I’m going to call it a serious wave of sadness.

Today I had one of those waves.  I’ve had them before but today’s felt more real.  Maybe because there are 29 (she’s counting) more days until she leaves for college.  Today she’s at orientation and it’s just me and the boys.  I was making them a snack when it hit me — this will be my next three years.  Her gone and me with them.

I knew this was coming.  But like any change it takes your breath away.  Think about the time you had to leave a relationship but didn’t really want to.  Or change jobs when you loved your co-workers. Or the time that someone close to you died and you just felt lost.  No matter whether the change is forced upon us or we make it ourselves, change is a deep sigh event.

I’m not sure my daughter and I are handling this upcoming change very well.  She’s moody, I’m sad (and moody) and the boys are just fed up with the two of us.  So, as I was swimming tonight, I came up with these “suggestions” on how to deal with this change (or any change for that matter):

1. Nothing’s forever.

While I feel like her leaving means it’s forever going to be different, it’s not like she’s never coming back (please remind me of this when I’m heading home after moving her in!).  The alternative to her doing well in high school and getting into the college of her dreams, would be her staying home and working at the local Walgreens.  With that in perspective, get a move on honey!

2. You can’t protect from mistakes.

This is tough.  I just want to protect her and make sure she’s safe.  But here’s the real truth:  She’ll make mistakes.  I made 10 before lunch today.  She’ll learn from them and likely be smarter than me.  Plus, my kids know they can call on me for anything, anytime night or day. They know I’ll love them and support them unconditionally, even when I don’t support their choices.  Please remind your kids of this today.

3. Don’t be a on-line freak.

It would be easy to stalk our kids on social media but I’ve realized that I’d rather hear it from them rather than pictures their friends post — “Hear that kids??”

4. I know she still needs mom.

I know I’ll get a text to make her favorite granola and ship it to her.  Or a late night call about a drama issue at school.  She’ll want her bed and it’s nice to know there’s always another home to relax in.  Plus, it’s time for my boys to get some more focus and attention from their mother (although, they may not think so!).

So, the moment came and went.  The boys saw my panic, hugged me and reminded me that they loved me.  It’s all good and their growing up will bring me right into my next phase of life.  Something to keep looking forward to, right???.

Have a great night!



What’s the big picture of your life?

“We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”  Omar Nelson Bradley

Every day, there are so many details to be managed.  So many distractions. So many demands placed upon us. No wonder we end up allowing other people and circumstances to set the agendas for our lives.  I’ve done it.  You’ve done it.  It’s almost a given — almost acceptable, right?

No.  It’s not acceptable because letting circumstances dictate our lives ignores our own big picture.

We know a few things for sure.  1. The time here is finite.  2. You don’t want someone else producing your life show.  3. You know the key is to figure out what makes life meaningful for you.

This weekend I talked with someone at the gas station.  She had to pay for her gas inside (as did I because I wanted a gas station treat!) and she told me that the only way she can afford gas money is cleaning houses (she bought $14.55 in gas).  And, the reason she needs gas money is so she can take classes at the local college and become a nurse.  And, the reason she wants to be a nurse is so she can help others and be independent herself!  That’s some big picture.  Oh, she’s 22 years old.

This young woman was connecting her dreams to reality in a big picture way.

I had a dream.  I wrote it down five years ago.  I hid it because I never thought it could be a reality.   I wanted two things: First, a life away from a negative situation.  Second, I wanted to work with like-minded people.  I kept that big picture in mind.  I never thought I’d get there.  I really thought I was stuck forever but I didn’t let go of the dream.

I just want to remind all of you (and me and my kids), that we shouldn’t sell ourselves short.  And, I mean it when I say, if you can think of it you can achieve it. 

So, do something every single day to bring yourself closer to making your big picture a reality.  If you don’t know what you want from life – start dreaming.  Say no to those things that pull you away from your dreams.  Have goals that give you the courage and strength to resist being swayed by the agendas of others.  Those people who dictate your life and how you feel about yourself, are almost always wrong because they are seeing it all through their own life filter – not yours.

This is your life.  Your big picture.  You must be the star to have a box office smash hit.  And, please let’s all remind ourselves that the only regrets we should ever have (and I hope you have none) are those we chose – not the ones we let someone else choose for us.  When we choose our life’s path, there really are no regrets.

Have a great start to your week!



Where the freak have you been?

