Welcome to My MWA© Website
My MWA (Mom, Wife, Angel Therapist®) life makes me laugh, makes me cry and makes me think. My MWA life makes me wonder, makes me thankful and reminds me to slow down. It is here on this site that I share some of my MWA stories, thoughts and emotions. It is here on this site that I hope my MWA words will make others laugh, others cry, others think and also maybe just relate.
I feel very blessed to have over many years “Found my Wings” through lots of work, self-reflection, help of amazing spiritual teachers and Angelic guidance. My wish for all women, moms and wives is that they too are able to Find their Wings and find the peace and happiness I am so blessed to know.
Helping others to Find Their Wings
Photo by E. Sands
When my husband’s 96-year-old grandma, “Nana,” visited us this weekend and he asked her if she wanted a drink, she replied,
“What kind of beer you got?”
Now if you met Nana, this wouldn’t surprise you. She doesn’t look anywhere near her age, she gets around on her own, is fully coherent, conversational and extremely fun to be with. She is always dressed in a beautiful outfit, complete with jewelry and is more stylish than many women you’ve ever met. And to top off her outfit, there is always a smile. Which of course, makes anyone with her smile as well.
This weekend Nana went to Emily’s field hockey game, Katy’s poms performance (in blustering wind!), out to Bad Daddy’s burgers, and on a road trip to Glenwood Springs with Craig’s parents. Did I say ninety-six?
I don’t think my daughters fully understand yet the impact this amazing woman will have on their lives. Someday they will, and how grateful I am that they have her as an example to follow because how often do we forget how to appreciate every day? How often do we complain about something trivial? How often do we want to sit out in blustering wind?
I remember when Emily was little and Nana was eighty, she went down the slide with Emily at the park. And when Katy and Ashley joined the family she was on the floor with them playing, in her mid-eighties. And she made them “Nanny-splits” and shared their ice cream. To this day there is no complaining, no stating of “I’m too old,” no obstacles whatsoever.
So, when people ask me what do I think it is that has made Nana live so long, it is easily summed up into one word.
Nana lives for each day, enjoys each moment and celebrates life. Not everyone is lucky enough to be here until they are ninety-six. We never know what the next day might bring.
So, I remind myself: I am only here now. Make the most of it. Every single day.
Nana-style. One beer at a time.
Blessings and love,
School started a month ago. I wish I could say I started the year off productively or energetically, but in reality, I have been dragging. Like really dragging. I knew the first couple of weeks would be hard, because they always are. Summer is my favorite time of year as I get to be with my daughters, enjoy them, know them, love them. This summer was especially magical as our family got extra time in Wisconsin on the lake, our happy place. So come August 12th, I knew. I knew as I shed the annual tears the first day of school. I knew during the craziness of sports tryouts. I knew during back to school nights and parent meetings.
But then the first couple weeks were over and I still dragged. One afternoon with a full to-do list I just took a nap. One night after getting home from Uber mom duties at 9:30 p.m., I cracked a bottle of wine and drank half of it, by myself, watching “Younger” and wishing I was.
“So why is the start of this school year so much harder for me?” I kept asking myself. Asking friends who were feeling the same way. Why is it SO much harder?
And then this morning I went on a run (ok, a jog) up in Keystone (my Zen place) and I finally got my answer.
As I was rounding a turn on the trail listening to the sounds of the river beside me, all of a sudden, a mountain biker flew through and I was forced off the path into some bushes. He apologized and asked if I was ok, and a little stunned, but ok, I replied “yes” and got back on the trail. But then the tears came. And came. And came.
Was I hurt? No. Why was I crying? What the heck? And I asked my Angels, “Why am I reacting like this? What is going on?” And their answer came immediately.
Oh, dear Lord is it a hard concept but it is so true. Just as I had no control of that mountain biker rounding the turn, I have lost most control of my daughters. Not all out control, but the kind of control I used to have when they were younger. Yes, they still live under our roof, Craig and I still make the rules, we are still “in charge,” but the control I used to have as a mom every day knowing where they were, knowing who they were with, even knowing what they were eating, that is gone.
Now, I wave in the driveway every morning as my two high schoolers wave back at me and drive off to school. Into the rush hour traffic. Onto the road. Out into the world. I have no control.
Now, I drop my seventh grader off at the school entrance every day and after she turns her head and smiles at me she is off to the middle of middle school (which God, we all remember right?) and I have no control.
Now, all three daughters have activities until late hours, everyone eats dinner at different times and I struggle how to figure out how to get them each a good meal and how the heck to serve dinner at three different times. And then when they actually are all home it’s homework, homework and more homework. (Why are they giving so much!?). I have no control.
Now, the weekends come and everyone has something every day. As they should. But I have no control.
Sure, I have control of curfews and allowance and not letting them walk out of the house in shorts with a hole in the butt, but in reality, the control I had when they were younger is no more.
Do you remember the days when you chose every meal? Every play date? Even every cute little outfit?
Do you remember the days when they hid behind your legs or just wanted to be held?
Do you remember the nights of choosing bedtimes and reading them books and singing them a song before they closed their eyes?
I thought about all these things as I jogged on this morning through my tears and realized that was exactly my slump. As much as I am celebrating all that my daughters are doing now (because I am so, so proud of them and so love this stage of life!) I do think I needed a minute (well, a month actually) to mourn my loss of control.
And as I realized this and wiped away tears, suddenly another mountain biker came into my path, but she stopped and moved over and I didn’t have to alter my course. We waved and said good morning and I thanked my Angels for the message.
I can resent losing control and cry after being pushed off the trail or I can accept the loss, recognize it, say hello, and then smile and keep on jogging.
And I also realized the one thing I do have control of is my reaction to things. And this is one thing I will always have. I cannot always control what happens to me, or to my daughters, but I can control my reactions. I can choose slump or smile. I can choose mourning or celebrating. I can choose to go on a jog or take a nap.
So today I am choosing to pull myself out of this school slump. To recognize, that yes, I am sad that my daughters are older and independent and need me less, but also celebrate how happy I am that they are older and independent and doing exactly what they should be doing. And know that they still do need me, just in a different way.
And while I am surrendering my slump, a little voice in the back of my head also reminds me,
“And you are one day closer to summer…..”
Thank you Angels.
Blessings and love for a beautiful school year ahead.
I know in my heart it is my job as a mom to set my daughters free. To teach them to become independent, strong young women and find their true selves. But, because I am a big Mama Bear (ROAR!) at heart, sometimes this is hard for me and when things are difficult for my daughters or someone hurts them, I want to fix things for them. I want to do things for them. I want to make life easier for them. I want to get involved. And I have to catch myself at these times. I have to take a deep breath. I have to BACK OFF!
I know this in my heart. But sometimes I need to get out of my head. But it isn’t easy. I feel one of the very hardest things for me as a mom is to do is to find the balance of supporting my daughters without interfering. It is hard for me when one of my daughters is hurting to listen, but to not give unsolicited advice. It is hard for me to hold her and wipe away her tears, but not go and punch the daylights out of the kid who hurt her. (I mean I wouldn’t really, but you know the feeling…).
I know that I have to put down my phone and stop myself from calling someone, emailing someone, texting someone for my kids instead of making them speak, text, email (ok they never email!), communicate for themselves. I have to tell my kids to talk to a friend, teacher, coach directly when they have an issue instead of me talking to the friend’s mom, the teacher or the coach. My kids aren’t in elementary school anymore, I cannot speak for them. I have to realize it will only hurt them, not help them and that the only way I can really help them is to hold them and hug them and support them, but not do things for them. And the only other thing I can do is rant to my husband or my best friends (thank you guys!), or open a bottle of wine (thank you Chardonnay!).
But I also find comfort during these times going back to a poem from the book The Prophet by, Kahlil Gibran which my own mom gave to me when I was sixteen. In the book it says:
“And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children. And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet, they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are set forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
This poem calms me because the words remind me that while I am here to guide our daughters, it is their life they are living and I have to remember that the lessons they are learning, the experiences they are having, are all part of their journey. And as hard as it is to let my little Angels soar, I realize that the pain they go through is all part of their flight and that I can’t always make the turbulence go away, even though I wish I could.
So, I keep this poem nearby as a reminder for me that when I want to be Mama Bear, fix things, give unsolicited advice, that instead I should step back for a moment, take a deep breath and use my ears to listen, my arms to hold…and just zip my big mama mouth- except to say;
I love you dear daughters more than words could ever say, and I am so very sorry you are going through this. I am here for you. Always and no matter what.
I am your bow, you are my arrows.
Dear God, Angels and Universe,
Spring has sprung and with that comes spring activities and tryouts, end of the school year tests, finals and other stresses. And as always, I tell my daughters to pray for what they want. Ask God, Ask their Angels, Ask the Universe.
But what I always struggle to answer for them is why after telling them to do this that some of their prayers don’t come true? And why sometimes they experience terrible pain, frustration, embarrassment, disappointment and hurt even when they prayed so hard?
I have asked myself this so many times as well. There have been times in my life that I have been very angry at you. Times when I wondered if you were listening. Times when I have yelled at you and shrieked, “Why are you not answering my prayers?”
I am writing now to tell you that for this anger I am truly sorry. I am writing to tell you that for many of my unanswered prayers I am extremely grateful. I have learned over the years that sometimes I am actually more grateful for the unanswered prayers than for the answered ones.
So, I ask you now, as a mom, how do I explain this faith in you to my children? How do I tell them that although they’ve prayed for things in their life that have not happened, that you did not answer those prayers on purpose?
How do I tell them that although unanswered prayers can result in terrible pain, frustration, embarrassment, disappointment and hurt that they are experiencing it for a reason?
How do I tell them that despite their prayers;
There is a reason, dear daughters, that you are not supposed to be in that friend group.
There is a reason you were not supposed to make that part/team.
There is a reason you did not get the grade you wanted in that impossible class.
There is a reason that boy isn’t your boyfriend.
And how do I tell them while it is practically impossible to understand the reason in the moment of pain that sometimes, someday they will look back later and say;
Thank goodness I am not friends with those people, they are really mean!
Wow, I’m glad I didn’t make that team/part because look where I ended up! I like this one so much better. And oh my gosh, that other coach is horrible, I would’ve been miserable!
And; although I’m bummed I didn’t get that grade I wanted in the impossible class, I know now its ok. My parents love me just the same and I should be proud of how hard I worked.
Or, I can’t believe I am lucky enough to be dating this guy, thank goodness I wasn’t in that other relationship when he came along!
And looking past the everyday, how do I explain unanswered prayers regarding stories of tragedies, death and illness that my daughters see? How to I ask my children to also believe that that you have a reason for those things too?
Perhaps I tell them that in the sadness of someone’s passing, four lives were saved from their organ donations? Perhaps I tell them in the cancer suffering of one dear child a non-profit was formed in her honor that has helped thousands of other children?
I have been there. I have been in the seat of not understanding things you throw at me.
I have told my daughters how angry I was when I had to go through my aneurysm and brain surgery, but how now I am thankful for it every day of my life for the person it changed me into.
I have told my daughters how angry I was at you when I feared I might lose my dad last summer, but the scare only brought our family closer together and reconfirmed our love and commitment to one another.
I have told my daughters that the sudden death of one of my dear friends at the age of only forty-five reminded thousands of people to remember to live life to its fullest every day and brought many people back in touch who had grown apart.
But these are all just stories, words. How do I make them believe? How do I make them trust that they will pull out of a painful time? How do I make them trust that sometimes pain comes before joy?
You see dear God, Angels and Universe, I am asking my daughters to take a leap of faith on a very adult concept. I am asking them to believe that even in their saddest, darkest moments and in the midst of their greatest disappointments to know that there is a reason for unanswered prayers, small prayers or big.
I am asking them to know that no moment is ever too dark for there to be a light at the end of the tunnel, and I am asking them to trust that whatever you are throwing at them you are doing it for their greater good and as a part of their life’s journey.
And in addition to this huge concept, I am still telling them to keep praying even though not all their prayers are answered. What keeps them from quitting their prayers? How does this make sense to them? How do I teach them this?
I am asking that you please guide me and show me the way.
And in the meantime, as their mom, I pray to you to please let as many of my daughters’ prayers come true as you can, although I thank you for the unanswered ones that will keep them on their soul’s journey.
With faith and love,
First of all, I don’t know where January and February have gone. Truly. I think these past two months have been the fastest I can remember. Holy whirlwind.
In this whirlwind, I have been thinking that maybe things could slow down a little bit for myself if only I would follow the advice I give to my daughters. Recently in our household, I seem to keep hearing myself repeat seven things over and over to my kiddos. I seem to say many of these things many times in a week, some of them several times in a day, and a couple of them even a few times in an hour! So, I am wondering if maybe perhaps the reason that I have to keep repeating these seven things so much is because that I myself am supposed to listen to them, not just my daughters. I am thinking perhaps that I need to follow my own advice! (Gulp!)
Please read the following orders out loud in your best Mama Bear voice, because that is probably exactly how I said them to my daughters:
1. Put down your phones!
Oh boy do I say this one multiple times daily. We have a basket in our house where phones are supposed to go when our daughters come home from school. When they are doing homework. When they go to bed. Do you think this basket is ever full of phones? No. But I also am terrible at policing it. But in addition to being better at policing it, I also need to start being a part of it. Putting my phone in the basket because yes, I have been guilty of not hearing what one of my daughters says to me as I am texting or reading an email. Yes I have been called out on it, and yes, I am just as bad as my kids. The bottom line is that when any single one of us in our household is on our phones we are not present. We are away, gone, in another world, in another conversation. And that is not how I want to be or how I want our girls to be. Home is family time, homework time, safe time, sleep time. And while I cannot say no phones ever being used at home, I need to be better at having everyone putting the phones in the basket for certain time periods, including ME! I need to listen to my own advice: put down your phone! Because when all the phones are in the basket and all five of us are sitting together? Guess what happens? We talk! We listen! We engage! And I LOVE it.
2. Get some sleep!
I hate, let me say HATE how much homework this generation gets and how late activities go. It is INSANE. I never had this much homework when I was growing up and my school sports ended an hour or so after school. I am now going to 9:30 p.m. pickups, having to feed someone dinner at 4:45 p.m., and the kids and I are up way later every single night than is healthy. Doctors and news reports say to get seven to eight hours of sleep. HAH! My kids and I barely get six if we are lucky.
Just yesterday I gave my high school daughter permission to go to school late just so she could finish her homework in the morning! She’s in the middle of lax tryouts (send luck!) and on top of that has hours upon hours of homework. At 11:30 p.m. the kid has got to go to bed, she can hardly keep her eyes open! I was proud of the choice we made in letting her go to school late instead of staying up until 2 a.m., but I hate that we even have to make the choice. My daughter literally had to miss some school just to finish some homework. Do these teachers not see what they are doing and how their work loads are insane? It isn’t any different for my middle and elementary schoolers. My youngest is home today sound asleep. Is she sick? No. Exhausted? Abso-f’ing lutely! We joked when our children were little how we were dying for them to get in bed and stay in bed. Geez, were those days a piece of cake. Every single one of my children is sleep deprived, so guess who else is too? Sadly the world isn’t going to get any easier for them, so I have to police their sleep, AND I have to listen to my own advice, get some sleep myself!
3. Take Deep Breaths!
It is so crazy to me how something so simple can be so hard. Taking deep breaths helps when making a decision, helps when we are upset and can’t get the words out, and helps even when we are trying to fall asleep. Deep, slow calming breaths. I have tried to teach this to my daughters as best I can. “Take a deep breath right before you start the test,” “Take a deep breath before you react to something that hurts you or makes you mad,” “Take a deep breath right before you go on the field,” “Take a deep breath before we talk about something hard,” etc. etc. This is not just mom advice, it is a proven medical fact that deep breaths slow your heart rate and calm you down. Help you to focus. But, so often in our busy worlds we forget. We react. We say/do/text things that we regret later, things that had we taken the breath we may not have done. Again, I need to listen to my own advice and slow my life and my decisions down. I need to take deep breaths! I swear I will be a better mom and person if I can do better at this.
4. You Do You!
We all have heard it before. I say it to my kids all the time for school, for grades, for activities. So easy to say but still so hard to practice “you do you” when you see someone else doing something better than you and the envy of human nature kicks in. It is hard to do with peer pressure when other kids are doing something you don’t want to do, and hard to do when perhaps you are being made fun of or being mocked because lets face it, kids are mean. And just because we grow up and become parents doesn’t mean other adults aren’t mean and that other adults make choices we wouldn’t make. It is a life lesson. We can each only be who we are. I tell my kids there will always be someone richer, smarter, better, stronger, but there also most likely also will be someone poorer, less smart, worse or weaker. It doesn’t matter and we shouldn’t compare. We should just be ourselves. A favorite elementary school teacher of my daughters’ had a sign on her wall that I love. It said:
“Be the Fruit Loop in a world full of Cheerios.”
I need to “do you” just as much as my daughters do. There is only one of us, thats what makes us who we are. Parent or child.
