Monthly Archives: February 2015

Making A Scene At The Blood Donation Center

I was simultaneously repelled and curious. Were I a more evolved human being I would have leaned more firmly toward the curious side, letting repulsion and therefore judgment take a backseat, or even stay in the trunk.

Overriding dislike overwhelmed me on Wednesday at the Red Cross Blood Donation Center. I had finally succumbed to the needy phone calls and pleas to save lives and such and as I sat in the font area filling out and reading what resembled the depth of War & Peace, I was absorbed in all sorts of judgment and feelings.

As I sat there, wondering if all that Red Cross wooing would end up in rejection (Yes, I have been out of the country at some point in my life), a man started yelling at the nurses and attendants.

“No! I’m NOT comfortable with that!” He bellowed, “Why can’t my daughter come in with me?”

“I don’t understand why you won’t let her stay with me!”

On and on he went.

The staff tried to comfort him, explaining that no one is allowed in while you answer personal and inflammatory questions. And finally he acquiesced, shutting the door to the little office with a meaningful, “Harumph!”

I didn’t say anything. I didn’t give the nurses meaningful looks of understanding. I was just ever so slightly disgusted.

It is people like him, I like to think of him as Angry Man With A Daughter Who Looks Like His Granddaughter, who set the bar so very, very low for the rest of us. I mean, why you gotta be so cranky, AMWADWLLHG?

But I am not one to sit back and simply observe. I saw it as an opportunity to be the favorite blood donor of the hour and continued doing things like being pleasant, respectful and when something bothered or concerned me, I asked questions rather than get angry.

You can imagine I was feeling pretty proud of myself, being all civil and stuff, when I realized it was time to slap my overactive ego down. No one should get an award, even in their ridiculous imagination, simply for being polite.

blood donationAnd I started thinking about Angry Man. And I got curious. I wondered about his anxiety level, what else might be going on in his life and I thought he’s probably a good dad, taking his daughter with him on an important errand.

I started having those thoughts and I put Ego back in the trunk where she belongs.

It is a hard road we travelers journey. It’s important to be patient and kind, and it is equally important to be curious when someone is pushed past their limits and crosses over into cranky and hateful.

Let us love and be kind and let this be the prevailing tenet of our individual religions always. And let us give blood… That is, if they’ll let us.

Like, share, comment, tweet and give cranky people a hug. They need it, or it will annoy them. Both are wins.

A Guide To The Rollercoaster Ride Of Parenting ~ A List Of Ten Things

Last night I could not sleep for concern over my kids. That said, my children, like yours, bring me a great deal of joy. As I look back over the time I’ve had with them, more than 26 years in all, I can see more than a few things they’ve taught me.

Here I present to you ten of them:

1. As much as Jr. may or may not look like you, Jr. is not you and Jr. does not want to be you. Give the kid some space and don’t take his divergence from you so seriously. In fact, celebrate it.
2. Your children are going to get beaten up by life. No matter the quality of your parenting, bad stuff will happen on your watch. It’s terrifying, but it’s true. That said, we would not be turning out the excellent products we do without them learning that life is a roller coaster. Sure you’ll mourn this fact, but celebrate it too.
3. If you suffer with your children, who will be there to comfort them? Have empathy, but have faith that they can handle the mishaps of life, and then put your oxygen mask on first. You know what I’m saying here. Do. It.
4. As cute as that little button is when they first arrive in your arms, be assured this is not always going to be easy and it’s not going to be pretty. In fact, the birthing process is quite possibly the tranquil part.
5. Parenting will teach you that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. As clear as the path may seem to you, when Jr. strays from it, it’s not the end of the world. There are many paths but one destination. Yeah, I just said that. And I’m not sorry.
6. It is completely unwise to believe you are going to be best friends while you raise them. Someone has to be in charge and it better be you. Letting children rule the roost is not fair to them or the people sitting by you at the restaurant. Take charge and people will like your little peanut a whole lot more. This is good for self-esteem. Yours and theirs.
7. It is said that having a child is like cutting your heart out and letting it walk around in the world without you. I concur. This job takes guts and it’s better to know now that you will have your heart broken a number of times. But it will heal too.
8. If you are willing, you will learn more from the wisdom of your children than you ever thought possible. As they grow up, they will teach you marvelous things. Make sure and pay attention.
9. Good parenting involves quite a lot of faith in very young human beings. When we extend our faith to our children, faith that they are brave enough, smart enough and strong enough to be successful in this world, almost without exception they will prove us right. But first you must extend and communicate faith.
10. And if you put in all the particular ingredients required in the recipe of your family, when you’re done raising them, or even mostly done, you can be best friends then. And THAT is the big payday. And grandchildren. They’re a big payday too.

