Thursday, March 15, 2018

If We Don't Hear The Whisper...Scream


 I try to approach life with positivity.

Yes, bad things happen, at times, life can be a huge stress-filled ball of anxiety weighing in at at least 3 tonnes.

Within the past seven days, the world lost another light at the hands of mental illness. I know he was far from the only one, and that is why I feel the need to write this.

This young man was part of a family I used to babysit for in high school. They lived a heartbeat away, our families intertwined in a hundred different ways.

I know there are those out there that still attach some sort of shame to suicide, as though it is an act of cowardice, or selfishness. The whispers of shame need to stop. Suicide is simply the form death takes in way too many cases of mental illness, just as a heart attack claims the majority of those with heart disease. But, like we have learned to save more with heart impairments, we need to put more resources toward giving those that struggle with mental illness an equal chance at a good life.

People who live with depression, bipolar disorders, and a myriad of other mental illnesses, are some of the most courageous people I have the honour of knowing. They fight every day to see the world in a way most of us take for granted.

Although I can never really stand in your shoes to see the world from your perspective, there are some things I want you to know,

For those who find themselves swallowed by darkness, unable to feel any light, please hear me.

We are NOT better off without you.

You are NOT a burden.

We care. Even when, especially when you can't see it. We love you and care for you.

We make mistakes. We don't always, or maybe ever, have the right words. If you only knew how much we wish we did.

We would NEVER get over it and move on. We love you too much for that to ever happen.

Reach for us. If we don't hear the whisper, scream. Before the darkness completely encompasses, scream, with the thunderous agony from the depths of your aching soul, scream. Someone will hear.

Given time, although it seems completely impossible, things WILL get better, not perfect, but better. Sometimes better is pretty good.

Know that you are a precious part of who we are. You are worth all of it, everything. Always. We love you.

Oh, how I wish there were an implant, like, say, a pacemaker, that would help the mind correct itself whenever it speeds up or slows down to a dangerous level. How I wish there was a one size fits all medication that would adapt to any one person's situation. How I wish for some kind of medical miracle in the field of mental illness.

How I wish for you to see you as we do, our precious, unique, incredible, brave, strong light.


That's about all I have for today.

For those who struggle........

May you find a glimmer, a pinpoint, a reflection of light, and let us help it to grow.
May you see that you're value isn't defined by your disease, please understand this, please know.

May you find a way to forgive us for our words, our actions, our so completely imperfect echoes.
May you see beyond our misguided turns of phrase, and see the eyes that care, the arms that enclose.

May you find it within you to battle, if not for you, do it for us, find a way to reach a new dawn.
May you find the strength to weather the storms, for it would break us if you were gone.


Friday, March 9, 2018

Women, We Are Enough.....


The last few days have been a bit significant for me. There were a few things to celebrate.

I have so many people to thank, please indulge me.

First, this week, I turned 52. I was overwhelmed, in the best sense of the word, by messages, phone calls, texts, and face to face well wishes. Each passing birthday reminds me of how lucky I am to be here, how privileged I am to walk this earth, even if it's with the accompaniment of aches and pains that weren't there last year. There are far too many, younger than I, from whom this privilege has been taken. There are far too many who are desperately fighting for the chance to stay. For me to even entertain the thought of complaining would be a slap in the face of their memories and fortitude.
Yes, I'm 52. I've earned every year, and would trade none, for each has had a hand in bringing me to where I am. Worth every wrinkle.

Then, because of all of you, these ramblings have hit a bit of a milestone. It's a milestone that probably will mean little, or nothing, to anyone other than myself, but it's a milestone, all the same. The powers that be keep a tally of how many times these ramblings are read and the countries from which the perusers reside. They track how many in a day, a week, a month and a running total of readers. Thanks to all of you, the 65000 mark is now history. It's important to me that you understand how it truly honours and humbles me every single week, that you take the time to read the words I put to the page. Please know that is never lost on me. Thank you.

Last, but, by no means, least, this week included the celebration of International Women's Day.
It's a great time to celebrate women, both in history and in the present day who have made, and continue to make huge strides toward where we need to be.