5. Eat Right!
You would think as an adult I would have learned this lesson already. HAH! Magic trick, put a box of Milk Duds in front of me and watch them disappear! But the truth of the matter is I really, really do notice a difference in how I feel when I eat better and for me this means less sugar. I am more focused, I am less tired and I am in a better mood. Of course I see this as a mom too with my kids, but mine are at the age where they have to make their own food choices. Choose their snacks, decide what they want for dessert. I can tell them all day long to eat right and pray they listen, but I have to eat right too! So next time I ask my kids if they are eating right, I need to ask myself too.
6. Go outside!
Can you hear your own mom’s voice here? “Just go outside Kristy!” I used to think this was because I got underfoot, but now I know my mom was absolutely right because every time I am outside something is released. Any stress, negativity, frustration, it goes away. I see it with my daughters too. Even simple things, taking a walk, jumping on the trampoline, sitting by our favorite tree…it can change everything. Not to mention riding a bike, skiing, climbing a 14er…. try being in a bad mood after any of those things? The outdoors is healing. So while I tell my daughters all the time, “just go outside for a little,” or, “go walk the dogs!” I need to go outside too. Nature is nurturing, for everyone.
7. Trust your gut!
This one is a biggie. If there is one thing I want my daughters to remember above all it is this. Our gut feelings tell us EVERYTHING! Just yesterday at the doctors office one of my daughters asked me, “Mom I really don’t want any medical students to come in if there are any will you tell the nurse?” I looked at her wondering why she thought about this and told her I was happy to. Sure enough when I asked the nurse this she said “I’m glad you told me we actually have someone following the Dr today I’ll ask her not to go in.” Big life changer? No. But listening to a gut feeling prevented a situation that would’ve made my daughter uncomfortable.
Gut feelings can be as small as a voice in my head telling me to turn right when driving instead of left…if I listen I avoid an accident, if I doubt myself I crash. You just never know. I tell my daughters this in every situation. I tell them to take a deep breath and trust their gut no matter what, always. This can be for a test answer they are unsure of or for a bigger decision or choice.
No one said this is easy, it is actually hard, our head gets in the way so often! We doubt ourselves, we get busy and don’t have time to listen to our gut, we listen to friends advice (or parents, or spouse) when we should first listen only to ourselves. So while I preach to my kids to always trust their gut, I need to slow down and listen to my own!
So in summary, these are just seven things I say most every day to my daughters but don’t always listen to myself. Only seven things. So I tell myself I can listen to seven things and surely if I can, my kids can. So moving forward into March (yikes!) I’m going to see if maybe trying to do these seven things better my world might slow down just a little bit….
Wouldn’t the world be a great place if everyone followed mom’s advice? Including moms themselves?
Blessings and love,
It always takes me awhile to get back into the swing of post-Christmas, post New Years, post-holiday freedom. I cry a little when a wonderful trip with the twelve people in the world I love the most ends, sigh a little when my daughters go back to school, and get high a little on some wine as I drink to the reality of a new year setting in.
This year reaching reality took me sixteen days. The first two days were spent throwing up eleven times, the next few spent recovering, and the following few spent wallowing in a little sadness after leaving a family trip and then my girls going back to school.
BUT, after a two and a half hour Starbucks visit with two of my best friends (not exaggerating), eating a full bag of pink Valentines M and M’s, (also not exaggerating) and buying a new calendar (yes I still like the old fashioned ones!), I think I am back on track.
And I am excited. My daughters are all in happy places. My husband is in good spirits, and the dogs are not in some state of needing a vet visit for leaking anal glands. Life is good.
My “New Year” is usually more new for me in August when the school year starts as that is when my life changes the most, but January is also a very reflective time for me.
On January 23rd I will be celebrating twenty-four years of surviving my brain aneurysm. In the years immediately following my aneurysm I lived life to the fullest. Celebrated every moment. Loved everyone. Forgave those who had hurt me. Accepted others for who they were and did not judge. Didn’t dwell on little things. Appreciated life itself, every bit of it.
Over the years time went by and sometimes I forgot these things. I forgot to forgive, I forgot to accept, I forgot to let the little things go. But as life went on I learned something. I learned that God and the Universe don’t want me to forget these things and every time I do I get a reminder:
My dad got cancer (thankfully survived!), I had a breast cancer scare (thankfully survived!) and then BAM this December a dear friend of mine had a massive heart attack at age 45. He did not survive.
So this year, for 2019, I shout to the universe, “I have learned! I have learned! I have learned! No more reminders. Please. No more reminders. I am listening…..,”
But even as I shout this out loud I know in my heart that I am human and I know that human things will get in my way sometimes. I know that sometimes I will get in my head. I know that sometimes little things will seem big even when they are not. But I am going to try harder. I am going to breathe more deeply. I am going to embrace this day and this year in the very best way I can and know that life is a true treasure and is not a guarantee.
So I say twenty-shine-teen because I have decided that this a year to shine in and bask in all the glory of life and all it has to offer. I say twenty-mine-teen because it is my job to embrace the year and only mine. No one else has the power to control how good or bad my year is, only I do. I have to choose my reactions, my actions and my choices. I have to choose my 2019.
So I am choosing to start my year with great gratitude for those who mean so much to me:
To my dear friend Tim; I will miss you. You led a life of joy and seized each and every day and I hope to embrace your attitude and zest for life as I move forward. I will never forget your smile, your laughter and your love towards everyone you met. I am so blessed to have been a part of your life in so many ways. I will think of your smile when I need a reminder of how short life is and how important it is to live each day. I will love you always.
To my dear husband and daughters; I am so excited for the year ahead and all the adventures we will have together. There is no one I’d rather share them with. Forgive me for the swear words I say, the mistakes I make and the over protective Mama Bear and wife I inevitably become despite trying not to be. Thank you for loving me no matter what and always supporting my dreams and for letting me support yours.
To my dear true friends; I love you for accepting me for who I am, forgiving my mistakes and knowing I am not perfect and am far from it. Know I will be true to you and that my intent is always good even if the result of my actions may not always be. Thank you for accepting that sometimes I drink too much, swear too much, vent too much and take things personally too much and for loving me anyway. Thank you for always being there to hug me, listen to me, wine or tequila with me and also for supporting my writing and planning our fun times around it.
To my dear Mom and Dad; your guidance, fifty years of marriage, support, unconditional love, generosity and encouragement have gotten me through absolutely everything in my life. What an example you are to Craig and I and our girls. I can only pray to pay it forward at least half as well as you have and thank you along the way. Every January I think of my aneurysm and how I would not be here today without your doctor research, strength, patience and love. To you I owe my life in all ways.
To dear Davey, Kristina, Declan, Ellie, Alexis and Nate; families that puke together stay together. Thank you for starting the year off taking care of me and my girls when I could not even get out of bed. Thank you for bearing with my loud voice, big sister bossiness and my high familial expectations, wishes and constant desire for togetherness and cousin time. Please know it is all out of deep, great, huge love for you all, always.
To dear Jan and Sonia; Your faith in me and love for me are a huge part of who I am and my trust in this glorious universe. No one could ask for better teachers or mentors than you and I love you both deeply from heart and within soul. Thank you for keeping my on the right path and helping to guide my journey.
To my dear readers; your feedback and support of my writing means the world to me. I am launching a book this year and cannot wait to share it with you and hopefully many, many more books to come after that. It is because of you that I am encouraged and excited to write. Thank you for being the type of readers with whom I can share honest and raw emotion without fear of judgement or rejection. We all have our own truths and I so appreciate you reading mine.
And to my dear Angels; I know I do not need to write it here as you know, but my love for you goes beyond words and I am most grateful to know thanks to you that “all is well” and “all is as it should be” and I will forever be grateful for you coming to me January 23, 1995 and never leaving.
So, it is with great gratitude and love that I am sixteen days into 2019 and ready to shine on to an amazing year ahead. May each day bring more sunshine than rain, more smiles than tears and more laughter than sadness. May we all remember that every single day we get to open a new gift, the gift of that very day itself. May we all realize that each morning is an opportunity for a brand new start and we can say,
This is the first day of the rest of my life!
HAPPY NEW YEAR, sixteen days late.
With love and blessings,
My warmest wishes to all of you for a very merry Christmas.
Thank you so much for your continued support, kind comments and wonderful feedback to my blogs and posts again this year. Your support means the world to me.
I will be back with more writing in 2019 thanks to your encouragement and love.
Love and blessings to you all,
The other night I was able to go to bed a bit early (gasp!) and curl up with my November book club read. A few minutes into my relaxation I read these words,
“As she swam she gloried in the fact that there was nowhere to be, nothing to do, no one to worry about. No jazz pick up or karate drop-off, no homework to supervise, no birthday gifts to buy, no doctors’ appointments to book; the endless multitude of teeny-tiny details that made up her life. Each obligation on its own seemed laughably easy. It was the sheer volume that threatened to bury her….” (Nine Perfect Strangers, Liane Moriarty).
These words are from a scene in the book where a fictional character named Carmel is at a spa away from her children. I paused from my reading and realized this character’s words spoke to me,
“Each obligation on its own seemed laughably easy. It was the sheer volume that threatened to bury her.”
I wanted to share this because I think it is extremely well said. Sometimes I don’t feel that others appreciate the “sheer volume” of what I do as a Mom and instead think things are “laughably easy.” But anyone who is a Mom knows it is absolutely not easy. Being a Mom is an “endless multitude” of details, with emphasis on endless. A Mom’s to-do list is never done, period, and I have never met a mom that is not tired most of the time.
I continued reading my book and soon after reveling in her freedom Carmel says:
“But then that tiny voice beneath the exultant chanting, just the faintest whisper began: I wonder what they’re doing now.”
And I smiled to myself because no matter where I am, no matter what I am doing, I am always thinking of my daughters and wondering what they are up to, where they are. Even if I were out of town swimming laps in a pool at a spa as this character is, I would be thinking about my daughters.
I thought about the irony of this for a moment, how is it that what keeps me running the most also makes me happiest? What keeps me busiest is what I would never want to live without? And I realize, what a gift for me to love people so much that I am willing to do everything for them to the point of my own complete exhaustion, but then when I am away from them for a little R and R, I cannot wait to get back!
The bottom line is that I would not trade being a Mom for anything in the world. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. And while a spa escape is wonderful, my favorite place to be truly is home, even if when I am feeling the threat of being buried.
So, during this time of Thanksgiving I close my eyes and give great, indescribable, never-ending thanks for the three young ladies who are the absolute brightest lights in my life and for my amazing husband who is raising them with me. I thank them for all the details big and small and the exhaustion that makes me a Mom, because there is absolutely nothing I’d rather be.
Much love and best wishes for a very blessed and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Yesterday a very close and very hip friend of mine told me it was National Nacho Day. She wasn’t kidding! I was curious how we had a day for nachos and wondered what else we had a day for. I went to my wise and gifted teacher Professor Google and found out that there are almost 1500 National Days that are now tracked. There is even a National Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept 19) and a National Corn Dog Day (March 21). Did you know this?
So, when I woke up this morning to super loud panting and a sloppy wet kiss on my cheek (it wasn’t my husband!) I wondered if it was National Wake Mom Up Too Early Day.
I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep, and my seven-month old puppy turned around and walked away. I thought I had won but, Hah! Willie was not to be ignored, he just went down the hall, got a running start and jumped through the air, onto our bed and right on top of me. It was twenty minutes before my alarm went off, twenty precious extra minutes of sleep I had left, yet I could not be mad. So, I kissed him right back.
When I went downstairs our older dog Dillon raced up to me with her tail wagging and talking up a storm (Dillon is quite vocal) all the while carrying a pair of someone’s underwear in her mouth. I know she was saying, “Oh Mommy, I’m so glad you’re up! I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.”
I sat down on the floor and both dogs proceeded to climb all over me, tails wagging, tongues licking. Although it was still early in the morning they both made me laugh and made me feel loved and I started my day happy.
When our daughters came down soon after for breakfast, who do you think they each said hi to first? Who made them smile first thing upon coming downstairs? Not me. Not my husband.
And as I was doing the breakfast dishes a bit later, I looked out the window and saw my husband looking out into our backyard with a huge smile on his face. I looked at what he was smiling at, and it was Willie and Dillon chasing each other all around the yard.
I realized then, that the simple joys these dogs bring to our family need to be noted, need to be honored. So I wondered, is there a National Dog Day? Surely if there is a National Corn Dog day there could be a National Dog Day?
And so I went back to Professor Google again, and yes, National Dog Day is August 26th! I missed it this year, but I actually think this one is legit. This one is worth honoring! This one I will remember! (National Weed Appreciation Day March 28th..maybe not so much!)
My husband once said to me, “The best things about dogs is that they never talk back.”
My favorite thing is that dogs love unconditionally. If I am mean, crabby, take my anger out on them, ignore them, I still get the wagging tail and kisses everywhere. I still get the love.
Almost a year ago we lost our dog Murphy suddenly. You may remember reading my blog about this loss, and almost a year to the date I still often find myself with tears in my eyes thinking about him. This past weekend I cleaned out the coat closet and found lots of his hair. I sat down and cried.
The impact of dogs on our life is indescribable. This morning was a little happier for every person in my family because of our dogs. The dogs are who we can whisper secrets to and not be held in judgment, who we can cry to, who we can play with, hold tightly, wrestle with, laugh at, feel safe with and always, always be loved by. NO MATTER WHAT.
I am so thankful for what Dillon and Willie bring to me every day, and want to extend this gratefulness not just to them, but also to Murphy and all the other amazing dogs I have been honored to have in my life.
Dillon, Willie, Murphy, Vandy, Kodi, Shivers, Dusty, Rebel. I honor and love you all and just want to put that out into the universe now, and always, not just on National Dog Day.
Blessings and love to you and your pups.
Source: My dear friend to remain anonymous and Nationaldaycalendar.com.
Happy Halloween! 🎃
I was with someone yesterday afternoon that I greatly look up to and in our discussion, she said something so simple yet so profound that has stuck with me since;
“Every person comes with their own set of issues.”
These words are timely with Halloween being today as this can also be said as, every person comes with devils, monsters, demons etc. Whatever you want to call them, we all have them.
I have thought about this over and over since yesterday and this fact speaks so strongly to me. I have my set of issues. My husband, his. My friends theirs. My children theirs. There is no one without issues. I know some issues are worse than others and some issues harder to overcome than others, but we all have them.
We also discussed the increase of divorce in our generation and the increase in how quickly and easily people drop friends these days. We wondered if these people abandoning/giving up on spouses/relationships/friends don’t realize that they will always find issues with a new spouse or friend as well!
I am not judging those who get divorced or those who drop friends because I never know what happens in others relationships, but I do feel that prior to my generation instead of dwelling on people’s issues, criticizing others and being so quick to drop friends or get a divorce, people would say,
“Get over it already will ya?” And they would. Or they would make an effort to see a minister, see a counselor or at least try to see the other persons side. Now in my opinion it seems to be a lot more of “my way or the highway” instead of compromise and hard work.
Of course, alcoholism, drug abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, neglect, certain disorders; those are all extreme issues we absolutely cannot and should not try to “get over” and live with, but what about the others? What if someone hurts us emotionally without intending to? What if someone didn’t do something exactly the way we would? What if someone didn’t meet our expectations? What if someone made a choice that was different from the choice we would’ve made? Are these their issues or actually our own? And is it worth severing a relationship over?
There is a quote I love that says:
“People are in your life as a blessin’ or a lesson.” -Anonymous
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
And yet another:
“The things we dislike most in others are the characteristics we like least in ourselves”.
And ask myself then, is this issue that bothers me so much about _______ really her issue, or is it my own?
So, what is my point in all this rambling? My point is that even Channing Tatum has issues! (Ok, maybe not physically! But otherwise…) and even issues I might see Channing Tatum as having may not be things he considers issues or someone else considers issues. So perhaps instead of saying everyone comes with their own set of issues I should say:
“Everyone comes with their own set of issues, but what we perceive as someone else issues might actually be our own.”
So I think the lesson for me is to learn to accept those I love for who they are and know that anyone I am close to or become close will have issues (or I will have issues with them) and that is just a fact of life.
We have all heard “the grass is always greener,…” but is it? Really? That perfect beautiful, green lawn up the street is full of pesticides and has no life, but our lawn has footprints, a couple stray toys, dog poop and Halloween decorations. Would I prefer the green? No way.
I hope for me that as I embark on this upcoming holiday season that I try to just be thankful that I have so many people I know well enough and love well enough to get to see their issues and love them anyway, just as I hope they will love me despite mine.
Blessings and love,
As the neighbor’s leaf blower roars as I’m trying to get some peace and quiet I wonder why some days are like this. I’m irritable, cranky, everything seems to bother me. Is it the almost full moon? The lack of sleep? The amount of sugar I have been eating lately? Hormones?
Yet, thirty minutes after going alone into my office, putting in earplugs, getting some tea and lighting some candles I am cured. Re-energized. Not feeling tired. And it dawns on me, I have been tired and irritable because I have not taken time, any real quiet time for me recently. Not even a few minutes.
Last month I was extremely energized. I felt great. I realize now it is because I was doing a yoga challenge and doing hot yoga or hot yoga fusion a couple of times a week. It quieted me, it calmed me. It made me breath. Since then I have been running ragged, have not had a hot yoga class in weeks and have been taking care of everyone except for me. Even my dogs have gotten more TLC from me lately than I have given myself. What I wouldn’t give for a tummy rub…..
