Landslide-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Stevie Nicks

I was driving home from work yesterday and I caught myself singing along with Stevie Nicks on the radio. I kind of startled myself and not just because I have a terrible singing voice but because I was singing “happily”

The last several days had been grey and dingy and I had resigned myself to the fact that we had bypassed autumn all together and were going straight into a buckle down, bundle up Western winter. Then I noticed as I was belting out the line “Can I handle the seasons of my life? That it was sunny, the early snow was melting rapidly and some of the trees were still decorated with the red and golden leaves of fall.

I was a bit taken aback by how quickly I had accepted that fall had come to an abrupt end and that winter was here to stay. It was more than putting on boots and sweaters it was a mindset that I get into to prepare me for the days to come. Hello to the dark, the cold, the treacherous driving conditions, and a lot less sunlight.  Somehow my memory recalls that after I shovel and take off the layers of clothing that there will be cozy fires, warm drinks, soft blankets and good books.

I realized that as humans we handle the changes in seasons the way we do the seasons of our life.  I know that some of us hold onto the longing and regret that comes with change but I am trying my best to handle mine with grace and gratitude.

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When I think of the first hint of spring and the new buds on the trees I think of my transformation from a child into a teen. Everything was new and fresh and endless, from the buds on the trees to my blossoming bosom.

I think of summer as my early twenties when a day at the beach and making memories was more important than bills and responsibilities. With sunshine in the sky and a bikini on my bottom I was ready to take on the world. I think of fall as adulthood, when the days have a more structured routine, they  are abundant with color and rich with opportunity but the hint of winter is in the air, hanging over us like a threat, warning us that we need to be prepared for what may come. I liken the changing trees to our changing bodies, the look of youth leaving our faces. Our wisdom, our happiness, our fears and our worthiness all etched in the fine lines in the corners of our eyes and the edges of our minds.

I feel like the foreboding of winter lurks in the shadows always, we need to be ready and willing to change at a moments notice. Relationships, jobs and experiences are fleeting. Most people experience more than one job and one love in their lifetimes and without that willingness to change, to grow, to risk heartbreak, where would we be? Time makes us bolder, we have seen a lot of falls turn instantly into winter. We know when to bundle up and how to weather the storm.

Enjoy the seasons of your life and don’t spend your life awaiting the storm. Have your boots and your snow shovel in the closet and if the storm should come you will be ready and when it passes you can sip wine by the fire and sing Stevie Nicks tunes at the tops of your lungs. Summer is always just a memory away.



Learning to fly-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

A soul in tension that’s learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try

~ Pink Floyd, Learning to Fly

My husband always tells me I have a beautiful soul. He said if he could describe me in one word he would use sunny because I always try to bring the light and see the bright side. I do try to be careful about that when the darkness comes, when the demons of depression have their arms around him, because I know that sometimes looking on the brighter side of things is just not a choice for him the way it is for me. Also, nobody likes a Pollyanna. Pain matters, sadness is for a reason.  If we constantly brush off our pain and don’t allow ourselves to feel sadness we will dismiss the lessons that those feelings bring.

I asked him this morning if he thought that the intensity of our love for each other has to do with living through the dark days of depression and learning to solidly grasp unto the good times. He thinks our tendency to love each other so profoundly has more to do with us living a great deal of our lives separately due to work.  I think there are elements of both in the way we relate and he is certainly right that we spend too much time apart; this conversation took place over text from separate provinces.  It really is a challenge and a choice, at the best of times to live our lives “together” while living separate.

Over the years, a lot of our friends have seen us in a certain way, they see this deep and passionate love that they envy, they see a couple that laughs together at ridiculous things, dances cheek to cheek to classic ballads, makes each other handmade cards, and goes on romantic getaways at a moments notice. They don’t see the other side of that. There is loneliness and a sadness that is not portrayed in our social media feeds. If what you see is a couple that is unbreakable; that loves each other but disagrees on almost everything social, political, economic, parenting, morality…I could go on. A couple that carries the scars of our histories together and separately, and even though most wounds have healed the pain sometimes bubbles to the surface, a lingering pain that reminds us that we are alive, and that we feel.  A couple with longing and regret and struggle than just maybe you are seeing us. That is how we see us, as beautiful survivors.

