Tag Archives: overcoming fear

Keeper of the Flame

This poem I wrote for my friend.  A friend who shared with me a most beautiful love letter.  A friend who has lost so much.  A friend I love.

I think of my mother so much this time of year, and this is so true for her too and I thought of her too, very much, when I wrote it.  Happy Mother’s Day mom.  I sure love you!

Keeper of the Flame

I’m the keeper of the flame, your flame, you left it here in me

So in your great big steps before, like you, I’ll try to be

You’ve been gone so long it feels, and yet moments only it seems

But you visit me, you whisper to me, and I feel you in my dreams

 

It’s hard to make the world remember, and I worry they will forget

and how am I to share your stories with those, you never met?

I try so hard and sometimes fail the flame it flickers black

Then I stoke it with your love, and mine, and the flame comes quickly back

 

Often in my quiet moments the flame it burns so strong

So I hide, and hover, tears on my cheeks, knowing I must be strong

For to your ash I cannot turn, for others still need me

And all this need I have for you, is that not what God did see?

 

But I tuck your flame in close to my heart and weather the angry storm

For it’s there I need your warmth the most, It’s there the flame was born

You passed to me a love so great and gave the best pieces of you

I’m thankful for those, and the flame I bear, but I miss you and it’s heavy too

 

Now I’m left reflecting on this very flame and the legacy left behind

The obligation you left for me, although it sometimes feels unkind

I know I’m left to share your tales and help our family to see

The fire that you left behind will always burn in me

 

I hope your heart swells with joy, my gift to you each day

That I share with others when I can, the kindness you gave away

I hope you feel proud of who I’ve become since you left your fire with me

You walked here first, I follow now, like you I hope to be

 

I’m the keeper of the flame, your flame, I’ll keep it burning bright

For you, for them, and too often now because I need your light

My love for you will never go out and all will know your name

Because for you, I now know my place, I’m the keeper of the flame

 

 

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Cheers to the Mommas

Okay all you Mommas out there..or you lucky Stay at home daddy’s, grab a glass of wine or a bottle of Dr. Pepper..whatever it is that makes you relax and feel like a real adult and get ready.  Anytime I write/say the word cheers…take a drink.  Hopefully by the end you feel just a little better and more relaxed so here we go.

Wait..you are at work?  That’s okay…I’ll wait.  YOU ARE WORTH IT!!

To all the poop.  The poop in the diapers, the poop on the floor, the poop in the potty (Yeah!!!) that you then have to still wipe the poopy butt, and the poop near the toilet because they almost made it (I’m so proud of you) to the even the dog poop you step in because we love those furry critters too.  Oh and the pre-poop.  If you have a little boy you know, the air that passes before the poop (and after the poop and during the poop) and the laughter that ensues and the smell that follows. I don’t even have time to talk about pee or all of the talk about poop.  Cheers…..

To no sleep.  I mean who needs that afterall.  What I want most in the world is to be woken up three times a night because of scary puppies, sore legs, itchy ears, dry throats, sweaty heads, and stolen blankets.  Really…(Okay I do love them, I know these moments will pass but for the love of it all I just need a good nights sleep).  And when it’s time to go to bed, what I really want to do is get water because that H2O doesn’t fetch itself.  and that wanted doll..conveniently its always the one playing hide and go seek at bed time. And the questions..ugh the questions.  They hate me….they really do.  Cheers….

-To laughing. At their cute little stinking parasite faces.  To the funny things they say and the joy that they really do bring.  To the puddle jumping and the kitchen dancing.  To the fact that by their actual birth existence I actually have to watch the amount of laughter that ensues or make sure I use the bathroom 2194 times a day.  But they are funny.  Really, really funny.  I mean the knock knock jokes alone that make absolutely no sense but that they laugh and are so proud of is just about enough for me to call my entire life and parenting a success.  To laughing…poop covered so tired laughing.  Cheers…..

-To the Working Mommas. Whether you drop your kiddos off and head out to work, or work from home as a mom or with another job…that’s super multitasking ladies.  No matter which option you choose they are all hard.  You are Incredible.  In case you don’t hear it enough.  Go you!  So Proud!  To the juggling kids and jobs, deadlines and playdates, practices and meetings.  Hip Hip Hooray!  Cheers. 

To no means no.  But actually it doesn’t.  Apparently it means “mom please” or “in a minute”. Maybe it even means yes and we don’t even know it.  I’m not even sure what it means any more, but I think it means something between “Yes” and “You’re saying there is a chance.  Cheers….

