You Better Check Yo’self Before You Wreck Yourself


I’ve heard my husband say that over a thousand times.  “You better check yourself before you wreck yo’self.”

It’s so annoying because usually when he says it, he’s right.

And I want to punch him in the face.  Like, just for a split second.  A nano-second.  

But that’s my 3 year old.  My 30 year old knows better.  

That’s not a “soft start-up” in therapy terms.  

See, my husband is defensive, and after awhile, I go… well, I guess I’ll play offense.  

It’s not a good tactic and a quick way to destroy a good marriage.  

If you haven’t gathered yet, I’m a big spender. I like nice, luxurious things.  They make my world go around.  The best of the best?  Only.  I’ll take nothing less, thank you. 

I know that shadow aspect well.  I’m not big on credit cards, but you wouldn’t know we have the income we do by looking at our home.  We could afford a $500,000 home.  Easily!  

If we didn’t have student loan debt and credit card debt, and my hobbies, and my clothes, and the kids toys, and the vacations…

I get it.  I’m a big spender.  I don’t like LOTS of things.  I like NICE things.  

No, I don’t want to go camping at the state forest.  I want an Alaskan cruise, thank you very much.  No, I don’t want Target maternity pants.  Only the $88 USA made organic cotton skinny leg jeans can caress my beautiful pregnant behind, thank you very much.

My husband does a phenomenal job of keeping up with it.  He got a $48,000 bonus.  You know what he said to me?  I’d like some tshirts.  You know what I said to him?  I’d like a Vitamix and masticating juicer.  

I mean, he likes concert tshirts and nice pipes and artisan tobaccos and top notch cigars and craft brewery beers.  It’s not all me.  His is just generally cheaper.  Except for his Apple products.  That’s one of our credit cards.  He conveninently “forgets” about that when mentioning my spending.  

I mean, that’s for work.  But my hand made Waldorf toys aren’t.  Not the kids organic cotton tie dye socks.  Or my designer clothes that I don’t leave the house in.  Or my yoga.  Or my prenatal massages.  Or the exstravagant family vacations.  

So, bottom line.  We are both tremendously guilty.  

But money has been a hot topic since the moment we moved in together.  Even then he made three times my salary, but I still had to pay half the bills.  And provide for my son.  It’s a sore point.  It probably always will be.  Like… you were a dick.  And we were engaged. And I had a young son.  

We have been together almost a decade.  We’ve shared a checking account for a year, and even now his check is deposited into ANOTHER account and then he TRANSFERS it to our account.  So he could cut his losses after a month and not have to go immediately through the court system to put a hold on our account. It’s smart.  But it isn’t commitment either.  

I cannot honestly say that he has ever been fully committed to our marriage.  Which isn’t a big motivator for me.  

My kids are, though.  And so I’m here at 7 months pregnant.  

Sometimes I wish I could say that’s the only reason.  When I scream.  Or throw things.  But it isn’t.  I’m also here because I love him.  And in that love, my heart gets broken over and over again.  

And still I keep choosing him.  Because I can’t say I would want to be with anyone else.  Even when my heart is broken into a million pieces, shattered across the floor.  

The Gift of Discovering Life with Children

What is the greatest gift my children have given me?

The joy of loving life.  The gift of discovery.  The reverence of my breath.  The awakening to motherhood. 

What do I appreciate most about my children? 

The awe with which we encounter each day as an adventure.  The enthusiasm with which they choose to explore both the seen and the unseen of the universe. The magnitude of their vast souls housed within tiny bodies. Their ferocity, vivaciousnous, and strength. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m no “sanctimommy.”  There is no perfection in our house.  

However, we also are not lacking in love.  For that, my gratitude runs deep.  We are surrounded by a happy chaos that echoes in laughter, buffered by hugs. The tears are shrouded in empathy as we have finally created a sanctuary within the world. 

They come to me and say profound things like, “I am beautiful.”

That doesn’t even begin to describe who and what you are to the world, child. 

I currently have a sink full of dishes.  There are balls of dog hair the size of small rabbits floating on the floors.  Our couch is stained to a shameful and unrecoverable point.  

My oldest son’s bedroom is the dining room because he doesn’t want to share a bedroom with his little brother.  

There is a train track set up in our hallway.  The bulky German Shepherd often trips over it, much to the little one’s despair. 

