I am a mixture of emotion. Words have been swirling through my mind as you do since the day I heard the news…I am talking to God, talking to myself, thinking of the laughs. Remembering that infectious smile of yours. I feel so guilty for losing track of you the past couple years. For not being there when things weren’t easy. Not being there when it really mattered. For judging and criticizing instead of listening and sharing your load. I cry because I miss you. I didn’t know I did until I couldn’t talk to you anymore. All those hours…we used to call the studio our second home. And that was true. It was home. It was family. The Dance Family.

I cry for your children who were so much your life. I cry for all of our children that you made your own. That’s what you did. I saw them there today. I saw them cry. I know how much you are a part of them. I see it in the way they carry themselves. The way they don’t walk, they glide through life. Each of them has a beauty that I’ll never have. My own daughter’s grace is not from me – it is from those years with you. I am so much the opposite of you. You tried to convince me to dance, but I was afraid. You saw strength and grace in everyone – even clutzy country girls like me. You’d always laugh and say “I’ll convince you one of these days”…

I can’t listen to a song without seeing you twirl and move through my mind. Passion. That is the one word that defines you. It surrounded me every time I was in your presence. Until Rebecca begged me to let her dance, I had no idea what being in your world would mean. So many hours I would sit in the studio or in theaters with my jaw literally on the floor as I would be so absorbed in the grace and beauty of the dancers on the stage. And when you’d dance…all of us would stare in awe as you put your entire soul into every movement, every pose. I was struck by that. To give your every breath, your very heart to something you loved. You taught me about what it means to put your all into something. You taught so many the same lesson. I pray you know how many lives you touched.

Your heart exploded – that’s what they said several times today. Each time they said it, I sobbed. You really did LOVE that much. So much that your poor heart couldn’t take it. It raced so fast, trying to love everyone all the more. You loved those boys that were never far from you. You loved your family – they obviously were so much a part of your life. You loved each one of those girls and boys over so many years of dance. They were not just your students. You loved them, you hugged them, you believed in them, you caught them when they’d fall. You knew each and every one of them. Really knew them. You loved all of us, even when we used to ask so many questions, make so many demands, sometimes get in your way. You tried so hard to love us all. To make us a part of your world.

And now you “dance on the a stage the size of the Universe” – he said that today too. I like that. I like picturing you there. No more tears, no more hurt, no more tired heart. Just dancing for Him. Dancing for love. Dancing for those boys. Dancing for us. You will be dancing through our hearts forever.

And someday, I will be in that audience again, jaw agape, amazed by your beauty, in awe of your grace, seeing you bring life to music that I love so much.

Thank you my friend, thank you for being part of my life. I will see you soon.

Reflecting on Forty

Tonight, I’m thinking about my fortieth year. What did I do right? What mistakes did I make? Did I grow? Change? Most of all, did I live?

Some mistakes:
– I still worry too much about some people not “approving” of the way I am.
– Sometimes I’m impatient with the Universe and the Wait
– I care too much about things/people that don’t need me.
– I have a hard time letting them go. I get frustrated with trying to “fix” them/it and sometimes I just can’t.
– I waste my gifts sometimes; let days pass me by; leave “I love you’s” unsaid

The Good Stuff
– Most days I laugh; love and live. I notice the color of the sky and the sounds of birds
– I am less afraid of taking the chance; of relaxing and “going with it”
– I tell them I love them, even when it sounds dumb
– my clothes are smaller and I feel better about me

I’ve met so many people this year. Our biz is growing and really starting to be what we want it to be. I’m excited about the way my life has been changing.

As a family, we’ve connected more in experience rather than things. We explored Great Falls and Fairmont and our own backyard! Our home is messy sometimes, but more organized and peaceful and fun!

What is to come this year? Some days, I really wish I had a crystal ball; others, I enjoy the challenge – even the fear is different now.

I have learned I’m not alone. There are so many out there – just like me. Scared. Excited. Making mistakes. Doing great things. Doing not so great things.

Woman. Wife. Mother. Friend. Daughter. Sister. Aunty. Co-worker. Dreamer. Party Girl. Lover. Laugher. Still a mystery to me.

I’m a little mixed up as I write tonight. Some days I wonder why I do. I wonder why I say these things. I don’t have much to contribute. I feel unworthy of my readers.

But then I remember why I started in the first place. To heal myself. To learn about me. To see with my own eyes how truly blessed I am. How much the Universe smiles on me.