I often wonder if other couples feel the same way. I have talked about the space and the distance that depression puts in between us.  It’s excruciating and strange and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I have woken up and had my husband looks right through me like I am a stranger and nothing hurts more. It never gets easier, but there are other times that even living and working provinces apart you couldn’t put a handkerchief in the space between us. We are fully engaged in each others lives, we fill each others spaces with light and hearts with love. We are lovers, friends, cheerleaders, champions.

My husband sent me a picture the other night and I wanted to touch his face so badly. When things are ‘normal” and I use that term loosely, there is a comfort and warmth between us that feels impenetrable. Do the rest of you feel that belonging?  Certain  you are where you are meant to be and you are safe and happy there?

Life is so goddamn weird, it really is.

In 2016 we talk a great deal about being authentic, being true to ourselves, being real. We talk a good talk as we post flawless selfies of ourselves sipping Starbucks lattes, on our beach vacations with the perfect Margarita, our bedhead and make-up free selfies that we primed and prepped the greater part of half an hour for. This realism, this credibility that we speak of has become a bit of a joke quite frankly and it incites comparison. I think there is a lot of unnecessary comparison among friends, family and co-workers. The way we portray our lives or better still perceive the lives of others can separate and segregate us.

I want to be genuine and to do that that I have to be honest.  I do my very best to stay in the light. I choose happiness at every opportunity and sometimes it is really friggin hard. Some days I would rather stay in my pajamas and eat chocolate bars and cry because adulting sucks. Some days I don’t feel that confident and I want to hide from the world’s judgmental eyes. We should start an honest movement that when challenged you have to post a selfie of what you are doing that very moment. “Dear World, this is me, I am sad today and too emotionally drained to make supper, I have managed to feed the dogs and cat, the kids are having Kraft Dinner and  I just polished off a 250 gram bag of sour cream and onion chips and a glass of cheap Merlot. I am now sad and bloated and I have a pimple.” hashtag #truth

We follow the unspoken rules of the world to be polite and go along with the crowd as to not rock the boat.  We proceed, like good little soldiers, one foot after the other, and left over right, heal, and toe. Smile, look pretty and never let them see you sweat. What a load of authentically revolting bullshit. When did we become so afraid to shine, to fly, to reach for the stars? Probably the same time we became afraid of being different, afraid of failing?   This is the reason why the world is  sadly lacking in original content. We are remaking movies and songs because everyone is afraid to step out of the box and present new ideas but people are buying memoirs as fast as fiction because we are craving something real and we desperately want to know that there are people out there that are just as fucked up as we are! It reminds me of the Dr. Seuss book “Good people don’t” It’s about farting. We all fart. We all love, we all struggle, and according to REM everybody hurts…sometimes.

Let the world know you fall, show them you have learned to get back up again, show the world that it can knock you down ten times and you will get up 11. Sometimes you will fight a losing battle, but if you keep fighting you will never fail. You are enough, you are more than a perfect selfie on a white sand beach, you are a warrior and sometimes warriors have pimples and messy hair. Some days are hard and some days the sun is on your face and the wind at your back. These are the days of your life, full of hope, full of wonder, full of struggle. Be grateful for your life, it is not a retouched photograph, it is real and honest. It is beautiful even when it is callous. The days full of sunshine make incredible memories; the darker days are full of lessons. Breathe it in, every bit of it, live your life, moment to moment. Today is a gift, tomorrow is gone, the future is uncertain. You have today, this very minute. Embrace it, and don’t be afraid to step out of line, fight your way out of the box,  and  be you!

xo Michelle

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”

~ Peter Pan

DISCLAIMER “A couple that carries the scars of our histories together and separately, and even though most wounds have healed the pain sometimes bubbles to the surface, a lingering pain that reminds us that we are alive, and that we feel.”

When I speak of wounds and scars I am speaking metaphorically, there has never been any physical aggression, wounds, scars or the like in my marriage.

Goodbye Stranger-W.I.S.E. project 2016

And I will go on shining
Shining like brand new
I’ll never look behind me
My troubles will be few

~ Supertramp

Since I wrote a post about my struggle with depression I feel like I have come out of the ‘proverbial’ closet. I feel like I have shed a skin, taken off a mask, exposed a deep dark secret and the heaviness that has gripped my heart for years has loosened significantly.

I felt like a bit of a fraud to be honest, always taking about happiness and how it is a choice that we make everyday  when some days I was shackled by fear and uncertainty, holding back tears, just like the rest of you.