To not being the yelling mom.  Nobody wants to be the mom that yells at their kids.  We all want to have a happy holistic approach to life.  We want them to grow up mentally sane and equal.  No therapy needed for my kid kind of life, but lets be honest.  There is only so many times you can say “please pick that up” before the voice eventually escalates to a level they actually hear.  Often times for me, it when I am laying on the floor after I have tripped over something.  I’ll try again next time not to be the yelling mom.  I’m sure they will hear me when I speak to them.  Or if I just take the time to put my hands on their cheeks so they can look me in the eye as they are cartwheeling past me at mock 2.  That’s when I will catch them.  Next time….I own this.   Cheers

Refill your glass….Not you?!?  hmmm…maybe a Cheers for being awesome then…now refill your glass.

To your bad ass dance skills.  You know you got ’em.  Or at least those tiny side kicks think you do.  Isn’t it the best ever when you are dancing and you see them doing what you do.  Then you laugh in your head and sometimes out-loud because you don’t have the heart to tell them to stop practicing that because it will never…ever….be acceptable in public.  nah….bust a move baby!   Cheers

To Story Time.  We all know it’s good for our kids and we do it.  That alone deserves a great big huge pat on the back.  Because if I am being honest, would I rather be reading llama llama or the newest Lisa Gardner I would be lying if I said it wasn’t Llama Llama with those cute faces..actually now I am lying it’s absolutely Lisa Gardner.  But I do it.  Because one day I want those big growing minds to grow up and read Lisa Gardner and then we can talk about it because I know in the future they are going to want to talk to me every single day about the books we read the night before.  Bammm….  Cheers.

To not swearing.  We are raising tiny humans and trying to teach them to become respectable adults.  But let’s be honest.  We all swear inside our teeny tiny heads every day and let them roll around in there for good measure.  If you don’t..I need a dollop of your patience….Cheers.

-To Books and Netflix.  The tiny escape that keeps your mind thinking.  Thank you text-to-speech on my kindle so I can move with my book from reading to listening in my car.  If only Netflix would default to my profile and remove that one extra click from the kids profile…is that too much to ask?  Cheers..

To Politics.  I don’t have time to even begin. You can’t fix stupid…and you know right now each side equally thinks the other side is stupid.  Agree to disagree and go about being a good human.   Cheers…Cheers….Cheers.  (need to refill after that..I know we all feel it)

In fact now might be a good time to just grab a straw and the bottle.

To personal space…Or no personal space actually.  To tiny minions in our back pockets.  To knowing there is not a single solitary space in your entire house that is just yours.  You can maybe slip in a closet or the bathroom for a moment, but you realize what a dream it is when you place your hand on the bathroom counter right into the middle of a big blob of kid toothpaste (Or your makeup that they were “trying” on without your permission).  They know the contents of your purse, your bedside drawers, your closets….They are like teeny tiny little spys.  You have no personal space.  Just get used to it.  Cheers….

To Amazon. I am all for the support of shop local, but if I can choose not drag the kids out to the store I’m all for the that.  Plus if I can purchase now rather than trying to remember to write it on the store list that I may or may not leave on the kitchen counter when I actually go to the store that’s another one.  Also I remember years ago discussion about the lack of mail being sent because of the introduction to email so the USPS was about to go out of business.. Amazon pretty much saved them. My sister works for the USPS so I feel I am supporting her. Using that as an excuse.  Cheers..

To the joy.  The pure and utter joy that the tiny humans bring.  The deliriously happy joy.  The heart full of gratitude that they are yours.  The overwhelming pride in every teeny tiny body fiber that calls out…Thank you.  Cheers to the little people!

To good friends. The friends and sisters that have already heard this and agree.  To friends who don’t judge.  To friends who come over when your in your pajamas and you don’t even feel under dressed.  Cheers….   Double Cheers….Cheers... to the friends who don’t have kids or have older kids and still let you come over with yours.  Who play with them and love them because they love you.  Thanks for those friends.  Cheers… Now buy them a bottle or a six pack and take it over and drink it with them.

-To the partners.  The awesome amazing partner who work their butts off to provide for the family.  To the true partners who know just how hard you work too and they lighten the load.  They go to the store, they help clean the house, and they pour you that much needed glass of wine.  Finish that bottle for them…Cheers!!

Bottoms Up! 

I bet you are feeling a little more relaxed about right now aren’t you.  Really we are all in this together.  Nobody is perfect.  “Aint nobody got time for that.”

Feel free to open another…you deserve it!

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Mother

It’s a dreary rainy day outside today.  So instead of being out adventuring we are inside finding things to do.  It makes me anxious.  It makes me miss my mom.  It makes me think about all of the Mother’s Days over all of the years and wonder…do I need her more today than I did before?  Is there a time that our needs lessen or do they just change.

