Tearing Up The Joint

It’s official. I canNOT get out of my own way. I had been experiencing some significant ankle/achilles pain this past fall, yet somewhat carried on with my normal activities. I even attended an awesome certification training to teach my favorite class, WERQ (cardio-dance fitness). As time passed, my pain increased and it became painful to walk, to put on my winter boots (that’s always a little painful;), and it became especially painful to drive, which is a bit of a bummer when you drive for a living.

Fun Weekend in Chicago, getting certified as a WERQ Instructor

You’ll be proud of me, however…I actually went to the doctor in early December!!  If you know me, you know that I grew up without health insurance, and learned to excuse away symptoms, or better yet, just ignore them. “You’re fine,” Ken used to say, “it’s far enough away from your heart.” Now there IS some truth in that. We certainly don’t need to rush to the doctor for every sniffle and twinge of pain. So far, I’ve lived a good, healthy life with very little need for medical intervention, and I count myself incredibly blessed! So when this ankle/heel pain started, I figured it was just a little side effect of my addiction to WERQ.

Well thank goodness I didn’t suffer in silence!! I had three appointments with the orthopedic doctor. I had x-rays to check for fractures/spinal issues (everything looked good), took oral cortisone after the first appointment, braved a cortisone injection to the joint at the second appointment, plus another dose of oral steroids just in case, but I was STILL in pain.  I even abstained from dancing 6 days a week;), and when I DID brave a class, I wore my amazing bubble brace and hopped on my “healthy” leg through lateral moves. NOTHING seemed to help. By the third visit to the doctor, my options were – trying a hyaluronic injection to the joint (not covered by insurance and may not really help), or go in for arthroscopic surgery, to “mow the grass” (WHAT??) and fix any imperfections of the joint. Sounds amazing, right!?

Oh. And by the way – the doc just so happened to have a cancellation for the following Monday morning and it was MINE if wanted it. Talk about luck….

A case of the Mondays, freaking out just a little on my way to surgery…those lashes though…#lifechangingskincare

Just like every other part of my life when faced with a decision, I look at the options in front of me, make the best choice, and then I jump ALL in without ever looking back. This time, however, I will admit questioning my decision just a little bit – did I really need surgery? Maybe it didn’t hurt THAT much…

But you guys!?!?  In the end, I was SO brave!! No tears, no panic, no (serious) freaking out!?  I may have become a one-woman show with the nurse and anesthesiologist . And yeah, I drew a huge, obnoxious heart around my initials on my ankle, then proceeded to show off my pre-op art like a toddler would display a glitter, glue and feather masterpiece on the fridge. But I was FIIIINNNNE….nothing to see here. 😉

My Masterpiece

In the end, the procedure was mostly uneventful. Two little incisions, and not much to write home about until the doc got to the back side of the joint. It was a crazy, gnarled mess and no wonder I was in SO MUCH pain!? Seriously, take a look at this (WARNING – graphic image to follow; not for the faint at heart)….

Living proof that I live life with arms wide open and do nothing half-way;). I had a TOTALLY jacked up joint!?
And the two little incisions

And what, actually, is my point to this whole minor surgery, story sharing ordeal?? I learned a TON about myself through this experience. I would rather sew my head to the carpet than accept help. Yet my people showed up, and I let them. Baby’s daddy took not one, but TWO days off work to get me to the surgical center, and to drive me around to my accounts when I was (sort of) back on my feet the next day. A dear friend kept watch in the waiting room and was such a comforting sight to see when I was wheeled out to go home (and gave me amazing new socks, which is one of my favorite creature comforts). And in the days that followed surgery, my people continued to show up – checking in on me, helping with the kids, driving Miss Daisy to work and to social functions, and reminding me that indeed the sun would come out tomorrow and I would eventually be able to walk again, without needing to put a quarter in the swear jar. 😉

Gaining some street cred at work – using a walker to bring the message of Home Health (and safety first;) to the West Michigan lakeshore just one day after surgery. Indeed we can do hard things.

But more than anything, I was reminded of how blessed I have been to live a pretty healthy life, generally only limited by my own fears and insecurities. I came out of surgery barely remembering my name, but SO incredibly grateful for a skilled surgeon, his caring support staff, and the sweet nurse who brought me my first snack after fasting for nearly 24 hours (I hadn’t been that hungry since my days as a poor college student;). I was thankful for the open toe of my stylish, post-surgical boot because the bitter cold January air actually felt good on my tingling ticky-toes. I was thankful for the 2 seconds of sunshine on my way to fill my pain med script, because it suddenly seemed like I hadn’t felt that kind of warmth since 3rd grade. I was beyond thankful for the healing hugs of my (not so) little people, who surely grew six inches while I was gone (for a few hours;).

