Saturday, June 20, 2015


No one likes a bully.

Lately I've been shoved around and knocked down by the worst bully ever. My bully is downright sneaky too, waiting for the most opportune time to unload it's arsenal of confidence squashing insults.

I would never speak to someone in the manner that my bully speaks to me. What kind of monster says such mean spirited things?


I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to beating myself up and it never fails that when I let my guard down, that inner bully takes advantage.

My bully knows that I hate to be told I can't do something. She's sly and uses tactics like those used on small children. Instead of saying I can't do something, the bully tells me the consequence of not complying.

For instance, these last couple of months have been filled with lots of activities. There would be plenty of fun events peppered about a 2 month span. My bully tormented me for weeks telling me that my body wouldn't hold up to the schedule.

The chronic illness that I live with has just given my inner bully new material to taunt me with. If I'm totally honest with myself I can trace my bully's footsteps way back into my youth.

Just like any playground bully, it went on to see what havoc it could wreak. Instead of taking my lunch money it took my self esteem. Little cash value it would have been, it sure meant more than the chicken fried steak plate to me.

Wait. Wasn't it Eleanor Roosevelt that said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent"?

Could I have been the one to invite this bully into my life in the first place? Now that I think about, I do seek approval an awful lot.

There are rows of books on the subject of self doubt and every one takes a different approach to stifling the mean inner beast. I've read quite a few and have even been given sage advice on how to ignore that nagging voice.

At a point in my life I thought that I had really conquered that dark side of myself. In a way I was sort of disappointed that I could let this happen again. It was like somehow I knew too much to let that energy sway my enlightenment, awareness.

I've had more than a week to reflect on the subject while recovering from the fun I had. While reflecting I realized HOW MUCH FUN I HAD!

I had wasted SO MUCH valuable energy on thoughts about there being a LACK of energy that I almost zapped every spurt of energy I had! That's just nuts. And that's not the mean bully inside of me talking.

So today, in the early morning hush I invited my bully to sit and chat over coffee. She accepted.

"I'm not really sure what your intentions were by trying to derail my fun these last few months but it's got to stop." I told her.

My bully took a sip of coffee. She takes hers black.

"I sort of know why you're here with me these days. On some level I'm grateful that you've kept me out of trouble. But I'm OK. Everything's gonna be OK. And it has been. The trip to Florida was awesome. You didn't think I could climb to the top of the lighthouse tower but I did! And the Rush concert with my sis, crazy fun! The first ever Bug Camp with real outdoor camping? What?! Then we went blueberry picking, booyah! I have to say that you really had me concerned with your doubts that I wouldn't be able to stand for the Ingrid Michaelson concert. Front row, standing! Oh yeah! And you were wrong about the age thing. Ingrid even said so herself, "All ages welcome" Soooo..." I said with my lips pursed in an O shape and my eyes rolling.

This is where I think my bully took the hint. Her services were no longer needed. I sent her off with loving kindness. In parting she told me that my flip flops looked like Peppermint Patty's. And that they made my feet look gigantic. And long.

I have GOT to get those locks changed!

Things I Wouldn't Have Done if I Listened To My Bully

I've always loved light houses, this is my first time in one, looking up at all those steps to climb, but loving the view!

Victory! I made it! 

Got to take my niece blueberry picking this year! 

I took this shot from the FRONT row! Ingrid Michaelson and Jukebox the Ghost! 


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sweet Memory

Have you ever had your mind wander and whisk your spirit back to a beautiful space in time? I just had the sweetest memory of my grandmother and it's left me feeling so completely at peace.

I usually enjoy listening to guided meditations but I opted for just the quiet calm that the house is hushed with today. 

With the birds chirping their spring like compositions I drifted off into my quietude. I recalled the sweet memory of my grandmother visiting me after the birth of my son. 

My grandmother was still driving then and had arrived each morning for a week while I was on leave. She said that she was there to help in any way I chose. She'd take care of the baby if I wanted or she'd do some house work so that I could sit with the baby. 

Oh how my Grannie loved the babies. It wasn't just the intoxicating baby smell or soft skin. She always loved a baby's ears. 

