Let Your Light Shine

Did you know that the stars in our galaxy come in many different sizes and luminosity? In fact, our own star, the sun, is very small in comparison to the majority of the stars in our universe.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a small town where there is little light pollution, so star gazing was one of my favorite pass times. There is nothing more breath taking then watching the dark velvet sky splattered with so many stars it literally makes your heart stop.

It’s true that some stars shine brighter than others. In fact, the brightest stars are not only the largest, they have the shortest life span. This is because they burn through their fuel quickly, very much like a large vehicle burning its fuel quickly in order to produce energy and burn through your wallet. I also read somewhere that we are made from the same stuff stars are made out of, and well, that just made me feel giddy inside.

I mean, technically that means we are all stars! All shiny and twinkly and well, different from all the others too. Some do shine more brightly than others, and some live a long time and some barely shine for a moment, before they die, because even stars have to die.

And doesn’t this little astronomy lesson give us a bit of a metaphor for life and death? I mean, we may never understand why we have to die, or what the whole meaning of life is, only that we feel the immense joy of new life and the immense pain of losing life. What I find the most interesting is when a star dies, it usually explodes and expands and sometimes shines brighter or creates a black hole.

And so it is with us, right? I mean when someone dies, we tend to see that person’s life in a more luminated way don’t we? Suddenly we realize just how far and wide and bright this person shone while living- if the person was good of course, and I do believe the majority of us are good. We see the smile, the laughter, the tears, the prayers, the struggles, the achievements, the emotions, in a whole other light.

And just like those stars that shine the brightest, the people who also seem to live their life the brightest among us, have the shortest life span. And I can’t think of any worse kind of tragedy in our world.

So with all that pain and confusion and anger and sadness of losing someone too soon, I think we need to listen to the way they lived their life. We need to remember that these people showed us that it is not about the duration of our life, but the donation of it. It is not about how long we live, but how we live that matters the most.

I think we need to stop attaching the “missing out” experiences as the losses that pain us. Does it really matter if I never see the Eiffel Tower? Does it really matter if I never earned that degree? Does it really matter that I ride in a hot air balloon? Bucket lists are great, but they are not what makes our life worth living. Nobody ever says, “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) on their death bed. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t go and have adventures, but what makes those adventures worth it is WHO are doing it with. When you stop and reflect about a person’s life, you tend to realize that their love, their LIGHT is what mattered the most, not what they did.

So I leave you with my favorite poem, in which explains that our light was not meant to be hidden.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were all meant to shine as children do.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

Love Always

Live and Let Live

When life seems harder than usual, and let’s face it, it has been, this little slogan, “Live and Let Live,” has gotten me through some really hurtful situations.

I love my family and I love the family I have married into, the family where I work, and the friendships that have developed into family. I am truly convinced that life’s true blessings are the ones that contain fulfilling relationships rather than the material things, which means the opposite is true- when relationships are difficult it causes a lot of stress and turmoil. When we are grieving the loss of a loved one, mending a broken heart, or trying to change the dynamics of relationships by placing boundaries or just simply outgrowing some of them, we tend to carry the pain with us and learn how to live a life different than what we are use to. I don’t know about you, but sometimes changes in my life are good and I welcome the change with open arms, whereas when changes that I think are negative, I tend to resist and try to control the outcome in some insane way.

Whatever the reason, our little life here on Earth is dependent on the relationships we build with others. So it makes sense why we hurt when we lose someone we love.

Death. Divorce. Break up. Moving away. New boundaries. These may cause negative stress

Birth. Marriage. Blending Families. Making new friends at work, sports, hobbies etc. These may cause positive stress.

But when you are cut off completely from someone’s life, especially from someone where it is difficult to have a nice clean cut off because you share the same family members and friends, not only hurts and causes harm to the person being cut off, but it also harms and hurts the other family members.

It’s one thing to set boundaries and still have dignity and respect for the person regardless of HOW you feel about them. But when you can’t enjoy birthdays, holidays and other mile stone celebrations because you have been ostracized can have really negative effects on you and the people around you.