I wasn’t so excited about the utter exhaustion that washed over me a few hours later. I napped more in the day or two following surgery than I’m pretty sure I had throughout my toddler years. Two days post-op, when the pain kicked in a bit and the open toed robo-boot no longer felt sexy, I was done. DONE. Calling it a day and ticked at the world that jacked up joints are even a thing.


The first post-surgery (half-ish) bath was an adventure to say the least.

And it just so happens that the “everything hurts and I’m dying” stage of post-op recovery can actually show up at EXACTLY the same time as “if I don’t wash my hair, I may actually lose my mind (the rest of the way)” stage. I wasn’t supposed to shower for at least a week – EEK!!  Once again, my people came through. I could barely make it up the stairs, but my sweet Emma gathered all of the supplies and lovingly washed my hair, and even helped me get dressed. I suddenly had a better understanding of the vulnerability that my Home Health and Hospice patients experience. While certainly not to the same extreme, I was frustrated by my limitations and discouraged by my lack of independence. I also understood the aversion to pain meds. I didn’t like how tired and loopy they made me feel, but I knew rest was essential to recovery. More than anything I realized – I will be a force to be reckoned with one day in “the home.” I’m independent to a fault and my determination can be detrimental. My surgeon is still scratching his head as to a). how I damaged the joint and b). how I was dancing through the pain for months. I won’t claim to know the answer to either mystery, but I am SO very thankful for pain that comes (mostly) to an end, and to stitches that eventually come out.

I was definitely thankful for my “You’re Okay” Band Aids that served as a reminder that I would probably pull through my minor ankle surgery. 😉 I’m even thankful for my bowling-inspired, glittery laced, sensible orthopedic shoes!  I was a little self-conscious to wear them at first, but when I spent a long weekend visiting my parents in their new home in The Villages (Florida), I quickly realized I fit right in!  Almost wished I had brought the walker and the boot! 😉

I also found that this simple little surgery triggered some not-so-simple emotions from the past. And yes, I’ve heard your feedback about ‘letting go of the past’, etc. I know the intentions are good, but I’ll go ahead and heal in my own way, and honor the hurts that I’ve lived through, in much the same way that I honor your story and your unique hurts. If you are sick of the “woe is me,” then please feel free to unsubscribe and move along. ANYWAY…I had become so skilled (expert even) at ignoring pain, and pushing through discomfort. I wouldn’t have dared speak up about any pain on Robinson Drive, because unless you lost a limb, you were going to be just fine. And maybe I was never sanctioned to carry the financial burden of those years, but I was acutely aware of the bills, and the stress over paying all of them with Ken’s humble paycheck (that he often drank away before it paid a single bill). I grew up terrified to have a need or create an expense, because it would cause a fight and maybe it would even drive Ken to drink more. I learned to not give my needs attention, or a voice, and I was so good at this behavior that it became a way of life. In fact, I still fight the tendency to just “suck it up”, instead of speaking up.

Oh, and by the way, I’ve also had some tooth pain in recent months (don’t even get me started on the dental work I’ve endured and funded- that’s a whole other post;). Right before my ankle surgery, I discovered a fractured filling and was originally going to wait until my next cleaning to speak up (wish I was kidding). Be proud – I fought habit, and actually called the dentist to schedule an appointment before my cleaning! In the course of scheduling the appointment, I mentioned I wasn’t available the following Monday due to minor surgery. Well bust my buttons, you can’t have a ding dang surgery if you have outstanding dental issues! Outstanding alright!? So now, not only did I need ankle surgery, but I also needed to have a tooth fixed and possibly even a crown. You guys – I came UNdone. I caused not one, but TWO expenses, and if my teeth were just perfect (decent even), and my stupid ankle hadn’t been defective;), none of this would be happening. And here’s the real kicker – we have pretty decent insurance coverage, and I work full-time, plus my skincare side-hustle, so it’s truly not even a financial thing anymore. But it is SUCH an emotional thing, to be sure. I often don’t even see it coming, but it’s such a part of me, to carry the responsibility of so many things that are not my “fault” and certainly aren’t mine to carry. Again – no one ever asked me to play the part, I just so naturally took it on. You wouldn’t know any of this (except I spill my guts to the “interwebs” regularly;), but I’m working so hard behind the scenes, to lay this down. To step away from carrying the weight of the world and from the habits of ignoring my pain and my needs and my RIGHT to take up space in this world. I GET to have needs. I GET to speak up. Now I’m realizing that not only do I GET to, but I absolutely HAVE to.

