The power of just being

famous quotes

Quote artwork from students at my daughters’ school

Today was a lovely day. There was a fresh “dusting” of four inches of light, fluffy snow this morning and the flurries continued during the day transforming the world into a snow globe every few hours. As the girls and I stayed in all day, I was fine with the snow falling and didn’t even mind the frigid temperatures in the teens. The power of just being with my daughters kept me warm all day long.

I am someone who has often struggled with relaxing and just being in the moment. I’m always thinking of what comes next, which is ridiculous because I can’t foresee the future. There’s nothing wrong with planning for the future, but stressing over it is a waste of time. Things have a way of always working out for the best and the power of just being confident in that is immensely freeing!

The more I explore my creativity to learn new skills and improve ones I already have, the more at peace I feel. I feel so closely connected to my own heart and spirit when I’m tapping into my creativity that it’s impossible for me to be anything but content and happy. I acquired some new canvases yesterday and I’m really looking forward to discovering who I am as a painter now because it’s not who I used to be. I used to be able to create my “masterpieces” in only a few minutes, but now it takes me a bit longer to find and express my inspiration. I’m certain that accepting the power of just being creative without wondering where it will take me will bring me to exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Never underestimate the power of just being you and exploring everything that makes you unique. As I’ve read from several inspirational quotes, there will always be someone in this world that needs exactly what you have to offer, so keep at it!

Berries and Bravery

Black raspberries ready to be picked!

Black raspberries ready to be picked!

The black raspberries are ripe early this year. I imagine it’s from the non-stop rain we’ve been getting around here. I love black raspberries and it’s hard to stop picking them once I start. The thing about black raspberries though is that they grow on pickers and are surrounded by lots of underbrush, tall grass and weeds. It’s always hot when I’m picking them so I’m dressed in shorts and a tank top. This means I inevitably get scratched somewhere or other but that doesn’t deter me. The sweet reward of those berries is worth the sweat, scratches and hard work. The same is true for more than just berries.

I’m not known to take the easy route. I do occasionally get stuck in a rut and trudge along with the status quo but that never gets me where I want and need to be. I have some really big dreams I know I can accomplish but it will take bravery, determination, persistence and a bit of stubbornness.  Giving up on those dreams is like giving up on berry picking the first time a pricker pokes my finger. My tender fingertips can attest to the fact that I keep going for more berries.

Gloves would protect my fingers from the prickers but trying to pick berries with thick leather gloves makes no sense. Berries need a tender touch or they get squished. Dreams can be the opposite though. Sometimes grabbing onto dreams tightly is the only way to achieve them and to protect them so others can’t squish my pursuit of them.

When I first started picking black raspberries this afternoon, I only saw a few clumps here and there. As I continued searching I found more and more until the bowl I chose was overflowing and I had to get a second one. Amazing how pursuing one little thing can grow into something so plentiful and rewarding…

Fruits of my labor.

Fruits of my labor.

A Favorite Poem

Below is poem I wrote years ago that is still one of my favorite pieces. I’ve posted it on my old blog and on my page in the past. I was thinking this morning that it might need a more recent revamp. While it still holds true, there is so much more to being “That Woman” in the life I have now.

“That Woman”

I wonder what it is like to be “that woman.”
The woman who walks in the room
and demands everyone’s attention.
The woman with the dark eyes,
full of mystery and magic
that draw in both men and women,
and makes them yearn to know the secrets hidden within.
The woman with the cascading raven hair
that evokes ballads from minstrels and sonnets from poets.
The woman who leaves a nearly physical spirit behind
with anyone who has ever been fortunate enough to touch her.
The woman whose vision lingers in dreams
and whose voice echoes softly amidst whispers.
The woman with fingers tender enough
to caress the most delicate of mists
and nails hard enough to pierce the harshest of stones.
The woman whose influence is remembered
when her existence has long faded.
The woman men rally to defend
though she possesses her own strength for battle.
The woman who runs drenched amidst a thunderstorm
to challenge the lightning with her fists.
The woman whose passion is not seen with eyes
but perceived by souls.
The woman whose laughter can illuminate the darkest of days
if only in a memory.
The woman who can carry the heaviest and saddest of hearts upon her shoulders
without a single faltering step.
The woman who lingers on the edge of darkness
while clinging to the shadows of moonlight.
The woman who cherishes the girl of her past
while knowing that she is intertwined with the goddess of her future.
That woman within and without me.