I will never understand why. Why is it so hard to talk through misunderstandings? Why is it difficult to swallow our pride and just love the people we don’t really seem to agree with, or like?

Even after all the apologies, all the open doors to make amends, what more can a person do?

I can understand cutting off abusive people in all shapes and sizes. I can understand cutting off people who use you. I can understand cutting off harmful and manipulative people. But when it’s done to you and you and there is no chance for reconciliation??? That’s rough!

In other words, as one psychologist wrote, “in less than grave scenarios our American love affair with the needs and rights of the individual conceals how much sorrow we create for those we leave behind. We may see cutting off family members as “courageous” rather than avoidant and selfish. We can convince ourselves that it’s better to go it alone than to do the work it takes to resolve conflict. Some problems may be unresolvable, but there are also relationships that don’t need to be lost forever.” (emphasis mine)

I am not saying that everyone should be best buddies, but we should be very careful and be more aware about the relationships we have, because more than likely, our individual relationships involves way more people than just the people who have been cut off, causing harm, sorrow, and hurt.

So when I feel the hurt and pain of this situation in my life, I mutter quietly to myself, “LIVE AND LET LIVE,” which to me means, I will live my life in peace, and allow others to live their life in peace, even when it hurts.

Love Always

A Year of Closures

When the world shut down a year ago I, like all the others, did not know the outcome of the future. Strolling through social media and you can tell that many of my friends were handling it in many different ways. Some were silent, some rolled up their sleeves and went to work helping others in need, others used humor and wit with their memes and posts. I have been spending a lot of time in self-reflection and dealing with some health issues- nothing serious, just enough to stop running and heal.

I don’t know why but the quarantine magnified my insecurities. Everything I thought I had under control somehow reared its ugly head. I felt inadequate. I felt alone. I felt that I was just not good enough. Remember my post on how bad I was feeling back in August? I love my blog for that reason alone. To express myself and let the world know that despite all those negative feelings I kept showing up.

The year of closure lead me to a new season of maturity. A year to close off all the insecurities that hold me back to be fully alive. In all the self-help work I did, I realized that self-insecurities is nothing more than another form of self-conceit. It keeps my focus on myself, and when I focus so closely on myself so much so that I cannot see past my own self, the world loses out because I hide in shame rather than live with love, joy and peace.

Everyone has insecurities. EVERYONE! It’s HOW we deal with them that matters. We can surrender to the temptation to keep feeling inadequate and unworthy- and coming from personal experience, it’s not a happy place to be. Or we can accept that we are in fact inadequate, but we choose to be present anyway. We keep doing what we are doing even when it feels rough.

Since August, I have showed up for my students to the best of my ability. I have showed up for my own kids to the best of my ability. I have showed up to my family and friends to the best of my ability. And that is all life requires from us. Nothing more and nothing less.

I’m ready for the new chapter! I’m ready to be who I am and to do what I can to uplift others, because when I am busy living a life that encourages and edifies others, there is no time to dwell in the insecurities that call out to us in that high pitch annoying voice, telling us all the ugly lies about ourselves.

The truth is that we are loved more than we can understand, and no matter how messy and awkward it may feel, we are called to share that love with others around us.

Let us close the door of last year- the year everything closed- and let us have “closure” from the past, and keep on keeping on.

Remember Love Always

Santa is coming to Taos

Throughout my Elementary School years we would perform a Christmas Pageant for our families and the community of Taos. Everyone who came had to sit in the old Enos Garcia Gymnasium on those old hard creaking bleachers. Mrs. Murphy, our music teacher, would have her students sit by grade level. Her piano sat in the edge of the sidelines. The children nervous and fidgety as everyone settles down and gets ready to hear the wonderment of their children perform the classic Christmas Carols. As soon as Mrs. Murphy stood up and began to talk in the microphone, we all knew to shut up and do as we practiced. I might add that we may have practiced more on sitting and standing in unison then singing… am I right?

