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.

No shame in my game. I love therapy. Listen- I was widowed at 32 and I am a single mom of three kids. That alone, makes me feel like I need to run screaming to my therapist’s office. That is not what I am writing about, though. This blog isn’t about grief, it isn’t about stress and anxiety, and it isn’t about heartache.

It being Mental Health awareness month, I want to tell you all about my biggest therapy “Aha!” moment. It was finally getting the whole “both/and” thinking. If you can wrap your mind around that, it will change your trajectory of life. What that means, is that two things are capable of being true at the same time. Clear as mud, right? Let me try to make it a little clearer.

Let’s take the most garbage human you know. Think of them. Is your blood boiling? Do you have rage about them? And when you talk to others about them, do you feel like you might explode? I am not gonna name any names, (albeit I would like to post a photo – address – blood type of them right here), but from my own experience – here is what I gather. I want the whole world to think of this person as garbage – truth being? They are garbage TO ME. Also? They are probably pretty decent to other people. Is your mind blown? Yeah. I know. Mine too. That’s just a casual example from my own life. Once again, I ain’t naming any names.

Either/Or to Both/And. Let me give another example. Either I do exactly what my significant other wants me to do today, or he will be upset and our night will be ruined. If you use the both/and mindset, it looks like this. My significant other has some things that are important to him/her and they want me to do it for them. This isn’t an ideal time for me, I have a lot to do, also. I can call them, prioritize, and we can get the most important things done and save the rest for tomorrow.

In this time of quarantine, take time to focus on your mental health. Depression rates are skyrocketing. Domestic abuse is at a high also. Suicide rates have increased. Pay rates have been cut and jobs have been eliminated. In this time of financial fear, I have been able to use my both/and thinking to keep my sanity. I can lose some pay – and still support my family. My company can take a financial loss, and rebound one day. A bad thing and a good thing can be happening at the same time.

If this post doesn’t make sense, my bad. But what I do want is this – kill the stigma and shame behind having mental health issues. You don’t have to keep it together all the time, by yourself. Life can be hard. And you aren’t alone. I still struggle with “all the things” at times. It might be my weight, my hair, my skin, my lips, my emotions, my intelligence, my trust, my fear, my finances, my health. And that was the things from this morning. LOLOL! And yes, I laugh. I laugh because that’s the way I cope sometimes. I laugh.

So, share your mental health story. Reach out and show support.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

First of all, let me make a disclaimer. I am high maintenance – I know this. But in the scheme of things, when it comes to holidays and whatnot – I am not. I’m serious.

I really just wanted a happy day.

Well let me tell you about this weekend. It was trash. Complete and utter trash. It was so trash – that when people asked me how my Mother’s Day was at work? I said, “Tough weekend.” I can’t even lie and do the polite and southern, “I’m fine.” It was anything but fine.

It started out crappy Friday around noon. Homeschooling is wrecking my life. Constant phone calls of he said/she said. My 17 year old and 10 year old live in a state of who can tattle on the other soonest. And it is met with a barrage of phone calls. Anyway, the 10 year old calls – and I am already annoyed at the 14th call of the day. It’s noon – btw.

“Mommy!” he said. “Yes, Jacoby,” I muttered in my most fear inducing, angry, but I am at work and am unable to scream like I would like to do.

“BELLA BROKE HER TOE!”

“Sure she did. Let me talk to her.” He proceeds to put her on the phone. She is calmer than I anticipated, and said told me she thought she did. I told her to tape it together, because she probably just stubbed it – but just in case. And they don’t do anything for broken toes, anyway. We talked about Covid-19 and how we don’t want to go to the doctor during this junk, anyway. I tell her to ice it, take motrin, and call me if it gets worse.

I get home. Her foot looks like the Star Trek hand signal. You know, the “Live Long and Prosper” thing. Girl. That thing was displaced. She doesn’t want to go to the ER, so we make an appointment for urgent care the next day at 8:30 am.

It’s broken. And had to be set. She is in a walking boot. Can we say mom fail? Ugh. I should have taken her the day before. And it kept going downhill from there.

Now, let me give some credit. Bella created the sweetest sign. Got me balloons and some gift cards and candles. She’s so sweet! And my oldest, he got me a gift also, though I don’t know what it is yet – because it got delayed in shipping. It wasn’t the stuff that made it bad. It was mother’s day disappointment.

