I stalk authors.. just saying…

I stalk authors….yea.. you heard right.  I do. My first “stalkee” was Martha Beck…Oprah’s coach (to drop a name ) and a well known author and life coach. I had read her books and loved her writing. I emailed her and told her so. Much to my surprise, she emailed me back and suggested that because I was a life coach .. that I attend her North Star life Coaching Program in Phoenix, Arizona.  I did and I savored every moment with Martha and the other 11 women who were interviewed and selected to be a part of the program.  At that very time.. I was painfully becoming aware. oh so painfully.. that I could no longer stay married. .. and I was about to travel the road of single parenting.  And as the week came to an end.. and as we were saying our goodbyes …Martha came up to me and whispered .. “In order to run free.. you have to let go of your loved ones.”  I politely smiled and thanked her for her presence in my life. Her words truly resonated with me  as I traveled back home to Cincinnati… actually… they haunted the inner most part of my soul…..knowing so deeply …their truth.. that sometimes you have to let go….of those who are hurtful….of those who go beyond your wedding vows of ‘In Sickness and In Health” …so that you can… protect .. your  SELF….your children…and be who you are called to be….living the life you are called to live…embracing the gifts that you have..not the one you don’t have… but truly the ones you have…the ones who are in your life.. your kids.. your dearest friends…and you run so free.. so very free. Martha’s words changed my life…. they gave me hope..and they gave me courage to walk alone. And I pray that as her presence changed my life .. my presence will change the lives of those who I am called and blessed to work with…. knowing.. deeply knowing .. that at times.. in order to run free.. you have to let go of your loved ones. I really don’t believe in divorce…but i am divorced…..and I continue to stalk authors… just saying…

One More Cold Winter Night…

It started as a small request on facebook..for a few blankets to keep the homeless warm…….but word of mouth turned the small mountain of a request into an avalanche of compassion. One person contacting another…another sharing the news with yet another. .. One by one, people stopped by my house with one blanket, then two, then fifteen, then 60…and coats were overflowing from the plastic containers that they gently placed them in…..a blue hat and then a green hat, pink gloves for a child and black ones for an adult….a few pillows with fancy pillow cases and a few that were peacefully plain….and then there were sleeping bags…too many to count….all for those who were without homes, without cars…on the city streets in below15 degree temperatures.  Many of them were hiding under overpasses,  in the darkness of doorways and nestled secretly in the overgrown bushes, refusing to go to the shelter because of… the voices within their heads… telling them that it was not safe.  They are someone’s husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, sons and daughters…looking for a place to stay …to make it through one more cold winter night.

My Father’s Hand

I held his hand.. oh so tight.. my heart was beating..a sweat bead inched its way down my cheek as we waited…. in line.  Minute by minute, we took one step and then another step… until it was finally..  our turn.. my dad and I.  With hesitation, I jumped in the small red cart that was attached to a blue cart and then a yellow cart…..and with his arm around my shoulders…he held me tight.  We went up and down….and down and up…..click, click, click, click….the cart tugged its way… up the high hill….and down..oh so fast.. we went…..taking my breath away.. making me cry … all the while…. feeling my dad’s arm around me.. protecting me…..making me feel safe….on my first roller coaster ride on the beach of Myrtle Beach.. my dad and I.

Thankful

A Day of Thankfulness.  I am thankful for another day of living.   After the death of a high school friend this weekend,  I really started to think about how short life is and how we never know when the “last time” is.  I didn’t know that in July when I saw her, that that would be the last time we would be together.  When I was about six,  I asked my mom “How do you know when the last time is… like the last time you play frozen statues or tag or play with your dolls?”  I wanted to know so that I could really appreciate it.  Throughout the years, mom and I talked about that question and here is what we came up with.  There is no time better than the present to stop and breathe in the holiness of the moment.  Look around, soak up the experience with eyes that truly see the beauty around you.  Acknowledge the presence of those you love with your words and your behaviors and use your voice to speak your truth in a respectful way, even though others might not like what you have to say.  Companion those in need…knowing that everyone has a reason that leads them to the exact point where they are standing whether you like that place or not.  WIthhold judgement and be open to being changed by their story and their presence.  Walk in your own integrity knowing that you were uniquely designed to be the person you are, inspiring others by your presence, and making the world a better place. And most of all,  live your life fully knowing that each day is an incredible gift and blessing, not to be taken for granted.  And with the spirit of Thanksgiving, may you be blessed today and every day with the gift of LIVING.

