In Search of Comfort

alice-tea-cup-9aA Mother’s comfort is the warmest, most welcoming, loving and whole experience there is, at least in my experience.

If my Mom was an inventor, she would have invented soup – like the entire concept of it – and every amazing recipe you would have ever tried – both tomato basil AND chicken noodle. My Mom must have invented sunlight. It sparkles just like her, it radiates warmth, sunlight makes rainbows, it nourishes the earth, and creates freckles – which she always called – sun kisses.  Fresh berries warmed by the sun must have been one of her creations too. You know the kind you just pick off the vine and they burst with flavor in your mouth, like your own personal berry firework.

My Mom passed away a few months ago, after a two year battle with cancer. I still can’t believe it some moments.

As I was thinking about her the other day, and all of the gifts she brought into my life, I realized one of them was wisdom, another love, and yet another comfort. She was my shoulder to cry on, my sounding board, and someone who loved me without reservation, no matter what. What a magical woman. I feel blessed beyond words to be her daughter.

The first Mother’s Day since her passing was last weekend. We went to the ocean. Someone told me, “the ocean is big enough for your grief, it can handle it. Make an offering to the ocean and she will hear your call”. I took a long walk and offered my grief to the ocean. The ocean was very gracious.

How do you comfort yourself when your Mother is gone from your sight? What does that even mean? Who holds your hand, strokes your hair, and tells you everything is going to be ok? My partner is wonderful, my kids are too, as well as my friends and, they are not her. I want her.

I keep trying to find her. In voice messages and photos, ice cream and chocolate, in TV and staying up too late. God I miss her. She would know the answer.

I have gained 15 pounds in the last six months, I’m exhausted and I still can’t find her.

“Grief is just love that has nowhere to go anymore”.

She would say, “Honey, be gentle with yourself. Get some rest. Ask the kids to help around the house more. Buy yourself some flowers from me”. And I love all of those ideas AND no offense Mom, but they just don’t hold a candle to you. Nothing does.

So, I keep searching for comfort. She would also say, “Comfort does not come from outside sweetheart, it comes from compassion towards yourself. It’s noticing the tea bag steeping in the green mug, it’s the fuzzy slippers I bought for you, it’s the love blanket with all of my prayers I left for you, it’s your memories of loving times together, it’s hugs and candlelight. It’s the intention you have to care for yourself, and then the act of doing that. Take heart dear one, you know how to do this.”

So tonight, I soaked in the bath as the candles flickered, I put on my coziest pajamas, and I am going to bed early because I am slowing learning how to create comfort for myself, one act at a time.

Thank you Mom.

me and mom


One in a Million 

I gaze up at the stars tonight, 

millions of sparkles welcome me. 

Their gleeful twinkles light up the sky.

It’s not often enough these days that I pause and glance heavenward. 

Full days are the normal, 

Vacation a word from another season. 

Tonight as I gaze up, I remember my grandmother. 

It’s like she tossed her pearls in the air and they stuck to the velvet up there. 

Thanks Grandma. 

Someday, my mom will join her in the sky. 

It will be sweet for them to be together again. 

My mom will be the diamond, 

the one that radiates from the inside, 

with the glow unparalleled. 

She is one in a million. 

Little Red Hiding Hood

I’ve been praying for answers to a few questions for sometime now. Today, I woke up with a new and helpful realization. 

We all have parts of ourselves that work well, and other patterns or habits that are more challenging. In my world, I have worked with the challenges and blessings of being a sensitive empathic human being. This means I feel things deeply, including world issues, the feelings of my children, family, coworkers, etc. It’s the reason I have dedicated my work time to nonprofit service and helping anyway I can to make sure everyone has opportunities to fulfill their potential.

As it turns out, it’s also the reason I reach for chocolate in stressful situations or hide, unintentionally behind those extra 20 pounds that never seem to come off. 

My realization this morning was, if we are here to be a blessing and shine our unique sparkle, how is hiding behind something helping fulfill my life mission. 

Did God put us on this earth to hide our sparkle? I don’t think so. 

There are lots of reasons for us all to put on our little red “hiding” hoods and run from the big bad wolf. There are a lot of big bad wolves out there these days. But running doesn’t help. It doesn’t work. Perhaps you think it’s the answer in the moment but truthfully, the only thing you are doing by hiding from your fears (through whatever your unhealthy coping mechanism is) is hurting yourself. 

I guess I have known that for awhile but the new learning for each is this: I’m all about empowerment, shining your sparkle and sharing love with the world. I do this all day, everyday. And… deep down if I have a belief that to be safe I have to hide part of myself from the big bad wolf, that doesn’t work very well. 

This feels like a big balloon filled with love that has the tiniest hole. Over time, the balloon will deflate unless the hole is patched. It’s a small hole but a really important one to deal with. 

