Love More, Fear Less 

Today I woke up annoyed. This doesn’t usually happen to me, I usually wake up grateful for the day and the blessings in my life.

Today I woke up so frustrated by another shooting in our country. This pattern is the craziest thing. If we had a disease that was killing people weekly across the county, we would be up in arms and funding research to solve the problem. Hello congress, we are at that point. 2,000 doctors told you yesterday that they need the ban on gun violence research lifted, do it. How does that harm anything? I guess it could piss off those who believe in the right to bare arms but at some point, regardless of political party, their constituents are going to demand that their neighbors stop getting killed.

Oh, that we could make decisions from a place of love instead of fear. If I could give congress a big blanket of love and say, “you’ve got this, protect our society, make decisions out of love”, I certainly would. I know it’s simplistic and silly but seriously, something has to change so that my kids have to do less active shooter drills. So that I don’t need to know what run, hide, fight means and need to promote that to my staff.

It seems like it boils down to this…

More love, less fear. Support for those that need it. Solutions so fewer people need support.

What will you do today to “be love” and be part of the solution?

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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 21 – Shine 

  “You are a diamond. What other people think of you is irrelevant. Your job is just to shine.” -me. 

It’s taken me along time to embrace my shine. We all have it, but sometimes is covered up by fear, past hurt, or insecurities. 

I am fortunate to be surrounded by inspiring, brave women who are letting their light shine daily.  These two remarkable women and friends of mine just won the Women of Achievement awards for their work with at-risk youth. 

 This is my remarkable daughter who sparkles so beautifully.  

I don’t know how I finally got it – that I have something valuable to share – but I did. My confidence feels strong, and I believe that I have a gift to bring that is uniquely mine to share. We’ve come a long way baby from the young woman who had no idea how strong she was. 

Honestly, I think it’s been the challenges I have faced as a single mom that have helped transform me into someone who believes in herself. It turns out, if you can raise three kids by yourself and experience all of the middle of the night moments that stretch your courage, it changes you into a bit of a warrior. And with that, the stuff you used to put up with just doesn’t cut it anymore. You don’t have time for junk that people want to give you like judgement, possessiveness and insecurity. When that used to come my way, I would say, “sure I’ll have another helping”. Now I say, “No thank you”. 

It’s not perfect yet, but it’s so much better than it used to be. For that, I am so grateful. Because, I have things to do in this world. I have my own unique sparkle to let shine. And so do you. 

Today I am grateful for the sparkle that comes from within each of us. May you shine brightly.  The world will be a better place because you believe in yourself and let that belief radiate. 

Gratitude – Day 10- My Daughter 

    
My daughter turned 13 this year. It seems like yesterday she was crawling around on the floor with tiny red pigtails.

She is a bright light this one. She has great friends, she loves horses. She does her homework on time. She is very sensitive and picks up on how people are feeling easily. 

I love watching her grow. 13 has been a bit more of a challenge but she is working through it. She is very head strong and has clear opinions about life. This will serve her somday. My work seems to be about fostering  her uniqueness and encouraging her voice and not trying to squash it because it isn’t  “convenient”. 

It’s tough being a parent to a teenager sometimes. She both doesn’t want to listen to me because she wants to be her own independent person, and she loves her mom so she’s trying to find words to express her independence without hurting my feelings. It’s a fine line I am watching her walk, trying to juggle new emotions, and the rightness of growing into a remarkable young lady. 

She has so many gifts and the strength to persevere through life’s challenging moments. Watching her grow continues to be one of my life’s joys.

She is growing into a kind, fun, hilarious, intelligent, caring young woman. I am so proud to be her mother.

Today I am grateful for my beautiful daughter. She is truly beautiful inside and out. Shine little star, go for it!

Gratitude – Day 6 – A random act of kindness 

 

 Yesterday afternoon we met with an English Faculty member. We called her in because earlier this week we received a call from a gentleman whose family member was in her class and he was so impressed by what he heard that he wanted make a donation in her honor. 