Silent Night

Today is the anniversary of my mom’s birthday in heaven.  Wow, I miss her so.  Tonight I was waiting in the car for Will. He was in Walmart and I remembered a time when mom, the kids and I went to Walmart one Christmas season.  It was a dark and very snowy night.  The parking lot was covered in white, and there were very few cars parked there.  We walked out of the store… Claire and Will grasping tightly to the cart while Isaac was pushing my mom in her wheelchair. There on the side of the building was a man dressed in a dark winter coat, snowflakes glittering in the light, playing his golden saxophone.  “Silent night, holy night.”   He played each note with such deep and rich soul.  We all stood in silent awe of the beauty and sacredness of the sounds. My mom glanced over at  me with a smile and I knew that in that very moment…. it was truly a silent night, holy night.

There by the grace of God goes I… my mother said.

Toddlers screaming from a speeding grocery cart with a blue and pink balloon hanging on the side.  She was bribing them, tickling them but to no avail…they continued to scream, “Mommy, I want this….this is mine. She is touching me.”  I stood dead in my tracks immersed in my own memories of my kid’s when they were young.  Taking my three kids, all sixteen months apart, to the grocery store was an adventure to say the least, one that required a weekly debriefing with the therapist.   On one occasion I was comparing prices of vegetable soup…when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a blur of one kid pushing another kid in a tiny grocery cart with another one running behind.  “WHERE IS THEIR MOTHER?”  I said to myself…all the while noticing… that….my kids…. were gone.  “There by the grace of God goes I.”  I heard my mother’s voice within.

Everyone has a story….

Another excerpt from my manuscript…

Everyone has a story

I was 33 years old and dated many men, but I never found the one. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few diamonds in the rough . . . very, very rough, but no one who captured my heart. There was the guy who after I just met him, he said that he loved me. The next day he sent me the most beautiful flower arrangement (although they looked like they could have been on top of a casket at a morning funeral). Anyway my colleagues at work asked me who my true love was and I couldn’t remember his name — not a good sign.

Taste and See

Here is an excerpt from my manuscript In Sickness and In Health.  I hope you enjoy it!

Quietly walking to his side, careful not to wake him, I gently placed my hands under his limp body and pulled him close to my chest and deeply inhaled, taking in his smell, hearing the sound of his breath and feeling the weight of his little body in my arms. 

Then I began to sing. It was the song I promised him that we would sing when I spoke to him on the phone in the ambulance — the song that we sang every night before he went to sleep. “Taste and see, taste and see, the goodness of the Lord, oh taste …” and with that he opened his swollen eyes and began to mouth the rest of the words, “…and see, taste and see, the goodness of the Lord, of the Lord.” I stared into his blue eyes, afraid to look away, for fear that this would all be a terrible dream, and I would wake up and realize my little boy would still be missing

The holiness of the moment

“Goodbye Mom.  Love you!”  as one of my son’s leaves the house to catch the bus to high school, and then the other one shuts the door with a “Love ya.”  And I sit…in my house…my quiet house… glancing outside at the glistering snowflakes gently  covering our picnic table.  And all of a sudden, my mind is brought back to a moment, a long time ago, when I held my firstborn in my arms, rocking in the stillness of the night, taking in his every breath as he slept oh so peacefully while the snow quietly blanketed the ground outside… all the while, breathing in.. the holiness of the moment.