Winter Around

Today I will look for God.

Just like I do everyday, at least on the days I’m not too harried.

It is easy to find him in spring with new life imminent.

It is easy to find him in summer with its long, lazy days.

It is not hard to find him in autumn, with its glorious bursting colors.

But winter.

In winter I find him on the branches of seemingly dead trees glistening with ice.

I hear him in the birdsong as they bravely carry on, encouraging one another.

I find him in the crunchy blades of grass under my boots.

I feel his breath on my cheeks and nose.

I see him in a multitude of grackles pecking a frozen ground.

I hear him in the heavy silence all around. Be still and listen.

In the winter season, he is still there.

Seek, then find.

Ordinary, yet precious


Life is made of moments. Many are magical. Most are merely mundane.

Ordinary life. But within every second of mundane and ordinary, lies the power. The power to be present. The power to choose your words carefully. The opportunity to connect with others. The opportunity to love, show love, and be love. All we really have is this moment.

Life is made of moments. Some day, the moments will only be memories. Time is precious and people are precious and that’s really all we need to know. Treat both as such.

Where It All Began

Can we all just join together in a moment of silence for all the teachers out there? For me and many others, tonight marks the end of our Christmas break. It is back to the grind tomorrow. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t a tiny bit melancholy about this.

The past two weeks, I’ve been super introspective. I’ve allowed myself to slow down enough to listen to my thoughts. To evaluate my life. I’ve truly spent the last three years, since beginning my LuLaRoe business, working my fingers to the bone. Ignoring parts of me that need tending and ignoring people in my life that need nurturing.

Today I found myself in a dusty attic looking for something from nearly 30 years ago. I’m a sentimental old hen and have saved nearly every card, every letter, every personal email that has ever been sent to me. I found what I was looking for. Rummaging through sentiments from the past, sneezing through the dust, took me to a place of serious nostalgia. I let the past collide with my present and I’m not sure about you, but it never fails to leave me worse off than when I began.

I went way back down memory lane today. Far back into dark reaches I haven’t been in a while. I decided I should write my memories while I still can. I began to think of the house that built me. An small orange brick house on the edge of town. I got my journal and I drew out the floor plan. I remembered so many details of that house and the yard. As memories flooded my mind, words began to pour forth, carrying me back to places I have left in the dark.

Did you ever play a game where someone grabbed one of your wrists and one of your ankles, picked you up, and began to spin you around? Maybe it was called airplane. Or maybe that’s what I call it. If you were light enough, they were able to raise you high and lower you down all while they were spinning you around and around. You watched the world go by at dizzying speed, blurring before your eyes, losing all sense of where you were. After what seemed like a really long time, they would put you down and you would stagger around like a drunkard with the world still spinning until you fell into the green fescue grass in childhood laughter and waiting for everything to return to normal.

That’s how my childhood felt. Exhilarating highs. Then being so low it felt like the ground was rising up to meet me. The spinning. The blur. The dizziness. The confused stumbling. Waiting for normal.

I think it’s good advice not to look back. That’s not where we are. It’s not always a pleasant place to visit, but in some mystical way, it’s calling to me. I don’t know why. I don’t know why now. I’m not sure I want to go because of the feelings that come up. But I think there’s healing back there.

I recently read Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63. It’s about a man who finds a portal to the past, and he returns to right some wrongs. I too have discovered a portal to the past. I can’t right the wrongs, but I can look them in they eye now. So I’m going to journey back to a place of long ago, and I’m going to return different than before I left.

My New Year Wish For You (and me)

Even though we’re already three days into the New Year, I still want to send a wish your way. Of course, a new year is not necessary for a new mindset. We can begin every new day  or even every new moment. We’ve never been here before. Let’s start now.

I’m excited about this new year of 2020. There’s a stirring inside me that I can’t quite explain. But it’s time. Really. It’s time. I’ve wasted so much time. Without regrets and with only lessons, I move forward.

This year feels so promising to me because of the numbers. You can look at many sites to get the meaning of the number 2020, but this is the one I liked best: the number 2 represents relationships, intuition, and purpose of life. The number zero represents spiritual growth, its journey, life cycles, and connection to the spiritual world. When you see numbers repeated like in 2020, the meaning is amplified. Two zeroes means you’re about to enter a new chapter in your life. And if you don’t believe the idea of numerology, surely you believe your facebook quizzes. They all say change is coming too 🙂

So entering this new chapter, new year, new day, new moment, right here where we are, may you first realize how very far you’ve come. Don’t look back, and if you do, only look back to see where you were. Appreciate where you are now.

