Wednesday, September 17, 2014

living the dream

Many of us our busy living our dream lives and we don't even know it. We can't see beyond that damn plan that we came up with ions ago. Our current life doesn't even have one single thread in common with how it was supposed to go, the one we compare our actual life to. It's easy to miss because it lacks the simplicity and perfection of "2.5 kids by the time I'm 30", or "own my own business" or "kicking ass at xyz by the time I'm lmnop". Our real lives are so much less linear and so much more messy and complicated and jumbled and happy and sad. It's usually not all good or all bad- just a blessed mix of the in between. Most of us couldn't have written our real life into existence. We just aren't creative enough.

For one moment, stop. Look around. The clutter and chaos and life that unfolds... it's all yours. It's easy to forget that it's pretty darn great exactly the way it is. Good job you.

Some days I am so good. Because I check everything off the list. I return phone calls. I go to three different grocery stores and the boys are behaving like angels and my hair looks great and I smile at strangers because I am just so happy and so awesome.

And some days- a few more some of the days-I suck. "Not enough" echos in my bones and it feels so lonely and incapable. I forget to call to schedule an OT appointment for Grey (for the THIRD day in a row) ((but remember to buy lip gloss at Sephora which makes me feel even WORSE)), and I am TOO TIRED to go to a single grocery store and don't make eye contact with the neighbor dragging their trash can out to the curb because I can't bear to make small talk. And everything good I ever did before this very day is erased. I hate that. Our self worth is so much MORE than this single day. Good or bad. I am better than my empty (or even full fridge). Better than my to do list. Better than the stupid ice cream cone I ate but didn't want to.  All of that stuff is fake and fleeting and doesn't mean jack compared to who I really truly am. How I am. If my dear friend Wendy with four kids and a crazy busy schedule doesn't remember to do something- I don't think wow- Wendy really sucks all around as a human being. I still think she is the amazing Wendy. Calm and consistent like the Ocean. Sometimes totally crossing off her to dos and sometimes not.

Today I am going to treat myself like I'm Wendy. I'm so much nicer to her.

People LOVE to feel sad. There's poof of that everywhere. Ever heard of the band Cold Play? Of course you have- and they always make people feel sad. In fact sad music makes me so happy that I think it's actually happy music. Sad movies too. Tear jerkers. Life of Pi, Shawshank Redemption. Sad sad sad. Even sad is a gift because it means we have to ability to FEEL. And feeling is so much better than numb.When your fingers and heart are numb and you can't feel too much at all. Because where there is sad there is also always love. I think that's why we love each others sad stories. Because they inspire us to be alive and to FEEL alive and to have thoughts like- this crazy life with my totally NOT check the box kiddos and my beautiful really hard marriage- now complete with weekly marriage counseling, and the fact that DON'T have it all figured out yet and I am 40 - WOW! It's all such a gift. A good life doesn't mean a perfect life. It sure has taken me a long time to figure that one out. 

But of course we still search for happy. We can vacation in sad but happy is where we prefer to live. Research shows that half of your happiness can be attributed to one thing: you. Not your kids or your dog or who won the Fresno state Nebraska game: but YOU. That's awesome.

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It was our first tail gate EVER. (Fresno got their butts whipped- 55 to 19.)

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Every so often I have this moment that overtakes me. It feels like- ohmygosh, I am a Mom and a grown up and this is how I expected life to look but so much better and this is so amazing. I was having that moment watching this community of red all excited for the same thing.

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Sometimes it was too loud for Grey, but he still had fun.

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This is as close as we can get to a family shot. And do you know what? It's perfect.

Pick a theme for your day that will help you find your happy. Mine is LETTING GO. I was texting with my friend Carli earlier this evening and she mentioned that she is working on letting Jesus take the wheel more. Totally, I told her. I back seat the crap out of Jesus. Jesus- you drive. BUT DON'T TURN HERE! And stop going so fast, Jesus! And now go faster, Jesus- I don't like this part, AND WHAT DOES THE GPS SAY TO DO JESUS?!

