Tag Archives: kindness

I Think I Was Six

I think I was six…

It is one of the hottest days of the year here. I am watching my daughter walk back and forth from her room to the hallway with a big smile on her face, her headphones on – she says it helps her get her ideas out. She like, her Mom, writes, although she is much better.

I am listening to music as I always do when I write.

Today Taylor Swift. Specifically her new album.

Specifically the song Seven. I am sure there are all sorts of theories as to what it’s about. Somehow unlike the rest of the album I missed it.

For me it reminds me of the very first person I ever loved. The very first person who ever loved me. My very first friend. My very first best friend.

The lyrics “ And though I can’t recall your face. I still got love for you.”

I have mentioned him before.

And I am sure all these decades later, the story is a lot more magical than it really was, but he left his imprint.

His name was Reed.

I met him in the oddest way. I was walking home by myself from school. I think I was six? Behind me, two older girls called me names like they did everyday.

Everyday they would call me names until they got me to cry, then run ahead home.

One day I hear a voice yell out telling them to stop.

I remember he had a lisp.

Blue eyes.

I have blue eyes too, but his, maybe I remember them because of what he did- so bright.

Surprisingly they stopped.

He walked me home and I was happy to find out he lived a house away.

That whole summer it was him and I.

He taught me to play baseball.

Soccer.

Get better at riding my bike.

I’m pretty sure he’s why I have a sweet tooth, because whenever he had candy I got half.

Then one day he’s at my door telling me he and his Mom are moving, his parents are getting divorced.

He handed me a bag of candy. As he started running for his house he yelled he loved me and I was his best friend.

I was crushed.

My best friend.

My first best friend.

Gone.

It is a magical thing to have.

A friendship like that.

It was unflinching.

Now I recognize we were kids.

But friendships, relationships like that are rare. They are precious. The people who see you. The people who love you out loud. The people who yell with excitement when they see you, make sure you know you matter.

In the years, ok, let’s be honest decades since I have been married and divorced and become a Mom.

A LOT has happened.

Things I talk about.

Things I don’t.

There was a chunk of time I was pretty salty when it came to people. I bought into my own self doubt. I let a few bad apples cloud my judgment and I listened to the wrong people.

Becoming a Mom helped slowly turn that around, but also looking and focusing on all the good people I have in my life.

Who I have had in my life.

You can’t Iive your life waiting for someone to hurt you. You can’t not let someone in because of a what if.

Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but it can be pretty great.

I can’t say enough how much I appreciate Reed for one of my first/ best friendships.

Be safe and much love Mommas

<3 Caprise

When I Grow Up

When i grow up….

Driving to work I have the opportunity to listen to my favorite radio station every morning. As with all radio stations they usually have a topic for discussion . This morning’s topic was “when you were young what did you want to be when you grew up and did you achieve that?” So of course I immediately thought of what I had always wanted to be when I was younger (a marine biologist- an amazingly cool career ) and then became somewhat sad because I did not achieve that (from that to dental office manager). Life just doesn’t work out how we want it to sometimes. And as I sat there and reflected on that, I became somewhat sad, thinking not achieving that always made me feel a little bit of a failure. Maybe many others were doing the same thing at that moment. Then a thought crossed my mind. What if when we were children instead of desiring or having the hopes to become a marine biologist, doctor, a lawyer, an accountant, electrician, etc., we said to ourselves “when I grow up I want to be kind”. I wondered if we thought that and if we all really tried to achieve that instead of thinking about a status or the money that something will bring in, we only wanted to be the best version of ourselves. Now of course there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doctors and lawyers and such. We need them of course. And those are smart, amazing helpful people. And I thank God they are here for us. We all need a job to bring in some money to pay our bills and to enjoy some things in life. But kindness is a choice isn’t it? Some people have more of it in them and some people maybe a reminder wouldn’t hurt. But if we thought as children “I want to be a kind grown-up” wouldn’t the world be a much better place? Wouldn’t we be better people? If we grew up striving to be kind not only to others but to ourselves? Content with ourselves and not so critical. No bullying, that’s for sure because if we grew up wanting to be kind we would pass that on to our children, how could we not?

