Ballroom Blitz- Wise project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

“To err is human, to forgive divine”

The following post is dedicated to a beautiful soul; my late husband Kirk. For years he has implored me to love more and judge less. I finally get it, it is a constant and life changing lesson.

I have a dirty little secret that I have never told anyone but I am about to share with all of you.

I turn into a completely different person when Ballroom Blitz comes on the radio. About four months after my husband passed away I was wandering aimlessly around the Superstore when Ballroom Blitz came booming from the sound system. For the past several months I had been holding my life together with double sided sticky tape and the good thoughts and prayers of the lovely people that never failed to support me during the darkest time of my life. Sure I laughed when something was funny and I was doing my best to put one foot in front of the other but that day was particularly dark.

I recognized the song in the first couple of bars and my left foot started to tap uncontrollably, followed my the unmistakable sway of my hips and that shoulder shimmy thing I do that makes my breasts move in a way that is illegal in some parts of the world. Without a conscious thought I grabbed a can of cheddar cheese soup and started pretending to sing into it ‘OOOH YEAH,” as I grooved through the aisle. I shimmied and I shook and I lost myself in wild abandon in that grocery store while strangers looked on in a mixture of confusion, judgment, amusement and quite possibly admiration. My limbs became one with the music; I was no longer in charge of anything. It was as if I the grieving widow was standing there quietly broken watching this badass, slightly crazy woman treat the grocery store aisle like the dance floor cage at her old small time haunt. I was in awe to be honest. Looking back it is likely in the top five of my most magnificent moments ever.

The song ended and I abruptly put down the soup can, smoothed out my polka dot dress and walked out of the store without looking back. I got in my truck and started driving as aimlessly as I had been wandering through the store and though monstrous tears spit out of my eyes and threatened to drown me I felt much lighter than I had in months, I felt a spark of my old self that if ignited could erupt into a full blown flame. It was a reassuring feeling. It felt like a promise that I was still in there, amongst the wreckage and if I kept digging I would emerge, bruised and bloody, but still fucking fabulous. Those people in that store that day, even if they repeat what they saw in late night conversations, over drinks, or around campfires will likely never know how important that four minutes of intemperance were for me. I abandoned my grief for four whole minutes and I was reminded that one day I would dance again, and sing, and laugh, and love. In four minutes I felt everything I was not able to feel for what seemed like a lifetime.

Their judgement, whatever it was didn’t matter, I pleaded with myself to not to fuel that fire. The only judgement that mattered in that moment was my own and I got to tell you that there was a little girl inside me shaking pomp oms and doing cart wheels.

I have found myself in the midst of many contemplative moments lately. I have been quite vocal that my late husband implored me to love more and judge less and that one thing alone has been nothing short of life changing. I try to be fair with people, I try to understand that humans err; I find myself frequently exploring the depths of forgiveness.

I am learning that there is a beautiful lesson in forgiveness, for both the person we forgive and the person we ask forgiveness of. We realize that we are not perfect and we shouldn’t ask that for that kind of perfection in others. We cannot claim to be attracted to the raw authenticity in people and then turn our backs when shit gets too real. There is something exquisite in seeing someone emerge from a mistake, owning the entire script of their life and working hard to write a better next chapter.

The thing that has struck me more than anything is that when I find myself sitting in judgment of others I am also forced to face my own shit and that is not always easy. It is however enlightening.

I realize that we are not always a victim or a product of the things that happen to us, but what we call into our lives and what we allow. We all have patterns, draws and habits and we are all perfectly imperfect. We are flawed, bruised, real…figuring this shit out as we go along. I find myself constantly reminding myself that when I dare to judge others that I better hold myself up for judgement as well and that is not always fun.

I have patterns of attraction that have been with me so long that I am reluctant to work on them. I feel that they are such a huge part of who I am so I struggle with what belongs and what is a security blanket for me.

My first step is owning that I am responsible for what I invite into my life. I have a pull to certain things that challenge me but also have the potential to hurt me and I wonder if I could ever be completely satisfied without that push/pull.

So much of my identity is wrapped up in the awareness that the people and experiences that have challenged me the most have also taught me the greatest lessons about life and about myself.

However, does this draw towards hard things mean that I am inviting difficult things into my life to avoid boredom?

The truth is I quite enjoy peace, and I quite enjoy being around people who expand my mind and fill me up without sucking away my energy. I can’t help wonder if I have been confusing things. I very adamantly told my friend that I had a healthy relationship with “hard stuff” because I knew that life would be hard, it is inevitable; and I was able to face the hard things head on. She gave me something huge to consider that has been nagging me, like a fly buzzing around my head for the past couple of months.