LETTING GO. (shew). It's gonna take some work, but I'm worth it. So are you.



Thursday, September 11, 2014

humanity first, label LAST

I just rocked my precious Parker before bed. As we swayed back and forth I buried my nose deep into the top of his powdery mist of soft blond hair. He smelled of baby and heaven and bubble bath and hope. It sounded like the hum of outside street lights and I'm eight years old and out past my bedtime and anything is possible. 

It still is, whispers a voice deep inside me. A calm, hopeful voice that I often try to squash down.  But tonight while the warm feel of summer still lingers in the air, I believe those words completely.  

Anything is possible.

Earlier today I was watching a youtube video recommended to me by a dear friend in nursing school. The video featured a woman by the name of Pat Deegan-  a disability-rights advocate, psychologist and researcher. She has created "Hearing Voices"; a groundbreaking simulation that helps individuals, students, and professionals understand the challenges faced by people with psychiatric disabilities. During the simulation, participants listen to distressing voices through headphones while completing a series of tasks, such as taking a mental status exam in a mock emergency room. She is changing the way the world helps those with psychiatric disorders. You can see Anderson Cooper's participation and thoughts on the simulation HERE

Deegan was diagnosed with schizophrenia at 25 years old, a fact that blew my mind wide open. Stories like hers remind me that anything is possible. Don't let your mind set limits on what you or your boys can and can't do. You see- we are not so different, people with psychiatric disorders and us. People with autism and you and me. There is no "me" and "them"- we are all humans together. Any of us could be one simple chromosome or traumatic event away from a diagnosis of our very own. Or if not you, your sister, your friend, your child or your spouse. 

Deegan discusses the profound impact her diagnosis had on her. She felt like she was no longer "Pat"- but that schizophrenia was now the master status in terms of her identity. Her humanity seemed secondary to the fact that she had a disorder. After many years of struggle and learning how to cope, she now realizes that she is so much more than her diagnosis. Reading about Pat's life made me ache with empathy and understanding- that although our circumstances are different- so often the feelings are the same. I believe that holds true for many of us.

I thought about an interaction I had years ago with a woman outside of Speech Therapy one day as she waited for her child to finish. She was discussing with me the numerous and familiar-sounding therapies her daughter received and I asked, "Oh does she have autism?" The mother's face wrenched up in pain. "We don't use that word" she replied. I felt as if I had just asked her how much she weighed or how much money her house cost. I then questioned myself- You tell EVERYONE your son has autism. You write a blog that THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE READ in which you frequently mention that he has autism. Maybe this is something that you should keep hidden. I've thought long and hard about our decision to be so forthcoming- and I realized- this diagnosis does not have any power to hurt us unless I give it that power. Unless I assume society will judge us or withhold from us because of it. In fact, the more I talk about it the more I am doing to reduce any stigma or preconceptions associated with it.  And sure- I could say it's not me it's society that will judge my child. But actually- I AM SOCIETY so I can also impact society with the message I put out there. We all can. 

So we are out and proud. I don't for one second think of a diagnosis as something that will limit my sons' future; their future actually depends on their abilities and their desires. 

We are all human beings FIRST. We are not cancer. We are not schizophrenia. We are not autism or Down syndrome. We are not a divorcee. We are not a lost cause or less than or anything that is slapped on a chart or across our face. We are vast and profound and ritual and ordinary. A pure and precious soul that was born and is loved and grew and failed and tried and succeeded and made it all the way to HERE. This very day. We are simply too big to fit into a tiny little labeled cup. We overflow and spill out into the world. We try each day, and when we suck- we try again.  It's awful. It's unbearable. It's amazing. It's perfect just like this. 

We are humans first, and labels last. 