It's also a great time to celebrate the women who have influenced, and continue to influence our lives more directly. Those who have never made and likely never will make the headlines.

For me, the women from whom I descend were and are examples of strength and fortitude. They had to overcome more by the time they turned 30 than a lot of us will in a lifetime. Were they perfect? Of course not, but that simply makes their lives that much more extraordinary.

The women with whom I am contemporaries. They demonstrate the vast varieties of lives there are to live. That each has its ups and downs. That each has merit and value. That living your life according to the opinion of others is a waste of time. That we still carry the strength and fortitude of our foremothers.

The women of future generations. You fill me with hope of what is yet to be. You are finding your voice in a way that history has never seen. The world and workplaces of freedom and equality are within your grasp. You now carry the torch with us, feed the flame, and keep it burning bright. Strength and fortitude run in your veins.

Women. We are warriors. There is nothing beyond our abilities. We deserve every success and every happiness. We are strong enough to show our tears. We are brave enough to show our fears. We are fierce enough to fight. We are enough.


Well, that about does it for now.....

May you celebrate the fact that you are here.
May you celebrate, without hesitation or fear.

May you celebrate your choices, for they have put you where you are.
May you celebrate your voices, in all of their tones, for they will carry you far.

May you celebrate that you are equal parts gentle and tough.
May you celebrate always, every day, that you are enough.

Until next week.....

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Don't Be The Mr. Bean!!!


So this is what the day looks like where I live. The blowing snow doesn't show up very well on camera, which is too bad, really, because, even though winter has been plenty long enough, and I, for one, am completely ready for spring, it's kinda pretty.

Hopefully, this is the last storm before Spring makes her presence known. Hopefully.

Mother Nature seems to be spreading storms of varying degrees all over the place, this weekend.


I'm thinking it just might be a day or so of movies, reading, and snuggling on the couch with a cup of tea.

Could be worse, but it could quit wintering any time now.

I know other parts of the world are getting hit a lot harder than we are, stay safe and take care!


Twitter wars.

They can be vicious, mean and make you wonder if some people are even capable of any level of insight or compassion.
Baffling, horrible accusations get thrown around like they are nothing.
Courageous as all hell, as they hide behind their keyboard.

These are the people who seem to make it their mission to try and tear others down. Creating or expanding complete untruths for the sole purpose causing pain.

Then, there are the funny twitter wars.

By funny, I mean when one of these keyboard warriors goes on the attack, only to find that they have entered a war of wits wherein they are tragically outgunned.

These are the people that think they have come up with something so scathing, so hurtful, so devastating that the recipient will have no choice but to curl up in a corner and cower. They then aim this brilliance at someone and hit their "enter'  button like a trigger.

I have to say, it gives me incredible pleasure when the intended victim strikes back with such intelligence and, more often than not, humor, that the person who started the whole thing hasn't the ability to retaliate in any real way. Their keyboard courage quickly spins into the fear that their witlessness will be brought centre stage, and put under the best and brightest spotlight for all the world to see.

 Mr. Bean picking a fight with Bruce Lee.


Well, that about does it for now, time to go watch Telemiracle! Google it, it's awesome!

May you take a second before shooting your words into the universe, thinking how they may land.
May you pause, imagine your target is your child, would your message still have this heavy hand?

May you make the effort to be kind, for your words will always find their way back to you.
May you be sure, as your finger hovers over the trigger, you're not the Mr. Bean in this scenario.


Until next time....

Friday, February 23, 2018

Giggling Babies And Mini Goats....

Okay, so every now and then, I believe we need some outright goofiness to take a bit of weight off of the horribly heavy news that humanity tends to generate.

I find that if we don't, it can be easy to start believing that the dark crap is all the world has to offer, and that is just so not true. Not even close.

Precious few things make me smile the way that baby giggles and mini goats do. We need more giggling babies and mini goats!

I'm fully aware that this will in no way take away the very real pain that accompanies these very real and gut-wrenching moments in history, but maybe, just maybe, it can be a small distraction that provides a few minutes of respite.

