I just really want to be the warm yellow light that pours over everyone I love ❤️

I hate this.

I hate this year, this time, this virus.

I hate that it has taken lives, stopped the world in its tracks, and ruined so much.

I feel like I can move past this and adapt to what now is.

However,

What happened last week….I just don’t think I can move past.

I just don’t understand.

This is one of the first times in my life, I don’t have the words.

I truly don’t know what to say, how to fight, comfort, or what to believe anymore.

Lately, I feel like we are all one big kindergarten class without a teacher.

The world has gone wild.

And so, I have collected my thoughts and gone back to my classroom, with my Creator, Teacher and Savior.

I hate how humans mistreat other humans.

I hate the violence.

I hate the anger and sadness.

I hate this.

But, I believe in Him and I know I have to find a way through this.

Last Friday, my emotions came to a screaming halt and were forced out of my mouth.

I cried so hard and so loud, as I lay on my floor, I swear the house shook.

I can’t take this anymore.

“Feeling more and more like everything’s goin wrong.

Running, running, I can’t keep running. Something …there’s always something.

Never gonna have control, I’m better off letting go”

I love that song. It is so perfect for how Life feels these days.

So

Out

Of

Control.

During my hour long breakdown, I texted my oldest daughter.

I told her how heavy things felt and how sad I was.

I said, “I just can’t carry all of this anymore.”

She brought me back when she texted me this.

“Hand it up to God on a silver platter”….”like you always told me”

Yes!

Give it to Him.

When it’s too hard to handle and too heavy to bear, drag it over to Him.

He will carry it and you will be free again.

….note to self: “they were listening “♥️

My beautiful daughter reminded me from where my strength comes.

And, in moments, the tears dried and I felt alive again.

He is my shelter and my strength.

I had what I secretly call a “dazed” weekend.

What that means for me is reflection. Introspective thinking. Going within to help rebuild myself and those around me again.

The photo and quote that I included on this blog is one I found many years ago when I was longing for forgiveness.

To forgive my parents, siblings and others in my past.

I now have it framed in my bedroom and see it every day.

It especially stood out to me last Friday.

We must learn to forgive and move forward in a new light.

A new beginning.

For all ❤️

We can no longer shuffle these injustices and the pain so many feel under the carpet, hoping it will go away.

Because it won’t.

And it shouldn’t.

Any problem we have in life is never healed until we feel and deal.

That’s my motto, feel and deal.

The bandage that has been slapped on over and over again all of these years has been torn off, only to reveal this huge, gaping wound that so many have endured.

So many.

It has never been healed.

And for all of those, my heart aches. ❤️

In order to move forward, we all, as one nation, under God, must come together and realize we are One.

I keep coming back to scripture for comfort and clarity.

We were ALL created in His Image. The image of God.

We are brothers and sisters.

I don’t understand how some can’t see that.

As you read this, please know that I write these words with absolute love.

I do not wish to argue, debate or have any negativity thrown at me. For those who know me best, know that I my only goal is to empower.

So, for today, I leave you with LOVE.

Know that I accept you for who you are, who you were and who you May be.

I honor your space.

I honor your life here and how you choose to live.

Hate has no place in my Heart or my Home.

I believe we were ALL created for a very specific reason and brought here in this time to give love and guidance to the present and the future.

It is our right and responsibility.

We have the ability, in this moment, to change the future.

For our children.

Our grandchildren.

For all of those to come.

I will continue to pray for each one of you, our nation as a whole, and for LOVE to conquer us all once again.

God is OUR refuge and strength, my friends.

❤️ 💜🖤🤍🤎💛🧡WE ARE ONE ♥️🖤🤍🤎💙💛🧡💚💜❤️💚💛🧡💙🤎🤍🖤💜❤️🧡💛💚

Much Love,

Linda🙏

Living Through the Storm

I woke up with a thought in my heart today.

A pattern of thoughts scattered in my mind, with the urge to empower…if only just one. 💜

Ahh, I love rainy Sundays.

They are the perfect time for reflection, self care and stillness.

This Sunday is no different.

A gentle rain, the birds chirping their gratitude, and a hot cup of coffee by my side.

Here I go….

Last week, I saw a Facebook post reminding me of all the historic events others have LIVED THROUGH.

My level of respect went through the roof.

Humans that lived in concentration camps found the strength to conquer their circumstances and survive.

They went on to have families, make memories, and LIVE.

Many in the camps didn’t just sit and wait for their futures to be determined. They found ways to Live in the midst of their hell.

I don’t know that I would have the mental strength to endure what they did.

They are Heroes.

Then, we look at the Great Depression and all of the moving parts of that time.

Hunger, unemployment, rationing, fear of the unknown.

And, when the end of the Depression came, World War 2 began.

Can you imagine the hopelessness??

Perspective may have saved many lives.

How did they move THROUGH those trying times?

My best guess is that they didn’t just exist through them, but they continued to LIVE.

The Bubonic Plague, the Great Depression, World War 2….Real History.

After recalling conversations at different times in my life with my Grandparents, Aunts, uncles and parents, it came to me.

In order to thrive in this new environment we are in, we must find LIFE in each moment, in each day.

We must LIVE fully and not just be.

We are LIVING THROUGH a time that will be talked about by our great grandchildren, it will be written about and documented.

So many things we know and love have faded from our daily lives.

So much has changed.

We may not all be on the same page with our thoughts, but I know we have all had something consistent taken from us. Something that “made” us who we are.

However, the The Human Spirit remains the same.

Solid.

Resilient.

Made stronger by the storm.

I don’t have the words to express the strength, beauty and hope that my eyes have seen and my ears have heard the last few months.

Wish I did, so I could write it here today and look back years from now with a vivid picture of how the world “showed up”.

From the doctors and nurses risking their own lives to save others, the police officers and firefighters standing strong so we feel secure, to the retired lady bagging groceries at the local supermarket.

Watching my children’s compassion and resilience.

Seeing each morning in a new light.

The generosity of others.

The human need of contributing.

To the simplest things we have found to create a moment of normalcy each day.

I see God working everywhere.

In every way. ♥️

His LIGHT has remained unchanged.

So, on my run the other day, I took my face towards the sun and sky.

I ran with a smile and asked myself some questions.

“Am I LIVING and moving forward even though it seems LIFE has paused?”