I have always disliked it when people air their dirty laundry all over the internet but I do love good stories. The problem with a good story is to tell it authentically can be tricky because often our stories are so tightly woven around the stories of others  that it is hard to separate the two and sometimes people don’t want their stories told. Some people are fiercely private and others worry about being scrutinized if they allow their feelings to show. I am not among those people. I am more concerned about presenting a story that is not true, a story void of struggles and tears, a story where I breathe sunsets and piss rainbows. That is far removed from my story.

I know that for many people all they know of depression is what they have learned from movies and metaphors. It can almost look beautiful in the right light. It’s like seeing a stunning portrait in black and white. The entire feeling of the portrait would change if it was concluded in color. The great photographer Robert Frank once said, “Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.”

Imagining a torturous life, wrought with days void of color is not as beautiful.

I think all of our stories of struggle and fear are eerily similar but the problem is that we compare our truth to each others highlight reel. My Facebook story, my Instagram feed represents some very wonderful times in my life with some very wonderful people but it is very far removed from the whole story. These perfect images which scatter our feeds are a very tiny glimpse into the very best of peoples lives, they do not look into their hearts and souls. They should not give anyone the feeling that they are not enough, that everyone knows something that they don’t know and that they are living a better life.

Even though the depression I struggle with is not my own, even if the racing thoughts, the dread, the gloom, the fear, the anxiety, the love, the hate, the emptiness, the fear, the horror, the tragedy, the deceit, the betrayal  and chaos is not happening in my mind  it robs me just the same.

I have always been fiercely protective of my marriage, we have tackled some very hard times, often pulling ourselves up by the straps of our boots and starting over again, but there are days that my mind is plagued by doubt and sometimes the certainty I feel about the strength of our union betrays me. I have always affectionately described my marriage as enduring but this illness plants and waters seeds of uncertainty, delighting in their steadfast growth.

My marriage is like that black and white portrait, full of wondrous hope and agonizing despair. The human condition that plagues all of us. We live this life full of incredibly beautiful moments, moments of enduring love and friendship, moments of feeling safe and adored. There are moments that we are captivated with each other and excited for our future, but just as quickly as these moments envelope us in warmth and cheerfulness they can turn and smother us with panic and uncertainty.

Depression is a thief. It is a prowler that lurks around in the dark shadows of your mind and snuffs out the sunshine. It has a tenacious and heavy hand. It strengthens all of our fears and uneasiness and nourishes your insecurities. Occasionally it loosens its grip on us just enough to make us think that we are going to be ok. Randomly these times can be so intense that you feel like you are on top of the world looking down at all the sad stick figures walking around. Life is a precious gift and yours is the best. You are invincible. You radiate sunshine and rainbows. You are higher than Johnny Cash on a Sunday morning. You are sitting on top of the roller coaster. You have a great view and you are never coming down. Inevitably you do though…and it is a long way down. I want to be the parachute that breaks the fall for the one I love but how do I do that without getting knocked down?

Depression is a bumpy ride. I cannot make sense of it and though it dwells in my space I cannot imagine what it would feel like if it was living in me, if it invaded my mind and my thoughts from the inside.

We have made our way back to each other many times, through rain, snow, sleet, fog , we have traveled washed out roads slowly but surely to get back to that place where we feel safe and right together. I have always thought of safe as an everlasting feeling but in my experience it is a transient excitation at best. The seeds of uncertainty have rooted and grown making the thoroughfare a merciless trek, but we make it time and time again. For the in betweens are a precious gift.

We work tirelessly to tear down walls, to be vulnerable and convicted in our love for one another only to have our sentiments be obliterated, our affections conveyed as weaknesses by the monster that comes knocking periodically.

Sometimes I am scared and not scared to say that I am scared. I am scared to allow the person that I have loved for almost half my lifetime slip away and just as scared that my earnestness will push him away.

I am a lover, afraid that my love is no longer the answer or the question. It is a maze, a riddle, a puzzle with a missing piece.

There is this person I love more than anything in the world but over the years there are times it feels like there is a whole world growing in the space between us. It is hard in those times to remember that it won’t last, to keep fighting. From experience we know that our love can slay dragons, even the fire breathing monstrosity that is depression and that knowing keeps us rooted. We bounce back stronger and we learn. We try to stay in the light!

A belief in ourselves is at the very heart of this hope. For me, it is rooted in knowing that I am enough, that I am loved, that this beast can strip me of everything but my worthiness.

