November 16, 2015

A Muslim, a Christian, and a Pagan. The playground rules.

It's no secret I'm lean mostly towards the Democratic party.  I've taken a lot of shit for it living in the cinched up buckle of the Bible belt.  M is a Republican.  Most of my family bleeds Republican.  Even the older boys lean more towards the Republican side of their views.  It takes all kinds to make the world turn.

I just don't really care to know why someone is walking in Planned Parenthood, it's none of my business.  It's been happening for centuries, only now the abortions don't KILL the mother.  She probably isn't a whore, and if she is, not my monkey, not my circus.  The morning after pill doesn't "kill" a baby, it sheds the cells from the uterus and mocks a period.  And the fetuses have been sold in the medical field for YEARS.  It's not only PP who does that, and to be honest, what would some of you like for them to do with the said fetus? Because, abortion will happen.  And that doesn't change the fact that stem cells can CURE disease and further research in domestic and foreign communicable diseases.  Do you believe that ALL of the organs donated are used for transplant?  No, they are also used to help further research in the medical field.
It's how we move forward.

Have I had an abortion, or would I consider an abortion? No.  Do I like it? No. But her sin, is not mine.  And vice versa.  My only job on this planet is to love others to the best of my will.  Even when it's tough.  If I can't, I walk away as gracefully as possible and try to make peace with my judgement.

Gay marriage isn't ruining the sanctity of marriage for the average couple.  We've already done that ourselves.   Gay marriage isn't ruining any kind of family structure.  It isn't unhealthy.  It isn't anything but two people who fell in love.  I don't believe someone "turns" gay.  I'm straight.  Not gay. It's really quite simple.

Does gay marriage affect me? Nope.  Does it affect my kids? Nope.  Not really other than the blasted political bullshit they have to wade through now on a daily basis.

I don't hate immigrants.  I don't believe they are these malicious alien creatures coming here to steal our jobs and marry our children away.  I believe we are the land of the free, and that our entire existence is based on immigration.  We just need better policies in place, and effective leadership to administer said policies.  Should we give 11 million a free pass, absolutely not?  But we can't exactly just escort them all outta the country, now can we?  It's not as simple as some want it to be.  And to be honest, the very ridiculous belief that the immigrants are "Mexican" agitates me, do some even know the statistics on immigration?  How sure ARE you that they must "all be from Mexico?"...because they're not.

Do I believe our military has been used in order to fuel power struggles between us and another nation, as opposed to truly "needed" by the people in different regions? Yes.  We have several invasions under our belt that were misguided and our nations voters misled.

I recognize that white people can be assholes, black people can be assholes, we all can be an asshole...race baiting blows.  But recognizing that racism happens is the first step to fixing a century old problem.  Same thing with sexism.  Same with stereotyping.  The list goes on.

They happen.

Now, my stance on foreign policy has always been a little bit of a mix.  I'm "on the fence", as they say.  There is a time for a war, and there is a time to make peace.  I prefer peace.  It's just who I am. I am also a supporter of the military.  Some of those soldiers and their families are down right bad ass, and deserve way more credit and recognition than they receive.  Are there assholes in the mix, of course!  This is 'merica, and we tend to place some of those said assholes in the military through the court system (maybe because they needed addiction help as opposed to being incarcerated, another topic entirely).  But almost all of those incredible said soldiers are fighting so that some of us can continue to be assholes.  So that we can type out our opinions, paint it, draw it, sing it, protest it, whatever it may be.  We are a free people.   Our problems are FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.

I swore I wasn't going to write about the Paris attacks.  And holy shit, I swore I wasn't going to write about politics or foreign policy or the upcoming election.

I'm quite sure every artist in the world is fighting the urge to write, draw, paint and sing their way through this latest tragedy.

I SWORE I wouldn't do it.

And then I got to witness this exchange.  The names have been politely blurred out.  But this was too incredible not to share.

A Muslim woman. 
A Christian woman. 
A Pagan. 

Notice how they are all just sitting on the monkey bars.  Having a conversation.  It's meaningful, it's not offensive, it is very decisive and coherent, and it is empathetic.  They aren't rude to one another.  They do not call each other names, they simply point out some views they carry, and accept the others views and continue to dangle their pretty little legs from the monkey bars. They clarify misunderstandings, and they move on.  They each recognize the importance of the other.   

