Personal Note

My most valued possession is my family. Even if you are living in a box somewhere, and you have the love and support of your family, you will always be wealthy. Love really is all you need. From love, great things will emerge. From your thoughts, you can create greatness.

This is what I need to remind myself of everyday to be the best person that I can be. Live your life with gratitude. Be thankful for all that you have everyday, even if it is your eyes to see or your ears to hear or your feet to walk or your hands to create. Understand your place in this Universe; how infinitesimally small you are, but how huge a contribution your Spirit is. Don't wear blinders to the world around you, you're not the only one here. Be kind, considerate, don't be judgemental, love others, and yourself. Know that you are perfect inside; that you are love.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

I Haven't Been This Excited Since I Quit My "Day" Job...!

Hello, friends!

I have been so super busy and there is so much to tell you!

First, I have revamped my website and moved it to WordPress. It has all the same content as before, it's just been updated for a fresh new look and better features. I do hope you will go on over and take a look around.

Second, I'm going to start blogging over there more, but I haven't decided if I want to merge this blog with it, or have you directed to the new blog when you come here, or if I'm just going to post in both places. It would make more sense to just have one place for you all to go, sort of like "one stop shopping." Confessions will still be here, of course, I'm just thinking a more streamlined situation is the way to go. So, for now, I'll just leave this post up as my unofficial "last post," and give you the link to the new blog page on my website to visit at your leisure.

Link To New Blog

I really hope you enjoy it!

Last, but not least, the BIG news...I am, as of last week, the new Editor of the Give YourSelf Permission™ - Anthology!!!  You can read all about how this magical thing happened right HERE!!

I am humbled and honored to be a part of this fantastic team and to be able to read all of the fabulous stories that are being shared! I will be putting out a "call to action" asking for submissions, so, if you are wanting to share your story, we are definitely interested! You can go to my website or right here on "confessions" to follow me on all my social media, or, simply head on over to to sign up for the guidelines! 

Keep a lookout for more information, and thank you so much for hanging with me for all these years; I hope to be with you for many more!! I see great things in our future!!



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Where Have I Been...?! Taking the Bull by the Horns, That's Where...


"I love to see a young girl go out and take the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick some ass."

                                                                        --Maya Angelou

Oh, how I long to be a 28-something, again, this time. I look through all the Inastgram-ers like Hilary Rushford and her quirky NY life or YouTubers like Alexis aka Miss Trenchcoat and I long for my time again. These strong young women are breaking out with their businesses and living their stylized lives...and here I am, 40 years old and just starting out in mine after leaving a well-paying career that I had for over 18 years to pursue my passion. (Seriously, check these birds out. They are amazingly inspiring, to say the least!) 

But, thank goodness for these young women. I have roll-models now that are a good 10 years younger than me (at least...).

But...40 is the new 30, though, right?

Right? I mean, it is, right?

So, where have I been for...we'll just say "months?" Since my last post where I made the announcement that I was leaving my job, I took a hiatus. I enjoyed the time off, especially during the holidays, with my family. I KonMari-ed my house (and will again), I organized my new daily schedule, got the Filofax back out and started to plan my life in neat timed increments. I made 'to do' lists, and mental 'to don't' lists. I organized my planner(s) and re-organized them. I planned and thought and dreamed of where to go next in my pursuit (of happiness) and what to do when I got there (besides 'be happy').

I became a YouTube addict of learning and a note taking fiend. I'm reading books about platform building and moving my blog and website to WordPress.  I'm bidding on freelance jobs and pinching my pennies. I'm engrossed in webinars and working long days (16 hours, sometimes!).

I'm home every day to take care of my responsibilities, and I can now be there as a support for my son (who is doing very well, now. You can read about what was going on right here) and to be of better service to my dad and the rest of my family.

I've adopted a 'Morning Ritual' and meditate every morning and do yoga at the end of every day before cooking up amazing vegetarian dinners that I never had time to do before when I was working midnight shifts for the last 13 years. As a matter of fact, that’s what I’m doing, now…I'm living. That's all I ever longed for--a 'normal' routine that I can get into and that would help make me feel alive. I felt like I had wasted so much time mundanely and morosely slugging through life-day in and day out-wasting myself and my time. 

What I'm trying to say is, I've finally made the leap. I just wish I had done it sooner. Well, maybe that's not entirely true. I mean, I didn't know then the things that I know now. We didn't have anywhere near the resources we have, now. These young women have it made, so to speak. Not made easy, mind you, these women are hard workers, deserving of every drop of success they get, because they EARN it. But, they have resources at their fingertips that we just didn't have as creatives in the past, which make it especially fabulous to behold the women from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s who are self-made (we know, we know…Oprah and Martha!).

Now, whenever I'm ready to submit my book for publishing, I can do so with a click of a few buttons, or, because of the convenience of networking, I have a small army of dear friends who are ready and willing to help me with anything that I need to get me going, get me edited and get me published. With the wonderful world of social media and YouTube, I can now learn, reach out and connect and, ultimately, aspire to just about anything on my mind. That is what the world of business it turning into. I've said it for a while now...we are turning back to a more "pioneering" time where the art of self-preservation, haggling, bartering and trading and selling our goods and services is key. With the amount of student loan indebted university graduates that have been hitting the pavement since 2008, tuning into our creative sides was bound to happen.

