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.

 

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Finding your center

Depositphotos_32107507_l-2015Sometimes, we all get a little lost.

Sometimes it’s lost in love – with a partner or a new baby.

Sometimes it’s lost in grief – from the passing of a loved one or the letting go of a big dream.

Sometimes it’s busyness that we lose ourselves in – the bills, work, volunteering, kid schedules.

Easy to do. The question is, how do you find your center?

It’s different for everyone. Some write books, others travel, some change jobs or relationships or hobbies.

For me it’s about the little things. Making small changes that add up to big results.

This morning, for example, I woke up early and cleaned my room. The floor began to take on an obstacle course vibe with shoes and clothes, everywhere. Sure, I was out of town quite a bit, then a volleyball tournament for my daughter, but regardless it was a disaster. I didn’t realize it, but subconsciously it said I had sort of given up. There was too much to do so, why even try. As it turns out, it didn’t really take that long and now, I am able to sit in a chair with my mom’s favorite pink blanket on my lap as I write. All because of a little tidying that made the whole room open up with possibility.

Yesterday, I decided to sit down and write, for the first time in a couple of years since my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away in 4 months ago, and I just haven’t been able to write words about it or anything really. I decided to just sit down and see what happened. I wrote a post called what words do you say? . It wasn’t easy but after a while, it just sort of flowed. It was healing and rewarding to see that I could still do it. Tonight, I was inspired to write as well. Again, a little step, but in a lovely direction.

If you are looking to make a change in some area, what little thing can you do? It could be in the direction of a certain goal – take a walk if you are looking to get in shape, prepare a new recipe if you want to expand your cooking skills, call a loved one if you want more closeness in your life. Or maybe just do something fun or frivolous – but something that says to you, I am awesome, I matter, I am loved.

Blessings on your journey, it all starts with just one step. Happy travels. Oh and don’t forget to laugh. It’s contagious.

cupcake

The most precious day 

Today was a day for the memory books. My sweet mom and I went to visit the church where she would like to hold her celebration of life. 

She will want a small, intimate gathering of friends and family, so we looked at the small sanctuary first. It was very functional with plenty of tables and chairs but it didn’t feel quite right, so we decided to seek out other spaces. My friend Tammy, the minister walked us to the main sanctuary. As she turned the key and opened the door, I could  feel the warmth radiate from the room. Exquisite stained glass windows lined the space as rose colored light flooded the room. We could feel the love enfold us. 

This is where my parents got married, this is where my grandfather and then my grandmother held their celebrations of life, this is where my mom’s will be held too. 

We talked through the details of linens, flowers, music and then with hugs said thank you. 

We left and decided what to do next. Ice cream? A walk? What do you do after a conversation like that? 

We decided to go for a walk, and pick up cupcakes for the birthday kids on the way. 

I took my mom to Mystical cupcakes, there were so many flavors, she looked like a kid in a candy store. We bought cupcakes for everyone and she even got two to take home! 

Next we walked through the farmers market, mother and daughter, arm and arm. We visited the lavender stand where she visited with her favorite vendor, mom has been buying gifts for her friends and family there for years. I could feel the heart connection between the two of them. She picked up some sweet items for loved ones and told her lavender friend she would be praying for her. 

We walked, hand in hand through the garden, finding a sweet bench to share. My mom is so loving. I am so honored to be her daughter. 

Next I took her to North Point. This is a place near and dear to my heart. It’s where I fell in love with my partner. He and I shared many hopes and dreams while gazing at the sound and watching the boats go by. Mom and I strolled along, finding a sweet bench to just sit. And then we did, we just sat, gazing at the water, watching sailboats, a seal bobbing its head and the sky, the big open sky. It was so precious to share this time with my mom who I love so much. Both of us deeply appreciative of this moment in time, and for the gift of loving each other. 

I will never forget this day, this most precious day. 

Balancing act 

I don’t seem to know how to write much these days. My mom has cancer and she is living with us now. Each day is totally different. I wake up in the morning and check on her and the day starts from there. I administer pain pills or talk finances or give hugs, then wake up the kids and take them to their various places. By the time I get to work sometimes I feel like I’ve had a full day already. 