Enter extremist.  
And, he's not even a Muslim extremist.  He's an average, English speaking white male.   

Playground bully.  Asshole.   Whatever you would like to call him. Throwing his carefully collected rocks because that is the only way he's ever known how to get attention. It matters not.  But it was an ironic display.  And although some of the conversation isn't visible he yelled and hollered his way through it with insults and judgement of the finest uneducated grade.  He is from a country that isn't even considered a Western nation.  A small lesson in there for the Muslims who assume...That might be the very best part! 

Hate breeds hate.  Ignorance breeds ignorance.  

To deny that the Muslim religion has some violent (and strangely similar to Christian) beliefs is not even ignorant, (unless you haven't educated yourself on WHY the terrorists are behaving the way they are), it's downright stupid.  They do.  They have very violent and descriptive punishments for their apostates.  There is no dividing line between apostates. However, so does Christianity (we call them sinners), whether "modern" or not.  Through theology we can see that almost every single religion has a terrifying and sometimes violent reaction to those that choose not to follow it and its said elective deity, even in America.  There are seemingly very few religions that are completely peaceful in their existence and history.  
Need I remind anyone of Waco?  Charlie Manson?  For the sake of the conversation let's throw in those crazy (BB close your ears) fucks from Westboro Baptist Church.  We all agree they are nuts, right?  The list here in the States goes ON AND ON with religious and extremist beliefs that ended up with a mass amount of our own people dead.  OUR OWN COUNTRYMEN guilty of murder based on religious or extremist belief systems.  The KKK, the Black Panthers...the list goes on and on.  They didn't "cross" the border for refuge. They were bred, born and raised in the very heart of our nation.  Have you ever TRULY questioned the confederate flag?  And wanted to hear the truth behind it?  Most don't.  They would just rather argue about it with extremist pov's.  

We cannot continue to act with absolutely NO education as to how and why our world is sitting where it is with these terrorists.  We cannot let 9/11 be in vain.  Those lives are so important and were a glimpse into protecting the very soil our children bury their tiny toes into.   

I recently heard someone state that this isn't the "playground" anymore.  And apparently that statement stuck in my head.  Because it kind of is.  There is a mix on the "playground".  There are peacemakers, there are trouble-makers, and there is security and teachers.   There are rules.  There are segregated groups of children for whatever reasons.  All of the set-up is there.  Which is why I chose the blog title I chose.  
Don't be an asshole.  Don't use ignorance to breed more ignorance and hatred.  We cannot just "pray" Paris away.  We cannot blame all Muslims, or Christians, liberals or conservatives.  We need to take action and we need to truly educate ourselves with the election of 2016, because as of now, like many other AMERICANS, I'm not even sure how I will vote.  All I know, is we NEED a "COMMANDER IN CHIEF".  We need a leader who will choose to defend American soil and DEFEND AMERICANS overseas (do I remind you we are losing Americans in this war?).  We need to be empathetic and sympathetic at the exact same time.  We cannot just "PRAY FOR PARIS" because there is an entire world affected by terrorism and the lack of courage to take them on.  
Pray for courage.  That is what we need to pray for.  Blind and unwavering courage that we as a WORLD can make the decisions that keep the rest of us safe.  It isn't just about the Muslim religion, no more than it is just about the Christian religion.  It's about both worlds colliding.  
Vote.  Please vote, and please take the time to truly understand why we are in the position we are in.  Make an attempt to separate the facts from the selective victimization and sensational reporting that we are bombarded with daily.

Islam is NOT Japan. There is no comparison.  Islam is NOT North Korea, it is NOT Russia.  This is an entirely different level of carnal death and terrorism that we are dealing with.  These groups are not only killing Christians, they are killing Muslims as well.  

If you are a registered voter, you need to vote.  And you need to truly understand why this is happening.  I used to believe my vote didn't count, but I know it does now.  Throw in the bible all you want, but it doesn't replace common sense.  While the Islamic extremists are screaming "Apocalypse!" please realize that there has always been fighting among different nations,we just have major access to it through the internet and social media.  Which to be honest, might be a good thing for America, maybe it will encourage someone to get up and go vote who might not vote otherwise.  Don't let the fear of the apocalypse keep you from informing yourself and making a choice based on education.  Fear is not going to help us through anything right now.  