The irony, is that my teeth (and my smile) are one of the first things I get compliments on when talking to people (“you’re teeth are PERFECT”, I’m often told). I’m here to tell you that I could send one of my kiddos to college on the amount of dental work that I have had done as an adult. Life is not always as perfect as it seems, and I’m not ever going to pretend (again) that it is. I hid behind perfectionism on Robinson Drive, and throughout college and grad school, and even when I became a Mama. I had many people fooled that I had it all together. But guess what – I’ve been brave and terrified at the very same moment, every day of my life, and have worried that people would figure out that I was a fraud. That Ken was a drunk. That we all have our own addictions. That our “perfect little world” was actually a huge debacle. I’m still a hot mess, even on my best days. And you know what – I embrace my mess (at least I’m a hot one;)! I forgive myself right here and right now, for having janky teeth and a jacked up joint. And I will no longer carry the burden of perfectionism. It’s a work in progress for sure, and who knows what will come up next from the vault of Robinson Drive. But I tell you what – I’m thankful for it all. For the challenges that taught me life skills, for the pain that brought me to my strength, and for the empathy that I have for whatever struggles you are facing in this life. Adulting is no joke – it hurts, and it’s hard, and sometimes I want a big fat do-over. But I’m stuck with these teeth;), and I thank God every day that I have even ONE tooth left in my head to brush!

So what are you lugging around in this life, that isn’t yours to carry? What can you release yourself of RIGHT NOW, to start living the life you deserve? You are worthy of love, and belonging, and connection JUST the way you are. So here’s to janky teeth, jacked up joints, and a life that is amazing and heartbreaking all at the same time. And if you realize that the path you’re on is no longer serving you, my wish for you is to have the courage to speak up, and choose a new path. Saving space for you, and whatever path you’re on.

Much love,




BIG Business Launch, and a Little (Brutal)”Truth”


So I recently became a consultant for Rodan+Fields, an amazing skincare line from the dermatologists who created Proactiv. I’ve spent the last several weeks learning (and trying) the products, and putting myself out there on social media (and beyond) to share the story of life changing skincare. Yup, I’m “one of THOSE” now. If you know me, you know I am incapable of making a recommendation that I, myself, would not follow (which is why I gave up peddling stogies for Marlboro several years back, despite the lucrative lifestyle). In the short time that I have been a consultant, I have already seen great results with the products – thicker, longer lashes with Lash Boost (an eyelash/brow serum), and a noticeable reduction in fine lines and wrinkles with the Redefine skincare regimen. Baby’s Daddy recently even told me that my “bags and wrinkles are looking quite a bit better”…ay yi yi (I don’t recommend the well-intentioned use of any of those words, combined into a sentence;).

I’ve also been on the receiving end of what I will call “social media silence.” I post a few times a week with before and after pictures, or product information, etc. I have only had a few people un-friend me so far ;), but talk about vulnerable – you create a dazzling post (I’m still working on the concept of simplifying, as opposed to novel writing;), only to be met with absolute crickets….


It’s not as if liking my post is going to direct ship a skincare regimen to your door (although that’s a brilliant concept, now that you mention it;). “Social selling”, it turns out, is not for the faint at heart.

As I was preparing for my Big Business Launch this weekend, I was super excited for the opportunity to actually get in front of people and share the good news of R+F. Emma helped me make ornaments to give as a “thank you” for using the Skin Care Solution Tool, and we had some exciting gift baskets and various skincare products to raffle off to those who took the time to stop by and learn more. I invited friends and co-workers and anyone I could think of who lived within a reasonable distance of the event. This was allllll kinds of a big deal (to me;).