Leading the Pack

My dog Jazzmin “Sundance” Corbin is an adorable and loving mutt, just like me. I adopted her from a local shelter in January 2012 and my life has never been the same. I wasn’t a strong leader or an alpha dog when I adopted her. I was lonely and wanted a dog to be my companion when my daughters were with their father. Jazz happily took on the role of mama caretaker and pack leader because she sensed weakness in me and thought she needed to be in control. I only know all that now that I’ve started reading Cesar’s Way and watching The Dog Whisperer on Netflix. I can now see everything I’ve done wrong with Jazz and I’m working diligently to fix things.

I should have started reading Cesar’s books last summer when my close friend recommended them. He’s had dogs for most of his life and knows far more about them than I do. I grew up with dogs but I was never solely responsible for one until I got Jazz. My friend has met Jazz and while she dragged me along when he and I walked, the moment he took the leash from me, she was a totally different dog. Calm, obedient, attentive and eager to do whatever he asked.

In truth she was still the same dog but the energy my friend emitted was far more in control and “calm assertive” than my usual tense, worried and uncertain energy. That day he showed me that Jazzmin could be the dog I wanted her to be. Did I run right out and get Cesar’s books that moment because he suggested them? No. Why? A mixture of stupidity and stubbornness I suppose. But that was then and this is now and as Jazzmin lives in the now, all she cares is that her mama is finally fulfilling her as a dog.

While watching The Dog Whisperer I see a lot of dogs with behavior issues similar to Jazz. What that really means is that their owners are emitting the wrong energy and those dogs have become the pack leaders. I’m working really hard on improving my energy. I can be an overly perky and optimistic person sometimes but I have trouble believing in my own strength. I need to focus my positive outlook on myself and stop doubting my abilities. Becoming Jazz’s pack leader is extremely beneficial for both of us. Having more confidence in myself and taking on the role of pack leader allows Jazz to relinquish the role she never really wanted. It also improves who I am as a person and how I function in every aspect of my life.

I’ve been working on asserting myself as the pack leader for almost two weeks now. I get up early on the mornings I have my girls and walk her around the yard and driveway for 20-30 minutes. When I don’t have the girls I take her for longer walks after work. Jazz and I have greatly improved on the walk. She’s not pulling all the time and she’s less distracted by every bird, leaf, stray breeze and particle of dust we walk by. We’re still working on how she reacts to other dogs but we’ve made great progress! Last night I walked the “Doggy Gauntlet” with her. The Doggy Gauntlet is how I describe purposely walking by houses where I know the dogs are allowed to run free and it also includes walking by a local kennel. I walked Jazz with a Gentle Leader and an Outward Hound backpack weighed down with a couple of water bottles. (The Beanie Baby cargo in the pictures was just to get her used to the backpack and to make my youngest daughter smile.)

How did our walk through the Doggy Gauntlet go? Well, we lived to tell the tale but that tale will have to wait until the next post. Stay tuned!

Believing in Boston

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My heart belongs to Massachusetts. That beautiful New England state has owned my heart from the moment I first drove across the state border in November of 2011. I felt like I was finally coming home, like I was somewhere I’d never known I belonged. This blog is not that story though. This is a different story and one motivated by the tragedy that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013.

What happened in Boston on 4/15/13 was awful, senseless and wrong. But that’s not how I want to visualize Boston. I am certain there are already countless blogs from native Bostonians about the marathon day’s events and I realize my voice might be rightfully lost among them. I ask only that you listen to my rambling for a while…

When I step out onto the streets of Boston from the T I feel immediately at ease and welcome. I have both stepped back in time and accelerated forward into an amazing future. There is an energy and vibe to Beantown that is unique, powerful and strong. You might think that powerful and strong are two words meaning the same thing but not so. Boston had the power to change my entire perspective on what a city is. Boston has the strength to survive whatever challenges it faces.