We can make a difference.  Not just in Paris.  

Oh we should pray, but not just for Paris. 

This falls back on the hashtag #alllivesmatter

Live, love


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The Hive Publicatons


November 12, 2015

In The Beginning There Was...

“Choose your love. Love your choice.” 
― Thomas S. Monson

It's almost comical how some of us who are creative souls try and suppress who we are in order to live under society's rules.  It happens slowly and then all of a sudden we are hitting every edge of the room that has closed in on us.

So I'm starting a new writing project, one that will take a while, my original due date might have to be tweaked and arranged to be a little more logical.  Upon doing some research yesterday for said new project a few things ended up happening.  Of course a smidgen of self discovery reared her head again.  No surprise there!

I shared that hilarious Starbuck's meme that ended up actually sparking an impromptu coffee date with some friends that we haven't been able to connect with in a while.  And it was fantastic! Thank you Jesus!  (I could add Jesus-haters, which of course might describe Starbuck's, however I didn't seem to think they were Jesus-haters when we were slurping our coffee down last night, entertaining though, in the least.  HUGE, LONG run on sentence there, judge me...
side note-I had a disgusting turkey and stuffing sandwich, but no Jesus haters were present. )

Okay, back to the topic.  SQUIRREL! Yes, I am very aware, can you imagine how poor M feels?

Anyway, I'm doing research, right?  Combing through the blog, searching for the moment.  THAT MOMENT when I could see changes coming.  Did I write about it? Was it there?  How could I have publicly written about that particular moment?

I start at the beginning.  The very first blog post.

And oh-m-gee!
It was terrible.  My writing was terrible.  The subjects were terrible.

Now, in my defense, this blog was originally called "The Wright's Adventure" and was only started to be shared with a handful of individuals to follow our years away from Missouri, while serving in the Army.  Call that what you will, I served, we as military wives served.  We all "serve" and or "served" as spouses.  It's fucking hard.  It's fucking stressful, and believe me, WE SERVE.

     Moving along, I am at the very beginning.  It's fake.  It is sugar-coated.  It isn't me at all.  It isn't indicative of what I was feeling.  It is missing the grave pain and fear that I had to travel 7,000 miles and have to leave my boys here for 8 1/2 months.  I don't speak of the misery of only having one choice to keep my family together.  Nothing.  It's missing who I was.  It was missing what I was feeling, IT WAS MISSING ANY FEELING AT ALL.  Unless I was writing about the kids, or my siblings.  There were a few tiny sentences that had power behind them.  But really, nothing.  It was empty and vapid.  A fake look in to the life of a fake family that was fake happy.  Both of us were miserable.  We just couldn't openly admit it yet.

Sure, it all LOOKED way good.  I mean, perfect family, all nice smiles.  The choices were all mine, I am aware of that.  I chose to write how I was writing.  I thought maybe when I opened up those first few posts I might feel something, and I did.  But oh man, not what I expected to feel.  I felt nothing other than a sigh of relief.  I love where I am now.  I don't mean a little bit.  I mean that I LOVE this family, and M, my friends and my life now.  I am CONTENT.  I don't have any "ragrets".  I don't "miss" anything that happened, or people who have come and gone.  And I guess that is because I've kept all of those who were important in my life, right here in my life.  Even when aggravated or when I get frustrated with them, and vice versa (I'm no peach).

     I was unhappy for a while.  And it reflects for me in my writing.  There were peaks, as I coped with where my situation was.  And then when I felt like I had to just really try and salvage my marriage, I stopped writing.  I truly put myself in my life and attempted to make it work.  I can't say that about the boys father, but that was a very long time ago. But then,with the littles dad,  I tried.  I tried my hardest to make it work, even through misery and tears.  It wasn't healthy for any of us in the long run.

The writing all but disappeared.  I grew cold and hateful.  I was sensitive and yet, hid it.  I was bitchy and hanging on to what little bit of family I had left by the bloody remnant of my fingernails. It's moments like these that you realize the line between love and hatred is very, very thin.

When you go back over you can watch the crescendos and decrescendos in the writing.  It spikes and then slows, a pattern that repeats itself until the shit hit the fan.