The event itself was fabulous – it was well-attended and I had THE very first table as you walked in the front door (EXPOSURE)!! There were several other vendors in attendance as well, including an amazing 88 year-old man who had created THE prettiest lighted bottles, out of recycled wine bottles and strands of LED lights. You can imagine, I was quick to offer myself up for drinking the wine to provide future bottles for his art. He was the sweetest ever, and I wasn’t alone in my desire to borrow him (just for Christmas, even), to go along with his beautiful art, that is now proudly displayed on our mantle. Side note: his daughter politely declined my offer to borrow him. 😉


Mid-way through the event, a rather magical interaction occurred, that I will not soon forget. A charming lady lingered at my table for a moment, and then abruptly asked how my products compared to that of a well-known competitive brand. I offered up my truths – that I have experience with both product lines and (obviously) prefer Rodan+Fields, and I could share some of the reasons if she was interested. She quickly dismissed my response, and asked (in an increasingly grumpy tone) how long I had been selling the product. Again, I offered my truth and told her, just over a month, but have been following the results for quite some time, and know people who have used it for several years and swear by it. Once again, she dismissed my response and went straight for the jugular – “How old are you?” she asked, accusingly. “I’m 40,” I kindly responded. And this is where things got good (leaning in to get a closer look at me) – “REALLY!? I’m 54, and you look older than I do!!” She offered up, for all the world to hear. Straight faced and firm in her truth. “I look older than you?” I asked (just to be sure I hadn’t misunderstood). “Yes you do – I’m 54 and I look younger than you”. I was immediately launched into an epic hot flash over the whole interaction, but somehow mustered the following response: “I look older than you? That is very kind of you. Thank you.” (HUGE smile on my beat red face). But she wasn’t done, she proceeded to offer up her truths, just one more time – “I’m 54, and I look WAY better than you.” Emma’s eyes were huge, as she was taking in this amazing interaction. The woman had a younger girl with her as well, who was also seemingly a little uncomfortable with the whole scene. And with that, smile still on my face, I carefully chose the closing remarks – “well, you look amazing, have a great day.”

Thankfully, some good friends, who had stopped by to shop the event and support my business launch, witnessed the entire scene and were able to confirm the interaction actually happened, and as I thought it did. It’s still a little surreal, as I would never dream of speaking to another human being that way, let alone to repeat it several times, and louder with each proclamation.Wow. Just, wow. My point in sharing this story? I am reminded – people can be incredibly unkind. And sometimes, blatantly, repeatedly and on purpose. Starting a business and practicing authenticity, especially in a public arena can be brutal at best. I’m reminded that just because I have been there to cheer on my friends in their dreams and goals, does NOT mean that they will all reciprocate and show up to support mine. But I’m also reminded that sometimes the naysayers are my greatest inspiration and motivation. Doubt me, and even TELL ME I can’t and I will show you, I WILL.

No matter how old I am, or how old I LOOK ;), I hope I never outgrow the ability to see the beauty in other people and in the world around me. I believe there’s “enough” in this world, for each of us to be our own shade of amazing. In skincare – there are enough faces for more than one incredible product. In group fitness, more than one instructor can motivate and inspire a class to push themselves and reach their goals. Furthermore, your ability to be amazing and to shine bright, does not make my light shine any less. In fact, when I celebrate your greatness, we all shine brighter. No matter what you are pursuing – your art, a new business, your passion, that thing that breaks your heart to it’s very core. No matter how many people roll their eyes, ignore, or dismiss you – relentlessly pursue your dreams. No matter how many people tell you, you can’t – show them you CAN. The world needs your gifts. Keep shining. I see you. ❤



*If you are interested in shining, younger looking skin (or the opportunity to get called out at your own business launch;), check out my website and get in touch!







Just Rip It Off


I’ll never forget the day I left for college. A gaggle of us climbed into a big van and made our way up to PDX so I could board the plane for my big cross-country adventure to Grand Rapids, Michigan. The 90 minute drive felt like six hours that day, and boy were there tears. I kept trying to bring it back to the positive; It wasn’t like I would never come back home to Oregon!? There were phones back then or I could send some snail mail. You don’t get rid of me THAT easily!?

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We finally arrived at the airport and hauled out the two giant suitcases filled with all of my worldy possessions (minus my hope chest and a prom dress or seven), and we made our way inside to the terminal. More tears. At some point, I couldn’t take it any more. I’d made jokes (complete with jazz hands I’m sure;) and reminisced stories of the glory days on Robinson Drive. I was fresh out of distractions for the unavoidable scene that was about to go down. The goodbye. Except I don’t even believe in that word. Growing up with family across the globe in Scotland, I had become used to tearful departures, and quite frankly wasn’t a huge fan. So on this scorching hot August day, I adjusted my big girl undies, turned to my Mom, and told her how this would go down. “Just like a bandaid, you’ve got to just RIP it off.” And that’s how I did it – a huge hug for each person who had made the trek to see me off, and then I walked on that plane. No looking back, no more tears. Except for the fact that I was BAWLING on the inside. Full on, ugly inner crying. I was terrified to be honest. I had NO idea how I was going to pull off this college gig – financially, emotionally, or even academically. But I was going to.


