Forty-three. Shocks me to even say it. I don’t feel it. Not even close to it.

But, I am every minute of it. So, I’ve been busy, and sick – so I haven’t written for a couple weeks. I figured, what a better day to write than my birthday!?!

So where am I at 43? How do I feel? Well, I am stepping into this year feeling loved, cherished, supported, grounded, and grateful. From Covid, to acquaintances, to friendships, to motherhood – this year was tough. It brought me out stronger than ever before.

I learned, that when you trust someone, your truths aren’t scary. I also learned, how forgiving I can be – when given the truth. I have learned that parenting is harder than anyone could think. Also that parenting is the best thing ever.

I learned I love evening walks, holding hands. I learned I love holding hands, actually.

I learned that jokes from my oldest son, are actually the funniest out there. His comedic timing is perfect. And I can’t even stand it.

I also learned, that when your child’s heartbreaks, so does the momma’s.

I learned that my daughter has a huge heart, and feels more than she ever lets on. She is so loving and kind. One day, she will be an amazing momma and wife if she chooses.

I learned that my little boy feels a lot, and hears even more. He expresses sadness through anger. That’s tough to parent, but so much easier when you recognize it.

I learned that parenting takes a village. All good villages have soldiers. I am the Colonel of the village. Try to attack my village, I will cut you. (#kiddingbutIamnot).

This is 43!

I learned I not to take on other people’s issues. I lost a friend this year, I’ve written about it before, and I still don’t know why. I have just decided – it was God protecting me from toxicity. And for that, I choose to be grateful.

I have decided, I will forever be, unapologetic about being me. I will not allow others to critique my hair, my body, my clothes, or frankly – anything else about me. If I want your opinion, I’ll ask and listen. Otherwise, stay in your lane. Unless… You are a some type of fashion icon – then maybe I’ll listen… But probably not. I like what I like.

I have learned how to let someone take care of me. I have learned how to lean on another. I have learned, not everyone will let you down. I have learned, that grown folks talk out differences. I have learned, that no one is perfect, myself included. I have learned, that mistakes can be forgiven, laughter is contagious, and peace is priceless.

So going into my 43rd year. I am happy. I am loved. I am grateful.

And for everyone who made my day so special, I love you all.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

2020.

Twenty – twenty.

I don’t know which way makes a bigger statement. Well, whichever it is – read it that way. This year has been something else – to say the least. But what I want to talk about, is how I lost my happy place. Because I dare bet, if I feel this way, others do too. And sister (or brother), you aren’t alone.

I am talking about my home. Now, I am an essential worker, so during the pandemic – I went to work everyday. I am super grateful for that. I had my job, my paycheck, whole nine. So I didn’t lose my physical home, but I lost what was my place of peace. The place that I go to and relax. The place where I am happy to be. The place, where there is laughter, gratitude, and family. My home made me proud. It was private spot. Very few people have ever came to my home. I revere it. So if you have been in my home, you are special, LOL! But honestly, I wanted my kids to feel loved and protected in their home – and most importantly safe and happy.

My safe place turned into a bunker. An armory. A place to hide. While at home, I saw my kids plans fizzle out the window. A trip to Chicago – dashed. A trip to Austria – gone. Playing with their friends? Nope. Going out to dinner? Shut down. Home didn’t become a safe place of happiness – it became a bunker. Don’t get me wrong, if we are at war, an underground bunker is what we all want, right? I’d be jumping into that sucker before anyone. But during this – when you are starting to be afraid of the outside? That doesn’t seem too homey.

It started out fun, right? Like – no school. Or no “real school”. It was almost like summer started a little early. But then we got into it more. We couldn’t go to the parks. No family weekend fun exploring our city. We became four people – living under one roof – in our own rooms. My youngest two started bickering more and more. My youngest – was sad. He wanted to play with his friends. He wanted to go to school. He wanted to go.

We took for granted running into Starbucks and getting a coffee on Saturday morning. Even that seemed scary and diffiuclt. There were so many unknowns. Memorial Day – happened at home. Fourth of July – happened at home. Birthdays? Yep. You guessed it. Home. Home turned from a safe place to a makeshift jail cell.