With this came the rising of online selling spots to rival eBay...enter Etsy--one of the world's leading online shop systems. People who have lost their jobs (or outright quit their jobs *wink*) went in search for something else...something *more*. Tired of the rat race of “day in, day out”, they went in search of the alternative—working on their terms. And, you know what? It’s working. The rise in social media for business is WORKING! Not every pic you see on Instagram is a duck-faced girl in Uggs posing with her PSL (that’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, in case you weren’t familiar), but instead a peek into those quirky lives, a behind-the-scenes look at their days, small, free adverts of their offerings (sometimes shamelessly overt, but, hey…what’s a girl to do?).

We (I say we because this is where I am, or soon will be, anyway) are becoming a little Universe filled with little entrepreneurships zooming about at warp speed to get our turn. And, there’s plenty of turn to go around (but, that's a whole 'nother post). That’s what I admire about the young(er) women of today. Just like the quote above is so eloquently put by the dear, late Maya Angelou, which, incidentally, I found just exactly before I started to sit down to write this article (you are familiar with the main message in my writing, aren’t you? Why, it’s synchronicity, of course!).  

So, I say: Take it by the lapels, girls, and give it a good shake!

Until next time,


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Following Happiness

I quit my job.

I did. I quit.

Maybe "quit" is a bit too harsh a word. It denotes 'giving up' to me, and I didn't give up. I chose change. I chose my dream. I chose myself.

After a (very) long decision process with my husband, soul searching, financial arrangement and a whole lot of back and forth that took a lot of courage and believing in myself, I was finally able to set a date and make the leap.

November 5th. One month. That's it. Everything changes.

I had been dreaming about getting out of health care and working from home, devoting my time to my craft, my writing and even eventually speaking but, it was always just a pipe dream. I never thought I could do something as crazy as leave a decently paying career with all the benefits to follow my dream into the unknown. But, when my mom died, everything changed. The trepidation I always seemed to have just vanished. I felt I had nothing left to lose and that life is just too precious to let it slip by while I sit in fear of all the "what if"'s.

Then, our world came crashing down even more. The stark realization that life can end at any moment was too overwhelming to bear. I felt like I was wasting myself if I stayed in a career that did not fulfill me. I had already spent years practicing how to make the best out of work and the like--situations that I was unhappy in, but could do nothing about except change myself and my views on it. I did this for years, then we lost our moms, my brother, and watch our son struggle with his certainly puts things in a different perspective.

I feel I missed so much these past 18 years and especially the last 13 years while I have worked overnight. Yes, I picked this career. Yes, it fulfilled me, for a time. It definitely served it's purpose, and served me well. But, I longed for my family time--holidays, birthdays, celebrations, vacation without feeling like I'm arranging for an out of state visitation...

Family time became incredibly important to me. Death will do that, I think. I didn't want to waste any more time. I had to get out. The first two years after my mom died, I still didn't have a plan. I still just let myself dream a little at a time about working from home. Then, all of these little synchronicities started to happen. I started going to places I never would have before, meeting and talking with people I never felt in league with, reaching out and making connections with people I now call friends. These meetings have forged bonds now that are incredible and indispensable. They have led me to people and situations that continue to help me grow and follow this path I am on.

I didn't just come up with the idea to quit completely on my own. I had Noah, of course, but I also had an amazing woman by my side, as well. I met Priya in Sedona (one of those wonderful synchronisities) who just happens to be a fantastic coach who wrote a fantastic book called "Give YourSelf Permission To Live Your Life" ( She coached me through eight weeks of staunch decision making while working through her book and it was just what I needed.

This work was paramount in my decision to follow my heart and my dream, as it helped me break down every part of my questioning and forced me to really look at what I wanted and learn to give myself permission to want it and know I deserve it.

Amazing. Decision made. And if I was still questioning my decision, I came across another book that I had been given by chance last November at Hay House's Movers and Shakers seminar. It's called "Choose Yourself" by James Altucher (find it here, you won't regret it). It was amazing that I never read it until after I read Priya's book...almost like it was meant to be...

What I'm saying is, cool things happen. They happen when they are supposed to happen, you just have to be paying attention. I'm glad I was and felt the nudges from the Universe, God, my Source, Higher Power...whatever it is to you, it was there for me and I am eternally grateful for the people and situations that came into my life, right when I needed them.

I am grateful for the career I've had all these years and the joyous (and not so joyous) times I have had and the many, many lessons I've learned. I am grateful for all of the relationships I have made with both my co-workers and my patients.

The door is not closed, I have been assured of that, so I always have an "out" if my new-found career path comes to a dead end, but, somehow, I just don't believe it will.

I will have gratitude in my heart no matter what, though. That's the price of touching happiness.


Sunday, June 14, 2015


As you know, I am just two weeks back from Sacred Sedona, a place where I met many true and valuable new friends, and met my new "self" as well. I'm still deciphering the new life's blood coursing through my veins and have realized and made peace with the fact that it takes time to make life impacting decisions. 

One of those decisions has been to dive deeper into myself and live me. 

I recently received an email response from a new (and newly dear) friend, Gary Finnan, who helped all of us at the writer's retreat with our self-discovery and exposing the tip of the iceberg to my own essence. 