Like, share, comment, tweet and may god have mercy on every parent’s soul.

This Is Not A Blog Post ~ It Is A Call To Action

This is not a blog post, it is a call to excellence. It is not my stories, it is an opportunity to write a better story for yourself. This is not a blog post, it is a magic carpet ride, a recipe for juicy living, it’s a call to action.

And I am calling you.

Every month we start a new, 12-week Dream Building course. Attendees come from all over north America, joining in virtually. We absorb our worthiness and we take the next steps, the baby steps that ultimately get us to the top of the mountain. Steps that help you reach your own persnal goals in a very methodical way.

This is your call to make your life excellent. If it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning, if one day looks suspiciously similar to the day before, join us for our March class and feel almost instant relief.

Revolutionize your life by taking surprisingly simple steps with Michelle At Play. Money back guarantee, Moonstruck Chocolate is our official mascot, Play is our official pastime.

Call or text directly with Michelle at: 503-957-0821, email or comment below.

This is not a blog post, it is your wake up call. Hello? Hello! Are you ready to arise and embrace the day?

(Not sure what you’re ready for? Message me for a 30 minute Discovery session, a $297 value, free to you, just because you’re reading me.)

Hollywood Can Suck It

Hollywood turned out in all its pageantry and plumage on Sunday evening and if you’re like the rest of us, you tuned in to see the beautiful people on display. There’s no shame in it. Who amongst us isn’t guilty of the joy of voyeurism with the rich and famous?

As much as I like it, I missed the best parts, the opening act and even some of the main awards. But for good reason.

Top on my list was the grandson who, upon mastering no small portion of the English language, can convince me to drop everything and give him exactly what he wants.

Our conversation went something like this:

Most Adorable Thing To Ever Happen To Me: “YaYa. Go park.”
Me: “Do you want to go to the park, Pierson?”

And so we skipped the estimable Neil Patrick Harris and we went to the park. Because it was way cooler than Neil Patrick Harris regardless of his inspiring abs and pleasing vocals.

Hollywood is a land of pageantry and plumage, and it is a mirage. It promises water and sanctuary but it is nothing more than a diversion, worthy at times and at others nothing but a serious distraction from the things that really matter.

The things that really matter include, but are certainly not limited to:

• Living your dreams (even just baby dreams)
• Time with people you love
• Quality time with yourself and
• Time doing the things that light you up
• Feeling beautiful
• Being beautiful
• Living a beautiful life in exactly the way you find beautiful
• Loving
• Giving
• Serving and
• “Showing up” as your best self
• Walking the red carpet of your life every day by
• Being lovely in all the important ways

I take no issue with diversions. They are good for the soul. But believing in Hollywood and all that it sells and worse still, allowing it to suck away our lives like they aren’t worth that of the Hollywood preening and primped would be the gravest of tragedies.

In the immortal words of the character played by Eli Wallach in The Holiday, “I can tell you’re a leading lady but for some reason you keep acting like the best friend.”

Let’s not do that, okay?

Like, share, comment, tweet and pull those shoulders back and act like you own it.

A Flood Is Good For Perspective

Years ago when my husband was out of town, as it seemed he often was when things went awry, there was a terrible flood at one of our projects and I was left to deal with it alone.

We were renovating a house and someone had turned the water to the home back on without checking first to see if the plumbing fixtures had been replaced. They hadn’t.