It took weeks of practice to get the performance just right. Mrs. Murphy would spend time teaching 5-11 year olds all the Christmas Carols, God bless her soul! She would play the piano and we would do our best to harmonize and memorize the songs the best we could, because who knows what Hark the Harold Angels Sing means when your 7 years old?

My most vivid memory is walking to her music class and she would sit us all in a circle on the floor. She would play the songs for us that we were going to learn, and then assign some students to play instruments. I was so happy when I was selected to play the triangle. I had one little part… the one time I had to hit this triangle at the most opportune time of the song. It was a big deal. A huge responsibility! I think this is the first time I actually understood stage freight and excessive sweating in areas I shouldn’t have until puberty. You see, if I messed up the timing, the song would be ruined. It was for the song The 12 days of Christmas. So there were 12 of us who were the selected few- the elite- to make this song come alive! I did not want to give up my spot, so I played that triangle like nobody else before me. “DINGGGGG!” It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard! I should have been a professional triangle musician. Maybe I could have been part of big productions like Titanic or Star Wars– you never know.

Then Mrs. Murphy was having solo try outs. Not for instruments, mind you. Singing try outs. This was the mother of all tryouts- the American Idol before American Idol. Except Mrs. Murphy had the vote, not the audience. Try outs would be during recess. You know it was serious business if you had to give up your recess for anything, unless of course you got in trouble and had to stay in for “recess detention.” Which I know nothing about, by the way. Ahem. I love singing! I won’t do it in public, and I think it’s because my heart was broken that day when I did not make the cut on Mrs. Murphy’s American Idol. I may have cried a little in the girl’s bathroom, but at least I had the triangle.

My mom would dress me up super fancy for these pageants. There was this one dress that I still remember. In some ways, it made me feel like an angel. It was so exciting! Every boy and girl dressed up, hair combed, face washed and hands clean. Again, if you had to wash your face and hands for anything, that meant it was a big deal.

One year it snowed. Which wasn’t unusual in Taos during that time. This snow storm, however, dumped quite a bit of snow. I sat on the hard floor of that gymnasium and sang those Christmas Carols with all my heart, I wanted Mrs. Murphy to regret not picking me for a solo. We sang about Silent Nights, Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (with the funny little echoes to match), Santa Claus is Coming to TAOS (not town) Away in a Manger (what was a manger anyway), Deck the Halls (what in the world does that even mean), Frosty the Snowman, Joy to the World, Little Town of Bethlehem and every one’s favorite Feliz Navidad, who didn’t love shaking the maracas! Of course there are some of those songs you are not allowed to sing at a Public School, heck we can’t even say the word Christmas in some instances, but during that time, it was that pageant that gave the Christmas Spirit its joy and peace. It was a time for families to grin and come together and enjoy a little Christmas Cheer– To put away all the problems and disagreements and just enjoy a production that came from the heart of a teacher and the children.

At the conclusion of the pageant it was custom to pose and take pictures with our friends to record the moment. As we stepped outside this particular pageant, we entered a true Winter Wonderland! The snow on the ground went up past my ankles. As the snowflakes fell , the sky glowed orange. Each snowflake slowly floating down gave the whole town a peaceful aurora. The trees and mountains never looked more beautiful! I had to ride in my Pita’s and Grandma’s big truck that day. I sat on my grandma’s lap as Pita navigated the wet and slippery roads. Seatbelts were not necessarily a law that was enforced back then. Wow, I’m old! Apparently the new law took away my rights so in protest I sat on my grandma’s lap– kidding- had to throw that little political gem in. All I remember is looking out the window feeling so full of joy and peace and love. When I saw our little house on La Loma Street, covered with snow and smoke coming out of the chimney, there was a blanket of contentment that covered me that I could not explain until today.

Going home after the pageant meant a two week break from school. It meant making tamales, cooking posole and red chili. Baking biscochitos and Grandma’s famous rolls . Lighting luminarias and watching all those Christmas shows on T.V. when there were no pausing or recording them for later. Oh the anticipation!

