You are so loved day.

It’s Father’s Day.

Today I ache.

For my babies,

and for what they deserve.

They deserve a loving father,

not one who left,

and then let bad choices end his life at an early age.

They deserve honesty.

Not a man who said he would show up,

forever,

but won’t do the work.

They deserve

the sun,

moon,

and stars.

They are my everything.

I pray they know it.

I pray that they know I love them enough to make up for the men who have failed them.

I will show them,

everyday,

how precious they are.

I will surround them with loving friends and family who show up,

in rain or in shine.

We are reclaiming this day.

It is now called

You are so loved day.

Because that is the truth of this day.

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Everywhere I look

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Everywhere I look,

she is.

The angel ornament on the Christmas Tree,

her lovely smile,

in a framed photo on the mantle.

In stores,

it is gifts she would have given,

songs she would have sung.

Her love surrounds us,

like a warm blanket,

soft and cuddly.

and yet,

she is gone.

Away from my sight,

my arms.

I miss her voice,

her wisdom,

her hugs,

so dearly.

I know that she is here,

loving us,

and yet,

so far away.

I miss you Mom,

everyday,

everywhere I look.

 

You are…

You are a radiant. Glowing.

You are a glorious flower in God’s garden.

You have a clear vision for your life and you are manifesting it.

You are insightful.

You are brave and fight with honor and strength of your ancestors.

You are paving the way for the next generation.

You are worthy of your own focus and love.

Your laugh tickles the insides of those around you.

Your smile is like sunshine.

You are blooming where you were planted.

You believe and others do too.

You adventure to wild lands, majestic peaks and golden beaches.

You are a blessing.

You are grounded in faith and love.

You bring hope to those who have lost it.

You are truth in action.

You are… loved.

 

 

 

 

 

Contemplation in the morning

downloadIt’s a gray morning, after many blazing summer days. My partner listens to Frank Sinatra and writes in the other room. My coffee steams in the cup.

I love the mornings, the house is quiet, with just time to be. Three little kids sleep soundly, the fourth is rowing on the sound this early morning.

There is a contentment to this life that is new to me.

We recently moved into our new home. After an extensive remodel, we are slowly moving in. There are boxes at my feet brimming with books to be but away, I can’t find a bill I need to pay, and this is our home. We own it. The kids play music and chase each other around here. Our tuxedo cat, Colette naps in the morning sun.

This place is new to me. As a young person, I moved a lot – 18 times before I was 18 to be exact. The reasons were many, which I won’t get into here, but the point is being in a home that is ours, that stability, is new. I imagine others have experienced this for years, to me it is a precious gift.

My gratitude cup is full, may I remember to refill it often.

 

Teenage boys and their big hearts

IMG_1055 IMG_1056As a Mother of multiple kids, I should probably get it by now, but I don’t. What’s up with the broding, rude, teenage boy thing. A minute ago his voice was higher and his mommy was tickling his toes, now he plays U2 not stop, doesn’t eat lunch, and has momentarily forgotten his manners.

This morning, I brought his lunch to school because he forgot it, again. It was a sparkling water and a cheese stick, so I added a few things. I handed it to him and he said, “I don’t want that.” I said, “You’re welcome, would you like me to put it in your locker?” I opened his locker to find 4 other 1/2 eaten lunch bags- all with rotting yogurt inside. So gross.

He has 8 days of school left. He loves school but he is excited for summer. Homework has been a challenge for this brilliant young man. He literally goes to a school for academically talented kids but remembering the homework, not the easiest.  His teacher emailed he and I last week to say he had some missing assignments and his grade was subpar. I sat him down and talked about making a plan. I am pretty sure he heard, “blah, blah, blah”. He got grumpy. I got grumpy. No plan was made.

The next morning I woke up and realized maybe he didn’t know how to make a plan. So we sat down and made it together. It included all of the pages he needed to read, laundry, Spanish homework, etc. There was come grumbling, a few eyes rolled, and he did it.

My partner said recently that as these four kids grow, we are changing from directors to guides. I love these kids so dearly and am honored to be there guides and even put up with a few of their growing pains as we go. They are so precious and it is amazing to see who they are becoming.

This sometimes moody, always hungry young man who I need to peel from his phone each night, is also the boy who still hugs his mama and at bedtime when I say, “I love you”, he says, “I love you more”. Here’s to teenagers, in all of their glory. Love you buddy.

 

Just let it go… inch by inch…

mother-daughter-quote-6-picture-quote-1I sit here wrapped in a blanket gazing out the window. I’m overwhelmed, by my responsibilities, grief from losing my mom, all of the shoulds that are knocking down the door.

This is the first week I have taken off to regroup in years. I have taken vacations with the kids, flown to places like Reno for my daughter’s volleyball tournament but the last time I just sat? I couldn’t tell you.

Let’s recap, my mom was diagnosed with cancer this time 3 years ago, she passed away last December, we scattered her ashes this Sunday, what would have been her 73rd birthday was Tuesday.