I am loved. I am worthy. I am not perfect. I’m better than that. I am flawed and silly and quirky and mediocre at so many things. But I am the BEST at one thing: being ME

Thank you my friends who take the time to read my ramblings. Thank you for being here and letting me be me. I am so lucky and I have learned so much from you. I have learned that 40 is just the beginning! Thank you so much!

Let’s have another 40 years of Crazy:

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Sometimes I wonder at my dense, thick skull! I thought of the movie/book Eat, Pray, Love where Liz talks to God on her bathroom floor and receives an answer almost immediately. And where Richard from Texas says to her that if she’d just clear the stuff out of her mind; the Universe would just RUSH into all that space. Her capacity to love the whole world would just take over. How I’ve read and heard that message so many times from so many places; yet it still is so easy to forget. To just ASK for help! and then let go, move forward and see what happens.

It wasn’t 5 minutes after I finished whining in my post yesterday that I began receiving answers. A facebook shared story from a friend about a very young mother who died just one week after her baby was born and got to hold her before she died had me shaken at my desk. How small all those questions about my job became in an instant. How my worries about getting things organized for when I’m not there seemed so ridiculous. I might not be there tomorrow! What difference would it make? I am completely replaceable, just another employee. They would not miss me. My legacy is not there.

It is in the timely text from the husband who had no idea about the state I was in when he sent a spontaneous text just to say “I love you”.

It is in the friends and family that came to my office, called, texted, emailed, commented, posted and sat at my kitchen table reminding me how very blessed I am to be surrounded by people that love me. All advised me, all cared, all are there, I just have to ask.

It is in the ache in my calf muscles after a fun, giggly evening of trying something new – learning to dance with my husband.

It is in hanging out with friends, sharing laughs and a beverage or two at my kitchen table like so many times before, yet still the best place to be.

It is falling asleep in my lover’s arms, safe and warm while the wind blows outside and a snow storm threatens.

It is in the early Saturday morning coffee surrounded by my children quietly drawing and reading and watching Discovery Channel.

I asked. I received. I am so very thankful.

I Rocked Monday!

WOW! I had a really productive Monday!!

I ain’t braggin’ (LOL!) I just wanted to show you how the little things add up – the key is to just try something!

My Little Things:

  1. Brisk walk in the winter morning air
  2. Had a 35 minute stationary bike interval “spin” workout back at the gym – first time since Vegas!
  3. Got a ride home with Rach (Thanks Girl) and got to visit for a few minutes! That’s always a treat!
  4. Had freezer meal ready for supper – awesome!!
  5. Had text conversation with BFF
  6. Posted some good stuff on FB
  7. Cleared a path to my closet again (long, long, story – don’t ask!)
  8. Had supper at the KITCHEN table with all three of my kids – giggled and laughed (though they took apart their casserole…veggie “issues”..sigh….)
  9. Shawn fed the dogs & took out garbages and cleaned dishes out of his room (oh! there’s those glasses!)
  10. Rebecca did homework – I looked up French words for her on my iPhone with voice search – cool!!
  11. Cleaned the cupboard under the sink – including washing the garbage cans (big deal for me!)
  12. Lucas dried some dishes willingly!
  13. Cleaned the kids’ bathroom – including the tub that hubby got some sort of black marks from washing beer equipment – got them off! sigh……
  14. Discovered Google picture search and played with that with Shawn! LOL! very cool
  15. Chatted with my mom on the phone which resulted in a call to a cousin who needed computer help! Two phone calls in one night – I never “talk” on the phone!
  16. Got kids tucked in happily without a fuss
  17. Got two loads of laundry done and put away – including her “skinny jeans” that she needs for the “SnowFlake Dance on Thursday – oh dear……….11 going on 16…
  18. Did Core Blast workout from Phase 1 of Fit Marriage just for fun! (and lets face it, I’ve been lacking in the exercise department since Vegas!)
  19. Typed up this post! 🙂

It may not be anything miraculous or earth-shattering, but…it totally made my day to look back and count those little things that I DID today. Little moments with my kids and friends and family that I may just have missed if I didn’t pause to reflect on the day. Little chores that I did with a smile because I felt like doing them and enjoyed seeing things shining instead of resenting the mountain of housework that isn’t done.