Now? Home is school. Home isn’t home in our family’s sense. I want to speak to all the single parents out there, also. Especially the ones with little kids. I am sorry. I hear your struggle. I am praying for you. This is hard enough for me, and I have a support system. My job is amazing. My daughter who is doing virutal school also is 17, so she can help the 10 year old. I have cameras in my house so I can observe. My co -workers understand my plight. I cannot imagine. CANNOT IMAGINE. How scary it would be to have kids virtual learning – and really feeling as if you pick your kids or working. This is a decision that some parents are having to make.

On the flip side, I see a lot of parents being allowed to work from home. Creating learning stations in their homes – complete with laptops, markers, paper. Shoot, it looks like Chip and Joanna designed these learning stations! And these folks are relishing in the opportunity to spend more time at home. Time with their kids. And are ready to do this home school thing. And some of my friends who are seeing this as their new normal, that plan for this to be a lifestyle change – has said that they didn’t appreciate being home before. I think that is the issue for me, I did.

People like to talk about new and exciting things. Positive things. I am one of those people.

We like to talk about how something that was once bad, yes has turned into something beautiful.

We like to talk about the fear, the scariness, but how we have overcome. And now? We can speak positivity into our situation.

Not a smile. A smize.

We like to smile, and see the learning centers, and relish in the small successes in the pandemic.

While these are all amazing things, they can leave some of us, who are still struggling with the messy parts feeling like they’re “ungrateful” or “weak” or “a bad parent” because they can’t handle it as gracefully.

And I see you.

I see those who can’t see the bright-side still, even though they are trying so hard. Some folks came out of this situation better. Some came out a little bitter.

I see all the tears. The sobbing guilt as you leave your kids to fend for themselves because you have to work. The tears of your children who want to just play. I see the tears that you cry in your closet so no one else in your home sees them. I see the tears you cry – because you read the posts that say, “HOW ARE PARENTS SENDING THEIR KIDS TO SCHOOL! THEY ARE SO SELFISH!?” and “WHY WOULD YOU MAKE A KID WEAR A MASK! IF THEY NEED MASKS, THEY SHOULDN’T BE AT SCHOOL!”. I see you cry, because you only want what is best for your family. But every choice you make – you get disapproval from someone.

This is what home schooling has looked like. Crying. While I watch through a camera. Helpless. Not a cute desk. On the end of my bed. Messy as can be. Big Blue Button Crashing. Zoom Crashing. And we were both in tears.

I see the anger. The hair pulling. Teeth clenching. Sitting in your backyard just wanting to run away as far as you can. From everyone. No, not everyone. To a time machine. Forward or backwards. Either one. Because one more minute of this seems too much to bear.

The pandemic is ugly. The injustices are ugly. Getting through this psychotic time does not have to be beautifully poetic. It just doesn’t.

You are strong. You are resilient. You are still going. Don’t let Facebook, society, or anyone – make you feel ashamed or less than because you didn’t maneuver your way through this the way people think you should.

Love fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

We all have guilty little pleasures, don’t we? You know what I mean, the things that we like, but we don’t like to admit that we like? Maybe it’s a snack. A tv show. Maybe a habit you have.

Me and My natural eyelashes… sipping on a fountain drink. (BWAHAHAH!)

I’ll tell you – my number one guilty pleasure – true crime. I’m a murderino. A murder junkie. Murder and Cults. That’s my jam. Now, not in the way that I want it to happen, of course. But in a reserach type of way. You can find me at any given time, watching 48 hours. Listening to “My Favorite Murder”, or “True Crime Obsessed”. I even have a “Farmhouse Style” sign that hangs over my bed that says, “Welcome. Let’s talk about Serial Killers and Cults.” LOL! Oooohhhh… and My new favorite? 60 MINUTES: AUSTRALIA EDITION. (And yes dear, I know you just rolled your eyes. LOL!)