I believe I have a kind heart but there are days that I am disappointed in myself thinking where did the kindness go? Why didn’t you take that opportunity to be a better person? To be kinder? It doesn’t take any money or any status to smile at a stranger, to not be bothered by a person going a little bit slower on the road than you would like, to take somebody’s grocery cart back for them, to go out of your way to talk to someone that you normally wouldn’t, and not be bothered by every little thing. I am going to work on all of those things and I’m going to encourage my children to do so as well. Because, well there are a lot of good people and kindness but we can always have a little bit more of it don’t you think? And I can start with myself, because I still have growing to do in many ways. And I really hope that question comes back on the radio someday so I can call in and I can say when I grow up “I just want to be kind”.

`“Wine (or whine) in the tub”

(I realized that a little glass of wine in the bathtub helps sometimes. You can decompress, cry, recuperate without an audience.. and you can whine to yourself as much as you want, then get out and you’re ready to take on the world again)

The Bright Side

The bright side…These past few weeks have been nothing short of chaos and confusion for so many people all around the world. The stress levels of many individuals have skyrocketed due to the recent Coronavirus outbreak. I never thought that it could get to this level, but now the current situation is our new normal.

My main concern throughout all of this, is how people are being directly affected by this virus. My parents are both physicians, and they are seeing the unfortunate repercussions of this pandemic daily.

However, although there has been large amounts of fear and concern, we have to look at the overwhelming amounts of love and kindness that is spreading. My cousin is currently living in Spain, and the virus has not been kind in her town. I received a video from her around a week ago that really touched my heart. All you could see in the clip was people on every balcony of her street cheering with passion. They all seemed like they were full of joy and excitement, which shocked me because of the events going on. She later explained that everyone was trying to show love to the doctors and medical professionals that had been risking their lives to care for the ill. It’s acts like those that demonstrate the positive in people during such negative times.

What we are currently living through made me realize how much we take for granted daily. I’ve never wanted to hug a friend, go to school, or see my family more than I do today. Just as the people of Spain are looking on the bright side, we must do the same.

Now those hugs and interactions are going to mean significantly more to us when this is all over. Spread that positivity. 

-Dani <3

Not Just Good But Greater Good

Not just Good, but Greater Good.

Can you imagine what your Greater Good would look like?  Close your eyes and imagine.  Who would be there?  What would you be doing?  How would you be acting?  What would you say?  Where would you live?  Etc, etc etc.  Now, understand and know…. that you have not even come close to the actual Greater Good that is available to you.

God’s Ways are over, above & beyond anything our puny little minds can concoct.  We are one small piece of sand on the Pacific Coast.  We are one minute being in the galaxy of endless galaxies.  We are a blade of grass in a field at full-on harvest.  Do you believe in the grand scheme of life, there is far more available to you, coming to you, waiting for you?  Open your arms & be ready, because it is there.

I am part of the Greater Good of all mankind.  I am an instrument of God’s love in the Greater Good of my life.  I wake up every day expecting the Greater Good to show up.  I see, hear, feel and stay open to every bit of Goodness that is for me.  I’m being used every day in ways I’ve always imagined possible.

May we both walk through life with our heads held high in anticipation for what is next.  May we be ready for it when it comes and handle it with courage and grace.  May we be beacons of greatness to others who are waiting for theirs.  May we move forward, press on, stand tall, dig in, love big, express peace, share joy, give back, believe in more, take it, own it and share it with the world.

Are you ready?

I am.  I’ll meet you there.

xoxo

Your God-Girl,

Tracy

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

It wasn’t until recently that I realized there are a lot of things that I don’t know about. There are many things that I need to teach my children, and as a mom, that’s a hard revelation. There are just things I don’t know about.

I don’t know how to teach my son how to change oil in his vehicle. I don’t know how to teach him how to do basic home repairs, beyond changing a furnace filter, light bulbs, and using putty for a small nail hole. I don’t know how to teach him to be a “man” in the sense of what he will need to be when he enters the world as an adult. I don’t how to teach him to lead a household in the way men are called to lead their household and family.

