I Am Busy ~ Maya Angelou Always Says It Best

I have been under the gun since returning home from The Great Escape. It’s always that way with vacations isn’t it? You get back to the bills and the laundry and the email and the meetings and for the first few days they seem to weigh a little heavier than normal until you adjust the burden to that comfortable place.

michelle pattersonYesterday morning on Michelle At Play radio show on dkrn.fm I had a wildly fabulous interview with Michelle Patterson from California Women’s Conference and womennetwork.com. Before I introduced her I read a poem, as I always do at the beginning of my show.

Because Michelle is an advocate for women, for support and for collaboration, I chose a poem fitting her role.

Today, because I am busy and because no matter how hard I try, I will never have the voice of Maya Angelou, I nod to her, and to yesterday’s show and to Michelle Patterson and to you, whoever you are:

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
maya angelouIt’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

The Price & Pleasure Of Your Hard Work

Yesterday afternoon the man-child and I spent more time than I’d originally thought necessary, packing, cleaning and closing up The Great Escape. What was originally a Fourth of July trip to the coast morphed into nearly 3 weeks of sun and sand. That didn’t suck. But there was the detritus left behind.

Over the course of those weeks we had adult children rotate through the house. We had a delightful and unexpected visit with friends from California and even Max spent several nights in Lincoln City. A vacation is a thing of beauty but an unexpectedly extended vacation is nothing short of delicious.

And then it comes to the end. And there’s clean-up to be done.

Yesterday, there was cleaning and packing and closing down the house. That’s a part of the

The Great Escape at it's cleanest.
The Great Escape at it’s cleanest.

deal too. It doesn’t matter how rich you are or how much leisure time you’re allotted when the party’s over, it’s over. Someone has to vacuum up the confetti. And yesterday it was me. Well, technically it was Chase.

It is not uncommon to have a house cleaner come in and clean up after us. But $125 seems like a lot of money to have someone else clean my toilets, and Chase was asking about his birthday present (he has expensive tastes, just let me say that) and it just didn’t sit right to me to pay for someone else to clean up my mess.

After almost 4 hours we were on our way. And what I felt besides a little hot and sweaty, was a feeling of accomplishment. I did a job I am proud of. It felt like a working meditation. It felt good to my soul.

It is sometimes hard to find peace and simple happiness in a very complicated world. A delicious vacation can be just the ticket. Time with family and friends will do the trick. And sometimes it takes some cleaning supplies and a mop.

It’s all good. It’s all valuable.

Like it, share, comment and tweet the hell out of it. And then go clean your bedroom like a good girl.

This Little Light Of Mine ~ Michelle Church

The matter of pleasing God is not an easy topic. It can be answered in as few religions as there are on the planet or as many people who currently call that planet home. While the answer can vary from person to person, at least the great religions agree on the basics.

Love others, serve others, modesty in thought and deed, do unto others…, honesty and this-little-lightfidelity. And I could go on. One item I keep in my “What I Know For Sure Box”, though I admit there are fewer items in this Box than some of the others, is that when we’re living in harmony with our beliefs, we shine. And when we shine, we not only bless the lives of others, but we give them permission to shine right along with us.

It is good when you succeed. It’s good when you flourish. You have every right to successes and appreciation, even accolades and money. All of those things are right and good and when you step into your own power and you wear the full beauty of everything you are, the wattage on the world turns up, more flowers grow, more sun shines through and the world is a better place.

We are sometimes taught that holding back, constant sacrifice and a serious countenance are the only ways into the Kingdom of God. But I propose to you that you, yes you, were specifically created to belly laugh and happy dance and wow people with your crazy skills and talents.

I submit to you that when you let it shine “like the top of the Chrysler Building” you are giving the world a much needed jolt of energy. And best of all, you are inspiring others to shine along with you.

Scripture tells us that we were created so that we might have joy. When we give ourselves over to that gift we’ll light up. And we’ll please God. And in doing so, perhaps we will someday become like Him. Even if it’s just a tiny, little bit.

Like, comment, tweet, share and shine, shine, shine.

I’m Inviting You To The Beach

I believe in indulgence. I believe in luxurious baths with exotic bath salts and smooth jazz. And candles. Lots of candles.  I believe in pedicures and truffles. The chocolate kind and the kind trained pigs snuffle out of the forests of Bohemia. No idea if that last part’s true, but just go with the feeling.

