How often do you look at the flip side of things?

How often do you look at the flip side of things?
Dear “Typically-abled” Child of Mine,

When I first received your sister’s diagnosis, one of the first coherent thoughts I had was, “How will Elliana handle this?” “Will Elliana feel burdened by the role she fell into?” “What if I am so overwhelmed with Elyssa’s special needs that it seems to you that I forgot about your needs?” I couldn’t get passed the lack of control I felt about how all of this change was going to shape you. I wrongly exited the present and started living in your futures. In the world of unknowns and anxiety. “What if someone made fun of you for having a sister who was differently-abled?” All I could think about was how this wasn’t going to be fair to you, how you didn’t sign up for this, and how you were going to feel slighted. You see, at that point in our journey, I didn’t understand the complex world of differently-abled. In fact, I am still working to understand its many nuances. 

Fast forward a bit to our family trip to Boston. A trip I planned with both you and your sister in mind. My heart couldn’t be fuller right now as I close my eyes and think of all the good that took place on this trip. There was so much happiness shared. Everything was centered around our two perfect girls, our family. I don’t even think you were aware but I watched you at the park with your sister and it taught me a lesson. Yes, even as an adult you learn lessons. Anyway, Elyssa was playing in the splash park for the first time and she was going up to others with a smile and attempted hug LOL. You picked up on the fact that during a Pandemic some of the other children maybe didn’t want to be touched or you just wanted to let her know you were there so I watched you go over and very subtly grab her hand and bring her to another sprinkler a few feet away. You have this unique read on things for your age and such innate protection for Elyssa- always have. 

It was at this moment that I realized what I initially failed to think about with Elyssa’s diagnosis. It’s called the flip side. And the flip side usually requires you to surrender your fear and follow your faith. My focus should have been on how wonderful her diagnosis could be in your world. How having a sister with special needs can help strengthen your already amazing character traits and instill strong core values in your life. For example, when you see your sister working hard to accomplish something that comes so naturally to you, I pray you learn humility. When you are tempted to judge someone based on anything other than the kindness of their heart, I pray you learn to not judge a book by its cover. When you see Elyssa’s concern for someone she barely even knows, I pray you learn how important compassion is. When Elyssa greets you with a smile from ear to ear because she loves you more than you can imagine, I pray you do the same with her. Because of your sister, I hope you can by-pass some of the shallowness that comes with youth and in turn teach others who haven’t been as fortunate as you about these crucial life lessons. 

Things won’t always be fair. There will be times when I am seemingly too concentrated on the “inns and outs” of being a special needs mom, but I will try my best to always settle the score. My love for you burns just the same and runs deeper than the ocean. You have the secret to life right in front of you: Life isn’t all about you and when you make your life about others, you get so much more in return. I learned that one from Poppy. I hope you teach each other to love, to love all people, and to love them well. You two are gems and I can’t believe I get to call you both mine. 


Hidden gem helps children with disabilities shatter stereotypes...

Hidden gem helps children with disabilities shatter stereotypes...
I want all you mamas out there to understand the underlying message here. Had I not done some further digging and sought this opportunity out, I would have never known about it and my daughter would have missed out. No one is going to make sure that you know about ALL of the amazing resources, therapies, and opportunities for your child EXCEPT you. If you want more for your child, go and get it. If you hit a stumbling block go around it. If you don't get the answer you want, ask someone else. Use your connections, ask questions, and model resilience for your child. Show up, stand up, and be their voice.

Who else FEELS this?

Who else FEELS this?
Healing will not make your life worse

Will things change? Absolutely
Will relationships shift? 100%
Will there be setbacks? You bet
Will you question it all? Most likely
Will it be trying at times? No doubt
Will life feel uncomfortable? Of course

You were put in the place you’re at now to give you the opportunity to turn it all around & come back better than how it was before.

Growth is a gift even though it may not always feel like it. You owe it to yourself & your future to embrace what’s in the palm of your hands!

Place your hands in front of you & take a look at them. Seriously. Do it right now. Really study your hands. Do you feel connected to yourself? To your journey? Do you feel the energy you hold?

