Relish

I was recently struck with the enormity of how much my daughter has grown. How did three years pass so quickly? How is it possible? More importantly, HOW did I get through parts of it?!

Far warning to my gentle readers, I am going to say the word, “nipple” about 15 times and be rather explicit about some of the pit falls of nursing. Continue if you have a strong stomach or if you totally dig my sense of humor.

I remember when I was pregnant. Women, with a nostalgic look upon their faces, would say, “Relish every moment! They grow up so quickly.”  Ok first of all, people seriously; this phrase needs to go to the same resting place as “Gag me with a Ginsu.”  I did not relish any part of the birthing process nor did I relish the post-birthing process.

I did not relish having nipples that were cracked, bleeding and often times so painfully raw I could tell when there was a low pressure system moving in. What? Never nursed? Well, let me give you some idea as to what this SORT OF felt like, for me anyway; Take any rough grade sand paper and rub your nipples.  Hard. Harder. Get ON it! Do this until they are roughed up and possibly bleeding. Then put salt or lemon on them. Orrrrrr, what the hay, go for broke and do both. Why not?!

I did not relish having plugged milk ducts that often resulted from said crying human baby blob who was, apparently, a shallow latcher.  I also did not relish relinquishing my precious sleep because nobody told me this could happen and let me tell you, four naproxen weren’t even taking the edge off. What madness is this!?

I did not relish surfing the internet baby bible (for me it was babycenter.com) for a possible cause/solution to my unbelievably engorged, burning, and throbbing breasts. Funny, the hospital’s Lactation Specialists don’t breathe a word of this when they’re helping your little nipple sucker latch on. OOOOH NOOOOO. And then whammo! Your breast is the size of a hot air balloon, it’s throbbing like the worst hangover headache possible and there are milk colored pustules all over your nipples.

I really did not relish abandoning Babycenter.com and going rogue either, but I found a potential solution that was not recommended or approved by them. And let me tell you, it worked. And it worked FAST. What did I do? Well, in the name of all the injustices I had and was suffering; why not add insult to injury? Why not tell a bazillion readers another private and personal tidbit about myself? I stuck a sterilized safety pin into the blister-like pustules. Yes. I did.  While I didn’t relish that part, I DID relish watching as my pent-up breast milk sprayed all over like an unmanned fire hose.  Whooooeeeeee! Yep. That, my friends, spells (pain) relief.

You know what? Side note, here. I wonder if Real Simple magazine would enjoy my use for a sterilized safety pin for their “Tell Us About Your New Uses For Old Things” segment.  Just sayin’.

I did not relish having to physically milk (think SQUEEZE the all-mighty hell out of) my own breast.  Can I just type that again? Yes, overshare here; I. Milked. My. Own. Breasts. Because of this wonderful now PTSD experience, it is yet another reason why I refuse to drink cow’s milk.  I mean, I lived it brothahh, you know? You hear what I’m saying? I lived being a human lactating udder.  Yep. Good times.

I did not relish waking up solely so I could drag my exhausted lily white bum out of a warm bed in order to use a cold breast pump. I did not relish not showering for days.  Well, ok. I give; I did sort of like not showering.  But it wasn’t the showering part that bugged me.  I LIKED showering. It was the “arduous” chore of drying off, combing my hair, blow drying my (short) hair, brushing my teeth, putting on deodorant and maybe applying lotion. THAT’S what took the time, my friends. That little regime was not relished.

I didn’t relish the fact that once my ‘girls’ were done being mangled, I never EVER looked at or felt the same about them again. They were off limits to my husband for at least 2 years. He never was a breast man, but still, TWO YEARS of a ‘no touch zone?’ After what you’ve read, could you blame me?

Trivia question: Did you know a nursing mom can still produce milk for up to 18 months after she stops nursing? Well, either did I! SURPRISE (insert jazz hands here)! Another thing ‘they’ don’t tell you. So imagine my shock (understatement) when my husband and I were having um, a stimulating adult conversation and my breasts started leaking TEN MONTHS AFTER I STOPPED NURSING!  Talk about the proverbial and literal wet blanket. Sheesh!  And NO I did not relish that.  That occurrence was yet another in a long line of what I now, red-faced, refer to as, “Melissa’s Mortification Moments.”

I suppose I could talk about how I didn’t relish the fact that newborns are like Octopi; they seem to have 8 hands when you remove a poopy diaper. I could talk about how said hand would find the soiled diaper and grab a big old handful of ‘soo-prise’ and then robustly and energetically thrust it into the air, waiving it all around, eluding mommy’s lunging grasp and thereby reducing  mommy to conniptions.