You see, a label (or a diagnosis) is important to me because it makes us entitled to benefits like Speech Therapy through our insurance. It lets school folks know that my children need to be taught differently. It provides teachers with patience and understanding. It let's society know things they may not understand just by looking at my boys. Things like- don't touch me, it makes me uncomfortable. I have a hard time paying attention. I am sometimes triggered by crowds or loud or new situations.

They are not autism. They are precious little boys, frequently covered with dirt, jumping on the bed with glee and teaching me how to really live and love life.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ten things about me

Ten totally random things about me...

  • ONE: My all time favorite television shows are: Friends, Sex and the City and Breaking Bad.  I watch lots of television - usually while I'm writing into the wee hours of the night. Bravo is the biggest culprit. I would LOVE to write for TV- that would be a DREAM job.

  • TWO: I've been arrested. Once. I was a Sophomore in college. A police officer was knocking on doors in the dorm due to a suspicion of pot. I didn't have or do pot but I did have an unpaid speeding ticket on my record. Next stop- Paddy wagon and mug shots baby. Good thing I'm not a celebrity. 

  • THREE: I am obsessed with qtips- I even was as a little girl. I could clean my ears out twenty times a day- but I limit it to one. You are NOT allowed to clean your kids ears out with q-tips. I know because I did with Grey when he was a baby and I got IN TROUBLE by his doctor. I think that tickley twirly qtip feeling is the best/worst feeling in the world. I also use them to clean. If you have any favorite uses be sure and let me know.

  • FOUR: I love hearing from you. Love love love. Sometimes it takes me a couple weeks to write back but I always do. (Unless you are trying to sell me things or are asking me to sell your things). I appreciate your perspective, your stories and the ways our story has added perspective to your life. Most days I am happy, but some days are so hard and I love to reread your emails to remind me that none of us are in this life thing alone. I crave honest intimacy from life and interactions. It's easy to press "publish" on a post and wonder if anyone is really out there reading. Thank you for letting me know that you are out there.

  • FIVE: I have an addictive personality. Totally obsessive. Now that I'm a sort of grown-up I try to channel that drive into healthy outlets. I look back and laugh at some of my past obsessions. I totally remember in college doing Jazzercise (obsession #1 exercise) and running to the car afterwards to drink a diet Mountain Dew (#2)  and smoke a Marborol Light (#3). Unfortunately (and fortunately) I am off all three for now. 

  • SIX: US weekly is the only magazine I subscribe to. But I'm starting to feel creepy looking at it. I don't know half the people are and I don't care where Leann Rimes and Eddie Cibrian went to dinner. I especially don't want to see Justin Bieber or the likes with their shirt off. E-gads! Gross- I'm old-ish enough to be some of these kids Mothers. 

  • SEVEN: I'm always late. And if I'm not late- I will stop at Starbucks "real quick" and make myself late. It's almost like I have a fear of being early, so I just try to be on time and it never ever works and instead I'm late. At least now I have children that I can blame for it.  

Speaking of Starbucks- check out this HILARIOUS bit on the REAL reason Starbucks spells your name wrong. WARNING: It contains a couple of F-Bombs. Don't watch with small children around or if you hate cursing. 

  • EIGHT: Michael travels for work every week. I usually get a babysitter at night during the witching hours otherwise I go insane. Sometimes I sit by myself in my car to soak up the last seconds of my alone time. And sometimes on the very same day I keep them up late because I already miss before they are even asleep. Sometimes I have to stop myself from going into Parker's room and snatching him out of bed. They drive me crazy and I love them so big it hurts.

  • NINE: I can't believe it -but I've started to enjoy cooking. My favorite spice is by far Cumin. My favorite herb is basil. Did you know St. John's Wort is Basil? Some claim that one of it's many benefits is mood enhancement. I'm a self-proclaimed terrible cook- but ever since Summer started I have been cooking more and more. It's a nice escape from Mom'ing and it's a fun creative outlet.