May you increase your faith in yourself and your abilities to do what you’ve been afraid to do. The treasures lie deep within you. You are the one that has to discover them, dig them out, brush them off, polish them up, and let them shine for others to see.

May you step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Is it scary? Sure it is. It’s terrifying. But what if it’s your calling and you’ve been pushing it aside for too long. Find the courage. You are brave. Remember that courage that lives inside you? It’s still there.

Break an old habit that’s not serving you. Just stop.

Open your heart. It is stronger than you believe it to be. It’s been broken. I know that, but it can heal and it will heal. It has so much love to offer if you’ll only let it. Don’t miss out on the love that is yours to receive when you open it up as well.

Slow down, don’t be in a big rush to get to nowhere. Enjoy the moment you’ve been given. This moment, right here. Look around. It’s all yours. Find the good in it.

Forgive yourself and everyone else–in that way you are liberating yourself. Release it. Let it go. Leave it behind. Don’t look back.

Be kind, always. But mostly, be kind to yourself. You are loved. ~2020

Be Careful Little Eyes

I weigh myself daily. I record my weight in a journal everyday. This is before I have a sip of water or a cup of coffee. This is right after I’ve gone to the bathroom to ensure I weigh as little as possible. This is before I read my daily affirmation on my calendar. This is before I wake my daughter for school. This is my routine. Everyday.

I’ve never thought much about this, until I found a little blue sticky note, where in pencil in a child’s hand my daughter had recorded her weight twice. My seven year old. My heart sank with the realization that my seven year old is concerned about her weight. But in today’s society, it wouldn’t be unheard of. In a home where her mother is weight conscious, it’s not a bit surprising either. If we don’t think for one second our kids are watching our every move, we are fools. We are being watched, listened to, and even more important to note, we are being imitated.

I chart my weight in order to stay on top of it because if I don’t, it can easily get out of control. Would I like to lose weight? Sure would. But I try to be very careful what I say around my kid that is weight related. When I was a kid, my mom always said she was fat. So I thought she was fat, because kids have this trusting tendency to believe everything grownups tell them. Right or wrong. When I see pictures of my mom from my childhood (very few), she is not fat at all. She’s just regular. An average mom who thought she was fat. So I get that, I really do. I don’t want to pass that one on. So I am cautious to not speak of myself as fat or turn my nose up at myself in the mirror with a  big UGH.

We know how society is affecting our young children, especially girls, with its supermodels, photoshopped pictures and airbrushed glossy magazine covers. That’s all true.  My mind was put at ease when I learned that my daughter is tracking her weight because she is wanting to gain weight so she can outgrow her booster seat. Isn’t that just like a kid, trying to grow up before their time?

But this sticky note put a lot of thoughts in motion for me. It gave me an opportunity to  pause a moment and look hard at myself. My words. My actions. Our kids are living in the world we create for them. What are they seeing? What are they hearing? What are they imitating?

Do they see us lash out at the people we profess to love the most after a hard day at work? Do they see us lose our temper and hear us curse? Do they see our frustrations and road rage? Do they hear us complain about everything….the service, they traffic, the wait, the co-workers, the teachers, the bills. Do they listen to us gossiping with friends and making fun of others? Do they see us give money to the man with the cardboard sign? Do they hear us apologize when we’re wrong, and sometimes, we are. Do they hear us compliment a stranger’s shoes or see us drop what we’re doing to a lend a helping hand? Do they see us staring at our phone at every red light or line we wait in? Do they see us praising God, even in hard times, and down on our knees in prayer?

This little blue sticky note in my child’s handwriting was a huge Note to Self. It reminded me of how powerful my influence is on those around me. Not just kids, but most importantly kids. Most importantly this one kid. Remember I said she was sleeping when I do my weighing and charting? Well, not every time obviously. There are times she’s watching. And listening. And imitating.

So are others.

Never underestimate the power you have. You can have such an important impact on others. You may not think your words and actions are making a difference, but they are. You make a difference. Make sure it’s a good one.