I don’t know these things, because I am a woman. Not a man. I wear many hats on a daily basis. Mom, teacher, nurse, doctor, chauffeur, referee, and counselor. The one hat I lack though has the title of “dad”.

But as I sit here writing this, I realize, it’s okay. I am not supposed to know these things. That is where my tribe of people come in. To fill those gaps that I lack. These are the reasons why people say “it takes a village” when it comes to raising children.

My kids are incredibly lucky that they live in the era they live in. They have access to so much technology that they should be able to find a YouTube video on anything they would ever need to know how to do. The things that I cannot teach them, I can help them problem solve to find the right resources and tutorials for them to figure things out. Those tangible, hands on things that my “mom” hat prevents me from knowing.

But what I can teach them are lessons on how to treat people. How to be compassionate towards people. I can teach my son how women should be treated. I can teach my daughters how to be picky when it comes to men and what attributes to look for. I can show my children how simple kindness is what makes the world really go round. I can teach them how to set healthy boundaries so they never have to settle for less than what they deserve. I can teach my children about perseverance. That sometimes life will inevitably knock you down, sometimes making you feel like there is no place to go and there is no hope, but when that moment happens, that’s when you can dig deep into your soul, discover your worth and value, and that is when you rise above it. That is when you discover the inner strength that comes from God depending on your beliefs. That is when you discover what you are made of and how every lesson, big and small, prepared you for that moment.

The moment to rise

The moment to conquer

The moment to believe in yourself

That is something that my “mom” hat allows me to do. But, it doesn’t have to be a “mom” to teach these things. Anyone can teach anyone these things. These are life lessons that any parent can teach their child. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom, a dad, grandparent, aunt or uncle. Take a minute to teach the children the importance of being a kind human in a cruel world. Teach them to not give up when things get hard. But most importantly, teach them they have value and purpose. Because if you don’t, who will?

~R.

https://thedignifiedgrace.wordpress.com

See The Good

This school year, I have had the pleasure of meeting some incredible individuals. One of which is a lovely girl named Sofi. She approached me with the most beautiful smile at the beginning of the year, and made me feel so welcome in my new environment.

As I got to know her, I learned that she had such a wonderful outlook on life. I left every conversation I had with her with a giant smile. The more time I spent with her, the more I picked up on the little acts of kindness that she does to make others feel happy.

Sometimes it’s a simple “hello” to those she walks past, and other times its hosting a service event for those in need. Something I truly admire about her, is her ability to exude positivity even when times get rough.

In her attempts to spread that positivity to others, she created “see the good.”. Her goal is to try and help others focus on the bright side, even in times of difficulty. She managed to create a business that allows her to foster her good character traits and her passions.

It all began with a sweater and the three simple words “see the good.” Now, it has become a movement that shares the stories of other amazing people as well.

Whether you read one of her posts, watch one of her YouTube videos, or wear one of her sweaters, you’ll be inspired to be a better individual and to share positivity with others. I feel beyond blessed to be able to call this beautiful person my friend, and I couldn’t be happier to share her story and goal with all of you.

On behalf of Sofi, I wish that all of you take the time to see the good.

-Dani <3

https://www.seethegoodbysofi.com/

My Friend Bill

I would like to tell you about my friend Bill. You may know him. He’s made a few movies. Big sports buff. Very quirky and he got his start on one of my favorite television shows.

When things in my life were feeling their lowest I started looking for positive outlets.

Me being me I needed them. It couldn’t be a glass of wine that would easily turn into a bottle. It couldn’t be a beautiful pastry my sweet tooth doesn’t ever seem to know when to stop.

It couldn’t be a trip to Target because it would mean a cart full of things I have no budget for.

It couldn’t be a night out because it can’t.

So…

I listen to music.

I read.

Watch movies, but I will be honest I am also easily distracted. 

I began digging deeper.

Looking for those things that would fill the gaps but wouldn’t lend themselves to my somewhat self destructive old habits.

Dear friends, I’ve sugar coated them. My bad habits.

Maybe a blog for another day.

Around this same time I watched the Razor’s Edge and Stripes. Two decidedly different movies from Bill Murray.