It’s Thursday. Somehow I had myself convinced that I was over grieving now. That now I should apply for grad school (while I work full-time and manage the lives of four teenager and a partner who is building a business).

Um hello girl, give yourself a break.

Does anyone else have this life force, this vision for positive, social change and hope that is so big and powerful? Most days it’s awesome, I’m raising funds to support access to education, empowering staff, advancing equity and just rocking it by being the best version of love I know how to be. And… sometimes I just have to hold tight to the reigns and say woa…. slow down sister and catch your breath.

I run a nonprofit, have 4 active kids, I’m on 3 nonprofit boards, I volunteer for my kids school, we just bought a house and renovated it. Last week we hosted Thanksgiving for 13 and another dinner party for 12. I love it, I love ALL of it. But at this moment, I’m fried. I’m not sure if i’m french fries, chicken strips,  or jalapeno poppers, but definitely something fried. Oh, I’m tater tots, because who doesn’t love some tots??

So…. what now? Cry, miss my mom, eat an “encouragemint” a friend brought over, write, listen to India Arie, pray for guidance on the next steps and exhale.

And just like that…India Arie is singing “Let it go, inch by inch, and do it again, one day you will see..” India Arie – Just let it go 

It’s hard to let go. Of my mom, of doing things perfectly, of not being able to do it all. So, I listen, I grieve, do the next thing in front of me.

The thing is… I’m awesome. When I stop shoulding on myself I remember that I am powerful, capable and born to carry on the legacy of strong women. Women who raised kids during wartimes, poverty, divorce, and they thrived. I have been through my share of challenges and you know what? I thrive too. It’s not always easy and sure the roller coaster of life makes me queasy sometimes but straight up – I’ve got this… inch by inch,,, I just let go…

May you be gentle with yourself, whatever you are going through. You are awesome. Remember that and remember to just let go and let life be the magic it is meant to be.

Blessings.

 

Pots, pans and patience

pots and pansI woke up this morning just feeling angry. Tired for sure but angry as well. That is not a normal feeling for me. I might be frustrated momentarily but today I was just pissed.

I took today and tomorrow off to honor my Mom’s birthday, her passing and just give myself some much needed self care time. My partner is sick and has been for 10 days so I will plan to take him to the doctor when he wakes up. I took 4 kids to school, 2 different trips driving in the rain, 4 reminders (at least) for lunches and raincoats. I came home and the house was a pit. Clothes laying around, the dining room table scattered with banana peels, cheerios and hardware for the painting that needs to be hung up. One of the kids didn’t unload the dishwasher so the whole kitchen was a mess. I unloaded/reloaded the dishwasher, wiped down counters, cleaned off the dining room table, moved chairs from the 13 person dinner party we had the night before. My son’s laundry isn’t dry, which means since mine is behind his, it’s still soaking. I went into the study to sit down and there were 2 wet rags on the chair, the list goes on…

Did I mention this was my day off?

As I was puttering and swearing under my breath, I came upon a bag with the remnants of my Mother’s ashes in them. We spread them yesterday at a river nearby. I went to put the coat I was wearing yesterday and I can’t. I have to wash it, it was the one I wore when we scattered her ashes. I wonder if it has some ashes on it. I just can’t deal.

So, I melt and write and pray for patience, compassion for myself, my partner and the kids. I watch the rain come down, hear the dishwasher churn, feel the warmth from the heat vent on my toes.

It always comes back to the moment, doesn’t it? I read recently that if you are depressed-you are living in the past, anxious- you are living in the future, at peace – in the present moment. So I sit. Breathe. And repeat.

The Cheerios will not multiply and overtake me, the wet rags will dry out, the clutter (which is everywhere) will be tidied up in due time. I am having a quiet moment on my day off which was my goal. Right now, it’s just me, the rain, the warmth and the dishwasher doing a job that I don’t have to.

My Mother taught me well, that in any situation there is space for gratitude, you just have to slow down enough to find it.

My Mother’s Ashes

32440475_10216213823921783_7458237836517441536_nToday was the day I have dreaded. My Mom passed away last December. We held her Celebration of Life in February. I have held onto her ashes while we moved, renovated the house, my youngest son started middle school, I have held onto them for almost a year.

Today, my family flew in from Alaska, Spokane and Seattle to lay this final piece to rest. We met at her favorite park, with multiple waterfalls and lovely paths. She walked it regularly for meditation and with loved ones. Sword Ferns, Japanese Maples, and Salmon are a few of the native species that inhabit this magical place.

When she entered Hospice, she knew she was going to die from cancer. So she had time to plan out how she wanted to be remembered. Her Celebration of Life was regal, in a beautiful cathedral befitting of the spiritual goddess she had become. She knew just where she wanted her ashes to be spread as well.