But today in my office as I took deep breaths and quieted, I felt better. More energized. Revived. Strange how moving more slowly and quieting myself gives me energy instead of making me tired.
I wouldn’t trade my job as a Mom for anything in the world. I am so incredibly grateful for my daughters and the many, many mom roles that come with it. But, as a mom I am always doing for others. Every day. My daughters, my husband, my dogs, even our pet rabbits. The to-do list is endless… but I need to remind myself to add a quiet “me time” to that to-do list, whether it be a yoga class, sitting alone in my office with tea and candles for a few minutes or going on a short walk without my dogs, just by myself.
I feel like every year I remind myself of this yet every year I forget. But now I know the sign, the trigger; tiredness! From now on when I am tired I am going to try to remember to ask myself, have you had your quiet time? Have you taken time for you? Have you nurtured the nurturer?
Blessings for a quiet week ahead,
I went to a yoga class early this morning not realizing at the time how much it would relate to my life right now. Funny how these things happen isn’t it?
My good friend and favorite yoga teacher (thank you J!) was leading class and as usual was kicking my butt. But it is my absolute favorite class. You might ask why something that kicks my butt is my favorite class, but a true gift my friend has in her teaching is that she can make an incredibly hard class flow so that it is easy. To clarify, I don’t mean easy in effort (because I am sore already!), but easy in the way that every action flows into the next and after each hard move there is a correlated pose or stretch that soothes the muscles I have been working. And at the end of class I am always filled with positive energy. Her class fills me up every time and I love it.
As I thought about this today I realized that the things I absolutely love the most in my life are the things that flow easily and give me energy and fill me up, even if they are hard. The things that give me energy also give me strength and allow me to be true to myself. And the things I want to let go of in my life are the things that don’t flow. The things that take away my energy. The things that cause me to not be true to who I am or to react in a way that I am not proud of.
I laugh because one of my very favorite songs for years has been “Let it Go” from the movie Frozen (ask my daughters how much I sing it!) and now I know why. “Let it Go” is a lesson for me that has taken me a long time to learn even though Spirit has been driving and driving and driving it into my head for years. I am not sure what changed but finally I am listening, even in yoga.
I have always known I lack patience and I am stubborn. When I want something, I have always gone after it. I have had trouble in the past letting go of things/relationships/accomplishments I have worked hard for, (blame it on the Virgo in me!) but over the past few years I have been noticing so many signs for me to stop being like this. Signs for me to loosen up, to accept change, to realize I do not have to do things I don’t want to do or to take care of people or be with people I don’t want to be with. And I am learning to respond in a new way:
This year I have been working hard on a book all alone and moving very slowly until a mentor gave me an amazing editor to help me and it has made things so much easier for me and I’m loving it, and her and things are flowing. The old me would have said I don’t need help, I can do this alone. The new me is so grateful for this new help and positive energy.
This past year and a half my family has been working on designing and building a house but kept having a million obstacles with the architect and then the cost came back too high with three different builders. We kept pushing on through muck with no results and then all of a sudden unexpectedly found out about a house for sale that was located in my favorite place. How could we abandon all the work and design we had done for our “perfect new house?” But we did, and within a week absolutely everything fell together more easily than I can describe and the closing date on the contract was the day before my birthday, and the sellers left us a bottle of wine and a note! The old me would’ve said I am not giving up on our house design dang it! The new me is enjoying sitting in the sunshine of this new house I love so much as I write these words.
This past year my husband took a big risk and after many marital discussions and lots of hugs he left a job that was not serving him or our family. A new and wonderful opportunity came unexpectedly out of nowhere just days after he quit. DAYS! Since then I have never seen him more balanced. The old me might’ve said, “Umm honey we have three kids, this probably isn’t the best time to quit your job…” The new me is enjoying a more present, helpful and happy husband who I even got a lovely dinner date with last night!
This year out of loyalty I have worked hard to nurture a few friendships that have caused more drama and stress to me than joy and suddenly they all seemed to fizzle at the same time (so weird!) and I took it for sure as a sign to move on. Even though I care about these people and am thankful for the past, I can’t give any more energy them. Since this time my very best friends have been more present than ever in so many ways and things are so easy and light. The old me would’ve kept trying to nurture needier friends and not ever give up on them. The new me realizes we can’t hold on to everyone forever and I am fully enjoying drama free reciprocal friendships that I have received so much love from, especially this past month.
In every one of these cases listening to signs from the universe and “letting go” paid off for the better and made my life happier and I am so very, very thankful. I feel I have been rewarded by letting go of what was not serving me.
I have always taught my daughters, “Hard work pays off,” and “Sands aren’t quitters!” But I now change these quotes to, “Hard work pays off IF it is not taking away your energy or your sense of self.” And “Sands should quit (let go) if they are miserable and their true self is suffering!”
I believe we are never stuck. I believe there always is another choice. I believe the Universe gives us obstacles to recognize that sometimes we need to quit/let go in order to move forward.
We have all heard the term, “energy suck.” Suck is an ugly word in itself, but so should it be because I believe when something or someone is an energy suck, let it/them go! It’s not worth it. No one needs any sucks in their lives. Life is too short. And I truly believe that sometimes letting go is the only way to move forward and that in doing so the Universe/Spirit/God/Angels will take care of me and lead me to what is next.
So, from now on, I’m stating here in writing, that my goal is to promise myself that moving forward I will work hard at anything I feel is feeding my soul but not waste energy on that which is not.
Spirit is telling me loudly and clearly:
“Let go of things that are not working. Embrace those that are.”
And I need to continue to listen.
And as I let things go, I know I can also say thank you for them because I know that all that happened in my past led me to where I am today, at this very moment. And, as Elsa sings:
“I’m never going back, the past is in the past….”
What isn’t working for you? Can you give yourself permission to Let it Go!
Putting “back to school” in the back of our minds, this past Saturday at 4:15 a.m., my family and I awoke in a tent with our two dogs, our hearts filled with ambition. Cold, tired and excited we put on layers of clothes, headlamps and our hiking boots and prepared to climb Mount Elbert, the highest fourteener in our beautiful state of Colorado.
“We got this!” I said.
But before we could hit the trail, one of our black labs, Dillon, went missing in the pitch-black darkness and panic ensued. Voices were raised and the peaceful morning took a turn. After minutes that seemed like hours, we finally found Dillon back in the tent! (Guess someone didn’t want to be up that early!) Relief rippled through us, and breakfast bars in hand we left our campsite under the light of the moon and stars. Each one of us remarked upon the glory of the sky and the magic of walking together at such an early hour in such peace.
At the trailhead I pulled out my phone to take a photo of us at our starting point, but as everyone snapped at me that we didn’t need a photo, “it’s too cold!” all I captured was darkness. Despite my family’s protests I tried again with one of my daughter’s phones, same issue. With everyone too impatient to keep trying I gave in and captured the photo it in my mind instead and we started forward in the dark one foot in front of the other, headlamps and the moon lighting the way.
As we began our ascent our puppy Willie wanted to run. Our kids wanted to slow down. Dillon wanted to poop. And everyone began to argue. Not a great start! But, eventually, after some sharp parental commands to all we found our pace and cadence and we were off! It seemed as the sun rose, so did everyone’s spirits, and the magic of the mountain dawned upon us.
In the peaceful shelter of evergreen trees we spoke of a teenager in our high school who was just diagnosed with Leukemia and was lying in the hospital as we climbed. We spoke of my dad who due to an injury and surgery has been in pain for over a month. We spoke of those we know whose family has been broken by divorce, alcoholism, disease or death. We spoke of families who rarely make time to be together and how thankful we are that we do. We spoke of how sad we were that school had started and how glad we were to be spending the day together climbing a fourteener before the year ahead got too crazy.
I asked my family to spend a few minutes in silence thinking about all we had to be thankful for. Our health to be able to climb. Each other to climb with. The mountain itself. All the amazing people in our lives.
I don’t know if anyone actually spent those minutes thinking about what I asked them to, but I did. I thought about my incredibly strong, unique and loving daughters. I thought about my supportive and faithful husband. I thought about my parents and my brother and how lucky we are that my dad is going to be ok after our awful scare this summer. I thought about my incredible friends, the best I have ever had, and I thought about my health and how lucky I was to be climbing a fourteener without struggle. I even thought about the dang dogs that were pulling my arms forward and out of their sockets as we hiked, because as much of a pain as they are I sure love them.
And magically right at that point, right in the middle of my thoughts of gratefulness, we reached tree line and the mountain range unfolded before us glowing in the morning light. I noticed the significance of this timing and asked everyone to gather for a photo. This time no one argued, my phone’s camera worked, and everyone smiled.
After some water and trail mix, upwards we continued, my daughter Katy leading us in a camp song about “A tree in a hole and a hole in the ground and the green grass grows all around all around” and then me leading the age old “The other day, I saw a bear, a great big bear oh way up there…”.
As the mountain grew steeper and our breaths deeper I reminded them of the yoga breath “in through the nose out through the mouth” and we went on, one foot in front of the other. Step by step breath by breath. Single file we moved forward sometimes talking, sometimes lost in our own thoughts, but always together.
As we neared the summit I paused, turned around, and looked at these people (and dogs) that I love so very much. Looked at these individual souls on a mountainside in the middle of Colorado. Looked at our family and realized just how very lucky we are. How very lucky I am.
“Let’s do this!” I shouted with adrenaline about a hundred yards from the top. And of course, because I am me, tears trickled from my eyes as we summited with a “Woo Hoo!” and gathered for a family hug.
“Gosh, I love you all so much,” I said to them.
After we released the hug and took several family (and dog) photos, I took a minute by myself to look at everything that surrounded me. It still is amazing to me that we live in a place where I can climb a mountain. And even more amazing to me that I can do it with my family. The feeling of being up on that mountain top with the people I love most in the world is absolutely indescribable and surreal.
This is the second actual 14,000-foot mountain my family has climbed together, but there have been many other metaphoric mountains we have summited as well and there will be more in the future. And real mountains or metaphoric mountains, what matters to me is that we climb them together.
The start of the school year is hard for me. Hard for my kids. There are always new obstacles and new challenges, but there are also new opportunities and new heights to be reached. I know that if my kiddos can climb above 14,000 feet they can do pretty much anything, and I hope they know that as well.
I feel we are always on a mountain in our life. And just like on my family’s mountain climb this weekend there will be some darkness. There will be some fights. There will be ups and downs. There will be breaths that are hard to take and steps that are rocky. There will be challenges.
But there also will be light. There will be beauty. There will be successes. There will be summits. There will be celebrations. There will be hugs.
So, with a deep breath I take in the beginning of this new school year and all it’s realities and I know, “We got this!”
And so do you!
Blessings and love for a wonderful school year ahead,
I just volunteered for the very last time at my daughters’ elementary school. I am hanging up my hall pass. I am finished with Kindergarten “centers” and cutting along the dotted lines. I will no longer help little hands hold glue guns and place bottle caps and pom-poms on paper. I will not be sitting with children editing creative writing and assisting with science experiments. I will no longer be helping tie shoes, helping with fractions, teaching site words or explaining challenge words. I will not be one of the moms working at or planning class parties or helping to grade papers. I will no longer be wiping noses or scooping ice cream. I will no longer be dressing in costume as “Mystery Reader” or editing ten-page fifth grade research projects. I will no longer be an elementary school mom.
For ten years and three daughters and many wonderful teachers I have helped at our elementary school. I have spent countless hours of time in many classrooms watching my daughters and their friends learn, socialize and grow. I have watched them laugh and ponder. I have watched them bite their lips in frustration and watched their eyes grow wide with wonder. I have watched them make friends and lose friends and love teachers and not be so crazy about other teachers. I have watched them grow taller and wiser and I have watched them become themselves. I have looked on through thousands of games of conversation heart bingo and helped decorate a gazillion iced cookies. I have watched them shed tears when bullied and glow when complimented. I have seen them stand tall with perfect test scores and slink low when they got out during a spelling bee. I have hugged and held and stood back and let go. I have made many mistakes and done some things right and grown because of it. I have often wondered if elementary school better taught my children to be good students or better taught me to be a good mom?
I admit that on some days when I was tired I wondered, “Why am I helping kids balance scales with wood blocks?” or “Do they really need me here today to grade spelling tests?” But every scale and every spelling test was a time I was in a classroom with one of my children. A time I was watching them in their element, seeing them interacting at their grade level, and just simply being near them. And, the best part? ALWAYS getting a hug and a HUGE smile from them whenever I walked into their classroom, and often one from their friends too.
It was these hugs and these smiles that year after year when the volunteer sign-up sheets came out on paper I was one of the first to grab them, and year after year when the computer “Sign up Genius” began I always put myself down for as many slots as I could. And thank goodness I did! THANK GOODNESS because now I am done and I have no idea where the time went. Where did the ten years I had go? The fast, disappearing ten years I got to be present for my daughters in elementary school? The years to be there, to watch, to sit with them, to know what they were doing, to see what they were learning? These years are gone. Thank goodness I was there and did not miss them. Thank goodness I did not choose work, or coffee, or the gym, or friends over these times. Thank goodness because work and coffee and the gym and friends can always be a part of my life, but elementary school cannot. Is not.
And after elementary school? Middle school and high school just do not have opportunities for moms to help with their kids, be hands on, have a child in our lap during story time or a child beaming at us while they present their report to the class. Middle school and high school do not have opportunities to see our child throughout the day, to walk into their class at any given time, to be present in their school day, to show we care.
I am at the end of my elementary school era. I have mixed emotions… tears well up because my girls are so old and I just want to hold on to their youth, but my heart swells with pride at the young women they are becoming. I love watching my middle schooler grow into her own and my high schooler find her passions. I have great times now and I have great times ahead, but elementary school is over.
My soul fills with thanks for the elementary school that gave me the opportunity to be so present in my girls lives, the teachers who welcomed me into their classrooms with open arms and the community that was so supportive of making our public elementary school so incredibly amazing.
I will miss this school. These teachers. This community. I will miss being in the classroom with my daughters. I will miss seeing the innocence of elementary school children. It is the end of an era but also a new beginning. I find joy now in many other pieces of my daughters lives and always will, but elementary school days I will miss.
And as I sit here with tears in my eyes and pride in my heart, I pass on to any of you moms out there a reminder of how VERY short our times as moms are. How very fast our children grow. I encourage you get into that school! Sit down with your child! Seize every opportunity you have! And while gluing or cutting or editing or helping with math may not be your favorite thing to do, it might become so when you are doing it with your child. And while sitting on a bumpy school bus on a field trip may upset your stomach, I bet you it will gratify your heart because soon you will be walking out of your elementary school days as I am and you probably will never sit on a school bus again.
I am so lucky and so grateful because I truly wouldn’t change one thing I did during my daughters’ elementary school years. Not one thing. I volunteered in every one of my daughter’s classrooms, I made them all do half-day kindergarten so I could spend afternoons with them, I saw every one of their class shows/concerts/projects/presentations, I went to every class party, I participated in many field trips. I was a part of every single year my daughters were at that school and am so very, very thankful.
I do not say these things to brag or boast or say what a great mom I was. I say these things because for me, what is more important than being a mom? What in my life has more meaning? More importance? What is nearer to my heart than my three girls? Absolutely nothing! How grateful I am, what a blessing it is for me to have been such a part of my girls’ elementary school lives. I just hope at the end of the rest of their “eras” (as there will be many!) I can say the same and hope that they can say so as well.
Goodbye CHVE. Thank you, thank you, thank you, times three.
Happy, Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing moms out there. May you enjoy every day, every era, every moment…and hold on tightly!
This past week I was lucky enough to have some time to myself on a beach in Florida. During this time I sat down on a rock, waves lapping at my feet, and I thought about how very thankful I am for all the blessings in my life. And as the sun glistened on the water I realized that although I am thankful for hundreds of things and for many wonderful people in my life, at the very top of my list of what I am very most grateful for are my three homes.
Yes, I am incredibly blessed to have three homes. Three gorgeous strong supportive homes that I would not trade for anything in the world. Three homes who celebrate me when I am happy, hold me when I am sad, surround me through hardship and embrace me for exactly who I am.
These homes are not made of brick and mortar. They are not made of glass or stone. They cannot be demolished or ruined by storm. The foundation of these homes is deeper, stronger and unconditional. You see I am talking about homes, not houses.
Home to me is when I truly come home. Home to me doesn’t mean there needs to be walls or a roof, beds or couches. Homes to me are the places where I can be Kristy Sands and only Kristy Sands. The places I am welcomed with open arms and loved absolutely no matter what, unconditionally. The places I feel happy and at peace and welcomed always.
My first home is my mom and dad. I am one of the few and lucky to have and to have always had an absolutely amazing relationship with my parents. This past week I had a rare opportunity to spend five full days alone with my mom and dad and it was beyond wonderful. When I walked out of the airport there was my dad waiting with open arms. When I arrived at their house right when I walked in the door I saw a “Welcome Home Kristy” sign that my mom had made with a heart over the i, just like when I was a young girl.
It was this sign written in my favorite color that I thought of on the beach that really made me think. I was not coming home to my childhood house. I was not coming home to a dwelling. I was coming home to my mom and dad. A home for me always and forever no matter where they are. No matter where I am. When I am with them I am home and when I am away from them I can come home to them any time I need or want to.