Another one of mine? Facebook. Now not in the way of reading updates, per se. But have you ever seen something, then clicked, and the next thing you know – you are on someone’s page who is the “fourth cousin, twice removed” of the original poster? Yes. Guilty. I do it.

So, I thought I’d give you a list of my guilty pleasures, and you can share yours if you’d like – because to be honest, I feel like we can all use something light-hearted right now. This has been the shortest/longest year ever, and it seems like everywere we look there is something new. It’s a sad day when watching True Crime seems uplifting rather than everyday life. I am kidding in a way, but I am kinda not. Anyway, here ya go. Here’s mine.

  • Disney. Animal Kingdom. Epcot.
  • FAKE EYELASHES. I wear fake eyelashes 99 percent of the time. I shamelessly love them.
  • Uber eats. Even when I have groceries. I call it, “I’ll cook tonight, honey.”
  • Watching Netflix documentaries, while doing DIY projects, all day long. Back to Back.
  • Fountain Drinks. Like Soda fountain. From 7-11? Coke Zero. McDonald’s? Diet Coke, or if I’m feeling extra skinny – Sprite, because I love McDonald’s Sprite. It’s Crispy.
  • Hoarders. The show. I know, it’s disgusting. It blows my mind, though.
  • Curling up with a coffee and my phone, when I should be doing chores.
  • My Jeep. Modifying My Jeep. Taking Pics of my Jeep. Does that make me “Mannish”? [ (If you don’t get the reference, refer to the earlier post). Nah, it doesn’t make me mannish-it makes me a girl with a lot of interests. I like that about myself. ]
  • TikTok. I love it.
  • Taking countless selfies until I get the perfect picture.
  • Sunbathing. I love it. I also am a skin care junkie. So therein lies a problem. But I will slather myself in sunscreen – especially my face and chest – and lay out.

And that’s just a few. There’s a lot more. So, what are yours? You know I have read that mental health fall-outs are common in the pandemic. People are fearful, tired, scared, just to name a few. So, I challenge you – get your posse of people together, and find what that guilty pleasure is! I bet you will find that you all will have a few of the same. And who knows, maybe you will find something that brings you a touch of joy, too!

I mean, it is a good time to Treat Yo’self.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

There’s my pretty girl.

I know that this can be a problem for everyone. No one is safe from battling their emotions. I think we all can agree on that. Personally? I am an OCD/Egocentric/Analyzing freak. And that’s putting it lightly. You know what helps me? Facts. Numbers. Math. Science. So, if I am upset about something, I am going to analyze it to death until my pain goes away.

Just Kidding, It doesn’t work that way. I mean, I have a tendency to do all those things, but they don’t help. At all.

What I want you to know, is that one – we are all human. But two, how you handle your feelings is a choice. First of all, what do you do when your negative feelings start bubbling up? Do you cry? Get mad? Want to talk about it? Bottle it up? Fire off an email or text? Do all of those things at the same time? That was my go to. LOL!

I challenge you to do this. When you have negative emotions, start by saying a small prayer. You will see, that through that prayer, you can calm yourself. Mine goes a little something like this, “God, Please help me understand this and respond appropriately. Don’t let me lash out or carry around unwanted or unwarranted resentment. Help me calm down, and speak the kindest way I can.” This grounds me in a way I can’t explain. Maybe it is just knowing that God has my back and is always there, I don’t know. But, it works.

When to Speak Up

Now, there are going to be times when you are going to have to make a decision on your emotions in a split second, ammirite? If you feel unsafe, physically or mentally threatened, or scared for others – go with your gut. Run, Call the cops, slam the door, etc. It’s always better to err on the side of caution, and look crazy later – than end up in a grave. That’s facts. But an email? An angry text? An argument with your boyfriend? Those things can wait a second. Just take a moment. A moment for yourself. It takes a lot more discipline and grace to wait, than fire off.

What happens when you wait? A lot. Clarity. I strongly believe in writing it down. Pen to paper. Get it out. And when the time is right, speak up. Write the email. Mail the letter. Whatever needs to be done. I am not saying to be a doormat. I am saying, just make sure you say what you mean, and mean what you say. I know in the heat of the moment, if I don’t stop myself – I can wield an emotional baseball bat that can take your knees out.