I mentioned to a friend how amazing I thought Bill Murray was. He suggested I read The Tao of Bill Murray.

My new friendship was born. Bill just doesn’t know it.

I also started digging into some amazing quotes from his.

As silly as it sounds these quotes have me some perspective I needed.

Here’s one:

“Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is that you’re stupid and make bad decisions.”

Welp… lol, yes.

But this one, this is the stuff.

“Don’t think about your errors or failures, otherwise you’ll never do a thing.”

That is exactly what started happening. I got so bogged down by all of the things that went wrong, I either didn’t do anything or did WAY too much.

I always looked for the other ball to drop. The bad.

I keep saying this but not only is 48 my year of no filter it’s also the year I work hard at happy. The year maybe I can give that happy to other people too.  As it has been to me in so many ways. One in particular a picture of one of my Chewbaccas with the man himself. It’s my screensaver and it makes me smile.

There are still going to be bad days, but to paraphrase my friend Bill… maybe it will be a day that a slice of pizza and cold beer can make feel better.

Much love Mommas

<3 Caprise

Teaching People How To Treat You

Teaching people how to treat you….

If you have any friends worth their salt, you have heard the phrase “you deserve better than that.” But here is my question, when it was said, did you believe it? Did you believe it on a soul level? And if you did, what did you do about it?

In my life, I have been terrible at believing I deserve the bad things that have happened. There were disturbing things that happened to me in childhood that I always felt I somehow invited. There was the high school boyfriend who cheated on me and I believed that I somehow neglected him into the action. The same boyfriend who was jealous and controlling and I thought that was somehow okay. Looking at it through eyes that are very removed from the situation, it is easy to see that people who cheat, often project. 

There were bosses who didn’t see my worth. I see now they were so concerned with their own worth, they did not know how to mold and develop their employees. There were friends who saw me as a different person than I am. I thought I deserved it because I did make some mistakes (because I’m human). There was an ex-husband who did not treat me like a woman, but rather someone to take care of him. I thought, I made the choice to marry him, and that’s that. I made my bed, and now I live in it. 

But here’s the truth; I had some responsibility in all of those things. Truly. It just wasn’t the way I saw it at the time. With that high school boyfriend, I should have refused to be treated that way. I should have told him to deal with his own feelings of guilt and stop projecting on me, or we were finished. In the workplace, I should have been more confident in my abilities and more forceful with my ideas. And if I couldn’t be in that company, I should have been willing to leave for other opportunities. With friends, it is difficult because the easiest thing to do is walk away, which is essentially what I did. But I should have let them know why and how I saw the things they were doing and saying behind my back and their attitudes toward me. Maybe then I could have ended things with cleaner conscience. 

The marriage is harder. I thought I was clear about how I wouldn’t be treated. There were several times I refused to be treated certain ways. In the beginning of our relationship, he got jealous for no reason and I told him that it was his problem and he was going to have to get it figured out, and he did. And he never threw another jealous fit again in 17 years. I stood up for myself when he told me to shut up, and he never did it again. But I don’t think I told him what I needed enough, but it is also possible he just wasn’t capable, and sometimes we have to be smart enough to know that too, and to accept that and walk away.  

But when you find the people you know you want in your life, you have to be willing to teach them what you need and what you will not put up with. You have to be willing to say, when I act like this, I need a little extra patience. You need to be able to say, I will not be spoken to like that, I don’t deserve it. But most importantly, you really have to believe that you deserve it. It boils down to you really having to believe you are WORTH it. And you are. 

Stronger Than Yesterday,

Alice

The Tao of Mr. Rogers

The Tao of Mr. Rogers….

While I am not a fan of resolutions I have been trying really hard to make both my 48th year and 2020 the year I am kinder to myself.

It started by not filtering my photos.

It’s a small step but if I can’t embrace and love who I am, how can I possibly expect anyone else to?

A lot of this shift started with Mr. Rogers.

I work with the under five set and I grew up on Mr. Rogers, so when the Tom Hanks movie came out, I started visiting with my favorite cardigan wearing sage again.

