Date night

This is sheer brillance. 

About a month ago, T and I decided to have a weekly date night. We’d alternate each Wednesday the planning of such night and it is an appointment not to be missed. 

A lil backstory….we’ve been together for almost 3 years now. Started as nothing, neither of us wanted a relationship, turned into eeeewww feelings, and at one point I actually hired a life coach to keep me away from him. 

Destiny was no match for our objections. We were pulled together like magnets and eventually gave in. And we lived happily ever after.  Um, hell no.

See, we’re people – with feelings, closets full of skeletons, habits, beliefs, children, and exes. And we’re not 20…we’ve been set in our ways for a while….

So begins the task of turning into a “we”. Infatuation turns to love, and simultaneously reality begins to set in. We introduce the children, meet the exes, merge the households, divide the chores, blend the finances. Holy crap is a second marriage more complicated than a first one. 

We slowly, and not without some bruises, learn how to communicate. It’s not as simple as you’d think. Expectations and assumptions spread like wildfire and it’s all we can do some days to just agree to stay. 

When the rare, sweet moments of just the two of us – no bills, kids, work, etc happen – it’s bliss. Our bubble is magical. 

Slowly we learn how to dance outside the bubble without stepping on toes. We read together, grow together, support each other, and apologize when we fuck up – which happens quite a bit. Most importantly we listen, see the big picture, and forgive. Because, well, love.

In the midst of some pretty bumpy roads, I’ve been known to say….”but I like him!”. My spirit craves his, honors his, respects his….so we continue to love and learn and learn to love. 

Back to date night…omg! The anticipation each week is amazing….excitement on both sides…whether the planner or the plannee. The goal is to light each other up, and it works so so well. 

This week I had a bomb dropped on me via email mid day on our coveted date night. Something that would have sent me to bed at noon and under a blanket with tears for at least 48 hours…complete with some sort of binge (Netflix, books, candy crush, ice cream) to distract me and the bare minimum being accomplished in life. But this was date night! I didn’t want to ruin it. 

Now don’t get me wrong, it took me a few hours to recover (wickedly better than days)…and recover I did. 

A house FULL of candles, music (Spotify has a date night playlist that’s awesome btw), wine, lingerie, a table setting of two pillows on the rug with one plate and two forks, take out, and us. It was just what the doctor ordered. 

Nearing the end of our meal, we each choose one of 3 fortune cookies that were in the bag, read it silently to ourselves and then swapped. 

What are the chances??? We look up at each other,  with a smile and a wtf while we reach for the third….maybe this place got a deal on identical fortunes…nope, it was different.

Now I don’t know about you, but I have NEVER gotten the same fortune at the same time and I’ve eaten my fair share of white boxed food in my life…we’re taking it as a sign from the universe. 

This thing called love, marriage, life….we’re doing it right.  We’re putting the energy in and the rewards are amazing. Given my ultra shitty day, I’m going to go so far as to say date night not only reinforced, enhanced, and deepened my relationship – it helped me grow as a better human being- dealing with challenges instead of sitting in them letting them deal with me. 

Even the fortune cookie knows we’ve got a good thing going here. XO 

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Wanderlust

I have a raging case. Incurable, thank God. It’s not the same thing as vacationing, that’s escaping your life…this is living it, fully, eyes and heart wide open. It’s not about cabana boys and room service, it’s about people and places, exploring and learning, zooming out to a wider lens in which to view the world and becoming a better human. 

I’m sitting in a plastic green chair on a platform overlooking the Pacific. The waves crash on the lava rocks and salt spray hits my face. The ocean is the craziest blue I’ve ever seen and the birds chirp in the background. There’s a high surf warning, so no swimming with the dolphins for me today, I’d become food as I try to make it past the break.

I flew in last night for a 5 day visit. 48 hours of travel for 72 hours of hawaii. This is not your travel guide edition, this is the community version. I’m staying with a friend who manages vacation homes here – I will change sheets, take trips to the dump, clean bathrooms and chat with the guests. In between I will absorb all of the vitamin d I can, wear the required bathing suit uniform, and eat amazing fresh fruits – all while answering emails and negotiating deals for my team in Virginia. Also on the agenda is learning how to play the drums, hang glide over the coastline and watch the lava flow be cooled by the ocean. 