You see, I was all kinds of brave that day, because I had no other choice. I’d made up my mind that I was going to move far away for college so I could have a fresh start, so I could be challenged and grow, so I could step out of my comfort zone and “find myself.” Let me tell you – you find yourself when you’re all you have. You take all the lessons you’ve been given throughout life, and you learn to trust that inner voice. “You’ve got this.” Those were some of the toughest months (years even) of my life – there were times when I wanted to run home, but even that didn’t exist any more. The house that built me had been sold, and the dysfunction junction of Robinson Drive couldn’t even bring false comfort.

I’m not entirely sure if it’s life experience, or just the way that God built me, but the Bandaid approach is how I face most of life. When making a major decision, I tend to gather the information that I need, contemplate my options, then take the leap (just rip it off). I make the decision without even really looking back, and if it doesn’t work out it’s a lesson, not a failure that I dwell on (maybe won’t try THAT again;).  When I set my mind on moving back to Oregon as an adult, it was the same thing – ninja focus, and figure it out. Leaving our friends and adopted family here in Michigan was much the same scene – we said “see you soon” as opposed to the dreaded “goodbye” and we faced the new adventure without having all the answers. Once again, I was terrified on the inside. There were tears that no one saw, but I was determined to chase my dreams (just rip it off).

Back in 1994 (wow THAT was a long time ago), I was brave for my Mom. Today, I rip the Bandaid off for my kids. I try to show them – it’s okay to feel the fear, but you must do it anyway. It doesn’t mean I don’t care, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel. It just means, I refuse to dwell in the sadness,or the loss of what I’m leaving behind. I’m trusting my inner voice, I’m resting in the peace that what lies ahead is far more amazing than I can even imagine. And that what is meant for me, will never pass me by. So the next time you are at a crossroad, I invite you to ponder your options. Then feel the fear, but do it anyway. Just rip the Bandaid off and trust, that whatever happens next, it will be amazing. You’ve got this. ❤



Day Thirty-One: Next, You Can Kiss Me In Alaska


These were some of my favorite pictures EVER taken with my little man. We were on Spring Break in Las Vegas (Lost Vegas he used to call it;) and his little legs were “all worn out.” So he was negotiating a piggy back ride. “Pllleeeaaassse, Mama.” I can still hear his precious little lisp. My step dad Michael (the kids called him Grumpa) captured these moments, in a series that we shall call “The Negotiator.” I love this series of photos because they captured, forever, some of my fondest memories of vacations with Granny and Grumpa. And Grumpa had SUCH A way of capturing moments like these.


As you can see from the picture above, my little man knew, from a very young age, how to pull out all the stops; how to negotiate the deal. He went in for the sunglasses and was laying it on thick…”wook at me, Mama…FOCUS.” No idea where he got that phrase!? The temps were in the 90’s (at least) and Mama was not feeling like being a pack mule, but the hugs and kisses, and his little arms around my neck were quite persuasive. And you’ll notice from the next picture, there was a handsome, pint-sized winner who emerged from these negotiations.  I always told myself to savor those moments (especially the negotiations;), as one day, he won’t want me to pick him up any more. One day, I won’t be able to. And I’d miss the pack mule days. I sure do.


One day (seems like it was yesterday), I was sure I’d be carrying him into high school with as much of a Klingon as he was. And then THIS morning, on our way into another day of 5th grade (when did THAT happen!?) the little rascal turns to me in the parking lot and says, “I’ll give you your hug out here. Next, you can kiss me in Alaska.” Excuse me!? I grew you in my belly, got stretch marks for you, and got up a jillion times a night to feed and soothe your colicky little soul, and I can kiss you in ALASKA!? The truth is, I would go to Alaska (twice) to have even a small taste of his Klingon days. Those WERE the days. So whatever phase it is that comes next, no matter how challenging it is, I will savor that too. I will tuck these moments in my back pocket. And I will look forward to the next series of negotiations. Even if I have to travel to Alaska to take part. ❤

Photo credit: Jenny Lee Photography

Day Thirty: Lost In the Right Direction


If you know me at all, you know that, of the many gifts I was born with, a sense of direction is NOT included in that package. If you know me, you would never be foolish enough to give me directions in Norths or Souths. Tell me to turn lefty Lucy by the Marriott, but save us both the hassle of any “East side of the street” nonsense. I am all over the Never Eat Shredded Wheat approach to remembering the points of a compass, but for the love of all things holy, please do not ask me to navigate this way!? I’m certainly not bragging about this deficiency, nor am I entirely sure why I have never improved upon this skill (not for a lack of practice;). And the true irony is that I have spent my entire career in some form of territory sales. I drive for a living!? And I can’t find my way out of paper bag. At least not with the help of maps and compasses!