In the room I stayed in my mom had put fresh gardenias from their yard in a vase and another vase of gardenias in the bathroom. Every single morning my dad had a Starbucks waiting for me in the kitchen when I woke up. Every night before bed I received two big hugs and was told “I love you.” And during the hours in between I was doing things with two of the people I love most in the world while we talked, laughed and even got teary a couple times as we caught up on everything and reminisced. I was completely spoiled, completely loved and completely home.
My second home is the one that is a part of me every single day, Craig and our girls. Without these four people I absolutely would not be who I am as their support and love is essential to me being my true self and thriving as my true self. These four have seen me cry, seen me drunk, seen me naked, seen me yell, seen me make bad jokes (and good jokes?), seen me be goofy, seen me be unreasonable, seen me be emotional, seen me be a total mamma bear, seen me be unkind, seen me be loving, seen me talk to Spirits and Angels, seen me have melt-downs, seen me whacked out on drugs after a surgery, seen me swear, seen me be loyal, seen me be a daughter, a mom, a wife, a sister and a friend, seen me make mistakes and seen me do things I am proud of. And they love me for all these things even though sometimes they may be a tiny bit embarrassed of me (or very embarrassed of me!) But at the end of the day, every day, I know I can come to these four and be loved no matter what, no matter when, no matter why. If we are at our house in Colorado, traveling elsewhere in the world or even if we are apart, these four are my home always and forever and that will never change. I love them every bit as much as they love me, (if not more!).
And when I returned from my trip to my parents back to this home, guess what was waiting for me at the door when I walked in the door? Another sign, this time one that my daughter Ashley made that said: “Welcome home Mommy!” and was surrounded by balloons. And not even two seconds in the door I was embraced by all four of them in a huge family hug with our dog Dillon whining in the middle. What could be better? Home sweet home.
My third home took me a long time to find. Years of trials and tribulations. Truly, years! This is because this home isn’t built on flesh and blood. This home is mortgaged on loyalty and learning and I had to do a lot of remodeling and redesigning until I found exactly what I needed and wanted. This third home is my best and dearest friends. FINALLY after years and years I can say I have friends who are “home.” Friends I can count on no matter what, friends who stay by my side even if I embarrass them, (or embarrass myself). Friends who forgive and who don’t judge. Friends who don’t keep track of the last time I called them or text them or whose turn it is to initiate. Friends who aren’t envious when I am successful and friends who are truly sad when I suffer. Friends who are always inclusive and always thoughtful of my feelings. Friends who keep a secret, don’t talk behind my back and stand up for me fiercely if someone else does. Friends whose hearts are loving and loyal. Friends who tell me if I have accidently done something to hurt them or vice versa and we take time to work it out. Friends who forgive a drunken night, an emotional outburst, a bad joke or something about me they didn’t know and stay my friend anyway. Friends who accept an apology and know I mean it and the matter is over, done and forgotten. Friends who don’t care what my social status is or if I buy brand name clothing or shoes. Friends who have seen all sides of me and love me anyway. Friends who are committed to our friendship no matter what. Friends who have seen me laugh and cry and who I have seen laugh and cry. Friends who I have confided in and who confide in me. Friends who know me almost as well as my first two homes do and still stick around. Friends who treat me the same way no matter where we are and no matter who we are with. I can count these friends on one hand, but they are stronger than an army and I love them dearly…and they know that because we tell each other. Rare friends, true friends, home.
My parents. My family. My best friends. My three absolute greatest blessings. My three homes. How in the world did I get so lucky?
And as the waves gently rolled upon the sand and Pelicans soared overhead I admit I did think, “Would it be nice to have three houses?” A lake house, an ocean house and a mountain house? Of course! But would I trade any of my three homes for even one of those houses? Never. No. Not in a million years.
Love and Blessings,
My family and I recently returned from an amazing vacation. We scuba dove, snorkeled, rode horses bareback in clear Caribbean water…. It truly was a vacation one only dreams about. My gratefulness for our experience is beyond words, truly indescribable. But beyond this, beyond every incredible thing we did on our trip the the real magic is summarized in what we call Fab Five.
We are the Fab Five. Our family of five. And when we are together, uninterrupted, phones and devices away, work and school out of reach, we are fab. Granted, Caribbean water and sunshine and seeing turtles and riding horses, well of course that is extra fabulous, but the time all five of us had just being together is what made the trip absolutely magical. If I had been on that trip alone, it would have been fun, but absolutely not the same. Not even close. The magic was in US.
When we are home in the everyday it is rare that the five of us are together. I work hard to try to have at least a couple family dinners each week, but when we do have one it turns into twenty minutes, maybe half an hour if I’m lucky. Someone has sports, someone has homework, someone has to leave. Less time is spent eating the food than the time I spent making it! On one hand I miss the days when I had two in booster seats and one in a high chair and the five of us had plenty of time for long dinners every night, but on the other hand I wouldn’t trade the adult discussions we have now, the shared humor we all understand and the depth of conversation we get even in only twenty minutes.
On our trip we got six full days of this and six full days of each other. I saw my daughters bury each other in the sand, I saw them take photos of each other on the beach, I saw them laugh together (even though sometimes they were laughing at me!), play paddle ball together, walk the beach together. And the five of us swam together, ate every meal together, rode horses together, played games together and talked and laughed and talked some more. I left the trip feeling like I actually knew what was going on in every one of my family member’s lives (WOW!) and never felt it was too much “togetherness.”
But despite all the fun things we did and all that we experienced on this incredible vacation, the biggest ah-hah moment for me came during a family game of Left, Right, Center on our balcony looking over the beach when my youngest daughter Ashley said, “Why don’t we have more family game nights at home?”
Why don’t we have more family game nights at home?
The short answer is sports and homework… the long answer is we are not MAKING time. But the time is there, somewhere. Somewhere between the gazillion other things going on in five different, busy lives it is there. The time is there if we make it be there.
I talked to my husband about this and we agreed to try harder. Make more time. Make Fab Five time even if someone would prefer to be with their friends or if someone has to stay up a little later for homework.
Since spring break we are one for one. The first week back we demanded a family game one night when everyone was home. The whole game only took about forty-five minutes, but it was forty-five minutes of Fab Five we would not have had otherwise. YATZEE!
This week we are on our second week back from break and already to Wednesday and haven’t made time yet, but I haven’t given up. I need to find something for all of us to do together this week, and so on each week. We won’t be perfect, I know, but there is no one in this world I would rather be with than these four souls that I love with all my heart and time is moving quickly! Emily our oldest goes to college in just over three years. THREE! And while we will still always be the Fab Five, she won’t be under our roof for most of the year. But she is NOW. And NOW is where we are. NOW is what I have to take advantage of.
I have written before that a dear teacher of mine says;
“You are only here now.”
This applies here tenfold. I have to make time for NOW with my family. If I am busy, if I am tired, I have to make time. Phone away, device away, distractions away time.
Real everyday life isn’t a magical Caribbean vacation, but everyday life can still be magical. For me that magic is uninterrupted family time. I just need to make time for the magic. Make it happen. Use my mamma bear fierceness to tell them, “We will have family time and you WILL like it!” And guess what, no matter how much someone might complain about a family game or moment, they are always happy by the time we finish. Always. And they still have time for homework or friends or sleep.
I am so grateful that Ashley said those words on our trip (Thank you Ash!) to remind me that no matter how old our kids get, it is still every bit just as important to make family time every week not just on vacations! Because there truly is nothing better.
So while I dream of crystal clear waters and white sand I will try to plan our next Fab Five time together. Twenty minutes, an hour, two hours, whatever I can get because even if I get eye-rolls, whining or excuses, “my friends never have to have family time,” I know in my heart that this time matters to all five of us and that those friends who do not get family time are truly missing out on something special.
Blessings to you and your family,
Last week I wrote about taking on others emotions and I received many lovely responses from people telling me that they are feeling the same way right now. You might not realize it but your responses to me were signs from my Angels that people are reacting to my writing and that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. Thank you! Your support means the world to me.
I have always believed in signs but it seems like 2018 is bringing them more loudly, more clearly and more often. For example just this week;
-A best friend of mine’s daughter is going to Europe for a week and she was feeling a bit nervous about it. This friend shared with me that this morning right after she dropped her daughter off for the trip she heard the song “Safe and Sound” on the radio.
-Another person I love is going through a huge life changing decision and was going to take action this morning. I pulled an Angel card about the situation and it said “New Beginnings.”
-Another dear friend of mine is contemplating getting a Weimaraner and within just a few days she was given the name of the same Weimaraner breeder by two different people.
-I had a much-needed massage appointment last night at 6:50 that I thought about cancelling due to a busy mom driving night, but before I cancelled I found out that due to snow on the ground my daughter’s lacrosse practice was re-scheduled to be indoors from 6:45-8 pm instead of at her regular time. Well, the spa where I get my massage is two minutes from where her lacrosse practice was: Lax: 6:45-8. Massage: 6:50-7:50. I laughed out loud and thanked my Angels. Easy peasy and boy am I thankful I didn’t cancel that appointment….
All signs this week, and it is only Wednesday!
I feel that it is a very powerful time right now. I feel that the Universe is connecting me to like-minded people. I feel that my Guardian Angel is speaking to me loudly. I feel my other Angels are giving me signs galore. I feel like others are sharing their Angel signs/stories with me more than ever and I would love to hear yours too!
If you are experiencing Angel signs and would like to share them, please let me know via email to firstname.lastname@example.org . If I receive enough responses I will share them anonymously in a blog with the purpose of providing more examples to everyone that the signs are there for ALL of us if only we ask, look and listen.
And if you think you aren’t seeing signs, maybe it is because you are not asking your Angels or not trusting what you are receiving. I promise you that signs are everywhere. Trust what you see, trust what you feel, trust what you hear. It is not coincidence, it is a sign! Believe in yourself. Believe in your Angels.
And when you get your sign please don’t forget to say thank you.
Love and Blessings,
All week I have felt heavy and tired and sad. All week I have felt the need to cry and have done so. But as I sit today and listen to my Guardian Angel it comes to me that what I have been carrying this week is not my own sadness, but that of those I love the most. IT. HAS. BEEN. A. WEEK. in my house and even though this week has happened to everyone else, somehow I ended up feeling it the most.
I ask my Angels how do I release this? How do I take the burdens of those I love off my own shoulders and know it is their experience and not mine? Their week, not mine?
I close my eyes and listen and am told to shed the tears, give the support, but then let go. Take a deep breath. Let it all out. Ask myself what am I truly feeling and is it my pain to feel?
I am told that I know I can be there for my family always, hold them, hug them, love them….but I also have to be there for me. After I hug them and support them, after they leave for work and for school then I have to let go. I have to let their pain go and figure out what my own emotions are. Outside of feeling for them, outside of wallowing in what is going on with them, how am I? What is going on with ME?
If I truly look back at this week not one bad thing happened to me directly. Of course it is bad when people I love hurt, but not one hurt, stress, anger was mine. Every single negative or upsetting emotion I felt this week was because someone else experienced something:
I was in the treatment room a few nights ago when my oldest daughter was getting acupuncture for an injury (I believe very strongly in the belief of acupuncturists that pain is related to emotion) and WHOA. Wow, was I was overwhelmed as the needles started going in to her. My eyes filled with tears. My stomach tightened. I truly felt her pain emotionally and physically as I sat there.
I got off the phone with my husband the other night who has had a very stressful busy week. He had to prepare for and give a huge presentation as well as travel for four days. When I hung up with him that night all of a sudden I felt stressed and busy and angry too. I truly felt his emotions.
My youngest is in an elementary school that very sadly has decided to take the fun out of elementary. The kids have to have silent lunches at age ten because the staff thinks the kids are too loud. (5th graders are not supposed to be quiet!) My daughter dreads going to school every single day and I want to curl up with her in bed every morning when I wake her up and she asks yet again if she can please stay home.
My thirteen-year-old is in the middle of middle school. She’s had four tests this week so far and two more today. Her stomach has been in knots, so has mine. On top of this she has an awful head cold and an earache. She has been waking up early to study and is absolutely exhausted. Guess who is exhausted too? Guess who else is fighting a cold?
It is not my imagination. I truly am taking on other’s emotions.
Humans are intuitive and loving and I believe that quite often we take on the pain of those we love because we want to be there for them. We want to help them. And we should, but I am learning that helping them doesn’t mean holding their emotions inside of me. I cannot hold onto their pain and suffer because of it. I cannot let their pain affect my life. And their pain isn’t magically healed just because I share in it. As much as I hold and hug and love ultimately they have to work through their own issues. They have to get through their own experiences.
I don’t mean this to sound selfish. I just feel that everyone is here to learn their own lessons. To have their own experiences. And while I can empathize and support and care about what others are going through, I cannot let their experiences become mine. I have to cut cords and learn to love but also to let go. It is a delicate balance and it is hard for me.
I almost came home this morning after getting everyone where they needed to be and crawled into bed. Truly, I almost did. I almost blew off my entire day and retreated. Thankfully, however, as I was walking down the hall my eye caught my favorite Angel statue in my office and I went in, lit some candles and sat down to listen.
“Everyone else’s burdens are not your own.”
That was my message. I heard it loud and clear. Those words were my inspiration for writing today because this week everyone else’s burdens did become my own. And because I let that happen, I had a very rough week.
Now of course when you love people you share in their burdens. You support them, hold them, love them. But what my Angels reminded me of this morning is that this doesn’t mean I have to be miserable myself. Instead of giving in to having a bad week I should have taken deep breaths, said supporting words, given hugs and love and then after everyone went off on their way said,
“What am I going to focus on today?”
Not their misery. Not their pain. Not their stress. Because that is theirs. What am I going to focus on for me?
I am happy. I am grateful. I am blessed. That is what I want to focus on today. That is how I am feeling. So for now, I am going to not think about my injured oldest daughter, my stressed husband, my exhausted second daughter and my sad 5th grader. Instead I am going to say a little prayer to their Angels to please help them through their days today, and then I am going to sit back, sip my tea, write for a while and then go outside and start my day with a smile.
And if anyone comes home later sad, mad, stressed or angry I will hold them, hug them, love them but also not forget to release their burdens and love myself.
Thank you Angels.
Blessings and wishes for a beautiful weekend,
It’s hard for me to admit it, but I do feel Mamma doesn’t always know best. Ok, a lot of times I feel we do, but not always. I don’t feel we ever know more than our children’s own intuition. I believe this intuition comes from our Angels and is a gut feeling. It is that feeling you are so sure of without hesitation. That feeling when you just know, you may not know why you know, but you know. And I believe this feeling is never wrong.
The other day my dear thirteen year-old daughter Katy and I were on Naples Pier in Florida and my always adventurous husband decided to jump off the pier while we smiled and cheered him on. Jumping off Naples Pier isn’t exactly illegal, but there are signs posted everywhere pretty much telling you, don’t jump. But Craig is a jumper and jump he did and came back up safely to the pier afterwards with a big smile on his face.
“Want to do it with me Katy?” he asked.
Katy looked unsure and she turned to me,
“Should I do it mom?”
Of course my intuition said, “No way!” as this Pier is very high and Katy still and always will be my baby……but, I am trying to let my children make their own choices as they get older and I am also trying to teach them to trust their Angels and their intuition. So, I took a deep breath, said a little prayer and instead of telling Katy the strong “NO!” that I felt, I told her,
“It’s up to you honey. Ask your Angels. Trust your gut.” And I walked away from her to give her a minute to do so.
Just a moment later Katy came back next to me and said,
“My gut told me no.”
“Ok,” I told her (YAY! PHEW!) and I put my arm around her and we walked to the edge of the pier. And guess what we saw as soon as we leaned over the railing and looked down into the water?
Not one, but TWO black tip sharks! Not kidding. No joke. I can’t make this stuff up.
Katy immediately looked at me her jaw wide open in disbelief.
“No wonder they told me no! Oh my gosh!!!”
Thank you Angels.
The reason for sharing this story? I feel our kids intuition is so strong. Even stronger then adults. I feel children are so connected to their Angels and their gut feelings if only we can get them away from peer pressure and parental pressure and teach them to listen and to trust. NO MATTER WHAT.
I am so very thankful I didn’t tell Katy “NO!” and that I let her decide for herself. I am so very thankful she took a minute to pause and listen to her gut rather than just jump. I am so very thankful the Angels showed us sharks immediately after Katy’s decision to validate her decision. I am so very thankful for the whole experience.
Did Katy want to jump off that pier with her dad to bond with him and say she did it?
Did the Angels want her to?
Would the black tips have bitten her if she had jumped in? Thank goodness we’ll never know. Why we didn’t see them before Craig jumped? We’ll never know that either.
I’m just very thankful we are all safely off that pier with all our limbs and that Katy listened to her Angel’s message even though she kinda wishes she could’ve jumped off with her dad. (Maybe next time Katers!)
Overall, as much as they want to please us, their friends, their teachers, I feel it is so very very important to teach our children to do what is right for themselves first. Trust themselves. Trust their gut. Trust their Angels. Always.
It is a hard balance for me letting my girls grow up. Letting them make their own decisions. Telling myself I don’t always know best. But I need to remember I have my intuition and my Angels too and I need to practice what I preach. Ask. Listen. Trust. 👼🏼.