We should be moving in a little over a month if everything goes as planned.  I will appreciate having bedrooms being bedrooms and dining rooms being dining rooms.  Oh, and a yard.  My dearest universe, thank you for blessing us with a potential yard.

We ate lunch at Red Robin and dinner at Chipotle today.  My husband made pancakes from a package this morning for breakfast.  I think one of the boys left their glass of milk on the counter.  It’s still “fermenting.”  We ignored my rule of no trans fats while indulging in bottomless fries.  

Sundays are my dietary compromise days with the husband and kids.  

The midwife came and did my check up.  I hadn’t showered yet so I hurriedly brushed my hair and teeth.  My husband quickly tossed all of the toys into a grocery bag and put them in the back bedroom.  I turned off the light to the kitchen hoping that would somehow make the caked on pancake batter adorning the stovetop invisible.

It’s 9:30 PM and my 3 year old still isn’t asleep.  He has a cough and wind chap on his mouth and cheeks.  His new favorite word is “butthole.”  He learned it from the 12 year old because he was likely behaving like a “butthole.”  Most three year olds have that hidden potential beneath a thick layer of cute.

My husband and I lay on the floor while he quietly whispers to himself.  Some nights we fall asleep.  Other nights we read books.  

Tonight I’m writing about my small yet monumental blessings as my husband snores. He took over childcare duty most of the weekend so I could nap and read books. 

We aren’t perfect, but we are living perfection to me.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I am learning to cherish these moments one deep breath at a time.  

I choose joy. 

What Do You Do When You Acheive All Of Your Goals?

It has been awhile since I have posted.  I have been so focused on my family and building my business, that I have let my meanderings of my mind sit by the wayside.  

I still spend much of my time doing the same things.  Now that I’m in my 3rd trimester, I don’t spend nearly as much time running. I do look forward to returning to trail running after the 4th trimester is complete!  I so desperately want to do a half marathon and a triathlon.  

To be completely honest, I’m deeply happy.  I’m so grateful with my life right now, that I don’t know that there is anything I would want to change.  I have finally hit a point of flow, synergy, and just love.  I’m grateful each day I get to wake up next to my husband and have the opportunity to be with my children.  I’m so excited to meet our precious new baby.  

I’m content.  I’m at peace.  I appreciate every moment I am given.  

I get to take my son on adventures to the local nature centers.  We spend time hiking trails in the woods.  My husband and I lay in bed and cuddle at night, filled with laughter and love.  He looks at me with awe and wonder as my body changes to support our growing child.  I look at him with complete gratitude for who I have pledged the remainder of my life to.  

We are in great physical health.  We are emotionally stable.  We are financially stable, but still working on building our assets and wealth to give more to others.  I want to let my light help others ignite their own.  

I am in awe at how far we have grown and changed in just a year.  I mean, many of you read my blog last year, and it was just disastrous. It felt that way at the time anyway.  It was all just blessings working very hard to manifest in our lives. God works in mysterious ways, right?  I never envisioned this as our future a year ago.  I couldn’t have believed it was possible at the time.  

So, I think I have finally hit that stage where I am ready to expand my circle of influence.  I have been tremendously blessed, and I want to share these blessings with others.  

If you had everything you wanted in life, what would you do? 

Welcome Goals of 2017

I don’t know about you, but I am more than ready to welcome 2017.  

One of my goals for 2017 is to match my income that I made as a therapist while working from home.  I didn’t make a lot, but I made enough to really help my family out. 

I recently hosted a web based goal setting class.  I am working through the steps that I also guided others through.  

It has been a very meaningful practice.  

Some of the questions I asked included:

  • What will make this year the most epic yet?
  • How badly do you want “IT?”

Having more financial freedom while prioritizing my family will make this year the most epic yet.  With another precious baby on the way, we are going to have to really reprioritize our budget.  I would love to increase the income we have available to us.  

I am working on expanding my business through life coaching, private kundalini yoga sessions, and essential oils.  They are all linked to improving quality of life through mind, body, and spirit balance.  

My “IT” at this time in my life means financial freedom to live the lifestyle my family desires.  

I will have the deepest sense of satisfaction of living the life I dreamed for myself and my children. I will have created a model of embracing and loving others just as deeply as I embrace and love myself. I will spread my love for all of humanity to every corner that it can reach.

I want this as badly as I want to breathe.  

Here is to 2017!

I Live and I Learn and I Live Again

I broke up with my EMDR counselor today.  

