Saturday, March 28, 2020


Anxiety. Anxiousness.
 We are all feeling it to some extent. We may not show it, but we are all feeling it. In the past few days alone I have spoken with 6 different women who all voiced their conflicted and anxious feelings. I am feeling it too. It shows up in different ways for all of us. We went from panic buying toilet paper, to schools closing and learning to managing e-learning/homeschooling to working from home and then an order to shelter in place. All while trying to manage our family and home.....putting our own feelings on the back burner.
Teachers are trying to manage technology (as well as reach those without it) and meet the expectations of a classroom/administration/parents. Employees trying to manage office expectations while working from home. Employees trying to work and stay healthy/safe at essential businesses. Businesses trying to manage either virtually or physically. Our front line first responders and ESPECIALLY our healthcare workers....... are trying to manage in new and uncertain times. We are all doing our best ....and that changes from minute to minute....even second to second.
I see women all over social media either taunting their ability to manage it all, flaunting their cooking and craft projects, or bitching about their situations/kids/spouses. Some are trying to find excuses for sitting still and doing little to nothing and/or allowing their kids to do the same. Some are trying to fill eve3ry second with new and exciting tasks.
We need to stop.....this is not a Quarantine competition! We have gotten so used to impressing each other with posts and images that we have forgotten to appreciate moments. We are all doing the best we can considering the circumstances. The closet you have been dying to clean will wait. That recipe you have been meaning to will wait. That email you must will wait.  What ever it will wait.
Take a minute and catch your breath.  Allow yourself the space to breathe. Allow yourself some grace. When things slow down and we are out of our routine, we often get anxious. We start to feel things! So feel the feelings you have right now even if you can not name them all. Embrace the suck! Feel the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. Feel the frustration, anger, and loneliness. Feel the love, tenderness, and joy. Feel all those feelings and then keep breathing. We all need to allow ourselves the grace and hold the space for ourselves and others to feel and just breathe.
Today, take a minute and set it all down. Just set all of it down and take a breath. You do not have to do it all, be it all, fix it all. Not right now. Set it down and just breathe. We are all anxious. We all feel the uncertainty. We are all going to all be in this for a while and we need to find our own pace throughout it all. So for now....set it down, just breathe and know you are not alone.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


Depression. Anxiety. Panic Attacks. PTSD. BiPolar. Substance Abuse. Mental Illness.
All things people do not talk about. They are like the new 'C' word. Whispered in conversation. Joked about.  Avoided all together.
All are real. All are deadly.
Physical illness is something people can see and "treat" so that seems to be more acceptable. Mental illness is not easily diagnosed or treated, nor is it "acceptable" so people often hide it, self medicate or just give in to it.
None of it is easy and all of it is embarrassing. It carries a horrible stigma of mental hospitals and crazy psych wards like we have seen in the movies (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, anyone?). But that is not the case any longer.
I have been treated for all of the above. I see a therapist regularly. I fought, and had to get a court order, for my children to attend therapy. They didn't like it for a while but now? They are researching their own therapists in order to go back and get help.
I honestly do not know where I would be without my therapist. I have had 2 over the years. One that I walked away from as she told me my anxiety, panic attacks and depression were due to an abusive marriage. I knew it deep down but I also knew that opening that door would lead to a mess I was not capable of cleaning up even with the most trusted professional. I walked out of her office and thought I could stuff it all away forever. NOPE.
A year later, I really thought I was losing my mind. I secretly visited an inpatient facility and went through the entire intake process. It was recommended that I check in immediately as  they were concerned for my wellbeing.....but I walked away. No, honestly, I ran away as fast as I could...I didn't want them to catch me! Opening that door ....nope. Not happening. No thank you. The mess had only gotten larger and more difficult to clean up.
I finally got to a place and found a person I could trust. She helped me open the door a little at a time and mopped up the mess as it spilled out of me. She allowed some light to enter back my life. And once I saw that light? I knew that there was no going back. I needed to help to maintain balance.
Mental illness does not have an easy fix. People self medicate daily to combat demons with all sorts of things like exercise, caffeine, drugs booze, food, name it.   I know the struggle is real and that it is a day to day battle to keep the demons in check. They creep in sometimes and I fall down the rabbit hole.....sometimes I fall deeper than others. It is not pretty when that happens. It is hard for those who suffer to crawl out of that hole alone....I know it is hard for me sometimes. But on those days, I know that have seen the light before and I know it is out there somewhere....I just may  need help finding it. So check on your strong friends, the ones that you think have it all together. They may not tell you how weak they feel but that check in, that phone call, that text message..... it might save a life.