My mind relaxes, the fresh air is intoxicating, and my productivity soars. 

This is a life by design. 

It didn’t happen overnight and was super scary the first time I ventured out alone. I’m so glad I took that fateful trip years ago. It’s altered the way I live my life, it’s introduced me to so many amazing people, cultures, foods, and lifestyles. It’s opened my mind, raised my lid, and allows me to believe that anything is possible.

With each trip another limiting belief is erased, another deposit in the memory bank is made, and I find more reasons to love. 

It’s about choices. I rarely go to the movies, I didn’t have cable for 5 years, I travel wherever there’s an opportunity – not necessarily where I want to go. Don’t get me wrong, I have a list of places that I’d love to see, I have found that it’s miniscule compared to what is out there. Travelzoo is my drug of choice,  their deal of the day determining my next trip 9 out of 10 times. 

Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, if you choose to take the leap. Start by dropping your change in a jar, once you have about 200 you are ready to start looking. You’d be amazed the places you can go for a few hundred dollars. Imagine if you cancelled cable? I bet that’s 3 trips a year right there. 

Think out of the box my friends. Explore. Learn. Live and love. XO 

Here’s some inspiration,  my current view: 

The universe, she is a crafty one….

Sometimes things “fall in your lap”  – or do they?

Recently I have been having quite a few of those karmic moments and I remember what a mentor said to me a few years ago – look back at what you have been doing to see how you got here.

I’ve been making small, positive changes. More water, less coffee. More walking, less sitting. More listening, less talking. Really zooming out to see what is going on. Being open to things. Being BRAVE (my word for the year).

Bravery. That’s a big one for me. I never really know the grip fear has on me until it’s about to extinguish the last of my inner flame. I saw all of the posts on Facebook over the last month asking “what is your word for the year?”. In my head I would answer “shitshow” or something equally horrid. So I rejected it as a choice and waited for the right word to appear. I wrote the question on my board in the kitchen – again leaving the space blank for quite a while. Reading it as I walked by, various expletives would come to mind and I would move along rather than put more energy into the “shitshow”. Other family members began writing their words on the board and again my handwriting was absent.


Then it hit me. I’m just scared. Scared of being hurt, scared of making a mistake, scared of making a decision. So I just sat and spun. “If you choose not to make a decision, you still have made a choice.” I chose to suffer. WTF? That’s not me.

I continued reading, walking, hydrating and one day it hit me. I was going to be brave. Put down my walls, open my heart, and move forward. Yes, I may trip and fall, remaining trapped in a prison of my own building is way worse.

Ever since then, the universe has responded, wildly.

Happy New Year friends. Be BRAVE. ❤

xo

Don’t hate the haters

I run a kindgang on Facebook. We discuss how small acts of kindness can have a ripple effect, making a positive impact far beyond the original intent. This concept works both ways.

I stumbled across the video of the beating in Chicago this morning. I couldn’t watch more than 10 seconds of it. My heart was breaking into a million pieces as I thought about the poor boy who was being tortured, the fractured reality of those that were perpetuating the crime, the law enforcement that has to emotionally process it, and the families of all affected. The reach of such an event has virtually no limits. Every one involved has literally had their lives forever altered by what they witnessed and experienced. Most of the comments were no better than the actions in the video – spreading hate, violence, and negativity throughout the internet.

As the day went on, this event popped up more and more. I learned more about it. There were 4 teenagers who assaulted an 18 year old, mentally disabled male. They shouted about Trump and his race. They laughed. They carried on. They filmed 30 minutes of the 24+ hours of violence on Facebook Live. What the actual fuck?!

The internet is outraged over whether or not this is a “hate crime”. The Associated Press says he was targeted because of his disability. The comments made on the video would lead you to believe it was motivated by skin color and a narrow view of politics. I ask you this – how can any personal, malicious crime NOT be a crime of hate?