Late that afternoon I received a call telling me our contractor was out of town and the house would sustain serious damage without immediate intervention. Translation, put on your wading boots, sister, and take care of business.

After buying a shop vac I headed over to the property and with not a small amount of sweat and tears, the flood waters were cleared enough that the floors could dry and damage was averted.

It wasn’t my favorite project, that’s for sure, but I was pretty proud of myself that evening when I regaled my husband with stories of my heroism. It’s likely I drew the stories out, telling him the details of vacuuming, carrying the water down the stairs and outside to the lawn only to trudge back up the stairs again and begin the process all over.

“I must have gone up and down those stairs dozens of times,” I bragged to him.

We’ve been married a lot of years and the man is no dummy. He generously praised me for the work I’d done and the thousands of dollars I’d saved our family in water destruction costs. The praise was gratifying even if the work hadn’t been.

Dear, sweet, Mr Dreamboat must have waited at least a week to ask me the question that changed my perspective on everything.

“Why didn’t you dump the full buckets into the bathtub and save yourself the trips up and down those stairs,” he asked, not unkindly?

I don’t think I verbally responded right away though my face rushed a brilliant red and even the tips of my ears burned.

All I could say was, “Why, indeed?”

Every week I work with coaching clients on building dreams and living better lives. It’s seriously gratifying work, better than flood cleanup. And every week we work on shifting perspectives and looking at the world a little differently.

That day as I vacuumed up water and “saved the day” for my family, I bit of a shift in focus would have saved me a lot of energy and a lot of time if only I’d shifted my gaze just a few degrees and seen that for every problem there is a solution, and for every solution, there may very well be a better one if we simply shift the way we see things.

Further still, and this is a story I have to tell myself from time to time, for every mistake we make, whether it’s large or small, there will always be a corresponding lesson, reminding us that no matter what, there’s something to be gained from it all.

Vicar Michelle & The Rebel Jesus

I have chaffed against The Rules for the entirety of my life. Rubbed raw by their inflexible edges, it is likely they troubled me because I took them so seriously. Perhaps most of all when I was breaking them.

As a teen I imagined myself a rebel. Rules were burdensome and so I threw them off to shatter on the floor of my life. This is a good way to hurt oneself, but the rules tend to remain undamaged.

Some people say Jesus was a rebel. I cannot speak to that. I’m no historian. But I like the idea of it. The idea of the powers that be, saying how things are and a man, a gentle and kind man, perhaps even a son of deity, standing up and saying, “This thing, I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

My kind of rebellion wasn’t nearly so worthy. I was irresponsible. I smoked and drank and practiced a sophisticated level of self-loathing.

This was nothing more than unattractive and a little sad.

But today, inspired by the Rebel Jesus, I wish to be a nonconformist once again. This new rebellion would look nothing like it did in my youth, all bold and aggressive and daring others to call me out. No. This kind would look kinder, gentler and loads more loving.

Every day we cross paths with people who deserve love but in our complicated society have none. Maybe they don’t fit into our norms, the norm for color or sexual preference or perhaps they are sad rebels practicing their version of self-loathing. But in a radical and rebellious world, they too would receive love. In this world, everyone is found worthy.

Conditional love is not really love at all.

I am grateful for rules. We all should be. Without them we would be slaves to our appetites, aimlessly wandering from one diversion to the next. But I am also grateful to understand rules and their inherent limits.

I will never chafe against the rules again. Just as anything else in this transient world, they are to be understood and evaluated and depending on whether or not they are found worthy, they are to be respected or thrown out like the garbage so many of them are.

They say Jesus was a radical in all the best kinds of ways. Let’s do that.

Travel Light ~ A List Of Ten Must Have Attitudes In The Emergency Kit Of Life

No one gets through this life without some bumps and bruises. Every single one of us has been disappointed, betrayed and forlorn at one time or another. It’s payment for this ride that is the ultimate E-ticket attraction. No one rides for free.