If you’re having trouble feeling or seeing your power, *know* that it’s there. It’s waiting for you

It will get easier
New relationships will form
You’ll remember your passions
You’ll find your purpose
You’ll have many victories
You’ll gain great experience & knowledge
Your life will expand in beautiful ways
You’ll find your peace & freedom
Miracles will happen

You’ve come this far, that’s a miracle in itself! Keep going!
If you'd like my guide to self-healing click here: 9 steps autoimmune

What my daughter said that crushed my soul

What my daughter said that crushed my soul
How many of you have had your kid say something to you at one point or another that completely crushed your soul? If you have I pray that it doesn't consume you. If you haven't I pray that you avoid hearing it. 

There are few things in the world that hurt a parent more than hearing their child say “You need to be a better parent.” The words cut like a knife. The child you love so much and have sacrificed for in so many ways now thinks you suck as a parent. When Elliana said this to me it was a huge red flag that something was up because she is never intentionally unkind or hurtful. 

 In general, when a child is hurtful, they are seeking revenge for some perceived hurt feelings on their part. They have a problem they don’t know how to solve, whether they’re angry or stressed. Not being able to handle problems leads your child to feelings of discomfort—and pushing your buttons and getting a strong emotional reaction from you helps to make up for those feelings of discomfort.

A million thoughts were running through my head as to why my daughter said this to me. It then hit me. Sometimes, as adults, I think we forget how powerful our own energy is. With what’s been thrown at us the past few months, our vibrations individually & as a whole have been lowered. Globally, I’d say the vibration has shifted massively downward.

Panic. Fear. Distress. Confusion. Concern. Disinformation. Anger. Frustration. Restriction. These are all known as *LOW VIBRATING ENERGIES*. It’s everywhere we turn right now on a global level. Low vibrations create stress and anxiety and everyone that has been stuck in this house for the past 3 months is feeling it. Including my daughter. And little did I know that my energies were being picked up on even though I was doing my best to hide them. 

Elliana has watched me "go to work" each day from 8-3. I am in the house but not available to her because I am working. As a 5-year-old she doesn't understand why Mommy can't play with her. I'm navigating teaching, emails, meetings, phone calls, Elyssa's therapies and all she sees is me "not here but there." I keep hearing the words "you are always working." In kid language, this means she misses me. 

When I go into work it is different for her. She has her own schedule. She is at school interacting with her friends and teachers. She goes to dancing class and gymnastics. She sees her Poppy and Grandma at least once a week. Nothing about this has been easy for her and because children are so seemingly resilient I just went with the flow of the everyday. Even though we are doing our best to keep things "normal" around here she was well aware that it's far from our normal. No wonder her behavior was off! 

So at that moment instead of being defensive and going into a tailspin of "all that I do" as a parent, I simply asked if she was feeling anxious about anything and if she wanted to talk. Her response let me know that I should've checked in sooner. 

She let out a heartbroken cry and quietly said, "I'm afraid of the virus, I miss my friends and my family, and I miss going to the playground."

That’s when the floodgates opened for both of us.

I tried to say the right things like, "I know. This feels hard and unfair because it is." I hugged her and assured her that in time things will get better. We grabbed some ice cream for good measure and went on with our evening.

Watching my five-year-old process the loss of her first friends, school experience, teachers, family—is the most humbling moment I’ve had as her mother. I always knew she was capable of feeling deeply. Though, I had no idea she could verbally express it in the mature way she did.

As I put her to bed that night I couldn't help but smile thinking about what transpired. In shifting perspectives I came to these thoughts...missing all of the things that she described also means she has been very lucky. She has been the recipient of good love, from many people and places, and yes, my sweet girl, sometimes when you get that kind of gold, it’s incredibly hard to let it go.

An open letter to women seeking self-healing...

An open letter to women seeking self-healing...

Understand... That healing requires a lot of things.

It’ll feel great
It’ll also feel terrible
You’ll have highs
You’ll have lows

You may feel stuck...push through!
Doing the work
...& Understanding

Understanding can simply mean not questioning, & rather letting things flow. Not everything needs to be questioned or delivered with a response, things can “just be.”

Most importantly, understand your body. That it loves you, it wants you to heal, it’s working *with* you and never against you. *Your body is on your side*, it’s not attacking itself & never has been, it’s been fighting for you this whole time!