I can do hard things. I can face hard things. I am a badass. Do I want to? Should I need to? Am I provoking the universe? Am I asking for hard things to prove that I can keep conquering them?

It is not a bad thing to confront you, to question yourself and get to know yourself.

We spend way too much time with an eye on other judging what they are doing without considering what leads us to do the things we do. If we want to sit in the seat of the judge why are we so reluctant to turn our inquisitive minds to ourselves?

Sure, we judge ourselves right?! I am bad, I suck, I messed up, I could have done better, I will never be who I want to be…but how often to we consider the choices we make, why we make them and what would change if we genuinely believed that we were worth the world and made all of our decisions based on what was best for us.

We spend a great deal of time in our lives trying to find someone to spend our lives with and once we find that person we try to be right for that person but too often we forget how important it is to be that person to ourselves. You are the person you will spend the rest of your life with. Our journey in life is not about finding “the one”, the journey is about becoming “the one”

I believe that once we learn to love and accept ourselves and own our own bullshit everything else will fall into place just as it is supposed to.

It takes time and patience is a virtue, sadly not one of mine but I am working on that one too. I indisputably believe that we can all have the life that we were born to pursue, but it takes work and part of that is allowing ourselves to see and meet ourselves and others with love first, before judgement.

Not everyone belongs in our lives and I am careful to weed my garden of people that don’t add value to my life in some way, that is not selfish, that is self care. I am also learning that when someone hurts me, it is very unlikely that it has anything to do with who I am and everything to do with who they are in that moment. Good people do bad things; sometimes our gardens are not full of weeds, just unique flowers that need watering. We can judge them as bad and throw them away or we can show them a little love and see if they bloom.

Life is weird. We are all on a journey. We all have scars and bruises. The very best people I know are made from life’s lessons, emerged from struggle and stitched back together with love and forgiveness.

Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Once you are able to love yourself where you are and how you are you will be a lot more willing to meet people where they are on their journey. We are not the judge or the jury, we are the witnesses.

MERCY Wise Project 2018 #TenaciousTuesday

I wrote this post last summer when I was really angry, I was completely fired up, I was also hurt and sad which added together is not a healthy combination. I have gotten to a really good place and though I am human and get angry periodically I am trying really hard not to let the opinions of people that do not matter affect my life at all. I am publishing this post now and dedicating it to one of my best friends, Natasha, who was hacked on the weekend and a private photo of her was uploaded to her Facebook story. The moment I discovered it I was in a panic, I couldn’t decide whether to message her or call her and I was shaking. I started to imagine how she was going to feel when I told her and one of my first thoughts was “that could be me”

I read a post the other day that says sympathy is easy, we can have sympathy for starving children swatting away flies on late night infomercials because that comes from a position of power. Empathy is a little bit uncomfortable, empathy is getting down on your knees and looking someone else in the eye, and realizing that you could be them, and all that separates you is luck.

That is an eye opener. Love, compassion and empathy are things that the world desperately needs but often it is anger, fear and self righteousness that is projected instead. When we are angry we should use that feeling as a catalyst for change, if we hold unto it for too long we begin to pass that pain unto others and our world has enough pain.

My friend and I spent many hours on the phone cycling through all of the emotions together, luckily we even found some laughter. Not shockingly, there were some bullies that showed up to shit talk on the internet, completely forgetting about the skeletons that are not so neatly packed into their closets that could fall out at any moment. We had that moment of disbelief thinking, is this where we are all these years later, grown ups raising our own children and still kicking people when they are down. It made me angry and ashamed but mostly sad and then I thought what kind of shit are they holding onto that they constantly hurl it at others.

It made me do a lot of thinking about the small group of people that I am incredibly blessed to call my friends. People that are imperfect, flawed, beautifully real and I love their damn guts. These are the people that when I hurt they get down on their knees and extend their hand, they do not stand on my back and they do not kick me when I am down.

If I can encourage you to do one thing today it would be to let go of toxic anger and resentment and fill yourself with gratitude for the amazing people that connect with you from a place of love and compassion and have a little empathy for people and situations instead of immediately judging them.


Today I hate you.

The anger has rolled in and it is like a fire in my belly and if unleashed I swear it could take out the entire universe.

Anger is bad right?

I know what you are thinking, that I have reached the angry stage of grief and I am angry at Kirk. Angry that he left us behind, angry for all the crap we have to deal with, angry that all of our plans for the future are no more, angry for all the love we have to give but can’t!