I mean, in all actuality, giggling babies and mini goats are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

There are baby elephants chasing butterflies, misbehaving monkeys, not to mention all of the cat, puppy, and baby videos, and the combinations of all of the above.

These are just one small sampling of the joyful, laughter-inducing videos available to the average joe, and, these are just videos.

Then, there are the things that happen every single day.

For instance, listen to an almost two-year-old tell a knock-knock joke. Let a 10-year-old teach you how to play a complicated video game, although not particularly funny to you, makes the 10-year-old lose his mind! In this case, in my defense, the last video game I was any good at was N64 Mario.

For instance, the reactions from your adult kids after sending them hilarious, and, maybe sometimes, slightly inappropriate snapchats. The oh-so-priceless look on your hubby's face when you seductively suggest you are going to go slip into something that will make him smile, then come out in your Batman onesie, and poop emoji slippers.

For instance, ask your Grandma how wifi works, then sit back and take notes. Watch the expression on the face of someone under the age of twenty as you describe how you grew up with two channels on tv, without internet, or computers, or texting and had one phone for the whole family and it was attached to the wall!

The lighter side of life is out there, it just, generally, gets upstaged by the crap show.

Take some time to look for your mini goats.


Well, that about does it for now.......

May you find a few goofy giggles each and every day.
May you give them centre stage, let them steal the show, in every possible way.

May you see that no matter how badly the dark fights for attention, no matter how big it tries to grow,
May you see you carry with you the power of the giggle, its magic covering any darkness with a rainbow.

May you rediscover smiles you thought were stolen or lost.
May you reclaim your revelry, bring it in from the cold, thaw the frost.


Until next time...

Friday, February 16, 2018

What's The Harm?


It's happened again. Another automatic weapon. Another shooting. Another school. More dead. More children and those willing to give their lives to protect them.... dead.

If you ask why, you get a plethora of varying answers, depending largely on who you ask. One side, in particular, believes vehemently that restricting guns of any kind won't do anthing to stop mass killings. Killers will find a way to kill. Period. 

What would be the harm in proving that theory? 

What would be the harm. Let's entertain the thought for just a second. What if assault rifles were taken out of the mix? What is the downside of trying it? If you truly believe it would make no difference in the number of mass killings, then you'd think you would be chomping at the bit to prove it once and for all.

On the flipside, let's say, for argument's sake that it does make a difference, and over the next few years, the number of mass killings is reduced by 50%. Even if it's only 50%, or  25%, or 10% wouldn't that be worth it? Fewer parents having to bury their babies. I just don't see the downside.

I've chosen to rely on a bunch of international stats and studies put forth by universities and statisticians who don't have a dog in this particular fight.  

Every single one I found shows that Countries who enforce forms of gun restrictions, albeit in varying degrees, not only pretty much eradicate mass shootings, but violent crime, as a whole, decreases significantly. Just ask Australia, they had a mass shooting in 1996, immediately imposed gun laws and they haven't had one since. That's not a coincidence.

I've heard the argument more than once that it's a cultural thing. America has a strong "gun culture." that runs historically deep.


Again, try the experiment. If you're proved correct, shoot on. If not, maybe it's just time to let your culture evolve. Cultures evolve and change all the time. If they didn't, I would still be considered the property of my husband and get arrested for showing my ankles in public. Change is good.

Besides, you can't assume any theory is correct without testing it. 
In the meantime, our dearest neighbours to the south, as you watch the body count of your innocent citizens rise, you need to find a way to explain to your scared and traumatized kids why you're not willing to at least give it a chance. Why you're not willing to entertain the thought. 

No country is without its problems, without its blemishes, its darkness. No country can claim a perfect history. But, when we have the chance, shouldn't we do whatever we can to ensure that our grandkids can look back at this particular stretch in time and be proud of the fact that we did everything we could?


Well, now that that's off my chest, I can breathe again.


With those touched by this latest tragedy in mind.........

May you receive more than words, more than empty thoughts and prayers, more than cards of sympathy from strangers.
May you receive the action you crave, the answers you need, the conduct required to obstruct future dangers.