Understand you don’t deserve your conditions, you didn’t manifest them. Understand we were put on this earth to thrive.

Our bodies are magic the way they work with us & for us.

They NEVER work against us. The things we put them in contact with work against us. Food, alcohol, beverages. Toxic environments, people, habits, & lifestyles. THOSE are what work against us.

Your body is going to tell you what it sure to listen.

Your body will resist what’s not good for it...don’t just brush that aside.

Also, understand that *you* are not other people. Don’t compare yourself. Don’t judge. Don’t hold jealousy, anger, resentment, sorrow, or hate. We must work on releasing all that does not serve our greatest good! Those things will keep us unwell.

Understand that the negative things people do are a reflection of *their* own wounds, *their* unhealed traumas. Understand that you’re above that.

Understand that you must step outside your comfort zone to break free from toxicity, negativity, & to heal.
Read my story on self-healing here: Self-healing

How to re-introduce yourself & kick your watered down-self in the ass!

How to re-introduce yourself & kick your watered down-self in the ass!
There’s levels to this. Many...many...levels!

Are you finding that as well?

Maybe you’re at the beginning of your healing journey from chronic illness or emotionally/mentally? You’ll see soonπŸ˜‰. The deeper you go, the more you’ll grow. That’s A FACT. πŸ‘ŠπŸΌ

I thought my journey was only to heal chronic illness. Within the first couple of months I learned it was so much more. I was finding out who I was, what I wanted, I remembered my passions, I found my purpose & the reason I was put here! Joy & inner happiness had come back into my life.

And from then just WOW! That was only the SURFACE of it all! I’ve since been able to work through traumas, healing inner wounds, creating a business and the life I never thought was possible, & finally beginning to feel at home in my own body.

That’s the crazy thing about life that we aren’t often told...WE HAVE A CHOICE! WE get to decide the route we’re going to take, the path we’re going to pursue. WE get to decide h
ow to navigate our own life! Don’t like something? Get rid of it! Want something? Go after it!! When we know we want growth, that’s the first step to heal. When we surrender & make the decision to heal, we grow. The two go beautifully hand in hand.

The process isn’t all rainbows & butterflies, be prepared for that! The deeper you go, well, the *deeper* you go into places you didn’t even know existed within you.

Health flares happen of symptoms that’ll get you feeling like you’ve gone backwards. Emotional flares happen as past pain, anger, & traumas work their way through the surface. WORK through those deep uncomfortable places, be gentle with yourself, they WILL pass, & you’ll thank yourself that you did!

A couple tips for healing/growth work:
• journal: anything! thoughts; affirmations; gratitude
• use YL essential oils
• get out into nature
• eat clean (plants)• remove toxicity: people, places, things• exercise if you’re well enough to
• be present: reflect on your thoughts, emotions, & sensations as they come up (negative & positive)
• do kind things for yourself AND others
• REST, relax, vibe

Healing on any level is a marathon, not a race. Pace yourself, just please keep goingπŸ’œπŸŒΊMy kickstart course is coming soon- follow me to catch the release. 

Let's connect:

No Rush

No Rush
I knew you needed a laugh! How many of us can relate to that right now with distance learning taking place? Let's hope no-one has actually experienced it LOL! 
In all seriousness, though, what has been happening the past few weeks is traumatic in every sense. We are going through it collectively. Trauma is often thought of "too much too fast." Of course we are exhausted. Of course we are afraid. Of course we are itching to get back to normal. 
But in the rush to return to normal, let's use this time to consider which parts of normal are really worth rushing back to? If you think about it normal never was. Our pre-covid existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, depletion, disconnection, rage, hate and lack. We should not long to return to that.
When no major disasters are taking place, we get lulled into thinking the future is certain — that we’ll wake up in the morning, that we won’t get hit by a car on our way to work, that we won’t get fired, that we won’t pick up some terrible disease from the bacteria living on our computer keyboards. But the future is never certain — and we’re fortunate any time we get to pretend like it is.
I realize it’s not a particularly comforting thought to dwell on — that nothing is in our control, now or ever. But maybe we can find solace in the fact that yes, these are uncertain times, but they always are. And maybe, while absolutely nothing feels “normal” right now, we can take comfort in the uncertainty itself as the only normal we have.
When circumstances are out of your control, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by fear and negative emotions. You may think that bottling up how you feel, trying to put on a brave face, or forcing yourself to be positive will provide the best outcome. But denying or suppressing your emotions will only increase stress and anxiety and make you more vulnerable to depression. 
I can tell you that having a routine for your days is huge for emotional wellbeing. Each person in your household should have a routine that they follow. I  have been on one since the start of all of this to make sure I stay in a healthy mindset. I know how I can get if there is endless time available and no productivity. That is a no-no for me. 
So, here is what works for me...I wake up early and start gratitude journaling. I then put on my essential oils specific for how I am feeling or need to feel. Most days it has been the following oils (Endoflex for energy and thyroid support, gratitude, grounding, stressaway, present time, joy, progessence plus for hormonal balance.