There are mishaps that cannot be avoided and there are things we can do to make life a little bit easier. Mr Dreamboat has taught me all about being prepared and most importantly, to pack the right gear.

I present to you a few things that make the road a little easier and the bumps a bit more cushioned.

1. Everyone is a weary traveler. Be kind to those you meet. It should never be the point of compassion, but somehow and someway, everything is returned to us. Your relationships are your finest assets. Treat them as such.
2. I have a client who reminds me it’s important to “unpack your parachute” every once in a while. Take inventory of the things in your life, make sure everything is in good working order, and if not, make appropriate repairs. You don’t want to find out you have a hole after you’ve jumped out of the plain. Relationships, health, education, check it all. These are the things that catch you when you fall.
3. It is a little known fact that whatever you say about another person is associated subconsciously with you. Make it a point to speak well of others and in the immortal words of Bambi’s Thumper, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
4. Travel light. We don’t need a lot of stuff. There are only a few hours in every day and the more time we spend tending to things the less time we have to experience all life has to offer us. I am preaching this sermon to myself. I would like to remind me that less is more.
5. The minute you believe you have all the answers and know what is best in the world is the minute you stop learning, stop growing and become a boor. Let’s not do that, okay?
6. Gratitude is the best gear you can carry with you. When you have gratitude the worst situations can be learning experiences. When you have gratitude you come to understand you have everything you need or at least it’s on its way.
7. Right after gratitude, let us pack in our emergency kit, curiosity. When we stay curious instead of judgmental we allow ourselves to stay out of victimhood or alarm and we become available for solutions and lessons. If I could take just two things with me wherever I go it would be gratitude and curiosity.
8. Snacks. Let’s keep that blood sugar balanced, shall we? Pack healthy snacks with you wherever you go and that brilliant sunset or romantic moment will be 100 times better. Hangry never was happiness. I speak from experience.
9. My parachute is made up of gratitude, curiosity and a healthy dose of self love. I take it with me to remind me how to love others. I take it with me because self-loathing is sucky and stupid.
10. I have lived in beautiful homes and I have lived in humble apartments. I have stayed in five star hotels and in motels where I wondered if they changed the sheets or not. None of those things matter. They were simply diversions. What matters is how we love, whom we love and how much we are willing to love some more. If I were packing my parachute for the long fall through the sky, I would pack gratitude, curiosity, self love and love for others. And that, my friends should do it. It would all fit into a carry-on to boot.

Like, share, comment, tweet and take that leap of faith, you’re all packed and ready for it.

Branded A Terrorist At The Portland Airport… Again

Travel is a fairly consistent part of our life here at the Young Family Ranch & Zombie Apocalypse Sanctuary. Perhaps it is that we have to travel simply to get organic groceries.

This week we’re taking it further than the normal “40 Minutes From Everywhere” and we’ve crossed the miles to Austin, Texas to attend The Wizard Academy. More on that little detail later.

Though I consider myself somewhat of a seasoned traveler, I am not above the rookie mistake. Worse than Guatemala without a flashlight, I crossed airport etiquette on Tuesday, when I unknowingly left my “Juice” pocketknife in my jaunty mango colored Coach purse.


IMG_3535Lucky for the airport guard and myself, I’d packed quite a few other things in my bigger bag and then tucked, said jaunty purse into that as well. A veritable treasure hunt ensued as we looked through the bags and she pulled out the containers and gadgetry that keep me happy, well-groomed and amused on my explorations.

“I won’t say the T word,” I promised her, meaning terrorist, of course.

“Oh, I thought you were going to say the B word,” she countered.

“Of course I won’t be a bitch,” I said, “You’d be way meaner to me if I did.”

She grinned not at all in the way we’ve begun to think of airport security, and assured me that this is absolutely true.

After we’d found the offending item (this is not the first time I’ve mailed it home from the airport I’m sorry to say), I asked for medium pressure for what I like to think of as a conciliatory airport massage ~ also known as a pat down ~ and soon enough we were on our way.

I met back up with Mr Dreamboat as he finished the mailing process.

“She was nice,” I said and he agreed.