May you find a way through this fire, a way to retrieve the pieces of your tortured, tattered souls.
May the anger, pain, and trauma someday morph into strength and purpose, propelling you toward new goals.


Until next time..... 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Best Of Who We Are.................


Just look at that face! 

That is the face of our grandbaby, Jake. He is now, officially, 6 years old.

Eyes that barely contain the mischief, giggles powerful enough to bring a smile to the saddest heart, and a sense of humour wicked enough to make you choke on your coffee. 

It's impossible to look at this face and not have hope for the future.

We are continually bombarded with images and stories of people abusing power, perpetuating racist ideals, and generally being horrible to each other. It can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the majority of us just aren't built that way. We really aren't.

The Olympics, for instance, prove that we still have the capability to come together at least once every few years and play games. All of us. All sizes, shapes, cultures, colours, genders, and sexual orientations standing side by side, and toe to toe to do nothing more than compete for prizes. 

We temporarily suspend the differences that create conflict, allowing ourselves to simply enjoy the incredible, athletic talents of our fellow humans. 

To me, it begs the question as to why we aren't celebrating this part of humanity on a much more regular basis. It's the best of what and who we are, we should show it off more often.


I often receive messages and notes from young couples, parents, and aspiring dream chasers. they have questions about achieving dreams, balancing family and work, surviving parenthood, and the emotional, financial, and physical struggles that are attached to all of the above. 

I can't speak from a place of formal education, as I have no letters trailing my name. I can only speak from an education gathered through living a life that, statistically at least, shouldn't exist. 

Those that read these ramblings know our history. We married young, were parents younger, and had to fight to be together. Our fourth and youngest daughter was born a whopping 5 1/2 years into the relationship, just a touch before my 25th birthday.

Lately, a lot of the young folks I'm hearing from are just starting out, have one or two kids, and are struggling with the division of responsibilities both at home and when it comes to bringing home the bacon.

Here is what I've learned.

If you and your kids are getting three square meals a day, you have a secure and safe roof over your head, have heat, power, clean water and a phone, you're doing pretty well already. If not, somebody needs to get a job, or another job, whichever the case may be. If you can't find one, make one. As parents, it's up to you to make sure they have these, most simple basics of life. As long as it's this side of legal, there should be nothing you wouldn't be willing to do to make sure they have what they need, every single day. Everyone has skills and talents that people are willing to employ, find yours and capitalize on them.... Now 

Household chores. The root of many an argument. Someone always feels like they do more than the other, and in all likelihood, that's probably true. If you are honest with yourself, you know which one you are in this scenario. If you are the slacker, step up. Period. Nobody likes cleaning toilets, doing dishes or scrubbing floors. You're a grown ass human who can't afford a personal maid, get over it. They're your kids too, do a load of laundry or two, I promise you won't die. Oh, and don't be afraid to get your kids to help, even little ones can do little things. Life skills are important things to learn. If your kid is old enough to have a cell phone, and is tech savvy enough to snapchat, instagram, and facebook every aspect of their life, they can run a washing machine, a vacuum cleaner, and are more than capable of finding their way around the kitchen with a mop. I promise. 

If you are sitting on a dream, you don't have to toss it. It just means, for the moment, it may need to work alongside what you need to do now. Sometimes a dream permitted to linger becomes that much more full and rich for having been allowed to ripen on the vine. 

As for the emotional and physical struggles that come with being the parents of young children, or children of any age, really, I will say this. 

Emotionally, remain a couple. Have date nights. Even if it means falling asleep watching a movie, cuddling on the couch after the kids are in bed. It counts. Have them. They are necessary for your sanity...and your relationship.

As for the sleep deprivation of the newborn and toddler days, try to remember that this aversion to their beds and bedrooms only lasts a short while, in the grand scheme of things. Before you know it, you'll need to coax them from their rooms with the smell of pizza and the jingling of car keys. You'll also need a  crane equipped with a foghorn to pry them out of bed. Oh, and the sleepless nights? Wait til they start


Well, that about does it for now, time to go watch some more fabulous humans compete for prizes.....


