I know. I know. It sounds rude, and pessimistic. Well, today I feel a little rude. I’m kidding. I don’t really feel rude, but I do feel anxious. So as I was talking this morning, I figured out why. Thanksgiving is coming. Three days away.

People love holidays. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Valentine’s Day. Those rack up a lot of points when I ask what is everyone’s favorite. And I love decorating for Christmas, and Valentine’s has adorable hearts – and Thanksgiving, well who doesn’t like to be with the ones they love the most, and have a great meal?!?

Let me roll call this for you in my perspective. Valentine’s Day this past year was good. And it was the first one and I am 43. I am not saying the rest were terrible and heart breaking. But this was the first one, that was good. It has been a day in the past where I hoped to feel special, but was let down. Where I tried to make others feel special, and they didn’t care. So, for years, I chose to just scoff at it and not acknowledge it. Lame, but survival mode kids.

Christmas. I still look forward to it. But often times, the desire to give my kids the best Christmas and make sure that they had all their little hearts desire, stressed me out. I felt like they were so good, and didn’t ask for much, I wanted to make their day magical, just like my parents did for me. So, it gave me so much anxiety, but it always worked out. But still, Christmas gives me some pangs of anxiousness.

Thanksgiving. We all want to be with those we love right? Enjoy a great meal? Sure we do! But this year, due to Covid, I won’t get to be with my mom and dad. Not to mention, when you are a split household, there is stuff that goes along with that too. So thanksgiving, isn’t traditional at all. To avoid anxiety? I order it. You heard me right. I order my thanksgiving meal from Publix. Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious. The kids love it. But for years, It was me and the kids for thanksgiving. That’s a lot of work for 4, especially when the kids are picky. And not to mention, when you are dating someone that has a child also, you have to take their traditions into considerations, their timescales – so guess what – Thanksgiving day might be Cinco De Mayo – you gotta be flexible, even when you want to be selfish.

Maybe it’s one of the reasons I love Halloween. Halloween is just fun. You can celebrate with kids, or without. You can do it with your friends. You can do it alone. Just sit outside with a big bowl of candy. Costumes and candy never let you down!

So right now, I am glad to know, that this time next week, thanksgiving will be done. And I am going to be honest, I don’t need thanksgiving to be thankful. What I need, is exactly what I had yesterday. Yesterday, I was cared for so well, and so sweetly, and for that – I am thankful.

Another pro tip – do something fun. Saturday, I felt frumpy. I hated my hair, and felt the blues – dreading the holiday, missing my parents, etc. So what did I do? I got my hair cut and colored. And I did a blueish -silverish color, that I love. I did something fun. It put a big smile on my face. And to be honest, my kids love it, my fella loves it – what more can you ask for. I love the fact, that my people love me enough, to love me how I am. And you know what feeling good makes you do? Eat better. Exercise more. Put on your make-up in ways that would make the best drag queens envious. Get out there and slay it.

“So, Listen up here’s the story… About a little guy that lived in a blue world..”

So, this Thanksgiving, if you dread it or feel sad, be glad that Friday isn’t Thanksgiving. If you are looking forward to it – cherish it and have a fantastic time! What I am saying, is make the best of each situation, but don’t beat yourself up, if you catch yourself in a struggle. Give yourself some grace, but in turn, give grace to those around you.

Is there a holiday that you love or hate? How do you cope?

Kids, make good choices. Have a great day. And most importantly…

Love Fully. Live Fully. And Shine On.

Sat Nam.

Here we go. A break from all things political. I am going to write about something I have been asked about – a lot.

Disney.

I live in Orlando. I am a season passholder at Disney. And a lot of folks have asked me what it is like, after Covid. So I am here to tell ya. It is better than you could even imagine.

First, I loved Disney – but I hate crowds. That made my life and Disney love complex. But, my kids always performed in Disney’s Candlelight – so I had to have a season pass to see them perform each time. (Edited: A season pass isn’t required. But they have performed up to three times each before. Which would be six tickets – a season pass is cheaper. And I go all the time since I got it.)

So here you go, a play by play, of the parks after Covid. When you pull in – they scan your band – and off to park. The park you “ever other spot”. This is to ensure social distancing while you get out of your car. And might I just add, this is brilliant. You can get out and have room. Then, they reload the spaces in between, but you are already in the park. So. Stinking. Smart. DISNEY DON’T EVER CHANGE THIS PLEASE!

Next, you walk in and there are two white tents, and people with the scanning thermometers. Quick temp check, and off you go. And I haven’t had a temp, and have walked 100 plus yards in 90 degree heat. I was actually worried it would make me have a temp and I couldn’t get it – but that didn’t happen.

Then you walk through then metal detectors. Once through that, you walk up to the gate, and scan your band again. No fingerprints now. Just scanning the band. I am grateful for that too, because I could never remember which finger I scanned. We have yet to stand in line at the gate. Have literally walked through every step of the way.

