can SEE me. I'm not super duper coordinated, this could be bad. I showed up to class and...fell head over heals for this yoga stuff! I'm still a complete novice and a little bit intimidated by all of the teeny tiny nuances of each position, but I felt it after the first class. I felt the girl inside smile and give me a little thank you. It spoke her language immediately.

I loose myself in books. It's funny, I kind of forgot how very much I loved reading. After the kids came, I probably didn't read anything other than parenting books and devotionals for at least 6 years, probably more like 7 years. When I finally picked up a book again, I couldn't believe how it felt. When I read, I read books. Books with paper, and covers, not books on electrical devices. Real books that I hold in my hand and dog ear pages. I love the way they feel, and smell, and the way a good story can suck you into a completely different and vivid world. I almost always fall in love with the main character gentleman, and swoon over him obsessively for a while, until I come back to reality. My current fantasy man is Jaime from the Outlander series. There are 8 books in the series and I am finishing up the third, so I suspect he will be my boyfriend for a while. After a reading binge, you can sometimes have a hard time readjusting to life as you know it. You'll feel foggy in the head, maybe a little stoned. It's okay, take it slow and enjoy the ride.

Music is magical. Music speaks to our souls like nothing else really can. It lets us feel things we are afraid to feel. It opens our minds and our hearts and enters those places that you mean to keep closed. It can squeeze through those tiny cracks in your armour and embrace you so tightly that you can't resist it. I do believe any kind of music can do this for any kind of person. We all have our own preferences, each soul with it's own song. But music is medicine to every soul. I have a hugely eclectic taste for music. As long as it makes me sing, move, and touches me, I play it. Like Bob said...

You know what things feed you inside. Which things are sweet nectar to your parched soul. Which things strengthen you and open you. Whatever it is, do it. Don't try to get away with the band aids. Don't just live malnourished, putting one foot in front of the other, in a caffeine delirium. You, my fiends, are meant for so much more.


P.S. For any of my girls close by....if you've always wanted to try yoga, do it! I've been learning at Tree Top Yoga and love it. Nicole is fabulous. http://treetopyoga.perfectmind.com.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Weaknesses and Super Powers

I started to realize a few years back, that our weaknesses and struggles are all part of the bigger plan. How would we be able to build up others if we never had to build up ourselves? Of course, the things that we see as our weaknesses are no fun. The struggles we face can sometimes be so heavy. I think it's clear by now if you've been reading my posts, I truly believe we all have gifts to share. Sometimes, the thing we are meant to share is our struggle, and our pain, so our brothers and sisters can rest in the fact that they are not alone.

When I became pregnant with my first little dude, the prayers started immediately. "Please God, don't let this baby have to fight their own mind. Let this little soul grow into the person they are meant to be without having to face anxiety." Pleading with God on a daily basis to spare my baby from something I have carried my whole life. Some moms-to-be probably focus their prayers more on their little cherub's physical health. I wasn't so concerned about that. I was worried about my baby having to carry the same burden I, and several people in my family, carried...Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In my mind, that was the worse case scenario.

Of course, hindsight is somethin' else isn't it? There could be so many things worse than anxiety disorders. Things that are much harder to overcome. But at the time that is all I saw. My little dude was born healthy and sweet as could be. Looked just like his daddy then, looks a lot like me now. Fast forward 9 years later. I start noticing fear and anxiousness in my little man. My heart turns and squeezes inside of my chest and I feel like I am going to throw up each time. I know what it looks like, and even more, I know what it feels like. I don't want him to feel that! I try to believe that I am only "seeing" it because it is what I fear most. Until it becomes apparent even to his dad. Yep, passed on the good ol' frickin anxiety gene, just as I feared I would. DAMN IT! Damn it God, why did this have to be? Didn't you hear me all these years?

But just as quickly as that dread and grief came upon me, so did my strength. I will fight with him! I will be an example for him. I have done this for almost 40 years. I have been able to get passed most of what anxiety and OCD have to offer. Has it sucked at times? Hell yes! Have I wished all my life I never had to deal with it in the first place? No doubt. There have been times that it took up so much room in my brain, I barely had room for anything else. But I have learned how to make it smaller. It only occupies a little piece of me now. Not nearly as much as the strength I have because of the battle. Not nearly as much as the faith I have in myself. I didn't start working on myself and learning how to handle this until I was 20 years old, and really didn't get the appropriate guidance until about 5 years after that. He is 9. He will learn now. He will not have to fight so hard. He will obtain his tools now, and sharpen them as he grows.

I know in my heart and soul that we are all made the way we are for a reason. I truly believe it. I know that I was meant to be his Mommy for a reason. I know that these "weaknesses" can become our strengths in so many ways. The sensitivities can be hard when you don't look at it in the positive. The superb imagination can be a very scary thing, if you don't see it for the blessing it is. The sharp analytical mind can be tiring, if you don't realize all that it can accomplish for good.