  • TEN: I don't really like Holidays. The whole autism thing has thrown a wrench on so many of these kid-centric holidays. (Think about it- Christmas/ Easter/ Halloween). I'd like to say they are ACTUALLY about God or something bigger than that- but the world really doesn't really act that way. They just say it and then go ape shit on the commercialization of it. (Which I would be too but my kids just aren't into it.) For now- I am still wading the waters and figuring out how we can best celebrate in ways that work for us. Until then- Trash Truck Wednesday is my favorite holiday.

Some scenes from today...

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Feel free to share some of YOUR random facts with me. Either in the comments- or send an email to


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

how to (reallly) be alive

Today I was in a mad dash hurry. Grey's therapy ended early at 11:30 while Parker's went until 12. I had the brilliant idea to run to the grocery store on the corner during the thirty minute window. On the way to the store I witnessed a little boy and his father walking down the side street. The little boy was probably 2 or 3 years old. He had a ball cap and tan cargo shorts on just like dad. They were holding hands and going slow. Grey and I took our lickety split trip to the market- just picking up a few essentials. 

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On the way back from the store I notice the same father and son duo just now approaching the end of the street. Woah- that stinks- I can't believe it took them all that time to walk up the street, I thought. I went to the grocery store and back in that amount of time! We were caught at the light so I just watched them. The dad stayed at his son's pace- there was no rushing. The man somehow opened his pocket and took out a sippy cup without letting go of his precious little guy's hand. 

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The little boy was looking up at his dad in admiration and they were perfectly wrapped up in their every day conversation and suddenly I couldn't look away. I realized it was me that had it all wrong. That actually doesn't suck that it took that long. I was clearly witnessing one of those mundane everyday moments that make love and life so stinking precious. I took mental notes from this duo- notes on how to do life right:

Hold hands, notice details, go slow. 

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What if kids were all stressed out and constantly busy? Mowing the lawn and paying bills and stressing over traffic. Wouldn't that be funny? No wait- it would actually be HORRIBLE. Thank goodness we have kids around to teach us how to be.

I'm not scared of the dentist, or the dark but sometimes I'm scared that I'm so busy living that I forget to be alive.

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Back in the beautiful land of Los Angeles, California I would go running from our house to the beach after work each day. Whoot whoot, someone would on occasion call out to me. Pig, I would always think, annoyed. Fast forward four years and another kid later. I was walking in the parking lot at a busy intersection the other day when I heard it. Whoot whoot was screamed out of a car to me. No- they can't mean me. I look around and I am the only one standing there. They must have meant... Me? My face breaks into a big smile. I get into the car and talk to myself in the rear view mirror. Oh yeah girl. You still got it. Behold the Woo'er: From pig to hero; Oh my how times have changed.


So I really took my advice last week. I flipped the coin for everything that scared, annoyed and angered me. Every time I would feel the familiar itch of uncomfortable I would try it. I LOVE being 40! I am FABULOUS. I feel so AT PEACE WITH MY AGE AND MY EXTRA SMARTNESS. 


TRAFFIC IS GOOD BECAUSE IT REMINDS ME TO TAKE MY TIME. MEAN PEOPLE ARE JUST SAD SO I WILL EXTRA SEND LOVE TO THEM!  It's gonna take a bit for some of those neurons to connect, but I'm willing to try.


Sometimes I feel like too much. Much too much. I say too much. I share too much. I talk too much. I feel too much. I think TOO MUCH. I everything much too much. But I thought about it- and most of my friends are too much too. But I don't think of them as too much. I think of them as JUST Right. So maybe I am just right too. And I bet you are too, friend. Too much is the new "just right".

And in the spirit of just right- my newest favoritest song in the whole wide universe. Like on constant repeat over and over again. I promise it will make you LAUGH and smile and feel alive. 