“Am I being a leader and an example to those that I love?”

“Would I be at PEACE if today was the last day here?”

For me, the answers are “YES”.

How we live in the midst of adversity can tell a lot about who we are at our core.

Ask yourself ….

Are you merely existing?

Are you hiding in a cocoon afraid and weak?

Are you calming and leading others to hope?

Are you truly LIVING THROUGH this pandemic?

Go ahead. Ask yourself.

Because I did.

Even through the uncertainty and unknowns, our clocks are still ticking.

Days are turning into months and the months will soon be a year.

I’m holding tight to my life plan.

To LIVE LOUD.

To LIVE WITH INTENTION.

To LEARN and GROW each day, as this is my classroom.

We aren’t being put through this test to sit and wait it out, friends. We are here to LIVE THROUGH it all.

I view this as a very difficult course in college.

We won’t necessarily breeze through this one without a few bumps and scars.

It’s time to observe, test ourselves, and see what we can take from this lesson.

Just like the HEROES who survived the Holocaust, the Wars, the Great Depression……

It’s time to look inside and see what we are made of ♥️

We are made of LIGHT, LOVE and HOPE.

All within each of us.

Free to give, easy to offer…..and safe to share😉

Stay strong. Well. And Be Blessed, my friends.

May you be a Star Student and Ace this

LIFE CHANGING TEST🙏

Much love,

Linda ♥️

Those Rainbow 🌈 Moments

If someone woke you up in the middle of the night and told you that you had 5 minutes to grab what you needed to survive, what would you take?

Would you run through your home, grabbing family photos? Money? Your laptop? Your children? And, what about food or water?

What do YOU need to survive?

It’s an interesting question at best.

Really think about it before you answer because your “needs” may surprise you.

At best, they were eye opening for me.

Now, I’m not saying someone came into my home and had me pack a bag, but my husband and I decided some time ago that we would downsize and move.

Yes, in the midst of a quarantine and a pandemic.

And, yes, I have once again been reminded of what I need to survive.

By that, I mean “who” and “what”. And, as I was packing, I made sure to choose wisely and ask myself “why”.

We have had to walk by Faith through this adventure.

We didn’t know what the next announcement would be, if one of us or a family member would become ill, or what to expect from one moment to the next.

I don’t do well with the unexpected, so this was a huge test for me.

I view my life as one big lesson.

I picture God standing up at the head of classroom, coaching me, challenging me and showing me how far I have come with Him by my side.

I definitely am not ready to “graduate”, but man oh man, I am learning a lot!

Through this particular journey, I have definitely come face to face with some old demons.

Fear of the unknown.

Anxiety.

Stress.

Change.

And the material world around me.

I never really thought of myself as a “material girl”(sorry, I’m an 80’s kid….Madonna shoutout).

But, I think I am….

With this recent move, I have learned it is ok to let go……

And let God.

As I have done my entire life, I deal with the gross, wretched part of the emotion and then I flip it.

I flip into the lesson and make it beautiful. Why? Because this life that God envelopes us in is just that. Beautiful.

It can sometimes be ugly or difficult…or sad, but there’s always a rainbow at the end.

Always.

I always seem to look back and say, “Ah, I got it. That’s why.”

And that’s the rainbow 🌈 moment.

Ever do that?

Go through a storm and then reflect?

As humans, we see the clouds billow and start to panic. We hide from it’s power. We go inside and live out of fear.

But, what if we approached the storm instead? What if, just once, we grabbed our umbrella and God’s mighty hand and walked INTO it with Him?

Tell me, what if?

Well, in my experiences of being “forced” into the storm, you find that it’s really not that bad.

Now, don’t get me wrong….it’s uncomfortable and scary, but the accomplishment you feel after…and the lessons you learn….the next storm, maybe won’t be so bad??

Now, here’s where the beauty begins.

Let me just preface this, by making sure you understand….. you’re gonna get wet!

You will be tired.

You will cry.

You will find weaknesses inside that you didn’t know existed.

You may have to give things up that you thought you needed.

You may fall.

You may scream.

Where’s the beauty in that???

In the rainbow, friends.

It’s all in the rainbow 🌈.

Because, guess what?

You will rise again.

You will reflect and see just how strong you are.

You could have never imagined conquering the obstacles you were about to face, but you did.

You couldn’t see past the dark, ominous clouds, but they passed.

And, you didn’t think you could carry such a heavy load(or, in my case, a huge bookcase), but you did!!!

And, now imagine the foundation He has built for you to weather the next storm in life.

And, we know, without a doubt, another will come.

Maybe not in the form of a pandemic, or a major move, or quarantine, or illness, job loss, or anything of that nature…but the clouds are on the horizon. And, next time, you will be more prepared because of this “lesson”.

Now, back to what you would grab if you only had minutes and limited space.

I have been gently reminded what I need to survive.

If I woke up without _____________, could I go on?

Ask it.

Go ahead.

Because I did.

My answer is that I am beyond blessed.

Beyond grateful.

And my home and heart are full.

I have “more” than I probably deserve. A whole storage unit full. An adorable home with so many beautiful “things”.

I didn’t have to “pack a bag” in 5 minutes…I was blessed to have the time to choose. And in doing so, I chose wisely.

You see, I realized it wouldn’t matter what state or country I moved to.

It’s not the address that makes a home, but WHO resides inside.

For me, it’s 1.), Jesus….then, my husband and my dog.

My heart lives in this home, and it’s full of LOVE and 45 years of LIFE.

This home will be decorated with the laughter and new memories when family can come to visit and painted with LOVE inside.

I found that what was most important for me was so much more than tangible items. The “things” that mattered the most to my heart were the emotions that the items captured.

My 4 children’s newborn clothes.

My Grandmothers aprons.

Halloween costumes (especially the Batman mask and feather boua).

And so much more.

And back to those rainbows? I had a rainbow 🌈 moment after my Dad’s passing. You see, he didn’t really “leave” me anything. No books, fishing poles, not many pictures or hobbies. I was crushed at first. And then, the Teacher stepped up to board. He reminded me of all the nights I was woken up by my Dad to sing country songs. I hated those songs and the hours he would keep me up telling me his life stories.

You get it, right?

My rainbow 🌈 was the moment I saw that my Dad left me the greatest gifts of all.