Until this entry.


That was the title.  The writing is atrocious.  The grammar even worse.  But in this entry is where the emotion had hit its boiling point.  I remember what was going on in my life, it was right after writing Taurean & Leo.  That project made me realize how much of a romantic I truly was and that it was okay to live with a bleeding heart.  It shook me awake inside.  I was at my breaking point.

And the next year and a half, (BB, close your ears) holy fuck, did I write about it.

I wrote about EVERYTHING.  It came pouring out like some kind of pipe that had burst.  As that time progressed the writing got stronger, and more abrasive and yet even more soft at the same time, I held less and less in and allowed feelings to emerge.  Then it became this beautiful monster that several hundred divorcees followed and contacted me over.  It peaked and then slowed again.  B moved in to my life, it peaked, he moved out.  Then jobs and summer took over and here came M.

The thing is, I didn't go back to who I was.  Not once.  Boy did I consider it, because facing who I was and learning to be okay with it was hard.  You truly have to look inside yourself, and especially as a female. We live in a society where being a real life girl is pretty difficult.

For the first time in my life, I had NO EARTHLY IDEA where I was headed, who was on the other side and what was going to happen.  I literally just buttoned up and bucked down and rode out one of the worst storms in my entire life.  I dealt with death and divorce and drama. I wrote about it.  I talked about it. I rebelled a bit, all while straightening the crooked halo that I had put on the top of my head...MYSELF.  Then I got sick of it.  The halo went out the window.  And I embraced the wild eyed gypsy that I truly was.  And I wrote about that.  Some of my family hated it.  My lawyer told me to shut up, and yet, I still needed to write.

I softened against the hard edges.  I softened up for myself.  I opened up and allowed myself to be vulnerable, publicly.  And boy did I take some shit for that.  Anyone who dabbles in the arts and dares to draw, write, paint or sing their way through a hell storm gets accused of being a drama queen or worse, a narcissist.  (All by people running from their own amounts of narcissism.) I didn't add God to the equation, although he was there.  I didn't rely on the approval of others.  I emerged as this strong and capable woman, instead of the thirty something, terribly afraid, girl I had been living as.

     The poetry and stories poured out of my heart and soul.  I literally penned everything.  (Typed, evs.)

I ended up with several books, The Wooden Girl From Nevada which was my saga with B who shook my world up, 2 more in the witch series, and started another novel.  I lost The Heart Of A Soldier to a hard drive disaster, and moved past that, one person will see the irony in that.  I sent poem after poem to Paul and Adriana for the authors bios for The Hive Publications.  I wrote song lyrics, and I wrote quotes.  There was all of this "work".  That is, EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS.  It was hard work.  It was grueling and terrifying at the same time.   Because during the wave of words and feelings that I was forcing out of my body at the time, I was morphing and growing into who I had always been and suppressed.  I had chosen not to suppress it anymore.

Back to last night, after all of the Jesus hating Starbuck's humor, we ended up at the coffee house with these friends, right?

      When we were driving in to town, I was telling him about Kess' and I, the conversation we had the night before, small yet profound.  To be vulnerable with M isn't easy.  He isn't just my lover, he has become my friend.  One of my best friend's.  The type that gets to see every single fucking broken piece of you, and you're standing there totally spiritually naked waiting to see if they still love you.

     Right before we went in I poured a little bit of my feelings out to M in the car.  I can see him looking at me now.  The wind was terrible, the lights from the parking lot were shining on his handsome face.  Sometimes he probably gets tired of my ridiculous rambling.  I said out loud that I realized I had started to lose a little bit of that woman I fought so hard to find over the last 8-ish months or so.  And that I missed her. Not for any other reason than I was starting to forget.  That's all.  Just pushing through the day to day life and putting myself on the back burner, causes me to forget.  Going back to the beginning, and re-reading it, helped me remember.

Could I have made some different decisions over the last let's say 15 years, sure, but if ANY of those decisions would change where I am now, with my children, with my girlfriends, or with way in blazing hell would I ever decide differently.  There isn't a moment that I would give back or trade for a different life.

And THAT my fellow spiritual gypsy's is why we are who we are.  We don't want to change it, we don't want to give it back.  Living in a state of gratitude isn't easy, but it sure does help you see what you have right in front of your eyes.  More importantly, it helps you recognize just how important the journey is.