I could talk about how I didn’t relish the stupid, sleepless/stressed induced tiffs my husband and I would have. Suffice it to say that we gave each other the old stink eye from time to time while muttering (or barking) something like, “GEEZ! I can HEAR you CHEWING!” or “God! Do you HAVE to BREATHE so LOUDLY!?!!”

But I won’t.  I think I’ve traumatized you enough already and I’m certain I’ve re-traumatized myself. I know those women meant well. They wanted me to relish the coo’s and the sweet little (non-feces filled hand) that rested gently on my (non-flamingly engorged, one-step-away-from-mastitis) breast.  They wanted me to remember the studying, angelic blue-eyed gazes she would bestow upon me right before crap oozed out of her diaper.

Yeah, I get it. I really do.  So for me, writing a blog about this is healing. It’s another step towards seeing these events for what they really are; a tiny bit of insanity that didn’t and couldn’t last forever. And that thought? That bit of realism? Ooohhhh, yes, that I’ll relish.

Chef

It’s no secret I, like most of you, have a love/hate affair with money (I actually typed, “Monday” which would be sort of true too, right?). I love to save money and hate to spend. Saving money represents stability and security for me but I’ve already blogged about this so I won’t reinvent the wheel.

Not long ago, I receive this message from Tut.com’s “Notes from the Universe”:

When you spend money, Melissa, whether a little or a lot, wisely or not, do you celebrate that you’re creating opportunities, dancing with life, exchanging energy, supporting economies, feeding families, lessening poverty consciousness, demonstrating courage, validating life, eradicating fear, inviting magic into your life, and lifting humanity higher into the light?”

Yeah…ahhhhh no. No, I do not. I usually grit my teeth and clench the currency tightly in my claw-like hands.  But this message struck me deeply. I had never looked at my spending as feeding someone else’s family, supporting economies or helping lesson poverty.  But it makes sense, right?

So I set out to try and change my relationship with money and lo and behold (AHEM!), there was a ‘problem’ tailor made to help.

Trinity and I had been having ‘discussions’ for months about who was to do the cooking now that life was infinitely busier for the both of us.  First off, let me just state that I don’t like to cook. Secondly, cooking is work for me (conversely, baking is not as I ADORE that!). You have to conceptualize a meal, find a recipe, grocery shop, wash and prep the food, cook it, serve it and then clean up. I do not find enjoyment in any of this. But I need to eat and I have a family that needs to eat so ultimately, if Trinity isn’t going to take a turn in the kitchen, the responsibility lands on my shoulders.

I kind of half-heartedly floated the idea of having a part-time personal chef past Trinity and to my surprise he agreed. As soon as I could shut my dropped jaw, I burned rubber to post a quirky ad on Craig’s List. We had a response within days.

That’s when I started getting nervous. A personal chef? Isn’t that a bit pretentious and extravagant? Can we afford this? I mean, (gulp) doesn’t a chef cost a ton of bucks?

Then we met this young man. It was clear he has a passion for cooking; he is mature, professional, attentive, articulate and wants a better life for him and his new bride. He is a Southern California transplant and knows all about fresh, organic, vegetarian food.  His aspiration? To leave his food related day job and chef for families in the Fargo/Moorhead area.  Well, HELLOOOOO! Answer to my prayers!

We settled on a price and then the Budget Betty (that’s a family pet name for my mammy) in me kept going back and forth on whether we should do this or not. Can we afford it? Can we afford NOT to do it?  Well, we did it (duh) and it has been nothing short of a blessing from God.  He cooks for us once or twice a week and we all look forward to what he creates.

We have had cuisine that I never would have made nor would we have stepped out of our comfort zone to try. We’ve had Thai, German (he made his OWN sauerkraut!), Middle Eastern, Greek and Mexican, among others.  All of these dishes have contained a bevy of fresh vegetables (I found out I LOVE Brussel Sprouts! Who knew?!) and non-meat proteins. My favorite? It’s hard to pick just one, but I loved his Udon soup.  It was part of the first meal he made for us and I can still taste it.

He loves being challenged with ingredients, too.  Well, if you can call my basic palate a challenge, that is.  I’ve asked him to use fresh coconut, organic lemons, carrots and eggs. Wooo! Big challenge, I’m sure! Trinity has asked him to make Cajun  pasta, salmon and pizza.  By the way, he makes his own pizza crust out of Greek yogurt and it is unlike anything I’ve tasted before. I want more, more, MORE!