It was nothing personal.  She is a phenomenal counselor, possibly in the top two of all the counselors I have had the privilege of interacting with in my life.  

However, I couldn’t justify spending $140 a week, every week, to discuss our financial burdens.  It seemed counterintuitive to say the least.  At present, that is really the only significant issue we are facing.  That and finding time for ourselves and one another amidst parenting a 3 year old.  We’ve survived it once already, though, so we know it is just growing pains.  We roll with it easily most of the time.

I recognize that our financial burdens are still very privileged, such as finding it difficult to afford weekly sessions with some of the best counselors in the area.  Never the less, they are still burdens that require a lot of careful juggling and priority setting.  At the beginning of the month, we make a list of all of our goals and then we prioritize them.  So many of them just get transferred from one month to the next.  

I always wonder, with every action I take, am I self sabotaging?  

This is a huge concept in positive psychology.  Am I choosing to do this to serve me in the best way possible?  It’s kind of a scary concept, when you force yourself into complete responsibility for your actions.  One way or another, I will suffer consequences for my decision.  Will they be positive or negative?  

Considering what brought me into counseling this year, it’s a huge question.  Have I learned from my actions?  Will I repeat them?  Have I found the skill set I need to rise above reacting in similar difficult situations?  

I think so.  I certainly hope so.  If not, then I hope our marriage counselor will supply a decent safety net should anything difficult arise. 

All in all, though, there are so many other things that I value in my life right now.  I want to be able to have a homebirth.  I would love to move to a bigger house.  I find a lot of healing in kundalini yoga, which has the same purpose as EMDR counseling, removing negative emotions stored in the body.  I want my son to be able to attend his preschool that he loves so much. I am a foodie snob and will not eat anything other than high quality, local foods.  We have a monthly order with dōTERRA that we view as a huge investment in the health and wellness of our entire family.  My husband loves eating out with every ounce of his being, and I like for him to have that ability as often as he pleases.  

I am perfectly imperfect, and I am hoping this choice serves us in a tremendous way.  If not, well, I am good at failing big and turning around and recovering in a timely manner.  Big failures mean big lessons, right?  

Life is all about learning.  Learning happens with taking risks.  Fingers crossed for good results.  

My Heart and Soul in March

“I feel like my entire life is a massive journey, stepping outside of my comfort zone continuously.  I pray that each step I take is in the right direction.”

On March 11, 2016, I began journaling every day.  It has truly helped me get through the difficult experiences I have had this year.  It is also a great exercise in finding the positive in my life as well as setting my intentions.  

“I am in so in love with my family.  They are so incredibly amazing and fill me with so much endless love and light.  They mean the world to me.”

I don’t get attached to much, but my journal is definitely something I have grown attached to.  As a way to help me release it, and the past that has been recorded within it, I am going to share the highlights here.  

“I love the people that are solid in their faith, body, and mind.  They are so balanced and like magnets.  This is what I strive for.”

These are excerpts from March.  This is the month before my life did a complete 180, which I have described in the last several blog posts.  I think reviewing this will be a great exercise in releasing the past to move forward into the future.

“My children motivate me in such a big way.  I want to be their solid rock, to leave and return to as they need.  I want to give them, not only the best of my world, but a better world than the one I have existed in.”

“I have continued to grow with each and every struggle that I have encountered.  I have immense gratitude for all of my experiences that I have encountered up to this point.”

A lot of these are personal pep talks.  I don’t have someone in my life to provide this for me, so I will often do this for myself. 

“You hold within you great gifts to give to this world.  You have very important work to do and the capacity to make it happen.  Your love for humanity is infinite and that includes your love for self too.”

“Continuing to take steps towards my personal growth and stepping into my purpose excites me about the possibility of a new day, every day.”

“A peaceful family state gives me momentum.  When my family is in discord I feel very stagnant and drained.  When my family is peaceful and happy, I move at a rapid pace.”

“I will have an immensely compassionate heart.  I will have found a balanced space from which to project myself forward.  My marriage will be solid with our gifts maximized and building.  Our children will be stabilized.  We will have found equilibrium as a soul family.”

This was my daily prayer in March.  Looking back from October, we have achieved this and more.  Getting here wasn’t easy and it was often frightening, but I am amazed at the blessings that have come since I wrote these words.  

“I live each day to the fullest by finding my flow and staying within it.  I am working on my spirituality so that I can fully embrace life and live as I am intended.  I am creating balance with my family as a top priority.”