To me those memories mean more to me than anything I can open under the tree. In fact, if you asked me what I got all those years ago, I can’t remember. Maybe a doll, some clothes, a game or two. Of course the one gift I will always remember, which I wrote about before. But what comes to mind when I think about Christmas’ past are the moments I shared with friends and family. What makes this time of year the best time of year is that we get to be with people who matter. Of course this year, no matter what this Christmas will look like, may look a little different, never the less, we should all take time to remember all the wonderful memories we have made. Not to rub in the fact that we might be missing out this year, but to remind us that we are truly blessed. Even if your past ones were not all warm and fuzzy, I definitely have some memories of the dysfunction of my family, but even then, I think, how wonderful it is to be alive!

The last I heard Mrs. Murphy passed away in 2013, but the gift she gave us was one that was priceless. I will still sing my little heart out even though I wasn’t selected for a solo, because I love singing, just not in public! I also love my people, and just like the pageant, my people are in my heart and mind bringing good tidings, joy and peace.

Love always

Due to the COVID 19 Pandemic am I unable to raid my parents photo album and upload the pictures that were taken during these pageants. My parents do not have a computer or internet to send me these precious moments of time. So if you happen to have been a part of these and have some pictures, please post or send them to me roxyjaecks@aol.com. I want to add them to this piece. Thank you!

Asking for Help

Parenting is not easy. Parenting in the 21st Century is not easy. Parenting during a Global Pandemic is fuckin hard!

Today something happened. I was sitting at my kitchen table just finishing up my 2nd period class when Kev walks in the kitchen and carelessly looks inside the fridge, as most hungry boys do and then walks over and glances inside the pantry. I can tell right away that he wanted my attention. I waited a bit, pretended I was busy on my computer. One of the attributes I have been trying to instill in this kid is being able to advocate for himself. I mean he’s 18 years old after all, which means he should be able to do such things right? At least that’s what all the “professionals” and our “well developed society” tells us. See, there is this magic spell that happens when someone turns 18. They rapidly become these responsible adults who have their lives all figured out. They know exactly what they want to do as a career, they never need assistance in “adulting” like making their appointments, paying all their bills, and of course making this world a better place since we screwed it up to begin with.

Anyway, he asked, “Mom, are you busy?” I looked over my computer and said, “I happen to be on my prep right now and then lunch so I have a few minutes. What’s up?”

I had him sit next to me and it happened.

He asked for helped.

He advocated for himself.

He admitted that he can’t do this thing called life on his own.

You see, he’s not doing so well with online school as a freshman at UNM. He doesn’t get to hang out with his peers or have access to the resources had he been able to live on campus. That’s right, he had to move back home thanks to good ol’ Rona. So now he’s stuck in his room trying to navigate online courses with nobody to really help, because let’s face it, when everyone in the household is busy doing their own thing; working, schooling, appointments and such, there just isn’t the time to do what is necessary to succeed. Does this scenario sound familiar to anyone else, or is it just my family?

I refuse to feel guilty anymore. I refuse to accept the reality that we push our children to have their life figured out by 18, 20, or 30. Hell, I was married and divorced at 19 years old!! Started having babies at 21 (not married by the way, tsk tsk) and changed my major/careers at least three times. My husband barely found a job he is satisfied with in his forties.

So as I sat and listened to my son, looking into his big brown eyes, tears forming, I knew this was the first step for him to finally get the help he truly needs. If you have followed and read my blog for a few years, you know that I haven’t held back with my struggles with my son. If you know me well, you know how much my heart aches for that kid to have a successful life that he feels good about. Notice that I didn’t mention happiness. With everything going on around us, I have come to believe that it is not our job to make anyone happy. Happiness is truly a state of attitude and not a state of circumstance. Parenting is definitely not about making our children “happy,” otherwise everyone will end up exhausted and disappointed.

Kevin was never a happy child. I tried so hard to make that kid happy. Let’s just say that we both ended up angry, confused, and hurt. So now as I try to navigate this new normal, and I am not just talking about the Pandemic, but the new normal of what it means to raise children in this world where anxiety, depression and self-harm is a way of life, it is important that I truly understand what is going on.

