January 19th, 2019

The Barn
The Barn

Today in North Idaho it is overcast with a high of 40°.  The attached photo is of an old barn that has been remodeled on the interior and is rented out for various uses.  I have been attended a wedding at this venue myself and that memory is most beloved.

I have taken many photos of this barn over the years.  However, this photo draws me in because at first glance it is cold, shaded and lacks detail. The air is chilly and still on this quiet morning while the world yawns and stretches getting ready for the day.  The snow appears crusted and the trees are sleeping that deep winter sleep.  Still my heart knows the grass beneath that snowy crust will be green and lush with children running here and there having gladly lost their shoes and socks.  The tress will be full and provide much needed shade from the summer heat.  The sun will shine high and warmly light all of the shadows and highlight the rustic architecture that brings so many people here to celebrate one of the most remembered moments in their lives.  Music, laughter and love live in this barn lying dormant until its doors are opened again.  I adore everything about these truths and how that speaks to my own heart.

The New Year has brought great change in my life.  My divorce papers signed makes a long and exhausting chapter shut.  And I find myself examining how I got here but not in this moment so much as how I have survived pain and abandonment in my life.  And this is what comes to me sharp, strong and with no little amount of fortitude:

Stand Up
Spread Your Feet
Stick Your Stance
Stand Your Ground
Shut The Door to Pain
Move Forward with Joy
Make Your Own Path
Be Better, More Determined, Stronger

When I look back I cherry pick how I got up instead of how I fell.  I try not to focus on who pushed me down, how I held myself down or failure.  I draw strength from overcoming that pain and that has become such a known characteristic of who I am as a person that I can move past negativity in its many forms.  Is it ever easy?  Am I moving forward at break neck speed?  Not at all.  But there is something about knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel that I can count on even when I’m in the middle of chaos and needing to reinvent myself.  There is joy there too!  I have such a great capacity for joy.  That great capacity coupled with the skill to evolve from the ashes is like magic!

So today I ask you to take a moment and recognize your own skills.  Know your own brand of magic and draw strength from it.  Brighten the winters in your life with the knowledge of your warmest light.

November 14th, 2018

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Today in North Idaho it is overcast with a high of 44°.  Bare feet fount the floors abrasive and were immediatly comforted by a warm pair of wool socks!

Yesterday I managed to remove the leaves in the front yard.  I love the large maple trees in the front yard; however, the leaves they produce are numerous!  I finally purchased a blower and now blow them into piles which makes the task of collecting them go a great deal faster!!

In preparation for winter I have collected all the hoses, lawn furniture, gardening equipment and outdoor pots and put them in the shed.  I also brought out the snowblower and shovel and placed them on the front deck.  I still need a bag of snow melt and then I”ll be finished preparing for cold weather. This is only my second year back in this home (The Nest) and I feel no small amount of pride in getting my place winter ready without help.  In general, the overall beauty of this home is that it is well within my power to care for and in fact make it more beautiful and homie.

Tomorrow I go back to work after two months off.  I am genuinly excited and looking forward to weekly continuity.  For the better part of my career life I have worked 8 to 5 with weekends off and I feel “normal” in that schedule.  This is the beginning of a new career for me after having gone back to school.  I have approximatly fifteen years before I can retire and I hope to do that in a career that I truly love and where I feel that I can be the best version of myself.   I believe I have found my place in cancer services and I feel truly blessed and grateful to wake up for work each day.

We have all had jobs where we have found ourselves feeling incomplete or unhappy in.  Some pay well and some do not but in the end it does not matter because you realize there is something else you are meant to be doing.  Some act on those feelings and some do not.  There is no way to say what is the right choice for each individual.  For me, the jounry has had its ups and downs.  I have doubted myself along the way however I kept moving forward.  I have made mistakes and conqured mountains and somehow found myself on the othere side of the original dream of obtraining a career that fills me.  I feel like every cliche I’ve ever read about following your dreams.  I feel like a warrior having returned victorious from battle.  I feel capable and whole and I’m read for whatever comes next.