We shared this story with her and at first she said, “is this a joke”? I said no, of course. She got emotional and shared that her daughter had passed away from a drug overdose several years ago. I think she said on Christmas. She will be using this donation to establish a scholarship in her daughter’s honor, it will specifically help those struggling to overcome addiction. She had always wanted to start a scholarship but was never able to do it.

There was not a dry eye in my office.

The next day we called the donor and shared the story. He had to pull over to the side of the road he was so moved by the story.

It gets better.

I posted this story on Facebook. This moring I got an email from the local newspaper asking if they could do a story on this incredible situation. Last night I was talking with a judge friend who works in family court, specifically in juvenile drug court, I told her this story. She said this is exactly the type of scholarship that would help the kids she knows struggling with overcoming addiction, and a perfect “carrot” to help them get clean. 

You never know how one kind action will start a ripple effect of kindess in the world. Amazing. Today I am thankful for kindess. 

Gratitude – Day 2- Honesty 

  Today I am grateful for honesty. The kind that comes from the middle of your gut. The kind that it hurts to hear when you have messed up and someone calls you on it. The kind that breaks your heart when someone says they don’t want to be with you. 

This type of honesty is authentic, painful, raw and so important. So many people, me at times included, go through life distracted by all of the to dos, and shiny new things. It takes quiet and a focus on mindfulness to really get honest with yourself and then eventually others. 

If I’m honest, I get lonely as a single mom. I try to make it all look shiny but there are times when it’s just hard. Not bad, just hard. In those moments I want someone to have my back, a man that thinks the world of me and wants to spend time sharing their love with me. I don’t have that at the moment and sometimes it sucks. I have other people who have my back absolutely, but it’s not the same thing. While this honest realization isn’t rosy, it is useful. Because from this this place of knowing what I want, I can move forward with the intention of love in my life. 

Another thing about being a single mom is you get honest and real real quick, well at least I did. Honest about priorities, money, not getting invited to couple parties, tiredness and honest about the straight up strength that it takes to be this women, this loving mom everyday.

So today I am thankful for honesty. The courage it takes to be honest and the beautiful things that grow from the space of being real. 

Never

Never again will I allow a man to treat me unkindly.

I will not cower or hide my truth.

I will not cry on the laundry room floor after he yells then leaves.

I will not permit I’m sorry over and over again and then another hurt to happen.

I will not stay.

I will run as fast as I can.

I will run from anger that is bottled up and thrown at me.

I will not look back.

Because I deserve more.

Kindness and love.

Not conditions and control.

I deserve freedom and trust.

And I will give love freely to someone who is ready for that.

Not now,

Now I will heal from these wounds.

And then,

I will rise

Like the sunrise on a new day.

Beautiful and clear,

With purpose and direction.

Because I am worthy,

I deserve respect,

I am a woman.

Show up Fully

Tonight as I did the dishes and cleaned the entire kitchen like I usually do, I realized I’ve been waiting for someone else to show up. In a lot of little ways.

I’ve been doing the dishes 85% of the way and hoping someone else will do the rest. I’ve been hoping that dinners will be with a partner so someone else will help with the manners talks. I’ve been hoping someone will show up and help me with the sex and drugs conversations too. I tackle all of these things but not 100% like I own it and it’s my job. Um hello, it is my job. If I do the dishes 85% of the way, my kids will grow up and learn that’s how you do it.

So today, I cleaned the daylights out of the kitchen, the bathroom and folded an epic amount of laundry. Not just because it needed to get done, but because we all deserve it.