So what is going on? Our kids are struggling and we need to be there for them. Not to criticize that they should already know better, not to shame them because they make poor decisions, or live a life that is different than what we imagined when we knew of their existence.

The conversation that followed in my kitchen today- Kevin wanted help but he didn’t want the shame that came with it. He was afraid of what other people would think of him because he needed a little professional help. I did my best to comfort and encourage him to take that leap of faith and give it try. After all, I’ve been on anti-depressants for a few years now and have worked with a therapist to help me navigate the depression and anger that lingers in my soul. I do it shamelessly because of the difference it has made in my life. No one questions taking Tylenol when they have a headache, and no one questions the diabetic when they need to take insulin. We shouldn’t question the mental health of our fellow brothers and sisters.

You know what? Kevin is a good kid. I always knew he was a good kid and I believe he will be successful. Right now, we need to realize that our children are really hurting during this time. So much of the world around them doesn’t make sense and as much as we want to blame our political leaders, or stay in our anger of the situation we are in, it won’t do any good for our children.

We need to hold them and tell them– no– promise them, that it is going to be okay. Somehow or another, it will work out. Sometimes life doesn’t go as we planned, and sometimes we really struggle and life really sucks, but that doesn’t mean they suck. I tried to explain to Kevin that what he is going through is “okay.” It’s okay to fail, it’s okay to be unmotivated, it’s okay to be confused, and hurt. I tried to explain that if we were not in a Global Pandemic his experience of college would be dramatically different. He would be able to hang out with his peers who have walked before him and show him the way. He would be having fun going to college parties, meeting new friends and girls. He would be having study dates, going to football games, and playing his trumpet at Popejoy Hall.

See, we have a responsibility to our children, to help them help themselves. To give them the hard answers that life IS hard. But what makes our lives so meaningful are the relationships we have around us, those relationships that refuse to let us fall, that refuse to let us stay stuck, that refuse to allow anger and hurt to drive our depressions.

Let’s be kind, most of all, let’s just BE THERE for our children. Whatever that may look like is what it should look like. Doesn’t matter if your child is 6 or 18 or 21. They need you, whether you are their parent, relative, teacher or friend. If you know them, you know what they need, what they need to hear, and what should be done.

We are in this together so let us BE THERE for each other as we navigate this bullshit virus and win at this crazy game called life.

Love Always

Politics Begin with Me

When it comes to the world of politics it seems that we have replaced our own morals and values with that of righteous arrogance and dehumanizing other people.

I am just as tired as the next person and even discouraged with our own behavior when it comes to discussing politics. In some ways I am actually a bit terrified with the darkness that seems to be hovering around when I read comments and posts about our politics. For some reason we think it’s okay to berate, insult, and name call in the name of politics.

I get that we all have our own opinions about how our society should be ran. We all want lives that have meaning. fulfillment and enough money to live comfortably. We all want to have freedoms to express our rights and the rights for others. Yet, as soon as a decision is made in regards to something we don’t like, we spew out the insults and force feed our opinions onto others thinking it will somehow mend the differences.

Are we really going there? Are we really going to call our leaders “Idiots” because they have a different approach on how to deal with the current situation? Are we really cutting off relationships because of disagreements on issues that really don’t have anything to do with us individually?

Do we not teach our children not to name call? Do we not teach our children that we should be kind to others ESPECIALLY to those who are different than us? Do we not teach our children to work out disagreements by listening and understanding the other person, EVEN WHEN we don’t agree with them?

Why then is it okay to react in ways that are so childish- yet we hold higher standards of behavior for our children, when we ourselves can’t even live up to those standards.

Maybe we should stop and reflect on our own issues and find out why we are so angry and quick to insult and belittle our brothers and sisters.

It’s easy to write a blog post (ahem) or post on social media our opinions about our politic views without ever reaching out to the people we should be discussing these issues with. Do we email or write to our representative on how they should serve the people who voted for them? Do we participate in political protests? Do we go beyond the voting booth and actually volunteer at a shelter or adopt the unwanted baby?

