Hitting Rock Bottom


I’m here to tell you everything is going to be okay.


Maybe not today.

Maybe not next week.

Hell, maybe not even next year, but one day.


Because one day you’re going to realize the sun does still shine even when it’s cloudy. One day you’ll realize that the pain isn’t as excruciating and you can take a full, deep breath again; something that you haven’t been able to do in a long time. One day you’ll look around to see that everything has changed, even you, and that it feels okay.


We’ve all had our rock bottom; whether it was a diagnosis, an overdose, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job that defined us, a spouse cheating. Whatever it was, we know how deep, long, and harrowing the tunnel gets. How everything gets stripped away and all we are left with is ourselves. We look in the mirror and don’t fully recognize who we are anymore because everything we did know was now gone. We push away those closest to us because they can’t possibly know what it’s like to live inside our head, feel the same hurt, or cope with the same excruciating pain.


I know rock bottom.


I was in a tragic car accident at the age of 15 where my best friend died.

I was the one driving.

I was in the hospital for 17 days with 11 fractured bones and internal bleeding.

I was broken inside and out.


Sadly, some of us have hit rock bottom more than once. Sometimes it takes a few life-changing events for us to get the bigger picture; that this world is not about us. That we get complacent, fall back into old patterns, or build walls up for protection. Rock bottom is always there.


My brother also died in a car accident when I was just 19 years old.

My mom was diagnosed with an 11mm primary brain tumor 10 years later.


Not one pain is harder than the other.

Not one rock bottom is worse than the other.


One day you are going to realize that picking up the pieces isn’t as scary as the last time, because you’ve been here before.


Being here before doesn’t make it easier, yet, your legs have gotten a bit more sturdier from the torrential downpour on an uneasy ocean.


From the girl who has created a brokenly beautiful life around picking up the pieces and weaving in new ones to do so, this is what I’ve learned.


  1. Time doesn’t heal everything, but it makes life more clear.

Grief comes in waves, some small and manageable, but others are massive and knock you over when you least expect it. Even though it’s been 14 years since I lost my brother, a song, the smell of his cologne or a bittersweet memory can bring me right back to my knees and I would give anything for a laugh and smile from my brother.


Yet, after enough time has passed and I have healed a lot of my hurt, I can clearly see how his death has inspired me to live and love more freely and openly with those around me.


  1. Rock bottom is the best place to be.

Really, it is. Because when you’re at rock bottom, broken, and cracked wide open…the only place to go is up. If you’re truly at rock bottom, you’ll commit to making a change and for the better. You’ll know that life is meant for more and will take inspired action to do so. You’ll know it will be hard and painful and at times, you’ll want to give up, but you’ll keep persisting because the feeling of the bathroom floor, jail cell, or deep depression never truly goes away.


  1. Show up.

After hitting rock bottom, this is when you truly show up as your authentic self. This is the time when you learn who you truly are and you stop wearing all the masks that you’ve been hiding under for so long. You will lose friends, your family will question if they ever knew you, and quite frankly, it’s a lonely, cold climb up from rock bottom. Yet day after day, you show up. And that is more than enough because you are more than enough; completely raw and vulnerable, showing your true self. Half of the battle is showing up, the rest tends to fall into place after that.


  1. Love, unconditionally.

When you’ve experienced hitting rock bottom, you know what it’s like to lose everything. Sometimes we tend to build a wall around our heart so we don’t feel like that ever again, but if you’re like me and have hit rock bottom more than once, you know that walls never help. Cracking open and loving unconditionally is the hardest, most bravest thing you’ll ever do. Because when we love, we give a piece of ourselves to others without expecting anything in return. We know heartbreak is inevitable, yet are willing to continue to love because a life without love hurts worse than a life with heartbreak.



A tree in our backyard met its demise in the storm that rocked our little town this morning.

A tree that held my babies in a favorite swing.
A tree that gave us shade as we read under its massive boughs.
A tree that was ‘safe’ during the hundreds games of tag we played.
Memories that provide sweet images and smiles that make me come alive again as they replay in my head of what childhood is made of.

It also reminded me of how our lives parallel these massive, expansive beings.


Expansive in size, their true strength lies in their core.
Even with a hard, brittle outside, there is a smoothness of the wood on the inside.
The ability to bend, sway, and go with the flow is admirable.
Their ability to withstand the toughest of storms is mesmerizing.

Like trees, we find ourselves growing, changing, and reaching for the stars.
We make roots in our lives, planted firmly in our faith, beliefs, and convictions.
A sweet juxtaposition of staying put, yet rising higher.