They tell us from the time we're young to hide the things that we don't like about ourselves, inside ourselves. I know I'm not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else. Well I'm over it. I DON'T CARE IF THE WORLD KNOWS WHAT MY SECRETS ARE.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

flip a coin

Like so many parents before me one day I just realized it was autism. The realization burned through my core like a paper house on fire. I no longer had the power to squash out the facts that were screaming into my rigid silence. One day with shaking hands I ran to our computer. Our big Mac- the one where our legacy of pictures had been stored. I needed to find it and confront it immediately. 

I wasn't much of a camera girl during Grey's first year. We took a few pictures in the hospital when he was born and just a few in the first six months. 

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Those were etched in my brain and offered no clues. I needed more. The in between. Everything leading up until this awful day where I transformed into fear and soot.

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I sit and with icy intensity click through images, so afraid of what I might feel and find. Which day had it happened? I watch an old video. A profoundly ordinary moment where Greyson is pushing his favorite green truck all around the living room floor. Not just back and forth, fixated on the wheels. He is 13 months old.

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"Greyson, are you playing with your truck?" I asked, so clearly enamored with this little soul. As soon as his name sailed from my mouth his head turns fast enough to cause whiplash. Yes, that's what I thought...that is my Greyson. The one I thought was still here. The one who now rarely turns to acknowledge his name. The one who no longer pushes his truck around; he is simply content spinning its wheels. 

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Five months pregnant with Parker and Grey 18 months old

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I scroll through the pictures with painful curiosity. My heart stops. It's his second birthday. We bought him a package of Disney Cars. He has lined them up and is examining them from the corner of his eye. I have no recollection of this specific moment and only believe it to be true because of the proof in the picture.

My stomach dropped out and my lungs burned shut. I felt like I saw the Devil. Yes, it was in our house right at this moment in this picture. In him. So somewhere between 15 months and 24 months he went missing and I didn't even go look for him. As his very own mother, his DNA. The person closest to him in the whole wide world, why can't I pinpoint the day?

I can't watch those videos anymore. It aches in places I wish I didn't have.

I think of these moments when I hear from a new mom or dad in my old shoes. Their greatest fear is my reality. They want anything but my outcome. They fear my life. Sometimes that scares me. Gosh- deep down I think we want people to admire us, maybe even envy our life. But people don't and yet I understand. And I also now know the fear of it all is so much worse than the actuality of it. I think that holds true for everything scary.

And now... I'm being honest with every part of my mind- I fully believe this is exactly the life I am supposed to have. Not just the bits and pieces perfect parts. All of it. It's a package deal and so much of it really was a custom choice by me. I picked this life. If course I didn't pick autism but I picked pretty much everything else. Marriage has been really hard- so we are working on it. That's how I feel about life- we have the option to choose or change. So often we have a circumstance, an event, a fact- and in those first moments afterwards- WE GET TO DECIDE HOW WE FEEL ABOUT IT. 

That is incredible. It's like a flip of a coin but with less chance- more choice. We can easily pick angry. No one will really talk you out of angry.  In fact, you'll find more angry people. You will attract them. And because we all love being right, we find more evidence to support our anger. That's called justification. We add in a good dose of entitlement. Like we deserve other things from life that better be pretty damn brilliant to offset this other pain. And we feel judgement at those who don't carry the burdens we do. For those who take for granted the gifts they do have. Anger, justification, entitlement, judgement and the original life circumstance. That's too heavy for any one person to bear.

But if we are really being kind to ourselves, and really give ourselves time to hurt and mourn and breathe through it all and feel about it and think about it and talk to others- we can flip to the other side of the coin. The opposite of angry- acceptance. And when you free that angry space up there then makes room for gratitude and a high gloss happy. A happy that you can easily wipe clean when you smudge it. It's beautiful and light and freeing and gives you back the rest of your life.