How can we teach our future generation to be better when all we are showing them is that it is okay to throw tantrums by name calling, holding on to our own righteousness, and declare our ways higher than the other party?

It’s ironic how we want to live in a world where Black Lives Matter, LBGTQ have the same rights as straight people do, a world where EVERYONE has the right to pursue happiness. We do this by condemning the racist and shaking our fists, telling them they need to change, because we know that racism is wrong! Then with the same breath condemn the person who is not of the same political party, as if the other party is nothing more than a lower standard than our own. Hmmmm isn’t that the definition of racism?- to believe that certain people are below us due to the color of their skin? How are we blinded with acting in the same way with people who have different political views from us? Why is it so easy to dehumanize a person due to a “label” and feel justified to insult, berate and name call? Maybe we need to realize that there is another war going on- a war of Partyism- a war against worldview defenses and affective polarization.

Is not our mission here to remove all traces of bias, hostility prejudices, intolerance and hate from our world? I confess that I have tried to do so, not perfectly, and certainly not in my politics. I may have a beautiful life, but an ugly politics, all based on my own beliefs and values. And let’s face the truth- our beliefs systems are not always accurate.

Until we can entertain the thought that we could be wrong, until we can live out the Golden Rule to those of a different political party, until we can give kindness, mercy, love and peace to EVERYONE, will there be a nation we can all be proud of. That is the kind of politics I can stand for!

But let it begin with me!

Love Always

Let it Snow, Let it Be

It’s snowing outside. It’s October 26th and it’s snowing outside. Not just a sprinkle of powdered sugar dusted on the ground, it’s the kinda snow that weighs heavy when you try to sweep it off the sidewalk. It’s unusual for it to be snowing this much in the dry desert in the middle of October.

Then again, life has been a little unraveled these days. Wouldn’t you say? It’s unusual that an entire city, state, country and world to be going through so much at the same time. I mean, it’s okay when a person or family may be going through hard times, but when everyone you know and everywhere you turn are having a difficult time, it makes it difficult to cope.

2020 was suppose to be a BIG year for us. It was the year Kevin would graduate High School and go off to college. It was the year Avery would start Kindergarten and Stacy would be in her Senior year at Highlands.

2020 was suppose to be year of milestones. My mother-in-law planning her trip to Italy to celebrate a mile stone birthday. It was the year my dad decided to place my grandma in the Nursing Home because she was just getting too hard to take care of.

2020 was suppose to be a great year. Instead it became a year of loss, a year of cancellations.

I don’t know about you, but this time of shutdown has me really reflecting on the value of time and how precious life really is.

It’s ironic really. I mean I am really good at making up worst case scenarios in my head. If someone doesn’t text back in 33.5 seconds they are dead from a car crash. If we finally pay off one debt the transmission breaks and I am doomed to walk everywhere for the rest of my life. And what’s so ironic is that the plans I had for 2020 were nothing horrible. They were plans of prosperity and abundance. I didn’t think I would have to bury my grandma during a pandemic. I didn’t think I would have to drive my son in a parade to receive his diploma. I didn’t think he would be back home in his room taking online classes instead of living and having the time of his life at the college campus. And now we are doing our best to navigate online kindergarten. And teaching online was something I didn’t sign up for either.

Granted, I have a job. I have a house. I have food to eat. And the masses say, be grateful. I am. I am grateful. But I’m also hurting. Can someone do that? Can someone be grateful and hurt at the same time?

All I know is that what we are going through is hard.

It. Is. Fucking. Hard.

It’s not the shut down alone, that is so hard, oh no. It’s the fact that ON TOP OF the shut down we have to experience all the losses that this pandemic caused: Loved ones. Jobs. Money. Lifestyles. Marriages. Friendships. Community. Sports (to some degree). Eating out. Shopping. Travelling. Visiting. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few items. And so we are all experiencing loss and grief right now.

It’s hard to be supportive to others when you yourself also needs support. So then we end up suffering alone because we don’t want to burden anyone with our petty little problems when everyone else is going through so much.

If we could only put down our judgements for now and just be there for people.