A book of his life, in my mind, that I will have forever.

Songs(that I’m finding also tell a story), and so many snapshots of he and I at that dining room table, singing to Hank Williams Jr in the middle of the night.

I sing those damn songs now.

I play them loud. And laugh, smile and sometimes even cry.

Thanks, Dad. ♥️

What he left me is priceless…there isn’t enough money to purchase those gifts and there isn’t an amount I would take to sell it away.

The 🌈.

My heart has felt so much in the last 4 weeks.

Sadness for the lives lost from the virus, Hope for all of humanity, excitement for the renewal that is upon us and absolute gratitude for my life and all who reside in it.

As I sat on my sofa, in my new home, on Easter Sunday, I was in awe.

I had my “rainbow” 🌈 moment.

“I get it, God. I hear ya loud and clear, and I thank you.”

Through this pandemic and “Great Pause” in the entire world, a Bible phrase keeps flashing in my mind.

“ Whoever finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it”♥️

We are being forced to Be Still, friends.

Think about that.

For the first time in most of our lives, the world has literally SHUT DOWN.

Maybe it’s so God can heal it and turn it around?

We must embrace this moment in time.

We must not be afraid to weather this storm, but to grab God’s hand, an umbrella and walk into it with Faith.

The first step is always the hardest but remember this promise too…

“FAITH is being sure of what we hope for and certain of which we do not see”

He’s GOT us, friends.

You may get wet, but His warm light will dry you once again.

I leave you with this thought today so you may find strength in the midst of this tornado we are in the middle of.

Be STILL.

Let GO and Let GOD.

And, as I tell my kids when something doesn’t go their way…

“Trust in God…He May have something better in mind”🌈

Much love to you all.

Make sure to pack lightly😉

Linda 💜

“Trust in God…He May have something better in mind 🌈”

Spring Training

For many years, I have done a “Goals” list.

It used to include such things as weight loss, buying a piece of furniture, or whatever my mind desired at the time.

Through the years, as with most things, it seems to have matured.

This past November, my list included just 3 things.

1. A lofty business goal.

2. To run my first marathon.

3. To Live. In the moment. To be fully present.

I figured I had this year’s list locked down.

I mean, I know how to run my real estate business very well, I started running 6 months before the actual marathon….now I just need to figure out how to let go and live.

Little did I know that a few months in, I would begin training for what could be the most mentally challenging year of my life.

For those who know me, you know I don’t do well with change.

As a child, there was just too much uncertainty. So as I have aged, that is something I decided to control…my surroundings and day to day life.

I’d say I had a pretty damn good routine until recently.

I thought I had control.

I can’t speak for you, but for me, one of the most frightening aspects of this virus and quarantine is the uncertainty.

When will it hit?

Who could it take from me?

How bad will it be?

When will it end?

So much freaking uncertainty.

…And, I really have no control over any of it.

Without control over my environment, my routine and my health….I flipped out last week.

What will I do?

How will I continue to live my life without KNOWING what tomorrow will bring???

And then I opened my devotional…..Jesus Calling. I’ve referred to this little book for many, many years.

Through the fears of my children leaving the nest, to my Dad’s passing, health scares… and just those days when you want to cry.

You know, the days you wake up and just feel off? Even on the darkest days, His message has brought me so much PEACE.

And so last week, on a very dreary day, I opened it up again…only to be met with a message so loud, I knew it was meant for me.

Our Lord is with us, in every way.

Waiting for you to come to Him, holding out His hands to offer you comfort and peace.

He is a constant.

He is the calm in this storm.

I realized that day that the ONLY certainty I have is Him.

We all have had experiences in our lives that have been eye opening.

Those “ah ha” moments when you just know something bigger than you has either moved you or blocked your way.

Growing up, I had many.

He was with me every step of the way.

For me to forget that, to doubt it, to retract in fear of what I’m walking into….well, that’s not an option.

So, I decided to rearrange my spring training schedule a bit.

I won’t focus on building muscle, but mental strength. I’ll go through my memories into times that I overcame. I’ll stack those up one by one, as if I’m layering my foundation….because I am.

I won’t stress about timing or how long things will take. I’ll just LIVE for today, like I should be anyway. I’ll listen to the birds. I’ll call family and friends. I’ll slow down my pace and continue to work on my breath and my inner peace.

I’ll keep my eyes laser focused on Him and I won’t let the fears, media, statistics, or stories block the way to my goals.

I’ll trust the process and enjoy the ride.

I’ve got this amazing “tour guide“ who has promised me He will never leave my side. ♥️

Take your thoughts out of what was and put your heart into what will be.

They say it takes 21 days to break a habit….I’m tearing down my walls and allowing Him to rebuild me.

Are you ready for a renovation??

Be safe, strong(in all ways), and begin your “Spring Training” with the best coach ever…. today.

He has a foolproof playbook, friends.

And best of all?

He knows the way…..

Much love,

Linda ❤️

And here you are LIVING, in spite of it all🦋

If you look beyond the wrinkles on my face and wind blown hair, you’ll see LIFE.

As I finished off my run today, this older couple was at the end, enjoying a picnic lunch, in their winter gear.

I’m glad the run was over because this image stopped me in my tracks.

They are LIVING…..in spite of it all.

In the midst of the fears, the unknowns, the media hype (that has all but shut our cities down), they showed up today.

They showed up to make a memory.

To smile and laugh.

And to live another day.

So did many others that I passed on the trail. Runners, people walking their dogs, and many others out and about enjoying the sun and another day of life.

I get it, friends.

We have to be cautious, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop living or making memories.

These are gifts!

Freely given to each one of us.

Instead of sitting inside, getting bogged down by Facebook rumors, the news, and preparing for it all to end…..go outside!!

It’s free.

It’s safe.

And it is a beautiful reminder of how good life truly is.

This is a bump in the road…it’s not a dead end.

As I ran this morning, some thoughts entered my head.

I wonder what would happen if we all stopped hoarding items, running around wildly like prey being chased, and started remembering how strong we all are?

Now don’t get me wrong, be proactive in your health and be prepared.

But please try to remember some basics in the midst of the chaos.

You can be part of the problem or…part of the solution. That is only for each of us to decide.

Let me share a story of preparation from my past.