In this little email exchange was a challenge. After reading my blog he "challenged" me to use one of the greatest things I think we all learned while in Sedona: how to be COW's. Would you believe it? This sacred place developed and run by practitioners of Tao Fellowship teaching people how to be cows? Well, that's "C.O.W." not, cow, as in, "Mooo..."

C: cool head
O: open heart
W: warm belly

This is the formula for being at peace. It has to do with your Chakra energy but, I think you get the point (this isn't going to turn into a lesson in Taoism, I promise). The point is, he's challenging me to use the essence of our being--the warm belly- where all of our feeling essence lives, instead of my head, as in, becoming a Feelaholic instead of a Thinkaholic. 

I accepted his challenge. I am going to start using my belly-my essence-to feel my way through for a while, instead of my head and always trying to 'think' it out. In Taoism, if you keep the water energy flowing through your body (chakra centers) properly, you keep your head cool. A cool head is a calm and peaceful head=a calm and cool, peaceful you. 

Now, I am not Taoist and won't become a practitioner any time soon. I have my own beliefs and I've written about them here, often. But, keeping a cool head is not a bad idea. I'm going to give the feeling a try and hold off on the thinking for a while. I have always shared my ideas about not letting yourself be run by your over-thinking mind and it's time I really put that into practice. 

I have a lot of "feeling" to do, though. I'm giving myself permission to really get down into myself and "feel" what makes me happy and start doing it. 

Speaking of giving myself permission...I have an article to finish and I've carved out some time to finish it and submit it without fear. 

Wish me luck!



*PS: for more info about my new transformation, view my newsletter by clicking here

All of my new found friends at the Wellness and Writing Retreat in Sedona, Arizona.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

While I Was Away...

I haven't written a post in a while. I just got back from the most wonderful experience in Sacred Sedona, Arizona. I met the most wonderful people there and learned so much about myself and this incredible journey I'm embarking on. It was a writer's retreat set amidst the red rocks 5,000 feet above sea level, nestled away from the rest of the world--literally. There was no TV and very little to no WiFi. But, it was all good. I had been needing that for a long time.

As a matter of fact, I had been manifesting it for some time. When I was 17 I left home one week after graduation to drive across the country from Illinois to California. Not the greatest decision, considering, but a necessary one, I can see now. That is where all my maturity began. I grew up after that 6 month stay in California. Starting a few years ago, I had always planned to go back; this time with my husband and our son. I thought it would be a great summer vacation after graduation to take our son on. Well, things turned out a bit differently than I thought, and we never got the chance to go.

I always kept that desire, the desire to see the red rocks again, on the surface of my "wants" list, telling my husband about the grandness of seeing those wonderful monoliths in the setting sun. That was the best part of the trip, you see; the best and most memorable. I just wanted a chance to do it right this time, with someone I loved and wanted to share with. Maybe I just wanted the chance to re-live it 'properly' and really get the joy out of it that should have happened the first time. Whatever the reason, it never happened...until now.

The second thing I sort of coveted was the thought of going on a solitary and spiritual retreat like I saw in the movie "The Shift" with Wayne Dyer. It takes place at Asilomar  in Pacific Grove, California, a beautiful conference center known as "the refuge by the sea." As soon as I saw that movie, I was hooked. With all the chaos and demands in my life, especially over the last three years, I needed, longed for a place like that where I could get away and really focus on what I needed.

As I arrived at the Mago Retreat Centre in Sedona, a beautiful place run in the tradition of Tao Fellowship filled with beauty and serenity and wonderful ways to connect both to your being and your spirit, I realized that I had made my own wishes come true. I was in the most sacred part of Arizona as close to the red rocks as I could get...for now.

The events that lead me to this place: a Hay House seminar, meeting Julie Colvin, creator of the Wellness and Writing Retreats and Consulting , going to Arizona for 6 days and meeting a fantastic bunch of new friends that will, undoubtedly, change my life forever is something I know I will always be grateful for.

I never thought I would be where I am, right now, and I'm only at the beginning. My last few newsletters have been about forgiveness, making things simpler for yourself, beginning your journey and mastering the process of decision making. I have been following up with a blog post that coincides with each newsletter, but I got behind...forgive me?

I have really had a lot of decision making on my mind, threatening to overwhelm my senses into shutting down and causing me to just plop myself right down on the ground, arms and legs crossed in defiance like I did as a child when I wasn't getting my way.

But, this weeks newsletter, "Mastering Decisions" is something so very close to my heart right now. I have always had some trouble with committing to one definitive decision. I, like a lot of you, just want to be sure to make the right one. I have been struggling with what to do with my life for some time, now. Just when I think the answers have come, I analyze just a tad more and talk myself out of any assurance I had. My major decision, right now, is all about the career: finances, freedom and faith (in myself to allow everything to just happen as it should). It's a scary prospect, letting go. I could really screw things up if I don't make the right decision. There is a lot riding on me, and I have a hard time relinquishing control. But, at what point is it proper to relinquish that control? I have witnessed nothing short of actual miracles in my life from things falling directly into place when I needed (and expected) them to, to getting exactly what I needed when I least expected it.

I have faith that everything happens as it should, but I just don't know, you know? How do we get around this paralyzing indecision? The one certain thing I know that has worked for me so far is patience.  Not so much patience that we become idle, but enough to just be still and listen. Quiet the noise inside your head. Give your thoughts room to flow easily, not cram up on top of each other like groceries on the conveyor belt that the cashier forgot to turn off. Give them some room to breathe!