#listening #kissme 

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where -' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
'- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.” 
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

Live, love

The Hive Publications

November 11, 2015

#NANOWRMO...or not. Maybe, probably, no.

Sooooo....I've pretty much pissed #nanowrmo down the drain so far in November.  Way to go, Tiffany!  However, I will stand up for myself in defense and say that we've been so busy, it's a wonder I've spit out the blog posts for this month.  I have half of a novel sitting in my hard drive that is about to dump completely because I've allowed my children to play that Satan game *insert evil music* Minecraft and God only knows what kind of "packs" they've downloaded.  I have a huge list of blog posts that are to be edited and turned into a memoir for yet another novel, on divorce of all things (I know, I know, laugh if you want to...).  I've given myself a deadline, but between the family, the shop, photography here and there and life, my writing was pushed to the back burner.  AND just let me say, KESS, that after our conversation last night, maybe that is why I've felt the way I felt these last few weeks.

You see, we were chatting last night about some things, anxiety can overwhelm both of us.  And I realized that maybe the empty feeling I've had is because I have truly spent the last, oh, probably 9-ish months doing other things, knowing that I lost my precious summer days and didn't allow any time to do the things that keep me sane. I didn't stock pile any sunshine for the winter. I didn't write anything for that novel.  I fished, twice.  That is SAD.

Why do we do that?  Is it just another thing that happens in life?  Maybe some of our "people" are there to gently remind us of who we are, deep down.  Not who we were, or who we are working towards, but WHO our CORE is.  Because the core stays pretty much the same, only shifting slightly as we embrace a life of spirituality and flow.  I mean, I've always been the same hard-headed, hot-tempered, gypsy that I am now, it's just, well...maybe more handled.  *insert smiley face* Tame, maybe?  Either way.  

So this week people have been insanely worked up about Starbuck's cups, Jesus haters, Liberals, and the fact that Ben Carson believes that Joseph built the pyramids to store

I've seen memes making fun, I've seen memes that were angry, and I've seen memes that made me laugh so hard I cried.  To be honest, maybe we all just hate each other?? Come on, this one is just ridiculous and funny.

All of a sudden people are spitting up foster care and adoption memes at the speed of light.  There are statistics and articles and maps. We've got homeless people, animal shelters, and churches that all need something.  Everyone has a soapbox, and everyone is using it.  We're all guilty at some point or another, especially in the last year.  

All of this can be overwhelming.  By the time I actually log on to the measly well pruned Facebook account that I have now, I'm exhausted.  I'm guilty of reading click bait, although I really try not to. I'm not offended easily.  My sense of humor rocks most of the time, even M gets a pretty good chuckle at the obscenities that I mutter.  Anyways, rambling, I log on, I'm tired.  We are all tired.  

You don't have to run down to the shelter and bring home 26491894646465 kittens. Love your cat, and your friends cat. You don't have to feel badly that you cannot take any more mouths in to your home to feed, or that there is not enough room to add foster children to your family. It's okay when the thought of that makes you anxious because you are not licensed to deal with some of the emotions and trials that come along with it.  Love your children.  Love your friends children.   It will be okay if you drop change in the red Salvation Army buckets, or you take gifts to a local church for a Christmas Dinner & Gift event for qualifying families.  My God, just DO WHAT YOU CAN DO.  The more of those little things you do for those close to you, or in your circle or community the more it adds up.  If you only have a few hours of volunteer time this season, that IS OKAY.  If you are raising small children, or your dog just had a litter of unexpected puppies, or you're fretting that you might have to stretch holiday dollars a little more than last year....


Isn't there a time when we all should stop and just really turn down all of the bullshit noise that we are bombarded with on a daily basis?  Did we lose the capability to truly be able to filter what is important and what matters?  How many people will read this and then run off at 5 o'clock on Thanksgiving Day to SHOP.  Then log on that night and complain about society's issues?  
We are at a point where we are constantly trading one evil for another.  And believe me, no one is sitting in a seat of perfection.  We all go through hypocritical moments.  But when we honestly try and see the relative and collective good and we feed it, that is when that tiny snowball turns in to a huge avalanche.  And it should be that way year round.  