I psyched myself up with the expectation that because all I wanted from the kids was a clean house, and some time to chill out – that would be what I would get. And everyone would chip in to make it happen, because it’s only one day, right?

Wrong.

No one wanted to do anything. But argue. And cry. And tattle. And cry. And argue. Repeat. OH! Did I say argue? Throw in yelling. Then crying. I actually woke up to screaming. It was great.

You want to know what happened? Hidden expectations. And as hard as I tried to stuff them down in the trenches of my soul – the were spewing everywhere. By Sunday afternoon, they had splattered all over the floor, and suddenly I was in a sad state of self-pity. I felt so self righteousness that everyone should appreciate that I am not greedy, and do the small thing I asked. But – I’m a mommy. It doesn’t work that way. Just because Hallmark called in a holiday, doesn’t mean that kids are going to stop being kids, or that I get permission to not be a parent.

So now what do I do? On my 21st mother’s day – I am setting and adjusting my expectations. Or any other holiday for that matter. I really did want to be spoiled on Mother’s Day. I wanted me-time. I wanted food that I didn’t cook. I wanted peace and quiet. And yes, I did want presents. And I am grateful for them.

On a more heart-felt note: This past year I spent time with a mom who lost her child. I, myself, have struggled fighting lupus and other medical stuff. There are moms out there who are battling for their lives – or even their children’s lives.

Hello freaking perspective: This makes me slow WAY down and realize that when it all comes down to brass tacks – all I really want to do is love and hug and kiss and squeeze those babies that made me a mom. I want to spend time with the people who help me raise them, and love them like their own.

So , maybe I need to keep that healthy perspective in the front of my mind. This way, I will be able to see the true importance, and kiss them all to pieces, and be satisfied with that. No gift, no clean house, no quietness- can make up the fact that these people are my tribe. My posse. My really small gang. And we always gotta work together everyday. Family doesn’t get a vacation because a holiday – nor does parenting. And I am so grateful for these three wild kids running around on this planet. And I wouldn’t trade one second with them for anything.

So, I am not going give you a cute photo of all of us on Mother’s day. Because it didn’t happen. But hey, I got to see Bella’s bones. So that was cool. LOL!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

Where my boy moms at?

Guys. I’m praying for you.

As you may already know, I have three beautiful children on this planet. The youngest of which, is Jacoby. Let me tell you about Jacoby. He’s 10. He’s wild. He’s full of energy. And sass. Jacoby is one of the sweetest most loving people I have ever met. And he is definitely the hardest of my three to parent.

Our word of the quarantine is “boundaries”. Why boundaries, you ask? Because this little guy doesn’t know any.

He’s ten, and this little guy will walk into my bedroom like he owns it. He gets grounded from YouTube (yes, I grounded him from YouTube) – and I catch him watching it. I ask him why he was watching it when he knew he was grounded? “Because I was bored.” He is remorseful. He tells the truth when he is wrong. But in the moment – this kid does what he wants to do. And it’s maddening. It’s brutal. It makes me want to pull my hair out from the literal root.

I have yelled. Cried. Screamed. Prayed. Phoned a friend. And did it all again. And again.

I have now enlisted a checklist for him. What his expectations are morning, midday, and evening. We talk about personal space. We talk about earning privileges. We talk about what it means to have to wait. We talk about the law, the speed limit, rules, and why they exist. We talk about being a good human. And, exactly how that looks.

And, he seems to like the structure. Knowing what is expected. I actually took photos of his room – clean – and laminated them. So he can have a visual as to what it means. And I also added three times of exercise. No just playing outside. Intentional exercise.

We talked about him being an adult. Being a father. A husband. How he would have to take care of other people like mommy takes care of him. That you have to understand the biggest gift you can give is your respect and being trustworthy. Then, all things will fall into place.

So, do you struggle with this whole “I am a mom, teacher, breadwinner, care-taker, disciplinarian, and please don’t let my child turn into a felonious nightmare…. ” all while maintaining a good hair style, make-up on , clean house, etc. It can be a lot. But let me tell you – when I kiss that little guy good night, he is worth every single grey hair on my head. I mean, that’s what bleach is for , right?