It always amazes me in life how I seem to hear what I need to hear at exactly the right time or meet the person I need to meet exactly when I need to meet them.
Even last week the day after I was talking about trusting the universe I found a t-shirt that said in light pink, my favorite color: Trust the Universe. Of course I bought it and continue to trust.
This morning I was debating whether or not to go to yoga before sitting down to write. A voice nudged me to go so I did. In that yoga class my teacher said:
“Close the door to something that is no longer serving you.”
I felt a few tears in my eyes when she said this because I knew this message was for me and probably for many others in that room this morning.
All week I have been thinking about things and people in my life that are taking up too much of my energy. All week I have been telling myself I need to let them go. And then this morning my beliefs are validated through my yoga teacher:
“Close the door to something that is no longer serving you.”
Thank you Universe.
For some people in my class this door might be a large, heavy one. Some of them might be contemplating leaving a job, a spouse, ending a best friendship. For others it might be something smaller, or as my yoga teacher said, “even trying a different yoga teacher or class if your current one isn’t working for you”.
I am somewhere in the middle. For me right now closing the door means saying no. Saying no to things I don’t want to do. No to people I don’t want to spend time with and saying an extra large NO to the voice in my head making me feel guilty when I do say no.
My husband tells me that sometimes I can be exclusive because I only want to be with our family versus other families. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy being with other families, it just means that I really want to be with mine. We are so spread thin that our time together is limited and I treasure it. I don’t mean to be exclusive and it doesn’t mean I don’t like other families, I am just happiest when I am with mine.
Friends have told me I don’t text or call or facebook enough. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them or care, I just don’t have the energy to talk and keep in touch with everyone when I can barely keep up with myself and my family.
I have been made fun of since college because sometimes I have to wear earplugs to shut out noise. Quiet is very important to me. If I don’t have quiet and stillness in my week I don’t do well. Today I am surrounded by candles at my desk and am in complete silence. I am so happy. I am so at peace.
So today, I am promising myself:
1. To say no to things I don’t want to do
2. To say no to people I don’t want to see
3. To say no to noise on days when I need silence.
Just three doors. I can do it.
The catch to this is that there are some things I have to do and some noise I have to hear. I have to go the the grocery store, cook dinner, drive kids to activities, etc., but these are “to do’s” that I have chosen. I love being a mom and a wife and I will happily do the tasks required of me for these roles, but what I have to do, for me, is close the door on the other things that don’t let me perform those roles well. I have to close the door on the other things that prevent me from being true to myself and true to those things and people most important to me.
So if I don’t go to coffee with someone or go to a party or an event or help at a school function, is not because I don’t like those people or those events, it just means I love myself and my family more. I need to do what is best for me to be the best Kristy Sands I can be and I know now that this sometimes that means shutting doors.
I feel very strongly that those I love will understand the doors I shut and those who don’t understand probably are those who aren’t a big part of my life anyway. I haven’t seen one of my very best friends who only lives twenty five minutes away from me in almost a year because both of us like quiet and family time. Have we lost one ounce of love for eachother? No. None. I feel those that matter will respect the doors I shut.
And now, right now I feel very blessed that the things I need to let go of are manageable. I send love out to those in my yoga class this morning who might have received a message to let go of something harder. But hopefully all of us in that class whatever is is, no matter how big or how small will be able to,
“Close the door to something no longer serving you,“
because I feel life is too short to hold on to something which does not.
I thank my yoga teacher Rose for validating what I need to do and I thank The Universe for leading me to Rose’s class this morning. I hope you all are able to let go of what is not serving you and find peace and healing in doing so. The light of this week’s full moon is a beautiful time for closing old doors and opening new ones.
Blessings and Love,
This morning began in bed with my two younger daughters and our dog. Nowhere to hurry to. Nowhere to be. Nothing but time and each other.
As the snowflakes fell outside the window the girls brought out their baby books and one at a time we paged through them. We laughed. We made “oohs” and “awws.” They were grossed out by their dried umbilical cords that I saved in a ziplock bag. My youngest wondered a bit sadly why her baby shower invitation was an Evite while her olders sisters’ invitations were printed on pretty card stock. I told her Evite probably wasn’t invented when her older sisters were in utero. And then more conversations began……
Unscheduled time. It is beautiful and magical and when I have it to spend with those I love most it creates the perfect day. It creates conversations that aren’t about schoolwork, sports and schedules, but rather conversations that are spontaneous, silly, sentimental and sometimes deep and philosophical. It sparks thoughts about Evite and wonderings about what will be invented when my girls are moms. It leads to ideas and discussions and dreams and sharing things not usually talked about. And it leads to hugs and laughter and love.
As my daughters get older their lives are busier. I am busier. As a five person family we sometimes have to be five places at once and I miss everyone. Even as I type my oldest daughter and my husband are at a field hockey tournament in Florida. They are missing our gentle snowy day, but my husband text that our daughter scored a goal after diving for the ball and then text an hour later to say that her team won the championship of their bracket! A perfect and exciting day for her in the sun, a perfect day for us in the snow. And I know that while we may not always have the five of us together physically, we are together, always. I just need to take a minute to be thankful for each unscheduled moment with each child, or my husband, or even by myself because unscheduled time for me is just magical.
So for today I am thankful for three of us in bed on a snowy day, looking at baby books. And I am thankful that now, as I type, my two younger daughters who often fight, race past each other in route to activities and argue over whose turn it is to have the dog on their bed… right now they are outside building a snow fort together and laughing.
Right now I am writing, drinking a cup of tea and looking out at beautiful white upon the trees. And I don’t have to go anywhere. I don’t have to do anything. And every person in my family is happy. What a blessing.
I think about other times when my family is unscheduled other than holidays, and there aren’t many. Even when we plan family outings, games, dinners, someone has something later or beforehand or homework looms. I ask myself how to fix this? How can I find a day no one has anything? When our girls were little this was easy, but with age comes commitments. With age comes responsibilities. So I just have to seize the moments when they come, like today.
And I know that when the snow stops, time will begin moving again. When the snow stops schedules will resume. But for now I embrace today’s magic and am thankful for the reminder that unscheduled time is truly magical.
I hope those of you in Denver enjoy this beautiful snowy day and those of you elsewhere have a day where time stands still sometime soon.
Blessings and Love,
This week the chorus of a popular Rolling Stones song has been rolling through my head,
“You can’t always get what you want, you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need….”
You may think it strange to write about Mick Jagger and Angels in the same blog post, but the reference to this well known chorus rings true with Angel signs. I was reminded this week that as much as I tell people to look and listen for Angel signs, I realize I may have neglected to clarify that sometimes the signs we get are not the signs we want. We cannot ask our Angels for signs or answers and then pick and choose which of the answers will work for us. We cannot ask and then decide to only act upon the answers we like and ignore those that we don’t. What then would be the point of asking?
We ask the Angels some tough questions. We ask about big life decisions. Marriage. Divorce. Moving. Job Change. Friends. Children. You name it. When I’m driving at rush hour and I ask my Angels which way to turn and I hear “right” I immediately go right. But when I ask my Angels if I should let something or someone go that I don’t really want to and I hear “yes,” or “let go now,” it’s a lot harder to listen.
As I thought more about this I wondered if this is perhaps why some people are scared to ask their Angels for help or guidance. Perhaps they are scared of the outcome, scared of the answer. But what we need to know is that even if we think the Angel sign or answer is not the right one, it always is even if it’s not the one we wanted.
This week I experienced this first hand. My family and I have been dreaming of building a house in the mountains for a long time. We are very lucky to have some land that we have been holding onto for several years and finally hired an architect to help us design a house. As we have been working on the plans over this past year instead of things moving along we have been met with obstacle after obstacle. Then we got the plans priced. Way over budget. Then we met with the architect again, more obstacles. Then we followed up with the first builder we were interested in, he no longer wanted the job. We called our second choice builder, he was busy until 2019. My husband and I knew something was up.
“Ok,” I asked my Angels, “I get it, lots of obstacles…please give me a sign, what should we do?”
The next morning I got a totally unexpected email from our friend and interior designer (whom I love!) basically firing us. When we first decided to do this house I told my husband “I’ll only do it if Anne can design it!” Then suddenly out of the blue, no more Anne. But still that sign wasn’t clear enough for me so lying in bed that night I asked my Angels,
“So, am I supposed to use a different designer or are we not supposed to build the house? Should we sell our land? What should we do? Please be more clear…”
And as always, they listened. The very next day I came home from a yoga class and received a voicemail from a total stranger. Guess what he said?
“I saw you owned land in the mountains and wondered if you might be interested in selling it by owner, I’m looking to build up there.”
Thank you Angels, BUT not really because we had dreams of building that house. I wanted a sign saying “All good, Move forward! Giddy up!”
So, are we selling the lot? I don’t know yet, but if I am to practice what I preach, it seems like both losing our designer and getting that voicemail within a day of my asking my Angels are pretty clear signs pointing towards no house. And how else can I explain a total stranger calling out of the blue and leaving that voicemail?
I know I am very lucky to have a problem like this, I am just using it as an example to show that we can’t always get the signs we want, but we will get the signs. Maybe my Angels are saving us from a disaster. Maybe this guy is going to make some amazing offer that can help us financially. Maybe there is some other opportunity we are supposed to explore instead of building this house. I don’t know, but I know I got answers and I know I have to listen even though they weren’t the ones I wanted.
What I am trying to emphasize is that no Angel signs are really “bad” signs. Angels are Angelic and amazing and they are only about love. True love. And as true love requires trust and truth, Angels sometimes have to give us what we think is bad news. What I know, however, is that what we might think is bad news will ultimately lead to a better us, a better choice, a better result. We just may not see it at the time.
So while I do wish you the exact Angel answers you want in 2018, please don’t let fear of the “wrong” answers keep you from asking. Ask. Listen. Trust. Have Faith.
Your Angels love you, and if you can’t always get what you want, I do believe you just might find that if you listen to the signs you receive both “good” and “bad,” you’ll get what you need. ALWAYS.
With love and blessings,
Many of you have heard me say it before, “Angels Aren’t Just For Christmas.” Many have you been to an event of mine with the title, “Angels Aren’t Just for Christmas.” Many of you believe “Angels Aren’t Just for Christmas,” just as strongly as I do. But a teacher of mine told me once,
“Kristy you don’t just believe in Angels, you KNOW Angels.”
And she is right. We believe in Santa. We believe in miracles. We believe in the Easter Bunny. We believe, we believe, we believe.
My darling youngest daughter Ashley just this morning told me she is thinking of setting up a video to catch Santa in the act on Christmas Eve. I hope that she does, but this set me to thinking about what my teacher said about believing versus knowing.
People seem to need proof of Santa. Proof of miracles. Proof because they are unsure. They have some doubt. The difference is I don’t need to set up a camera for my Angels. I don’t need proof because I already know. I know everyday because I feel them. I hear them. I see signs from them. All I have to do is ask and I have my proof because when I ask, I get a sign, an answer, a voice in my head ALWAYS.
Santa wants our children to tell him what they want. Angels want us to tell them what we want! All ages, kids to adults. What people ask me all the time is;
“Isn’t it selfish to ask my Angels for help?”
And the answer is absolutely not! Because unlike Santa and the millions of people counting on him, I know that each one of us has our own Guardian Angel assigned just to us, and a bunch of other helper Angels as well. These Angels, YOUR angels, they are only here to help you. They aren’t looking out for all the other gazillion people in the world. That’s God’s job. Think of the Angels as God’s helpers like the elves help Santa and just like you won’t get what you want from Santa if you don’t ask for it, your Angels cannot help you if you do not ask them. They need your permission. Except for rare cases that involve danger and protection, your Angels can’t help you in your daily life without you asking. If you don’t ask they are just sitting there waiting. They want to help you.
Your Angels’ help is twenty-four hours three hundred sixty-five days of the year. Not just at Christmas!!! While many people hate Christmas shopping in stores and have turned to the internet, I love going to the stores. Why? Because there are Angels in almost every store! A couple years ago even Victoria’s Secret had huge Angel wings on their mannequins. Right now Angels are everywhere you look, but in January, they will be gone.
Yes, in December the Angel said to the Shepherds “Do not be afraid…” but the Angels didn’t go away after that. They are in almost every other chapter of the Bible. If you go to Spain you will see Angels painted in hotels. If you go to Italy I would challenge you to find a church without one. But here, here in America, it is hard see representations of Angels except for at Christmas or else in a specialty spiritual store. I have an Angel in almost every room of my house, all year long. You’ll often see me with an Angel necklace or earrings, all year long. But when do I have to buy all of these Angels? Christmas time.
What’s my point? My point is that you have your Angels around you always and I would love for you to to start to know it, rather than believe it. Know the feeling you get when you ask your Angels for help. Notice the signs you see. Notice the song that’s playing on the radio. Notice the quote on the Billboard ahead of you. Notice sentence that trips you up in your book as you are reading. The answers to your questions are given in beautiful ways, you just have to notice. KNOW what you notice. Don’t just believe you got a sign, know you got a sign. Trust yourself.
Sometimes when I am completely tuned in and my pace is slow the answer will be immediate. At these times I feel warmth and see light and hear a clear voice tell me the answer. Sometimes I am crazy busy and not focused and so the answer will come differently, but I always know. The irony I think, it that at this time of year we often are so very busy and hectic and crazy that we talk to our Angels less! We don’t make time to ask them for help because we don’t take time to slow down. Maybe that’s why we see them in all the stores right now, they are saying:
“Slow down. Talk to me. Ask me for help. Listen to me.”
Some ideas to ask your Angels for during this busy holiday season:
-Please help me find that perfect gift for _________ (You’ll be surprised how quickly you do!)
-Please help me find a parking spot! (You will!)
-Please help me slow down and enjoy the season (You might get stuck in traffic! Turn on the Christmas Carols!)
-Please help me with my sadness of missing __________ and help me know they are still with me (You will get a sign from your loved one!)
-Please show me a way to help others this time of year (I asked this last week and got an email the same night to adopt/sponsor a family!)
-Please help me figure out how to afford to get ________ the _________ he/she really wants (You’ll be surprised at how the money shows up!)
-Please help me to not feel so alone this Christmas (Someone will reach out to you!)
There are many many questions to ask, none of them selfish. Your Angels are here for you. JUST ASK. In December and always. And when you get the answer, the sign, the parking spot, just say thank you. They will hear you.
And maybe, when you walk into a store and you see that perfect little Angel statue, necklace, charm or picture that speaks to you, buy it. Buy it for yourself and don’t put it away with your Christmas decorations. Keep it out all year long as a reminder that,
Angels Aren’t Just for Christmas.
My blessings and love to you for a very happy holiday season and a very Merry Christmas. May you feel joy, love, peace and Angels, always.
Murphy always showed up. When I was happy, angry, sad, busy, silly. No matter how I was acting, no matter what kind of day I was having, Murph-dog was right behind me (sometimes so close I tripped over him!) with love to give. We called Murphy our “labradope” instead of labrador because he was, well, a Murphy. You couldn’t find a goofier but more loyal dog who had a heart made of pure, pure love. Murph had a heart I wish many humans had, including myself.
You see, Murphy loved unconditionally. To me that means loving without any conditions.
When someone loves you unconditionally they love all of you. They love all your faults, they love all your quirks, they forgive your mistakes, they love you for you. And they always, always show up.
Murphy’s passing on Thanksgiving as tragic as it was, has been a true reminder to me that what I am most thankful for in my life are for those who always show up.
For Murphy (and us) on Thanksgiving night it was Kevin and Victoria at the kennel, Dr. Miller in the ER and our dear, dear friend Megan who left her own family to go Murph, put us on speaker phone and hold him while he passed away. They showed up.
After Murphy left us it was those who called, those who offered to have their dogs hang out with Dillon, those who came by our house, those who gave cards/gifts and those who text us daily (and continue to do so) to see how we are. They showed up.
All of this love that my family and I are so blessed to have is amazing. I tell our daughters I would rather have just one person in my life who always shows up than a hundred who pretend to or who never do. I know my girls learned through this which of their friends show up. Sadly sometimes the hardest times in our lives make us realize who matters most.
I don’t think I am a perfect daughter, friend, mom or wife, (far from it!) nor do I think I have perfect parents, perfect friends, perfect kids or a perfect marriage, but my true friends, my parents, my kids, my husband, they show up. Always. If I yell and scream and offend and go a little bit cuckoo… they show up. If I celebrate a success, accomplish a goal, am excited about something…they show up. And this is as close to perfection as I can imagine.
Murphy has reminded me of an important life lesson that I often forget: I don’t have time in my crazy, busy, lucky, blessed life for those that don’t show up!
In April I wrote a blog where I included a favorite quote of mine, “There comes a time when you have to stop crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t jump puddles for you.” It is a hard lesson I’ve been trying to learn for a long time and Murphy’s passing is yet another reminder.
I realize everyone has their own lives, everyone gets busy, that people don’t mean to not show up, but the ones who do, the ones who make the time and the ones who care enough to remember to show up, you are who I am most thankful for. You are the ones I want to focus on from this day forward. You are the ones that matter. Everyone else that I worry about pleasing or those people whom I often feel hurt by I need to let go of. I only need to focus on those that truly love me, those that show up. I know this. I do. I am just sorry it took Murphy going to God to remind me.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you amazing people in my life who love me unconditionally and who show up. I hope you know I will show up for you too.