We tend to focus on the bad, or what we can improve constantly.  Whether it's our physical appearance (the vanity side, not the health side), clothing, vehicles and homes, even philanthropy has been tainted with corrupt and selfish ways.  In my conversation last night, I realized that somewhere over the summer I lost a little bit of my focus because we were dealing with a few negative people and some moments that contributed to me working nonstop and shifting focus outside of myself as opposed to inside.  
So thank you, Kess.  Thanks for kicking me in the ass last night and reminding me that I am, in fact, in charge of the pen writing my very own story.  
You and I are blessed my friend.  We are blessed with incredible and amazing children, lovers and friends in our life that matter.  And we both need to re-focus and turn our attention to our hearts and feed them once again.  
*waves at Jamie* 
*hands Kess the pen* 
Sending you both lots and lots of love from our crazy home to yours! 

Live, love. 

Mom, author, pretend photographer, boutique owner.  
Midwest groupie.  

November 4, 2015

Electric Shock

That moment.  

That moment when you break vulnerability's silent boundaries and end up with nothing but raw, insane, incredible, and electric emotion.  I LIVE for that moment.  I have searched my entire life for a partner who could not only strike that emotion in me, but give it back in return, from their own perspective.  It's like an addictive chemical rush that courses through my veins and ignites passion in me.  It stops me in my tracks and takes my breath away, searing the vision in to my brain.  Those moments...THAT MOMENT is what makes me look at my partner and realize that every choice I made until now, mattered.  God, they all mattered.  And I am without a doubt, incredibly lucky to have this man holding my hand every day and influencing my children as a father figure.  (Oh yes, I went there.)

There is something so powerful in a moment like that, I almost had a hard time writing about it. But I'm still gonna try.   Because I believe it is imperative that we find people like him and bring them in to our world.  I also believe that they have been there all along.  I don't talk about M and our history very much because for a while I avoided it.  Why?  Well, so I didn't "piss" others off, or "upset" anyone, which isn't even in my nature.  To be honest, I'm tired of avoiding it, and at this point...Que sera sera.

Last night the children and I went through my steam trunk, that is properly positioned by the front door.  They were curious about the contents and all of the old pictures.  The connection and history that M and I have is so important.  It is raw.  It was impetuous. And yet it was all as perfectly planned as it could be.

We move through our day to day lives, some of us are pliable and fluid, others rigid in their routines. Some people are constantly seeking out ways to improve the person they are, others wallow in a cesspool of self pity.   It takes all in order to keep the world spinning, I am very aware of that fact.

I am usually a pretty happy person.  Not much gets to me, especially the more comfortable I become with who I am, and understanding my personal boundaries and expectations.  The more I work on who I am, how I am feeling and understanding why, the better things seem to get.  It's not like I don't have bad days, because I do, things still happen, people still die, the kids can be naughty, bills roll in, shitty stuff comes and goes.  I'm not talking about a Mary Poppins state of happiness or the fake "churchy" happiness either.

I'm talking about the ability to recognize contentment and just accepting it.  A friend told me earlier in the week, that he couldn't remember the last time he was content.  I am lucky to have known him when we were kids.  He is an incredible man.  He is handsome, smart, and he's a great dad.  He has a seemingly amazing and loving girlfriend, and yet he couldn't remember when he was content.

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”– Carl Jung

Even though I haven't had the best week, I realized something, that I COULD remember when I was content.  Exact moments in fact.  If I had not made the choice to practice a daily gratitude ritual (even if I don't write it down) I'm not sure I could recall moments of contentment.  You have to really CHOOSE to find the state of being content.   

Here is the thing, I created it.  I created the feeling of being content.  Just like I create the feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety or being elated and happy.  How I choose to cope with them, and how I choose to communicate them, is my choice.  God, I used to suck at it.  I mean, SUCK.AT.IT.  I had a terrible temper.  I was horrible with words, often leaning on name calling in a fight and screaming matches.  Maybe a bit of that went away with maturity (some of us grow out of it).  But for the most part, it was a personal battle that I chose to take on.  Much like addictions to a substance, we can become addicted to certain outcomes and circumstances attached to emotions.  When we move past the point of being uncomfortable and start to re-map a new direction of "normal", the breakthrough comes.  Just a little bit at a time, but it does.  I swear it.