Cheers to 7 Years

My Dearest Emma Kate,

Happy 7th birthday, my precious darling child! When you were born, I got a lot of advice.  I didn’t ask for it, by the way, but sometimes people just like to give it. One of the most common things I heard was “Don’t blink. They grow up so fast.” I’m sure I’ve already given this advice out to new moms and if I haven’t, I’m sure I will. It is the God honest truth. There is nothing truer in this world than how fast time flies. How in the world has seven years passed already?

It makes me sad sometimes. You’re infancy, toddlerhood, and now half of your childhood is just a memory. Well cherished.  You are a ray of sunshine everyday to me. Rod Stewart (I know you’ve never heard of him, and I should change that) says, “You fill my heart with gladness. You take aways all my sadness. You ease my troubles, that’s what you do).

This birthday, you asked for a glitter water bottle, pink hair extensions, a doll from Hobby Lobby named Emma “who looks just like me!” and a Rubix cube. You lost your third tooth this week. It’s a top one and you look so funny. Sorry kid, but you do. You were so excited to lose it before you turned seven. And your toothless grin makes me smile! You are a little prankster and you love to trick me and your dad. Of course, we never fall for it, but we act like we do. You’ll get this someday when you’re playing dumb for your kids, too. You love to play games. You give the best squeezes. Right now you are over the moon about llamas! You want everything llama themed, from your toothbrush to your bedroom.  So naturally, we had a llama birthday party! You wanted to go to the Plaza and have them sing happy birthday, so we managed that too! You truly don’t ask for much, and you are just happy and content no matter what.

51223912_10219215884014754_175594532396597248_nYou love your family and gymnastics so much! You really are passionate about that. You set goals for yourself, and you are hoping to get first place at one of your gymnastics meets. I’m proud of you for striving, but please always know it is not what you do that matters. You matter, already. No matter what you do or don’t do. You are loved, you are adored, you are worthy, you are deserving. You don’t ever, ever, ever have to earn love. You are loved. You are love. We will always love you. I know you’re going to grow so fast. I cherish the days I have with you. I try to see the world through your eyes. It’s hard, because grown ups have lost that childlike joy, imagination, and wonder. But you keep it alive in our house. Even when we’re tired and don’t want to play or imagine, you make us and it’s good for us. You love to wrestle with your dad and you love to snuggle with your mom. You are our gift. I mean that. I don’t know where we would be without you, but it would never be as grand and wonderful as where we are today. May you always know how much you’re loved and may you love life, always!

I love you more than you can ever understand,

XOXO
Mama

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How to Cope when people think you’re “ish”

I’ve returned to teaching elementary school this year after a 3 year hiatus of staying at home, and then another 3 year stint at an alternative high school (which is nothing like an elementary school, in case you’re wondering). I am teaching part-time in a rural school district that is home to a total of 50 students, kindergarten through 6th grade. My job is grand. I am the FUN teacher, at least I try to be. I am the PE and Fine Arts teacher. I teach 3 classes a day, 2 PE and one Fine Arts. How much more fun can it get right? We play games, we dance, we create, we paint, we sing, we drama…. um, dramatize……um, are very dramatic, some much more than others. It’s a great gig and I am loving it.

One of these little love cups in my charge happens to be my 6-year-old daughter. I don’t make her call me Mrs. Wheeler either. Am I wrong for that? I watch her expressions a lot during class and I know when she is loving the lessons, games, and activities. I also know when she thinks it is lame, or when I am totally embarrassing her. Which doesn’t make me stop, by the way.

The other evening she and I were in the kitchen and she told me a little story. She said that while in PE, a student asked a question of her and she replied, “I don’t know, go ask my mom.” The other student replied, “That’s your mom?” And when EK told her yes, the little girl  turned up her nose, and said “ISH.” You know, her way of saying ewwww.

EK looked up at me in the kitchen and said, “But you’re not ish.” However, the way she said it left me questioning if she believed it. She didn’t say it emphatically, like “But you’re NOT ISH!” Rather, it ended in a bit of a question, “But, you’re not ish.” Like she wanted to add, “Are you?” Of course what is she going to say? She’s my daughter and right now she’s at the age where she thinks I hung the moon. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t tell me I’m the best. I know these times won’t last, but I certainly don’t want her opinion of me to change because of some snotty nosed brat in PE. Uh, I mean little love cup. (kidding, I’m kidding).