Friday, February 14, 2020


Valentine’s Day 2013
I spent a cold dreary February day at a funeral.
It is a day etched in my mind for many reasons. 
It is a day that, though sad, made me realize that
sometimes love,
means leaving.
Sometimes love means saying goodbye.
Sometimes love means putting yourself first.
Sometimes love means pain.
Sometimes love means you have to face the facts
Sometimes love looks nothing like what you thought it was supposed to.....and you realize that it’s not love at all.
It’s abuse.
Sometimes love means leaving.
Sometimes love means finding the courage to do what is best and that takes time.
Sometimes love makes you do things outside your character.
Sometimes love motivates you to want more.
Sometimes love fills the empty places you never knew existed.
Sometimes love looks nothing like you thought it would....
Sometimes love is right in front of you.
Sometimes love is staring back at you in the mirror.
Sometimes love is you.
Love yourself enough to put yourself and safety first.
Love yourself, trust yourself and respect yourself enough to leave behind what no longer serves you.
Love yourself and trust yourself enough to move forward
Love yourself because you are worth it
Sometimes love means starting over because
Sometimes love means leaving.


Monday, January 13, 2020


Beth Bruno wrote a heart wrenchingly beautiful piece for Medium about grieving a daughter that was still alive. I felt as if I had written it myself and she was walking a similar path.  I linked her original work above. I have taken her words and edited them to fit my own experience, placing her "more eloquent than mine" words in quotes.

"When I became a mother, I was determined I was going to be the kind of mother who raised exceptional children. I was going to give my children opportunities to live big lives where the possibilities are endless. I was going to raise brilliant, compassionate, interesting human beings.
I poured all my energy and love into them. I was going to have wonderful, loving and mutually satisfying relationships with each one, enjoying their friendship and companionship into their adulthood."

When my oldest daughter decided that I was not the mother she wanted anymore, I felt my world crumbling out from under me and I went into a free-fall.  She was the child that made me a mother. All I ever wanted in life was to be a mother and she fulfilled every dream I ever had. I remember how over the moon I was when I found out I was pregnant. I remember how I loved being pregnant and the ability of having her all to myself.   I remember her birth...the complete and utter exhaustion and exhilaration at seeing her for the first time. I remember feeling that I would never love anything ever again more than I loved that perfect little girl. 
For the first 2 years of her life it was just the two of us. I poured all my energy into her. She was my world. The sun rose and set around her and all that she needed/wanted. She was the first grandchild as well which made the pedestal even higher for her. As she grew, she only became more beautiful. Her talents were many but writing was her true gift. She would write me notes and stories all the time. She drew fancy dresses, sang songs all day and adored putting on a show for anyone that would watch.  She loved stuffed animals, especially her Pooh bear, sleeping with him every night until the day she left. She really was the light in my days. Time passed, and the family grew, adding 4 other siblings to the mix, all the while things had started to become more difficult between my daughter and me. When she entered her teen years things became really strained between us, as they often do between teenage girls and their mothers.  At that point in my own life, I was in no position to be the best mother to her. Things were not always easy for her, or for me. When she was 19, the bottom fell out. I was in an abusive marriage and felt trapped, when she and her sisters found out her dad had been unfaithful....and I knew about the infidelity but in her mind had done nothing.

