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.

Staying the Course

2016-07-26 14.53.19     

      I met with a friend today.  Instinctively when I sat down, I could feel the heaviness in her heart. I knew.  She was where I was not so very long ago— anxiety, questioning where to go, uneasiness of going back and forth of outcomes, and ultimately breaking down. Thoughts of continue trudging up the dark valley, praying and trusting there is light at the end of the tunnel or risking it all to hitch a ride to see the full picturesque view on the other side of the mountain?

      Our conversation got me to really start thinking. How did we ever get caught up in making the RIGHT decision? How did we get to the point that the next step will forever change the course of fate? Since when does one decision impact the overall goal?

      It doesn’t. Our lives are made up of many small, although momentous decisions that compound and make a large overall outcome. One small detour isn’t going to blow the whole thing.

      The beautiful truth is that there are many paths that lead us to our destination. Each of those paths has their own road construction, unique curves, newly paved sections, epic drop-offs, and forks ahead. And yet, all of those paths ultimately lead us to our Divine destination—and we are ultimately wiser for the path we chose.

      So why do we get so caught up in making the right decision?

      I believe it’s because we tend to get lost in our own thoughts and actually think that we have control in the outcome. The funny thing is, God knew all along where you would end up. When we try so hard to control the coordinates of the GPS, we tend to forget the beauty in the journey because we are so caught up with staying on course.

      What is the worst that could happen? We will either risk and grow or stay and mature. Either way, we learn from the experience and will be stronger from it.

      How to navigate your internal GPS:

      – Quiet your mind and start listening with your heart. All the chatter you’re listening to isn’t your heart (or God) talking.

      – Feel in your body which direction your intuition is guiding you. Your gut instinct is a real thing.

      – Check your batteries, do they need to be recharged? A new scenery or fresh perspective might do the trick.

      – Stop and stretch. When your mind has been running for so long, a good prayer and meditation session can do wonders.

      Stay the course, whichever route you take in your GPS. Life is about enjoying the journey, not how quick you get there. Navigating the detours and unexpected breakdowns are minuscule in comparison from the most beautiful of views of arriving at your destination.