As a child we are unaware of just how much we “need” our mother.  We take advantage of everything just being there when we want it to be.  We don’t realize the sacrifices made.  Yet we need them.  Every day we need them.  For the very most basic life-giving things, we need our mother.  IMG_3528

As a teenager we start to feel more independent.  Like we are actually an adult.  We act as if we know it all and we feel invincible.  We start to act as if we don’t need our mother.  As if we just love them but can make it.  And then, a small act of unkindness and we run filled with tears and fury to the one place that is always consistent, always there.  We need our mother.  Those feel like great big huge needs and they overshadow all of the adult actions we thought we were making.  scan0096

Then off to college.  We are on our own.  Truly.  Our basic needs every day, we take care of ourselves.  We don’t rely upon our mothers for life-sustaining needs.  At least not as we did before.  We are growing up. We are making our way in the world.  And yet, in the quite recesses of our minds when we make the big mistakes, the wrong choices, and even when we do something great or make the right choice, there is our mother in the back of our minds…cheering us on whether good or bad, moving us forward with love.  And again we run to her, in need of our mother.  Still not yet understanding how great her place is in our lives. scan0093

Then we are married.  We call our mom daily for advice.  Our girlfriends seem  to drift ever so slightly away and the calls to them turn, more to our mother than to our social group.  We find that being an adult is not what we thought it was in our teenage years.  We realize that all of those things we thought we could do, so independently are sometimes actually very hard.  In those moments we turn again to our Mother for love and support.  For the whispering of confidence and the outpouring of support.  We start to wonder if maybe she hid her fears and worry.  mwed

And then…It happens…We become a mother.  It is now that we truly understand.  It is now that we thank our mother with a true and honest form of gratitude that brings tears to our eyes and heartbreak to our soul.  Why did we not see this before and tell her everyday all along the way?  So we try to make up for it.  And in every action of our own for our children we see her.  We feel her.  We need her.  We are learning and she did it perfectly so it is to her advice we turn. It is to her we learn.  Our Mother. 100_1239

My story changes here.  I had just begun to tell my mother how much I appreciated her.  I had just begun to understand.  I had only started to say Thank you.  The true thank you from the bottom of my soul kind of thank you that she deserved.  I had only begun.  I had just started learning.  Learning how to care for tiny people.  Care for those people the way my  mother did for me, long before I could even remember.  I needed her so.  I needed her to help me bring my sidekick #2 into the world and I needed her there to teach me.  To help me learn to raise these little ones to be great, kind, loving big ones one day.  I need my mother.  I need her so much sometimes that I feel her void like an angry volcano in my soul.   IMG_3594

And then I wonder, as I watch those I love around me.  What will I do when I am older, my kids are all grown and the house is quiet.  I will surely need my mother then.  I will need her to help me fill the silence. I will need her there to share my love with.  I will need her to have the conversations and to help make sure my dress is just right when my sidekicks are walking down the aisle.  I will need her there to share tears of joy when grand-babies come to play.  I will need her then too.  If I had her then, I would have great big years of memories and won’t those memories just add to my love? Or do they add to the heartache and the missing of our Mother later in life?

I think it is this…we need our Mother.  No matter the stage of our life,of the time we got to spend.  We need our Mother from day one to our very last day.  Mother.

I wish I could tell you today just how thankful I am for you. I wish I could tell you that I see the sacrifices that you made me for me.  I wish I could thank you for all of the fibs you told me just to help keep me happy in a world that is so cruel.  I wish I could tell you I’m doing it right. I think I have this Mothering thing down….most days.  I wish I could tell you just how much you taught me.  I wish I could tell you that I want to be just like you and I’m trying.  I am trying really hard everyday to do just that.  You did good Mom.  You were the very best and I am so thankful for you.  I need you today. I hope you know that.  I need you every single day.

I love you!  Happy Mother’s Day (and Birthday soon!)gscan0115

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With Thanks

With Thanksgiving on the horizon I have been making a conscious effort to feel and think all of the many things that I am thankful for.  There are so many things to be thankful for.