Take your time with your decisions. Provide yourself with the space to sit with your contemplations easily and without rush. I know there are decisions that need to be made hastily; major life decisions like career changes or where to move is not one of them. Allow yourself the time and place to meditate on what you need from your higher self to be at peace with the decision you make, and that can only be done when you are not under duress.

That's what I'm learning to do. That's why I create the newsletters--I do the research you might not have time to do because it's all stuff I need in my life, too. But, that's also one of my decisions: what to keep up with and what to stop doing if it no longer serves me. You see, taking care of yourself is one of the major premises. We must learn self-care, for without it, how can we care for another?

Thank you so much for being here today. Please leave a comment if you have one...questions, too! If you happen to check out the newsletter, let me know what you think...keep it up or let it go? And if you LOVE it ;) let me know that, too (and maybe even share it!),

Thanks so much for reading,



Saturday, May 9, 2015

Insecurity, Misunderstanding and Revenge...

Bad words, bad feelings.

Have you ever had them? Have you ever been on the other side; a victim of someone's insecurity, misunderstanding and revenge? I have, and it is frustrating, to say the least.

I have been misunderstood more than I find to be a comfortable norm, and some of it came from misrepresenting myself or allowing my insecurity to form a protective shell around me keeping everyone at bay. All it takes is one single incident for the reputation to take off--one person to choose to believe their perception of you--for the misunderstanding to spread like wildfire. No matter what you do, how you may change or how 'off' their perception is of you, that's your rep, built upon someone else's belief.

But, is that your problem, or theirs?

I recognize it for what it is because I've been there. I know what it's like to be on both sides. I let insecurity grow a huge chip on my shoulder. I was wretched, sometimes...a lot of times. I let potential misunderstandings fester into pseudo-truths that I would let convince me of what I wanted to believe about any given situation. I may not have sought revenge, but I often felt vengeful. It took a moment of clarity and being tired of myself and always being unhappy, feeling misunderstood and vengeful for me to change.

I longed for a new way of thinking and living and hoped that I would find it. That was it; that was the key: want, longing, the desire for something else. That's when I vowed to change and let go of my ego. I stopped caring that I may look vulnerable. I patted my insecurity on its wee little head, put it down for a nap and moved right on into living my life the way I wanted to. I stopped being afraid that people might misunderstand me and just vowed to represent myself the best I could each day (but was gentle on myself when I couldn't accomplish it.) And, as for revenge? I didn't desire to "get back" at anyone, no matter what they did to me. I grew out of petty behaviors that caused me to want to lash out like a 2nd grader.

Do I still get misunderstood? You betcha. Do I see and feel other people's insecurities dangerously coming through to their surface? Oh, yes. And do I fear their retribution because they feel slighted in some way? No. No, I don't. I definitely know it may very well be there, but I no longer fear it. You see, after losing so much in so little time, and after all that I battle and accomplish each day, I have no time for someone else's insecurities about themselves or me. Does that sound harsh? Maybe. But, when is enough...enough? You don't have to stop being pleasant and accommodating to other people, but when that line gets crossed, when negativity starts to surround you because they are having issue with their own insecurities, it's time to disengage.

You can't cure someone of their dislike, jealousy, or animosity of you. You can change your attitude and how you treat others (if that is the problem because it very well may be) in order to become a better person. But, try as you might, not everyone is going to like you, understand you, or accept you. When you're living the best that you can, and you try every day to be a better person, if what's left is someone still not treating you ceases to be your problem. It is theirs.

I'm not trying to give permission to myself to act as I want to, and to hell with everybody else. Like I said earlier, you can try to figure out what it is about you that is such a bone of contention and vow to fix it. Not everyone needs to be fixed, though, even when you're made to feel like you do. No one is perfect and treating each other like we did back in elementary school is ridiculous. After all, we are grown adults; professionals, even.

So, when you feel the green monster rearing its ugly head, check yourself. Is it you, or is it them? Do you maybe need to make an adjustment? Or do you just need to keep living your life and give the "haters" some space? As long as you are trying to live your life the best you can, treating everyone fairly and with kindness, and being supportive when you can, what more is there to do?

"You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time."

― John Lydgate

I hope this helps when you are facing animosity or feeling it towards others. Life's just too short to waste it on the petty things.

Thanks for reading,



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Living The Dream...

Ahh...Florida. Feet up, breeze swaying the palm trees and boats docked in the canal right behind the condo.

Vacation with my husband. Finally. 

Living the dream, right? Well, I guess it all depends on what your dreams are. Is a nice vacation in the tropical breeze your dream? It sure is nice, but is it your ultimate dream? How about the opportunity to live in your dream destination? World travel, doing what you love, becoming your ultimate physically fit or spiritual self?

How about becoming learned, obtaining a degree, switching jobs, writing your memoir? Yeah, me, too. It all sounds good, but how do we obtain it?  

First, you have to evaluate what your dreams are. Really daydream about them. Get to know them. Try them on for size. Visualize yourself living them-travel, dream job, performing feats of strength, having time to meditate in the silence of a morning sunrise, expertly performing that yoga pose you never thought you could...