Life changes, especially big ones, can leave us frustrated and scared.  But something I have thought about lately, is I am finally in a place in my life where I can recognize the peaks and valley's as normal flow.   But what is even better than that?  I am FINALLY sharing my life with another incredible (amazing, sweet, handsome, funny, strong, confident...I could go on and on...) human who recognizes when I am really struggling to keep my heart open, and then he kind of pushes me in to the place of raw vulnerability.   He kind of backs me in to the wall, aggressively at first to get my attention, and then he softens and allows me to relax into whatever I am feeling.  BUT, he also gives it back to me.  Equal parts of love and vulnerability.  We balance each other beautifully.  

Then we are ready for the next peak or valley. And we get to teach the children how to process normal ebb and flow and make it through.  Bob and weave, fluid, pliable. whatever you want to call it.  

One of the times that I am most content, is at night.  Right before I fall asleep, all I can hear is his heartbeat.  The only other heartbeats that have moved me so deeply are my children's.  And that is how I know that he is home for me, just as my children are.  Because I am content.  Because I am allowed to just be content.  Even through the "bad" days.  Even when there are bills, and stress, and just normal day to day shit that we have to go through, there is his heartbeat.  And every single night, the last conscious thought I get to have is to be content.

What makes you content?  When was the last time you were content? Not just "happy".  Not just "excited".  But truly, in a state of simple contentment.  Were you emotionally and mentally just settled?  It's kind of worth recognizing that everything happens for a reason, sometimes I wonder if feeling like that helps me realize that it's okay.  That if I can find a way to stay content, even through a bad time, or an increasingly difficult situation, I will come out on the other side just fine.  How many times in our lives have we made it through?

Find your way through the chaos.  There is always a way through the chaos, but more importantly, find a way to be okay with the chaos.

To know when you have enough is to be rich beyond measure.
Lao Tzu 

I thought I would share a story that my awesome friend Michelle always sends to me as a reminder.  With winter right around the corner, I battle a tiny bit of sun withdrawal, this poem always helps me remember that there is a reason for every single thing that happens.  Remember to find what makes you content, and to recognize it.  Because that is really, all it takes.  

Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter's departure had been announced. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said:
"I love you and I wish you enough."
The daughter replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom." They kissed and the daughter left.
The mother walked over to the window where I sat. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry.
I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?" "Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever good-bye?"
"I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral," she said.
When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I ask what that means?"
She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more.
"When we said 'I wish you enough' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them". Then turning toward me, she shared the following, reciting it from memory,
"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye."
She then began to cry and walked away.
They say it takes a minute to find a special person. An hour to appreciate them. A day to love them. And an entire life to forget them.
- Author Unknown

Live, love. 


November 2, 2015

Pray Like Nobody Is Watching


Do I have a few days (maybe weeks) of pent up emotions to write about.

I'm not even sure where to start, or where they came from to be honest.

It is probably the normal October build up that started when Uncle Rick died.  I don't know.

Then it was fueled by watching the Joey & Rory saga that is unfolding as she battles cancer.  I read Rory's blog fairly regularly, and the writing is magnificent. It is also reminiscent of when Dan got sick and we all huddled together as we watched him cross over in to the unknown that is death.  Whether you believe in an after life or not, it's a difficult bridge to cross.  I was remembering the last few moments with Dan, and how that changed me forever.  To be able to sit with someone as they take their last breath, to hold their hand, to comfort them...I'm not sure there is a greater gift than that.  Or a greater way to pay them back for all they have done for you.  

A local 16 year old's suicide fueled my emotions this week.  No news stories.  It traveled word of mouth, for whatever reason.  But it weighed heavily on my mind as I watched my own teenagers go through their normal routines and the weight of that family's grief felt like a ton. Because I can't imagine the living hell of a nightmare they are adjusting to.  I found myself in tears for no reason other than, how so very fucking lucky I am that I live in a home with 5 children that are totally awesome.  And how grateful I am for my time with them.  

I fell asleep two nights ago praying.  I didn't realize it until halfway through my next day.  I FELL ASLEEP PRAYING.  What a wonderful thought that is.  