I will remind him always that these are not weaknesses but super powers. He need not be afraid of it. He need only learn how to use his powers for good like Thor or Captain America. For the good of the whole world. He has something inside that will bless others. He is an extremely bright, creative, sensitive soul. He will change this world. I believe it and will help him to believe it too. We can't become who we are meant to be without a little work. A little work and a lot of faith.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Nice Mom, Mean Mom, In Between Mom

Ever stop to ponder, what kind of mom you are? Am I a nice mom or a mean mom? Am I an encourager or dream squisher? Do I yell too much? Do I coddle too much? Am I real with my kids, honest and true? Do I over protect? Maybe I don't worry enough? How do my kids see me? Duh, of course you do dang it. I'm sorry, I know, lame question.

Some days I feel like rock star mom of the year. Nice Mom. Patient, supportive, calm in my discipline, or shall we say, redirection. I encourage their creativity and love of nature. I help to bring to light their strengths and remind them that every one of us has our weaknesses, no one is perfect. I feed them organic snacks and limit their sugar intake. We stay busy, in a healthy, not overly rushed way of course, and we even remember to say our prayers. Sigh, isn't it magical? It can happen ya know? Once in a blue moon, when all the stars align and the winds blows just the right way. And it usually lasts about....oh...a couple of hours tops.

Yesterday, Mean Mom. I caught myself telling, okay shouting, at my oldest little dude to "shut his mouth now - just shut up!" The little and big had been arguing off and on all day, par for the course. It was now bed time, and it was late. I was DONE. And it's summer so sleeping arrangements are all a skew. They are sleeping together in little's room, instead of in their separate quarters. And because of my stupendous rock star mom super parenting skills, I get the privilege of laying between the two of them until they are almost asleep. That way one can play with my hair until he doses and the other can lay horizontally across me, feet nearly touching his brother (God forbid!) Even almost asleep the two were digging at each other. Who's right, who's better, who's a big dumb head, who's a poop butt. The older little dude is often the one to instigate the littlest dude with his words, his tone, and his manipulation. Sets little off into a screaming, fists flying rage, then comes crying to me that his brother is being mean. The day had taken it's toll and before I could hold it back I said it..."SHUT YOUR MOUTH, just shut up! I don't want to hear you!" After I said it everyone quieted down. I slipped out to my bed, and of course felt guilty for lettin' it fly. The psychological damage must be huge! I am a big fat farce of a Mom. No patience, no consistency, just willy nilly, shootin' from the hip.

There must be an In Between Mom somewhere in the middle of this shit right? Not over coddling, but not screaming like a banshee. Just right, like baby bear's porridge. That is where I strive to be. I don't want to be a perfect mom. I don't believe in perfect. But I would love to be consistent, and level headed, an example of self control and positive thinking. I would rather model the appropriate way for us to talk to one another instead of feeding the fire with yelling. I don't want to be a "do as I say not as I do" parent. This mom thing is a big ass job, with so many implications. It's also real life, with real people, real feelings and frustrations, disappointments and dreams. And so, today, as I write, I take a deep breath. Deep into my belly, deep into my soul, and forgive myself for not being the In Between Mom yet. I understand that I will flutter back and forth. I'll have great mom days, and crappy mom days. I'll do things wrong, say things I maybe shouldn't and loose my cool sometimes. I'll be an inspiration, a rock of support, cheerleader and their safe haven too.

I'll be the best me I can be, each day, knowing each day is a different day then yesterday, and tomorrow is a new one. I'll try to give myself and my kids grace. I'll drink my coffee in the morning and my wine before bed and keep putting one foot in front of the other. That can't turn out that bad right?!


Friday, June 26, 2015

Growing Pains

Often my littlest little dude will come to me to let me know he has a growing pain. "My ankle hurts right here Mamma, I think it's a growing pain." I give it a little rub, smooch his sweet face and tell him "Yep babe, growing pains hurt. But that means we're growing and growing is good. It won't last long, and before you know it you'll be stronger."

Growing pains do hurt while they last though don't they? I find, that annoying little growing pain, can become down right excruciating if you try to ignore it. We feel the pain for a reason, and the reason is, it's time for change. My littlest little dude is getting taller by the day. Heavier, thicker, stronger. Stretching into a big boy. He feels it in his ankles and knees. Although we feel aches and pains in our physical being as adults, it is usually due to our bodies getting older, not from actually getting bigger. We feel growing pains in the center of our being, and it hurts worse then any sore joint. It takes our breath away. It makes our minds loose focus and thoughts spin out of control. It hurts inside but you can't really pin point where the pain is coming from, or why you feel it. You want to crawl out of your skin, or sleep until it's over, or run away as fast as you can.