Sometimes fighting the beast makes me feel like a stranger in my own skin. Small and afraid, clinging to to the threads of a life I built to last. Recently I was on an online support group based out of the U.K. and this woman wrote in asking for help because she was struggling in her marriage and her husband suffers depression and he was pushing her away. She was scared and distraught. I felt compelled to write to her and it made me feel good. I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination but I can speak from a place of experience. It helped me and I hope it helped her. It made me want to be honest in the hopes that if even one person was suffering they would realize that they were not alone. It made me realize that my vitality, my unwillingness to give up, my willingness to choose and cultivate happiness every damn day, even on the days when the world feels dark and cold makes me pretty damn close to a super hero. We are all heroes in this big , heavy world and if you can’t be someone else’s you better be your own.



Hand in my pocket-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

They will not give us back the times we have lost battling them but what it will give me is the certainty that they cannot overtake me, they cannot take what is mine

What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine, fine, fine
‘Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five

~ Alanis Morrisette

I woke up this morning feeling well rested and I thought I can be anything I want to be today so I decided to be grateful. It is October, there is snow on the ground, it feels more like Christmas than autumn, my husband just went back to work in another province, my house is in the the “disastourous aftermath” stage of my busy week, my laptop is not working, I took my vitamins on an empty stomach and all I can taste is fish oil, my coffee is cold, my yogurt is warm and my day is passing by too quickly for my liking but  even still I am feeling incredibly blessed. 

It has been a difficult month but there have been some bright shiny moments that have reminded me of my resilience and the fact that the most important things can never be taken away from me. 

My beautiful friend Ashley @photoswithashley recently captured my strength and spirit in some photos she took for me to update my blog. She made me feel beautiful and brave. I was holding back tears that morning because I felt choked by the uncertainties of life and I was struggling to be in the present and remind myself that worry takes the joy out of today but not the troubles out of tomorrow. 

Ashley is not only good at her job but she is a fantastic person to be around. She radiates a positive energy and gives me that gentle reminder that my time is valuable and it is ok to spend it alone or choose to be around people that leave me feeling energizied not drained. 

I have been suffering the devastating effects of depression for the past 18 years and there are many times that I feel like I am walking around in circles beating my head off of walls. There are many times that I have had to scoop my crying carcus off the floor and press the reset button. There are times that I have felt like an empty shell of a person walking around in a body. 

The biggest problem with the depression is that I don’t understand it. Not from lack of trying. I have read a thousand and one books, I talk to people, I read psychology today and I frequent online support groups but I will never have all the answers. The depression lives with me, around me, wraps its strong arms around me as I lay down to bed. It doesn’t live in me though. It has not invaded my insides. Its demons try to smother me and make me insigificant but they can’t enter me. They live inside the person I love, screaming at him from the inside. They are there all the time! Sometimes he can keep them at bay, their voices are a dull consistent hum like a fan in the background waiting for the right time to strike. When he is overworked, stressed and weary those demons are lurking around in the shadows like thieves. Stealers of joy. You can’t drink them away, they love self medication, it helps them to prey on insecurities and construct inpenetratable walls of doubt. 

Unfortunately you cannot love away depression either. Not your own and not anyone elses. Somedays it is hard enough to be your own cheerleader so being someone elses can become tedious. 

A therapist told me recently that I had to focus on me. She didn’t want to talk about my love, she wanted to know about me, my support system, my hobbies, my frame of mind. 

I hated her. I didn’t want to talk about me. I wanted to help the person I love. I wasn’t willing to talk about anything but so I decided she sucked. 

It took me some time to realize that I did have to focus on me. I needed to be strong and realize that depression could not rob me of who I am. It can take my tears and multiply my insecuries and amplify my fears but at the very core if I am certain of who I am depression cannot take that from me. 

Those realizations will not cure my loved ones depression. They will not take away his childhood trauma, his fears, his doubts or his loneliness. They won’t take the lives of the demons but they will diminish their power over me. They will not give us back the times we have lost battling them but what it will give me is the certainty that they cannot overtake me, they cannot take what is mine. 

If I can take care of me in the darkness and in times of stife  if I can remember that the light is in me than I can be stronger and I can face anything.