As you can imagine, when I moved to Portland, Oregon a few years ago, and had a territory stretching from the Pearl District to Sauvie Island, and beyond, I was in for quite an adventure.  I grew up in Oregon, of course, but I had rarely ever driven in Portland, let alone had any sense for the bridges and the freeways. Oh mylanta, was that a challenge! I’ll never forget my first few weeks – my step-dad, Michael (lover of all things directional) set me up for success by getting me at least a dozen maps and even highlighted the important roads that I would take. He would have spent hours, if I’d had them, trying to suggest routes depending on time of day and traffic patterns. Something about the freeway, and such and such bridge, and the Willamette, or was it the Columbia River? Wow, was I overwhelmed, at best!?


I remember one day in particular, when I was heading into the heart of downtown Portland, one of my Michigan co-workers called to check in on me. During our short conversation, I crossed the same bridge twice, trying to get over to another bridge and ended up down by the Amtrak station (where zero of my stores were located;). As we were talking I kept saying, “oops, that was the wrong bridge…here we go again…oops, not that street…” I was laughing SO hard at myself. My co-worker was just plain worried about me, but I assured him – “every day I get lost, at least a dozen times. But every day, I get found!” And that became my motto. I didn’t sweat it when I crossed the wrong bridge, or took the wrong freeway (twice;), but I sure enjoyed the beautiful scenery – I was in awe daily that I lived in such a beautiful place, and I didn’t even mind getting “lost”. And before too long, I turned off my Garmin and just trusted my inner compass (if I even HAVE one;).

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And that’s what I was reminded of in my move (that wasn’t) to Oregon. It feels good to be lost in the right direction, and ironically, when I’m the most “lost”, I feel closest to my true self. I learned SO much about myself in getting lost (literally and figuratively) for those nine months. I’m not at all afraid of questioning the path that I’m on – if a path doesn’t challenge us, change us and grow us, why would we take it!? I’ve never been a huge fan of the easy path, or the popular path – sure there are many people on it, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for me. And when I allow myself to struggle, and get a little lost, I always find that inner voice and compass that leads me back to my true North. So the next time you find yourself a little bit off the beaten path, instead of giving in to the fear and panic, try leaning in to the adventure. You might find yourself and your greater purpose, in the process of being “lost”.

Day Twenty-Nine: Reaching


I recently rediscovered this great song by Caroline Arends (I listened to it almost daily the year I moved 2000 miles from home to go to college in Michigan):

“There’s a time I can recall
Four years old and three feet tall
Trying to touch the stars and the cookie jar
And both were out of reach”

I’ve obviously been recalling the memories of four-year old Tracy – she was definitely a reacher. Always wanting to be, and do more than what others told her was possible. Four year old Tracy would’ve definitely been reaching for cookies (and she had the thunder thighs to prove it;), but she was always reaching for the stars too. I can’t remember exactly what age I was when I first decided that there was a great big world beyond the potholes and bathroom mushrooms of Robinson Drive, but I was determined to take it by storm. I was determined to keep reaching. I always knew there was more. I STILL do.

“We are reaching for the future
We are reaching for the past
And no matter what we have we reach for more
We are desperate to discover
What is just beyond our grasp
But maybe that’s what Heaven is for”

I’ve always been reaching for the future, sometimes to the detriment of the present (that “human condition” again). My reaching for the past has simply been a way of making sense of it all and giving my past a voice. I’m not unpacking and taking up camp in the past. I’m not allowing it to hold me there and keep me small. I’m simply acknowledging the losses and the scars. I’ve been reaching for healing, so to speak. And healing brings a sense of peace within our grasp, so I’m a big fan of making peace with whatever holds you back. Not dealing with the past doesn’t change it, or make it go away.

Most recently, I’ve been reaching for feeling/being healthy. I’ve been missing in action for the last few days because the cough that took me to Urgent Care last weekend, got the better of me this week. It’s been absolutely brutal. I’ve settled in to write every night, and I’ve literally fallen asleep on my laptop. I have at least a dozen drafts floating around in the fog of my chest cold coma. Today, I barely made it out of bed (the sicker than a dog struggle bus;). So I’m reaching for feeling “normal” again (whatever that is;). In the meantime, I’m thinking of what (besides coughing) gets in the way of my current reaching. And how about you – what would you be reaching for if the fear of failing wasn’t getting in the way?