I recently heard for the first time a song by Jewel that says:

I am my father’s daughter, he has his mother’s eyes
I am the product of such sacrifice
I am the accumulation
of the dreams of generations
And their stories run in me, like Holy Water
I am my father’s daughter

View Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK8oI4Dx8DY

I have had a very hard year.  A year where I found one man standing.  One man, only one human being on this planet that can look me in the eye and say, “I’m glad you are mine.”  I had so many before.  So many that I felt their force so strongly in my life.  A life energy that kept me pressing on to do and be a better person.  It feels quite lonely knowing that now, there is only one.  (even though he is a mighty man and I am so blessed)

And in the loss I have searched for and have found joy.  Sometimes in the places that I least expected it, and sometimes I found it missing in those I would have thought I would surely find it.  I’m learning everyday.  Learning how much it matters to make an active positive impact on others.

Today I am overwhelmingly thankful for those who have done that for me.  The people in my life that make me feel home and connected.  I now have my very own tree with very strong roots. I am thankful for those roots, still present, still strong.  Some living their lives so wonderfully that they bring life and energy to them all.  I am thankful for the roots at the base of our family tree.  Both from my side and my better other half.

I have a very good man to help build the tree and hold it steadfast and strong.  We are solid and strong, connected in support, love and trust. My heart is overwhelmed with thanks.

And my sidekicks, those branches, I’m watching them grow. So amazing. Such joy! I am so thankful.

Sometimes, In the strongest of winds, we will bend ever so slightly in need and find ourselves, our tree, being supported and secured by the family trees around us, that branch from our same roots. Together our trees are strong, together we are a forest.  I am thankful for them too.

I am thankful for the sun, and the water.  That feeds and nourishes our forest and our souls. I am thankful for God and his blessings.

With all of this to be thankful for and so much more, I take moments to listen to the air around me, the whispers in the wind, the stories in my veins and I can’t help but feel, if only I could hear the right wavelengths, there would be voices all around me saying, “I’m so glad your mine, go and do good things, bring joy to others, and share my stories(love),” and maybe, just maybe, the feather touch of my momma’s hand on my cheek as leaves from my tree.

I’m thankful for my family every day, and in special gratitude, an active awareness and action on Thanksgiving Day I am thankful for my Forest!

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The Wonderful Lady

I am currently in the process of a long goodbye.  I’m losing my grandmother.  The mother of my mother.  The last tie I truly have.  You see, there is an order.  Parents should never lose a child.  I have always understood this looking at it as a parent myself, but I never took the time to really think about the other end of things.  I am losing my grandmother. A wonderful woman.  A motherly figure in my life. It is at times like this I really miss my mom.  I should have here now.  We should be leaning on each other.

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I laid next to my grandmother today and I swear I could smell my mother.  The curve of her chin bone could almost have been hers too.  They are a piece of one another.  A piece of me.  I am going to miss her.  I am going to miss the small piece of my mother that was also still her lingering with my grandmother.  There are so many things I will miss.

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I learned so much from this wise grandmother of mine.  She loves so deeply.  She is a truly, genuinely, good person.

She had such a strong love.  We were her dolly’s.  We were her precious darlings, so loved.  We were the best at violin, the best at sports, the best at plays…the best.  She was our biggest fan.  She came to every sporting event I ever had.  She and grandpa would sit up close and cheer ever so softly.  Yet the softness of her voice, would reach me and I knew she was there.  She came to every play. Whether it be in school, a talent show, or just in her basement with the cousins she was front row.  She was a whole audience all to herself.

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She was the very best storyteller.  She would read us stories when we were younger and she had a thousand voices.  She could also tell a story about grandpa that would light up the very room.  The time they first met when he gathered her hat.  The time on the bus where he pretended to be asleep on her shoulder and she all but held her breath so she wouldn’t move and make him stir from his pretend sleep.  The time he made her wait for a wedding ring because she hadn’t been sure, but then she was and he was not taking her back.  But then he did. About the times he held  her hand and sang, “I love you, a bushel and a peck.”

Grandma was a hard worker too.  Everything in her house ran like a well oiled machine.  It’s possible that this was because everything was used a minimum of 10 times. This goes for plastic bags and foil too.  Things knew what to do because they were well-worn in. Like her coat and her boots and every single turtleneck. She didn’t waste.  Not a thing.  She ate everything on her plate and only served what she could finish.  She was in charge of feeding the whole cattle crew in the desert.  She pulled off the meals while watching the little ones and keeping the camp clean.  That is no easy chore.

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My sidekick would use this term, but it fits best for grandma.  She’s the cheese on the pizza that keeps all the toppings in place.  There is something about grandma that she can make everyone come together and stick together even when this is the last thing they want to do.  There has been a family reunion every year.  Every single year.  For grandma.  She knows whats going on with everyone too and can remember every reason for every one that couldn’t make it. She not only knows and remembers all of her great-grandkid’s name, but she knows what they like, their favorite color, and things to say to make them smile.