I don't often pray for myself.  I pray for those around me, my children, M, and my family. Sometimes I pray for far away families when I hear of a story where I think my words might have some weight. Sometimes I just talk to God. Sometimes it's a whisper, and sometimes it is a loud scream in my head.  I don't pray selfishly.  I try not to anyways.  At some point in our world, for someone to be spiritual and speak openly about it, it became narcissistic or you're "new age".  Only when you speak about spirituality and it involves the Bible, or spitting out verses at the rate of a freight train does it seem to be okay.  I don't know.  Praying for me is cathartic.  It's a way for me to recognize my blessings and to be in touch with the empathy that lies beneath the surface.  I internalize tragedy that I see, and then I pray.  I pray for strength, I pray for patience, I pray for comfort for those who might need it.  I pray for the right words to come to me in a time of need.  I pray that I do not take another person's tragedy and try and lighten it in avoidance of allowing them to be vulnerable and uncomfortable.  I just think we need to be able to see and feel the emotions of another person. Sometimes when I drive to work, I say "thank you" out loud to God.  Is he listening?  I think so.  I don't think it takes a huge chapel, or a screaming pastor, or someone shaking in the aisles for him to hear us.  It's simple.  It can be quiet.  And it can be where ever you are comfortable talking to the big man upstairs.

We recently moved to a nice, big home out in the country.  It is so beautiful.  The environment has truly had an therapeutic affect on the M & I, and the children.  The internet runs slower.  I often find myself leaving my cell in the other room.  No emergency has happened yet that I couldn't deal with an hour later.  I often think of the days before cell phones and instant messaging, and we got by okay.  Prioritizing my life and offering myself a little bit more quiet has been a blessing.  But the home itself is a blessing, it was an answer to a prayer.

I've thought a lot about why I get so upset and sad sometimes when I hear something.  I worried for a while that there was something wrong with me and I realized this week that there isn't.  It's just that I feel. A LOT.

More than some, less than others, but that it's what makes me really focus on gratitude as well. I truly do try and live my days as if this might be the last one.  Maybe not by bungee jumping, or screaming endearing love notes from the top of a mountain, but I reach down, deep within, and focus on a few moments throughout my day and just admire what is happening. It's obviously harder when you're having a "bad day".  But you just learn to do it.  Because if I have a really shitty day, and I get to lay down with my head on M's chest and fall asleep hearing his heartbeat, well then, I should be grateful for that.  

We took the kids out on Halloween.  I didn't take my camera, which I realized later, maybe I should have.  But anyway, as we were walking with our old neighbors, the kid's silhouettes were dancing in front of me.  It was just a moment that was worth recognizing.   It was already dark, and the street lights had their shadows dancing around us and they chattered and were swinging their treat bags. We had gorgeous weather, which originally was suppose to be a wash out.  M and Shannon were chatting about projects.  These people, these people... God gave to me.  Fleeting moments of gratitude often spark the best ways to really make the most of a situation, and to revel in the simple beauty.

 17, 15, 12, 10 & 8.  That is the order of the ages.  Lucas spent Saturday night with his brother and his cousin.  Three teenage boys hanging out on a Halloween that fell on a Saturday.   The fact that the three of them made each other (and their family) a priority is something that amazed me.  And the little ones were just so good.  They were polite and patient with one another.  They worried about each other on the walk.  (And some of you know how K & E fight...) As a parent to bask in the sight of their dressed up silhouettes in the autumn air, and to hear their melody as they asked for treats and the thank yous was just beautiful.  It goes back to the blog posts when we spoke about moments and how important recognizing them is.  When I went to sleep Saturday night, I prayed.  I prayed and said thank you for being able to recognize important moments.

Pray tonight.  Even if you're exhausted.  Even if you don't even know where to begin.  Just talk to God.  Don't worry about getting to church on Sunday, or whether or not you're worthy of God's love.  Just pray.  You can read a thousand bible verses, you can sit through a thousand Sunday services, but until you are truly ready to talk to God and allow him inside your own head and heart, it's all just "meh".  There is room in heaven for those of us who don't pretend to be someone we are not.  There is room in heaven for those of us who are scarred and imperfect and aren't afraid to admit it.  Most importantly, I believe that those might be the ones that God loves the most.  Because if we are truly created in his image, then that just might explain why I love them so very much.  

Live, love.


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.Live, love.