And now that I am here I of course have hard minutes, moments and even days. But I can also say the good parts erase, justify and even make humble the bad. This is why I am here. They are why I am here. For me- motherhood taught me what life really means. It's painful and raw and imperfect and mine. God, I'm so lucky.

If you don't like where you are, flip a coin. Try again. Pick any color you want and start over again.

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Much Love,

If you are at the beginning of something hard- it's impossible to see the light. I promise you, it is there. Little tiny light bulbs will slowly light your way. It doesn't feel like that. You swear it won't be true for you. I promise, everything will look different soon. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

the opposite of thinking

As human beings we constantly have to reinvent ourselves. Sometimes in small ways. We change our hair color. Buy gold when we might usually buy silver. Cut sugar out of our diet. Leave the career world to become a stay at home mom. 

Sometimes the alterations are much bigger though. The loan falls through. We lose a job. Get divorced. Deal with infertility. Receive a diagnosis of autism. Find out it's Cancer. And with our eyes squeezed painfully tight we let go because we have absolutely no other options. We are flailing into the Universe in terror for that final hit that will stop our fall. We are certain it will be our death. We hope and pray that someone will stop this, fix this- make this go away. And it's awful and terrifying and stressful and at moments unbearable. And as the decline continues, we pry our eyes open and realize in fact that we haven't made the final hit. We are still alive. The unbearable place in the middle- this is what most of life is made of. This is when the magic and the alteration is actually occurring. This is when we have to slow down and breathe through and figure out what we want our new beginning to look like. Beauty is so often the child born from pain. A pain we are certain is the end, but in actuality marking the beginning of unfathomable greatness we could have never known, understood or predicted.

And one day you wake up- right in the middle of your life, and you realize you have no other choice but to breathe in and out. Fine lines of strength and courage and fear form patterns on your soul. You become so much more beautiful than someone who has never felt a million different shades of pain.  

And one day, as a curse and blessing- you forget just how strong your bones really are. The depths of just how much you can endure. Tiny shoe pebbles of life start to annoy you again. Forgetting that you have seen the core of what actually matters in life and survived.

Today I was feeling a melancholy hum of sadness for the ending of Summer. I ached over her best and simplest parts. Sunlight after eight. Popsicles melting down arms. Water parks and swimming pools. Times spent with my incredible Teacher Friends that are now back in school. I was holding on tight to Summer- refusing to let go.

And I laughed in the face of my sadness-because really-I've gone through some pretty hard stuff in life, so I don't know how or why the small things often cumulatively bother me the most. I decided I needed to reinvent the way I think about the ending of Summer.

If I can use my mind to overcome big things- small things should be a CINCH. What if I even got excited about Fall? (But I'm not a fall girl, I screamed. I don't give a rat's ass about pumpkin spice lattes. I don't like orange and black. I hate being cold.) Okay, that's fine- we already know all of that, I said to myself. (You have two yous too-right?) But what do you like? I asked nicely. I do kind of missing wearing jeans. And I love big soft chunky sweaters. And sometimes it's nice to stay inside and not feel like I should be outside because it's so nice and sunny out. And I love the winter rain we get in California. Before I knew it, I didn't feel so horrid. I just needed to decide to think about it differently. What if we forced ourselves to think the opposite about many of the small things that make us sweat? Let's try it.

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Today instead of being pissed that I had to carry and put away all of our groceries, I decided to instead be grateful for the abundance of wealth.  And instead of being annoyed that I had to clean the house-- I practiced being overwhelmed with gratitude by the fact that we have a home to clean.

And lucky for us, trash truck Wednesday is year round.

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Can't wait to see what's in store for us this Fall...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

love is

Usually Monday through Friday day are all business. Today we added an extra dash of fun and a healthy splash of spontaneity. Grey wanted to go and ride the bock-show. 

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It took us like a day to figure out what bock-show meant. 

Bock show!!!!
Bock show!!! He kept yelling more and more urgently.

I...want...BOCK SHOW!!! with direct eye contact and such an urgency it made my heart break. 