I didn’t easily dismiss this conversation. I may have thought about it over and over. I’m fun. I’m not ish. I wonder who else thinks I’m ish?  In truth, this little story I was told truly got me thinking hard how others opinions of us shape and guide us, even in this seemingly trite example.

We all want to be liked. We all want to be liked all the time. But the cold, hard truth is, we aren’t going to be. We know this. It’s out there. Let’s think about what we’ve been told.

  • You can’t please all of the people all of the time.
  • Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business.
  • You may be the juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be someone who doesn’t like peaches.

We can hear these expressions all day long and believe them all day long, but it still stings a little when you get negative feedback. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want to be ish, even to a seven-year old, maybe especially to a seven-year old. Children are brutally honest and when it’s coming from them it’s gospel, right?

No matter how badly I don’t want to be ish, others are going to think I am. It’s going to happen and it’s especially going to happen if you are putting yourself out there in any way.  When I began my LuLaRoe business, I had to put myself out there. I had to make phone calls, do Facebook Lives, talk to strangers and it wasn’t easy. I have always been a bit of a recluse, so putting myself out there doesn’t come natural for me. Maybe it doesn’t for you either, but what if you have a dream, a big one, that is going to require you to put yourself out there. You’re going to encounter some ish opinions.

Anyone who has their own sense of style, who wants to grow a blog (raises hand), who wants to write a book (raises hand), who wants to start a business, who wants to sing on broadway, who wants a million instagram followers, who wants to change the world, and a million other dreamers are putting themselves out there every single day. Do you think there are those who think they are ish? Of course there are. There are people who think they are worse than ish. In this day of cyber bullying and keyboard warriors, there are some who hide behind the protection of a screen and post ugly comments, bad reviews, and hateful emails.  Should these opinions leave us running to our beds, crying, and eating tubs of ice cream? Maybe for a little bit, but not forever.

Here’s what we can do when this happens to us.

**focus on the ones who don’t think you’re ish—There are people who love you. Focus on those. In my classes, I have others who are hugging me daily and telling me they love me.  I’m not going to let one little ish ruin it. There are people out there who love your bold sense of style, your writing, your singing, your dancing, your ideas, your everything…..maybe they haven’t found you yet but they are out there. One day they will find you and shower you with how awesome you are. Keep on.

**don’t dwell on it—-As hard as it may be to let it go, it is imperative to let it go. You can’t dwell on it. That will only cause depressing thoughts that will bog you down and possibly change your opinion of yourself. We are our own worst critic to begin with, we certainly don’t need anymore. Should we try to improve? Yes, always. We can take constructive criticism and improve, but don’t dwell on the negative. Think about the positive words and compliments that have been given to you. Keep on.

**don’t let the fear of other’s ishy opinions stop you—-Your dreams are inside of you for a reason. If you want to go big, then go big. Don’t let the fear and worry of other’s opinions keep you from going for it, whatever it is. If you don’t, you will remain where you are. Fearing failure will hold us back. Later sometimes becomes never. Understand that those people with the ish opinions are out there, but don’t let them dictate your path. Take steps forward. Be brave. Keep on.
**to thine own self be true—Didn’t Fancy’s mama give her this same advice in that heart-shaped locket? (please tell me you get this reference). But seriously, be true to your self. I have spent a whole lot of years trying to discover myself while all the time worrying about what other people are thinking of me and following the crowd. We will reach an age when we realize we really don’t care. I want you to find that age sooner than later. Stop comparing yourself to the latest and greatest. Do what makes your heart sing. What makes your soul happy. You will find your tribe. Keep on.
**bullying is not okay—As a disclaimer, I want to say that this post is about people who think you’re ish, not about people who may be harming you or bullying you. That is not okay. Get help and tell someone if something serious and repetitive is happening.

When people say your ish,
You may feel sad and blue
But your crown, straighten and polish,
To thine own self be true.

Inside you is a wish,
A dream that’s big and bold
Only you hold the power,
To turn those ishes into gold.

So focus on your goals,
Don’t listen to that ish,
You may not be a peach,
But you’re a pretty tasty dish!

Y’all go out and turn that ish into something delish.