And if you are struggling with feelings of insecurity, self esteem, or other ‘internal emotions’. Sit with those also. Believe it or not, I use to be one of the most insecure people walking the planet. I still have insecurities, but not about myself, per se. I know who I am. I know how I love. I know I work hard. I know I am a good mom. I know I am loved. I am chosen. I am blessed. When you pray about your insecurities, and just ask for help, you might be shocked as to how quickly they begin to resolve. And now? I will sit down directly beside someone who doesn’t like me, and say “Hey Girl.”

Listen, we all have choices. We can choose to deal from a place of sadness and low self-esteem, or a place with divine guidance. I don’t know about you – but this southern girl chooses Jesus everytime. He ain’t let me down yet.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

I was called “Man-ish”. It was meant to be insulting. And hurt my feelings. And guess who said it – Another woman.

I was a little shocked by that. I mean, the person who said it has some serious issues, so consider the source, right? But – nonetheless, this is what she thought would be hurtful to me. First, let’s get one thing straight. Can we – as humans – stop with the name calling. It is ridiculous. Luckily, I have amazing people in my life, who build me up everyday. So, her backhanded comment didn’t affect me negatively, it actually made me think. It made me wonder, why would ‘man-ish’ be considered an insult?

If you have seen me, of all the things I am not, is man-ish, in the derogatory way she meant it. I am a girly girl. I wear all the makeup, I love dresses, pink is my favorite color, and lace is a must in my life. That being said, I am a manager of a bodyshop. I love to do wood working. I am a mom of three kiddos, who support them. I also sew, crochet, and am teaching myself to weave. I love my jeep, and doing modifications. I love facials, and spa days. I have short hair and a routine to get it this color that only one woman on the planet can create. (Plug for Michelle definitely inserted here).

So what was meant by Man-ish? I am sure it was the few things in my life that are considered more of a typical “male” role. Which, I don’t even want to address just how problematic that level of thinking is. Problematic, archaic, and ridiculous. I was talking about this with a couple guys at work, and asked them their take. First, they all laughed at me being called “man-ish”.

But, I believe one of the guys nailed it on the head. He said to me, “It’s her anxiety, I bet. I find that the most female on female criticism actually stems from feeling inadequate in an area of life they admire about you. You are the head of the house. It’s only you. You are the breadwinner. The provider for your family. You have given them a great life. Your kids love and adore you. You are involved. You give them freedom to live. She probably wishes she was half that. “

Maybe that’s true, I like to think so, anyway. But my main point is this. Before you hurl insults at someone, make sure it’s them that’s the issue. I am so lucky that my confidence game is strong. I am happy. Completely happy. I love my job. I love my co-workers. I love being a mom. I love my crazy busy life. I love my relationships. Ask anyone who knows me, the last 6 -7 months of my life, have been the best I ever had.

I had some real conversations with those I love. We are a focused team. Same goes at work. Things are clicking. So, I am going to allow my “man-ish” self to be taken out to dinner. And I am going to allow my “man-ish” self, to have the door opened for me while we go. And when I get home? I might pour some concrete and make a super hip stool. (All those really happened, by the way. Literally exactly like that.. LOL! I can post a pic of the stool later.)

So, when you are named called, consider the source. But also, remember how wonderfully made you are. You are valued. You are needed. And pray for the ones who call names. Below. I’ll some pics of my “Man-ish” Self. Doing some “Man-ish” Things.

OH! One more thing, Stay Classy. Hot mess doesn’t look good on anyone.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

I have.

And it’s scary. You can be attacked in so many ways. Physically, Emotionally, Spiritually. Family can attack you. Friends can attack you. People you don’t even know or care to know.

Have you ever been called names?