When I was growing up, as a child of an alcoholic home, I never knew what to expect. I never knew what to be afraid of…or what could happen next.

So I decided to cover all bases and be prepared for anything.

I learned this through experiences.

There’s one night in particular that stands out in my mind and makes me think of our world today.

In 6th grade, I went to bed one ordinary night.

I wasn’t thinking anything bad would occur.

Now keep in mind, it was 20 or 30 below that night, as it was the middle of winter.

My parents had been drinking and fighting and my Dad came upstairs. He woke me up and told me to leave!

It’s the middle of the night and winter! I was scared, but he persisted so I went.

I had time to find my boots, throw my winter coat over my pajamas and go. I ended up hunkering down in the old family car….for hours.

I’m not going to lie and tell you I wasn’t cold.

It was brutal.

After a while I began to wonder how I could stay warm or what I should do. I got out and ran…yes ran…around the block of my neighborhood, to stay warm.

And it helped.

💥Taking action to control myself in a unknown situation calmed me. 💥

After a few hours had passed, I noticed the lights were out(so they must have gone to bed) and I snuck back in.

Before even going back to sleep that night, I found an extra backpack and packed it full of extra food(kipper snacks and crackers to be exact), an extra set of mittens and some cash.

I began preparing by putting my coat in my bedroom closet each day after school…and I always slept with my boots next to my bed.

💥I was proactive and prepared. 💥

Therefore, my father’s unexpected behavior became less and less scary to me each time.

Fear loses its power when we take back control over ourselves.

Remember that.

Fear and faith can NOT be in the same room together.

So whether you believe in God, Jesus, the universe, or nothing at all….get your head in order.

And please calm the FUCK down.

This is life…here… now…and you don’t have any control over that.

You can’t put in your planner who will or won’t get sick.

You can’t let the virus know when it works best in your schedule for it to arrive or manifest how it will change your environment.

So again, I implore each of you… take back YOUR Power.

The POWER inside of you 🦋

It’s just waiting to be unleashed.

And, friends…..One more important thing….

After you finish reading this…put down your phone !!!!

Go outside and breath in the fresh air God has given us today.

Play ball with your kids before they grow up!

Take that beautiful dog for a walk.

Smile and remember to LIVE……

In spite of it all🌈

Follow me on Facebook or Instagram…My blogs are meant to empower, embrace, and help all emerge from whatever is holding you back from being the most powerful YOU.

Sending you so much love and joy.

Linda ♥️

Be still♥️

Remember, in order to walk on the water, you have to Trust Him and get out of the Boat ⛵️
Move past Fear to Peace

For over 25 years, whenever there has been a crisis or a potentially life changing event in my life, I had to figure out a way to be an example.

To be stronger than the storm.

To stand tall against all odds, as I knew 4 beautiful souls were watching and learning.

“Who you are, they will become”.

I had to figure out a way to be stronger than my circumstances and to rise above.

So, I gave my burdens and weaknesses to God.

I stepped out of the boat and into the stormy sea.

I figured, He created the Heavens and Earth, right?

I’m guessing he won’t let me drown.

And, to date, He has come through.

For it all.

In the middle of a recession, when I was trying to feed and clothe my 4 children, we never went without.

Through the years of hell I endured in my childhood, I was always protected.

He has carried me through every storm.

And this time, I trust that it will be no different. So, once again, I’m grabbing onto His almighty hand.

I’ll admit, I’ve gotten a little freaked out.

You all know what I’m taking about.

It’s all over Facebook, on the news, in the papers and it seems that even the most light hearted conversations turn to it.

Coronavirus.

It’s this big, scary, unknown “monster” that is threatening our routines, putting lives at risk, and disrupting our plans.

We are afraid to lose control.

At least I know I am…

And then I began to wonder why.

If I truly trust in Him, why would I ever let an earthly problem control me? Well, because I am weak and human and because I gave the fear power.

So, I have decided to take that power back.

I’ll use the energy to be a Light in the Darkness.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

I can be proactive without running away in Fear.

Now, I may have purchased some toilet paper and a few staples. My hands are a bit more dry than normal, from extra hand washing…. and I may have increased my vitamin C intake.

Those are not fear based, that is preparation.

I’ve always said I only blog when I am pulled to my chair and prompted in the early morning hours.

So, here I am.

I’m writing this to empower you. ♥️

To remind you to rise above the circumstances we have in front of us and remember who’s in control.

…spoiler alert…it’s not US!

I’ve been running a lot lately…..like, a lot.

And in doing so, I am forced to be alone(almost still) with myself for sometimes hours.

You can do a lot of thinking during that time(trust me)😉.

What came to mind on my last run was this,

“What are we all running from?”

Maybe you are reading this at this very moment thinking, “how dare her, I’m not running from anything.”

Yeah, I thought that once too.

But, here’s the thing.

We all are.

And with that thought, my mind took a turn.

The media, the press, the misinformation.

It’s all fear based.

There’s some good, logical info out there, but with this all being so new, do any of us really know the truth?

That brought me to my mantra of comfort that day…

“God already knows the ending.”

Say that again.

He already knows the ending.

He knows how it’s all gonna go down, friends! Now, I don’t know about you, but that brings me to a whole new level of PEACE.

He’s GOT this.

We are all human and it’s normal for us to feel fear. It’s not healthy for us to go running around scared, essentially running from something unknown.

And, that, in itself is frightening.

From the “what if’s”, to the nights that never seemed to end as a child, the times when I felt like I was on the edge….to today.

God has never let me walk alone…..He walks beside you, too.

Think of Him as the parachute 🪂. He may have us step to the edge, we may lose our balance, but He will never let us fall.

So, if only for today….

Breathe in the Peace ☮️

The calm of knowing it will all work out for the good.

The reassurance that you are safe, being supported and held by something GREATER than you. ♥️

And try to remember as I do, that we don’t have to carry these heavy burdens on our own.

Give them to God.

And as one of my dear friends used to tell me,

“He’s got your back”.

Blessings, health and peace to each of you. ♥️

Be still.

Much Love,

Linda ♥️

Take Time to LIVE 👠

Live.

It’s what we all “plan” to do.

To grow up, get a great job, and live the dream.

“To live, laugh and love”, right?

To live freely, fully, faithfully.

But how many of us truly do?