"He's got perfect ears. Just look at them." she'd whisper as she smiled at him. 

One morning she brought some treats from the bakery- blueberry fritters. Oh how delicious they were with a fresh pot of coffee and my grandmother's company. I have searched for blueberry fritters ever since and have never found them. Something tells me that they wouldn't taste the same anyway as it was probably the magic of the special visit with my grandmother that made them taste so good. 

Being a new mother is intimidating. All of the books, articles and birthing classes just don't prepare you for the moment when you're finally alone with your new little bundle of life. It's not so much fear that drives the anxiety but more the absence of specific knowledge.

Grannie would arrive and somehow everything seemed OK. She didn't swoop in and tell me what needed to be done. Somehow just her presence was enough. Her sweet humming while she folded cloths or washed dishes was so comforting. Without words I began absorbing generations of motherhood knowledge.

What a special gift.

While writing this post I had a similar memory of taking my grandmother to her doctor visits. She was almost always anxious before her doctor visits. There was plenty of time in the car, doctor's office waiting rooms and blood labs to talk. Most appointments ended with lunch at Long John Silver's. (Other than ice cream, one of Grannie's favorite treats!)

She was always different after a doctor's visit. She'd get a clean bill of health and off she'd zip behind her walker ready for some tasty fish. Suddenly everything would be OK. The conversation over fish dinner was much lighter and she'd always thank me for my company.

Presence is such a powerful thing. Sometimes the greatest gift you can give a loved one is your presence. You don't need to arrive bearing gifts, just your self. That connection with each other is sometimes our most valuable tribute.

Thanks for letting me share my sweet memory with you. I hope it conjured up a sweet memory or two of your own. Give yourself enough time to bask in your sweet memory and honor the blessing that it is. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

As You Step Forward

As your Falling Instructor, one of my responsibilities is finding appropriate coursework that you will find helpful in your own falling with grace journey.

I can go on and on about better ways to fall. Today I'd like to share with you a great tool to help you get off your tush. 

Sometimes when you finally get back up on your feet and brush yourself off, you realize that you've been left behind. Life just went on without you even though you were just catching your breath for a minute. 

Suddenly you find yourself in unfamiliar territory without a path, trail or map to follow. It's OK. This isn't just the Scout Den Mom telling you it's going to be OK to be lost and alone. I've learned that this is the opportune time to make adjustments in the course of your life. 

Let's open that big backpack of life and sift through it's contents. It's time to purge what's not necessary for the journey and load it back up with some must haves. 

A few months back I found myself unloading my own life backpack and really seeking out some wisdom to help me find my next step. My roles in life had drastically changed. Added to the items I knew I'd be carrying from now on were the symptoms of Sjogren's Syndrome. Those items were just things that I'd have to learn how to carry. 

I've been a fan of Danielle LaPorte for a long while. Her Truth Bombs really resonated with me and I found her writings to be really helpful. 

There was a great deal of applause for her new book The Desire Map and I was anxious to read it. But when I went to the store, her earlier book The Fire Starter Sessions really demanded my attention. 
From the cover: A soulful + practical guide to creating success on your own terms.

When you've found yourself alone in the middle of the wilderness which skill do you need first? Starting a fire or reading a map? A fire is quite nice. 

If getting on with your life required the use of a text book, this would be it. Only this text book is worth every penny. 

As I often do when reading a book I purchase the audio version. Sjogren's Syndrome limits the use of my eyes each day and when my eyes get too dry I can still continue the book with the recorded version. I am so glad that I did and I'd recommend it even if your eyes aren't taxed. It really doubled the impact for me. 

Danielle's accent is quite Canadian and having grown up in Upstate New York I rather enjoy hearing it again. Plus, she can really deliver her prose the way she meant it to be heard. It's like sitting across from a trustful friend. You know, the type of rare gift of a friend that will tell you what you really need to hear but in a way that won't leave you sobbing. 

With The Fire Starter Sessions Danielle LaPorte gives the reader the benefit of her own life's experiences and backs every segment up with solid council. Each page is packed full of quotes and separate ideas to expand the scope of the learning range.