And of course an extra big thank you to Murphy for showing up for me (and our family!) every single day since the first day we met and for reminding me in your passing who really matters in my life. I miss you buddy.
When I arrived at DIA last week for a wonderful fall escape with our girls the East Parking Economy Lot sign flashed “FULL.” A voice I know well told me to go in anyway. So I did and I said, “Angels please give us a parking spot.”
“But it says it’s full mommy,” I was told.
“Don’t worry girls, the Angels will show us a spot.”
And sure enough, as soon as I turned into the lot a car pulls out of a spot one space away from the terminal walkway. Not only did they give us a parking spot, but a prime one.
Thank you Angels.
In addition I asked for a safe and easy travel day and:
-I debated checking our third bag due to a layover in Atlanta and decided not to spend the money and that I would just bring it with me. But at our gate Delta airlines was checking bags for free. I handed them my bag and didn’t have to pull it behind me in Atlanta or pay $25.00.
-Our flight was on time. We had seats together. The plane had TVs in every seat with free movies. Each of our girls watched one. On the flight they also had gluten free pretzels (I can’t have gluten) and they were delicious.
-Our second flight was scheduled to be on time and we had a very tight connection. But, at the very big and very busy Atlanta airport our first flight landed in the same terminal just a very short walk from our second flight. No more tight connection.
-We landed ten minutes early in Florida. When we got to baggage claim all of our bags came out right away. At the rental car office the lady told us to choose any car we wanted and we walked out and picked out a brand new 2018 Chevy Equinox. And we arrived safely to our final destination. Safe, easy travel day.
Thank you Angels.
When I was seeing private clients many of them asked me “Aren’t I selfish if I ask the Angels for help with these little things?” And the answer is absolutely not. If you asked the Angels to help you do something malicious or wrong, yes that is selfish, (and they wouldn’t help you with that anyway!) but it is absolutely not selfish to ask for help for yourself, to ask for parking spaces or for anything else that is not hurting anyone else. Your Angels work for you. Think of them as eager employees who only want to make you happy. ASK, ASK, ASK.
I could write a million words about how many times the Angels have helped me with everyday requests. And a million more about how they have helped me with more serious things. And then also a few words where I asked and didn’t get the exact help I wanted which happens too.
My daughters have asked me about this. For example they may ask why their Angels don’t get them the A on a test they asked for, or give them a snow day from school they begged for, or why the boy that they like doesn’t like them back. I tell them that although we can always ask, sometimes there are reasons the Angels cannot fulfill our requests. Maybe you have to learn to study a little harder in the subject you are not getting an A in, maybe the snow day can’t happen because someone else in the school district really needs to be at school that day, maybe the boy they like isn’t the right boy for them, or it’s not the right time. (I first saw my husband across the room at a party but it was almost a full year before we actually met in person).
People also often ask me why their Angels can’t help with an illness of their own or of a loved one. Or why the Angels cannot prevent natural disasters or tragedies. And the answer is the same, some things we just don’t know. There are reasons beyond our depth of knowledge. You might have to go through an illness to change your life’s path. My brain aneurysm (see my bio on this website) absolutely changed my lease on life, and my family’s too. Do you think we asked God back then “Why me?” OF COURSE! But would I take that piece of my life away, NEVER! We just don’t always know why the Angels (Or God) can’t answer every prayer, but I promise you that if they can, they will. And if they don’t answer, there’s a reason why, they know more than we do!
The other day I asked my Angels to help me get through a hard run as I was feeling lousy. The next song that came on my Pandora was my very favorite song that hadn’t played in forever. And I got through the run.
Thank you Angels.
This time of year as we approach the busy holiday season it is especially important that I remember to ask my Angels for help because if I do, there’s a prime parking spot for me at the mall. There’s the perfect gift for someone around the corner and it’s on sale. There’s the perfect opportunity to reach out to an old friend or a family member I want to re-connect with. And the list goes on and on. Ask and I shall receive.
What do you receive when you ask your Angels for help?
PS: If you do “ask” and end up having an Angel story you would like to share, please email it to me at Kristy@kristysands.com as I would love to post your stories on my website.
When I pull into my Angel parking spot I see the highway, but behind the highway are brilliant yellow leaves and snow capped mountains absolutely gorgeous in their October glory.
So often behind the ugly the Angels show me the beauty. Beauty that is there every day if only I take time to see it. They remind me, “Slow down. See. Appreciate.”
I see wrinkles around the eyes and mouth and see a life filled with laughter. I see calloused fingers showing hard work. I see stretch marks showing the gift of motherhood. I see scars as proof of survival.
I see paying a bill as being blessed enough to have the money to pay it. I see my sick child at home as my being lucky enough to be able to stay home and take care of her. I see my 92-year old grandfather passing away while holding the hands of family as a life well lived and filled with love. I see a house that is a complete mess as a home full of activity.
I see that even at the very heart of the horrid; (the earthquakes, the hurricanes, the shootings) even then, even through my tears I see heros and survivors and oh so much love for others!
I tell my daughters that most things in life are good, some days we just have to look a little bit harder. Some days we just have to create our own sunshine. Some days we may have to squint to see it, but somewhere the good is there.
A favorite teacher of my elementary school daughter had a quote on her wall last year that said “Your day will go the way the corners of your mouth turn.”
I love that quote and also feel that my day will go the way I train my eyes to see. (Even if I have to put on my cheaters).
Do I look at the highway? Or do I look at the mountains the highway leads to? The answer is obvious. Thank you Angels for helping me to see more clearly today, please help me continue to do so.
What did you see today?
Back when I was growing up, Uber meant cool. Now it means a ride anywhere you want to go, anytime you want it. It means having someone there to take you to a place, from a place, back and forth to multiple places with little to no advance notice. Someone driving you no matter the weather, no matter the day, no matter what.
The Uber driver description above is not so different from what I am. Uber Mom. Do I wish Uber Mom meant cool mom? Of course, but no, it means I am willing and able to drive my kids wherever they need to be whenever they need to be there. And when I physically just can’t do it, I call on my Uber Mom friends in my Uber mom carpool groups because I can count on them just like they can count on me.
For curiosity’s sake, do you know the average annual salary of an Uber Driver. Care to take a guess? I know Uber drivers hours fluctuate versus part-time and full-time drivers, so I googled the average salary range of an average Uber Driver. What do you think?
The average salary range of a median Uber driver in 2017…. (drumroll please), between $40,000 and $90,000.
And for comparison’s sake, the average salary for a full-time personal chauffeur? $38,551.
So, let’s just say a driving professional can make about $40,000 a year and above. Add that to the average/median annual salary of other jobs we moms are performing every single day of the year:
Event Planner: $46,840
Personal Assistant: $33,000
Activity Director: $33,600
Beginning singer/performer: $39,899
And, drumroll again…. Total Combined Salary: $679,867
“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for workers in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2016 was $849 per week or $44,148 per year for a 40-hour work week.”
So, this means us, we Moms, if paid would be making $635,719 more a year than the average person in our country. And the average person is only working 40 hours a week. You are working 168 hours a week (24/7) as a mom is always on duty. So I guess really if we counted all our hours our “salary” would increase tenfold! Twenty fold! Our “salary” would EASILY exceed a million dollars a year if everything we did was truly accounted for. And this is without vacation days, any insurance or any bonuses for a job well done!
My point of all these numbers? To remind us to value ourselves. Value the fourteen jobs we do in just one day. Value the hundreds of things we do every day, millions of things we do every year. Value ourselves because we truly cannot put an accurate salary number on motherhood, just your Uberness alone would count for over forty grand, and that’s on the very low end! If we added together just the hours we drive our kids per year I bet we’d be way above the hours of the average uber driver and personal chauffeur combined!
So when you find yourself wondering what you are doing with your degree/degrees, when you ask yourself what you are doing with your brain, when you ask if there is something more for you out there-PLEASE STOP. Stop and remind yourself that you are doing over fourteen jobs at once (and probably even more than that as I’m sure each of you could add something to my list above!) and stop and remind yourself how very, very, very blessed you are to be doing these jobs for little people whom you love with all your heart and soul.
The bottom line,
YOU ARE AMAZING. EVERYTHING YOU DO MATTERS! YOU ARE JUGGLING TEN MILLION THINGS SOMETIMES WITHOUT ANY GRATITUDE OR RECOGNITION!
Well, we recognize you. All us other moms out there, we do. No matter what stage of motherhood we are in, we each know how much we all do and we also know that not one of us would trade it for anything in the entire world!
We cook, we clean, we drive, we nurse, we read to our kids, we help with homework, we plan and juggle a gazillion activities. We cheer at every game, meet, concert, recital, event. We braid hair, we clean up throw up, we do laundry, we deal with fecal matter, we hold children through their tears, we comfort them in their fears and we love them absolutely unconditionally. We wipe up blood. Spend hours at doctors, dentists and sadly sometimes hospitals. We plan birthday parties, holidays, create the perfect gift, cook the perfect meal, bring magic to the household. We break up fights, we keep secrets, we teach trust. We teach prayer and faith and goodness. We bring love. We build confidence, character, charisma.
In addition we know when to let go. Know when to sit on our hands and make our child do something on their own. We know when to push. We know when to punish. We know that sometimes we have no idea what to do. We know sometimes we break down. Sometimes we yell. We know sometimes we can’t do anything but walk away and then cry in our pillow because it is just so hard sometimes to be a mom and do the right thing. We know sometimes all we want to do is give in because it’s easier, but we know we can’t. We sometimes just want to spoil our kids rotten but are so glad we don’t when we watch the tantrums of the children whose parents do.
We have no manual or guidelines. No single reference book to tell us what to do in all the situations where we need help and just have to trust ourselves and our gut. We have no bosses, no experts to turn to. None of us have ever done this before (in this lifetime) and we can only do the best we can.
I believe we have the absolute hardest and absolute most wonderful job in the world. We are the most selfless people there are. We give almost all of ourselves to others for at least eighteen years (each child!) and even after that we truly never let go.
We are the believers in dreams, the growers of hearts and souls, the creators of little men and women who will grow up to do great things because we are here for them every day and because we love them. And no, absolutely we cannot put a salary on motherhood because the rewards of smiles and hugs and crayon drawings could never compete with any bonus no matter how high. And the joy that comes with being a mom and watching our children learn and grow and love and succeed could never even compete with a $679,000 salary NOT EVEN CLOSE. And we could not write an accurate, detailed job description for a mom because everyday is different. Every child is different.
But despite not having a job description or a salary, I want us all to always remember how much we are worth. Always remember how much we matter. Because we do. Every single day. What job could be better than growing and guiding human beings that we love more than anything we can imagine? What could possibly be more important? NOTHING. Nothing in the world. Not fame, not fortune, not the highest salary or title on the top of Forbes List. I feel the absolute richest people in the world are those that are lucky enough to be moms.
Moms are Uber. And by that I mean really, really, really cool-when we are driving and all hours in between.
Keep up the incredible work!
With much love,
Prayers from all across the world are going out to Las Vegas this week, and if you are like me you are probably also saying prayers of thanks for all those in your life and that they are here and alive. It is tragedies like Las Vegas that remind me that we are not invincible, that things can change any day, that I need to treasure what I have when I have it. That life is measured in moments and it is the moments that truly matter.
So I send love to Las Vegas this week and I sent love to Mexico City and Barbados and Puerto Rico last month. It has been a crazy time in this world with a lot of loss and a lot of heartbreaking stories. I have shed many tears over the recent news stories and I have hugged my kids a little bit more tightly each night.
But then right after these tears do I change? Do I act any differently? NO. I go back to my everyday hustle. I go back to rushing, to worrying, to stressing out about the nine sports games on this week’s schedule plus practices plus wondering when I’m going to feed my family dinner plus how I’m possibly going to get everyone where they need to be?!
And I realize how wrong this is. I can’t just shed tears and send prayers and not take action in my life. I need to learn from these tragedies and make a change.
Instead of stressing about this week, instead I should say: “Awesome, I get to watch my kids play nine times this week! And, Thank God for Chick-Fil A! And, Bless you amazing friends with whom I carpool!” Because guess what, I love watching my kids games and they will survive with some fried food and my multi-sports carpool teams ROCK and I have amazing friends to lean on and IT ALL WILL BE JUST FINE. We are alive, we are healthy, we have sports to play and places to play them and french fries to munch on. All is well.
And just this morning I got into a fight with my daughter and I have had a pit in my stomach all day. And I can’t help but thinking of those in Vegas or Mexico who have lost a daughter. Or a daughter who has lost a mother. Why did I have to pick on her first thing in the morning? Why didn’t I just skip it and instead hug her and say “I’m so glad I have a daughter who forgets to empty her lunch box every single day because that’s who she is?” I am lucky to have that daughter. She is lucky to have lunch every day. Worth a fight at 7 a.m. that her lunchbox is stinky and unpacked? Of course not.
So, I ask myself how to I get out of my human self and truly embrace the reality of how extremely and completely blessed I am every single day? Every single moment? How do I ignore the minutia and savor the moments?
My main dream in my life was to have a wonderful husband and have wonderful children. And my dream came true! I am living my dream! I am here now with Craig and my three girls, four people I love more than life itself, yet even in the midst of tragedy in the world, even in the midst of my pure blessed life, I am worrying about my week. I am fighting with my daughter. My daughters are fighting with each other. WHY CAN’T I STOP IT?
I try, God knows I try. I pray for help. I go a few days as an Angelic mom. Then out of nowhere something triggers crazy mom. My personal theme song is “Angel Eyes” by Love and Theft. The chorus is: “There’s a little bit of devil in her angel eyes, she’s a little bit of heaven with a wild side…”
And there is such truth to these words because I am a good person. I love my family and my friends fiercely and deeply but sometimes the Devil side comes out. I just want it to come out less and less and less and am hoping to figure out how to make that happen. But I know I am only human and can only do the best I can.
My goal for this week, however, is to take a breath and think of Vegas and all those affected. It could have happened in Denver. It could’ve happened anywhere.
And perhaps the only bit of peace, the tiny bit of solace that comes from terrible tragedies like Las Vegas is that maybe they make people like me try a little harder to do my part to spread love. Try a little harder to make the most of every single day and every single moment. I saw a pillow in a boutique yesterday that I should have bought, it had two arrows on it and it said “Don’t look back you’re not going that way.” It is so true.
My parents live in Florida most of the year and when we see an Egret on the beach my dad always sings to us; “Egrets, I have a few, too few to mention…” taken from the Frank Sinatra song “Regrets I Have A Few” It makes me smile every time he sings this, but more importantly it is a reminder that a life with few regrets is a life well lived.
For me a life with no regrets is that those I love know I love them and that I try to do my best to show them this each day. Every day. I am sad that it takes a tragedy to remind me of this, but thankful that I am reminded.
My love to all those in Las Vegas and their friends and families. My love and thanks also to all the wonderful people in my life. I hope you know how much I love you even on days I may not show it.
I have not written in awhile and hope you all had an amazing summer. I had a beautiful summer of quiet. Time in nature, time with my family, time for slowing down. But now that the school year is in full swing and my daughters are at three different schools, the noise has started up again and I am realizing just how important quiet is to me.
I have always needed quiet in my life. As a child I treasured time in my room alone for a little bit after school. In high school I used to like to escape for a run outside. Even in college my roommates made fun of me because I needed earplugs to study or to sleep. And now as a mom and wife I need this quiet more than ever as it seems like my life is getting louder every year.
But it takes effort to find quiet. And today, when I finally did, when my candles were lit, my phone was put away, my deep breaths were taken… a lawn crew began to work at my neighbor’s house! After my initial irritation I smiled and told my Angels “I got it!” It was clear to me immediately that the noise of the lawnmowers was their strong reminder message for me that quiet is not guaranteed in this noisy world no matter what we do. A reminder that I have to learn to tune out the lawnmowers, the dogs barking, the kids activities, the husband snoring. I have to learn to tune out the sounds around me sometimes as silence is not guaranteed. I rarely even get quiet in the shower anymore because someone interrupts.
Would I change my noisy, happy world? NO! (Well, except for being interrupted in the shower!) But I have realized how it is so very important for me now more than ever to find my quiet. So important to find the silence that helps me tune back into my true self and listen to my true soul desires. Quiet that helps me remember that this is my life too and it’s not just about taking care of everybody else.
Last week I celebrated my birthday alone in this quiet. I left Denver and went up to the mountains where I have a favorite spot by the river where this quiet is uninterrupted. It was just me and the sound of the river and the birds nearby. I spent the day in absolute peace and was able to communicate with my soul and listen to myself and my needs. And of all my needs what was my soul calling for the most loudly for the school year ahead? QUIET.