I’d like to call myself a creative person, and I think that has also been an excuse for a long time, if I’m being honest here. I have a gazillion works in process all the time and yet rarely do I finish them. Well, it’s time to embrace finishing things without the excuses. So far this month I have knitted 2 hats and a beautiful prayer shawl. I have at least 12 books I am currently reading. Time to read one at a time and feel the sense of completion that comes from finishing something. You know how clutter clouds our brains with stuff and then we have less available energy to use? I think this is the same thing – uncompleted projects clutter. I don’t know where I got this little pattern, I think most of it is rooted in enthusiasm and wanting to do everything at once! But that saying is so true “don’t try to do everything, you will end up doing nothing.” Word.

So as winter break comes to a close and I go back to work, I will pick a few choice projects and follow those through. Who knows what can be learned from slowing down and truly finishing things. My guess is a sense of peaceful completion. And that sounds lovely.

Being OK with Where You Are

20141213-110627.jpg Anyone who has ever been alive for awhile knows that life as ups and downs. One could say it’s a roller coaster but that seems a little dramatic or cliche. But there is some truth to the exhilarating yet nauseating ride, with beautiful vistas.

I have been thinking recently about we deal with our natural and yet uncomfortable feelings that go with life.

For a long time I thought I was doing something wrong if I was unhappy. I thought happiness was what we are supposed to experience here on this blue and green ball floating through space, all the time. I sought happiness for a long time, because THEN I will know I was doing it right. As I have been growing and meditating over the last few years on life and love and growth and happiness, I have realized differently.

I don’t mean to bust your bubble, but I don’t think we ever get to a place where we are happy all the time. I know, it’s a big downer. Or maybe not.

You see, all of the striving for happiness means that we are not really as present in the daily moments of our lives as we could be. If we have an overall malaise, and assumption that when we have a perfect relationship, body or job, then we will be complete, we are missing the boat. We are missing the moments that make up a life. A joyful life.

I’m a single mom. That means I have all kinds of non-glamourous duties like figuring out what to do when the power goes out, how to transport all three kids to activities that start at the same time, and searching for coins in the middle of the night because the tooth fairy is late.
More than once I have cried into the toilet I’m plunging after a 12 day at work.

It’s hard and beautiful at the same time.

I’m the one that tucks them in and kisses their sweet foreheads, I fix things with band aids, a hammer and superglue. I clap loudly at performances and sporting events. This is the real stuff that makes up life. A joyful life.

I’m mostly over the “I shouldn’t have to do this by myself – woe is me” narrative… unless I’m plunging the toilet. Mostly I just feel incredibly grateful to be gifted with these three children to care for with more love than I thought I had the capacity to experience. They have changed my life.

So am I OK where I am? I am. Is my life easy or happy all the time, nope. But that’s ok. Because this is the good stuff, the stuff that makes up a life, a real life, a joyful life.

May you truly see and appreciate the love and happiness you have in your life. Today, and all of the days going forward.

A morning in the life of this mama…

Some days it’s an absolute miracle that we get out the door to school.

The other day was was one of those.

My daughter had a celebration at school. She had to bring a photo of someone special and items to add to a little altar to remember that person. She also needed to bring potluck item with a Mexican flare. We decided Mexican Hot Chocolate. She started the hot chocolate last night, after 2 hours of stirring it looked like spiced up mud. We tasted it and it tasted like it too. We threw it out and started over. This time based on our adventure, we decided to make a Mexican Hot Chocolate pudding. It turned out AMAZINGLY well.

My daughter was also starting Volleyball, so she needed knee pads and gear for that after school. It was also, fancy clothing day at school so she spent the morning trying on my gowns.

I walked my daughter into school with all of her gear. Then I drove across town with my boys and through the coffee stand for my morning Americano. As we drove to school, we listened to “Superwoman” by Alicia Keys and talked about chess and baseball. I dropped the boys off at school, drove to the college where I drove around in circles to find a parking spot. Finding one, I grabbed my lunch, coffee, purse, the work I took home, and an umbrella because it was pouring.

As I walked in juggling the pieces of my life, I laughed and said to myself, “Good job Mama, you made it”.

Parents of the world, may you have a beautiful day and don’t forget we’ve got this!