Again, most of my prayers and focus in March was around creating a shift in my family, primarily in my marriage.  I wanted my husband and I to be able to work together to manage our family instead of being so focused on our independent roles.

“I want to share my heart, love, and compassion with the world.”

“My children make me smile.  Miss Honey makes me smile.  Food makes me smile.  Hiking makes me smile.  Running on trails makes me smile.  Yoga makes me smile.  I make me smile.  Leif’s schools make me smile.  Friends make me smile.  Meditation and prayer makes me smile.  Church makes me smile.  Flowers make me smile.  Animals make me smile.  Books make me smile.  Loving kindness makes me smile.”

“I am loving yoga nidra meditation.  I enjoy running and most forms of exercise.  I have a special place in my heart for kundalini yoga.  I want to become certified, but am allowing the universe to guide my path.  I really enjoy attending church.  I also enjoy NVC meetings.  I love dry brushing and detox baths.  I enjoy reading my spirituality books.  Prayer is very helpful to me.  I love hiking.  There are so many tools that I use to relax and rejuvenate.  I love and appreciate every one of them.”

I wrote this on March 28, 2016.  I was admitted into the kundalini yoga certification without payment in September.  I feel very blessed after reading this.  My first weekend of training begins this Friday.  

“My definition of success and happiness is creating both abundance and balance.  This is very important for me to achieve in this life because I feel like it is my last really big blocked space for me to overcome.  My family has always had some level of impoverishment, so tapping into that abundant space that I have fostered will feel really empowering to me.  Achieving abundance while maintaining my personal well being, authenticity, and balance will also be empowering because of the childhood scripts I received that stated this is impossible.  I believe that it is both possible and achievable with all of my heart and soul.  I will be abundant and balanced while doing soulful work.

“It is true that the simplest and most important things in life are free.  My husband makes me feel alive.  My children make me feel alive.  My parents and brother make me feel alive.  My friends make me feel alive.  My mind makes me feel alive.  My body makes me feel alive.  My soul makes me feel alive.  Food, sex, meditation makes me feel alive.  I love the life that I have been given with all of my heart and soul.  I am so grateful to be right where I am right now.  I am exactly where I need to be.

My Weekend of Rest and Reflection Turned Into a Weekend of Family and Gratitude


Weary and consumed by longing, I was caressed by my beloved last night.  My wounded soul was set free, when I tasted the sweetness of love.

My spirit was lifted at once.  I surrendered my life, while overflowing with joy, and my vision was filled with light. 

Love said, “Don’t feel so hopeless, my weary and gloomy one, for my generosity is beyond forgetting those devoted to me.”

See how boundless divine justice can be.  Behold my immeasurable kindness!  

Love embraced my spirit, and all my doubts vanished at once.  A new and glorious robe of honor was placed on my shoulders.

Love offered me the power of new vision and the transforming touch of divine generosity and placed the chalice of eternal wine in my hand.


My mother was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder when I was 7.  I didn’t have a good understanding of what that meant at the time.  It meant very little to me.  I still didn’t understand that the world could be different than my own personal perspective, which was governed by emotional chaos.  

My mother was overwhelmingly loving.  There were days where we would spend hours decorating for holidays.  Halloween was one of my favorites.  We would decorate our trees, yard, and house.  My dad owned his own business and we attended the church down the road from us.  My family had lived there for a few generations so we were well known in the community.  We would get endless visitors to our home.  

She lived to serve others.  She thrived on bringing joy and light to children, families, and women.  She instilled this deep sense of giving into us early.  Not only would she give all of this to her own children, but she would also give it to the children in the community, schools, churches, etc.  

There were days that seemed like there could be no end to her generosity or her love.  She had a deep faith in God, and her light shone even in our most difficult of times. 

I loved this part of my mother with all of my being.  Oh, how I longed for her endless devotion in these moments.  It was consolation to my deeply wounded heart. 

Just as radiant and giving as she was, she also harbored a dark side that so many failed to see.  I expect my father, brother, and myself witnessed the most destructive aspects of this version of her.  It mostly stayed hidden within the walls of my childhood home, and it was unspeakably frightening.  Just as endearing and safe as she made us feel, at any given moment this could be ripped from our lives and replaced with an entirely different person.  

This person despised the world and all of those within it, especially her husband and children for we could never meet her unspoken expectations.  No one could.  They were entirely irrational and fear inducing.  I would escape deep into the woods of our home, often traveling so far from human contact that I don’t know that anyone could have heard me had I screamed.  