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My “sisters” and I sat today and talked about grandma.  We talked about how sleepovers were the very best.  She would let us have two vitamin c’s before bed.  Just two because any more than that would overdose us.  Then she would take us downstairs and let us jump from bed to bed about four times.  She would have us lay down on her feather pillows, tuck the blankets around us tight then lift just a corner so she could put the hair dryer in there to warm us up.  She would tell us just to lay still like that and we would stay warm.  Then she would read us only 1 story, then come back for at least one more before we finally went to sleep.  Then we would wake to the best pancakes ever.  She also makes the best wheat bread and sugar cookies.

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We also decided that grandma is going to have a few black marks against her in Heaven.  She is a fibber.  This grandma of mine can tell you a story so tall you would think it is a tree and not even change her face.  Such as: “I feel great.” “It was a wonderful, just wonderful day.” “You are the very best at that.” “You are the most beautiful.”

Although…now that I look at it.  Maybe she wasn’t really fibbing all these years.  Maybe she really believed those things because she just has an incredible perspective and outlook on life.  I hope to be like her someday.

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We spent hours spitting seeds from frozen cherries and peeling rhubarb so we could put salt on it and eat it. Grandma could spit the farthest every time.  She taught us how to roll the legs of our pants up to wade in the river and showed us that you can be down to earth and classy at the same time.   A few months ago I went to her house and she was just feeling frumpy.  I gave her a quick trim and set to work for a quick manicure.  I never knew that my grandma was very particular about her nails, but I learned pretty quick that day as she made sure I did them just right. I realized then, more than any other time that she was more like my mother than I think she ever knew.

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She loved looking out her windows and playing with the kids.  The noise didn’t bother her at all and if she could, she would be up with them every step of the way.  Like playing swords and pirates with my wee child because that was important to my girl so it was important to my grandma.

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She made the best special blankets.  She always had juice and ice cream for the kids.  Ice cream bars or vanilla ice cream with chocolate powder.  She cherished every drawing, colored page and picture because they were treasures and just so precious.

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I think that is the greatest lesson I learned from my grandma.  I matter.  Everyone matters.  She sees the best in everyone.  She blocks out the bad and only sees the good because that is what matters.  Everything else…well…”it’s just whatever, it doesn’t matter anyway.”

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Publishing a First Work

I have some very exciting news.  I have story that will be published in the Secrets and Doors anthology set to be released very soon.  It has been quite a journey for me and I have learned a lot.  If you are currently writing, or hoping to write and someday be published, trust me when I say it isn’t quite the way you imagined it would be.

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I always thought that the most difficult part was writing the book-all the way to the end.  When I finished my first book, I heard many times, “You wrote a book, how many people can say that they actually did that.”  The truth is, a lot.  There are so many stories out there just waiting to be published it is overwhelming.  The book market is incredibly competitive. I learned this very early on when I started to get serious about writing.

I have been writing for a few years now and finished my first full length novel in 2008.  I finished another novel a few years later and during that time, my family moved.  We moved to the back of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains.  I joined a writing group and met some wonderful people.  I have been very lucky because the authors in my group are more than just great writers, they are full of integrity.  As you begin writing you will find that trait is just as important as finding a mentor that can write a good book.  I look up to them and I am so lucky that I got to work on this project with them. Find them here: Lehua Parker, Christine Haggerty, and Angela Hartley.

I also learned that authors are their very own species.  Maybe it is artists in general, but surely authors.  Authors are creative minds with very sensitive souls.  When I first walked into the world I told myself that I wasn’t going to feel that way.  I was going to write because I loved it and not worry so much what others thought of me.  What I found, however, was that I am just another author.  As an author you are only as successful as the people who support you.

Thanks to the incredible group of people that I met, I learned so much and was able to submit my own story for the Secrets and Doors Anthology.  The process from there was a lot of work.  There is a lot of collaboration that goes into an anthology and I realized just how hard the leaders of our group work.  They spent hours marketing and selling, finding editors and options, while I, learning from the sidelines sent a few cheers while I worked over and over again with the editor, Callie Stoker, to make sure my story was just right.

I was on cloud nine.  Willing to put in the time and work hard.  Writing is hard work.  You need tough skin and a really big heart.  You also need a great support team.  I realized this when I received an email that asked to get a review of my story.

“No problem,” I thought.  “I have friends and family with blogs.  I know people.”  How disappointing it was for me to realize that when I posted and asked for a small amount of help, I was answered with crickets from all of my blogger friends.  Don’t feel bad for me, I did plenty of that for myself.  So much so, that my precious sidekicks, so in tune with feelings made me this incredible drawing of themselves “answering my blog.”