For Fabulous Humans Everywhere..........

May you know that you are fabulous, exquisite, whatever the purpose of your wings.
May you see that they are made for distance, strong, to carry you through any storms life may bring.

May you know our colours, though different, are equally beautiful, they go much deeper than our skin.
May you understand some are shiny, bold and bright, a silent command for attention stemming from deep within.

May you see that some colours, although more subtle, run deep and quiet, with a stellar beauty of their own,
May you know they are gems of equal value, without the desire or need to always be shown.

May we learn to celebrate every colour, for, without the compliment and contrast of each one, we would live a monotone existence.
May we learn to celebrate every colour, each shade, every hue, treasuring each and every measure of brilliance.


Until next time.... 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Adorable Little Stars........#NotThemToo


Eight years ago, when I was writing my first book for munchkins, "Lexi's Magic Clothes," the very thought that moments like this were ever likely to happen seemed an impossible dream.

The idea that parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings could, someday, sit alongside their little ones with one of my books at hand, reading the words I put to page brought tears to my eyes.

Over the years, I've received messages and emails with stories of giggles, and bedtimes, and have had the privilege to hear some of these stories in person at different events.

When I received this video message and hit play, this adorable little star reading "Tags Go In The Back" completely melted my heart. The tears that once came at the idea, fell freely.

After 8 years of hearing and reading the sweet giggle stories, watching it, somehow, made it real. Really real.

To a tiny star's parents, thank you for allowing me to share this. Thank you to all of the parents and caretakers of every tiny star who take the time to share their giggle moments with me. I absolutely love and cherish them all.



This is a subject that hits home for me, as it does for almost every female. As a Mom of four grown daughters, who have each, in their own lives, had their own experiences, I'm finding myself becoming increasingly frustrated and disappointed at the utter lack of progress reached in the past 30 some odd years.

It's sad and, sadly ridiculous.

I realize evolution, even societal evolution is slow, but come on!

There are some, and I do emphasize some, men out there who seem confused and nervous about what the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements mean.

To them, I say this.....

This isn't scary. This isn't confusing.

In the workplace, treat and talk to your female co-workers, employees, and/or bosses like people. In other words, don't be an ass, and for God's sake, remember the rules from preschool, and keep your hands to yourself. Oh, and your smarmy looks and comments, keep those little voices to yourself. Oh, and your lips, keep your lips to yourself. Oh, and your penis, yeah, keep your penis to yourself. Yeah, other than a handshake or to perform the Heimlich maneuver, there's really no real reason to touch a co-worker. It's pretty simple, and not at all frightening.

In social situations, treat females like people. In other words, don't be an ass. Don't rape us, drug us, rub up against us, rub yourself in front of us, or show us your junk, photographically or in person, without a clear invitation to do so. And no, it makes no difference if we are wearing a low cut shirt and a miniskirt, or a bathing suit, or whatever the hell else we might be wearing.

If you're relying on your skills as a mind reader for consent, use actual words. Remember, every female is somebody's daughter/sister/daughter/niece. Don't be the guy that you would want to protect your sister from. Not confusing, not frightening.

Let's get to the place where we, as females, can quit inventing counterfeit boyfriends or pretending to be gay because you can't handle the fact that we aren't romantically interested in you/don't want to dance/don't want you to buy us a drink.

Let's get to a place where we, as females don't need to cover our drinks in every public place for fear of being drugged.

Let's get to a place where we can walk around, alone, when it's dark.

Let's get to a place where we don't have be on guard...all...the...damn...time.

Let's get to a place where adorable little stars will be allowed to shine without fear.

And......let's hurry it up. Before my granddaughters have to deal with this crap would be nice. #NotThemToo


With adorable little stars in mind........

May you, tiny star, shine gloriously, your mother's fears, ancient history.
May you find the reasons behind her concern an absurd and crazy mystery.

May you never feel the heated, menacing breath of unwanted attention.
May you soar without hindrance, without ceilings, without oppressive tension.

May you dance with utter abandon, as leering eyes no longer exist.
May you never be robbed of your consent, for anything, not a touch, not a kiss.