It is my affinity for indulgence that keeps me lingering here at the coast. The guest rooms are all empty and even Mr Dreamboat has headed into the valley to take care of things at the Young Family Ranch. Yet here I remain.

While my time at the coast is now quite indulgent, it wasn’t that many years ago that all trips to the beach involved paper sack lunches and plastic toys from the dollar store. I suspect each of my children could tell you stories of day trips to the coast complete with long rides back and forth in the same day in minivans and Suburbans including other families along for the adventure.

One of the things I remember so vividly from those summer days was the power of the women with whom I traveled, the strength we found in coming together.

It happened every time, someone would forget the sunscreen and have to borrow some one else’s. Lunch got left on the counter and picnic baskets were opened to share. I always had more confidence that we would have everything we needed when I traveled with other women. Someone pass the Bandaids and help yourself to our cooler of drinks and we’ll watch out for all the kids, for they each belong with our group.

While I stay at the beach in the comfort of my home, that feeling, that gift of community is the true indulgence. Rather, it is a blessing from God. When we come together, each of us sharing our gifts and knowing that when we are unified we have everything we need and more, we can have confidence that our journey will be amazing.

beach jumpI am headed off on a new adventure, my friends. I am beginning a new chapter in my life. And like those beach trips from yesteryear, I’ll try and bring everything I’ll need, but no doubt, one person can’t carry it all. I’m not worried. I’m traveling with my people, my tribe of women and together, we can travel all the way to the moon and back.

Everything you need is at your fingertips. It just might be that one of your sisters is carrying some of it for you.

Someone pass the Bandaids and help yourself to a drink and come on in, the water is luxurious.

Like it, share it, remember to comment about it and mark your calendars, we’re making history and you’re coming along for the ride!

I Have To Apologize About The Magic

Stories are powerful things. I am especially fond of stories about magic, but the fact of the matter, stories are magic. Stories that make good magic, creating dreams and building a new generation of heroes. Just as powerfully, stories can be dark magic, crushing people’s lives and germinating a generation of fear mongers.

The most powerful, magical stories are the ones we make up for ourselves. The real tragedy is that we don’t realize we’re the ones making up the stores. We’re the ones who are in control. We can tell ourselves scary stories, stories about bravery and stories that bring us to our knees with shame and fear.

It happens. We do it to ourselves all the time. And it’s time to take back your power.

Today I am taking back my power by realizing I’ve told myself a lie. The lie, was that I don’t have any friends, living out in the wilds on the Young Family Ranch & Zombie Apocalypse Retreat. I told myself my “people” don’t live out here. I said to myself that this was a time destined for reflection and isolation. And it was my story. And I created it. And it’s not true. And I apologize.

What is true is that we are blessed to be at the foot of the beautiful Mount Saint Helens. There is room to roam, a tree that inspires awe and incites contemplation of history. There are places for dogs to run, children to delight and even the most troubled soul to find a little peace and quiet.

And…

magic stories

I have people. I have people that are kind to me, offer to help. I have a friend who read a post and brought me a generous gift of the high quality paints of my heart because she knows I love them. That is friendship. I have beautiful views and opportunities to make more friends every day. And this story is true. I just didn’t realize it. I didn’t choose it.

Every day we make choices about our lives, not just physical choices, but perhaps even more importantly, we make emotional choices. We make choices about our stories. We make choices about what kind of magic we will practice.

I choose good magic. I opt for white magic with sparkles and magic wands. Which do you choose?

Like it, comment about it, tweet it and share, share, share the magic.

Ten Things I Know About Love

I am no expert on love. I do agree with the biblical accounts of it, “Love is patient… seeketh love treenot her own…”. But I have been married one time and it would be foolhardy and self-congratulatory to imagine that it is my talent to love that is the genesis of its success. Rather, I think it’s been dumb luck and persistence and quite of lot of forgiveness on Mr Dreamboat’s part.