I am not angry at Kirk, I am angry for Kirk and I am angry for me and my children and for every other person that suffers depression and cannot find the peace they deserve and for their families that suffer right along with them. I am also angry at the bankrupt morality of people who choose to pass their pain around and wreak havoc among those already suffering with your tactless gossip, poor judgement and bullshit opinions. FUCK YOU for perpetuating the stigmas surrounding mental illness. Fuck you and your superior, holier than though attitude. FUCK YOU for hurting others to avoid your own suffering. FUCK You for projecting your agony, your discomfort and your ignorance on loved ones when they are lost in grief.

It is very common when people are grieving, especially in tragic deaths; to assign blame, make assumptions and from what I am told from others that have experienced these sorts of things is that sometimes the people that you would least expect make complete asses out of themselves. It is troubling and can cause those grieving a great deal of added stress that they do not need. Anger is an emotion we all feel. It is the body’s reaction to loss or hurt or the threat of loss or hurt. When we carry around anger we risk feeling the damaging effects of resentment but we should find healthy outlets for releasing our anger that do not include redirecting hostility towards others.

Over the years I have worked hard to become a different person, to become less judgmental and more loving and accepting. Kirk taught me a lot about loving more and judging less. He had a big open heart like our sweet old dog Rocky.  However, without question the most important thing in his life was his family and if you hurt his family you were not worth his mercy. But alas, the soul rejoices in learning the lessons it already knows, and my soul knows that forgiveness is essential to moving forward. Assigning blame is for weak people and I am inherently strong.

Mercy is our salvation in life and I know more than anyone that to offer someone forgiveness is something that we do for ourselves. It doesn’t absolve the wrongdoer of their ghastly deeds but it does absolve us of carrying around stormy indignation and resentment for the rest of our lives. Anger, when used properly can be a positive and motivating emotion; but anger in the wrong hands can be dangerous. So here I am with a belly full of fierce and vehement anger, albeit justified, but what do I do with it? Do I shove it into that dark corner where we are taught to shove our pain and anger and put on a fake smile or do I find some way to use this anger constructively, to be motivated by it?

For the last several weeks this anger has messed with me, starting out as a bonfire in my belly until it raged into a beast I didn’t think I could control. I thought of how I would respond to any of the advice that I would give to a friend facing this sort of anger and I decided that whatever guidance or encouragement that I would have offered in a similar situation was actually shitty real world advice.

Realistically I know that it doesn’t matter. Why does the opinion of a couple people matter? The old saying “Those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind “, has ran through my head on repeat countless times, and if it was a thing instead of a phrase I would have delighted in crushing it with a sledgehammer.  Then I reminded myself that there are about 7 billion people in the world, I certainly cannot count that high. No matter who I am, no matter what I do, no matter how fantastic or shitty I am, no matter what I hold in my heart, no matter what I believe and what I choose to stand for, some of those 7 billion people will not like me, some of those people will actually hate me, but the monumental, massive majority will never, ever know or care that I am even alive.

Well that made me feel better for about two minutes.

Then I plotted revenge. When it has been weeks and anger still rages in you what is better than revenge? Revenge can be fun when you plot it in your head, mine always involves my enemies being publicly humiliated and I hope someone videotapes it and I cross my fingers that it goes viral.


Then the good angel on my shoulder reminds me that revenge would be passing my pain around like a hot potato (thanks Glennon Doyle Melton) for that analogy.  The good angel is yappy and she also reminds me about my late husband’s philosophy of love more and judge less. FUCK!! Does that really have to apply here?

Maybe the people that pass their hurt around are hurting really bad too and I should judge a little less and be loving and kind. Maturity really sucks.

Now I am reminded of all of those conversations Kirk and I have had with our kids over the years about how to handle it when someone hurts you. How we told them that the way someone treats them is not a reflection on them but a reflection of the person who treated them badly. Sometimes when people say mean things to you or about you;  you  can actually picture them looking in a mirror and saying those things directly to their own reflection. A well adjusted, happy, guiltless, blameless person would not reach out to project pain upon another. Often we are the victims of our own pain, fears, regrets and insecurities.

It is here that I hear the voice of our firecracker daughter Morgan in my ear “Well that doesn’t make it right!”

“No Morgan it does not make it right, but it doesn’t have to be our problem.”

When the girls were little and they had a bad day I would have them write down on a piece of paper all of the things that happened that sucked and we would read it together, chat about it and then crumple the paper up and throw it away.  We had then acknowledged it, accepted it and put it out of our energy.

I know that this is one of those times that I need to let the shit go. It is head trash. People need to be responsible for taking out their own garbage and not dumping it on others.

Now that I have said FUCK YOU several times I feel a bit better because curse words are fabulous conveyors of pent up emotion.

Now I will say “I forgive you”

I forgive you for me.