Is it expensive? Well, I really don’t think it’s something we could afford to do 5 nights a week. To give you some idea, the cost of each meal is equivalent to taking a small family (think three or four, NOT John and Kate Plus 8) out for an evening meal. But for me, the (almost) best part is all the work is done for you, right down to the dishes. It’s nirvana!

Think a personal chef might be good for you or help you resolve a repeated ‘discussion?’ Think you’d like to demonstrate courage, validate life, eradicate fear or maybe invite a little magic into your life (well, gee! When you put it THAT way….)? Well then, here you go. I’ve received permission to share our chef’s information through this blog.

                                   Spencer H.    760.822.2705

Dutch-Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

This recipe is just too, toooooo good not to share. One of the workers at Amanda’s Lady Bug Acres (the Veggie Barn) here in Fargo made these dark, chocolatey yummies for her customers. I was blown away by how rich and decadent they were.

She used, as the original recipe calls for, coconut sugar and unsweetened applesauce in place of the granulated sugar and coconut oil (you know I love me my coconut oil!) I chose to use. I also kept the skin on the zucchini (original recipe called for it to be peeled) and I increased the salt. I made sure I used a high quality pure vanilla extract.

If you buy a normal sized zucchini, you’ll use all of it for this recipe. If you use a jumbo one, you’ll use about half of it.  I buy a couple at a time (at The Veggie Barn, of course!), chop ‘em up in my mini-food processor (it has two settings; chop and puree) and freeze them.  I did grate the zucchini the first time but in an effort to save time and my sanity, I went with the ‘chop’ selection on my mini-processor.

DON’T over bake these lil’ guys. They’ll still be good but more on the drier side.  Make sure the center jiggles a bit and to stop the cooking, cut them immediately once you remove from the oven.

I’m still working on the baking time.  It’s about 22 to 23 minutes depending on if I use a tish more zucchini than the recipe calls for.

Another thing, which I didn’t know, is there is a difference between Dutch-processed cocoa and natural cocoa powder (this is usually what we all use). Dutch-processed is stripped of acids making it darker in color which implies it is richer and deeper in flavor. You use baking soda in recipes that use this type of powder. Natural cocoa powder (think Hershey’s) is lighter in color, has all of its acidity and is used in recipes that call for baking powder.   Cool huh?

These are great by themselves or with vanilla bean ice cream.  The flavor is dark, rich and intense and really hits the chocolate craving mark in my book.

Zucchini Dutch-Chocolate Brownies

Adapted from: texanerin.com – August, 2014

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T quality vanilla extract
  • ¾ c unrefined or granulated sugar
  • ¼ c coconut oil – melted
  • 1 c whole wheat flour or whole spelt flour
  • ½ c Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ t baking soda
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 c grated (or finely chopped) zucchini (about 1 large or ½ of jumbo)
  • 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ c mini semi-sweet (or milk chocolate) chocolate chips
  • ½ c chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper or spray with baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, sugar and melted coconut oil and let sit for about 5 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder (sifted if lumpy), baking soda and salt.  Make sure there are no lumps before continuing. Add the dry mix into the wet and stir gently until combined.  Be sure not to over mix. Fold in the grated zucchini and 1 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Pour the batter into the pan and even the surface with a spatula.  Sprinkle the ½ cup of mini-chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 22 to 24 minutes or until the middle doesn’t move when you jiggle the pan.  To stop the cooking process, once out of the oven, cut the brownies immediately.

You could store these in an airtight container on the counter for two days, but they won’t last that long.  These suckahs are that GOOD!

Tolerance

My jaw dropped this morning when the media released the story about how brutally and inhumanely a journalist’s life was ended.  My first thought went to his parents; those people nursed him and fed him and tucked him in at night and read him stories and taught him how to sing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and helped him with his math. They must be in incomprehensible pain. They have emotionally and physically lost a part of themselves in a brutal and horrifying manner. What’s worse (?) the vicious murder of their child, their son, is repeatedly displayed via social media for anyone who wants to watch.  Would you want that?!

Then I thought about a wife or a child(ren) he may have left behind.  This wife was robbed of being able to share her life and to grow old with her beloved. Her child(ren) will not get to hear their father’s voice, feels his hugs or learn from his wisdom any longer.

Then I thought about him, the victim, and the sadness and loneliness he may have experienced being away from those he loves while on assignment…a JOB for pity sake. I thought about the fear he must have had and the injustices he must have endured because he was an American pawn. Then I thought about the humans who committed these egregious acts.