A tree reminds us of the various stages that are required for growth.
Shedding what no longer serves us and ultimately turn inward to grow and expand even more.
New ideas, new additions, new life stems from the inside.
Growth on the outside is a merely a reflection of growth on the inside.

Taking in life.
Giving shelter to friends and family who need safe passage on their journey.
Breathing in; recycling out.
Holding space for more.

Yet, even the tallest, strongest trees break sometimes.
It reminds us that we too, are impermeable.
And sometimes it takes falling to our knees to truly see the stars again.



Career Day

I was asked to speak for Career Day at my high school alma mater and I literally laughed at the thought of me talking about my career.

Why? Because I hardly think of myself as being in the epitome of my career.

Yet I knew that when I was 15, I could’ve used someone like me to show up on Career Day. Not the nurse or the teacher or the engineer or the police officer. I needed a creative soul who didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up and kept trying until she figured it out.

So what do I do when I have no clue what to do? I show up.

I am not a business-minded person. I am a creative, all the way. I am sure there are accountants, marketing professionals, and business coaches that would cringe at my business tactics. So I didn’t really know what I was going to say what an entrepreneur does or if anyone really cared what a speaker, writer, and life coach actually does. So, I did what I always do….

I inspired.

I motivated.

I gave them permission to be a square peg in a world of round holes.

I preached that they are the sum of the five people they spend the most time with and to make sure they picked the right people…and to be the person who lifts others up.

When you spread your light, experience, and lessons, you strengthen and empower those around you.

I couldn’t tell you if anyone took anything away from Career Day today, but hopefully that square peg in the class felt some relief knowing they weren’t alone.


Seventeen Years Later…

Yesterday marked 17 years from the moment that changed my entire life. Seventeen years ago, I was in a car accident that killed my boyfriend.

I was the one driving.

I was in the ICU for five days, and hospitalized for seven more after that.

I remember the details of that accident vividly.

I also remember one of the most impactful gifts that was given to me in the hospital was a gratitude journal, where you write down five things your thankful for each day of the year.

Little did I know, that journal would change my life, as well. Because even with all of the hurt and pain, even with all of the memories and sadness that engulfed me for the next few months, even years after, each day I was able to find five things that were blessings I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

Seventeen years later, I still write in my journal. Last night’s entry was remarkably similar to the first one: I am forever blessed to have had Tyrel in my life. That God’s plan is much bigger than my own. That I survived to help others heal through my lessons. That I am the person who I am today because of the lessons that occurred on March 26, 2000.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned is although while we are in the midst of the storm and we can barely see what’s right in front of us, we trust that one day, the storm will pass.

We may be beaten, broken, and ravaged by the waves crashing over us, yet we hold on. And one day we wake up and realize the rain has stopped, and we don’t have to hold on so tightly anymore. We loosen our grips and just for a moment, breathe the first real breath in forever. We are able to come up for air and know that soon, the sun will shine again. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day.

Trust is about having vision further than one can see. Trusting that our lives are made for so much more; an even bigger impact and legacy than we can ever imagine. I have witnessed this time and time again in more hard lessons than I care to admit.

And although I know that Tyrel made a huge impact on the lives around him, and his legacy lives on still today, I am most thankful for the lessons he taught me. And much like my gratitude journal from 17 years ago, I know my purpose in life is still unfolding. I trust that my words, my lessons will be used for a greater good. Not so that others don’t have to go through what I went through, but to know we’re not alone.

Grief is such a lonely place. Seventeen years later, I am filled with gratitude for what my life has become, and yet yesterday, I couldn’t speak of my accident. It was if time stood still and I was that fifteen-year-old girl who was all alone again.

But today is different. I am ready to share.

Grateful. Humbled. Blessed. Purposeful. Ready.

Seventeen years later, I am using my accident as a catalyst for change.

Bad things happen.
Good people die.
Hearts get broken.
Life goes on.

It’s your choice to wallow or to rise above and see the beauty that unfolds. I am thankful for the lessons and ready to serve knowing how it will not only help my healing, but for those around me.


I Speed Up by Slowing Down

I’m used to running a mile a minute. Hell, I’ve been known to pride myself on going farther, pushing harder, blazing my own trail just to prove that I can. I didn’t want to be known as one of many, I want to be known as me.

Only, Life isn’t meant to be pushed forward at Mach speed. Just because I accomplish one big goal doesn’t give me the right to barrel through to the next without celebrating the small successes along the way.

Life is meant to be lived deeply.

When running hard and fast, you miss the blessings along the way.