Today I say to you that when you really want something in life you must do it your way and in the way you feel is necessary and correct.  Also, that your live may very well turn out in a way you did not foresee or plan for however they may turn out even better.  In the middle of your journey a road may present itself that you never had imagined and suddenly you know to the depths of your being that that road was the real reason you even started your journey.  You just didn’t know.  You had no way of knowing until you put your foot outside of your comfort zone.  Its okay to be afraid because change can be scary.  Its okay to be excited because it is also exciting.

Don’t be afraid to be afraid.  Make the best plan you can and follow your dreams.  You have one life and you should love it as much as humanly possible!!

November 5th, 2018

 

 

Today in North Idaho it is sunny with a high of 39°.  It has been rainy for the most part but the sun makes an appearance occasionally as it is now.  I am posting a couple of pictures of a pallet photo frame I’m making.  So easy and inexpensive.  Just the way I like it!!

I have spent the last couple of weeks settling back in at home and repainting my kitchen and living room.  Nothing like a fresh coat of paint to make your house feel clean and new!  I call my home The Nest.  It is the first house that I ever owned and which has been a rental for the past twelve years or so.  I moved back after my husband and I separated after twenty plus years of marriage. I could not manage the big house that we built and truly love The Nest where we raised our children and so being back in this home truly feeds my soul.  It feels like being in a place where hope and promise live and where every corner hold a memory of growth and love.

My home is located in N. Idaho just outside of a tourist town and close to walking trails, a restaurant, marina and lake. Just out of the daily hubbub in a very peaceful setting.  In fact, when my family first moved into this home our girls were very young and there were hardly any children to play with and the population was mostly comprised of elderly individuals that had lived here since they were children.  Now there is a big development right across the street from my house with million dollar waterfront homes and a flock of children playing in the streets daily.  How quickly things have change but not my little Nest!

Today I went on an Ellen binge.  Sometimes when I’m feeling unmotivated or low I’ll watch her past shows.  She makes me laugh and brings me up with her inspiring guests.  Her producer Andy had his annual scare at the haunted house last month!  He literally makes me laugh out loud and cry at the same time!  Where would this world be without Ellen Degeneres, I ask you??  She is the one person who constantly searches for ways to motivate her viewers to be better people and inspires them to love one another.  We just need to clone Ellen!  She is a real person who has a real and very public past both good and bad and has persevered with a kind heart!  Ellen is a perfect example for us all.

Tomorrow I’ll be moving into the spare bedroom and begin painting.  The weather is supposed to perk up a little and I’m hoping to collect my leaves before the snow falls.

Tomorrow I plan to leave a baggy with money in it in a random location with a note that reads “This is for you. Please enjoy this gift of kindness and don’t forget to pass on your own kindness when you can!”

Why…because someone may need warm socks…or a smile!  And because it feels good!

 

 

October 24th, 2018

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Today in North Idaho it is sunny with a high of 58°.  I am packed up and back on the road today heading out of Washington and back to North Idaho!  I will be taking a scenic route off of I5 and over to 20 through the Cascades. I’m hoping the weather holds out but I might run up against some fog.

It amazes me sometimes how my perspective can so quickly become tweaked. How a simple road trip can open my eyes and expand my heart. I imagine the lives of the people living in the towns I pass through. Some homes are so remote. What do they do for a living? Did they go to college? Do they work from home? Is there WiFi in these here parts?!?!  “Mow the lawn and find a tractor.”  And then the cities and the obvious loss of connection that the smaller towns can’t help but have.  The beautiful old architecture and massive manufacturing, a zillion shops, restaurants and pubs.  Different strokes for different folks.

How did I land in North Idaho?  Those little feet kept walking, my life had the same direction that all school children had in life.  After I graduated high school I married a man nine years my senior and went to college for stenography. I had my daughter shortly before I received my state CSR license. My mother had moved to North Idaho with her third husband about a year before I passed my exam and invited us to move up too. The area was beautiful so we packed our belongings and we went. My daughter was nine months old when we started life in North Idaho.  I must have sang Somewhere Out There from An American Tail a hundred times. Her favorite song and it kept her attention on the long drive!  The move was a big change. It was a new beginning.  Life was so full of promise and I’ll never regret moving to North Idaho and raising my daughter here.