In relationships there are times when your partner will need you to be strong. There are times you will need them to be strong. I think it is one of the most important parts of marriage in fact. Relationships are like navigating a ship only when the waters get rough and too much to bear you don’t let the Captain go down with the ship. You grab the wheel and you hold on tight because four hands are better than two. 

When you truly love someone you would no more judge their battle with depression than you would if they had a brain tumor. You would be strong for yourself because during the times that they use all of their energy to struggle through their days they cannot carry you or comfort away your fears. You need to set boundaries and lovingly encourage them to be healthy and get the best possible help to keep them in the light. Demons hate the light. 

Depression and Mental illness affect your friends, your loved ones and your neighbors. People often suffer in silense. It is an illness that well meaning loved ones pat you on the back and say “perk up” Nobody brings you a casserole or offers to pick up some things for you at the grocery store. Survivors and their loved ones don’t wear brightly colored ribbons to let you know that once again they survived, they made it through the darkness. Lets start a conversation, lets talk about mental illness. Lets support each other and let people know that they don’t have to suffer in silence. 

Fast Facts about Mental Illness

Who is affected?

  • Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
  • 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
  • Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
  • About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).

How common is it?

  • Schizophrenia affects 1% of the Canadian population.
  • Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.
  • Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16% among 25-44 year olds.
  • Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age.
  • The mortality rate due to suicide among men is four times the rate among women.

What causes it?

  • A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.
  • Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem.
  • Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community.
  • Mental illnesses can be treated effectively.

It looks like rain-W.I.S.E. Project

Happiness, mindful, marrige, October

Good morning!

Today was a good day or I guess yesterday was because its 5 am on the first day of October. No I don’t get up at 5 am I am still up.

My daughter played High School Football under the Friday night lights and the air was crisp. I got home and almost immediately crawled under my covers with a good book and dozed off but woke much later to chat with my husband. It is work to keep the flames of this long distance love affair with burning bright.

I would love to have a lady’s maid like in Downton Abbey to get me ready for bed. Dress me, turn down my sheets and brush my hair 100 strokes. She could bring me a  bedtime snack of hot tea and a biscuit that was really wine and nachos.We would laugh and carry on and she would fluff my pillow and tuck the covers up around my ears. However, I am neither rich nor royalty so I just yelled to my oldest daughter that I was cold and she brought me a sleeping back and threw it across me. She moved my book to tuck the sleeping bag around my ears but smashed me in the face with the zipper. My bedtime snack was a bottle of water. All things considered I am feeling pretty blessed even knowing that the only help I am getting to get dressed this morning is my day of the week underwear.

I am laying here listening to Buddy’s stomach making unusual noices, probably still digesting the box of pancake mix he and Rocky ravaged last night. Hubby and I were just on video chat discussing how we would love to have a nanny cam to see which one of the dogs is the actual instigator. Kirk is convinced that the cat is the badass leading them into temptation and then sitting pretty while they go down for their dirty deeds. It is just too bad that they couldn’t just fry up some bacon and eggs  but who knows if they would if they could. Dogs will eat a dirty diaper if given the opportunity so I am guessing they will always choose quick over quality.  Animals are so much fun though. They are always so excited to see you and they seem to know when you need a little extra love! I don’t get people who don’t get animals. The older I get the more I realize that I like animals better than most people and the people I do like love animals.

We were also discussing who we would have lunch with if we could pick any two celebrities. Kirk decided to skip lunch and go to the mountains sledding with Jann Arden and Rick Mercer. He would lead them in highmarking on his Artic Cat but he was pretty certain that Jann Arden would put Rick to shame. We used to spend a lot if late nights discussing hosting an All Canadian content radio station and Jann Arden would be our first guest. She is the epitomy of Canada’s musical sweetheart slash warrior slash funny lady. We have such fantastic ideas in the wee hours.  The thing I always adored about Rick and Jann together is that they are not just hillariously funny they are also smart. I admire people that can combine those two elements. I think I am ridulously funny when I recount fart and poop stories but sadly  there is no intelligence to my humor. I think we all can agree though that poop stories are so freaking funny.

I didn’t actually get to come up with my own plan because hubby was fresh off an 18 hour work day and when he gets enthusiastic it is hard to get a word in edgewise but its ok I am happy to hang at the ski chalet marinating steaks and testing the quality of the tequila for our esteemed guests.

My daughter is in the shower now heading to work the breakfast shift at McDs. I was planning to catch a couple more hours of sleep but I would forfeit it for a sausage and egg mcmuffin.