Once inside – it is glorious. It’s different. But I like it. No one is on top of you. The waits for rides, are tiny. You can do more than two rides a day, if you choose. The only thing that I found hard, was finding a place to sit and eat or drink. And let me be clear, it isn’t that it was hard, we always found one, it just took a few minutes.

There are a few things that are closed, but none of it affected me, or my good time. I felt safe, it was clean, people were polite, and it was a great experience. The only thing that I think is weird. Is that they require that you leave your masks on with the Disney Photographer. You are over six feet away from them, so I don’t get that – but, go with the flow, right?

We got some amazing food though, some great pics, and the animals in the Animal Kingdom don’t know that there is a pandemic going on. We rode the Safari ride a few times, and saw something new and different each time!

We had amazing food. And amazing fun. Then, we decided to try Universal.

I love Harry Potter. Obviously. So let’s go.

I have been to Universal before. I loved it! This trip thought? It was terrible. You can’t make reservations, so you show up and hope. I wasn’t a fan of Disney having reservations, but it keeps the crowds down – and guarantees your admittance. We wanted to go into Islands of Adventures – but we never made it there. We got there early in the morning, and it was already at capacity. So we went to Universal Studios side.

I have absolutely zero idea how it wasn’t at capacity. I am not sure what their capacity is. And I mean, capacity Pre-Covid. I am not one who panics, etc. But being in there, no less during a pandemic – I was out. In less than an hour. We tried to get a soda. It took 15 minutes, and there was no wait. They guy didn’t know how to use the cash register. Another guy was fixing the soda machine, and then when we got it – it was gross. The employees were less than polite, there was zero spacing on rides, with the exception of two. People were literally standing on top of each other. We rode nothing. We only went into shops to get away from people, and got out free and clear. I only got a couple pics. Here ya go. And that’s from CityWalk. Not even Universal. And you know, if I didn’t take pics – It was seriously bad.

So, wanna go to a park? Disney is the way to go. It’s clean. Hand sanitizer every where. Not crowded. I actually enjoyed it more than Pre-Covid.

Universal? Stay home. Or maybe go during the day during the week? On both all trips, we went on the weekend – but maybe a weekday would be better. But I won’t be back to Universal on the weekend for awhile. We said we would try it one day, and I would take a weekday off – but I am still not excited about it.

To me? Disney won hands down – not even close. I pray that they can bring back some of their employees soon! They are doing so great!

Anyway – if you got any questions… Please ask them! And even if you aren’t comfortable going out much yet, Do some fun things. You deserve it. Get out and live whether it’s dancing in the rain with your sweetie in the backyard, or going to Disney for a day. Do what is comfortable for you – but have fun doing it!

And most importantly –

LOVE FULLY. LIVE FULLY. SHINE ON.

Sat Nam.

Not original, I know.  But for me, 2020 has been that year.  The year to wake up.

Everyone keeps talking about how excited they are for 2020 to be over.  And to be honest, 2020 has been tough.  I agree.  Covid-19, politics, everything in the world got cancelled.  It has not only been annoying and scary – it has been inconvenient and stressful.  Along with a lot more adjectives I could throw in there.

I had plans.  I was going to New York. Chicago.  I was going to see Hamilton.  I also was gonna see Lizzo in concert.  I did none of those things.  

Here is what I did do.

I have had deep and heartfelt conversations. And have become a better person because of it. I have learned forgiveness. For myself and others.

I’ve hung out with the people most important to me. 

I realized that I work with a bunch of folks, who do what it takes to keep our company opened – even when there are companies shutting every time I turn around. I always loved my job, and the folks I worked for – I loved it more after this.

2020 has taught me a lot though.  A lot that I am acting on.  A lot that I am changing.  And a lot that I realize that I am doing just fine with.

There were things that I always wanted to do – but I was lazy.  Things I wanted to do and see around here.  In Orlando.  But, I always had a reason to put it off.  Not now.  No way. No how. 

I have been to Epcot.  Animal Kingdom. Orlando Eye.  I have went on amazing walks.  I have stayed in and watched movies – that I always said I wanted to see. And for transparency, I have watched even more that I didn’t want to see…LOL! But the company made it completely worth it.

 I have danced.  I have laughed. 

I have calmed down. 

I have realized that any problem can be solved through conversation.  I have realized that I love being with my people, and sometimes that can just be sitting together quietly.  Sometimes it’s a walk.

And to be honest, a lot of the stuff that I used to get angry over – just doesn’t matter. 

I am intentional with my time, where I hadn’t been before.  I enrolled in college (got straight A’s, btw).

Listen, there were parts of my life that weren’t working before.  I see that now, and I am fixing it.  I have thought about what I want my life to look like, and I am working to make it that way. 

Hang on, my friends.  74 days left in 2020.  What have you learned this year that’s positive?  That you are gonna carry into 2020?

Wanna see pics from 2020 lessons? Follow me on Instagram @kristiegreenberg

Love Fully.  Live Fully.  Shine On.

Sat Nam.

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.

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.

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?