BOCK SHOW. BOCK SHOW. He repeated, almost in tears over and over again. He grabbed his Picture Exchange Book and took out a picture of him horseback riding. He placed it on a strip that says, "I want". 

You want to ride horses? We asked.

NOOOOO, he whimpered, crushed. 

We went through a million nouns. Do you want the park? Fries? Ice cream? Chips? None of his favorites worked. We were equally crushed for letting him down. Finally Michael put it together.


YES!!!!! Greyson said in blissful relief. Bock show!!! 

You see Friend, when Greyson used to go horseback riding he first rode this "motorcycle" at every visit. He liked it even more than the horse in fact. And since he didn't have a picture of a motorcycle in his book, he picked the horse picture- the closest alternative.

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He doesn't always get there the same way- but he gets there.

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Apparently the bus lives up to its name.

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Parker stands on tip toes and waits for his smoothie to be ready. He thinks every drink is his, and when someone else grabs it, he explodes into a million tears. "I'm sorry" the person who grabbed the drink says. He gets up off the floor and waits again. It sucks when they are really busy.

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We raced home in time to see our Frank.

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As soon as Frank got out of the truck we could hear the loud sound of hot hissing. Their was an air leak in the doo-hickey-something-or-other. His truck was officially out of commission. He had to leave his truck on our street which was the coolest thing ever. I put Parker down for a nap just in time to catch for Grey and I to catch a Big Rig Tow Truck rescuing #127. 

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At first Greyson loved it but then he was confused. The driver chained Frank's truck up backwards and Greyson got concerned. Hammy, hammy, hammy- Greyson said for "help me." Off. He wanted the chains off. It's okay Grey- Frank isn't in the truck. The truck is hurt. That guy needs to go fix it. That seemed to settle Grey's mind.

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Sometimes we all need a break. Even trucks. Even you. 



Love isn't...
The counts of the click of a shutter, the number of toys purchased. The amount of time spent with each child. It isn't giving up, feeling entitled or comparing. It isn't measured by a clean house or by trips to Disney Land and Ice Cream excursions.

It is...
Tracing their face with the tip of your nose while deeply inhaling and knowing for a second that you've never felt this happy. It is feeling like you've known them all your life- not just all theirs. Love is being covered in hot dog barf (or some other food you will never regard the same way again) at 1am as you bathe, strip sheets and soothe, while simultaneously knowing there is no where else you'd rather be. Love is knowing when to be Drill Sergeant and when to be the softest feather pillow. Love is knowing your mood, your thoughts, your heart- simply by the glimmer reflected in your eye. Love is letting go and holding on. It is in every limb, every exhale, every sleepless worried night and every brand new sunny day starting again.

Love is.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

reach out

In the 1980's there was a National Advertising Campaign for the phone company AT&T.

Reach out reach out and touch someone! Reach out call up and just say hi, urged the happy singing voice on the television commercial. The campaign was a huge success that resulted in a large increase in sales for the phone company.

This commercial reinforces an ideal that still rings true today. Inherently we were put on this earth to connect with other humans. Sometimes we make life about the price of gas or work or arguing over religion or politics, but at the root of it all we want to listen and be heard. We want to be understood and related to. And with the advancement of technology and the quest for connection, some of the heart and intention we carry gets lost. Our eyes remain down on our phone. It makes me wonder what the future will look like. I wonder what will come from the loss of intimacy that a cell phone can bring into our life.

And it's so easy to blame technology or social media, or others, but in doing that it's the same as saying we are hopeless to change. Together we can be the change. We can change our community- our bubble- our nest- and in doing so, change the world our children see. We can feel less alone and more connected. I have five ideas we can implement this week to reach out and touch someone.