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I really do have a great support system, just most of them don’t blog or are already in the anthology so I strapped on my boots and did what I should have done to start with.  I asked a stranger.  Marketing 101 for a book, be brave, get out there, be willing to connect, and toot your own horn.  I did just that and found the wonderful Mandy Eve Barnett to read my story and write a review.  I will forever be grateful for her kindness and her ability to remind me that there really are great people in the world.  I sent my story off to her with my stomach full of nerves.

This is the moment I realized I was an author.  I had something special.  Something that mattered to me.  I shared my soul with the world. I was crushed when I felt a lack of support only to sit, waiting, stressed, scared to death and worried that I would get a bad review from someone who I never met.  Would my career as an author be over? Would my next book never see the light of day?

I took a breath.  I looked at my sidekicks and my husband with his thumbs up.  I called some family who said they had my back and I thought of my mom who would probably be more excited for me in this moment than I am for myself.  I moved on.  I read others blogs, supported some friends and family on other things and remembered that life goes on. I already have some pretty great things to look forward too.  Even if my reviewer hated the story, it was coming out anyway and this was a huge accomplishment.

I will let you see what Mandy thought of my story here:  http://mandyevebarnett.com/2015/02/05/meriann-boxall-short-story-anthology-review-5th-feb/ while you are there, follow her blog, send her a thank you, and vote her a 5 because she is an incredible person. She took a chance on me and will forever be in my circle of people who made a difference.  Additionally, this works out in my favor.  My story will be shared with many that it never would have been otherwise.  Had I have had a family member or friend help with my story, I would have reached the same crowd I would have anyway.  Things happen for a reason.

So as a first time author I would share that be prepared for a lot of hard work.  Know that just as any other job in the world, you are just one of many-learn to stand out.  Market yourself well with bravery.  Believe in your story and in yourself.  Learn from others, especially your mentors. They know what they are talking about and can help you along the way. Remember that your support may not be found in a blog post, but will be found in a letter from your sidekicks or those that took a chance on you to publish your book.

Don’t worry, I am over the disappointment I found early on. I am the lucky one to get to be one story of many that I share with some of the most incredible authors out there.  Make sure to grab our book.  The anthology proceeds will all be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  That is thanks to the great publisher Crimson Edge Publishing and all of the authors involved.  While you are at it, make sure to check out some of the other authors and buy their other books too.  They are good, honest, people and really great storytellers.

More about the Secrets and Doors:

Open the door and unlock the secrets in eleven short stories from The Secret Door Society, an organization of fantasy and science fiction authors dedicated to charitable work. All proceeds from this anthology benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their quest to cure Type One Diabetes (T1D).

In these pages you’ll discover a modern woman trapped in an old fashioned dreamscape, a futuristic temp worker who fights against her programming, a beautiful vampire’s secret mission disrupted by betrayal, a sorcerer’s epic battle against a water dragon, the source of magical mirrors—and more. There are tales for every science fiction and fantasy taste, including new works from award-winning authors Johnny Worthen, Lehua Parker, Christine Haggerty, and Adrienne Monson.

Join us in the fight against T1D as you peek into a world of magical and mysterious doorways—if you dare.

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The (hi)Story of My Tattoo

I didn’t think I would ever have a tattoo.  The very thought scared me.  Once I planned to get one and pulled my sisters along for support only to leave the tattoo parlor without a tattoo while my support system each left with one.  I just wasn’t ready.

But then….my mom died and the thought of a tattoo in her honor started to make sense.

I am not sure what my hesitation was, maybe the fact that I was told my whole life that they were “wrong”, or maybe that I was worried I would be judged as a rebel or bad person, or maybe it was the permanency.  Probably all of that together.  Slowly though, my hesitation started to pass and I thought of a tattoo more and more and the fear of judgment less and less.

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In my typical approach to most things in life I started to do my research.  Where did the idea of a tattoo really come from?  Why is it considered such a rebellious culture? Here is what I found.

Tattoos have been found on mummies over 8000 years old. The tattoos helped historians as they worked to identify where the mummy actually came from.  They were able to identify consistencies in the tattoos to place a specific mummy with a group of his own.  Even older there have been statues and even possible tattoo tools that point to an even earlier beginning.

The word Tattoo comes from 1776 Tahiti where islanders “painted” their bodies and returning English travelers brought the word and the permanent ink back with them.  The Art of Tattooing found itself in the Victorian High Society.