On my last visit to Boston in November of 2012, I was in the company of my best friend and our mutual friend. I didn’t make it to the Back Bay area on my first trip so I wanted to go there my second trip, so we went. Back Bay showed me yet another side to Boston, a side I’d heard about but didn’t understand until I experienced it. I marveled at all the brick buildings and endless rows of homes. Back Bay has its own energy as well as that Boston vibe. I am always lost when I’m in Boston so I can’t tell you if I was anywhere near where the marathon ends. But I do remember and can still feel the power of that area, the history, the sense of community. It is its own world.

We remained in Back Bay as the sun set and evening darkened the city. We walked the streets back toward downtown and I was constantly looking around me, trying to take it all in and memorize it. As wordy as I am, I don’t think I can properly describe what Boston and Massachusetts mean to me. I don’t presume that they are as meaningful to anyone else, I can only know my perception. I invite you to experience it for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

It is unfortunate that the city I love so much suffered so needlessly 4/15/13 and it saddens me that it’s in the news because of a horrible attack. That is not Boston. That is not how anyone should visualize Boston. Boston is strong, unified, tough, tenacious,powerful, beautiful, timeless and eternal. The scenes and stories people need to remember most are of the people fighting to get to the injured and working together quickly to offer aid. Our history owes a lot to the people, power and spirit that will forever remain in that city. The negativity of the attack does not define Boston but the positive energy that comes out of it after this will rebuild its very foundation stronger than any bricks. My heart is in Massachusetts and I believe in the power of Boston. We all need to believe in Boston.

Queen of the King Size Bed

When I first moved out of my ex’s house and into an apartment I bought myself a king-sized memory foam mattress and frame. I’d never owned a bed that big so it was a treat for me; a little splurge to symbolize my new sense of power and strength. I initially believed that I’d someday have a man to share that bed with me so I slept on one side. Within a few months I was sleeping in the middle and loving every minute of it. Moving it into my house that summer was quite a wrestling match but I managed and it happily takes up most of my bedroom.

It bothers me that my mattress is called “king size” when I am the ruler of my space and it has become my Queendom. I suppose I could say I’m a female king but no, I am a Queen. I am a Queen of my own destiny, my own choices, my own happiness. I don’t require a man to help me rule over my realm and while not all women believe it, it’s possible to breathe and live without a man around 24/7. Am I a cold, unfeeling Queen who has given up on love? An Ice Queen? Far from it! I am a Fire Queen who believes strongly in the passion and power of love. I love fierce, deep, hot and with tenacity.

I do share my bed quite often…with my daughters. They love to play on my bed and we watch TV in my room together. My girls play games involving falling down (very safely) in dramatic poses and tickle each other and cause a ruckus. During such times I usually lay or sit on the edge of the bed, safe from sharp knees and elbows. Those moments are when I realize why I truly bought such a big bed. To share it with the ones I love.

Last night a rather large swath of thunderstorms crossed through the state. My oldest had fallen asleep an hour previous but my youngest was still awake because she’d needed a snack and is something of a night owl. When the lightning started flashing and the thunder rumbled I could see she was scared so I asked her if she wanted to sleep in my bed. Of course she did! In my bed she climbed and we snuggled together while she watched me play a few games on my Android phone. She kept asking me to check the radar map on my weather app so we’d pull up the image and see the big splotch of red and orange slowly moving eastward. Some of the rumbles were so strong they shook things hanging on my walls but I assured my daughter that we were safe and eventually she was sound asleep next to me. My sleep was very content last night.

That bed is my sanctuary, it’s where I go at the end of the day to relax and escape into dreams. Could I get by with a smaller bed? Sure and then I’d probably be able to walk around it on all sides. But a smaller bed isn’t me because a smaller life isn’t me. I live big and I love with all my heart. There is no other way to be for me.