We had a beautiful creek in a deep valley behind our home that emptied into the lake.  There was a deep pool in the creek with an overhang and a nice tree.  It was hidden by other overhangs, so that you would have to either travel the creek bed or climb the tree to see it.  This was my safe place.  

There were many days that I would fall asleep on a bed of moss here only to awake to my dad yelling for me as the sun crept behind the trees.  I would run to my dad.  He would hold my hand and we would walk silently up the hill back to our home.  He would make dinner for my brother and I, and none of us would speak of the darkness permeating our home.  We would secretly pray that some light would find its way into our home again in the coming dawn. 

I spent my days in a constant strife of never feeling fully safe in my home.  She went on medication, but didn’t really know how to navigate a system that confused her and didn’t see her fully.  They lacked the insight to see her radiance, love, and light.  They focused so much on her shortcomings.  This happened because x, y, z.  She was thrown into a scientific world of logic when she existed in an ever changing wavering of emotion.  She tried with all of her might to fight a battle that she didn’t understand.  

In addition to this, she also expressed her trauma in physical illness.  She had her gallbladder removed.  She had chronic pancreatitis that would also align with her bouts of darkness.  Looking at this from the spiritual perspective, with my mental health background, these all align on a deep level.  Her solar plexus was impacted from her perception of her external world, which manifested itself physically in her body.  

However, how do you explain this to someone?  How do you explain years of research, theory, and intuition to a loved one?  I have no idea, but it doesn’t stop me from trying.  Logic doesn’t always work, but I can count on love to find a way.

When I was in middle school, her symptoms were being managed by an overwhelming amount of medications, that only seemed to deepen the issue.  Further and further we continued to travel down this rabbit hole in which the entire power of our family was being held in the hands of a system that didn’t see us as human.  At least not fully so.  

She was finally prescribed pain medications since there wasn’t anymore they could do.  Is that what is done with “hopeless” cases these days?  I often wonder.  First it was Loritabs, then OxyContin, then Morphine.  

It was kind of nice at first.  The darkness was quiet.  The chaos was gone.  She mostly slept a lot after getting home from work.  If she wasn’t sleeping then she was watching television.  She still spent time with us, but without the darkness, there also wasn’t any light.  

My interest in mental health began at this time.  I started picking up psychology books at yard sales and the library.  By the time I was 14, I owned the first three versions of the DSM.  I kept post it notes and highlights within them, trying to understand all of my environment.  I so desperately wanted to empathize with something that I also didn’t understand.  Where did my mother go?  Where did that version disappear?  How can I retrieve her?  I knew deep in my heart that she was somewhere in there.  Oh, how I missed her and yearned for that love again.  

I studied relentlessly.  I took AP classes in high school.  I achieved a full scholarship to a top state university.  I wanted to know.  I wanted to understand.  I wanted to help.  I wanted my mother.  

My life took a turn as my own self sabotage that comes with damage began to surface.  However, that yearning remained.  I didn’t stop.  I graduated high school and worked my way through my undergraduate as a single mother.  However, once I moved away from home, it was as if my mother said, “My work here is done.”  She applied for and received disability and no longer had to work.  

This was one of the worst possible things that happened to our family.  She no longer had any reason to be sober throughout the day and she dove head first into a prescription pain pill addiction that was unfathomable to me at the time.  I lost my mother for several years.  Her body was alive, but her soul was dead.  Completely dead.  Her light had gone out. 

My desperation grew as I was still struggling to manage my own adult life.  I graduated early with my undergraduate degree in social work.  I took more classes than I was advised, and still graduated as top of my class.  I worked through my graduate degree in a year, while attending school in another state, and working full time.  

By the time I graduated, I couldn’t allow my mother around my child anymore.  She couldn’t even remain standing or speak legibly.  I hadn’t seen her sober in years.  She was constantly having wrecks and truly should have had her license revoked.  

I finally said, “No more.”  I gave up hope.  The light was completely gone, and I had the capacity to stop her darkness from being entangled with my son.  I was ready to let her go.  I was ready to say goodbye and not see her again.

It was one of the most difficult moments of my life.  I had hosted the family holidays for many years at that point, since she wasn’t functional.  I called her Christmas Eve morning before our dinner.  I had spent all morning prepping for our meal, and I finally said to myself, “I don’t want her here.  I cannot love someone who is already dead.”