I have. I have been called everything from fat to a whore. Sometimes the words hurt – sometimes they don’t. The day I got to where ‘name calling’ didn’t affect me, was this. There is a young lady that I have known since she was 5 years old. She is beautiful. Inside and out. And one day, during high school, she came home upset because some girls were being mean to her. (We all know how mean high school girls can be). We were talking on my porch, and she said through tears, “They called me fat!” We both burst out laughing. Why? Because there is nothing fat about this girl. She weighed about 85 lbs soaking wet and was around 5’4″ tall. Now? She might be 110 as a grown woman. But what I saw in that moment was childlike name calling. They called her fat – because they are insecure – about their body. So to them, calling someone fat was the worst insult – because it’s the worst to them.

So from that point on, name calling really hasn’t affected me, unless it was by someone I actually cared about. And that might have happened 10 times in 10 years or so. And five of them were by the same person… LOL! So, If you are called a whore, maybe they aren’t proud of themselves and actions they made, Fat – they have body issues, Ugly – they are insecure about their appearance.

I have my own insecurities, of course. But I what I don’t do, is project them on others. If you are a person who does that – stop and go to therapy. I used to do that, I hope not externally, but I am sure I did internally. I regret that.

Now, people who don’t know me – often say I am “scary and intimidating”. This makes me laugh, because for those who do know me – know that I am private, loyal, and caring. I will go above and beyond for anyone who needs help. I care too much about others at times, which is a reason I don’t let too many people into my life. Only those I trust. Now, you try to mess with my inner circle – don’t feel intimidated. Feel scared. That’s when it will get real.

Have you ever had someone try to force you to lose faith in a person, thinking that they could rock your world?

I have.

In all of my relationships, I create a safe space. With my kids, my family, my friends, all of them. I will never judge you. You can always tell me the truth, and it’s safe. Perfect example is my kids. I remember one day when my middle baby was acting weird in elementary school. She came home from school, and was awkward – but what fourth grader isn’t awkward? So- I didn’t say anything. Then, she came at me in tears, and told me she had messed up at school that day. She had an altercation with another kid on the playground and had spit on her and called her ‘stupid’. She felt guilty and didn’t know what to do. We talked about it, and we came to the conclusion that she should apologize the next day.

Fast forward two hours. Knock at the Door. And for those of you who know me in Fredericksburg – you know who this person was. And I hear this, “Do you know what your daughter did at school today?” I am definitely not thinking about this spitting/stupid thing, because I am a mom with other stuff going on. “What?” And she went off. Like an actual lunatic. Twice in my life I have had to shut the door in someone’s face. Because of crazy. That was the first time. I had to shut the door to protect my child. She didn’t need to hear the ugly that was happening. She just didn’t.

And let me tell you, when you sit in honesty and non-judgement of someone. You sit in the mirror – and choose to love people through their ugly. You will experience freedom and peace like never before. Threats mean nothing. Name-calling, means nothing. Because you work and create an honest environment. When she tried to put my child on blast, but I already knew – I just gazed in shock that she was actually at my home embarrassing herself. Self-righteously not knowing the other side. Believing – that she was right, and everyone else was wrong. And she even called me names. Who does that? Like for real?

Anyway, I say all that to say this one thing. Give grace to people that you love. Give them a safe place to talk and be authentic. Tell them all your ugly – and let them tell you theirs, and sit in non-judgement of that. I am so grateful that I do that with everyone that is involved in my life. Because when you do – it’s beautiful. Now, I am going to give you some basic advice for life.

  1. Make peace with your past, so it doesn’t affect your present or future.
  2. Time makes everything better. What hurts today will probably be less tomorrow.
  3. You aren’t going to know the answers to everything, and that’s okay. You will figure it out when you least expect it.
  4. What other people think about you – is not your concern. Who cares. You know you. That’s what matters. Make sure you are a person that you are proud of.
  5. Don’t compare your lives to other people – and don’t judge them. You have no idea what their journey is about.
  6. Only you can control your happiness. No one else.
  7. Smile. The problems of the world are not all yours to own. And when you smile, it makes people wonder what you have been up to.

I am so happy in my life right now. I feel loved and important. I feel prioritized. My kids are hilarious and hard workers. My parents are the best. I mean, life isn’t easy – it never is, but goodness – life is amazing. I am so grateful for every single aspect of my life.