Life has tried to show me this all along the way. To slow down and embrace what is in front of me instead of focusing in on the next big thing…way in the future.

Too many times, Life has brought me to my knees in surrender knowing I can’t do it all, be it all, even when I so desperately wanted or needed to be.

Instead, Life was telling me to slow down, be present, and just BE.

I had missed the signs. I had missed the moments.

In hurrying to finish two degrees, I missed the signs that education wasn’t my in my heart, but in my head. In hurrying to have a family, I missed the beautiful beginning of a partnership of my marriage. In hurrying to make it to bedtime after a long day with three littles, I missed the smiles, laughs, and memories made by being a kid again. In hurrying to create a Life based on what I thought it should look like versus the beautiful present it was, I missed a chance to feel at peace.

So for now, I’m done hurrying; no longer pushing and controlling.
Today and each day after, I am focusing on taking Life one step at a time and watching the beauty unfold.

I trust that I will speed up by slowing down.


Because Of You.

Not a day goes by that you don’t cross my mind.

A song.
A smile.
A smell.
All induce a memory, which turns into a sweet release.

I can’t help but wonder what life would be like had you not left all those years ago.

If you were still here, I would call you up and ask a stupid question just to get a reaction. A boisterous, over-the-top remark that would be sure to come, followed by a deep, heart-filling belly laugh that lasted for what seemed like minutes after. Your quick wit, sarcastic undertones, and facial expressions of serious comments made it that much more entertaining to chat with you.

If you were still here, I would send my boys over to your house to roughhouse. Jokes, stories, and over-the-top shenanigans would obviously ensue; a one-stop shop of fun. I wouldn’t have to share pictures and funny memories. I wouldn’t have to remind them how they knew you in heaven before they were born. I wouldn’t have to see, hear, and laugh at how much they remind me of you.

If you were still here, we would still be on the post-high of family time of the holidays and creating more memories instead of reliving those from years ago. The twinges and pangs of guilt, sadness, and remorse wouldn’t be evident as our family would be whole once again.

If you were still here, I would be able to still look up to you in reverence instead of remembrance. Your charming and confident attitude made you so loveable and the ultimate life-of-the-party. Easily making everyone your new best friend, and making sure the party didn’t end until you went home.

If you were still here, I would wrap my arms around you one last time and soak in how you smelled, how you felt, and mostly, how you made me feel. Safe, loved, and whole.

But you’re not still here.
My world did stop that day.
I can only see you in pictures, memories, and dreams.

If you were still here, my heart would be whole. Not stitched together from remnants of what it used to be. Still beating, yet resembling a broken puzzle, desperately trying to piece it back together with bits and pieces that no longer fit.

If you were still here, I would tell you how much I love you and how you have impacted my life for the better. I would tell you that I feel you when I go somewhere or meet someone new. I would tell you that I know your legacy lives on through my boys. I would tell you that I see and hear your messages every single day.

I am a better person because of you.
I have learned and grown from your lessons here on earth and from above.
I understand that life is fragile, but I am not.

I am me because of you.


Enjoy The Ride

It’s Christmas season and this past weekend I was in line at Target waiting to check out with the bare necessities that I had on my list for a Sunday that I drug my three boys out of the house for. I was barely hanging on by a thread, standing behind the big semi of a cart that a whole family can practically live in, silently cursing of why I do this to myself, teetering on the edge of being on the next episode of Snapped as the Houdini baby was trying to escape while the two big boys were playing a grand rendition of who could punch the other harder.


In front of me was a new mom that had her adorable little girl gingerly sitting in the cart using one of the cart protectors to ward off germs. Oh, how I remember those days. The first kid syndrome where you buy into all the gadgets thinking they will save you or your child’s life somehow, when in fact it’s just you schlepping around more shit you don’t need.


It’s Target. Get a coffee and enjoy the sanity that only one kid brings.


But alas, she turned and smiled at me and got me out of my single kid daydream when one of my heathens got loose and accidentally pushed the cart into her backside. I apologized profusely, got the loose cannon back in his spot and waited for our turn on the conveyor belt to give them a job since idle little boy hands make for a mama’s worst nightmare.


Finally when it’s our turn to pay and the boys get their coveted stickers, the older check out lady, who would be aged at having adult kids if I were to guess, laughed and said, “Boy! Do you have your hands full!”


As a sarcastic, yet rigorously honest person, I never know how to respond to these types of comments. Granted, we live in rural Northern Minnesota, where we are as conservative as they come. Minnesota Nice is a conditioned belief. Yes, we are supremely nice. Yes, we will make a mean hotdish for funerals. Yes, people will stop for a flat tire or to push your car out of snow. But it never fails me to think that I can’t be the only one who is screaming inside my head at the shit that people say.