It is a consistent part of my world that people are friendly and kind. Not every time, not in all situations, but almost without exception regardless of my silly mistakes or the varied interactions we have with other human beings, I find there’s never a cause to roll out the B word, and cheerful attitude serves me every time.

I submit to you my airport massage wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun if I were a T or a B.

Like, share, comment, tweet, and safe travels, my friends.

Bringing Up Spud ~ A Guide To The Garden Of Parenting

The tricky part about having children is that we somehow believe, and maybe this is some sort of scheme of nature, that they are an extension of us.

It serves us well, this belief, when they are little spuds, crying and yowling their needs to us in the middle of the night. But by the time they’re 10, 12, 17 years old, it is not as charming. It’s not nearly so endearing.

If we are incapable of making the leap from, “Spud is an extension of me,” to, “Spud is his/her own human being completely separate from my interests and goals,” there will be some hell to pay. On both sides.

The memory is as vivid to me as if it happened yesterday. I was taking one of my little spuds to middle school and for the gazillionth time I was carping about hygiene. I whined and chided, I pointed out flaws in the system and made suggestions for improvements.

That’s not the part that struck me, since I’d done it so many times before.

What really caught me was the sudden realization that I was sending Spud out into the world with bad feelings and diminished self-esteem. The car ride to school allows no opportunity to brush one’s teeth or put on deodorant. That is, unless your car is significantly differently equipped than mine is.

I stopped right there in my tracks and proffered one of a million apologies I’ve given over the years to my Spuds.

Because apologies go a lot further than criticisms. And we need more of them in this world. Especially from parents.

Since that pivotal day I have found myself, from time to time, issuing observations and desires as well as criticisms. I try to stop myself and remember that these people, because our children our first and foremost people, don’t necessarily think how I think and they probably don’t want the same things I want.

What they want, need and deserve is my respect. And that, I shall always give to them.

Our children will learn what they need from life. They will teach us things we need to know and together we will walk the path of life, just as our ancestors did before us. My only goal is maybe to do it a little bit lighter and a little bit kinder than I understood was possible.

Like, share, comment, tweet and look in the mirror and give your inner child a high five for being awesome.
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One Time I Was Eaten By Wild Dogs… And You Can Too!

feral dogs
Fought ’em off with my bare hands… Yeah… That’s how it happened…

Once I was stalked by a pack of feral dogs. True story. I had traveled to Guatemala with my modicum of Spanish language, voyaged through Guatemala City and lived for two weeks with a family I’d never met before, paying them a measly $125 per week for food and lodging.

It was on my way to school from their house on the outskirts of town when the dogs spied me as an easy mark.

On that same trip I’d gone on an excursion for the weekend, staying in a little hotel on Lago Atitlan that I realized I’d told no one in the world where I was going.

As the lights flickered and the doors, secured with what I thought of as a toilet stall lock, shook and rattled in the wind, I realized that a thoughtful traveler might carry a flashlight and would inform loved ones where their bodies might be found.

Lesson learned.

The end of the story is that I did, as it turns out, survive that trip as well as many others wherein I found myself in equally sketchy circumstances. I tell you not because I am silly ~ though clearly I am ~ but because there are very few mistakes we make in life that will ultimately be fatal.

I submit to you that a trip without feral dogs or sketchy, banging doors isn’t fatal and is, in fact, a learning experience, a risk and ultimately an adventure.

It was Dr. Seuss who said in his classic tale, Oh The Places You’ll Go, “You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

I have never once regretted the risks I’ve taken. Rather, it’s been the times I chickened out, the events I was too nervous to attend, the chances I didn’t take that have haunted me.

You know. You know what you’re capable of. And if you don’t know you at least suspect what you have hidden inside you.

Take a few chances, they don’t have to be big. Test the water, and find out what you’ve got hidden deep inside that’s just dying to get out.

And if you need a little help, give me a shout. I’ve got your back and experience with wild dogs. We’ve totally got this.

Like, share, comment, tweet and fly your freak flag or at least wear your colorful beanie.