At the end of each section she provides worksheets of sorts. Every good text book provides one, eh? But let me stop you before you get all squeamish about homework. This is where the golden stuff happens. There lies all the brilliant glimpses of shiny gold your ideas will turn into. 

Honestly, it's good stuff. I would also suggest that you take each chapter nice and slow. As they say in the south, "Chew on it a while." Let it really sink in. You owe it to yourself to get the most out of this.

I also love the expansive room on each side of the page for the reader to scribble those ideas out directly in the book. 

I love this quote from the Collaborative Paradigms segment:

"Your worldview is precious study- And it should guide the guest list of who you invite on your bus." 

This really was powerful for me. In the past I had given up opportunities to collaborate with other writers. I was in the process of learning how to adapt to my illness, which severely impacts my writing. Jumping on someone else's bandwagon would've only made things worse. If I'm going to make this thing work I'd have to drive my own bus, with my own route. 

The love of the bus idea is genetic as my Grannie Annie would ride off into places unknown in her VW Bus. A full tank of gas and a pretty morning were all it took for her to set off on an adventure. 

What is your adventure? What have you been wishing you could do if only this or that wasn't in the way?

"You know stuff that other people don't know. And when you know stuff that other people do not, you're in position to be of service. Ideally, you want to be of service to others in a way that feeds your spirit." (page 180)

A friend once shared this wisdom with me: By being self conscious and too timid to share your gifts it's actually being selfish. 
It's true when you think about it. We were all given so many talents, skills and inventiveness. Sharing those gifts are really God's intent for us. Really. 

So, right about now you're probably hearing those little dream killer voices telling you can't. 
Watch this:

I'll leave you with another great quote.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Don't Fall Into Those New Year's Traps!

Well, we're well into the month of January and I'm finally seeing less of those "new year, new you" messages that we seem to be bombarded with each December 29th.

I really resented the whole concept this year. I wrote an entire blog post about it that turned out to be less than uplifting or graceful for that matter.

After proof reading what I had written, hubby said, "I don't know. It's a little disjointed to me. And it's really angry sounding, not very gracefully falling kind of content."

I read what I almost posted and I am so glad that I didn't. I've had a week now to reflect on the subject and I still want you to relieve yourself of the "New Year's Resolution" burden.

Gosh guys, don't get me wrong, I love self evolution. You'll not find a more absorbent mind for self help material than this gal. I am just so hungry for something else besides losing weight tips, eating healthy recipes or the best cross fit programs.

There is certainly nothing wrong with any of those things, right? Each has it's merits toward a healthy life. They all are hugely popular. Topics not popular that someone like me is seeking:

  • How To Nap Without Wrinkling Your Clothes

  • How To Explain Brain Fog To Someone When Your Tongue Goes Rogue

  • Housecleaning, One Square Foot at a Time

  • Hot Flashes, Mother Nature's Remedy To Keep You Warm In Winter

  • Sick Chick Fashion, Thank God For Yoga Pants

Sjogren's Syndrome sure has changed the way I look at things and I bet that you have your own challenges as well. It's hard enough when you're down and then someone tells you that you need to ramp it up more to meet someone else's standard. Those standards are from a healthy, fit person's perspective. We all don't fit that mold. 

I came across an article today that finally gave me the peace I was looking for written by Toni Bernhard in Her piece, My New Years Wishes for the Chronically Ill really hit home. 

Love this-

"No matter how hard a day is for you, may you keep your heart open for life's beauty—the sight of a beautiful cloud in the sky, the sound of a favorite piece of music, the feel of warm water on your skin, something silly on TV."

The most profound, positive changes that transform your life are often the simplest. If you take time to quiet your mind, the tips that resonate with you will make perfect sense in your life. Those tips become solid building blocks in which you can create your own true life model. 

In this new year I wish you everything good. You deserve to be happy, healthy and prosperous. I wish you firm footing and graceful hearts. 

Some more great reads about tossing standard resolutions:

Absolution from New Year's Resolutions by Grace Quantock which was highlighted by Positively Positive this morning.

A New Resolution for the Chronically Ill by Sara Cowherd on her website was really spot on.