As we gathered our bags into the cart, pick up the lost mitten and ransack the new bags for one of the three packs of pacifiers to give to the baby since he decided to throw his out along the way, the friendly Target lady laughed and said, “Enjoy every minute! It goes by so fast!”


As I walked to the car, her seemingly sweet comment started to simmer in my head. It wasn’t the first time that someone has said that to me, and it won’t be the last. And yet, I wish for just once, someone would just cut the shit and say what we really mean to say.


No, I don’t want to enjoy every minute.


I want to remember the good times from our weekly family date night and release the resentment towards my husband for being gone six days a week and leaving me alone with these three.


I want to look at family pictures and truly see the love, the chaos, and the full-heart moments at a time where my babies looked like babies; not the hot mess that rolled up 15 minutes late to our scheduled time, swearing at the kids to quit running away, or the sweating that ensued through the 20 minutes of hell to get all three kids to listen and for fucks sake smile normal.


I want to remember the night where I ordered pizza and had a movie night that I fell asleep to because I was so fried from a long day of breaking up fights and utter exhaustion from a teething baby who didn’t nap and was up six times the night before.


I want to remember the day I found out about drop in daycare and could actually go to Target alone and take two hours strolling through the aisles with a regular cart and put in things only I wanted to. No haggling, no negotiation, no spilled pickles on aisle three, no frantic runs to the bathroom.


I want to enjoy the Kindergarten Christmas program where my kid stood on the top riser and sand his little heart out about Jesus instead of the 25 minute meltdown that ensued beforehand because he didn’t want to wear that pair of pants that he picked out specifically for his program because his little brother touched them.


I don’t enjoy every minute. I can’t lie and say I do. Yes, I have my hands full, but I also have my heart full. Full of memories that I want to enjoy and leave the rest of the shit for therapy that my kids will ultimately have to deal with later on in life. But for now, solidarity in motherhood.


Next time you see a mama with rambunctious kids, high-five her. Give her a smile that says, I got you, Sister. Reach out and tell her your horror story of surviving the checkout during the holiday season or how you drug your three week old newborn and two kids Black Friday shopping for the TV that your husband really wanted and how surprisingly, nobody got trampled.


Either way, it’s okay to not enjoy every minute. Parenting is hard. Enjoy the moments that fill your heart. Laugh about the ones that you can’t believe actually happened.


You survived.


Enjoy the ride, instead.


Tides of Change



Water entrances me.


The peaceful sound of it splashing against the shore, the mesmerizing way the sun glistens and dances on the top, and watching the ripples cascade out from the movement of animals at play.


We can all learn lessons from the water. I often find myself using water as a metaphor in regards to where I’m at in life or using characteristics to see who I am as a person.


Lately, I have been craving a need to be more like water.



All encompassing.

Vast and deep.



All traits that I am and yet, that I strive to be more of.


Notice how when the tides rise and encroach the shore, taking over their turf for the time being. Washing away what no longer serves it. Making life for new. The water carries the weight out into the vast, deep, and somewhat terrifying middle.  


You know that place.

The place where we can no longer touch, it’s hard to see the shore, and the uneasiness that settles in your stomach wondering if you’ll make it back again.


Yeah, that middle.


We all have tides in our lives. You know….treading for our lives or dipping our toes in. It’s either all in or standing on the shore wishing to go all in.


Am I out to sea, treading for dear life because I know that’s where I’m supposed to be? Or am I stuck on the shore, waves splashing around my ankles, yearning for the sea to take me away and wash me anew?


Right now I’m stuck on shore. I feel the cool, salty sea tickling my legs, washing over my feet as they sink further into the wet sand. I long for the middle of the ocean and yet fear is holding me tight. All the “what if’s” come into my head.


What if I get disorientated and don’t know my way back?

What if I tread so long that I just give up?

What if I drown?


And yet…

What if I learn how to swim?

What if someone comes along with a life preserver?

What if the water washes me back to shore, like it’s supposed to? Or maybe a new shore because I’m a different person than I was when I first jumped in?


Tiptoeing in the water isn’t going to help me. I need to jump in, both feet. I’ll never know if I can swim if I don’t leave the shore. I need to trust that when the time is right, just as the water consistently and persistently does, I will wash back up on shore.







Now is the time.


Jump in. Let the waves take you away. Crash among tides. Learn how to float. Better yet, learn how to swim with the tides.


Go deep and let the water carry you back to shore.