How many of us actually are LIVING the LIFE our soul knows we are capable of?

I can only speak for myself and I was not LIVING mine.

I was making a life “planning” to live when the time was right.

……Maybe I’ll do that when I’m 50.

……Maybe when I retire.

……Maybe….when???

I was feeling powerful by discussing plans and making lists.

Really, I was just kicking the can down the road.

Until last November✔️

My husband and I found out that a dear friend of ours was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer late last year.

The news hit us hard, as she has always been more like an aunt to us through the years.

She, too, had plans.

❤️

Sometimes it takes a shock like that to cause you to evaluate your own choices and the “what if’s”.

What if?……

What if I ran out of time ⌛️????

And then, my mind started to flood with all the things I wanted to accomplish.

All the lives I wanted to touch.

Ironically, every fall, I sit down with myself to evaluate my growth and think about how I would like to improve my soul while I am here.

I recognized that I hold myself back from many things in this life… and being reminded of the ticking clock ⏰, and the uncertainty of my days here….I chose my word…….LIVE.

I chose it with excitement.

I chose it with determination.

I chose it with wide open eyes.

Almost like a child.

Realizing that this would be the year I would finally “push” myself to LIVE.

For me, that means really being present.

Going into adventures with an open mind, trying new things, crossing things off my bucket list….and living like tomorrow is not promised (because, it is not❤️).

……So, I decided to run a marathon.

I had mentioned my “word of the year” to my oldest son and had also expressed that I was “intrigued” by the thought of actually running 26.2 miles(in one day)!!!

After some prompting(and pushing)….I registered.

It was the day after Thanksgiving.

I will tell you that I will never forget the rush of adrenaline that went through my veins as I confirmed it online, the sweat that ran down my back, and the instant panic to turn back….

Because why?….well, because I didn’t have to do it now…I have time. ⏰

After trying to get out of it, talking squeamishly about it, and almost being ill because I also shared it on social media…. I was stuck.

What had I done?

And, then, I had a breakthrough.

I had just LIVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My noun became a verb.

My word became an action.

My goal became a journey.

That journey has changed me already.

Only 6 weeks in and I am stronger…in all sorts of ways.

And strangely, calmer…more so than I have ever been.

While running the other day, I pictured myself snuggling into a comfy arm chair at the end of the day……I’m settling into the newest version of me and I like it.

Someone who is LIVING and in the midst of that, feeling so free.

Time is a tricky little bugger, isn’t he?

So I challenge you all…..why wait??

Buy the cute red 👠 shoes….and wear the shit out of them!

Go on the vacation you were planning for “someday”.

Call the long lost friend or family member and mend your broken hearts.

Stop making those useless lists that you store in a drawer and thinking the thoughts of what you would change if you found out you we’re running out of time…..

Because you are….

So,

LIVE your beautiful LIFE now.

Today.

This minute.

❤️

And don’t forget this one thing …..

“The biggest mistake you will ever make is thinking you have the time.” ⏰

👙💥Live loud and live NOW, friends💥👠

Much love,

Linda ❤️

He may have something better in mind 🎁

I’ve been trying to fight the urge to jump on the social media “thankful post” train the whole month of November.

I always tell my husband that when I blog, it’s more like a calling, and I swear “these aren’t my words”.

Typically, when I write, it’s like these thoughts start churning in my mind and I come across this huge epiphany that I feel the need to share; hoping it will help someone.

Empower someone.

Reach a yearning ear.

I’ve spent countless 3:40am mornings, staring blankly out my living room window, saying the same prayer.

“How would you use me today?”

“Here I am, Lord. Your instrument.”

I’m starting to believe even deeper in the power of prayer……

With Thursday being Thanksgiving, it has brought many memories to my mind.

From childhood dinners to not so long ago.

The emerging of a human life is something to truly treasure.

As I ran the other day, I started to reflect on this past year…2019.

It’s so interesting to me how so many of us go into each year with our “resolution list”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about writing out goals and going after them, but I learned this past year, God sometimes has something better in mind.

I started this year with a Bang.

Training for my first half marathon, rocking out my career, healthy, positive, strong.

My year began just the way “I had planned”…..and I type that with a HUGE smile on my face ☺️…..Thanks be to God.

He had some other detours and bumps in the road for me to travel through.

He, being the Lord, the Author of my Life. ❤️

I received a beautiful card from my mother this past January, reaching out and wanting to rekindle our relationship.

I felt strong enough and felt it was an answer to my prayers.

I connected with her and it was good.

So, I did what I do best…and went all in…inviting her to stay with me, at my home, after a decade of detachment…for 10 days.

That was a lot.

I didn’t realize the mental impact it would have on my body and mind.

After she left, I spent most of the summer of 2019 beating myself down, assigning my body ailments, and rushing to heal the decade of damage that had been done.

I’ll tell you what, I sure learned a lot.

About myself and about life.

Another beautiful gift that came from my traumatic childhood was the gift of writing.

I find it to be so amazing that when I can’t put the emotions into words, I just grab a pen and paper, and puke it all out.

I always feel so much more clear and calm.

So, this summer I did just that.

I couldn’t process what I was feeling, so I wrote it down.

I wrote out that I had done all I could for my family, it wasn’t my fault, and after 45 years of feeling helpless, I decided all I can do (for anyone) is give it to God…..and just Pray.

The release of stress, the freedom I began to feel… I really Don’t have the right words.

All that comes to mind is the word, Power.

We recently took a vacation to Jamaica this past month.

Breathtaking, calm….just what my husband and I needed.

I hadn’t really realized the toll life had taken on our health and our spirits until I was able to “just be” for a few hours by the ocean one morning.

Looking back on the year, I can now clearly see.

A lot can change in 365 days.

And a lot of changes happened to me.

We became true empty nesters this past year, we changed companies, experienced loss and love, transition and growth.

My two oldest children moved away.

I opened up wounds I didn’t know still existed.

And I began my “transition” as a woman.

Trust me, friends, that is a lot to overcome.

Peri menopause…..I won’t go into too much detail, but it’s like being on a roller coaster… in the middle of the ocean….when you can’t swim….unexpectedly….on random days…..without warning…..all while you think you are losing your mind. 🥳

Fun stuff.

Now back to being thankful.

I start every year with a word.

That’s right, no resolutions, just one word.