“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Mark Twain


The Shack/The Missy Project

The Shack

Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity

The Shack is not a book I would normally buy because it confronts the grief of a father (Mack) after the brutal murder of his young daughter. Having daughters it is a subject matter that I would normally back away from. I was with Haley at her School Book Fair and something drew me to it. I picked it up and put it down several times before deciding to take it home and spend an evening curled up reading.

The Shack confronts grief and heartache in a very real and relatable way. It explores the power of forgiveness, faith, hope, grace and love. It asks questions, it helps you seek and find answers, it shows you beauty and truth and for me reinforced some things that I believed to be true.

The Shack wrestles with the timeless question “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?”

I became absorbed in this book and I found that the answers that Mack was seeking were often to questions I had asked myself. It took me on a brilliant journey, both compelling and daring, shining a spotlight on things we all struggle with, our faith, our beliefs, our shortcomings…

From beginning to end it painted a vivid picture of human emotion. Sometimes wonderfully eloquent and others deceptive and ugly.

I was captivated, I cried, I was angry, I was justified, I was redeemed, I passed judgment in haste, and I was enlightened.

It is a book that will weave it’s way into your heart and fill up all the cold and empty spaces. I believe in one way or another it will have an impact on you. Powerfully clarifying and gracefully simple, if you read it, you will be changed.

I felt compelled to join the Missy Project to get the word out about this fascinating tale. If you have read let me know what you thought or give it a read and let me know.


The Shack/Missy project

Game Called life

Courtesy of

I had one of those days. Not only am I sick to death of Miley videos, jokes, references, tweets, and innuendo, as well as devastated by the events happening in Syria I have had my own personal struggles in the form of a hormonal teenage daughter, a truck that won’t start and a husband that is hours away for the next ten days. All things considered I know that I have it so much better than a lot of people. My husband may be away but he offered to drive home to my rescue. For those of you who know me, you are aware that as much as I may think I want to be rescued it would make me feel weak and needy. I have the most wonderful friends that jumped at the chance to come to my rescue and gave me something I didn’t even know I needed. A moment to breathe, to laugh, to share a glass of wine with friends. A moment to feel like it was OK to be something other then a wife and a mother. Sometimes I need to just be me. Also, my teenage daughter really is amazing. However, she is sometimes an emotional ball of hormones that she doesn’t quite know how to handle and we are trying so hard to navigate a neatly painted line somewhere in-between crying and screaming. I am trying hard to raise a smart, capable and accountable young lady in a world full of entitled youth of Generation “I”

Recently I have been faced with that all too familiar struggle of trying to split 200% of myself between all the things that matter in my life. When one thing requires more attention I seem to lose my balance and the balls I am juggling come crashing down. I stand tall against whatever I am faced with in life but sometimes I feel like I am inevitably going to fall.

I know that a lot of people feel how I am feeling right now. Wondering how they can be everything they need to be to the people in their lives and still have enough left over for themselves. I know how important it is to take time for myself. If I were to give advice to any of my friends I would most definitely tell them that they are the most important person in their lives and they need to make the time for themselves. Giving advice is always the easy part.

It has been fifteen months since I quit my job to stay at home. My biggest fear was losing myself, being insignificant and dependent. I think my family has absolutely benefited from me being home but often I feel I am spending way too much time trying to convince them that I am not a maid. I am an involved parent, sometimes to the point that I am not the wife I would like to be or a good friend to myself. I am still figuring it all out. I don’t strive for perfection, just quiet imperfection and happiness. I pray sometimes and I still wish on stars.

My goal is laugh more, to steal time for myself to do the things that are important to me, to say no to things that I don’t have time for and that add stress that I don’t need. I want to experience the moment without worry or anticipation of the next. I want to be present and accounted for in my own life. I want to learn from my mistakes without holding myself in constant judgment. I want to expect less of people but quietly encourage more. I want to abandon the idea of who I think I should be and be the person I know I can be. I want to love more, and forgive things that weigh me down.

Here I go….wish me luck as I continue to play my hand at this game called life!

P.S. I also need to make more time for wine!!

Game Called Life (The Big C Main Title) by Leftover Cuties

It’s so hard to turn your life over
Step out of your comfort zone
It’s so hard to choose one direction
When your future is unknown
Is this some kind of a joke, will someone wake me up soon?
And tell me this was just a game we played, called life.
Are we, are we all really slaves?
By the hands of ourselves
id I really make all of those mistakes?
Am I really getting older?Then why do I feel so lost?
Is this some kind of a joke, will someone wake me up soon?
And tell me this was just a game we played, called life.
And at the end of the road, is there someone waiting?
Do I get a medal for surviving this long?
Is this some kind of a joke, will someone wake me up soon?
And tell me this was just a game we played, called life.
Is this some kind of a joke, will someone wake me up soon?
And tell me this was just a game we played, called life.

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