After a friend berated me (lovingly) for not writing for so long, she asked me where I’ve been. She said that my posts have helped her stand up for herself, take chances and take care of herself.  And she missed me.  (sweet!)

I’d been thinking about this, berating myself for taking a writing break  – wondering what was “wrong” with me.  Eventually I realized that leaving (what I thought was) the comfort of a big firm, going out on my own and creating a business from the ground up was physically and mentally exhausting.  It took all the juice I had in me. But this blog is not about where I was. That’s history. I’m going a different direction now.

Last week I ran into someone from long ago.  We were different people back then. He drank too much and smoked too much.  I was searching to find myself.  It was well before law school and even before I’d finished college.  Sometime between then and now he hit bottom.  DWI, jail and failed relationships.  Today, he has his masters.  He counsels young adults on just what he experienced.  He’s found his life’s mission.

I wondered aloud about why we have to go through so much s*** to get to where we’re going.  His message was powerful:

“Jess, I see a lot of pain in life. So many people who are in emotional or physical pain. We need each other and we need to hold one another’s pain as precious. And, when we do, we’ll find our own safe place with a clear view of our life’s direction.”

Later, as was thinking of him, I realized that I had tears streaming down my face.  What I loved about this guy back then was how good he was inside.  That’s the kind of goodness that never leaves – no matter your direction.  Then, as if coming from someone standing next to me, my inner voice said:

Sometimes, we feel as though we’re riding our bicycle backwards. We feel like we’re backtracking and heading in the wrong direction, but really what’s happening is that, just like a sling shot, the universe is getting ready to shoot us  forward.  You have to go backwards so that you can go even farther forward!

Yes!  For years I was riding backwards.  I could see it was backwards but I let the bike control me.  Then, last year, I asked the universe to get me the f*** off that backward bike.  I wanted to go a different direction.  And lo and behold (and with the support of others), my bike is going an entirely different direction!

Maybe you feel like your bike is going backward.  If so, let it go for a bit.  Feel it.  And, when you are absolutely sick of that freaking direction ask the universe to get in gear and get you off.  Think about it. Put it out there.  I bet the results will be amazing!

Thanks for putting up with my absence.


I had a dream.

I had a dream the other night and out of it came the following life lessons:

1. The s*** I worry about is not going to happen. Here’s the real truth: It’s the s*** I have no idea about that will blind side me.  So, why worry about stupid stuff.  It’s not likely to happen and it’s taking up valuable real estate.

2. Never let an argument last. Never hold a grudge, it will make your heart heavy. Say you’re sorry even when you don’t want to.

3. If you think you’ve got grit – and act as if you have grit – you have it.  If I tell myself that I just can’t do ______ (fill in the blank), then I might as well tell my kids just to let their minds allow them to give up because that’s what I do when I don’t believe in myself.

4. Money is the not the root of all evil – fear is.  Money can’t make us happy but self-sufficiency gives us the freedom to share.

5. If you don’t like what someone else says to you, you can walk away. But if you don’t like what you say to yourself, you can’t walk away. So, since you have a lifetime with you, be nice to yourself.

6. What others think really doesn’t matter.  I spent many years listening to someone tell me that I wasn’t worthy.  I thought that what the person thought of me mattered.  Here’s the rule: What you think of you is all that matters.   Go with your gut on this one.  You’ll thank yourself later.

7.  Gratitude is an acquired taste.  When it comes down to it, gratitude is a skill that we need to learn. We’re not born understanding how to be grateful, appreciative, and thankful.  If you have gratitude in your heart, use it.   If you see someone who doesn’t have it help them learn it.  

8. Have a lot of relationships.  Every relationship teaches us something about love, trust, forgiveness, setting boundaries, taking care of ourselves and taking care of each other. Sometimes the “bad” relationships teach you more than the “good” ones.

9. Everyone has the right to choose their own path.  We have to let go of thinking we know what’s right for people.

10. Shake up your life once in a while.  It will keep you awake.

11. Remember the lessons from your mother.  Those lessons came from the most sacred kind of love that exists. 

12. Remember, the source of most of our frustrations and anxiety are the result of living in the future or the past.  And, neither is now.

13.  Our biggest flaw is not admitting our flaws.  Perfect for #13.

14. Love is the ultimate expression of life.  Give it out as often as you can. Don’t worry about getting it back.  You will.

I must say, the dream was intense, colorful and real.  The lessons were even better.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Yesterday I jumped off a cliff.