Today is going to be a fabulous day. It is the first day of the month which is a beginning and I love beginnings. It’s like having an empty canvas and paints in front of you, promise and opportunity abounds. It looks like rain. Rain will wash away any bad things left over from last month so we can start fresh.

I am going to put on my big girl Saturday panties and seize the day. My biggest goal this month is to be fully engaged in my life. To show up and be seen. I hope you do the same.

Be W.I.S.E. friends.

Round and round-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

I am just going to sit here for five minutes, if you talk to me please know that I am not listening

I know I keep saying it but I really love fall. I am just as sad as anyone when summer comes to an end, mostly because I know that the bitter cold of winter is right around the corner.

Fall I can appreciate. I like the cooler mornings and comfortable temperatures for sleeping in the evening; I love cardigans, homemade soup and hot drinks. I like the way the trees huddle together showing off their colors, proudly boasting stunning shades of gold, orange and red, and lightly dusting the landscape with a layer upon layer of vibrant color. My shade of lipstick changes, my clothes change, and my choice in foods change but the biggest change of all, one that I can never quite prepare for is the change in my sleep patterns.

Changes to temperature, the amount of sunlight we take in per day, atmospheric pressure, humidity and precipitation influence us in many ways, both positive and negative. For the last three weeks I have been struggling to get up and going but once I do I am happy to enjoy the rewards of a crisp autumn day. I feel grateful and fulfilled and I sail through my work days with plans to be productive in the evening only to be hit in the face with the three o’clock brain break.  So I struggle through my afternoons with tired eyes and big yawns. I am barely finding the energy to throw together meals for my family before putting on my jammies.  It’s hard to be productive when your brain is dormant from 3 pm onwards.

So I give in to the sweet promise of an early sleep, hoping for an early rise but repose is futile. My brain is lethargic, my body is already in a coma like state but something is compelling both of them to get up and move. So I lie there suspended somewhere between awake and dreaming, easy and agitated, tranquility and tempered.

When you go to bed exhausted expecting a soft fall into dreamland that ends up to be a fitful night of  restlessness, it is the equivalent of biting into a chocolate chip cookie only to find out that it is oatmeal raisin, the result is less than gratifying and quite frankly it leaves you a little pissed off.

Yesterday I dragged my tired ass out of bed and stumbled through my morning routine. The kids had made supper the previous evening and promised to clean up so I found the kitchen in shambles, which they refer to as spotless. I picked at the clutter for a bit and decided to leave it till after work and maybe it would be better. I lumbered through my day as sluggishly as the day before knowing that I had a bank appointment to sign papers, I had to drop books at the library and my youngest had voice lessons. I really just wanted to make it home in time to shower and change into comfy jammies and pour a glass of wine in time for Greys Anatomy. I talk about drinking wine a lot; I find the time to drink wine a lot less than I talk about.

I arrived in the bank in lots of time to be able to sign the papers, pick up Haley, run to the library and get Haley to lessons on time. I waited in line at the bank which seemed to take forever and a day. Clearly some people have not discovered online banking. The teller was super pleasant and went on an unsuccessful hunt for my papers. She could not find them and consulted everyone in the building before a kind lady took over and informed me that the papers were at my bank branch 20 minutes away. Why in the world would I have thought I could walk into any branch and sign the papers is beyond me. This branch was close and convenient for me and my brain was already two hours into break. I think the kind lady could tell that I was frazzled and that I my day was a succession of going round and round and stifling yawns. She was able to help me from that branch and I was able to continue on with the rest of my responsibilities on time and they only thing I had to give up was peeing and brushing my teeth. That seemed to buy me some extra time and on the way to lessons and I was able to stop and pick up my very first pumpkin spice latte of the season.

I read a little at lessons and on the way home my daughter was full of stories from welcome week at Junior High. I still have a hard time believing she is now a Junior High student. In my head she is still eight years old. She was talking away and not even breathing in between and I sort of zoned out. I went on a little vacation. In my head I was still and quiet. Then I hear “Mommy, Mom, Mommy…are you there? Why are you not talking? I am talking and talking and talking and you are not saying anything.” I needed to figuratively splash cold water on my face and re-engage. We talked about school and the birthday party she is going to on Saturday and her friend that is a boy but not her boyfriend that she would be upset if any of her friends dated him but only because it would be weird not because she likes him that way even though his name comes up constantly and she thinks he is so funny!