The first part of healing any issue is becoming aware of the problem. Next, sitting with that and honoring what is. So that’s me today, honoring this unconscious part of me that wants to hide. God bless that part, I sure understand and have compassion for that feeling and yet, now I know that hiding from scary things isn’t the only option. 

The real work is in being brave and vulnerable. Of opening our hearts so we can feel the fullness of life and continue to develop the tools for when times get tough. And giving ourselves the grace to stay in bed and read a book, or say no to another fundraiser, volunteer opportunity or chocolate chip cookie. 

By being proactive and aware of our need for balance in this high paced society, we can get ahead of the desire to stress eat or hide because the world feels too much sometimes. 

Today, is a day for realization and self compassion. It’s for forgiving myself for not knowing earlier and moving forward with a peaceful and open heart, into the beauty of today. 

Go, be brave, the world needs your love. 

Life as Prayer in Action 

In my situation as a single mom with three kids, a big job, and involvement in the community, I get a lot of “you are the busiest person I know” and “I don’t know how you do it all”.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot today. “The busiest person I know” is not really the image I’m going for, but that’s ok. I started to think about why I do everything I do, why I give of my time to so many people and organizations and here’s what I came up with, my life is prayer in action.

Every morning I wake up with this new download of energy. Most mornings I wake up truly being grateful for the new day. My days tend to be full. My iPhone says, it looks like you have a full day ahead with lots of meetings (I wish it wouldn’t say that). Anyways, I get up, get moving and get on with being the best version of myself I can be that day.

I’m teaching my kids to ask themselves “how can I make today amazing” when they wake up. I text them quotes, and remind them how amazing they are as often as I can. My hope is that as life’s challenges arise, they will ride the waves, remember how strong they are and that every new day brings the opportunity to be a blessing, to make the day amazing.

Today I’m a bit on the tired side, it’s a restful Sunday. I started the crockpot, the dishwasher, the laundry. I helped my son start a card game business, my daughter create a song on the guitar, and I helped my son get ready for his first baseball practice of the season.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to be a blessing, it just takes the intention. For example, I’m writing to you from my iPhone as my son practices baseball.

Perhaps my world thinks I’m the busiest person ever but I must say, I would rather be busy being prayer in action that anything else. Do I laugh in my day? All the time. Do my kids brighten my day? Tremendously. Am I tuckered out at the end of the day? Yes. Do I wake up grateful for my life? Yes.

Today I’m living a life that is prayer in action. We all have gifts to give to the world. May you bless others with your gifts and receive caring and love from those around you.

“Life is hard, but beautiful” 

  One if my favorite quotes this week has been, “Life is hard, but beautiful”. A friend shared this piece of wisdom with me over coffee this week. It has stayed with me, and I’m grateful.

The last few weeks have brought the new challenge, the illness of a loved one. This loved one is special. Imagine the kindest, most loving person you have ever met, that will begin to describe the grace of this one. 

We don’t know what the next journey will be. The western doctors say things like stage 4, prognosis not good. The nathropaths are hopeful, and say nutrition is a top priority. 

I go though moments of disbelief, sadness, confusion and overwhelm – all within the span of a day. 

My friends are amazingly supportive, offering childcare, grocery shopping, and words of wisdom. 

The biggest challenge right now is I don’t feel like I can find solid ground in my life. Like the ground keeps shifting underneath me and it’s hard to find stability.

I know my foundation is solid, grounded in love, faith and service. Now I just need to remind myself of that. 
Today I am taking some time to focus on self care, a big walk, nourishing food, rest, and management of the enormous to do list so that I can be available to spend time with this beautiful loved one who is so precious. 

This week I started to understand my friend’s statement about how life is hard, but beautiful. In the midst of all of this, we have done more singing together, friends have come through to help us, work has had many moments of inspiration and I am learning to navitage this new journey, hopefully with some grace. In all of this, I am grateful. 

Gratitude – Day 27-  My Mom 


My mom is the kindest human being I have ever met in my life. I am so grateful to be her daughter and grow up watching loving kindness in action. 

She radiates love and caring everywhere she goes. She brings thoughtful things over to our house like harp music and recipe books. She buys socks when the boys are disintegrating. 

It’s my mom’s 70th birthday today. For her birthday she would like us all to be together and share a prayer for the world. 

I talk to my mom almost every morning on the way to work. We run through the schedule of which kid is where and what needs to happen. She listens to me problem solve and work through challenges, providing coaching and a big helping of love. 

When I think about my wish for her on this birthday, it would be that her world would reflect back to her how loving and remarkable she is. Rainbows would sparkle in the sky, the sun would radiate warmth, flowers would open delighting in her presence, birds would sign a song honoring the beauty of who she is.