She’s off to chemo today with a friend. She doesn’t feel well already but is determined to go. God Bless her strength and determination. 

I don’t know how to do this, I’ve never done it before. I see my self care slipping by the wayside with everyone else’s needs. I haven’t seemed to figure out how to get enough quiet, sleep, good food and exercise while managing all of these factors. Instead it’s been slow strolls, grabbing salads for lunch, coffee on the way to work, and ice cream before bed. I have goals of exercise first thing in the morning and bedtime routines that foster sleep, those goals are a work in progress these days. 

I read once that if you want to change something in your life you should live by the 5% rule. Do something 5% more or less each day. Get on the treadmill for 5 minutes if that’s what you have, do a little bit of straightening the house, have sorbet instead of ice cream. But then do that 5% consistently and add on as you can. 

So that’s my goal for today, be 5% more loving to myself, with a gentle walk, and some self compassion.

Balancing all of these factors is a challenge. Another way of saying that is… balancing all of these factors is an opportunity for growth. I choose opportunity. And I choose to be loving to my wonderful family and to myself, one moment at a time. 

Recipe for Love 

It’s true,

I’ve burned a couple of things in my life, 

And been burned too.

And… 

I survived to try again.

After trial and error,

here is my 

Recipe for Love…

1 cup youthful hope 

1 cup belief in love (baggage removed) 

2 cups laughter 

1 cup trust (fear melted)

A bunch of willingness to try 

Kisses to taste 

Add in faith, handfuls of love and mix. 

Knead and shape,

Bake until warm.

You’ll know it’s done, 

when you take a taste

and your insides melt,

beacause 

it’s the most perfect thing 

you have ever experienced. 

Savor, 

take time to appreciate, 

and enjoy. 

So much to be grateful for…

The twinkle in my son’s eye, 

the “good morning, I love you” text,

the perfect shade of purple for my finger nails, 

the granola and blueberries in my mason jar, 

as I sit by the water’s edge. 

The unexpected 2 mile walk with no rain. 

The work day with on time and productive meetings.

The sweet visit with my mama, and the warmth of her hand holding mine. 

The flower and card on the table from a friend. 

The hard working small engineers who folded AND put away their laundry.

The bedtime kisses and tuck in snuggles. 

The honest and loving late night call from my love. 

In this day… 

there is so much to be grateful for…

Love is 

Love shows itself in so many ways. 

It’s the phone call to say the doctor’s appointment went well.

It’s the call from an upset child who doesn’t want to help with the surprise but will anyways, because. 

It’s the singing boy on the car ride home. 

It’s the email left unanswered because we both don’t know what to say next. 

It’s the rainbow after the storm today. 

It’s the hands that keep working, even though they are tired.

It’s my cell phone staying on so I can write this even though it says 1% battery left.

It’s the whispered “I love you” sent on the wind.

It’s the tuck in of sweet kids and the extra snuggle, just because. 

Love is all of this, 

And so much more. 

May love light your way,

Always.

What to write about now.

When I started this blog 10 years ago, it was out of a deep need to get express what I was going through. As a single mom of three young kids, this blog was a friend and lifesaver. Even though I didn’t have a partner, I had a place to share my joys and sorrows, and someone out there to listen.

A few years into singlemamaing, I met a guy and we had a great love. He swept me off my feet with poetry and his passion for changing the world. For six years, we had an on again, off again relationship that made both of us nuts but we just couldn’t give up because there was such a connection. I have written about the ups and downs of that too, trying to make sense of it all.

I’ve written a lot of poetry here too. Sometimes about my love of the morning, or my kids, other times poetry about love and loss.

Last year, I wrote a gratitude post for every day in November. It turns out I had A LOT to be thankful for. That exercise was very enjoyable and I realized I could have done a gratitude blog for a year!

This blog has grown and evolved over time with me, like a good friend. It’s funny really, I never knew that I loved writing until my (now) ex suggested I try it. He is a writer and we had a lot of fun writing things back and forth on with each other. I guess you could say he was kinda my inspiration for writing. Now that we are not together, I don’t have the same muse that I used to. That has taken some time getting used too.

So now I find myself asking, “What do I write about now?”