I don’t care what skin color the victim or the bullies have. People are people – and this must stop. Comment after comment, safe behind their screens, many are up in arms – perpetuating evil. Screaming about the race card and out for revenge – the ripple effect in full force – an eye for an eye and the world goes blind. Is that where we are? Is that what we have become as a society? There were 762 homicides in Chicago alone last year. Something has to give.

These are five 18 year old kids – they went to school together – all of them just babies. They should be thinking about colleges, crushes, and curfews – not jail time, death penalties, trials, hate crimes, and trying to make sense of the senseless.

As a mama, I get it. Parenting is hard sometimes. Kids push boundaries, that’s their job. It’s our job to enforce them – with unconditional love, respect, and consequences. “Nothing happens in a vacuum” – I’ve said this to my boys numerous times. Take a wider view – zoom out – what do you see. If you do X what happens to Y & Z? We need to teach our babies to think, to learn, to grow.

We can’t quit on them.

Breaking a cycle of violence and ignorance is tough. If you were never taught the tools to grow – how do you make good choices? How do you teach others? Change is hard. Deep down we know right from wrong though – we are wired at birth for compassion, love, connection – it isn’t nature that creates hate – it’s nurture. This means there is hope. This means it is our responsibility as humans to do something.

Are you outraged by what happened?  Are you angry? Look past the anger, what’s really there? Sorrow? Hurt? Fear? Does your heart hurt?

Take a bird’s eye view of your own life. Start at home – look at your circle – your influences – the things you tolerate and accept. What small action step can you do, right now, to alter the course of the future? To change the trajectory and arrive at a better place?

I took a good hard look at what I was allowing in my orbit recently and drew some hard lines. Recently having merged households – there were some very different habits on both sides – and navigating those waters was and is not an easy task. We’ve had to look at everything from media influences to food choices to how to recycle. Do you make your bed every day? Do you allow age inappropriate music and video games – condoning violence and stereotypes? Do you eat healthy? Do you provide limits? Will the world end if you don’t have structure in place? Probably not, immediately anyway, however it’s a slippery slope.

Decide TODAY to take action. Make a smart choice. Get the ball rolling in a positive direction. Don’t hate the haters, love them harder. Be brave. Be fierce. Be the change. ❤

#hugyourbabies #loveyourpeople #donthate #kindgang #chicago

Well f*ck. 

January 1st. A new year begins. New opportunities. Renewed hope. Goals. Dreams. 

We made vision boards today. I’m a bucket list type of gal, and found that many of the things I came across I’ve already done….so I focused on going deeper. Consistency. Being stronger, wiser, healthier.  There are a few “to-do” type things on there. One that I didn’t even know I wanted to do was be a bone marrow donor. The magazine had a fantastic article about how great it felt to give back, to help others, to go the extra mile. I have the time, I fit the age criteria, I was all over it. While the glue was still drying on my 2017 dreams, I began to google. 

Read the entire FAQ. I was all in. Began reading medical requirements and my heart sank. Fuck, fuck, fuck. I deny my MS on a regular basis. I don’t wallow in it. I push through it. Just a few days ago I had to crawl up the stairs in agony to go to bed, and it didn’t stop me for a second putting surfboarding on my poster. I’m aware of it, all too well, and I don’t let it stop me. And now this stinking web page just smacked me with it, hard. My grand plan for the year is less than 30 minutes old and already impossible. 

Tears fill my eyes. Curse words flood my brain. Anger and resentment begin to swell up inside. Feelings of brokenness and inadequacy start to take hold. I can’t let it win. I can’t stay here in this shit. I can’t let that monster have the final word. I won’t. The wheels in my mind are working overtime attempting to come up with a solution, a work around. Another way I can help. 

I will marinate in this for a bit. Ask the universe to present me with options. Be open to the answers. In the end, I’m still a mama bent on leaving this planet better than I found it. Helping more than hurting.  Exploring, learning, tasting, and loving the journey – even when I hit a roadblock – I’m off to look for an alternate route. 

XO