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.

 

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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.

 

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.

 

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.

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

I have so much more in me than I know

16161677 - american bald eagle circling in the airI’ve always known it. That I am radiant child of the universe. We all are. From the time I was a little girl, I have known I had a purpose that was much larger than me. I have had a strong connection to the earth, sky, and the universe around me.

I have seen things that fill my insides with light, that I don’t have words to explain. I just know, with my whole being that we are surrounded and loved by a spirit much grander than we can see.

There is a lot in our daily lives these days. Kid activities, work, volunteering, the house, the garden, keeping our bodies healthy.

Tonight I was telling a friend how I watched an eagle soar recently. It was so high in the sky, dark against the clouds, such a strong presence, gliding with grace of a thousand feathers. Next to it flew a sparrow, flapping its wings trying to catch up. I felt such a calling to glide like my friend the eagle. Yet, I realized that I have been flapping my wings like the sparrow. When I look up the meaning of the sparrow, it says “Although it is small, the sparrow animal totem is both powerful and productive. It’s persistence and integrity shows us that we do not have to be big to make a difference.” Yes! I have felt like that for years, persistence and determined to make a difference in the world.

As I sat there, for what seemed like eons, I fell in love with the rhythm of the eagle.

“Eagle symbol comes into our lives, it does so bringing a powerful message with it. We can achieve more than we are, and we can rise above our current struggles on the wings of our Eagle guide. Eagle is a powerful spiritual totem, bringing clear vision to show us the hidden patterns in the world around us. They are right there for us to see, it tells us that we shall achieve the goals we are hunting through hard work and perseverance, and that our intuition should be trusted at this time.”

As I chatted with a friend tonight about my experience with the eagle, I realized that I have been so focused on the “how” of getting things done that I have been forgetting to just let it be and watch it unfold how it is supposed too.

Bless the graceful eagle and the sparrow as they each have parts to play.

As I move into these next days with plenty to do, I embrace the eagle wings and the spirit that is in me from generations of grandmothers and mothers who have come before me. I will honor their legacy with my walk or rather my wings – open, broad, and embracing of life, and with beautiful views as well.

Here’s to soaring…

 

Celebrating the little things

Today started with a radio interview downtown about the importance of funding education. I walked past beautiful murals in the alleyway, my coffee steaming as I strolled past the European shoe store and the local bakery. The homeless women they call blonde was having a vibrant conversation with the universe, the glass door on the station was smashed and covered with duct tape, “someone got frustrated after leaving the bar Thursday night”, the station manager said.

The interview went well (I think).

Next I headed to the grocery store where I took a little extra time for shopping. A small gift to myself. I treated myself to fresh flowers, a grapefruit, and cilantro. Then picked up an extra bouquet for the family who had my son over for a sleepover last night. It was such a nice experience, like looking through a magazine, it seems luxurious.

I picked up the sweet boy, delivered flowers to a happy friend, visited a delightful cat we are caring for this weekend, and came home with bunches of groceries.

The tall girl roasted chick peas, the little one and I made a basil, tomato, cucumber and the middle one cleaned out the fridge and did the dishes while singing the favorite song of the moment.

Next we went to a birthday party for a 10 year old child. Balloons, piñata, and my new favorite game bananagrams. We immediately went to Target and bought it.

Then off to the last elementary school carnival. With three kids in school, I have been volunteering and driving across town for about 10 years. Cheers to being almost done with that!

A ton of fun was had by all.

On our drive home I asked for a volunteer to help me make dinner. Not surprisingly, no one did, it was like crickets. Post lecture about helping when asked as a sign you love the person, I had a volunteer.

We worked together to make barbecue chicken, salad, and mango sorbet. Light, fresh and colorful, just like summer that is slowly arriving.

It’s moments like this that add up to a beautiful day. Yesterday, I wrote about creating comfort for oneself. Today, was a very good step in the right direction.

Remember to celebrate the little things, it creates joy in the moment and adds up over time to create happiness, we just have to pay attention.

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.

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Ocean blessing 

The sun radiates light, making jewels on the ocean.

I taste saltwater on my lips from the waves crashing on the jetty.

A seal surfs in the water, murky from the storm yesterday.

I sit. Rest. Breathe. Pray.

The ebb and flow of the ocean is the music I hear.

My family plays around the corner.

My partner the pirate, chasing wayward soldiers and kite flyers.

These are the moments that fill the soul, warm the heart and make memories for years to come.

How grateful I am.

I see a whale surface on the horizon, a happy birthday to my love.

A seagull flys towards me again, playing in the breeze.

I feel the spirit of my mother here. She waves a wing to me as if to say “I love you forever”.

I know she sees me. I feel her giving me strength and patience, grace and kindness.

I see her spirit soaring too.

She shares this day, this ocean blessing with me.