Here is what I know:

I want this blog to be an inspiration to others who are walking this pathway called life.

I want to share what’s in my heart in a way that helps me learn new things and that moves me, while connecting with others.

I want to explore concepts, excitement, discomfort, joy, love, learning and hope through words.

Thanks for joining me as I find new words, new muses and ultimately explore what makes life sparkle. Pour yourself a warm cup of tea and let’s explore together.

 

I imagine

I imagine

a world at peace.

Where people love and value each other.

Where we appreciate and embrace each other’s differences.

Where hope and kindness are commodities,

instead of hatred and fear.

Our country is grieving,

from the loss of innocent lives.

People targeted because of the color of their skin

or their choice of who they love.

How is that anyone’s business?

How is it that children are raised to hate instead of love?

In my life I will love openly,

and teach my children the same.

I will not cower in fear,

I will stand tall in love.

I will embrace openly,

expand in learning,

and build up,

not break down.

Join me,

open your heart,

wider than you imagine you can.

Imagine with me,

a world of love,

let’s create it,

together.

 

The longest day in the world and the wall of love

I had seen this day coming on the calendar but I didn’t realize how full it was going to be.It started with attending a breakfast with 850 people and one former Seahawks player. I saw so many people I know and talked about all kinds of projects I am working on with them. I moved forward a trails project, a scholarship, a microloan fund and all before scrambled eggs, just by being in the same place at the same time with so many community members. photo: my coworker and I with Marcus Truphant

Because I left the house at 6:45am and didn’t sleep well the night before, I drove home and feel asleep for a 30 min powernap, it was genius. I called my mom on my way to the office, she was on her way to Chemotherapy and in good spirits, I told her how much my love surrounded her on this day and everyday. She is a fierce warrior on this journey called cancer, I am amazed by her strength and sense of victory, everyday.

I went to office, talked about scholarships and the amount we spend as an institution on diversity – $84,000 last year and a $30,000 increase from the previous year. Not bad but we have more to do to serve our underserved populations.

For lunch, my coworker and I went to a community partner lunch hosted by one of our local credit unions, they supports many community organizations. We sat with our friends from the YWCA, and GRUB and visited with Community Youth Services, United Way and many others. At lunch, the Executive Director for a local youth empowerment via gardening nonprofit and I drummed up plans for a veterans community garden on our property. This would both support our community by providing fresh food to our local food bank as well as supporting our veterans population in skillbuilding and therapy for PTSD. I can’t wait to see where that project goes!  photo: my coworker and I with credit union partners

The afternoon held meeting with one of my favorite tribal elders to create a project to support STEM learning and Native youth. This was followed by an interview for an open position on my team.

Right before the interview, I got a call from the school principal…. oh dear. It appears my sweet child got into an argument with a friend that turned into a pushing match, which turned into 2 days of suspension. My sweet son is a sensitive little guy, the world sometimes feels big and loud to my introverted dude. Should he push a friend because he was overwhelmed? No way.  I have never seen anything like this from him and it shows that we have some work to do to create new tools for his life toolbox. Needless to say, I was pretty shaken up.

Next we set up for our final Artist and Lecture Series VIP reception with 50 women community leaders. We drank wine, enjoyed North Indian cuisine provided by our culinary department and talked about the future for students and how we can make a strong pathway for their success.

 photo: another coworker and I at the VIP reception

I walked into my house around 8pm, tired and worried about my son. How was I going to talk to him about this, what if I didn’t do it right? I prayed for guidance. I turned the corner in my house and bam!! My friend and her husband had created a wall of love. There in front of my eyes were pictures of the kids and I all over the wall. Baby pictures, adventures, pictures of my mom and dad, it blew me away. I just stood there speechless with tears streaming down my eyes for what seemed like an eternity.Unbelievable.
 photo: the wall of love

As I went to sleep that night, I thanked God for the day and for the kind people that fill my life. Sometimes on days like this, I feel like I just give and give, and I love that don’t get me wrong. But this day, I got the feeling like good things do happen to those who pour their heart into loving the world.

I am so grateful for the longest day ever. The multi-faceted, community filled, overcoming challenges, and wall of love longest day ever. Thank you.