Visualization is the key to manifesting your dreams. That, and actual belief that you deserve to have it, and bonafide hard work. You can visualize and believe all you want, but if you spend all your time doing that while doing nothing else to work towards your goals, it most likely won't ever happen. Nothing ever comes from sitting idle, you have to act as well as dream. I believe in the law of attraction: what you put out with a clear and positive intention will find it's way to you (keep in mind, all that negative, jumbled mess of thinking we do day to day will also find it's way to you...) and it will find it's way often--the parking space you visualize yourself getting, the spot in the coffee house you love, even the promotion you long for. But, life long changes take work as well as thought. 

"If you build it, they will come..."

I love the movie "Field of Dreams" because it's magical...whimsical, but it tells the truth, in a way. Kevin Costner's character had to do the work behind the dream. He had to take a (huge) risk and plow under a great deal of his crops for this ridiculous and lofty idea. No one understood what he was doing, not even his own family. They thought he was nuts for mowing down his means of income right when they needed it most! He was in financial trouble, bills were stacking up, his farm was in danger...and he goes crazy. 

Turns out, he wasn't crazy at all. All of these little synchronicities kept building up. The school book banning meeting that led him to drive to the author of said book's house, the stops on the way because of the drive...(*spoiler alert!*) he went with his dream, his gut, and did the work. He built it and they came. From everywhere. And the money he made from the ball games played on the diamond he mowed his corn under for saved his house, his farm, his family. 

Yeah...the ghosts of baseball players past helped his dream come true; it is Hollywood, after all. But the lesson is there. He took a risk, trusted his gut and his heart, and plowed on (pun intended). Not all of our dreams are as lofty as this, some will be close, some even bigger. It will happen. Maybe not over night, but don't rule that out! Your intention is your own; don't listen to nay sayers and let them rule your decisions. Listening to negative talk from others leads to negative self-talk, which leads to doubt. You must keep in mind a phrase I learned from Louise Hay, "When people around me are negative, I say to myself, 'It might be true for you, but it's not true for me.'" You don't have to buy into their negative beliefs or their own self-talk. That's them; you are you. 

Use this formula I came up with as a quick reminder of how to begin your thinking. It doesn't have to be about manifesting something other than a great day:             want + intention + action= success. It will take time to learn to master your thinking and your belief in yourself enough to make your dreams a reality. But it is so worth it. When I think back to when I was a mess, always doubtful, always negative I think "Wow, It's been so long since I was like that; it really seems like it's been forever." But, in truth, all we have is now, and it doesn't seem that long ago. How long it took no longer matters, for, when you live in the moment, that's all you have. No projections into the future worrying about how long it will take to become the you that you desire. You already are that person, you just have to let them out. And when you live in the Now, you don't realize there is anything else to look back on or worry about getting to; you just live. Each day you will see that this is the time and place you belong, and all will be well. 

Baby steps, my friends. Baby steps.

I am so happy right now, in this moment, sharing with you loving thoughts and feelings. This is my dream. 

No pinching necessary.

I wish you peace and great joy on your journey.



Friday, April 10, 2015

Living With Joy...

If you read my newsletter then there's a good chance you read last week's in which I discussed Finding Happiness. I linked you to articles from fellow bloggers that offered you advice that has worked for them, and countless others, to help them live more joyful and positive lives. In that newsletter we learned how to return to the NOW, control our over thinking mind and even give support to our friends who are suffering with depression.  (Be sure to check out this weeks newsletter, as well: Living With Joy. It's a perfect companion to this weeks post.)

This week I want to write a post on how I return to the joy I want to live with, even in the midst of a sometimes very chaotic life. I was (and sometimes still am) a chronic over thinker, worrier, and very prone to depression. It has been a long time commitment to change the way I think and act so that I may live a more peaceful existence--with joy. 

So, what do I do to return to joy when the joy in life seems to be lost? Well, first I own my sorrow/worries/fears. I accept it. I feel it. I look at it. Only then can you move on. As with any relationship or situation, you first need to accept it to change it. Burying your head in the sand doesn't make anything go away. I wrote an article for that addresses the difficulties and fears about getting things done when you are feeling overwhelmed. It's often very difficult to get out of the complacent rut that we often allow ourselves to fall into, but, with commitment and dedication, we most certainly can. I am proof. 

Living with joy can mean whatever you want it to. For me, it is living a fulfilling life, filled with situations and people that make me happy. For so long, I have put myself on the back burner because I am compelled to serve others. But, if we constantly put other people before ourselves, we will eventually burn out, and start harboring resentment along the way. The problem with this for a lot of us is the inevitable feelings of guilt, selfishness and even shame, both for doing for ourselves or feelings of resentment when we don't. 

It took me such a long time to start getting over this, and I still have trouble. I am getting better at it, though. You must be willing to work hard on the process of gifting yourself the life you deserve. 

You heard me right. The life you deserve

In order to live fully, joyfully, you must take care of yourself. I have said, time and again, that we must learn to put ourselves first in order to take care of everything and everyone else. I have finally started to do this, but it sure does feel uncomfortable--at first. Here are four examples of changes I've made in my life to start putting myself first and placing myself on that path to joyful living.