Secret: I would change my shoes and put on a sweater when I would watch the show when I was little.

Now you know that about me.

ANYWAY…

One of my favorite quotes from my man is:

“There is no person in the whole world like you and I like you just the way you are.”

Another absolutely fantastic one:

“There isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.”

Yet we live in a world that tells us to hide our true selves away.

As I write this I am snuggled under a blanket that looks like a tortilla because I love tacos.

Obsessively so.

I am a taco snob.

For real.

I fly that flag- high.

As I should. 

But along the way I’ve been teased, questioned, gotten an eye roll.

Why?

That’s a teeny example. A random kinda silly one.

But a bigger secret. A deeper, harder one to share. I am incredibly shy. I have a hard time showing my true self to people I care about. See people I’m dating. Yes we are going there, just a little for now. I worry about being too much. Not enough. I have had a bad habit of comparing myself to other people.

Boy, Mr. Rogers would be disappointed in me for that one.

There isn’t a magic switch to make that stop. But, I have changed my environment. I’m working on changing my mindset.

I have edited out the people who thrive on being negative cheerleaders. Here’s the thing. I appreciate honesty. I don’t appreciate cruel. Backhanded compliments. People who feed my insecurities.

We all have had those people… “I’m your honest friend.”

Are you?

A blog for never.

Forty eight may be the year of no filter, but it’s also the year I let certain things go.

Even if they’re people.

Somewhere along the way we forgot the lessons from our childhood. Being yourself is amazing. People who really, truly love you will love you. Even if you have a really unhealthy obsession with tacos.

Trust me.

I am also wearing taco socks right now. Yup, also a gift.

I know it’s hard. Being yourself. Not comparing. But did you forget who you are?

You’re a Momma and there is absolutely no one like you, and that makes you amazing.

 

Much love Mommas

<3 Caprise

The Caretaker Of Broken Dreams

The Caretaker Of Broken Dreams..

“We’ve buried dreams, laid them deep into the earth behind us. Said our goodbyes at the grave, yet everything reminds us. God knows we ache, but he asks us to go on… how do we go on?”

~Ellie Holcomb

I’d been wandering through the same leaves, the same graves… struggling to remember exactly where he was. It had been years since I’d placed my hands on the earth that held what remained of a brother I never got the chance to know.

The caretaker must have seen my wandering. He gently approached me and asked who I was looking for. I couldn’t help but notice the kindness in his eyes… his voice. He didn’t ask me what grave I was looking for, he asked me who I was looking for. I told him my brother’s name and he gently led me over to his grave… mere feet away from where I was standing. And isn’t that the thing… so often when we feel utterly lost, we’re closer than we know to finding what we need?

I traced his name with my fingers, brushed leaves off his grave. Funny how we want to tend and take care of things for people we love who are gone. I think sometimes these small, tender acts simply remind us of what once existed, remind us of what’s been lost.

I never used to visit the cemetery. When they put up a memorial for children who’d died in a local park and my brother’s name was etched into the stone, I didn’t want to attend the ceremony. Who wants to feel the weight of that loss again and again? For many years, I’d it pushed down, held it at bay, the pain and grief of loss. I thought that maybe if I held it down, swallowed it deep, maybe I could avoid the crushing ache of it.

And for many years… that worked. Or it worked as well as it can when your body is holding onto an aching sadness. Because the thing is, you don’t just lose a person, you lose the way it feels like your life should have gone. You lose what you thought would be your life. And you can only hold that for so long until it comes busting out.

25 years after losing my first brother, I lost the only other brother I’d known. And his loss was sudden, traumatic, and crushing. What was the last thing I said to him? Did he know how deeply I loved him? Was there something, anything I could have done to save him? That loss sent me reeling, and yet I quietly pushed it down. How do you put words to grief that shakes the foundation of what you thought you knew?

Three weeks after losing him, two surgeons took out my womb, and my hope for carrying more children ended more abruptly than I was ready for.

Although, who is ever really ready to bury a dream?