But I know a few things. I know them yet I still struggle to master them and must constantly remind myself of them lest I become distracted and lose ground. Love is a “practice” like anything else. I don’t think it matters that we’ll never master it, only that we keep practicing:

  1. Love is not about influencing people to do what you want them to do.
  2. Conversely, when people don’t do what you want them to do it does not mean they don’t love you. It just means they are on their own path.
  3. Love is complicated and messy. Like childbirth. Only sometimes more painful.
  4. There are people that sometimes use love as a weapon. This never ends well so don’t be one of them.
  5. Many more people than you could ever imagine love you. I once met a complete stranger, whom, after just a few moments of conversation figured out our connection and informed me that she and her family had been praying for me and mine for months. Know that you are loved. Yes, you.
  6. If loved looked like the movies we wouldn’t go to them anymore, we’d be living them. Love, even the most romantic, rollercoaster ride of fantastic-ocity, is usually more like a comedy than anything else. Buckle up and be ready to laugh. If you’re not laughing at least some of the time, there might be a problem.
  7. The most love I have ever felt was when I was in pain. That’s how it works. We have to go to extremes to feel things extremely. That’s why we get to be grateful for our difficulties. Because there is always love in them.
  8. Pets are really good at teaching us love. It’s not brain surgery. It’s harder than brain surgery.
  9. The best way to love people is with your eyes closed, standing on the edge of an intimidating cliff and diving, head first, no expectations only a prayer that you’ll survive it. And you will  survive it.
  10. All love is successful, though sometimes it is transient, what you will learn from it, if you care to, will abide with you always.

Like it, share it, tweet and comment all about love, that’s how we make more of it.

On Deciding To Get My Tattoo ~ A Girl’s Dilemma

I’m just going to come right out and say it. I got a tattoo. I’ve thought about one for a long time, but social norms and parental obligations kept me from it. Also, it took nine, arduous months to decide on each of my children’s names, and then I knew they could change them if they chose to someday. How does one decide on a permanent piece of artwork on the ever changing body?

A tattoo is a thing that will last and last throughout our lives, difficult if not impossible to change. Permanent art in a life that is known for impermanence.

I stood in my bathroom looking at my body for what seemed like forever. I considered the options of placement. Do I go full out and ask everyone with whom I interact to view it? No. So the neck, forehead and face were out of the running. I’m making progress here.

There are places too saggy, if I’m being entirely honest, to put it on, so anything my dainties cover up is out. This leaves arms and legs for the most part.

I really struggled with placement but I’m telling you the topic of art was the worst. I mean, what could I possibly love, besides my people, forever? I was limited to eight choices and I loved all eight of them when I started but after a while I didn’t like any of them. But I was committed. I was doing this.

I finally decided on the real estate, eventually I pinpointed my art/message, the actual tattoo was quick and painless contrary to conventional experience.

I read the instructions. “Your body is a work of art. Let’s prepare the canvas. Be sure your skin is clean, dry and oil/lotion free.” It also said my tattoo would last anywhere from 2 to 10 days.

With a deep breath, letting go of preconceived notions about social expectations, I took a damp cloth and let the tattoo adhere to my skin. I like it. Well, at least I like it for 2 to 10 days. I’m sure of that.

Do you have a tattoo? Permanent or otherwise. Share your story! Comment, like, tweet and roll with it, baby!

I says, "There is light inside me."
It says, “There is light inside me.”

Suffering From Mental Illness? Get Over It!

When I was fairly young, say… somewhere around eleven or 12 years old, I was diagnosed with asthma. At 47 years old now, I’m pretty sure they lied to me about “growing out of it”, as I don’t wish to grow any more than I already have.

Like this only with an anchor added to it. Yeah, that's how it feels.
Like this only with an anchor added to it. Yeah, that’s how it feels.

Even at that young age I knew my emotions were often the triggers for this ailment. I would become so distressed over something, starting to babysit, giving a talk in church, something going on at home, that I would begin to wheeze. Regardless of the fact that even I  could see the link between my emotions and my health, to this day I don’t seem to have nearly the control over it I desire.

Over the years Mr Dreamboat and I have always made having insurance a priority. There were months we paid at the 11th hour in order to keep insurance we really couldn’t afford. During that time I have had probably tens of thousands of dollars in prescriptions. I’ve done alternative therapies including acupuncture and energy healing. I’ve changed my diet, I’ve exercised, I’ve taken supplements and purchased expensive panaceas. All to varying degrees of success. But never have I been able to “cure” myself.

Over the course of all those years and many trips to the emergency room (not recently, thankfully) no one has ever, ever, ever suggested I pull myself up by my bootstraps and get over it.

Never has a doctor told me to get more sunlight. No well-meaning, church lady has suggested I make more friends or get out of bed earlier or simply pretend like everything is okay. You know, “fake it til you make it.” Not once. Because when, historically, I’ve had an episode, you could hear me gasping for breath from a mile away.

I’ve probably lost more brain cells from lack of oxygen than I had to spare. The blue tone of my skin scared the emergency room staffs enough that I always felt like I had purchased the VIP package and received priority seating.