On weekdays, I am teaching online all day. I check in with my students to make sure they are understanding their work and feeling well. Around noon, I check in with my family and we eat lunch. Once 3 pm hits, If it's a nice day we go on a family walk. Then we take advantage of all of us being home together at a reasonable hour and have a family dinner. Weekends are free for all- we go with the flow depending on weather and things we have to catch up on. If you haven't made yourself follow a routine yet- go do so. You will feel much better. 
Here are some additional thoughts that have crossed my mind over the past few weeks-

For the parents...Since I changed my mindset from home-schooling to home-learning I've learned ballet from my daughter, she learned how to ride a bike and the importance of taking vitamins from me. We went on a scavenger hunt, we played hide and go seek countless times. We've laughed so hard our bellies hurt. Remember learning can happen in many ways. Go and learn together. 

For the teachers...Ditch those timers, scheduled tests/quizzes & mindless busy work. Let the students self-pace, watch recordings, have a personalized check in with you. That is what's cool now. We begged for no tests so let's stop teaching like they still exist. Teach kids. No one is going to be looking at their elementary or middle school report card. Make greater connections. Learn some new ways of technology yourself- even if you mess it up at first. 
Let's not rush. Let's breathe. Let's not live wondering about the future- that only creates anxiety. Let's stay right here right now. 

Spotlight- featured in business blog

Mind of a hustler; heart of a queen

Mind of a hustler; heart of a queen
I love a hustler. I love someone who is unashamed about what they want for their lives and refuses to let anyone talk them out of it. I don’t mean that they never feel intimidated by their own audacity. I don’t mean that they don’t occasionally fall into the trap of other people’s opinions. The hustlers I know, they’re human and they face the same insecurities as the rest of us. But when push comes to shove, they don’t overthink it or debate it; they just put their heads down and get back to work. That’s what hustle means to me: it means that you’re willing to work for it, whatever it is, whatever you want, and you don’t assume anyone is going to give it to you, but you know it can be yours. Where are all my hustlers at?! 

Pressure is a privilege, I remind myself again and again. I thought I’d remind you too in case you’ve also got pressure in your life or your work this season. Pressure means that someone is counting on you. Pressure means you’re about to level up. Pressure is what makes a diamond— what a gift to be doing something that MATTERS enough to feel pressure! You WILL rise up in spite of this pressure. You’ll become who you’re meant to be because of this pressure. Accept it as the price of admission and go show us what greatness looks like! πŸ‘ŠπŸ» 
Mind of a hustler. Heart of a Queen.

Who was your Ms. Barber?