But lo and behold. People still only care about their own agenda. They only seem to care about their political views. So the best thing to do is spread false news and fear like it was hot fresh Krispy Kreme Donuts.

Lately, I feel like I’m losing myself. I don’t know yet if that’s good or bad. I just know that I am in the middle of a process and it’s depressing me. I know I’m suppose to be hopeful and faithful and make the best of it, but it seems so much like the snow I am watching fall from bedroom window. Heavy. Beautiful. Hopeful. Peaceful, yet causes so much havoc. It’s unusual as this whole year has been, and much like the snow, we cannot control it. We can only let it be.

I do believe that a person can be grateful and hurt at the same time. In fact, that might be a sign of maturity or this shut down has officially caused me insanity.

Love Always

Certain Dates

There are certain dates that seem to trigger emotions in us. Today, for example, is my youngest daughter’s birthday. As much joy and excitement one can feel for a celebratory day, it also triggers sadness.

Avery’s birth story was one that changed relationships. I have written about it before, and although each year seems to get better, this one brings on a new kind of sadness with once again a newly defined relationship.

There is nothing more painful then when you have family members who want nothing to do with you and your family. In fact, I am confident that most of our pain in this world has to do with some kind of broken relationship.

Maybe it is for the best, but it doesn’t stop the pain. I’ll never understand why being right, or hurt, matters more than loving and forgiving. Think about that. Maybe we could all have better relationships if we could just love and forgive- let shit go and just get along.

I know- I’m starting to realize what an idealist I am. So instead of contemplating the “what could be” I will accept “what is” and celebrate someone’s life.

Life is the true gift and Love is the bread and water that makes life grow. And that’s why certain dates have more meaning than others- days of joy, days of sadness, days of healing, days of brokenness, days that trigger emotions in us.

Love Always

Does Anybody Care?

I’m struggling.

I don’t mean the typical struggle of everyday tasks and everyday problems… I’m really struggling. Struggling to know my place in this world. What and why I’m here. I don’t know if it’s because of the state of the world, or just the fact that this hovering feeling that something is isn’t right is suddenly surfacing, but I just don’t know how much longer I can really take it.

You see, it’s this constant fight, this conflict in my head, the voice that says I am not enough. Not smart enough, not funny enough, not pretty enough, not efficient enough, just never enough!!!

I am constantly feeling like I have to keep up this charade that I am okay and that I have it all together. I smile, I run, I say positive affirmations, when deep inside I want to cry. I want to yell. I want the noise to stop!

Suddenly the world feels so dark and empty and you can’t even hug your friends or see their face in real time that says they love you and that they are there for you. If they are, it’s distant. And when you finally get to see them, you have to pretend it’s all “good,” because it’s too awkward, too sensitive and too intimate to get real. Or maybe it’s just me….

I suppose when you are a wife, a mother, a teacher, a coach, a friend, the oldest daughter and sibling, there is this unspoken expectation to stay strong and be the light for others. And you know that people are looking up to you in certain ways, you want to be strong and somehow perfect, so that you feel important and big when in reality you are just a small human in a big sea of “what is supposed to be-” Lost in the waves of so many other people in the same boat- I’m “suppose to” look a certain way. I’m “suppose to” act a certain way, “I’m suppose to” believe the right beliefs. I’m “suppose to” hold it all together and do so with a smile and a twinkle in my eye.

Then when the flood gates open and you wonder if this is all there is, the darkest of all voices tell you, “Nobody really cares anyway.”

That is the end of the line isn’t it. When you believe nobody really cares. Sometimes I do wonder and I realize that I try really really hard to care, so that must be true for you and everyone else too, right? I wish that my caring would heal the world and make all our shortcomings go away, but it doesn’t. It’s hard when you let your heart bleed and then it bleeds, and bleeds, and bleeds, and you think, “maybe it’s worth it.” Then you feel so empty you just want to shout and ask, “Does anybody care?”