You may have heard, pain changes people. When the pain of remaining who and where you are is great enough, you will either die inside or change. We need not look at pain as a bad thing, as a death sentence. We need not fear the pain. No it doesn't feel good, but keep your focus on what is to come. The poor chubby hairy little caterpillar probably thinks it's dying before the actual metamorphosis. It may be longing to stay the same fearing what it all means. Not knowing what kind of butterfly it will be, not knowing how to fly, wishing it could just stay the way it has always been, even if it isn't a life of health, happiness or fulfillment of purpose, at least it's a life that it understands.

We carry so much around inside of us. Such complicated beings we are. So many contradictions right? From the day we are born into this world we start learning. We start feeling. We start drawing conclusions and choosing a perspective. We start reading other people, gleaming good and bad from the world around us. Sponges, soaking up every bit of it. And rarely getting squeezed out. Just soaking up more and more, it all getting swished around and stagnant inside. The joyful and the sorrowful. The pain of rejection, of not being heard, of being abandoned. The pride of accomplishment. The confusion about what you believe or should believe. The desire to be someone special, and the fear that you never will be. All the wonderful and tragic things inside. There comes a time when you have to get squeezed. To let go and release all of that stuff you've been holding on to. To just come clean. To realize it's time to start anew. You can take a look at the pool at your feet after you've wrung yourself out. Really look at it. Determine which of those things serve you in your next stage of life. Which things build you up, bring you true joy and satisfaction. Which things are part of who you want to be. Keep that stuff. Soak it back in. Notice the other parts too, but just notice them. They served their purpose, the catalyst to growth and change. Some you wish never happened, but it all did. It all happened for a reason. Now it's time to say goodbye to that stuff. It's time to leave it there, in the puddle. Never to be soaked up again. Washed away. Say goodbye.

We were not made to stay the same guys. Remember, the true you, the soul inside the body. It is SO beyond skin and bones. It is SO much more beautiful then you realize. The experiences, the people, the life we live, it is all here to help us become our true selves. Try to remember that when the pain comes.

Grow! Change! Be True! Love you <3

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

All the Damn Doubt

Doubt. Doubt sucks. Doubt drains. Doubt is a dream killer. Doubt can stop us in our tracks. Doubt suppresses your true you...makes you worry that maybe they are not really possible, those dreams you have. That spark you felt, that light that shined so brightly for those few seconds, that changed the way you looked at yourself, at your life, at your possibilities...doubt makes you begin to disregard those, to not trust yourself, what you felt, what you saw.

Doubt if just fear dressed up in a different outfit. We think of fear as this big looming dark presence. Fear makes us shake with fright and anxiety. We FEEL fear, we don't THINK it. Wrong. Fear can take so many forms. Fear likes to dress up in an unexpected disguise and trick you. Doubt is fear. It's is fear of rejection. Fear of weakness. Fear of loss. Fear of change. Doubt kills creativity. It kills adventure and authenticity. It kills connection and intimacy. It makes life boring, and easy and safe. Bleeech! Safe from what? From passion and trueness. From color and light. From doing those things you were put in this world to do that's what! It stops us from being who we are and sharing that super special something that is unique to just us, that is meant to bless.

Before I published my last post, I had a moment of doubt. "Is it good enough?" "Do I sound a little cray cray?" "What will some of my friends think if I say this out loud?" "Is this really what I am supposed to be doing with my thing? I mean there are millions upon millions of really talented and trained bloggers and writers out there, what makes me think I can do this?" "What makes this special to anyone besides me?" Then I clicked "publish". Screw it! Who cares if there are a bazillion other people writing and blogging, that doesn't mean that I can't. Who cares if one or two or a bunch of people read my post and think it's far fetched and makes no sense. There will be someone that reads it that needs to read it. That needs to hear it and feel it, this I am certain of!

It's often easier to see our circumstances for what they are by looking at it from someone else's perspective. What would I say to my Soul Sister if she were denying herself an opportunity to be true to herself, to share her special something and bless the rest of us? What would I say to my little boy if he were being beat up with self doubt, not trying new things or being the best little dude he can be because he were afraid to fail, to look stupid, to be different? I don't think I have to tell you what I'd say....but I will. I'd say, "You are special! You are strong! You have a gift! You can do this. You NEED to do this. I believe in you. You will never know unless you try...and you try with all of your heart and soul! What is the worst that could happen?" The worst that could happen is not doing, not trying, not giving it your best shot. The worst that could happen is you never knowing how awesome it could have been. The worst that could happen is not fulfilling your purpose. The worst that could happen is....nothing. Just nothing. Safe, boring, nothing.

I believe in us! I believe in me. I continue to hold on to hope for this world, for the people who are willing to be real and true. I continue to hold on to hope for the people who are willing to encourage and build up. I rebuke doubt. I refuse to give it power over my dreams and my truth and my heart. I hold on to hope that you will do the same.

Believe in you. Jump! Fly! Dream! <3