In an ideal world, I could go to this spot every day and find my quiet, but as that is not reality I need to find quiet within my everyday life. Since my birthday I have been trying to seek out little moments of quiet. A minute to take a deep breath in the car before getting out. Stretching by my favorite tree in my yard after a run before going back inside. Staying in bed just a minute longer to take a deep breath and thank God for the day ahead of me. And in doing this, in finding moments of quiet I have found that in the days I remember to take just a minute or two of quiet I am a nicer person to myself and to others. And on the days I do not take a minute, on the days I am racing around in the noise of life I sometimes am not so nice. Not so nice at all. Because the noise and the stress and the running around stir up something inside of me that builds and builds and builds. I feel almost like a balloon that can only take so much and then pops because of all the pressure. And like that same balloon, once I pop I wither up into a wrinkly pile of grief and guilt because I HATE when I pop. Who doesn’t?
So how do I find this quiet on those busy days? How do I keep from popping? What do I do when I take some time for quiet and the lawnmowers start roaring next door? When my kids whine? When the lady in front of me in line at Starbucks is complaining? When the person driving behind me is honking?
I am learning to take a few deep breaths, I am learning to try to tune everything and everyone out and tell myself that quiet is close. That quiet can be found. And I also realize that I am important enough that when I do need extended quiet I can cancel plans that I have made. I can excuse myself from my family. I can go find a place to be by myself. I can schedule days for myself on my calendar and not make any plans. Because I know that if I do all these things, if I make time for this quiet that I will be stronger, happier, better to be around and less likely to POP!
I am not perfect and as my poor, precious daughters can tell you I definitely do POP, but I am hoping that moving forward I can prevent the popping (or at least improve on it!) by finding quality quiet. And hopefully both myself and my household will be happier because of it.
They say silence is golden and I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I might just have to go out and buy myself a new pack of earplugs.
I hope you all are off to a very happy school year with more quiet and less pops.
Blessings and love,
I don’t know if your family is as crazy as ours is during spring sports season, but I was thankful for the snow this past weekend to slow things down and get some time together. Last night my family not only had dinner together but also watched two episodes of Glee in a row (our current family favorite) while snuggled up together on the basement couch. It was a night similar to what I imagine families used to enjoy every Sunday when Sunday used to be a day of rest. I think it still should be…..
But even if we can’t always get a day of rest, last night reminded me of an excerpt my minister shared in his sermon a few years ago at church. I wanted to share it again here as a reminder of how truly important family dinners and family time are. Even if we can’t get in a full day of rest each week…maybe we can at least make sure to get in at least one family dinner?
“Families who eat supper together discourage smoking, drug use and teen pregnancy. Families who eat supper together position their kids to do better in school. Families who eat supper together pass on their ethnic, familial and religious heritage. Families who eat supper together help prevent eating disorders and obesity. Families who eat supper together teach their kids manners. Families who eat supper together promote a sense of resilience that will last a lifetime. Families who eat supper together enjoy each other more as a family.”
-From The Surprising Power of Family Meals by Miriam Weinstein.
And may I suggest Angel Food Cake for dessert. 👼
Cheers to you and your family.
I hope that this past Easter weekend was a wonderful weekend for you. Here in Denver we had beautiful weather, flowers blooming, and Angels.
This year I bought the egg coloring kit where you add oil and the dyes create a marbling effect on the eggs. My family and I were together in our kitchen dyeing our eggs when I noticed a swirl forming on mine when I put it in the green dye. I pulled the egg out to look at it, held it up and my husband turned to me and said “It’s an Angel,” (I love that he noticed!) and sure enough, right on my egg was a clear Angel image for all of us to see.
“Guess she’ll put that on her blog,” my oldest daughter said, and although we laughed, of course she was right. Why? Why am I putting this on my blog? Because that Angel image on my egg was a clear reminder to me that our Angels are with us all the time, showing up when we aren’t looking, showing up just to let us know, “Hi, we are here.”
For me, that egg was a reminder to give thanks for an Angelic time, a time when my family was all together, unhurried, just enjoying each other. And times like that, unhurried times with the four people I love most in the world are my very happiest times and what are most important to me. My Angels know this and the egg reminded us that they were there with us too. That they were there acknowledging that we slowed down, acknowledging that we took time out to be together. They made us look at that, note that, remember that. And I thank them for this very much.
“If you ask you shall receive,” that is the way of the Angels. Ask for yours and they will be there too, appearing in many “Eggs-traodinary“ ways.
Blessings and love,
If you have an Angel story or Angel image that you would like to share please email it to me at email@example.com and it may appear in a future “Angel Share” section of this website that I am working on creating. All Angel Shares will be posted anonymously unless requested otherwise.
I have felt so tired lately. Drained and overworked and just wanting to crawl into bed. At first I thought maybe this is because I am a mom and I am busy, but being a mom actually gives me energy. I love being a mom. I love what I do for my kids and I love being with my kids. As busy as being a mom keeps me, it is not what is draining me. It feeds me. It gives me energy because it is what I love. Being a mom is not what is making me tired. What is making me tired are the other relationships that I feel I give so much to that never give anything back.
Do you have people in your life that you feel you always give to and never receive anything in return? People you always initiate with but you never hear from otherwise? Do you have friends or family members that no matter how positive you are it seems they are always negative? Do you have people in your life that only seem to show up when you are sad or have bad news but disappear when you are celebrating great news? Do you have those in your life that when you are sad or hurting somehow their sad or hurt suddenly becomes the subject of the conversation you started? Or people who are extremely gifted at talking about themselves but never ask how you are?
I have a quote on the board in my kitchen that says;
“There comes a time when you have to stop crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t jump puddles for you.”
I don’t know who wrote these words, but I have had them posted on my board for over a year, and yet it has taken me that full year to decide to finally take action. Why? Because I have a lot of people I love in my life and even though it is sometimes hard for me to be around them, even though they hurt me, even though I feel they don’t reciprocate in our relationship, it is still hard to let go. Or because the good, forgiving heart inside me thinks they will change. Thinks it will get better. Thinks they will love me back. But in the year since I’ve had that quote on the board these people have not changed and our relationships have not gotten better. And they won’t. I cannot change people nor should I. They are living their lives the way they want to and so I decided I get to live my life the way I want to too. And I want to live my life without letting negative people affect it!
I had a wonderful conversation this morning with a great spiritual mentor of mine and we spoke about this. She reminded me that the more I focus my energy on these people that I am getting nothing back from the more drained I become. And the more drained I become the less energy I have for myself and for the people in my life who do give back. She said:
“Kristy, you have the right to let go of people who don’t lift you up.”
We all have this right. It is not our responsibility to take care of the Debbie Downers of the world. Emptying ourselves to fill up others is not a healthy way to live and if we are empty it is hard to be happy.
Letting go of anything in life isn’t easy, but letting go of people is the hardest for me. I have to remind myself that just because I am letting go of people doesn’t mean I don’t love them. It doesn’t mean I think they are bad people. It just means I am releasing relationships that no longer serve me. Relationships that no longer support my current life. This doesn’t mean I am not thankful for what these relationships gave to me in the past, I just do not have the need for them now. My energy now is needed to be a mom and to be the best mom I can be.
So I ask myself how do I begin? Do I make a list of those who give me energy and those who don’t? No. Do I plan my entire next month out of who I am going to see and not see? No. I am not going to plan anything. I simply am just going to take it day by day, event by event, decision by decision. If someone asks me to do something with them, I will ask myself, “Would being with this person make me feel happy?” If the answer is yes, I’ll say yes. If the answer is no, I will say no. If someone wants to talk on the phone I will ask myself, “Will a conversation with this person make me feel happy?” If so, I’ll chat away. If not, I’ll tell them I am unavailable. If I feel my head voice come in and tell me I “should” reach out to someone I haven’t seen or talked to in awhile, I’ll take a deep breath and ask myself, “Do I really want to reach out to this person?” And only reach out if the answer in my heart is truly, really, honestly, yes.
I have the right to say no to people who do not make me feel happy. I have the right to surround myself with those who do.
I’m sure this sounds easier to accomplish than it will be. I’m sure I might sometimes go into my human head and hope I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Worry if I made the right choice. But at the end of the day, when I go into my heart and my spiritual self, I know it is not selfish to take care of me. I know it is not selfish to want to fill my life with positive energy and positive, loving people.
Do you notice those people who walk around acting negative all the time? And in turn do you notice those who always seem to have a smile on their face? Which ones do you want to be around? Just like those people have a choice to act the way they are acting, we have a choice of who we want to surround ourselves with.
My mentor also told me today,
“The mother in today’s world is a mother who has a right to say no without guilt.”
She is absolutely right. In this day and age so much is asked of us as moms and I feel if we say yes to every single thing that is requested by schools and sports, friends and family, agendas and activities…… we will be an absolute mess. And on top of that, if the people we spend our time on/with are draining us too, we will drown in that ocean we have been crossing for them.
I should not feel guilty saying no to unhealthy relationships. I should not feel guilty saying no to things I do not want to do. In fact, I should feel proud of being able to say no because in saying no I will become a happier, less tired, more giving mother. And this means I will be better at the thing that is the very most important thing to me in the world.
So I have decided that from now on, for me, starting today;
Oceans are for swimming in, scuba diving in and enjoying. Not for crossing for others.
To thine own self be true.
Prayers across the world are being sent to Colombia today, including mine. And as so often happens in tragedies such as this one come the questions; “Where was God? Where were the Angels?” In my career as an Angel Therapist© these are probably the most asked questions of me when the horrific happens. How can such a loving God and our Guardian Angels let such pain, loss and suffering happen?
I do not know the correct answer, nor do I know anyone who does. But I find some comfort in a pattern I see in all human suffering, losses and tragedies. A pattern that perhaps is a part of God’s plan. I find that whenever a tragedy occurs; Colombia, Nine-Eleven, Columbine, Haiti, (to name just a few) that the world always steps up with love and assistance. I find that we see miraculous survivor stories. I find that we see the works of everyday heroes. And I find that we see Angels on Earth who save lives, give of themselves and ask for nothing in return. I also find this pattern in personal suffering. When a life is lost, a family member is ill, a child disappears; people step up. People come together to help without being asked, without being told, without any need for recognition. People step up and become every day Angels who drive a patient with cancer to chemo, who work tirelessly to help in any way they can, who have open arms to hold someone absolutely as long as necessary.
I tell my daughters that most people are good, but I feel that sometimes the world forgets this with all the murders in the media, the criminals, the hate, the wars. I used to be a television reporter myself and had to get out of the business when in the same month; 1. My news director became angry at me for not doing a longer interview with someone who had just lost her home in a fire and 2. When a teenager I had recently done a story on died in a car accident and my news department was more excited that we had recent video footage of him alive than they were sad that he had died. Not all those in the media are like this of course, but I do feel there is more bad news reported than good and I wonder why we can’t show more of all the good out there that is just waiting to be recognized? Ironically, sometimes it is the tragedies that show this good. The tragedies that uncover the heroes and the efforts of love and the tragedies that cause people to unite.
No loss is pain free, no tragedy not tragic, but maybe, just maybe God gives us tragedies and losses sometimes to remind us that human goodness is always there. I cannot think of one tragedy where something good, no matter how small (one survivor, one hero, one saved animal) did not come out of it to warm people’s hearts amidst all the sadness.
I know personally when my husband’s dear friend Jason died this past August (blog can be found at kristysands.com/angelic-proof/) we also asked ourselves how God could let this happen. How he could take Jason and five other parents from this world and leave twelve kids behind? How could this happen? But as time went on I began to see Jason and his friends as heroes due to the impact their death had on all the people of the Oxford, Mississippi community as well as on many other Americans. People pulled together. Parents hugged their children tighter and so much love was shown. The loss of six precious lives brought hundreds of other lives together. Since Jason’s death my husband has been home more often, held us all closer and has been an even more amazing dad to our daughters than ever. He has cried, as have I. We have revised our wills. We miss Jason and always will. But I thank him. I look up often towards heaven and I thank him for his sacrifice to make so many other families closer. For making my family closer. For making so many others realize just how precious and fragile life is.
So perhaps just as I thank Jason, I should also thank those who passed in nine-eleven for making our country pull together. Thank those who passed in Columbine for making us realize that teenagers need more love and attention. Thank those who passed in tragedies like Colombia, Haiti and New Orleans for showing us how many heroes there are out there and how much love and goodness there is in our world.
At the end of the day, every tragedy, every loss, every bit of human suffering is painful. Sometimes so painful we think we cannot survive it. But for me, as hard as life can sometimes be, I find comfort in believing that in these times God and the Angels are also showing us human goodness and reminding us that it is there, always, even in the very worst of times. This for me is the way I make sense of it. Love wins. People are good. Life is precious.
Prayers and love to all those in Colombia and great thanks to all those unrecognized heroes out there helping and loving every single day.
I was driving to a mammogram appointment the other day when in the process of making a left turn the man behind me blared his horn at me. This was no friendly little toot, it was a long drawn out angry BEEEEEEP!#!#! causing me to jump. I admit I am not the best driver, but in this case I truly didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. Apparently, however, the man behind me thought I was turning too slowly because he blew by me as soon as the turn was complete. After uttering a couple bad words and raising a certain finger, I took a deep breath and thought about this angry man behind me. What if he knew that I was on my way to a mammogram? What if he knew that I had had a very scary breast surgery a year and a half before and I was feeling pretty nervous about what my mammogram might show? What if he knew that I had a friend who had just beat breast cancer and that I was thinking about her?
If this angry man in such a hurry had known all these things would he still have honked at me so loudly and obnoxiously? Would he still have sped by me in a rage? Maybe, but it sure made me think. I have honked at people too. What if the people I have honked at in my human hurry have had horrible things going on in their day and I added to them with my impatient honking? What if the people I’ve honked at when I’ve been in a hurry have just received some awful news? What if they were just driving the very best they could drive that day because they were in some kind of physical pain? Do the two seconds I have to wait for someone in front of me to go or turn really, truly affect the time in which I arrive somewhere? Probably not. Did that man behind me get to his destination more quickly because he blared his horn at me or did he just cause me undue stress?
And it’s not just honking that I’ve done without thinking. The other day I said something really rude. While my daughters and I were in the car leaving school pick up my oldest daughter pointed out someone’s mom she knew. I looked where she was pointing and meaning nothing by it blurted out: “The big one?” How horrible! I couldn’t believe I said it and all three of my daughters (bless their sweet souls!) immediately yelled “MOM! That is so mean!” and I quickly apologized. I meant only to be descriptive but it came out pretty darn rude whereas I could’ve said instead, “The lady in blue?” But instead I used the word big, and I might’ve even said fat! (I think I did say fat actually….). Either way, I had absolutely nothing against this lady, but what a horrible thing to say. And do I know why this woman was overweight? Maybe she’s sad or stressed or filling up something empty inside her with food. Maybe she has an illness or is on a medication that makes her gain weight. I just don’t know and it is not my place to comment on it, especially in front of my daughters! Shame on me! One of my very dearest friends became extremely overweight when her father died because she filled the void with food. I’m sure people said things about her behind her back or even made an unintentionally negative comment like I did, but how would they feel if they knew her father had just died and that she used to be thin before he passed? I do not know why people are how they are and I have no right to say anything negative about anyone. Especially about their looks! I still feel awful about describing that mom in that way and I am sorry for it.
Being a parent often presents difficulties in holding in anger or judgement as well. How many times in the heat of a moment have I unintentionally criticized a child or a teacher or another parent right in front of my children? Right now there are some girls my oldest daughters age doing things I am shocked are being done in middle school. I have to be a social media spy on my daughter’s accounts (as we are advise to do) and I see these things posted with my own eyes. Just yesterday in shock I brought something I saw up to my daughter and said “I can’t believe their parents let them do that!” of course, judging the parents. But, again, I don’t know the story. Do their parents know they are doing these things? Are their parents going through something in their own lives that makes them oblivious to what is happening with their kids? Did the parents have an upbringing that makes them think these things are ok? Are the kids so lonely, so insecure, so neglected that they are looking for ways to make themselves feel better about themselves? Looking for other people to love them? I cannot judge, I am not their parents. I know now, however, that I need to try to find ways to talk to my daughters about what I feel is right vs. wrong without making a rash statement that judges others. And how can I do that if I myself am judging?
I feel overall I am a good, loving person, but I am sure there are many other examples of my reacting in haste and unkindness. The man who honked at me so rudely is not alone. The more I think about some mistakes I have made the more I am now determined to try not to honk, try not to comment, try not to state negative opinions out loud, and try not to judge. I know it is hard and I am human and I am not perfect, but I want to try harder.
If someone is moving slowly in traffic and I am in a hurry, I will try to take a deep breath. Remember how I felt on the way to my mammogram when I was honked at. If I am about to say something negative about someone I will try to take a deep breath and change my words. If I hear something about other kids who are doing things I do not agree with I need to remember they are not my kids and that I don’t know what’s going on in their household.
Why do I want to make these efforts? I want to make them because what example do I as an adult set for my daughters if I honk at others, if I name call, if I judge? And truth be known we teach our children a heck of a lot by our actions, words and judgements. Probably a lot more than we know.
My dear friend’s toddler daughter dropped the lovely F-bomb in a conversation about her brothers getting smoothies when she didn’t. It’s a funny story to tell because it is pretty darn cute at her age, but she probably heard the F-bomb from me (truth be told because I spend a lot of time with her and say that word sometimes when my kids aren’t around!) and she imitated it. My point in sharing this here is that even from the very youngest of ages kids imitate the adults they are around whether they realize it or not. And as they get older even if it may not be as obvious, they continue to imitate us. I even still use the same laundry detergent my mom used when I was growing up! We as mom’s impact our children’s lives in even the very, very smallest of ways. Everything we do makes a difference! (No pressure right!?!)