My daughter has told me several times that she had a great childhood. I can’t begin to tell you the depth of peace that brings me. If I die tomorrow!  If I did nothing worth while with my life but give my daughter a happy childhood then I’m okay with that!! That is the only thing that has ever had my feet solidly placed on the ground. Her happiness was my only true purpose.

So know your purpose and fulfill it. It may take a life time!  It may be more than one thing!  Keep your focus because in the end everything else is just noise.

October 23rd, 2018

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Pallet Birdhouse DIY

 

Today in North Idaho it is sunny and 61 and from what I understand the weather in general has been wonderful for over a week. If you are located in a place where the summer forest fires bring in thick smoke then you will appreciate a few extra weeks of nice weather at the end of the summer in a seasonal area.  The last few years our summers have been downright miserable which is extra difficult when you have only a few months to be out on the lake. It is hard on tourism and local businesses. Also there are many hard working men and women firefighters away from their families and facing danger. Crossing my fingers that next summer is better.

Today I took a moment for a little DIY birdhouse project. I love repurposing pallets and birdhouses are easy, useful and quick.  People always love getting these little birdhouses and what bird doesn’t love a sweet little home!!

Joy comes in small packages! Just the smallest amount of effort can make all the difference.  I’ll give this gift to someone who will then gift me with a smile or a hug in return.

I make my future and so can you!

 

 

 

October 21st, 2018

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Today in North Idaho it is sunny with a high of 61°. My current location is starting out foggy again but promises sun later this afternoon.  I’ll be taking a trip to Mount Rainier National Park and will fill you in on that adventure tomorrow.

Today I want to talk about witnessing my mother being abused when I was a child.  The memory that came to me today was when I was in seventh grade.  My mother wanted to go out with her girlfriends and my step father would not let her take the car.  They fought often so hearing them yelling at each other was not out of the ordinary.  Looking back it seems to me that I would catch part of the fight, the yelling, and would stop what I was doing to see if it was going to last.  Time would stop while I waited for the ultimate escalation of events. Abusive langue, the crash of something being thrown or falling over, running or doors slamming.  My young mind racing with what may be happening.  When the event continued I would find myself on my feet walking towards them.  I needed to see but felt nervous and scared as to what I would find.  This time I rounding the corner of my bedroom and standing in my doorway watched my stepfather dragging my mother by her hair over a bicycle laying in the living room that was to be her source of transportation that night.  My mother had no clothes on and some part of the bike had caught her upper thigh and ripped it open.  I could see the blood, muscle and bone, my mother crying and trying to hold her leg together.  So much blood.  Her husband screaming “look what you made me do”.

My mother looked up and saw me looking on and told me to call the police.  I was literally paralyzed.  I stood there processing this scene until her voice slowly came to my attention.  I knew I needed to get to the phone. I knew I needed to move my body.  I could almost feel the location of the phone but could not move towards it.  I could also sense the location of my step father.  He was pacing and looking at my mother and looking at me.  He looked at me and said, “Don’t you dare touch that F’ing phone!”  I feel a wet warmth on my face.  I feel my feet start to move towards the phone. I feel him yank the phone from my hand and slam it back into the holder on the wall.  I see him storm into the bedroom and slam the door and scream out to my mother, “Don’t you come back when your pussy gets hungry.”  I’m unsure about the rest of that evening.

I have had a lot of counseling in my adult years.  I was diagnosed with PTSD and began EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy.  In this therapy I was taught how to watch a memory happen in third person which allows me to remember but not marinate in the trauma.  I highly recommend this process to anyone who has experienced any kind of trauma in their life.  It is not a cure, and I’m sure there any many other wonderful therapies out there, but this one was a gift for me.

In my opinion, one of the worst things we can do to ourselves is to allow our childhood to negatively affect our lives as adults.  I used to hold tight to those painful memories as well as the people that hurt me as a child.  The promise was that I would wait until I was old enough, until I was no longer a hostage, to return that pain.  However, the truth is; the way to get free is; the way to win your future is; simply let go.  It is so much harder than it sounds and yet truly so simple.  I just don’t hold space for those people who broke my trust, broke my heart or broke my spirit.  They did what they did for their reasons and to an innocent child with no way to protect herself.  Shame.On.Them.