  1. I've started opening up more about what is heavy on my heart and in my head. You can't go on bottling everything up inside. This doesn't mean you have to air your dirty laundry all over social media or tell the grocery store clerk all about it, but, telling someone close to you or seeking out professional advice can help wonders to help you "put it all out there" so you can see it and evaluate it with the help of the neutral ear of someone else. You also must respect yourself enough to discuss what your concerns are about the people in your life with the people in your life. If you do so in a loving and tactful way, you can release any resentments you may have and the stress that goes with it.
  2. I've started to remind myself that I am worthy and deserving of my dreams, no matter how "far-fetched" they may seem to me or anyone else. We have the freedom to dream, wonder and hope. No one can take that away from us. Let yourself wonder, daydream and aspire to whatever your heart desires. Does this mean you will get everything you hope for? Maybe not, but by letting yourself get it all out, you may naturally narrow it down, anyway. You may not want everything on your "list" after you give yourself a chance to actually want it and see how it feels.
  3. I've started trusting in doing things that make me happy, and working on not feeling guilty about it. We so often dedicate ourselves to taking care of other people-our kids, family, even our jobs-that we forget to do nice things for ourselves. Then, when we do, we feel guilty for even thinking of putting ourselves first. Don't get me wrong, serving others is a wonderful way to connect with them and your own spirit, for to give to others you also give to yourself. But, you must take care of you, put yourself first, in order to properly care for the people in your life. 
  4. I've started putting aside my fear of risk and putting this all together and taking the plunge. You can think about doing these things, but until you actually overcome your fears and do it, it's not doing you any good. It has been so freeing to stop being afraid of the things I want and actually seeking them out. I have been so happy with life in the last several weeks, that I can't believe it. All it took was believing in myself and setting aside my fear of failure and disappointment. I have stopped worrying about what other people might think and started to just go for it. And, it has been working! The most amazing opportunities have opened up for me, and this is only the beginning. 

Living a life of joy shouldn't be a struggle. It should come naturally, as it is meant to. We are meant to be happy, joyful, loving and kind. We keep ourselves from this because we often don't believe we are worthy or deserving. We are. If you have pure intention for obtaining the things you desire, then those things will find their way to you. We create our reality. No one else is responsible for our happiness and we cannot be solely responsible for anyone else's. Love yourself enough and you will always be surrounded by love. 

Good luck on your journey to living with joy. You will always find encouragement here.

Thanks for reading today.



Sunday, March 29, 2015


Big breath in...let it all out.

I walked out to my car for something and there is one bird singing its heart out in a tree. It's misting a chilly rain, and I think "What's he so happy about? He's probably cold and wet. Silly thing..."

It's 4:45 in the morning in a hospital ambulance bay, so what does he have to be happy about?

I often wonder this about people as I see them going about their days, sometimes their appearance being downtrodden, poor and blissfully ignorant of the things that should be making them unhappy. Yet, there they are. Smiling like fools at the cruel world of disassociation ignoring their shining faces.

Then, I remember myself. What I've been through, what my husband has been through...and our son. And I realize that I am one of those people; moving through daily life trying to see the best in it. Of course, not always; I have my days where I have to drag myself out of the "all hope is lost" abyss that I sometimes slip into. But, it's often temporary and I am grateful. Grateful that I have the ability to choose a more positive path.

Back to the bird. He doesn't know there is anything to be unhappy about. He doesn't seem to notice the cold misty rain, or if he does, he doesn't mind. He doesn't know it's 4:45 in the morning, except that it will be dawn soon and another chance at a new day. He doesn't know he's in an ambulance bay at a hospital where death and negativity lurks around every corner. All he knows is the happiness and freedom to sit on that branch and be alive.

In my realization that he has many things to be happy about, one being the abundance of worms that are scattered about the pavement in seek of dryer abodes, having been driven out of their secret places by the rain, I realize that I have much to be happy about, too. Sure, there's a lot to be sad about, but is that all I want to look at and think about?

Tragedy seems to follow my family, and I just don't know how to process some of those things. After everything, and finally starting to gather the pieces to glue together, another tragedy arises; another loss. While I was having a fulfilling time in Chicago again this past weekend, my nephew and his girlfriend lost their tiny baby boy at 20 weeks gestation.

Why do these things keep happening? How do we explain them? How do we comprehend getting over the obstacles in our lives, let alone, the unfathomable losses? When the unthinkable keeps at us, how do we learn to cope? Do we just give up, draw the shades and climb back in bed pulling the blankets up over ourselves? No one would blame us...I mean, my own life seems cursed, if you look at it like that. After everything that has happened to us, I wonder sometimes. But, I know that isn't the way to live, because it's not living.

I had a long period of mourning. And then another. And then another. And, then again for something else...
It seems like all I ever have to report lately is tragedy and strife, but that's not why I write and share with you. I want to share the things that happen, unbelievable as they are, so that you can know you are not the only one with trouble, angst, sorrow or difficulties. And, it is my hope that I can show you, somehow, that it is not all there is. You can survive. You can live.

I know how hard and unwelcome it is to listen to someone telling you that all you have to do is look on the bright side, have hope, believe that it is going to be better. There are just times in the dregs of life that you don't want to hear that it's all up to you....if you just want it badly enough.

But, I'm here to tell you, show you, urge you to know that all is not lost. There is hope. You are not defined by the things that happen to you. But, you can define yourself by the things you do about them. None of us choose to have horrible things happen to us (most of us, anyway), but we can chose what to do about it.