It was late so we picked up Subway as we had a two for one coupon. We got home and the dogs met us at the door, Rocky’s black fur was full of White powder, he had cardboard hanging out of his mouth and Buddy was walking around in circles and hanging his head, the pantry door was wide open and the remnants of Aunt Jemima Pancake mix and an empty box of Trix was on the living room floor. I was so mad but all I could think of was “Silly dogs, Twix are for kids!”

As annoyed as I get with them I love them to pieces and I feel like they are just kids faced with temptation. Like when I was a kid and my mom would bake cookies and tell us we couldn’t have any till later and then she would find the cookie container half empty and at least one of us kids with traces of chocolate on their face. I also like to believe that the dogs love me so much that if they could clean up they really would. I wouldn’t have to tell them the same things over and over.

I gave my oldest daughter grief about leaving the dogs in the house when she left and leaving the panty door open, she quickly informed me that it must have been her sisters fault and recounted to me how she had already cleaned up the garbage they got into. I noted the garbage that was stuffed back into the container so full that the lid would not even latch. More temptation for the dogs, like sitting me at an all you can eat buffet and telling me I can only look.

Nobody would think to change that garbage and nobody had fed the dogs, or the cat, or picked up their laundry off the bathroom floor, or wiped off the stove they cooked on or cleaned the tomato sauce they dropped off the tiles in the kitchen. But alas, I am too tired to even argue so I wiped up the tomato sauce, cleaned off the stove, tidied the counters and  ignore the wisps of dog fur that have collected around chairs and table legs and in every visible and invisible nook and cranny. I pour myself the glass of red I have been promising myself for a month and mentally prepared to go round and round again tomorrow.

I am not going to lie, September was a difficult month for me, but I kept trying and in that there is no failure.

Be W.I.S.E. friends. .

Take the long way home-W.I.S.E. Project

Love and compassion for yourself are necessities

September is always a month where I feel like I am rushing. Summer has faded into fall, the kids are back in school and their activities have commenced, they expect to be fed at a decent hour every night and I am feeling tired. My husband has been working away for about 80 days now (but who is counting) and he is in a different time zone which presents its own challenges. There is that added struggle to stay connected when we cannot see each other face to face. It is very easy to get wrapped up in our own day to day and not realize that one of our most important relationships,  one that should take precedence, is in distress.


All marriages struggle through the day to day occasionally but there is an added burden placed on long distance relationships as the calamity of estrangement intrudes on the comfort of our kinship and robs from us the luxury of treasured time. Simple things that we take for granted like good morning hugs and bedtime kisses are now moments that we need to squeeze into our schedule sometime between this and that and their offering is now significantly altered.

I have always faced the crushing reality that although I am constantly seeking that balance between being a wife, mother, a woman and an employee; when I am excelling in one area I am most likely dropping the ball in another.When I realize that I have missed something, that something or someone craves more of my attention, I become so fixated on that shortcoming that I lose sight of my most important priority…myself.

I know that I cannot pour from an empty cup yet time after time I neglect to fill my own up first. This time, when the alarm sounded I initially fell into my regular pattern but quickly realized that yes people need me, but I am no good to them unless I am first good to me.

So I took the long way home. I had a relaxing 90 minute float at Floatique, I stopped at the lake to take in the colors of the changing landscape, I got my hair done, I read books, I mediated more, I met a friend to catch up, I took a course and I went to bed right after supper, just to be still. I made sure that “I” mattered. I filled my cup up first so that I had enough to share with the people that matter the most in my life. Loving yourself is not selfish, it is a necessity. How can we expect for others to love us and make us a priority if we cannot even do that for ourselves?

The W.I.S.E. principles for September were not something that I actively focused on but they definitely played a part in altering my path this month. I made my wellness a priority, I made steps to improve not only my knowledge but the way I respond to discomfort, I made an effort to savor in facile delights such as quiet unhurried moments and I put a real effort into realizing what it takes to feel the way I want to feel and how important it is to pursue that. I will always be a giver, it is in part of my temperament, but I need to give back to myself as much as I take.


For October the W.I.S.E. Principles are whole, involved, spirit and engaged. I simply want to be fully engaged in my life, mind, body and spirit and continue to be mindful of taking care of myself so that I can be of value to others. I encourage all of you to do the same.

Be W.I.S.E. friends.