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

So, I just thought about it – I was asking you all what you were doing, and I didn’t tell you what I am doing! But to be honest, I’ve told about 15 people how to do this that have seen it in my house, and thought you guys might like it, too!

Let me start with saying I rent. And I hated the light fixture in this room. It is the standard builders grade light. But I do all my sewing and crafting in here, so I do need overhead lighting.

Well, my friends, the beautiful chandelier literally cost me $2.00 out of pocket to make. If you had to purchase everything, it would run about $10.00, I believe. I didn’t make this during the pandemic, but I love it!

So, I went to the Dollar Tree, and bought two hula hoops. They have two sizes, so I got one of each. (You could do this one, or five- if it was for a big space!) When I got them home, I spray painted them.

Once the paint was dry, I took the icicle lights and zip tied them to the hula hoops. Once that was done, I literally tied muslin strips, raffia, ribbon scraps, lace ribbon, and some dollar tree flowers I had – to the hula hoops!

I took some of the same raffia, and cut -16″ pieces of twine. I looped the twine around the large and small hoop, so it would hang between it. Then, I mounted it to the ceiling with some tiny little screw hooks. I have a little box that I got from IKEA a million years ago, that has stuff in it to hang artwork with. These little eye hooks were in there – so that is how I hung it.

I did the same with the extension cord. My walls are white, so that’s good for me. But if you had painted walls, just snake your cord across the ceiling, and then mark where the wall begins. You can paint the actual cord itself to make it blend into the wall.

This whole room has a big bohemian vibe feel to it – and it is kinda my sanctuary. Let me know if you want to see the rest of the room, and hear about the “craft room redo” for under $70.00. Also, let me know if you would like some videos and/or blogs of more of my Dollar Tree crafting. But most importantly…..

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

I think at some point in my life – I liked cooking.

That point – has passed. Luke and I were talking the other day, and that’s when I had this epiphany. In this pandemic, folks are staying at home more – and obviously – eating at home more. That’s what we were talking about – more cooking.

Anyway, I have seen a lot of my friends pop up with some great looking food, super cool recipes, and somewhat excited over their new found love of cooking. So, there’s a positive thing in this pandemic!

For me, I like to make stuff. I’d rather eat a bowl of cottage cheese, and create. Create what? Anything. Clothes, art, home decor, anything. I love the feeling of gluing, and sewing, and completion. I don’t get that with cooking.

I’m going to start sharing some of my favorite creative people, and some of my inspirations over time. But let me know… What have you been doing? Anything new? Any newfound passions? Have you discovered your inner artist? Creative? Both?

Love fully. Live fully. Shine on.

Sat nam.

I’ve learned a lot over the past few years. A lot about myself. A lot about other people. I have learned things that I am capable of, and things other humans are capable of. But the best thing I have learned? Most people – aren’t bad. They might do bad things. But they aren’t bad.

I’ve lost a few friends over the years. And it broke my heart. In so many deep ways. I felt scammed. Taken advantage of. And used. But, once I took myself out of the equation, I can see it differently. In all of the situations – I know my stance. And one thing that I will say about myself, if I am wrong – I own it. Did I do some things wrong? Maybe. But to be honest, I don’t know how I could have done it differently. Did I apologize? Sure did. Over and over.

And my apology was left on deaf ears. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. And, I guess I hurt people sometimes, too. But you know what? I never meant to. And if I say – “I’m sorry”, I mean it. But what I can tell you is this – I valued these people’s friendship enough – To apologize. Because, hurt was never my intention.

Then there was another situation. I found out that a friend was talking bad about me behind my back. Guess what I don’t do? That. If I have something to say, I say it – to the person. Or I don’t say anything. That’s the way I roll. And to be honest, at first? I was seething. But after some processing time – I realized I have talked behind people’s backs before. It was in college. And why? Because one girl was talking about this girl – and I didn’t have the confidence, the fortitude, to stand up for her. And guess what? She called me out. And that day – I learned a hard lesson. Stand up for people or excuse yourself if you don’t agree. Otherwise – be ready to own your own words from your mouth.