While I understand there are two sides to every story, I just don’t understand why the world seems to be in such a snit. And why do we, the public, need/want to hear about this stuff? For me, personally, it’s overwhelming. To recap, we have children being raped and killed. We have pedophiles and drug dealers in our neighborhoods, sometimes in our own homes. We have parents willfully killing their infants. We have teenagers taking aim on schools. We have sects shooting planes out of the sky and we have militants using women and children as human shields.  It’s in our newspapers, on our radios, televisions and social media. It’s talked about in coffee shops, at dinner tables and for those like me, it reverberates inside my head.

Is it any wonder many believed the world would end in 2012?!

With great sadness (and more than a little disgust for my fellow human beings), I looked at my 2 ½ year old daughter and said, “{Expletive} I brought you into this hell hole. I chose to have you even though THIS is what’s going on in the world. And you chose to come. How are you supposed to help with this? What’s your part? How can you stop all this crap?” She looked at me and said, “Mommy not be sad. Mommy be happy!” and then she burst into a rousing rendition of “Bingo was his name O!”

But somewhere inside my head, I ‘heard’ the much older and wiser version of her say, “Teach tolerance.”

So what is tolerance?  Webster’s dictionary describes it as (among other things): “sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.”   Yes, yes! I like that. My mom used to say, “To each his own.”  I, for the most part, did grow up understanding and using tolerance so maybe that’s why this stuff is so difficult for me to understand.

My daughter has a favorite Sesame Street book entitled, “We’re Different, We’re the Same.” I read it to her daily and it often reaches the ad nauseam point for me but she loves it. It talks about how our bodies are different but they are the same.  They “stretch and bend and work and play. They all need food and rest each day. They dance and wiggle and ride a bike. They might look different, but they’re alike.”  It talks about how our skin is different but our skin is the same. It talks about our feelings are different but our feelings are the same, “Lonely, worried, scared, excited, happy, loving, glad, delighted.”

You get it, right? We ARE all the same. We might look different, but we’re the same. We are all ONE. All of our blood is red. We all have a heart and lungs and skin. We all have emotions. We all have beliefs. We all have ‘baggage.’ We were all born and we will all die.

It’s now the end of the day and I’m still agitated. I’m left wondering, in a shell-shocked sort of way, what’s it going to take to stop all this killing and other injustices?  Is teaching tolerance the answer? Maybe. Teaching hate sure isn’t working.

Dick

I have a client whose deceased husband has been coming to her sessions, almost without fail, for about two years.  Their love for each other has clearly transcended boundaries and it continues even while one of them is no longer in human form.

Dick is a joy to communicate with. Sometimes he is quiet and takes everything in, other times he is all smiles and eager to talk.  Sometimes he does energy work on his wife right alongside of (or through) me and sometimes he lets me have the floor.

He is respectful, courteous and polite and has a fabulously dry sense of humor which brings happy tears to his wife’s blue eyes.

He shows up in human form or as the color orange. Sometimes I don’t see him but he telepathically talks to me. Sometimes he shares quips about his life with his beloved and sometimes he tells me information about the spiritual realm.

In life, Dick was a scientist and a professor which made him naturally analytical/logical. He preferred to do things that didn’t involve people. His wife, on the other hand, loves helping people and Dick didn’t understand this need. He also didn’t believe in his wife’s ‘hunches’ and he most certainly would never have given Reiki or channeled messages the time of day.

But now, in death, he tells me he has been ‘awakened.’

Last month, right around the time we were learning about downed air crafts, Dick briefly popped into session and seemed excited but worn-out and rushed. This was a far cry from his normal calming, sedate and respectful manner. It was kind of as if he was overwhelmed with the enormity of something.

He said he couldn’t stay as he had a lot of work to do. He said he and others were helping newly deceased souls find Home.  He popped in and out of my client’s session that day. He was clearly torn; he really wanted to be with his wife and to have me communicate his words, but he had obligations elsewhere.

During my client’s most recent session, Dick returned and he was enthusiastically excited.  He said he has been tasked to work with people. He, and others, were helping souls leave their physical body and return to energy, just like him. He told his wife he didn’t realize how tiring dealing with emotions could be. His wife of 40 years laughed and said that dealing with emotions was NOT his specialty. She found comfort in the knowledge he was learning to do so.

Up until Dick’s recent communication, I thought once you died and became a soul you’d live on Heaven’s easy street. You know, nothing to do because it was already done. You were free from all pain, you took a vacation from all this spiritual learning crap and you played golf/cards or fished/napped all day until you reincarnated. But Dick’s revelations about his continued learning left me questioning all of what I thought.