I choose to live. Not forget, but live on, and share my life with you so that you know it's okay to live on, too. There are no exact answers for everyone to follow, every person and every situation is different, but there is so much inspiration out there from people who know what it's like and who have conquered the worst things in life. You most certainly can, too. I am willing to do what it takes for myself, and to help you along the way. Are you willing to take a chance on finding happiness? You deserve it, you know. There are things to be happy about.

I do know this-I was just happy that night, walking in that cold misty rain, that I was able to hear the bird sing.

Thank you for reading and letting me share with you.

With much peace to you,



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Monday, March 16, 2015

The Inconspicuous Killer...

In my last post I touched on a subject we keep fairly close to ourselves in full detail. But I have chosen to break that silence. We tried already to conquer it without much "to-do" over it to anyone outside our closest family and friends. I slowly started to open up about it to friends who are a little further outside our circle and have mentioned it in my writing, as well. I have hit a point where I cannot keep my knowledge of this danger silent any longer.

I have researched and watched and learned all I can and I get more anxious with every article, thread post and TV show. I don't feel like I am being responsible or doing what I have set out to do, if I don't come clean and share this with you completely.

The dangers of "Huffing" are real. I had no idea. I just thought it was a cheap substitute for the narcotics we ensured our son could no longer get. I knew it was dangerous, mind you, but I had no idea how addicting or how necessary it became to our son, until recently.

I want to start at the beginning and give you a timeline of sorts, so you can see the progression that we went through. Not everyone's situation will be the same, the progression of abuse differs from person to person and affects all families differently, but the similarities are hauntingly similar. Too similar to ignore.

December 2013: my husband and I find evidence of drug use in our son's closet while we are switching rooms around. This was a shoe box with a plastic bag, a spoon, a used insulin syringe, an empty ball point pen tube, cotton balls and aluminum foil and a light dusting powder covering everything. I immediately thought meth or heroin. I called my son home, confronted him and found out it was Percocet. Heavy dose pain killers my father is prescribed. I then thought it was brought on by:

  • my mother's death
  • my son's DUI and totaling of my car (that I thought was a result of my mom passing)
  • my husband's mother's murder
  • my brother's alcoholic death
  • Any of the above would send you over the edge, right? 
No. His abuse of Percocet (about 8 per day for about 5 years from Freshman year of high school to Freshman year of college) came after seeing an episode of A&E's Intervention the summer before freshman year of high school started, and the knowledge that my father had an abundance of narcotics at his disposal. My dad did not act irresponsibly with his pills, necessarily, it's just that we never, ever would have thought he would ever do something like this, so nothing was ever hidden. He was never raised in an environment with drinking, smoking, drug abuse, etc. As a matter of fact, my son has never met his biological father because of this reason--violence and drug abuse. There are so many things that can be said right now regarding why he started: "he never knew his father" (he was always spoken to about the need to meet his 'father', and that I would support him any time he was ready), "his biological father (and uncle) were addicts" (this is true, so if there is a such thing as an 'addiction' gene, my son probably has it) "maybe he was too sheltered" (I always wanted to keep him safe from seeing anything on TV/Movies that was too inappropriate) "maybe he wasn't treated stern enough/treated too sternly as a child" (my husband and I did our very best, but as parents, we will always ask ourselves this question more that any of you could).

The truth is, even he says he doesn't know. He just wanted to try it and liked it. The end. That's sometimes all it takes.

After we found out in December about this drug use, we took him to his Primary Doctor. Our son had been diagnosed with ADHD at five years old and took medication since that time. He was always an honor roll student, except for a few times in high school, but was always able to bounce back. His primary Dr. took him off the Concerta because it is considered a controlled substance. So, now, he has no medication to help him with compulsive behavior. All means of him getting pills were removed and a close watch was put on him. He had already gone months without using and had no job and was confined to home. 

But it didn't help. He got back to the pills (addicts are sneaky) and this time we put him in rehab. 

May 2014: As soon as I found out, I called my insurance company to inquire about what services were available to us and what was covered. They were so helpful, I could have wept. The very next day he had an appointment for an assessment. He was placed in Acute Intensive Outpatient Group Therapy. He received medication, treatment from doctors and the group therapy was a life saver. Of course, he couldn't drive and therapy was an hour away, three days a week, for three hours a day. I took off work to take him and not leave him alone at home while I worked and slept. It worked. Mostly.

June and/or July and/or August: He relapsed. Twice. On Percocet. He told the group and the doctor. He was told "once more and you will have to go into the inpatient program." I believe this is when he started using the "duster" heavily, too. I stopped allowing him to go to my dad's house. This was unfortunate because dad is alone most of the time since mom died. My son is my dad's buddy, but he couldn't be trusted, so that put an unfortunate strain on their relationship. Then, he was discharged from group. A group of people he grew to know and trust. They became like a family that everyone had the same struggles in. This took a definite toll on him, having to go it on his own, so to speak.

College: He had already strained his college education, as well, getting placed on Academic Probation for dropping his GPA. For the Fall semester I took him to school and sat down with he and his counselor. We signed him up for classes that he got to pick, that would be easy enough to get through and changed his major to accommodate easier classes. 

December 2014: He falls into what I can only describe as depression or the return of his abuse. Not taking care of himself or his belongings (like the brand new Mac I bought him for school). He starts sleeping in past class, etc. I question him; always know when he's lying (like today, for instance) and he confessed that he had been pretending to go to class for at least a month and a half. Since he was on financial aid suspension, I paid for his full tuition this semester, all down the drain. I know he keeps some things from me to protect me, but we could have come up with a solution if he had told me sooner. Until the solutions run out, that is.