So I called her, and I asked her not to come.  She asked me why.  I told her all of this.  I told her I wanted my mother and I cannot have her.  I told her that I accept that and I love her.  I told her that my love for her will never go out.  I told her that she lit a fire deep within me as a child, and it still burns for that version of her so many of us have forgotten.  

I cried so hard that I actually water logged my iPhone.  My husband went and got me a new one while I told my mother goodbye on his phone.  I told her that I was there for her as long as the drugs were gone.  I told her I would never give up on her.  

She came that evening, with all of her prescription pills.  We flushed them down my toilet as she cried.  For the first time in years, though, I saw a flicker of light.  She could stand up.  I could understand her speech.  I held her just as she used to hold me.  My husband also held her, and talked of overcoming his own drug addiction.  He told her straight to her face that it was the hardest battle and continues to be the hardest battle he fights every day.  

My brother wouldn’t hug her, but quietly told her he hoped she could do it.  He had tremendous animosity for our childhood.  He spent many of his years protecting me when he was also a child.  He hated her and wasn’t shy about it.  

My father also hated her.  He hated her weakness.  He hated her shell.  He hated her darkness.  He hated her existence.  And most of all, he hated their codependency, because all of those things were reflected back at him.  

I set her up with a substance abuse counselor.  I went the first couple of sessions.  I gave her my copy of Narcotics Anonymous.  And then I quit my job as a therapist.  I was exhausted.  I was burned out.  I promptly moved to another state with my family and began to focus on the solidarity between us.  My work with my family of origin was done.  All the remaining work rested solely upon their shoulders.  It was time for me to begin working on my own healing.

In the few short years that I moved away, my mother left my father.  This was a deep and hurtful wound.  My father was solidly present with us amidst our darkness.  I also empathized with her because their marriage clearly wasn’t healthy at that point.  He wasn’t in a place of forgiveness after the years of torment and she needed love in her life.  

Deep down I wondered if I sabotaged my family.  I still maintained my distance and boundaries, holding nothing but good will and peace for everyone.  

I watched at a safe distance as everything fell to shambles.  Implosion would be a kind word, however, my mother managed to maintain her sobriety.  She was cut off from everything she had known, so she rebuilt from the ground up.  

It was slow.  It was heart breaking.  It was painful.  It was beautiful.  She stepped into her personal power over and over again.  She started voicing her needs and distancing herself from negativity.  She began embracing the love that came her way.  She set firm boundaries that spoke of her personal value. 

This weekend, for the first time in many years, I attended a dinner party that she successfully hosted.  Her home is small and modest, but one she pays for on her own and is filled with things she loves.    

She used to have a habit of hosting dinner parties and then getting so stoned that she couldn’t cook.  Since I was a teenager, I would cook large meals for people just to help cover up her addiction.  She wasn’t present enough to acknowledge the work I did.  I would sit quietly as everyone bragged on her meal and try to release the anger that welled up inside of me.  She would often scream and cry in absolute depression about how overwhelmed she was as I cooked a meal that I never desired in the first place.

My mother made the entire meal and invited my family.  It was a meal to honor her own mother who turned 86.  It was the first time her mother agreed to come to her new home.  Her mother also happened to invite her sister, who was 88.  My mother’s brothers came with their wives and their adult children.  Their adult children brought their children.  My brother and his wife also came.  My mother’s 2 bedroom home was so overflowing with people that we were spilling out onto the deck and into the yard.

Her brothers and family tried to throw negativity at her but it just rolled off of her beautiful coat of gratitude.  She radiated love and happiness, crying tears of joy.  All evening, all she could do was express how thankful and blessed she was.  

For the first time since my early childhood, I saw my mother’s light shine so brightly that no negativity could burden her.  She had created the strength and power to repel it.  

For the first time since my early childhood, I experienced the mother I once knew.  My brother smiled and hugged her.  She played with my son with a deeply satisfied grin.  She was pleased as everyone bragged on her meal with smiles.  

And I finally saw my first and deepest childhood desire come to fruition at age 30.  

Parenting is the most difficult thing I have ever encountered.  It is life changing to look at the mirror of your children.  I am grateful to have a mother who can model strength, determination, and love that can come out of even the darkest of places.  I have never had a deeper appreciation for her than I did Sunday evening because I know that all of this work was done for herself, her children, and for my children.  

I love her for it.