"Her world came apart. Getting out of my marriage was the only thing I could do to preserve my sanity, so I know I could not have done anything different. I did everything in my power to support her through this process, but I was having a difficult time navigating it myself. I know I failed her in many ways. She was so angry with me.  She was angry and did not know what to do with that anger.  She was at the age where teenage girls specialize in putting the knife in and twisting it. I was an easy target, since in her mind, I caused her world to spin out of control. She resisted all my efforts to help her find ground under her feet."

Once her dad moved out, she and I struggled even more. She wanted to take over and, perhaps even felt she had to take over. I was not able to provide as much stability as my kids needed at that point because I just did not have it in me. We were all falling apart, just as our family had. After a particularly horrible incident in which the police were involved, she left for good. Words were said by her, by me and by my own father in anger that can never be taken back.  She went to live with her aunt and my heart shattered into a million pieces. 

"It was a beastly thing for a young girl to suffer through — feeling abandoned by her parents, losing her home and her siblings. It was as though we had smashed her childhood into smithereens. I agonized over how to reach her. I was so sad that she was in so much pain. I did everything I knew how to do to let her know that she had my love and support.  I was unable to put her life back together for her, even if she had let me. I wanted desperately to fix our relationship, but at this point I didn’t know how. She had retreated so far behind her fortress that I could not reach her." 

She blocked me from all her social media, blocked my number from her phone and only communicates in anger now. I felt sure that at some point she would come around and need me to be her mother again but I was so wrong. It has been 4 years since I have seen or spoken with my daughter, other than her texts to me when she is angry or upset about something I have done to one of her siblings. I try to reach out and have vowed to never give up but to say that this has been an excruciatingly painful experience would be an understatement.

"I spent the first year being really hurt, but I still believed that she would come around. The second year was when reality set in and I cried almost every day. The grief of losing my child while she was still alive was fraught with shame, self-recrimination and humiliation. If only I had been a better mother. If only I had done something different. If only, if only, if only." 

When people ask, I say that I have five children. I speak of her as if she is still an active part of my life but when people ask for details, I am honest, saying that I really do not know what she is doing because she has chosen to distance herself. When people comment with “Oh, kids do that. She’ll come around.” I smile and say that I am forever hopeful. However after over 4 years, I am starting to believe that may not happen....but a mom can dream. 

"I began to spiral further and further into grief. Her birthday, Mother’s Day and Christmas were so hard. I carried this pain like a tender newborn, swaddled close to my heart. I reached out to her over and over with gifts, cards and letters, letting her know I would always be here if she ever wanted to come back. I never got any response. Feeling sure that my offerings were going into the trash, after a while, I just stopped.
At some point in the process of navigating this heartbreak, I read something that finally set me free to get up and go on with my life. I have wished a hundred times I had written the name of the book down, a book I checked out from the library about parent-child estrangement.
It said, in a nutshell, that parents and children have a contract in this life, and sometimes that contract is short. As a parent, we do our job and if that job ends before we think it should, then we have to accept that was all the time that was allotted.
So basically, I did my job in the 18 years I had and then I was fired. My ideas about how it was supposed to be were of no consequence. I was not in charge. I had made a decision that changed her trajectory and that trajectory was away from her source of pain — me.
That realization left me with the task of looking at my own pilgrimage through this life and seeing that my work was to learn to completely let her go, even if that means that I never see her again. When I write that on the page it still breaks my heart. But I have learned that clinging to our ideas of how things should be, while resisting how they really are, causes a lot of suffering.
I have done everything I know how to do. I long to have her back in my life, but at this point, I have no control over that. What I do have control over is my own path. I can choose for myself how to go forward with my life, taking advantage of all the joy that is offered, not allowing the grief to keep me from living fully.
Forgiveness has played a huge role in helping me to heal. I have had to forgive myself over and over and over again. I know that I hurt her, that my decisions changed her life. I know that I failed her. But I am human. It has taken years for me to find a way to forgive myself for not being the mom she wanted me to be. For disappointing her. For wanting to free myself from the hell I was living in, knowing that it shook her world at the foundation.
There are many times I still have to remind myself that I always did the very best I knew how to do. Even when that was not enough, it was the best I could do. Period. And then I have to practice extending grace to myself again. But it does get easier."