January 2015: He gets a job. Hallelujah! Something to get him out of the house and give him some responsibility. He does great at his job. Wakes up, goes on time, actually enjoys the sense of accomplishment and responsibility. But, then he starts falling back into the routine of not showering, not keeping his room or car clean, sleeping endlessly (this got a little better when he started working)...his room was a disaster that I don't even want to discuss. But know this: Duster makes you vomit. A lot. And drug addicts want to keep things hidden. So, there you go. We came to our breaking point. He started doing little things that weren't like him such as taking things without regard for anyone else but himself (yes, drug addicts steal, he didn't steal from us like you would think, he hadn't reached that lowest point, yet. Besides, he had his own job, his own money...but he took things without asking, did things that were disrespectful. Not like you think of a heroin or meth addict, he's not that bad, yet, and we want to keep it that way.)

February 27: (Friday) My generally otherwise passive husband hit his breaking point. He planned on dropping the hammer Monday. Why Monday? We work. He works. A lot. 12 hour shifts. Tyler works until after his dad is asleep, I work when everyone is asleep, I sleep when everyone is home or at work. So, Monday, it is. 

March 1: (Sunday, and what would be my mother's 72nd birthday): I am having what I used to believe was just waves of depression. I've had these waves since high school; that's as far back as I can remember my first one. I have always described them as feelings of "home sickness" or waves of sadness. My sister tells me what an anxiety attack is described as by her residents/patients: nervous inside, uneasy, jittery sadness...Anxiety attacks. That makes sense being as I was anticipating this confrontation the next day. I can't shake it. I don't want to find out the worst, and to be honest, I don't want to go through any more hurt. In the afternoon, I am just resting with the cat, and start to have what I think is the irritable bowel flare up of the century. I haven't had one of those in years, but I know what is looming on the horizon. I run to the bathroom and do what I haven't ever done from anxiety or anything other than the flu for years, as well. I vomit. Not from the flu, not from nausea, but from the pain of my guts protesting the anxiety that is welling up inside of me. The fear of losing my child, my son, my one and only, my "best favorite", as I always called him when he was little...still do.  The thought of climbing the stairs and finding him cold next to a can...could you bear it?

March 2: (Monday): We call him down. Various discussing ensues. No real yelling, no screaming; my husband doesn't yell. But our son knew he was serious, and that this was it. The end. The threats of taking his computer, throwing all his belongings away, etc. were over. We were taking him to the hospital and he was going into rehab. We had found over 25 or more cans of Computer Duster in his room, stuffed in a laundry basket with a blanket wrapped around it. His vehicle was littered with used cans...more that could be counted. Bags of vomit were tied up in his room. Dirty clothes that he refused to wash or bring down to wash were laying everywhere. Food containers, drink containers everywhere, even next to his keyboard. Everything we gave him months to remedy and fix were laying at our feet in a bold "F YOU" of disrespect. But, at least, there was no dead kid...this time.

We arrived at a special hospital an hour and 15 minutes from home to have him assessed. 5 hours later, and a full extensive background interview detailing his use, coupled with his prior report, he is deemed ok to go into Acute Outpatient therapy again. I just don't understand. Do they not see the dangers of this stuff? I asked them, "If he does not go into inpatient, how do we keep him from getting the duster?!" She didn't have an answer. My God. 

So, the very next day my husband took our son to his assessment and his first new session with group therapy. Three days a week, three hours a day, one hour drive both ways. He goes to NA meetings here in our town at least once a week according to his work schedule, twice if he can. I insist. He turns his paychecks over to me and I allot his money to him for gas and food. I get his work schedule forwarded to me from the email his boss sends him ( a boss who, I might add, is super understanding. He was willing to keep my son's job for him and understood his need to go into rehab). But, even that doesn't help the worry. He slept though Group last Monday and this Monday. I am making him go to the evening group today. I also found out, because I knew to ask, that he had used, again. Last week. He tried to lie to me. I told him he was lying. He had to confess. And I knew that he was probably keeping some of the money I allotted him for gas to buy duster, instead. Another bingo. I had read yesterday, when searching what can be done to get stores to remove this from their shelves, two articles that scared me to death. Enough to give me nightmares. I want you to read them. I want you to share them. Get the word out on how dangerous this stuff is. The article that was written by the girl who was a recovering duster addict and her mom could have been written by me...almost. My boy hasn't succumbed nearly as far as she had, especially with the law, yet. But, if I don't stay in his face, well, I don't even want to entertain staying out of his face. I am willing to do anything. I have to have more time at home with him. I have to be available almost everyday, not sleeping my life away all day because I work it away at night. I need the sunshine, I need the air...

We need to be a part of the living again, both of us.

I urge you to read these two articles: here and here. They are not long, but pack a wealth of information. A K-9 officer even lost his young boy to duster. He had no idea, not many people do, of the danger this seemingly inconspicuous little can holds. I am also including an episode of A&E's Intervention: Allison to show you the devastating effects this drug has on abusers and their families. I urge you...please share this, these articles, this video; spread the word while I work on getting something done to remove this killer from our store's shelves.

Thank you so much for listening,