At the end of the day, we all make bad choices out of fear. That’s my utter belief. And now, in these crazy times, I feel like it’s easy to get stuck in fear and negativity. So, I am no longer going to focus on fear. I won’t focus on negativity. When it musters up in my soul, and I feel a little ‘soul sad’ – I am going to choose something different that feels a little better. Maybe I am feeling sad over a lost friendship, but I can look in camera roll – and see how loved I am. It’s all about choices.

Today, I mentally closed those doors. I can smile, and know that it was a great time of my life. And if they ever reach out – I can start like it was tomorrow. I refuse to forget years of great times. If there is anything that I know to be true – Life is short. I refuse to waste time focusing on things that aren’t positive.

Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.

Brene Brown

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, I’ve missed out on quite a few things. A couple concerts, a WWE Event, Crimecon, a trip to Chicago, and probably a lot of other things, that I refuse to think about right now.

That being said, I decided I would do a 50 before 50. There are so many things that I keep procrastinating to do. Because I feel like I have time. Well, we do have time – until we don’t. So – Here’s my list. Of 50 things to do before I turn 50. What’s some things you would add to this list?

  1. Get my Passport (doing that this Friday!)
  2. Go to NYC – and kiss in Times Square.
  3. Go on a proper vacation with my kids.
  4. Purchase a home.
  5. Have zero debt (beyond the home – that is.)
  6. Make a trip to Seattle just to go to the original Starbucks.
  7. Get Published
  8. Meet Mel Robbins and have a coffee with her.
  9. Look and feel completely healthy.
  10. Go to 5 baseball stadiums I haven’t been to yet.
  11. Go parasailing.
  12. Wear a dress by Rue De Seine ( http://www.ruedeseine.com )
  13. Learn How to Say “No.”
  14. Eat fish and chips on a pier.
  15. Read 100 books
  16. Read the bible from front to back, novel style.
  17. Take part in a protest
  18. Go in a hot air balloon
  19. Slow Dance in the rain
  20. Spend a month technology free
  21. Ride a Vespa
  22. Travel somewhere alone
  23. Ride in an airboat.
  24. Travel Somewhere Artic.
  25. Be serenaded in a public place
  26. Zipline in Costa Rica
  27. Indoor Skydive
  28. Find the Top 10 Hidden Mickey’s at Animal Kingdom
  29. Hug a Redwood
  30. Ride a horse on the beach.
  31. Stay up all night talking and watch the sunrise.
  32. Attend a Murder Mystery Dinner
  33. See Jimmy Fallon live
  34. See Pink! in concert
  35. Join a Flash Mob
  36. Take a Burlesque Class
  37. Find My Signature Scent
  38. Have a Housecleaner
  39. Host a Low Country Boil
  40. Eat a Molecular Gastronomy Dinner
  41. Give a Ted Talk
  42. Make a Significant Change in Someones Life
  43. Go Deep Sea Fishing
  44. Go to a Yoga Retreat
  45. Stand Up Paddle Board
  46. Ride in a Gondola
  47. Sleep in a Treehouse
  48. Volunteer at a Working Farm
  49. Wear a Fresh Lei
  50. See an Opera at the Sydney Opera House

That made me tired just looking at it!! And excited, too! What are some things you would like to do in the next few years? Have you done any of mine? I’d love to hear your ideas, and what you have done or plan to do once this pandemic is over. Did it make you reflect? Make new goals?

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

Oh, and don’t touch your face. Apparently, all I ever want to do now is touch my face.

So, Frank and I were talking this morning at work. And of course, we are talking about the virus because everyone is. Anyway – He told me that one his daughters saw some remove their mask, lick their finger, to then thumb through their money.

So, I ask this question to bring some smiles, some venting, and maybe some clarity on something if folks don’t know. What is the most “Covidiot” thing you have seen? Mine was probably this past Saturday. It was the first time I had been in the grocery since all this. But, I needed to pick some things up. I get stressed in crowds – and especially now. It skeezes me out. Well, anyway – I am going down the chip aisle. And literally – 8 people follow us down the same aisle. Feeling your breath on my back is not the definition of 6 feet.

The other? A woman in the same store, advising her children, we don’t need to wear a mask. “I’ll breathe whatever air I want. People need to protect me! ” Ummmm. Not exactly how that works, but okay. So tell me something you have seen – that just had you shaking your head.

Love fully. Live fully. Shine on.

Sat nam.