It typically reflects a part of me that I want to enhance.

2017 was Health…that was my laser focus for that year. I lost 45 pounds and took on a whole new lifestyle.

2018 was Peace. My focus was forgiveness and understanding. I developed stronger relationships and learned so much about the human spirit.

2019 was Power.

My focus this past year was taking it back.

I realize now, I did.

A pivotal moment in my world was an ordinary July morning this past summer.

Picture it, I came home from 5am CrossFit, was getting ready for the day, and soaked my shirt due to a hot flash.

I had been feeling very shaky the past few weeks, but like most women in today’s society….we can never let the world see us falter, right?

I call Bullshit.

That morning, I texted my coach to meet me, as I was frustrated with….well, looking back…life.

He sat down with me, while I vented and cried.

I believe he understood that I just needed to release some stress.

He did a great job allowing me to do so.

We talked, set some goals, and a game plan for moving forward.

That’s all good and great, but then I asked him the question that made me realize I had hit an all time low.

I handed over my own Power.

I had just given it away in 5 words.

“Do you believe in me?” I asked him.

I Actually ASKED another human if they BELIEVED in ME???!!!!!!?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What the hell?

We ended our meeting and as I drove back home, I think I was in shock.

I don’t remember a time I have felt so broken and disappointed in myself.

So, I did what I do these days.

I laced up my Brooks and went for a run.

As I began, it was like climbing uphill.

I was so blocked and exhausted.

And then this song came on my playlist.

“I See You” by Missio.

I’ve blogged about it before.

It’s an eye opener.

Why can’t we see ourselves as He sees us?

We are beautifully made, hand crafted by our God.

And yet, we live, broken.

I remember looking up to the sky that day, with the sun warming my face.

I made a very important promise that morning that changed the rest of my year.

I will only see, hear, and feel Love for myself.

I will follow my heart and intuition at all times.

I will “see” myself as God “sees” me.

Life changing, folks.

Life changing.

That conversation, in July, needed to be had before September.

Before I ran the Ragnar relay.

Before I was in the dark woods, on a 7.6 mile run, alone in the night.

Before I had only myself and God to count on.

Had I not taken my Power back that July day, I would not have had the strength to move through the darkness and uncertainty that night.

Had I not taken my Power back I would not have been able to set new limits with my Mom so I may continue healing and move forward with her, in a different light.

Had I not taken back my Power, that July day…the path may be much different today.

See what I am saying?

It’s all in His time.

It was not necessarily convenient or “planned”, but it was RIGHT.

Perfect timing.

And just what my soul needed.

Power ❤️

But not mine, through Him.

Here’s the thing.

I am thankful that I was reminded of this,

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

Now, that is Power. ❤️

And I am so glad He took me down His path in 2019.

2020s word is LIVE. ❤️

Life is short…and surprising…unexpected….and a journey.

We all have choices.

Every moment of every single day.

I guess it depends on who’s voice we listen to.

Society or the soft whisper of our soul?

Our values or others beliefs?

This year, I am thankful for the Detours. ❤️

So very grateful for the run in the darkness. ❤️

Thankful for my body talking to me, so I took the time to hear her. ❤️

Thankful for the “Army” of souls God has

planted all around me. ❤️

Throughout the rest of this year and beyond, keep a heart full of Gratitude.

Life may not always go as planned,

however…

“Maybe God has something better in Mind”.

Happy Thanksgiving 🦃 and many blessings in the coming year!!

Much Love🧡,

Linda

“Tracking” my progress

Awhile back, during a coffee date, a mentor of mine and I were discussing life.

We pondered “why” and “what” makes one person choose to go one direction in life, and someone else to go another.

To watch one individual choose all the wrong avenues and to watch another fight for what’s right.

To be dealt a bad hand of cards and turn it into a jackpot, or to be given it all …and just throw it away.

What makes two people so very different??

I don’t know that there is a clear answer for this, but it got me thinking…..

I believe the answer is Choices.

Not just one, but every single choice.

In reflecting, it got me thinking about my own life and how different it is from my siblings.

Not so long ago, One of my trainers was encouraging me to pursue more running.

To get stronger, faster, more consistent.

I just kept telling him, “I hate running”.

Every time I was met with running in a workout, I tried to get out of it.

Every time I had the opportunity to go for a run, I found an excuse.

Remember?

I “hate” running.

Then, the day came that my trainer opened my eyes.

With just a simple statement, he allowed me to look inside of myself to see why I wanted to be a runner so badly, but then stopped myself at every turn.

I admitted during a conversation, “I used to love to run”.

He asked me when I used to run.

He asked me how it felt.

He asked me “why” I used to run…and we found the core reason why I “hated” it as an adult.

You see, when I was young, my home was very chaotic and challenging.

It could be calm one minute, and then all hell would break loose the next.

My memories remind me of how I would often lace up my running shoes and walk down to our local elementary school….and just run.

To get away…..it was my escape.

I’d run the track over and over and over again.

Til I was a sweaty mess, til my heart was calm, and my head was clear.

Round and round until the craziness I left behind was just a shadow in my mind.

I did this for many years.

It’s one of the ways I coped with the insanity of every day life at my house.

And, typical me, I ended up making it fun, almost a hobby, if you will.

Inviting my best friends to run with me at night, as we had our boom box set up, cranking out 1990s tunes.

That track was solid, consistent and it never changed.

The route was predictable, which was something I craved….some sort of routine….anything stable.

Funny how something so simple can have such an impact.

I went there today.

More than 25 years after I relied on that foundation for strength.

And, it looked nothing like I recall.

Overgrown, grassy.

Unkept, and forgotten.

I went there to express my gratitude for the time I spent there, sorting out which direction I wanted to go, in my head.

I grew a lot during those runs.

I learned a lot about my strength, much like my most recent adventure.

My last run during the trail Ragnar was before dawn.

I knew I’d be ok in the dark, as the sunrise was just around the bend.

As I ran that morning, I felt so many emotions and so many thoughts blew through my head.

My youngest brother.

He was my most prominent thought that day.

I wondered what he would be doing that morning, at that moment. While my heart beat and the wind encircled me, and my feet hit the ground below me, I knew he would not be doing the same.

And as I ran, I said aloud, “He isn’t running today”.

I know he is not ok.