I get occasional updates from her siblings about her life, but they are cautious about what they share with me as not to upset their sister. I feel their pain as well. They miss their sister. They miss her being a part of things when we are all together. They have to keep their relationship with her separate from me.  I know that my daughter struggles with jealousy of her siblings, that she has multiple jobs, that her dreams have taken a backseat to providing for herself, and that her anger with me is still there, although she will never admit it. I long to run into her at her workplace, a grocery store or even a parking lot, just to have a momentary interaction...just to see her. Sometimes when I see mothers and daughters together, my heart breaks all over again and tears come to my eyes. I miss her hugs most of all...the hugs that were not given freely but when she gave them, she hugged with every part of herself....with her whole being. 

"My daughter’s path has been difficult, but I have not been invited along to try and make it easier. My daughter has her own journey through this world and is following her own map. I have learned to accept and honor her choice. I have to trust that she will find a way to heal, and I will always hope that someday she will return to me, but I am at peace either way.
As parents we don’t own our children. They are ours for a time and then sometimes we have to let them go. Is it easy? That would be a resounding NO. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done."

I miss my Princess every single day. Nothing fills that hole in my heart that she left. My love for her will never change.  I pray daily that she would someday allow me to be a part of her life, to show her how sorry I am and how deeply I love her.  However, I have had to find a way to live with my new normal. I have to work daily to offer myself the same grace and forgiveness I long to offer her. 
To mothers, I say love your daughter for who she is in the moment and do not take one second for granted....even the arguments and fights. Offer yourself and each other forgiveness, acceptance and grace. 
To daughters, I say love your mother for who she is in the moment and do not take one second for granted...even the arguments and fights. Offer yourself and each other forgiveness, acceptance and grace. 
Not one of us is perfect and navigating this life is not easy for any one of us.  We make mistakes, we fall, we fail but with forgiveness, acceptance, grace and love we can move forward to find peace.

And finally, to my daughter, 
I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always, 
As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.


Sunday, January 12, 2020


Image result for lemon tree quotes

Lemons, lemon trees, sour, sweet, growth...
I am a big one for signs and symbols. I look for the deeper meaning in all things.   I call them God-Incidents.
Last winter I wanted a lemon tree....for no other reason other than I saw one online and thought it was pretty. So I researched and found out that it was not the "season" to buy the trees in my area. I was determined and called all the shops in my city. I found ONE...yes one lone tree at a ganden center that is near and dear to my heart. It seemed fitting that they were the only one to have the plant. I later found a few others at another garden center I love and got 2 more. I tended my trees, watching them flower and begin to grow fruit. It takes 9 months for a lemon to grow from flower to fruit, a fact that was not lost on me.
I finally decided to look up the symbolism of the lemon tree and what I found was astonishing.
The lemon tree is a symbol of cleansing, freshness, healing, happiness, love, light, optimism, well-being and positive surroundings. It is used to attract good luck and clear the air of negativity. Giving the gift of this fruit is a sign of our ability to make things easy for one another in life. It sends a message that we are a source of comfort to those who are willing and ready to make the right changes in life. Many people add lemon to water or tea because it helps clean out toxins from the body.
The lemon tree bears a great deal of fruit year round. Having a lemon tree is seen as a sign of abundance.  This is also considered as a sign that everything is going to work out well for you and your life will be filled with joy and happiness. This tree is a sign that you are going to have more than enough, however, you need to learn to share the abundance,  helping those who do not have as much as you do.
The lemon tree is believed to have the ability to assist in accepting some of the various changes that are about to take place in our lives as it adapts to change well.   This tree is an evergreen plant and it has green leaves throughout its life, that is, it does not shed its leaves throughout its life. They can also live for about 100 years if cared for well. This tree has the ability to show people more about the reality of life and how you can be a source of growth, longevity and light in people’s life. 
Lemons, while sour at first, can be turned into many wonderful, sweet tasting treats with a little care and effort. It is all about how they are prepared.
Lemons....I thought I just wanted the plant because it was pretty and would bear fruit if I was lucky. Now that I look at the deeper meaning? I see that it was no coincidence that I this plant in my home.
My first crop of lemons was ready for harvest this week and they taste amazing! Funny they chose a day of a snowstorm ....a cold grey windy say to drop off and bring some sunshine into my life.
Find your sunshine today. Add some lemon to your water. Everything is going to work out ok.....