And what made me write all this? I encountered some crazy, to be honest. And have you ever encountered something so crazy, that you just sit back and breathe a big sigh of relief, that it isn’t your issue? And it makes you reflect, hug, kiss, and say extra gratitude prayers for all those you have? It made me grateful for proper upbringing, the way my family taught me to handle conflict, breeding, and class. It made me thankful for training, also. And for being with people that openly communicate and talk. One day, there is going to be a guide book on this – and I am going to co-author it. Because, we got this down.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

So, I get quite a few messages asking me questions. So, I figured, I’d come through and answer some of them for you!

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? Brene’ Brown. I love her work. I think she’s hilarious. And it would be great conversation!

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why? I mean, maybe – but if so – rarely. Like maybe if I am calling a business or something? But still – probably not.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you? I don’t know what a perfect day would look like. It would need to be with the people I love, and also productive. So either doing something that I could check off my bucketlist or being with those I love. So I guess, all my days are perfect days, at least in one way or another.

Are you afraid of dying? Since you have been through it? Well, I haven’t been through it – because I am here. I have experienced loss just like everyone else. But am I afraid of dying? Yes and no. I am not afraid of what it means to die. Like I know that I will go to heaven, and live with Christ. But I am so happy in my life right now, I am afraid of dying and not getting to experience my future. And, I am also afraid of how I could die, in a way. Like, I don’t want it to hurt. But, I think that’s pretty common.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful? This is going to sound so hokey – but right now – everything. I keep telling you people. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life right now. Ever. In my life. For real. So, I am grateful for love. And isn’t it crazy, that in this crappy year of 2020 – I am still the happiest I have ever been? I know. Amazing.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it? Yes. I want to zipline in Costa Rica. I want to dance in Greece. Both require money and passports. Passport is in process – money, well – it’s in process too. Give me time. LOL!

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? I’m not going to say kids, because I don’t see my kids as an accomplishment – they have accomplished their own selves. Well, Jacoby is in process… LOL. But, maybe this blog? I don’t know. I am proud of everything I accomplish. From making dinner, to putting a smile on someone’s face. I cherish them all. So, I really can’t pick one.

What do you value most in a friendship? Honesty. Realness. Loyalty. Communication. Courage.

What roles do love and affection play in your life? Roles? I don’t know what that means, exactly. But it’s super important.

Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s? Yes. I really do. I know that it is something to be grateful over. My life was made up of riding in wheelbarrows, running through the grass, building snowmen, waiting for the ice cream truck. My mom was a stay at home mom, and my dad was the breadwinner. They were both active in everything we did. I was loved. Cared for. And to this day – I speak to my parents almost every single day. I have stressed my parents out – I know it and I wish I hadn’t. But my goodness – they are the best ever and I am so grateful.

So. Now you know a little more about me! I hope you enjoyed it!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

I forgot.

I didn’t forget, exactly. But I hadn’t been dreading and doing the countdown. You know, the countdown to the day. It slapped me this morning. Super hard. In the face. I felt guilty.

Nine years ago today I found my husband dead in the bathroom floor. I tried to do CPR. He had been gone awhile. It was fruitless.

I called 9-1-1. They were there so fast. I did everything the operator told me to do. I knew it would be okay. It wasn’t. When the paramedics only worked for 2 minutes, I knew. When he stayed in the floor, I knew. When they didn’t run out the door. I knew. And then a cop, came to me, while sitting on the stairs, and told me officially. I’m pretty sure I just stared blankly at him. Because, I already knew somehow.

I looked up and saw my oldest son, who is now almost 21, holding his baby brother and rocking him. I looked at the pictures on the wall. The grass in the front that needed to be mowed. And I walked outside. My mind went directly to tasking. So, I called my best friends, and told them that Shaun had died. Just like that. I called into work and left a voicemail stating that I wouldn’t be in because my husband had died. And then I sat. For hours.

I remember watching the cars drive by. And thinking. How are they going to the store? My husband died and is laying in the house waiting on the coroner. And that is the day I changed. I completely changed. I might not have known it then. But I did.