I instantly began to cry, thinking of the shell he is now.

You see, he chose drugs and alcohol to get through the darkness.

For almost 40 years, it has controlled him.

And now, at 52, it has consumed the man he could have been.

He didn’t run.

He didn’t fight for the light the way I did.

He turned left, when I begged him to go right.

He didn’t protect his future, the way that I did mine.

I chose.

Again and again.

Who I let in, how I cared for myself, and which direction I ran.

And, you know, what ?

I had to choose every single day which direction I would go.

We all do.

We have option after option on which way to go.

I feel like life is a bunch of arrows that are constantly put in front of us.

Left, right, U turns….

We rush through life, listening to the voices around us, not WITHIN us.

And within us, is where the light lives.

Today, like so many years ago, I chose once again….

To go back to my hometown, to the place that saved me, in so many ways.

It saved me from myself, the anger, and the madness of a world that was trying to shape me into someone I did not want to be.

I took back control and fought for the life that I pictured, and in the midst of the runs, I held on tightly to me.

I realized that beautiful circle of overgrown land, helped me hold onto my light while I was running in the darkness.

So, I wanted to go back to pray aloud, in gratitude, for all of those times it waited there for me.

I can’t say it enough.

We must listen to our inner workings and take time to hear the calling of our souls.

Whether it’s on a run, a bench in the park, or staring into the sky in order to “see”.

The answers are always within us.

Take some time to “run the track”, clear your mind from the clutter ….and just be.

God is my compass, and always will be❤️

First, you must choose the direction, then you must GO.

Much love,

Linda ❤️

And, I’m hoping that you will see yourself, like I See You❤️

Alone with you, you’re alone with me…

Alone with you, you’re alone with me and I’m hoping that you will see yourself…..like I see you.

I see you when you chase all the dreams inside your head.

In the dark, at the dawn of something new, I see you.

Those are some of the lyrics from an amazing song by Missio.

I heard the song “I See You” a few months ago on a run.

The lyrics hit me so hard, I started to cry. I believe the song is a message to those contemplating suicide, but for me, it spoke a different story.

I heard it that day, as a message from God.

“I’m hoping you can see yourself as I see you”. Strong. Resilient. Beautiful. Capable.

I added it to my running playlist. I continued to wonder why this song was impacting me so profoundly.

I think I know why…

Sometimes God speaks to us in “mysterious” ways.

Why is that we seem to lose that childlike confidence as we age?

It seems we start to doubt our abilities, lose our passion.

I’m not certain, but after this weekend, I found my power once again.

God teaches us lessons in the most unique circumstances sometimes.

Ragnar 2019.

Why not?

I’m 45, just started really running about a year ago….had no idea what my I signed myself up for….but what an eye and soul opening experience!!!

My friend and I have this “thing” we do.

We go out to eat and have a couple cocktails. We then become ten feet tall and bulletproof and agree to do things we never thought we could. It’s awesome actually. Because of this, we ran a half marathon this year and also our first Ragnar Trail race.

You know, typical Girls night…

Yeah , not so much 🤷‍♀️

We left Friday morning and set up camp with 6 other awesome humans that we work out with at our local CrossFit gym.

We scoped out the area, the vendors, the map of the green, yellow, and red loops.

I personally had no clue what I was about to do.

My friend and I had only done 3 or 4 trail runs in our new shoes before the big weekend.

And I’m here to tell you, I was not prepared.

Now, I did learn, there was some advantage to that. The not being prepared part.

Had I known what the red loop between 8 and 10pm that night would teach me, I may not have come.

Truly.

I would have stayed home!

One of my coaches is good about putting my excuses back onto me. I can say I am afraid or not ready and he doesn’t care. He wants me to recognize my strength and power, and….I do now.

I was the first runner in our group.

Around noon, I ventured out on a “quick” 3 mile trail run.

No big deal, been there, done that.

It was hotter than planned, it was rockier than I was used to.

And I lost focus.

One of the first things they tell you with trail running is to not “look back”. It’s easy to lose your footing.

As I ventured out on the first loop, I felt confident and calm. I was keeping a good, steady pace and was feeling good. A man came up behind me a bit too close to pass on the left. I made the mistake of looking at him and my foot got caught in a root. I tried not to fall, but in doing so, tripped and slid across the roots and rocks below me.

Ouch!

What a way to start, hey?

Well, I got up(said some choice words), wiped the blood from my chin and ran the rest of the loop with ease.

I was impressed, not a tear was shed.

I fell. But the importance of that fall was that I got right back up.

I didn’t give up on me👍🏻

The day was fun, long, bonding, and memorable.

I was feeling pretty good about tackling the 7.6 mile red loop, which would begin around 8pm. It was the main reason I came.

I wanted the mental challenge of a long run in the dark woods.

What the hell did I ask for?!!!

This is the part of the trip that I feel God had crafted just for me.

After 45 years of testing….the teacher decided I would finally master the lesson this time.

We had dinner together that night and cheered one another on. I called my son for a pep talk and started “suiting up” for the night run.

I was dolled up in my hat, headlamp,chest lamp, and bandages(from my earlier fall).

Long story short, I felt ready.

Just before I was about to leave, I felt like I needed another headlamp just in case. It’s kinda my thing, to over prepare.

I’m glad I had that lamp with me that night.

As I ventured out onto the trail, I felt ok. I wasn’t afraid, as there were other runners around me. As I continued on, I saw varying headlamps behind me, shuffles of runners around me.

But, as I kept on, it got lonely.

Like really lonely.

I noticed this trail was much more decorated with tree roots and rocks. I found myself hopping over things and walking some areas so I wouldn’t fall again.

And then things got “real”.

About 2 miles in, it seemed as though all the runners must have passed me, because I hadn’t seen anyone in quite awhile.

I don’t know that I have ever been in the middle of the woods in the dark. Like, ever.

It’s not a bucket list item. It’s not romantic. It’s not even exciting.

So, nope. Never had done this before.

You hear things in the night that are haunting. Like the hoot of an owl, or 2 or 3…, the clicking of the acorns dropping off trees, the wind through the leaves, the animals that are living in there as well. The creepy thing is, you can’t see any of what you think it may be!

It’s actually quite spooky.