Saturday, January 11, 2020


Image result for speak it into existence quote

Prophecy - To speak something into existence. 
My son has taught me a great deal about this and does it so well. I used to say he was just lucky or gifted but it is so much more than that. He is really gifted and does have a lot of lucky things happen to him but bottom line.....he speaks things into existence. He says things so many times and with such if they will or have happened.
I am a true sceptic but decided to try it. A few years back, and at his urging, I wrote my goals and dreams down in a notebook. I really left it at that and did not give it a second thought.
Yesterday, as I was clearing out my bookshelf, I found that notebook. Before I tossed it, I opened it to look inside. What I found shook me to my core...
I only wrote on one single page of the book. I wrote a simple list. I wrote some big dreams and goals.

Goal/Dreams 1/28/18
 - Run Chicago and TRAIN
 - Write a book
 - Find my passion

What was I thinking 2 years ago?!  So here is where I am right now....
Run Chicago and TRAIN - I did start a training program for my 10th Chicago marathon that year. I was so bound and determined to run one last time and make it an even 10. That did not happen. My hip got pissed off and stayed angry. No amount to PT or acts of kindness could quell that anger. That hip remains angry to this day....the anger has diminished some but it is still there waiting....for each time I over do it.
Write a book - I may not have written a whole book but I am well on my way. I wrote a chapter of a book along with some other super amazing badass women. At first I did not feel worthy to be in the book but over time, I have learned that each one of us has a story that needs to be shared and not one of those stories is better or worse than any other. Each story has value. Each story lands with someone. Each story empowers not only the author but the reader. I am an author!
Find my passion - My passion. Find my passion. What is my passion? I really am not sure yet. I am getting closer by the day to finding it but I am still not there yet. I feel that I have not only found a path but also found some amazing guides to move me forward, closer to that goal. I am getting there....
Can you imagine if I had put those goals and dreams where I could see them daily? I mean did talk about them but not with conviction. Imagine if I had spoken about them as my own son does? Words have such power!
Have I written my goals for 2020 yet? No. I am still trying to distill my big dreams and goals into something I can vocalize....or write concisely. It is a process. If you look at the date on those from 2018, it was not until the 28th of January that I had them figured out. I feel like we are all pressured to have it all thought out by the stroke of the New Year. Well.....I call bullshit!  Write your goals and dreams when ever and where ever you want. Just write them down. Talk about them with others. Speak them into existence to yourself and to others. Your words are so powerful.
Let's all make 2020 the year of self fulfilling prophecies in the best way possible!

Thursday, January 2, 2020


You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.
Why did you spill the coffee?
"Well because someone bumped into me, of course!"
You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.
Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.
*Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.*
Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you, whatever is inside you will come out. It's easy to fake it, until you get rattled.
*So we have to ask ourselves... “what's in my cup?"
When life gets tough, what spills over?
Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?
Or anger, bitterness, harsh words, overreactions and nastiness?
You choose!
In 2020, let's work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others. ☮️❤️☮️