Day Twenty-Eight: The Human Condition

Photo Credit:http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnnnext/dam/assets

So, I finally did it. I took my nagging cough to urgent care last weekend, in search of relief. Went through all the normal hoops – signed in at the desk, held my breath and didn’t touch anything in the waiting room or triage (to avoid the “go in for one symptom, leave with another” syndrome). Stepped on the scale (they don’t even charge you extra for the motivation;), did the blood pressure thing…whole nine yards.  By the time I got to the exam room, I had demonstrated my impressive bark at least a dozen times, and was all kinds of worn out. I hopped up on the table and sorted through some work email while I patiently waited for the doctor.

And finally, in he walked. QUITE the character. He was like a caricature, right down to his coke bottle glasses and his over-exaggerated gestures. We were fast friends. Hard not to bond when chatting about a productive cough and phlegm. He clasped his hands together, closed his eyes and smiled while we talked about how long I had been fighting the crud and how I was sure it was going to get better. Until it didn’t. And now I may not even make it through the afternoon. 😉


“It’s the human condition,” he offered, his smile even wider. He might be my soul mate. My geriatric, physician-type soul mate. I instantly adored him. The human condition. What IS it about the human condition that leads us to suffer for WEEKS with some nagging symptom, only to seek help when it’s gotten WAY worse than it should be, all because we couldn’t get out of our own way? What is it about the human condition, that makes us feel more alone in a room full of hundreds of people than in a room by ourselves? What is it about the human condition, that leads us to take for granted those who love us most, to seek the approval of one or two who have absolutely no regard for us?

My new soul mate definitely solved my cough. I may even pull through this one. But there is no magic pill for the human condition. We rise and we fall, and oh how we struggle. But there is joy in the journey and let us not forget, THAT is where life happens. 


Day Twenty-Seven: What Do You See?

Photo credit:http://godanautobiography.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/reflection.jpg

When I was in high school, I started going to counseling in an attempt to manage the alcoholic parent piece of Robinson Drive. I’d grown up on my mom’s self-help books and had attended several al-anon and al-ateen meetings. I knew the language of counseling long before I got my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I’m no stranger to the techniques and tactics. But one technique that was used, left a lasting impression that I think about often. My counselor at the time, walked me into the cold bathroom of the building we would meet in, and forced my face into the mirror. He held my face there, for what felt like an eternity and kept asking me, “what do you see?” I remember looking at the freckle faced girl in the mirror and all I could do was cry. And he kept repeating, “what do you see?”

To be honest, I don’t even remember if I ever managed an audible response, besides sobbing. I can almost feel his cold hands on the nape of my neck still today. But what DID I see? I saw a girl who was SO incredibly scared on the inside, but played so brave on the outside. “Chin up, smile bright, and no one will know”, I reminded her. What I saw, was a girl who felt ugly, and ashamed and small. I saw the girl who was told, “if obesity was a crime, you would be put away for life.” I saw the girl who so desperately wanted her dad’s approval, to hear just once, that she was pretty, that she was worthwhile.

Over time, I learned to challenge my perception of that girl in the mirror. I learned to tell her all the things she needed to hear. “You are worthwhile, you are enough…” I learned to care less about what other people thought of me, and to care more about being thoughtful of others. I adopted this saying by Mother Teresa:


I would be kind anyway, even when it was not reciprocated. I would do good anyway, even when it wasn’t popular. My worth would not be based on the perception of others. I would give my best anyway. Not all days have been sunny, but I’ve been able to look at the girl in the mirror and like who I see. Not based on the world’s standards of beauty, but based on the difference I set out to make in this world. To encourage others, to love them anyway.

And so I wonder – when you look in the mirror, what do YOU see? Have you bought into the world’s lies that you are not enough? What voices do you listen to when you look in the mirror? And how different would the reflection be if you decided to see your beauty and your worth?