And in the months that followed, it felt like I dug a grave of loss so deep I’d never climb out.
I buried a brother, then the dream for more babies, a job I loved, a place I loved, a marriage, the life I’d known for the last decade of my life. All buried in quick succession. And in burying those dreams you bury other things. You bury relationships, spaces, and places that you once fit, things you used to be sure of, your sense of worth and belonging.

And again, I pushed it down, held it at bay… Until I couldn’t anymore. One morning several months later, I woke up and the tears came and wouldn’t stop. They bubbled over until my body trembled at the weight of what they meant. I was fully feeling the loss. And they’ve been coming ever since.

And at first that scared me. I felt ashamed. Was I falling apart? Was I weak? Why couldn’t I keep it together? Why couldn’t I just put my chin up and move on? Life is hard for everyone, and my trauma is small in comparison to other people’s. So why was it a struggle just to get out of bed and face the day?

The caretaker told me there was someone with the same name as my brother and asked who he was to me. I told him that was my grandfather. I thanked him for helping me find my way and watched him go about the care of a place that holds many buried dreams. My eyes scanned the sea of graves and I wondered… How much care and compassion must he have to know the names on gravestones? My breath caught at the nature of his work. But more than that my eyes welled at his kindness.

I knelt next to the grave, raked my fingers through the ground, rolled up my sleeve and laid the tattooed ashes of one brother alongside the grave of another. And my heart broke at the beauty and devastation of that moment.

It had taken 27 years… but I was fully feeling the loss. I was acknowledging that it mattered. Sometimes we need to say their names. We need to speak about the broken places. We need to dig our hands in the earth where our dreams have been buried. We need to allow grief to be part of our story instead of trying to move forward as if we are the same. Because we aren’t.

I ran into a dear acquaintance at the grocery store recently who looked into my eyes and genuinely asked me how I was. The care and compassion on her face was evident. And as we embraced she said something I will never forget “I’m on your side… no, there are no sides… I’m in your corner.” I looked at her and nodded “No, there are no sides…” I repeated. She told me how she’d read an article recently about how no one brings casseroles to people going through divorce. And she reminded me that it’s okay to gather up your people and weather the storm with them, without explaining where you went. She reminded me that sometimes the places and spaces we so desperately wish were a safe place for our pain, simply aren’t. And that maybe the beauty in all of this is that we can be a safe place for someone else walking a similar road someday. Because there is nothing quite as healing as knowing you aren’t alone.

So how do we go on…? How do we put one foot in front of the other in this life that now feels new and unfamiliar? How do we make sense of the loss, acknowledge it, feel it, and yet still move forward? How do we live it and not lose ourselves in it? My deeply insightful answer is this: I don’t know. I don’t know how to do this well. Maybe none of us do. There is no manual for this. No one can tell you how to bury dreams and carry loss well. We just find our way, wrack our hands through the dirt that carries our loss, and attempt to wrap our arms around people walking a similar road… letting them know they aren’t alone.

And cemetery caretakers and women in grocery stores may just be balm to our wounds, if we let them. What I find deeply beautiful about pain… is the way it brings out compassion.

So might I say something? Today, be the cemetery caretaker and help someone who is a little lost find their way…. Be the woman in the grocery store and stand in someone’s corner without needing to know the story. Be the balm to someone’s wounds. Err on the side of compassion and write the note, send the flowers, make the casserole, pay for the coffee of the person behind you, wrap your arms around someone. Give them the balm of your kindness, help them find their way. Or, kneel next to them in the dirt, ask them how they really are, and trace the pain of their losses. It’s what will help them go on.

Death, loss, divorce, the estranged family member, illness, childlessness, financial crisis… the list goes on. We’ve all buried dreams. We’ve all racked our hands in some kind of dirt and whispered “this wasn’t how it was supposed to go.”

I sat there for awhile, arm stretched out, brother next to brother, fingers etching a grave, hands feeling the dirt. And then I looked up to see the caretaker tenderly digging in the earth. I don’t know why. I do know it felt an awful lot like love watching a man carefully shovel dirt and tending to loss in such a profoundly intimate way. Maybe we could all learn a thing or two from the caretaker who spends his days carrying losses and helping people find their way.

-Michaela