Who was your Ms. Barber?
Be here, Be you, BELONG. I love those words by Brene Brown. Top educators teach with heart. Content aside- a student will perform for you if you let them see your heart. I know this because I lived it. Ms. Barber. The ONLY teacher I would have done anything not to disappoint. And this didn't come into play until high school. Imagine all those years of education lost feeling disconnected from school?
So let's first make no mistake. I was a pain in the ass in school. I'm not proud of this but it is key to my story. My apologies go out to each and every teacher I had. Yes, I was the kid that you were warned about. You know, the one that when your list of students comes out everyone says "OHH, you'll earn your paycheck with that one." From about 4th grade on, I had no interest in anything but the social aspect of school. Ancient civilizations were not on my priority list of things to know. 
You are probably thinking to yourself "what was going on in her life that caused those behaviors? "What was she lacking at home?" Truth is, nothing at all. I had parents who were involved. I had access to materials, sports, extra help, etc. I had a large group of friends; and average ability. Yet...I wasn't connected. I own that.
So, what was it about Ms. Barber that had me eating out of the palm of her hand? Was she really young and cool? Did she let me get away with things? Did she let us have "fun Fridays?" No, no and nope. 
Never underestimate the power of these two words...time and trust. There is a certain energy to it; an equation. See Ms. Barber showed up with her whole heart. She gave me her time; something that you can't put a price on. She brought tough conversations into ordinary moments and let it be known that being vulnerable was actually showing strength..
Want to know where I ended up because of Ms. Barber? Watch the video down below. And if you see Ms. Barber, tell her I said "thank you."

In the Arena

In the Arena

In life, I understand that self-protection is always our default. It’s how we are wired. However, I believe this pandemic experience is a massive experiment in our abilities to surrender and accept being vulnerable. 

In the last week, while concern about the Corona Virus has increased, it has been interesting to observe the behaviors and/or the words of others. The ways people are handling this time of scarcity, uncertainty, and isolation is from a place of fear. Rightfully so. I know it is hard to feel alone in your struggle and fear. I know the pain of feeling isolated and the pain of a special occasions going other than planned. 

As a special-needs mom, and a teacher, I have become exceptional at accepting uncertainty. This is not the first time that I’ve been told we’re going to have to do something that feels nearly impossible. It is not the first time that I’ve had no guarantees on the outcome that I tirelessly pray for. I’ve learned to surrender to what is and not waste time and energy putting up resistance. In the end, we can only change what we can control.

With that being said, while this period of time in our life is hard, we NEED to dig deep. My greatest push to remain calm is my children. I know they are watching and learning about how to respond to stress and uncertainty. I want to wire them for resilience, not panic. Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly and persevere. So, while this situation sucks for ALL; we have to pick back up. We are all grieving the loss of something at this time. Let’s show empathy with the array of experiences because our perspectives are based on what is in front of us at the given time. 

The Corona virus is affecting us all in some way- whether directly or indirectly. Lets remember…

*People who are extremely worried about their older family members
*Those that are already sick w/ the virus
*Those that are immunocompromised
*Kids that miss their friends at school
*Families that don’t have food
*Those w/ asthma or other pre-existing conditions
*Small Business owners struggling to earn an income
*Parents trying to manage working & their own kids school work all day
*HS Seniors w/out proms and graduations
*Any student at the graduating level of schooling
*Health care workers on the front line
*Teachers missing their students 
*Athletes that lost their final season of sports

Some suggestions for parents…

*Home schooling is a new thing for most of us. Many of us are trying to work from home while tending to our children and making sure they stay up to date on their school work. There are many plates that we are trying to keep up in the air. Rather than setting academic goals every day focus on spending extra time just being together with no expectations. There will be a time to resume school work. But accept that it may not be now because without emotional regulation, children can’t learn.

*Let them experience boredom. Every minute does not need to be accounted for. Remember just as we can come out of our skin at times, they will too. They will spend hours complaining before they settle into that strange place that’s rarely visited by today’s children – their imagination.  We don’t need to entertain them, we need to model for them. Boredom is sacred. We shouldn’t deny our children this experience.

*Never forget that your little family is the best team you could ever have. Lean on each other and soak in this precious time that you have been given to reconnect. 

Some suggestions for teachers…

*Breathe. The space that you educate from doesn’t need to be the classroom. Lead with your heart. The students will feel that no matter what curriculum you throw at them. Make this new space one that the kids look forward to showing up for. Let them release the crushing weight of what is going on. You are the guardian of this new space. Make it count. Find a way to make this experience memorable for them in a positive way. 

As we move forward let's give each other grace. And don't forget to give yourself some. Just know that, if you are struggling in anyway during this quarantine, I am here. I’ll be connecting online and you are welcome to join me at any point. The space will be safe and exactly what you need. Just click the link below. 

Stay safe. Stay well. Stay connected
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