So for me, it all circles back to me to slowing down. Breathing. Thinking about what I am doing or saying before I do or say it. For me it goes back to that old lesson we all have memorized: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it.” Easier to say than to do for sure.
I am not perfect and I will make mistakes, but I’m going to try. Maybe that man who honked at me was sent to me as a little reminder from my Angels to remember to be the way I want my daughters to be. Treat people the way I want my daughters to treat people. Act the way I want my daughters to act.
And if that man out there who honked at me before my mammogram is reading this, I just want him to know that my test results were perfect and he didn’t affect my day one bit. In fact, he gave me quite a lot to think about. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!
I have begun to look forward to Mondays. Truly. It took me two months to get into 2017, but finally, this month I have set aside Mondays for me, ME and only me for the hours that my lovely daughters are in school.
My passion other than my family is writing, but since the start of 2017, I have not sat down to write, to really write, until now. I can tell you ten million things that came up in January and February and state a million excuses as to why I didn’t write, but the truth is simple. I did not make the time. Now I am making Mondays my writing days, my ME days. I am actually marking them in my calendar and making them happen.
Could I write more than one day? Maybe, but I want to have a realistic goal. Sometimes life happens, kids get sick, duties call, so I am starting with one day. One day out of seven for me. And it’s really not even a day, it’s just six hours, six hours out of one hundred and sixty-eight hours in a week. And HAH! Even only a week into my plan I found out that even that one day/six hours sometimes will get interrupted! Last Monday I got the opportunity to go on a school field trip with one of my daughters which rarely happens, so I moved my writing day to Tuesday. I think the universe was testing my commitment to myself, but I passed the test! I spent a great day with my daughter on Monday and wrote on Tuesday.
Some may say why not just skip the field trip? But times like those with my daughters are what I cherish the very most. Times like those are few and far between so if something comes up with my children, I will embrace it every time and not cancel my writing day but I will make sure to replace that day with another day IN THE SAME WEEK!
And as I have been working on this goal for myself just in this short time, I have realized something funny. I have realized that what I have always done for my children, I am now also doing for myself! I have always made time for any and all things important to my children, but I have not always done that for me. That’s changing this month. I will now find the time, save it, devote myself to it. Devote myself to ME. One day (6 hours) a week.
And in just these past couple weeks of saving a day for me I have also realized that when I make this time for myself I accomplish more. I slow down. I enjoy each day and I actually get more done! I wrote earlier this year about not being so hard on myself to get the to do list done daily and what I have now learned is that when I have the ME day, the to-do list actually gets easier, is more enjoyable and gets done faster!
I think whether we are working moms, moms taking time off, moms-to-be or whatever our situation is, it is up to us to make the time for us. Weekday, weeknight, weekend, it doesn’t matter, as long as we have ME time to do something we love to do because the rest of the time we are usually taking care of someone else, doing something for someone else or running an errand for someone else.
So I now have Me Mondays and am loving them. When’s your ME time? I’d love to hear about it. Please feel free to share it here….
Yesterday my precious daughter Katy turned twelve and before she left for school I asked her to please write down what I could bring to school for her birthday lunch. I handed her a sticky note and a pen and told her to put it on the counter when she was done. I didn’t think anything about it until a few hours later when I grabbed the note, drove to Noodles and parked in the parking lot. I picked up the note and before I got out of the car I saw them…two words. Two words that changed my whole day. Two unexpected words at noon on a Wednesday written by a twelve year old with no idea how they would affect her mom. But they did.
Sitting there clear as can be on Katy’s lunch list under the mac and cheese and the sprite and the rice krispie treat was another part of her order, it said: “you please.” I re-read it and as my busy brain slowed down I realized that those words meant me, mom. She wanted me on her birthday. WHAT!?!? And sure enough, when I showed up at school with the Noodles Bag in hand, Katy asked me to come in. Wanted me to come past the school lobby. Wanted me to come see her locker that her friends had decorated. Wanted me to come sit in the lunchroom with her and her friends while they ate. My middle school daughter wanted me to be a part of her day, a part of her friends, a part of her birthday. A true gift to me-on HER special day.
In my busy mom’s life of running around nurturing everyone else, these unexpected gifts to me are true treasures. Glowing beacons in the darkness of crazy busy children’s lives shouting to me that I am a great mom, that my kids love me despite my quirks my mistakes my yelling, my learning how to parent. Despite all I do wrong, or feel that I do wrong, THEY LOVE ME. And to me, this means that I am doing something ok. Something right.
The fact that my daughter wrote “you please” on her lunch order and the fact that she asked me to join her in the middle school lunchroom might have been just a passing thought for her. To me, it was a heartfelt song singing praises to me, telling me I am loved. I am wanted. And who doesn’t want to feel that way?
What a present I received on my daughter’s birthday. A forever gift I will never forget. Happy unbirthday to me.
Thank you darling Katy. I love you so much. May this year be your best one yet.
A dear friend of mine gave me the mug you see in the photo playfully perched on my laundry basket.
“I have so much to do that I’m going to bed.”
How many of us have felt this way but stayed up late anyway? Stayed up trying to stay on top of laundry and dishes and kid stuff and emails and well, life? I wrote my last post about the checklist and not always being able to get everything done, and since then I have determined that part of the solution to getting more done would actually be to go to bed. Truly.
As moms and wives and friends we are exhausted. Not just today, everyday. I almost fell asleep this week in the middle of a fifteen minute eyebrow wax. Yes, while I was getting hair ripped of my face with hot wax I really could have taken a nap.
I think sometimes in the joy of the moment and with all the wonderful things in my life I forget how truly tired I am, but when I lie down and am still, even for a brow wax, my body reminds me, I AM TIRED. I AM EXHAUSTED.
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSL) most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night, and if this sleep is missed for just one night it can take weeks to get our bodies back on track. Weeks! Pondering this fact I think about how many nights my sleep has been less than the recommended seven to nine hours and I realize I have a lot of catching up to do!
The irony of all of this is that when we get less sleep because we are trying to do more, we actually are getting less done and less done well. According to health.com there are eleven benefits to getting healthy sleep. If we get better sleep we will:
Curb Inflammation in our bodies
Have a healthier weight
Avoid Accidents (in 2009 there were more sleep related car crashes than alcohol related!)
After reading these facts I realize,,, TA DA! The lack of sleep in my life explains all of my ailments; my memory sucks (my friends and I joke that we have early alzheimer’s), my attention is terrible (I just hit my garage door pulling into the garage this morning), my weight is higher than it has been in past years (might be the wine too…), and my body is so inflamed I’ve been dealing with an AC joint injury for over a year (going in for cortisone today!). So do I need more sleep?
So the problem lies in making this happen.
I thought about sleeping alone and told my husband he’d make a fortune if he built homes like the castles of old with king and queen separate bedrooms…meet for nookie, sleep separately. I ADORE my husband, but he snores. And I think everyone sleeps better when they have their own bed and there is no snoring. I envision a four poster feather just like Scarlett O’Hara’s….but, in reality, I do like the comfort of having the one I love next to me and I don’t think it would be good for the kids to see their parents in two different bedrooms.
I thought about taking Ambien every night, but my husband travels and it’s probably not such a good idea to be totally knocked out when I have three kids. And when I googled if Ambien was addictive I found out that there are actual rehabilitation clinics for Ambien addiction! (Did you know that?!)
I have tried earplugs, sound machines, melatonin, cherry juice, warm milk, there are a thousand suggestions for sleep out there but what suggestion isn’t out there? What haven’t I really tried? Throwing all else out the window and just going to bed! Going to bed earlier, sooner, letting some things go until the next day! Actually spending seven to nine hours in my bed because if I’m not in my bed for those hours, how can I possibly sleep that amount?
The national sleep foundation also says: “One of the primary causes of excessive sleepiness among Americans is self-imposed sleep deprivation”.
We are doing this to ourselves. We are making ourselves absolutely exhausted, and I think we moms are probably at the top of the list of the most tired no matter the age of your child. We stay up late to get things done but then are in a constant cycle of exhaustion resulting in feeling like we have early alzheimer’s, spaciness, brain fog, wanting to nap during a wax, running into the garage door. Oh, and giving one kid two sandwiches in their lunchbox and another kid two drinks. Yes, that happened. Would it not have happened if I had slept better? Probably not.
We are victims of our own busyness, our own pressure to get things done, our own desire to do it all. We are victims of wanting to be the best mom we can be, the best wife we can be, the best friend we can be. But maybe, maybe we’d be better at everything if we just all said, “I have so much to do that I’m going to bed!”
With love and hope for more ZZZZZ’s……..
It’s hard for me to believe we are already almost seven days into 2017. I had grand plans for this week after returning from our two week break. Errands to do, writing to be done, house to be cleaned, photos to be organized. I was going to start 2017 with a bang! Check off this. Check off that. Pat myself on the back. Check off some more. But this week taught me that sometimes life has other plans that are more important than the checklist. Not always big plans or life changers, just magical everyday moments.
On Monday night our flight home from visiting my parents was delayed and we didn’t get home until past midnight, 2 a.m. eastern time. My red-eyed daughters were exhausted so I told them to sleep in the next day and that they could go in late to school. And when they didn’t wake up on Tuesday until after 11:30 a.m., I told them “Why not just miss school today?” Never mind that they’d already been out two weeks, they got caught up on sleep and we got one more day together. It was wonderful. Nothing got checked off my list.
Wednesday my daughters went back to school and I missed them. I had tea with two of my very best friends and we talked about how much we had to do but then continued to sit together some more and the hour I had planned to be there became two. And then snow began to fall and I stayed a bit more. It was wonderful. Nothing got checked off my list.
Wednesday afternoon my girls came home to huge hugs (probably a bit smothering!) and as snow fell outside we joked that maybe the next day would be a snow day! It was! The call came in Thursday at 5:45 a.m. and I cheered, ran to my daughters rooms and turned off their alarm clocks before turning off my own. We all slept in, spent the day together, picked out my youngest daughters new Guinea Pig (welcome to the family Hermione!) and later we snuggled and watched a movie together. We completed the night with a family dinner when my husband got home and then played a few games. It was wonderful. Nothing got checked off my list.
And then today, a weather delay! We all got an extra hour of sleep and the kids got to go into school late. And despite the late start, I also got to spend some time today with another one of my dearest friends. She had received some bad news this morning and chose to spend time with me to talk about it. She was not expecting this news and we got to be together which was much more important to me than any checklist.
The point of me sharing all this? Because I was reminded this week that whatever plans we make, whatever New Year’s resolutions, whatever checklists…..sometimes everyday life prevents them from happening and what we do instead is much more important.
So for me, for 2017, I am going to try to be better at noticing and embracing the everyday opportunities that I am so lucky to receive and to not be so hard on myself if the checklist isn’t always checked. To realize that when it is not checked there is probably very good reason; because at the end of the day, if I have experienced love, family and friends I think that is the very best list that I could possibly check off.
Happy New Year, may your year be filled with unfinished checklists.
The hardest thing for me as a mom is to see my children hurting and not be able to do anything about it. No matter how tightly I hold them and no matter how many tears I wipe away sometimes there is just nothing I can do.
This morning my darling Katy lost one of her gerbils. To some, this may seem small, trivial, a mere rodent. But to Katy, Dazzle was an animal she loved daily, held daily, talked to daily. A friend, a confidant, a comfort. For three years Katy used her own money for everything relating to this pet. The food, the bedding, the endless things it chewed through. She invested time, money and most of all, love.
I will never forget the piercing scream and then the sobbing I heard this morning as Katy ran to me; “Dazzle is dead mommy Dazzle is dead!” I will never forget my own tears as I held her tightly, squeezed her as she sobbed. And I will never forget the horrible, horrible feeling that there was absolutely nothing, nothing at all that I could do.
We went through the motions. We made a coffin. My husband dug a grave in the cold, hard winter ground. Our family stood in a circle and held a funeral by the light of the candle. Katy struggled through tears to read a tribute she wrote and then two poems. And then we sang a song and said a prayer sending Dazzle off to God. Small things, little things to try to help her through the pain.
Now Katy is in bed struggling to sleep. I lay holding her as she cried some more asking me questions I cannot answer. “Why did God have to take her? Why now? Why so soon?” And my own questions to God, “Why now? Why at Christmas time? Why so soon?”
And then a thought occurred to me. The same questions Katy is asking of me, I am asking of God. And I too, do not receive an answer. I too cannot understand. So perhaps, just maybe in some small way God is helping to show me that we cannot always give our children answers but we can always give them love. And that at the end of the day love is what matters most of all. Love is what will get us through.
Rest in peace Dazzle. Thank you for giving Katy all the happiness that you gave to her.
I just left my oldest daughter’s school wearing dark glasses to hide the tears streaming down my cheeks. I’m sure anyone who saw me thought I was sad or something was wrong, but in fact the tears were those of joy and of pride and of gratefulness. All I did was drop off lunch from Noodles for my birthday girl and in return received a big hug and an “I love you” from a newly turned fourteen year-old in the lobby of her middle school. To top it off, as I was driving home I received a text from her thanking me again, “Thank you so much for lunch mom, I love you.”
How lucky am I?
I’m sure years to come will bring moments that aren’t so beautiful. I’m sure at some point I’ll be paid back for the way I treated my own mom in my teenage years. But today, for this moment, I will hold dear how important even the little things we do as moms are. How even just a small thoughtful effort can go such a long way with our children and reap such rewards on us.
It seems like yesterday to me that I was holding my first child, looking at her in absolute awe and feeling the greatest love a human being can ever feel. It seems like a week ago that I watched her take her first steps, speak her first word, take her first bite of awful organic homemade carrot cake that I made her eat for her first birthday. And perhaps only a month ago that I held her tightly before letting her enter elementary school for the first time.
I look back at fourteen years of photos and see my darling infant change into toddler, child, tween and now full teen. I think about how in these fourteen years we have both learned, both grown. I think I have learned to be a kinder mother. I think I have learned to choose my battles. I think I have learned to let some things go; let her eat the delicious artificial cakes, let her go off on her own and not hold her hand so tightly, let her be HER. And most importantly I have learned that there is nothing I would rather be than be a mom.
I think she has learned to walk taller and stronger. I think she has learned to have confidence in who she is and not be concerned with what others think of her. I think she has learned to make smart choices in friends, to be with those she truly loves being with and to do what she loves to do. I have watched her grow into a young lady who can hang out with my friends just as easily as she hangs with her own and I have watched her realize and express how very lucky and blessed we are and be concerned about those who are not as fortunate. I have watched her learn the strength and power of humor and also the power of tears and release. And most of all, I have watched her become a young woman I am proud to know and even more proud to call my daughter.
And as my daughter is starting to borrow my shoes, I can only hope she walks in them better than I have. That she learns from my mistakes and becomes a stronger and better woman than I am. That she is blessed to become a mother someday and becomes a stronger and better one than I.
All we can wish for as a mothers is that our children turn out better than us (as wonderful as we are!) and that we do our jobs right-raise them well then let them go.
But today, right now, I am holding on. Holding onto her “ I love you.” Holding on to her “thank you.” Holding on to the fact that I brought my daughter a little joy today; because if I could give her even one-millionth of the joy she gives me then that is worth celebrating.
Happy 14th birthday my special Emily.
Recently my husband lost one of his very best friends and his wife in a tragic plane crash that left their three young children orphaned. Our family has been devastated by this event and it absolutely terrified our daughters to hear that children we knew could lose both parents forever and to realize that it is even possible for kids to lose both parents. I don’t think any thought could be more terrifying to a child (or a parent).
Often in hard times I turn to nature for healing, so as my husband headed to Mississippi for the funeral services (we decided not a good idea for us both to go away on an airplane when this was so fresh!) I stayed with our girls and we went on a hike. During our hike the four of us formed a circle on the trail, closed our eyes and I said a prayer. In this prayer I asked that God and the Angels take care of Jason and Lea in heaven and watch over their children here on earth. I also asked that God and the Angels protect our own family and our daughters and to please always keep us safe, to please let us have a long happy life together.
My daughters and I shed a few tears during this prayer and then we hugged and continued on our hike. My oldest daughter Emily walked ahead of us to take photos as she loves photography and Katy, Ashley and I sang trail songs and followed along with our dogs. It was a beautiful, healing day, but it doesn’t end there. That night at dinner Emily was looking through her photos when suddenly she paused, her jaw dropped and she showed me one, a very special one, pictured here. Do you see the orb? Do you see the Angel? Do you see her moving into the light?
This photo was taken after our prayer and was absolute validation for my daughters that Angels are by us always, even on the hiking trail. Validation that even during our hardest times when we don’t understand life’s tragedies, we are not alone. That during our prayers, they are absolutely listening.
I am incredibly and forever grateful to this particular Angel for appearing directly to my daughter through her photo. I can preach all day long to my daughters about Angels and my knowledge that they are always there, but the photo gave them absolute evidence.
I wanted to share this photo here so you also know that your Guardian Angel is always there too, watching, listening, protecting. Always.
And all we need to do is say, “THANK YOU”.
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