Love Always- Care Always

Let’s Take a Moment…

Let’s take a moment and just breathe. Let’s take a moment and think about all the good that is around you. Smell the air, feel the air fill your lungs and liberate your shoulders from all the heaviness it’s been carrying. It’s been a hard few months. And it looks like the road ahead is not going to be an easier.

It’s easy to focus on all the problems. It’s easy to let the problems eat us up. Before we know it we become annoyed, angry and anxious. How can we possibly get through the hard times if we are carrying so much negativity?

I sometimes wonder if the problems themselves are what eats us up, or is it our attitudes about the problems that really gives us the headaches, stomach pains, or panic attacks. I mean, yes, problems are hard and messy and we don’t want to deal with them- and that is precisely why problems are so tricky, because we don’t want to deal with them-we’d rather push them aside, ignore them, or find the easiest and most convenient path to rid of them so we can continue with our little life of luxury- or our little plans we have for our life.

I know this virus screwed up a lot of our plans. Hell, it had the worst timing. My son was denied a traditional high school graduation ceremony, it cancelled all of Spring Sports, summer vacations, and anything to do with summer plans, and now it threatens our school year- in which my youngest daughter may be denied a traditional start of her school career- who wants to start Kindergarten online? It also threatens my oldest daughter’s senior year of volleyball at Highlands. I may not be able see her play and I may not be able to coach Cross Country. I have already cancelled Student Council. Everything I had planned, and everything that I had hoped for, GONE!

No wonder there is so much resentment. No wonder there is so much depression. But what can we do? How do we face this? Anyone else feel helpless and pissed about the whole situation? After all, there are some moments in life that can’t be made up- that can’t be replaced.

It’s true, the virus has taken so much more than the lives it claimed and has caused so much havoc that our attitudes and mind sets may have taken a turn for the worst. We all want this to end and we all want to go back to the little lives we created for ourselves. I know that is true for me. I wish I could be in my classroom preparing for the first few weeks of school… the very same place I complained about because there was never enough time or resources to be truly efficient. The place where I sometimes felt the life suck out of me because I gave what I could with very little in return. The place where some people were difficult to deal with and at times and I would have to cry in the bathroom to let out all of the frustrations and hurt I carried….Now I would do anything to go back.

And isn’t life always mocking us in this way? Doesn’t life always have the last word, the final say, the lesson to be learned? Why do we continue to expect life to be easy? Shouldn’t we know better by now?

Yes, we need to take a moment and just breathe. Take a moment and be grateful for this time. Seriously! Be grateful! Let’s be thankful for all the small little joys that still exist. My son still graduated high school. My daughter is receiving a free college education because of volleyball. My youngest daughter gets to experience an education that many, and I do mean many, will not have.

I’m thankful for the family and friends in my life that have been there for me, in both the good and bad days. And isn’t that what true gratitude is all about? To be grateful not only for the good days, but also the bad. I mean, why should we only acknowledge the good in our life…. shouldn’t we say, “Hey, hard times are here, and it’s okay, and it’s going to be okay.” “I don’t know how or why we are going through this, but we will get through this.”

In other words, it is unfair of me to accept the good things from God (life, the universe, higher power) and sing with joy and then fight the bad things from God (life, the universe, higher power) and become bitter and indifferent. Sometimes courage and bravery isn’t always jumping in front of a moving train to save the world, sometimes it’s quietly submitting or surrendering to what God (life, the universe, higher power) has planned. I know it sounds counter-intuitive- because surrender sounds like defeat, or a crushing of your spirit, but by accepting the difficulties in your life and learning to trust God (life, the universe, higher power) while facing them is the greatest act of courage. The problem is that we don’t like to wait for the outcome, and sometimes we don’t like the outcome because it doesn’t fit in our little jar of good treasures, in other words, we didn’t get what we wanted, so we think trusting God (life, the universe, higher power) is useless.

All this to say, I’m sorry life sucks right now. I’m sorry that we are all going through a difficult time, and I’m sorry for the losses we all had to endure. But I believe that if we can take a moment, breathe in the air and be grateful for the circumstances that are beyond our control, we might be able to get through this with more kindness, love and empathy.

Love Always