Day Twenty-Six: Sometimes You Bend, Sometimes You Stand

“Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind”

This video came up in my memories on Facebook today. It was one of Grumpa’s favorite songs. It stirs up all kinds of emotions. Five years ago today, on Halloween, the kids and I hopped on a plane to move from Michigan to Oregon. I’ll probably share more about that adventure in the future, but during that time, I was amazed at how perfectly the details fell into place to make the move happen. We sold our Michigan home in a very challenging market, my company (at the time) created a territory in Portland just for me, and we were on track to build a new life closer to my family. For nearly nine months, the kids and I shared a bedroom at Granny and Grumpa’s house. It wasn’t always an ideal situation – I slept on an air mattress, and I was living with the parents (one being a step-parent even) after being on my own for almost 20 years. And it wasn’t easy for Granny and Grumpa either, but they so graciously shared their space and helped with the kids as often as possible.

In the end, the Oregon adventure was not meant for us, and we ended up moving back to Michigan, building a house four doors down from where we lived just a few months prior. And there were whispers, all kinds of talk and stories about our situation. Even people who didn’t know us, felt connected to the flashy story of the move that wasn’t. But I made the choice to do what I felt was best for the kids. I left my family, my job, and my dreams of raising the kids near my childhood “home”. It felt like an immense loss. Not to mention, I was back to the brutal midwest winter. If you know me, you know the Michigan winter is the toughest 9 months of the year for me. 😉

Many times throughout the multiple moves I shook my fists at the sky and asked God, “WHY??” Why would everything fall into place to make the move possible, if we just ended up four doors down from where we were before? A few short months after we moved back to Michigan, I got my answer. Our beloved Grumpa was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, and his time on this Earth would be limited. We suddenly realized that every moment of those months in Oregon (even the tough ones) were a HUGE blessing. The kids had become incredibly close to their Grumpa and that wouldn’t have happened without the move that wasn’t.

Red Rock Canyon. Vegas Trip, 2009

And three years ago, again on this day, our beloved Grumpa lost his brave battle with cancer. We weren’t ready to let him go; no one ever is. We miss him still today. “He was a big picture”, Granny would always say. He sure was. And that picture remains in our hearts – his love for cooking and baking was handed down to Emma. His passion for life and exploring was passed along to Grant. He lives in all of us, and always will. But life really is a highway, and while you’re here, you might as well lean into the adventures. We’ll lean in for you, Grumpa. ❤

In Loving Memory of:


Day Twenty-Five: The Legend of Online Love


I’m not really sure how it happened, but I once again got sucked into online love. It all starts out innocently as just browsing, and before you know it, you’re bringing them home to meet the fam. The suspect in question this time – the little spitfire in the picture above, Winne Mae (Cooper Lewis, to be exact). Yes like the character in the Wonder Years. She is some kind of wonder alright. It’s important to note that I haven’t had a dog since childhood. Not that I dislike dogs, but it just wasn’t a priority. The kids had been begging for a dog for years, and after a neighbor got a Shorkie, it just seemed like the right thing to do. No shedding, small breed (small dog, small poo), and family friendly. Problem solved!

We drove the whole way to middle of nowhere Ohio to get this little bundle of bountiful energy. When we arrived, there was a furball flying around the living room (the size of a hamster to be honest;) that we were told was our new family member. It was hard to keep an eye on her, let alone pick her up, but eventually we loaded her up and headed back towards civilization. It was a long trip home, and turns out, it would be a long process of getting our little love acclimated to our busy household. In hindsight, I might have asked the breeder to pick the puppy out of the litter that barely made it and was super calm and quiet (she has no shortage of energy, still, over a year later;)!

We’re not in Kansas anymore…

And it turns out Shorkies can be a bossy breed. Winnie is relentless in jumping, nudging, and even barking at times. She can be worse than a toddler strung out on Skittles. We’ve had to bring a professional trainer into the house to help set boundaries (again, not unlike a toddler;) and I won’t lie – I’ve even wanted to open the front door and “accidentally” let her make a run for it at least a dozen times. If you love something, set it free, right!? We’ve cleaned up countless accidents and she’s chewed mail, shoes and homework. We’ve even lost a few corners of some of our furniture and cabinets to her teething (no one told me Shorkies were part beaver;)!? Yet, somehow, I would make the choice all over again. I am completely in love with this little eight pound pistol!

In many ways, I think Winnie connects me to the childhood that I missed on Robinson Drive. She keeps me close to 4 year old Tracy, who just wants to be carefree enough to color and make daisy chains. She reminds me to stop and smell the roses (she’s also half hound I think, in the way she relentlessly sniffs the world around her;).  And the way the kids love Winnie just makes my cup runneth over. She may test my patience and drive me nuts, but I know she will be at the center of every good story the kiddos tell from childhood. She will be the legend of online love. ❤