Why then, do people still suggest to those suffering with mental illness, those same ideas?

I have had the pleasure of clinical depression. And I did fake it and I did get more sunshine and yet, I was suffering. I suffered. I mean, I really, really suffered.

I was lucky to be supported by people who understood me, helped me seek support and mental-illness-not-contagiousultimately aided me as I climbed out of the temporary abyss from which I was incapable of leaving on my own.

Everyone should be so lucky. No. I mean it. Everyone should. Let us support those around us in ways that are helpful. If you need to, pretend they have an illness, like asthma, that you understand.

Everyone should be so lucky, so let’s be the luck for those around us.

Like it, share it, tweet, comment and say a prayer about it. I mean “like” the post, not depression and stuff. Nothing to like about that.

Radical Michelle Church ~ Be Not Afraid

I’ve talked about Jesus teaching radical acceptance. I’m sure I put a lot of people off with that statement, but I’m just telling you I fully buy it. We get so mired down in rules and regulations that we forget that Jesus’ list of top two “To Do’s” was to love God, and then, to love your fellow humans as much as you love yourself.

The part that sometimes eludes us, women like myself, people like myself, basically everyone, everywhere, is the part where we are counseled to love our neighbors like ourselves. We skip right over the part about how we should love ourselves.

I am certain the messages about service and “losing yourself” are all well intended. I’m equally convinced that there are deep truths within them, but in this age of extremism, we somehow lose sight of the basics.

Nowhere I am aware of does it say, “Serve until you are sick.” You cannot tell me there is a scripture that says when you’re so ill and sleep deprived, then you will be saved.

No. Just no. You’re not better or stronger or smarter or more lovable when you hurt yourself in an ill-begotten idea of service.

If the scriptures were written in our time there might be one that read, “Put thine own oxygen mask on first. If thou doest not help thyself, thou canst helpeth others.”

(I almost made it The Book Of Michelle and gave it a chapter and verse, but even I think that’s pushing it.)

I believe that before we understand how to love our “neighbor”, meaning anyone who is not us, is to first figure out how to care for ourselves. Mothers are better mothers as well as better examples, when they are all full up. Not the dreary wrung out dishrags of workaholic fame.

Fathers are better fathers when they take time and energy for themselves so that when they are with the family, they can give full on with every part of themselves, nothing holding back.

And it’s true for wives and husbands, friends and neighbors, strangers on the streets and acquaintances we’d like to know better. It is good for one, it is good for all.

When I know how to love myself, truly love, not indulge or justify, but to love with all my heart, radical self acceptance and whole hearted self care, then, and only then, will I be able to give myself wholly to those around me. To you, each of you.

If I were the kind of girl who gives homework, I’d give you some today. It’s not my work, it’s His. And it’s that you love yourself.

We can work on the rest of it once we get the first two down pat.

Don’t just like it, love it, share it, comment and tweet about it. And give yourself exactly what you need.

self-care-saying

You’d Be Willing To Gnaw Off Your Own Arm If It Were You

Perhaps the most frightening feeling in the entire world is when we are backed into a corner. Something about a lack of options sends me into a panic even if it’s something small. If I have absolutely no alternatives available to me, I start getting a little freaky. It’s like emotional claustrophobia. I feel anxious, maybe like a trapped animal. I consider chewing off my left front paw.

I like to think I’m a unique snowflake, but most of us feel that way to one degree or another. When we run out of options we become alarmed, pensive and even sulky. I get sulky. I admit it. We might even feel victimized, to the point we’re willing to start gnawing.

desperate times
Did I choose this because it was freaky? Yes. Yes, I did.

In a recent conversation, a friend was telling me about a bad/horrible situation at work. The boss’s behavior seemed truly tyrannical and the ensuing corporate culture suffocating and toxic. Ratchet the golden handcuffs on and snacking on your left wrist starts to sound delicious.

As the conversation continued, together we mapped out other possibilities. When you know you can walk out the door if you need, a situation drops from a nightmare directly to a simple irritation. The key is simply knowing you have options.  You’re not stuck

The human mind is a funny thing and many times there are options in front of us we just can’t see on our own. That’s when you bring in the big guns, phone a friend, hire a coach or light a fire and send smoke signals to your nearest relative. Anything’s better than throwing away a good hand. I can’t image trying to eat corn on the cob with just one mitt.

Like, share, comment, tweet and slather on the butter for two fisted eating.