That’s the day, I realized that life is fleeting. That is the day, My oldest son became a man, at the ripe old age of twelve. That’s the day, I think I began to learn forgiveness. Because without forgiveness, we wouldn’t have the relationship with God to make it possible to live in this world. Without forgiveness, we wouldn’t be able to move on. Without forgiveness, we would be nothing.

2020 has been wrecked. Shaun is probably laughing in heaven, saying, “I got lucky, guys.” But think about this. There has been so much name calling, hateful speak, sarcastic comments, and ugly actions by so many people – what would it look like if we just were kind to one another. What would it look like if we respected others opinions without name calling? What would it look like?

What would it look like if you took the time to forgive those that hurt you? What would it look like, if you tried to understand the why behind their actions, rather than the action? What would it look like, if you didn’t take everything personally, and realized that albeit we feel the world revolves around us – its a lot better when we are kind.

I don’t think that I mourn the loss of Shaun anymore, exactly. I know he is better off than any of us, and is having the time of his life. I more celebrate him, that mourn him. He would hate mourning, too. He would think it was so extra and irritating. So in that faith, I am not sad about that. I mourn the trauma. The fear. I feel bad for that girl nine years ago. I feel bad for my kids and having to deal with that. No one should endure that. No one. Albeit, I know it happens all the time.

Big things have happened in my life in the past couple of years. I have had friends completely walk out. Some should have, some – well, I still don’t get it. I have been hurt, and I have caused hurt. I have been damaged and I have damaged. So, today – If i have hurt you, I am so sorry. And if you have hurt me, you are forgiven. Life is too short, and it can be taken away in an instant.

And for those of you who want to know, I am so happy in my life right now. Possibly, the happiest I have ever been. And to my fellow widows and widowers, you can get here, too. It doesn’t mean that you didn’t love the person who died, it doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means, that you are living. It means that you have a capacity for love that grows and grows. And for me? It means, to cherish everything. And realize that life is short. Don’t spend it spouting hate, being sad, feeling hurt, or down. Spend it – hugging, kissing, laughing, and doing the things that bring you joy. I didn’t get here overnight, and alot of mistakes were made along the way. But hey, I got here.

I’m not saying life is a cakewalk. I am saying, Life is amazing. Love is amazing. Don’t miss out on the good stuff.

Love fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

I don’t know about you, and there is no judgement here, personally I don’t worry about Covid-19 much at all. I wash my hands, use hand sanitizer, don’t touch my face, and limit my contact with others as much as I can. But let’s be honest, whether you are Pro-Quarantine, Pro-Mask, Neutral, believe it’s too much, and want it all normal again – what’s the right thing? I am not talking about the mask debate, glove debate, or anything else. I am just saying, what is now polite?

I deal with customers, and at the beginning of March, my work facility became a “hand shake free zone”. I get it. Honestly, there’s times when I have had to shake someone’s hand and it was all i could do not to gag in their face for some reason or another. I am also from the south, and I never want to make anyone feel bad and use manners. NOW I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS! Do I shake hands? Do I not? Do we just not do that anymore? If someone has a mask, should I put one on? How far away do you stand? I don’t know how to review documents from six feet. I also don’t want to disrespect someone with an actual nervousness by getting to close.

Here in Orange County, where I live the, Mayor enacted a mask order starting tomorrow. So I at least know that I have to wear a mask in the stores. So we are on an equal playing field. But what do we do past that? Shake hands? No?

I want to make sure that everyone I encounter is comfortable. At my job, or anywhere else. If wearing a mask is required, I am a rule follower that way. I hate masks – personally, they freak me out. I feel like I can’t breathe. I take it off a second, then I can breathe. Good to go for ten or so minutes. When I do that, I try to breathe in my shirt.

And can people please stop mask shaming!?!? It’s ridiculous. Let me address a few people here.