Tattooing continued through history, sometimes revered and at other times considered “risky” or “rebellious” behavior.  It continued strongly within travelers, researchers, and military as representations of where they had been, what they had done, and who they were.  Sailors often were tattooed with an anchor to represent their time at sea.  Crusaders were tattooed with a cross in order to ensure they were returned home and given a proper burial.  This was consistent with other warriors, fighters and travelers throughout time.

The negative history is also there too.  Although the Biblical reference is not originally for the tattoos as they are today-there are many dark stories.  Throughout history many groups have had tattoos forced upon them, most memorably Nazi Concentration camps.   The numbers were used as the identification for the wearer.  As negative as this history is, many survivors now wear their tattoos as a badge of honor and strength.  Family member descendents have even been noted to copy the number upon their own body as a show of support, strength , and honor.

The common thread through time is that tattoos show where a person belongs.

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I know where I belong.  I feel it in my heart.  I know my family and my history.  I am now the mother of my own family that will continue to grow and move down the line.

I can hug my father, can hold his hand and feel that connection. The world can see where I come from as my father and I stand side by side.  But,  as I reach to the other side for my mother-I find myself flailing.  I needed that connection. It was for me.

My sisters and I made a plan.  We found the best tattoo artist,  and sent a few things over.  The necklace she had given us prior to her passing-angel wings.  The colors from a card she has sent that told us we mattered.  Most importantly, a copy of her writing saying “I love you, Mom.”  He placed them, perfectly on our shoulders and we now have this common mark.  A description of where we come from.  Of who we are.

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If you ever consider a tattoo, I wouldn’t advise you to take the approach I did.  It really is just a  tattoo.  If you want one, do it.  If not, don’t.

As my Tattoo Artist said, “Every Tattoo is a story-a memory. Even the bad ones.”

I wish I had more memories with my mom-years more.  I miss her everyday.

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That is my tattoo story.  Every one has one.  I am reminded of this more and more as I look at others and their stories upon their skin.

For you mom.  I love you too!

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From Relay Race to Real Life

This last weekend I participated in a relay running event here in Park City.  I along with my 6 teammates (yes 6-in a world of 6 man relay teams-we run with 7) we ran just under 67 miles.  This was my first relay race and was an incredible experience.  There are so many things that I could touch on that change a person but instead I will share just a few of our slogans that will change the way that I will embrace life.

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“Embrace the Suck”

This was our team motto and was written on the side of our ride.  A military motto that we chose to help push us forward even though our mission was nothing in comparison to those that represent our freedom.  It did, however, make an impact on not only us but in other teams struggling that day.  Sometimes things suck-but if we make it to the other side-we gain power.

“I’m All In”

One teammate in particular embraces all of life this way and we couldn’t help but be pulled into the enthusiasm as we embarked on our journey.  Really, this is the only way to live.  Either you are in, or you are out.  Focus on what matters and make sure it counts.

“I hate Royal Street”

Okay this one, maybe doesn’t make as much sense to some, but it applies, everyday.  Even though this teammate now officially hates Royal Street-guess what, she made it to the summit and is still kicking.  She looks back-still hating it, but is really okay.  Sometimes in life we may come across things that just plain suck.  It won’t look better tomorrow, or even ten years from now, but we are still kicking and should be very proud of ourselves for what we accomplished.

“God made me for this”

That’s right.  We have so much more strength and power than we can even imagine.  We are incredible, little perfect wonders that God made.  We can do it.  Even when it is hard-we can work harder, push further, and when all else fails-start crying and pray-but we will make it…today (right now) may be terrible and horrible, but maybe, just maybe tomorrow will be amazing.

“The wind, this hill, I feel like I am going backwards”

But you aren’t.  You are going forward and from the outside we see your struggle but girl you are moving.  Sometimes in your hardest moment you may feel that you are going the wrong way, but we see you.  Press On!

“This is endurance running-and it feels good”

Sometimes a really good challenge is the very best thing for our soul.  Pushing ourselves to do something amazing changes just about everything.  The training will improve confidence while the challenge will improve strength and the accomplishment-well that-it changes everything.

“You Are Awesome”

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I can only share my own experience but it was amazing.  I enjoyed the time spent laughing in the car and especially the feeling of being a part of something so incredible.  These people who I ran with will always be my friends.  They accomplished amazing things.  I am motivated to be more like them. They helped me accomplish something that I never could have done on my own. Thank you!