Wave to Random People All Day Long: People waiting at bus stops. People out for walks. People driving in the car next to yours. Your neighbor. The cab driver. The Trash Man. TRY IT. It's awesome. Isn't it AMAZING that we all get to be humans here discovering earth together??? I KNOW!!! ASTOUNDING!!! Of course I would NEVER suggest you do something I hadn't tried myself. I did it this afternoon while in the car. I SMILED and waved at EVERYONE.

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I was nervous and felt odd at first. Why is it so weird to reach out to people we don't know? I was afraid I was going to look like a weirdo, which I did- but so often we look like a weirdo by mistake- WHY NOT DO IT ON PURPOSE?! The very first gal smiled really big and waved back! I loved her. Woman number two looked at me nervously and then abruptly looked back forward, hands at ten and two. Man three looked at me like- How do I know you? as he smiled and gave a half wave. It was so fun I'm going to try it again tomorrow. I dare you to try it too.

Give Away Kindness Like it's Free:  Because it is!!! Do things for old people. Old people love kindness because they have already figured out it's the key to EVERYTHING. Take up their trash cans from the curb after trash pick up. Offer to walk their dog.

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Bring a Teacher friend dinner as they try to adjust to the new back to school schedule. Engage in conversation with people you otherwise usually wouldn't.

The place where the boys go to school/therapy has the most beautiful grounds. Green, lush, immaculate. Like OCD perfect. I feel so good when I walk through. There is almost always a gentleman outside pruning, trimming, cleaning and planting. Today I smiled and said hello as I walked the boys in. The man looked up and then quickly went back to his business. Hmmm...I thought. 

On the way in picking them up I said to him, You do such an amazing job keeping this place beautiful, and he gave me a quick half-nod and began watering the bush in front of him. He's a little cranky, I decided. He was so cold to me that I began to wonder- Does he have Special Needs? That would make sense. I asked the Director. He's deaf- he reads lips, she told me. And it was one of those profound universe moments. The way people behave is not about you, Chrissy. It's about THEM. He wasn't ignoring you, he wasn't cranky, he wasn't rude. Don't assume anything. So next time I will be sure to engage and communicate in a way that works for him. That God! He sure is funny planting all these lessons right in our very own little garden.

Write a Letter: Like with paper. And a pen. You can also go to the store and buy seven cards to give away one a day for a week.

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I loooove this line of cards from Compendium Inc. I get them at Cost Plus World Market. They are usually my go-to just because cards. Their motto is "live inspired". Amen.

Or, dig up the cards you already have in your house and use them. Who cares if it's a birthday card and it's not their birthday. Or if it's a Get Well Soon card and they aren't sick. Not only are you surprising someone with fun mail, you are making them laugh with your funny-not meant to be funny- card. There's one thing better than getting fun mail. SENDING FUN MAIL! So be selfish and give yourself joy! Write a letter!

Make a Phone Call: There are some natural phone talkers. I am not inherently not one. When the boys are with me I can't really talk. Or listen. At all. Or my walls end up getting covered in black Sharpie. True story. But every so often it's divine to connect voice to voice. So often we will say- I wanted to call but I knew you would be busy and I didn't want to bother you. This week- I say bother. But here's the catch. If you get voice mail say- "You don't have to call me back. I just wanted to call you and say: blank." (You have to come up with the blank part.) I can't tell you what a relief it is when someone tells me I don't have to call them back. Even better when someone let's me know I was on their mind.

Make Plans for a Proper Get Together: 
"Let's get together soon!" "Yes! That sounds great. Soon." That conversation happens way too much. Let soon be now. If not soon, at least get it on the books. A girls night. A date night. A coffee with your neighbor. You're tired. You're busy. I know, I know. Connecting with others fills your bucket in ways that a nap never could though. 

Make moments, tiny little moments to connect with all the other awesome humans in the world. You can change the world. I'm pretty sure it's one of the mysteries we are here to unravel.

If you have a moment, check out this impactful, makes you think video on the importance of just looking up. It's well worth the watch.

Your pal,