As I ran, I became a little more aware of the sounds and tried hard not to focus on them, but rather just run and get the hell out of there. I was keeping a good pace, staying focused and such, when I came upon a bed of boulders. Yes, not rocks, but boulders. I’m sticking to that.

In the darkness, they appeared to be very large and never ending.

I wasn’t prepared.

The paths are marked with little reflective arrows here and there. You just know to follow the dirt path and you should be fine.

Now, there were no arrows, and no dirt to be seen.

I walked up on the rocks and started to panic. What the hell?

Which way do I go?

What do I do?

I played my typical helpless record in my head…..but on fast forward this time.

No, Linda. God brought you to it. He will guide you through it.

Now, GO.

I did.

I made it through the first bed and was back on the trail. Whew!

As I ran along now, my muscles were getting tense.

What next?

I don’t like surprises.

My anxiety was in high gear.

Oh man….

Test #2, and here we go.

I had been running along, feeling calmer and yet another unmarked, area of boulders was in front me me. I’m pretty sure I swore.

Wtf?!

Seriously?

To top off my anxiety and fears, the headlamps we had ordered were not good lamps.

I was so glad I had gone with my gut and brought along the 3rd lamp, that I had wrapped around my hand. Relying on it to show me what was below me.

The fog didn’t help much either.

So….I can’t really see where I am going, it’s dark and scary and I still have 4 miles to go?!?!

As I stood on the 2nd set of rocks, panicking in fast forward motion, I spoke out loud to myself that night.

I Ordered myself to STOP.

What’s the hurry? I’ve got nothing to prove.

I don’t know where to go, so I will wait upon these rocks until another runner comes along.

We get so used to hurrying through life.

I tell you.

So used to it.

Trying to be strong.

To keep it together.

Well, I’ll tell you straight. I was not strong at that moment, not keeping it together.

Finally, a young girl came along.

We laughed as I said, “My friends said this would be fun, but it’s more like a scene out of a Freddie Krueger movie”(because it was).

We navigated the rocks together.

As we got to a better part of the trail, we parted and kept on.

As I ran, in fear now, I asked for my Dad to stay with me. The song “Daddy never was the Cadillac kind ” came on.

I sang out loud to calm myself.

I prayed out loud on that run.

I also asked God to show me what I needed to learn.

And then I came upon rock bed #3.

I may have said some choice words again.

I mean, come on,

I was tired.

From the day.

From the heat.

From the mental challenges that were forced upon me.

I just wanted to go home.

So, I did what I felt I needed to do at that moment.

I didn’t care who heard me. I didn’t care who saw me, what they thought, what I looked like or anything at all!!

I stood and cried out loud for my husband. Crying out his name.

I just wanted to go home.

Then, after a short time, I realized that I was wasting my time standing there and crying would not get me any closer to home.

So I ran.

I ran the rest of that fucking trail.

I ran through the noises. The uncertainty. The unrelenting darkness. The fog. The lack of light. The pain in my feet. The ache in my heart.

I ran with my Dads spirit.

I ran because my body let me.

I ran and ran and while I ran, I thanked God….for it ALL.

I made it out….all those awful things that I thought could have happened , didn’t.

He ran with me and lit my way once again.

The way He has my whole life.

He lit the way through the childhood darkness. The chaos, the sadness. He guided me through my divorce many years ago, He showed me how to be a mom, a friend, and a wife.

Who am I to have doubted His Love for me?

There’s another verse in the song,”I See you” that makes my heart so full.

It says, “Even when you cry and even when you’re shy, you mean everything to me”

We mean EVERYTHING to Him.

He may let us stumble on the roots, but He will hold our hand as we get back up to journey on.

As I laid down in the tent that eve, I Quietly cried.

I must remember to have faith.

Faith over fear.

In all things.

And, I will.

I am stronger than I thought…in so many ways.

Those woods placed every fear I could imagine in front of me that day….and I conquered them all!!

I often hold back from things due to my fear of getting hurt, I don’t like the darkness, unknown situations, I don’t like being unprepared, I don’t like being alone.

I realized when I had to rely on God and myself, how empowering that can be.

It seems that in today’s world, we rely on everything, other than those 2 things.

Our self and our God.

We have GPS to tell us the way, technology, we protect our bodies in all sorts of ways from injury, we have choices, options and comforts we don’t even realize…until they are taken away.

I survived my fall, and got back up.

I survived the darkness, and found my inner light.

I survived the unknown, and found my certainty in Him.

And I found a part of myself I didn’t really know was missing.

My belief. In me.

Not sure where that had gone, but I have it once again.

And this time, I won’t let it go ever again.

I got “this”.

Whether it be my job, my family, my goals, or the dark woods some night.

I have all the power I need, next to HIM…and inside of ME.

One of my teammates asked me that next day if I would do this again.

I paused, as I’m not certain I would.

The camaraderie was spectacular, the landscape was great and the experience of it all was so much fun.

But, at the end of the day, I got what I came for.

……And a few other life lessons I didn’t know I needed.

As we pulled into my driveway the next afternoon, I “saw” things differently.

My husband was waiting with a healthy dinner for me. I slipped into my hot shower. Slept in my amazing bed that night.

Life is so good.

But, the next morning is what really got me.

I looked into the mirror and for one of the first times in my life, I was truly, absolutely 100% in love with what I could see.

A strong, resilient, Beautiful overcomer who finally was able to “See” who she really is and what she is truly capable of being.

That made all of the bangs and bruises worth it to me❤️

The next time I face a challenge, I’ll make sure not to cry. I won’t look back. I won’t question my instincts. I won’t deny His presence.

I won’t close my eyes because I am too afraid of what “could” be. I will walk forward with confidence and know that my Faith will never fail me.

And I know, in Him, all things are possible.

Oh, and my 2nd dark run?

Ya, that one was a breeze. 5:30-7am.

I had already gone through the longest run of my life so I enjoyed the 4.6 and was gifted with the sunrise as my Dad, Brother, and Grandma ran along with me.

Now today,

I’m home, well rested and ready to find another adventure…..well, maybe in another year or so😉

So, take those chances and push your limits.

There’s much to learn about ourselves every single day.

Our purpose here is to learn and to be the best version of what He created us to be.

And, always

Remember this….

“The only regrets we have are the chances we didn’t take ”

Blessings my friends.

Much love,

Linda❤️