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I conquered a really big hill that I had been training for–for months. (4.33 Miles at a 10.5% average uphill grade)

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I got to meet my biggest support crew at the top of the summit in my husband, dad and sidekicks.  image4

I realized what incredible people my teammates were who helped keep me going up the hill even when it would have been faster to walk-I kept running. Because of them, my sister, and my kids.  I told my legs to shut-up….it worked….the next step, I said it again. It’s all about persistence.

image1 (1)All-in-all I am a big fan of relay races. I love the whole experience-even when it was hard.  I highly recommend you try this in the future.  For us, we were a bunch of “non-runners” and we did really really well.  You can do it too-I know you can!  You….Are…..Awesome!

 

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Learning Life Lessons In Good Clothes

I am a self-proclaimed life long learner.  Not just because I love education and believe in it, but also because I continuously make mistakes and it’s either get up and learn or lay on the floor and waste away.  Sometimes literally.  I fall a lot.

I learned a pretty big lesson this last week though from sidekick 1.  She saw me learning and even said, “Sometimes you teach me things, and sometimes I teach you things too.”  So right.  Everyday.

I was busy one morning so my well-trained one decided to help me out by picking out the outfit that I was going to wear for the day.  She selected an incredibly bright pair of leggings and an equally bright but not of same color striped tank top.  When I saw the outfit I laughed. Out loud.

“I can’t wear that, everyone will think I am crazy and they will laugh at me.”  Bad Mom.

She cried.  Real tears.  “I thought you would look so pretty in that mom.”

Shame.  Frustration at myself. Anger at my actions.

Why can’t I wear that?  Why do I worry about what others will think?  She will learn this all too soon and lose the special that makes her sparkle extra bright.  She too will try to conform in order to fit in.  Why now?  Bad mom…Let her be her.  Show her she can.

“I’m so sorry.  I do love that outfit and I will wear it.”

“No Mom.  I don’t want you get laughed at.”  Sniffle.

“I will wear whatever you want me to wear.  You know fashion so much more than me (It’s really true).”

“Okay Mom, I picked this one instead.  It’s not as bright.”

I don’t love selfies but I couldn’t resist.  (This is my best “tight pants” dance move)

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You bet I rocked this in public. (no that is not pink in the pants-it’s orange) Proud of it, head held high.  I even found the nicest lady I could and secretly asked her for a compliment.  She told me that she loved my outfit.

“Did you hear that?  She loves my outfit.  See you were right.  I don’t know anything about fashion and I should listen to you more.”

“Do you like my outfit too?” She asks the lady with a smile a mile wide.  Then she twirled and did a little break dance move on the grass to the music.

I learned to “embrace myself.”  I learned that life comes far to fast in the world and I am not ready for her to have to fight it yet.  I’m not saying that social norms don’t need to be taught.  They do, but only when it defines character and shows respect.

Today I will wear my “fashiony” outfit, embrace life, and show my kids that I am still learning too. I think if we all face the world together we stand a fighting chance.

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It’s a good thing she loves me and forgives me right away.  My mistakes would add up if she didn’t.  Look how cute she looks though.  She really is a doll.

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Getting Older-In a Swimming Suit

Each morning when I look in the mirror, my body begins singing back to me.  I know I use a lot of music-but I love it.  Set the mood:

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At about 50 seconds is when it really begins:  “A little bit softer now,  A little bit softer now.”  You know the part.  Usually I, instead embrace the rest of the song and dance my way to a kiss and hug from sidekick one and two.  I revel in the amazement of what my body made.  Those two precious souls.  Thinking of it that way, the little extra, the scars, and even extra dimples are well worth the reward I have received.  Still…

We went boating the other day with a couple of really good friends.  Mom in the group is super in shape, hard body, Olympic hopeful.  No doubt she will get there and she looks amazing.  You can imagine my fear to be in front of this company in just my swimming suit. But alas, the skis were calling me and my kids were anxious to get in the tube.  So I peeled off the cover-up and embraced my own body-as it is-to live this life and enjoy this moment.  It was amazing and my kids had the best day ever.

I learned a lot.  In my pre-mom body, my confidence came a lot from my appearance.  The ability for me to be able to stand in front of strangers, unashamed in a bikini.  I was always fit and it mattered to me.  Now…my confidence comes from my mind, and ability to raise my children.  They existed together today, and I chose the confidence in me and my children to shine through.

As our friends left, my sweet Olympian, who is more than just a fit friend, said, “Let’s do this again soon.” and I realized that to her, It doesn’t matter anyway.  She sees me for who I am and is glad to hang around.

I will work on my physical well-being for my kids one day, but I would miss out on so much if I hid in fear of the thighs that are so smitten with one another that they are having a hard time staying away.  I would miss out on my life.  So I will continue to “Shout” and enjoy my day, love my kids and live my life.  A little swimsuit horror won’t last forever-but I guarantee those memories will.

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