Today we bundled up, in scarves and hats – it is November after all. Aunts, uncles, grandkids all joined together to honor this beloved soul. We gathered at a bridge and my sweetheart said an opening prayer. He has a way with words as an author and speaker, I think this was one of his finer moments. We handed out a pink rose (mom’s favorite) to each person to hold along the walk. We strolled along the pathway rotating people to hug until we reached the lower falls. The water was booming down the rocks and the spray made my face sparkle. How she loved the falls. So powerful and strong, just like God she would say, and I would say, just like her.

There is a special spot the kids discovered with their Grandma years ago, they called it “slippery rock” and they would climb to the top and feel like the kings and queens of the world. Next to slippery rock. there was a quiet pool, like something out of a painting, so still, only when an autumn leaf fell would you see a ripple in the pond. Around the corner from the lower falls and the slippery rock was a small beach where you could walk to the water. In the fall, the salmon run so close you could touch them and Merganser Ducks splash playfully in the water.

On this special day, we said a prayer, cried a river (and then some), tossed ashes into the water, followed by a pink rose each. We sang a few of her favorite songs and hugged a lot. I know she was there watching us and I know she loved it. We closed with a prayer and walked back up the trail. As I hugged my Dad walking up the hill, I thought, “She is free, totally completely free and soaring I know”.

At the top of the hill there just happened to be a restaurant with lunch space for 13 people overlooking the falls. We drank tea to warm up and visited with family, just enjoying each other’s company.

It was perfect. The whole afternoon.

We came home and fell asleep. When we woke up, I felt a new energy, to write, to clean my altar and bedroom. I think I have been holding on and dreading this final moment for so long, I forgot that there are other things in life to build, grow and enjoy. I have been mourning for a year. And I know the grief will continue in waves but at this moment, I feel a lightness and happiness for my Mom, and for all of us. She is free!

Victory and loving kindness were always her mottos. Congratulations on your Victory Mom, I know you are being welcomed with open arms to your God Star Home. I love you forever and ever and ever.

Falling in love with life

Tonight as I tucked the kids in, I fell in love all over again.

It was a long day, full of too much. I came home to a beautiful dinner, sweet kids playing various things, doing homework, being at activities.

My partner and I split the day with a sick kid. He fell asleep in the chair, head tilted to one side, with his computer on his knees. Such a hard working, loving man. My heart swelled with love and gratitude.

As I tucked each of the four kids in, we talked about our gratitudes for the day. One said friends, another said family, one said the rain, and the other said our cat. I love hearing their joys and sorrows of the day. It makes me feel like I am the luckiest person in the world. It witness these moments is pure magic.

As I say my gratitudes tonight, there are too many to list but for starters it’s our little family, my loving mom, working with people who advocate for equity and education, the rain and my partner who lights my days with laughter.

Tonight, I fell in love with my life, all over again.

May love and gratitude fill your days .

Love letter to my Mom

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Dear Mom,

We are moving Mom. Into our first sweet house that we actually own. You would be so proud.

We bought 95 boxes of floors today, 3,300 pounds. We rented a truck and the boys moved all of them.  They are so big and strong now.

You would love the house. There is a beautiful dogwood tree in the front yard. The backyard has a place for the tree I told you about, the one I have been wanting to plant since the kids were born.

We are picking just the right hues of blues, greens and yellows for bedrooms and the kitchen. It will be so cheerful and filled with light. One of the rooms will be a study with books lined up to the ceiling, cozy reading chairs, the piano and all of our guitars (I think we are up to 8 now). We will sing songs that you love in this room Mom.

I miss you so much. Everyday, I want to call you and hug you and ask your opinion on something.

Everyday I feel your presence, your joyful laugh, and your warmth when I think of you. And… I want to touch your hand again. I want you to wrap your arms around me when I feel overwhelmed and tell me everything is going to be alright.

It’s been six months now since you passed away. I am ready for you to come back now. It feels like you have been on a long vacation and it’s time to come home. And… I know that’s not going to happen. I watched you fight, for so long, against cancer. I hate cancer sometimes. I blame it for taking you away from us too soon. Other times I remember what you told me, that this was just your time to fly home.

I’m glad you are pain free now, and I know you are watching out for us. I see you in clouds and seagulls and trees. I am working through the pain of you not being here. Somedays are better than others.

As we prepare to move into our new home, I am really missing you. You have helped me move into every home I have ever rented and now we are buying a home and you won’t be there. You always washed down the counters and brought sparkling water for the movers.  You watered the plants and made sure there was a bowl of sliced apples and grapes for everyone. You plugged in lamps and set out towels so we would be comfy after a long day of moving. What a blessing you have always been in our lives.

Mom, we will continue to honor your memory in many ways. We will plant flowers in our backyard in your name. We will sage our new home to bring in all of the good energy. Your plants will move into the house with us where they will have good light and flourish.

We will flourish too Mom. Just like you would want. There will be laughter, music, colorful food, beauty and love. Thank you for showing us how to live a life filled with love and grace.

Loving you always,
T