I’ve had such a hard time writing these last few days because I’ve been spending a lot of time walking back and forth (figuratively) on the ledge of a cliff.  Debating with myself all along about what I was doing, whether I was crazy, how was I going to jump, what was my landing going to look like — and generally letting fear get in my way.  Yesterday, I took a leap of faith and jumped off the cliff (was it my own self imposed cliff?).  I’m still here to write about it.  In fact, I feel amazing!

As many of you know this is my second jump in the last 10 months (and, I have one more in October – but we can talk about that later!).  The first one I’d contemplated for years.  I’d made many attempts to jump back then, but I never could because my negative self-talk (and a negative environment) overwhelmed me.  I used to tell myself that I wasn’t “good enough” to jump.  That it was “safer” to stay with the unhealthy known than to try the healthy unknown.  As expected, I’m now looking back and asking myself – “What the f*&^ took you so long?”  

This time, instead of waiting years and listening to my same negative self-talk, I began to realize that the only thing standing in the way of me — was me.  

We prevent our own growth and change.

When I first thought about the idea of taking a leap of faith, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the use of the word “faith.”  How would that fit with my spiritual views?  Did I have to be “religious” to use the word?  

After much thought, I realized that faith is just a belief without evidence.  I decided it was having trust and confidence in myself.  To believe that I have the ability to handle and survive and thrive with any life change.  Let’s be honest: no matter what changes we’re facing –  it can be terrifying.

Yet, I want to take chances. Because while its scary to leave what’s safe, it’s even more frightening to contemplate a life unfulfilled.  And at the end, we have two life lists: All the things we actually did and all the things we wish happened.

I’m glad I jumped yesterday.  I’ve got a long road ahead of me and it too will be filled with change, hard work and uncertainty.  But it will also be filled with the lovely feeling that I can make changes in my life and still survive (and thrive!).

If you’re thinking about a change in some area of your life (and you should), no matter how big or small, remember that we (really our fears) are the biggest obstacle to our own change.  And that cliff you are peering over … it’s only that big when you’re looking down!

Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and good things will be yours. Swedish Proverb

Have an amazing day!




Have you heard of Cosmic Sweetness?

Someone told me about this phrase recently – never heard of it – and I wanted to share it with you. Cosmic sweetness are those moments of sincere gratitude.  That hug, which for a split second takes you to another place. Or, that beautiful sunset that no matter how many pictures you take, it doesn’t describe the feeling you have inside.  It’s that moment when you feel the grace of just being here.

Life gives us every reason to be negative.  There’s always some insanity going on.  But let’s be honest – there’s always something to be grateful for.  These beautiful happenings – these moments of cosmic sweetness – can make a day completely different.  These moments allow us to move away from whatever painful events we’re experiencing and feel blessed for what we do have.

Here are some moments of cosmic sweetness we can all experience:

1. The moment when we find ourselves comfortable in our own shoes.  We’re all weird in some way. What seems weird (our imperfections) is often what makes us so incredible to others. Love yourself.

2. The moment you realize you can listen to your inner voice. Sometimes our mind needs more time to accept what our heart already knows. I found myself a witness to my thoughts the other day, not a judge. It was wonderful.

3. The moment you make a difference in someone’s life. Last week I helped a woman up off the ground after she tripped.  Her hug afterwards reached my soul.

4.  When you realize that the thing you were most the afraid of was just negative talk.  There’s glory in conquering fear.  Fear is a feeling, not a fact.

5. The moment when you actually let go of something. You never lose something good by hanging on.  You only lose that which you didn’t need.

6. That moment when you realize that a particular relationship makes you a better person.  Surround yourself with people who make you better and cherish every moment of your time together.  Someday you’ll be just a memory. Do your best to be a great one.

7. The feeling of true love. True love is not about how many days, months or years you’ve been with someone. True love is about how much you actually love each other every day.

8. The moment of a new beginning.  Every ending is the beginning of something else. Every exit is an entry somewhere else. As long as you are breathing, it’s never too late. Every day is a new opportunity.

9. The moment.  However it happens, becoming and being a mother or father is discovering strengths you didn’t know you had and dealing with fears you never knew existed.  There are moments of cosmic sweetness written all over parenthood.

10. The second we realize that WE create our own happiness.  Someday we will miss today.  So, be busy enjoying the cosmic sweetness of today.  And when you do, you’ll have no time for negative self-talk, hate, regret or fear.

Have an amazing one!