Today, I am grateful for my mom. For who she is, her walk of loving kindess and her tremendously beautiful spirit. Happy Birthday Mom, I am so grateful for you, and I wish you a joyful joyful day and 70th year!

Gratitude – Day 24- Soup Sisters

 For as long as I can remember, I have surrounded myself with wise women. I’ve organized women’s circles, babysitting co-ops, knitting circles, cooking gatherings, camping trips and spirit circles.

For me there is strength when women get together. We share ideas, recipes and memories together. 

A few months ago I read an article about a group of women who had been gathering together for years and doing good things from the community. 

I decided to start a group called Soup Sisters. We have gathered several times now, at different houses, all with soup. We talk about world affairs, our lives and donate whatever we can to the small miracles fun. I adore these women. They are bright, intelligent, funny and inspiring. 

Tonight I am thankful for the sisterhood of women I am blessed to call friends. May you each feel the warmth of friendship in your lives. 

Gratitude – Day 19 – Faith

Today was one of those days. A day where at one point  I surrendered and asked for help.

It started with three tired kids and a tired mom. We were out late last night at a basketball practice and choir concert. 

All three of the kids had meltdowns about different things, leading me to braid hair, choose clothes for the day, find missing socks, etc. 

My daughter had volleyball after school and wanted to ride the city bus with her friends, so we navigated that. My boys were arguing in the way to school so we navigated that, and then got hot chocolate together to build some good positive time together. 

After I dropped everyone off, I ran from one meeting to the next while walking and responding to work emails and one from a teacher who had one of my kids crying at recess. I sat down to have lunch with some coworkers when the school called and my kid wasn’t feeling well. 

I picked up my lunch, grabbed my stuff, picked up my kid, canceled my 1pm meeting, drove across town, checked him out, tucked him in, made him 2 grilled cheese sandwiches, while calling my parents to ask if the could pick up the other kids because our babysitter texted that they have the stomach flu. 

I talked to our accountant while I snuggled my kiddo, preparing for the finance committee meeting in the afternoon and revisions of the operating budget. 

My kiddo was feeling better so I snuggled him in on the couch with books until Grama and sister got home and went back to work. 

As I drove away, my stomach was hurting, no doubt from stress. I bought a coffee and sipped it slowly as I drove to work. 

I parked the car and I just sat. I let the world, responsibilities, stress, challenges, etc all fade away for a moment and I said, “Dear God, I could use your help.”

I walked into work, had several meetings including the finance committee meeting with our investment company from Seattle, and they went beautifully. Great conversations, about complicated subjects and no stomach hurting. 

As I sent a couple of emails before I went home, my Dad texted and offered to bring over takeout, I said yes!

As I tuck myself into bed tonight, I am grateful for the miracle of today. I have no idea how it all worked out, but somehow it did. I am grateful for faith, and for knowing that grace is available to me anytime, I just have to remember to ask. Seriously, I am grateful for faith. 

Gratitude – Day 17 – My Youngest Son 


Today I am grateful for my youngest son. My baby boy, who is not such a baby anymore. 

This young man is so amazing. He is caring, kind, funny, althletic, intelligent and an excellent collector of rocks, pine cones, and gems. He has always had a huge heart for faith. 

The other day, just for fun, the decided to create awards for everyone in class. The awards where things like – most positive, most likely to always have a smile, most likely to block a shot in the NBA. Where does he come up with these?! He observes the word and easily can find kindness in it, I love that about him. 

All of my children have changed my life in some way, this one is teaching me many things but the biggest ones are about faith and courage. He reminded me that no matter what, God is my strength – that is actually what his name means. His kindness inspires me everyday. 

Today I am grateful for this kind young man who opens hearts and certainly opens mine. Today I am grateful for my youngest son, my baby boy who is growing up to be a very incredible young man.

Gratitude – Day 12 – small miracles 

This day started off in grumpytown. Tired kids and a tired mom. As the day went on however, many beautiful things transpired.

My youngest son and I went to go get a rental car after the “deer incident”. I expected a tiny car because that’s what I could afford. When we arrived, they gave us a choice between a tiny car and this thing…

 We choose the big one. It’s like a tank! It has a rear view camera, the kids can change the radio from the backseat, it’s amazing. I even had to go to Costco to see how much stuff I could fit in the back, hint: a lot. 
After a basketball session with Grampa, we all went out to Thai food for lunch. At a place my daughter recommended from their field trip yesterday, yum. 

I talked the kids into walking the lake with me (which was a miracle) on a beautiful sunny fall day. 

As I’m snuggled up with the kids watching a movie this evening, I’m feeling some much needed rest and relaxation.  

I am grateful for this day and the many small miracles that filled this day.