So…my challenge to you my friends:

Tonight, make a list of ways that your day “ROCKED” – there’s gotta be some things – it doesn’t matter how small or insignificant you “think” it is – did it make you smile? did it mean 1 thing off the list? did it make you think? did it make you thankful? Start a gratitude journal of those little things every day and see how much happier you slowly become.

A song for you…So Small – Carrie Underwood – one of my fav’s:

The Secret

It was a story told among closest friends. The story of first love – that special secret night shared between two people REALLY in love. Shyly, she told the story late one night while we huddled together, avoiding our studies. Whispers in confidence between trusted friends.

Silently, I listened to her secret, my own buried deep within – ashamed to tell my secret. Ashamed of the way my life was falling apart while hers was so perfect. Silently, I resented that happiness while I could not find my own. Secretly, I seethed. Secretly, I cried in my own pain while she shared her tremendous joy.

And then on another night shortly after, with a different group of “friends” and bolstered by too much to drink, I longed to hide my shame. I wanted to strike out in my anger and frustration.  I longed to be a part of the “cool kids” so that I could forget about my own troubles. The tales were spun around that table, some more gossipy than others; some even hurtful. I ignored the discomfort that I felt in hearing them… I needed to fit in…I blurted it out…that private secret that was not mine to tell…They laughed and joked about it…I knew it was not funny…I knew I had crossed the line…but my bitterness and resentment spilled out as I laughed with the others…For the moment, I did not care, I forgot my own hurt for the sake of another’s…

It got worse…the secret was no longer a secret…the “others” had no issue with relaying the story to EVERYONE…Their romantic, beautiful story was degraded to a bawdy tale to be laughed at by them all. Except the two people that were so much in love. I saw her face when the story was told to the room. I saw the shock and hurt in those eyes. He walked away in anger and she turned toward me. I could not look at her.

Later, she approached me with the others from our little group. “Why?” she asked me. I could not say. I could not tell about my own suffering. I couldn’t say anything. I felt the fear and anger and hurt welling up in my eyes; but I did not speak. I shrugged and walked away. I hurt her and I didn’t even seem to care. I was cold and unemotional. I did not know who I had become.

I am telling you this story to share with you a time when I was a bully.

I had never done anything like that before. I abused my power in holding a precious secret to elevate myself and try to make myself feel better because I was hurting and feeling alone. That’s what a bully is: someone who is going through some terrible pain that they are trying to escape from. They then use their strength, status, and/or position to rise above others.

I was thinking of this story today because of today: “Stand Up Against Bullying” and October being Bully Awareness Month. I read this post too from Bruce of Privilege Of Parenting – Hello Cruel World – please read it when you have time. It will make you think about bullying in a different way. It made me pause to reflect how I have been a bully at times.

Other than this story, I did not think I’d ever been a bully before, but Bruce’s post made me think. It made me aware of the bully within me and how I do project that sometimes.

  • Threatened my kids with the “…or else..” phrase
  • Pushed my daughter in dance to be better than everyone else so much so that she didn’t want to dance anymore
  • Laughed at the expense of someone else
  • Gossiped when I know I shouldn’t
  • Hurt friends with the “My way or the Highway” attitude at times
  • Compared my children to others and been disappointed that they “don’t measure up” – that’s the worst one

I’ve seen it in other parent’s too:

  • Screaming at referees at various sporting events, not just hockey
  • Not letting a child be with the child of “certain” parent because of their background
  • Ranting about “low-income” housing – assuming everyone living there are “bums”
  • Assuming that sales people are idiots and talking down to them in a store
  • Only hanging around with “the pretty people”, ignoring others that aren’t “in the crowd”

Thankfully, my children have not been the subject of severe bullying. They have been made fun of and put down; but they have been able to bounce back. They have been the bullies too at times and we have talked about that and corrected it when necessary. I think everyone goes through that at some point throughout their lives. That does not mean that it is acceptable, however.

Sadly, this is not the case for so many. More and more, it seems, we hear of the heart-breaking stories of suicides of those that have been bullied. We MUST learn from these and work to STOP it. We must not tolerate bullying from anyone – including ourselves and our own children. We must not be naive in thinking that “it won’t happen to me”.

Be aware, talk to your kids and correct your own behavior too. Set the example.

Apologize, Mend, Forgive. It starts with YOU.

And to my friend that I hurt so long ago – I have apologized often to you in my prayers. I hope someday that we will see each other again so that I can apologize to you in person. For now, wherever you are, please forgive me.