1. ANTI-MASKERS– I am an anti-masker. But I will not be a mask shamer. That’s those who choose to make their voices heard through social media by memes, secret photos of people, or completely negative comments about folks wearing masks. (And this is coming from a mask hater). STOP IT. JUST STOP IT. You don’t know what that person has went through, to start off with. If they are more comfortable wearing a mask, how in the world does it affect you? It doesn’t. It isn’t your face. Why are we so obsessed with being mean to other people? Maybe they believe the 180,000 articles and news stories that state that masks help prevent the disease – and really feel like they are protecting you – not just them. And if you think of people walking around – protecting you – it makes me admire those masked folks. And let’s be honest, you could be wearing shorts to short, with orange crocs – and they aren’t making fun of you… I kid. I kid. (sorta)

I can do these masks no problem – I wish SnapChat could make them work in real life!

2. PRO-MASKERS – I get it, this disease is scary. But because you wear a mask – doesn’t make you a better person than someone who doesn’t. Again, the passive aggressive memes, photos, etc. needs to stop. Because just like I said above, you don’t know why someone might not be wearing one. Maybe it’s a medical issue. Maybe they are claustrophobic. Maybe they believe the 180,000 articles that state that masks do nothing for the Corona Virus – and they need to get back to normal in their life, and a mask doesn’t feel normal. For me, an anti-masker – I literally feel like I can’t breathe. And I will be okay for 10-15 minutes. Then randomly – I can’t breathe well. Next up – almost a panic attack. That being said, Now that it is instated that I am required to wear one in public – I will. I will also not be going out as often, because it makes me uncomfortable. When they lift the mask order – I am sure there will be a lot of people who still wear masks. I will be one who chooses not to, if I don’t have to.

3. EVERYONE – I think our nation has been through it this year. 2020 is one for the books for sure. But what I say is such divide. Politics. On race. Gender. Sexuality. And now, masks? Can’t we all just get along. And of all the things to fight over – well, let’s just not fight.

So, what do you think? What’s the best way to be polite, respectful, and still warm and friendly. And how do you do it with acquaintances? Like a parent of one of my kids friends? I don’t really know them, but I don’t want to be rude.

This is hard. So what do you do? And what are you – anti mask or pro?

“I can’t breathe.”

Right now. Hold your breath. Do it. Do it for 45 seconds. When you try to make it that long, what happens when you breathe? You pant? There’s panic? Of course, there is.

And George Floyd, laid on a street, in America, and was murdered.

Ahmad Aubrey went running. Running! Being healthy! Fresh Air! And was tracked down and shot like an animal.

And why? Because their skin color. I can’t begin to wrap my brains around it. And what else I can’t understand? How there are still people out there who don’t get it!?!

You can’t understand maybe, until you have worried about someone, because they are running. Riding a bike. Late to show up – because you are afraid that they could be hurt , just because their skin tone.

I watched the video of Ahmad Aubrey. It will haunt me forever. It was so brutal. And unprovoked.

I tried to watch the video of George Floyd. I couldn’t make it through. This has to stop. We are watching humans being murdered. They were murdered in broad daylight. In public. Murdered. I can’t wrap my mind around it.

And I want everyone to know. My heart aches. It aches in the way that makes you feel prickly all over.

I want the day to come, where we are all color-blind. Where we no longer see race, we only see that beauty that lies within the different tones.

I want the day to come, where God-fearing people behave in a God-fearing manner, and stand up for injustice that occurs against their brothers and sisters in Christ.

I want the day to come, where people take responsibility for their own actions, and will do the right thing, even if no one is looking.

I want the day to come, where we – as humans- show grace, love, and mercy to every single person.

I want the day to come, when there is no more hate. No more injustice. No more division.

To my friends and loved ones that will understand in a way I never will, I am so sorry. I will stand by you, beside you, and hold your hand. I will get on my knees in prayer, and pray that there is a change of heart in this crippled nation right now. And pray, that we all change. Everyday. And that everyday, we all become a better person.

To the family of George Floyd. My heart aches for you. I know its hard to lose a loved one no matter what. But to lose them in such a senseless and hateful way. I can’t even begin to imagine.

Jesus, we need you now more than ever.

Love Fully. Live Fully.

Shine on.

Sat Nam.