The memories I have are part of me and always will be.  More importantly they are part of my toolbox that allows me to see others in a way that is unique to me.  I can spot that pain, comfort and offer direction to heal that pain in someone else. It is a gift not a burden.  It is the way I choose to use that very emotionally expensive education to better who I am today.  I can help others exercise their nurturing memories and release what will no doubt hold them back in their adult life.  I can teach them about Frankincense.

Today started with a memory I would not have chosen for myself.  Today I shared a little part of me and that is my gift to you.

Never Stop Learning about the world or yourself!  Our education often comes in different forms, different institutions and different people.  It doesn’t end when we graduate a program or receive a degree.  Strive to be a better person today than you were yesterday.  Always keep your feet on the ground~

 

October 15, 2018

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Today in North Idaho it is sunny with a high of 57°.  I will not return home for a couple of weeks unless I am called back to work, so today I am enjoying sunshine with a high of 65°.  It is nice to travel a short distance and experience a temperature change like this. I’ve lived in North Idaho long enough to appreciate the effects of the weather on the human spirit.  A few days mid winter in a sunny location will fix the doldrums every time.  Another fix is a weekly five to ten minute visit to a tanning bed. Say what you will about tanning beds but I have had years where I couldn’t get out of the area and to someplace warm, and short periodic trips to the tanning bed did the trick.  To each their own!

Today started out slow which is how I like it.  I showered and decided on no make up,  torn jeans, boots and a t-shirt.  I then discovered there was zero coffee in the house so I went for a short drive for a perfect cup of coffee and some ground coffee to go. I like to sit with coffee and pour out my thoughts.  The warmth of the liquid, the taste and smell all seem to motivate my drifting mind.  How many of us have created a sort of muscle memory response with coffee.  Normally we are swilling coffee while getting ready for work or while getting the kids ready for school.  Just that smell makes me think I should be doing something necessary!!  A perfect example of a certain smell and its attachment.  Maybe I should start carrying coffee beans AND Frankincense!!  Possible!

The area that I’m visiting has a pretty serious homeless population.  I always find myself wondering how they got to the point of living on the streets.  Of course the first logical thought is drugs.  I also know that mental health issues are another problem and that often drugs and mental health issues go hand in hand.  The homeless have no age discrimination.  I drove past a “tent city” and there was a twenty something and a sixty something sitting outside of a cluster of tents looking very dirty and tired. I consider their safety and health.  I consider what possibly lead up to this moment and if they are happy with that life.  I wonder why it is that I didn’t end up living a similar life.

It takes a village.  I lived with my grandparents from third grade to middle school.  I can truly say that they saved my life.  I came to them after living with my mother and her abuse boyfriend where I heard and saw more than a young child should.  I literally asked if I could go live with my grandparents when I was seven years old.  I knew the life I was living was not “normal” and I desperately wanted normal.  I remember sitting on the stairs listening to my mother through the wall and waiting for the right moment to ask.  When the time came she immediately agreed and a phone call was made the next day.  My grandparents wasted no time in collecting me and do not recall being upset or sad about leaving my mother’s house.  I remember being relieved and feeling safe.

My grandmother might not have realized what she got herself into in hindsight.  Though if she did it never showed.  She loved me unconditionally.  I didn’t sleep through the night when I first came to her.  I had night terrors.  Sit up in bed, scream at the top of my lungs, uncontrollable crying fits of terror.  My grandmother was up for the challenge with a slow patience that still boggles me today.  Slowly she would help me find the light switch.  Slowly she would lead me to the window to open it so fresh air would come in.  Softly she would whisper to me how much she loved me.  Fierce she would hold me until I went back to sleep.  All of this she would repeat more times than I can count and in that time she would save me over and over again until I could sleep through the night without ending up in her bed.  She was a walking talking miracle and she died without knowing this truth.

So my gift to you is to know your people.  The people who know your direction and keep you on a positive path with love and support.  You will always have work to do and surrounding yourself with the right people is key to your success.  Let them know right now!  Now is the time to let them know!