Dick knew what I was thinking because my brain was instantly flooded with a whole bunch of telepathic information concerning this. For instance, I knew Dick was helping individuals who died en masse by guiding their ascending souls from earth.  I knew it wasn’t just Dick doing this; it was a large group or ‘pocket’ of entities (200 or so) who had banded together to help and they’re very happy doing so.

I learned that once you physically die your work or maybe more appropriately, what you need to work ON, doesn’t stop. You are given opportunities to learn and grow by taking, ummm, let’s call them classes.  As is the case with Dick, he was given the opportunity to spiritually advance – after his physical death – by learning about and dealing with the complexities of human emotions.  The last piece of knowledge I remember is that there are literally thousands of courses you could enroll in.

After our session ended, it once again occurred to me how fantastic this gift of communicating with the deceased (and the Ascended) is.  It also, once again, reminded me of how limited my human brain is.  I believe strongly at one point my brain knew all of this information as I had literally been there and done that.  But in order to not overload the circuits, I (we, really) had to forget some stuff so we could eat, drink and be merry.

I love these sessions with my client and her deceased husband. It reminds me that there IS more out there, that love doesn’t stop just because one person has left the physical plane (right, Angie?) and that death ISN’T the end.

How fabulous is that?

Hurry

When I walk my daughter to daycare, we cross a busy 4-way residential intersection that is controlled by stop signs.  I’m amazed that some people can’t wait seven seconds (yes, you know me, I timed it!) for us to cross and yet others are so respectful they’ll stop a car’s length away. Some smile while others just look inconvenienced.  A few others keep their faces averted as if saying, “If I can’t see you, you’re not there” and roll through the stop sign.

But I’m not judging. GOD no, because I’ve done all of this, too.

Last year, I was approaching this busy intersection and I noticed a wee lil’ guy walking to the end of his driveway and then back up to his garage.  As we passed I said, “Hi!” and he ran to the garage, looked back and said to me, “I’m waiting for my daddy.”  I scanned the area and didn’t see anyone, not even a guardian. I kept walking but something didn’t feel right.  My ‘spidey sense’ was tingling.  I looked over my shoulder. No adult in sight and the sweet little guy (maybe 3?) was at the end of the driveway again.  I kept walking; after all, I had to get my daughter to daycare.  But something stopped me and I turned around and crossed that dang busy intersection again.

As I approached, he ran to his garage and looked at me with a side long glance. I said, “Honey. Is your daddy coming?” And he said yes. Then I asked where his mommy was and he shrugged his shoulders.  Ok, in for a penny in for a pound.  I, with my new born in her stroller, began walking up his driveway. I asked him if we should go look for his mommy together.  His face split into a huge, relieved smile and he said yes.  At that point he was no longer leery of me but giddily ran ahead of me while excitedly asking me about my baby.

We reached his front door and I noticed that it was open a bit as if this precocious pre-schooler had let himself out.  I rang the bell and soon mommy came to the door. She was trying to take the situation in when I said, “I found this little guy at the end of the driveway. He said he was waiting for his daddy.”

She blinked and instinctively looked towards the busy road. I could tell by her wide eyes that she was calculating what could have happened. She instantly dropped to her knees, embraced her son, cradling him and saying his name over and over and over again.  She looked up at me with eyes that were so full of thankfulness that the memory brings tears to my eyes two years later. She thanked me and I reddened and sputtered, “Oh, you’re welcome. I have a wee one, too and I would want someone to do the same thing if she pulled a Houdini.”

As I was leaving the drive way, I heard her call out, ‘THANK YOU’ once more.

Now, this whole intervening thingy was very out of character for me. I have been trained to keep my nose out of other people’s business. I most often assume that someone is taking care of the situation and everything will be fine without me being a budinsky.

Another ‘budinsky’ incident happened on an unusually warm January day. Trinity, our 2 month old and I were out for a walk and we noticed two little girls (2 and 4 maybe?) were knocking on a home’s door.  The youngest was naked from waist down and was carrying her dolly. The older one was clothed, wearing a light jacket but no shoes. Trinity and I were confused by this but assumed they were at their own home and the parent’s had this under control. We continued walking as I wanted to get home (read: in a rush). But bless Trinity’s not-in-a-rush intuitive heart, he sensed something was wrong and stopped dead in his tracks. I remember him saying, “This is not right. I have to do something.”

A long story short, this wasn’t their home. The oldest child told us their mommy was napping and she thought she knew how to get back to her house. She was a beautiful child who didn’t show any fear and already had a lot of maturity.

After wrapping the half-naked little girl in my coat and an extra blanket of our daughters, I picked her up and we started walking. She was as beautiful as her sister and so innocently sweet. I remember that she smelled of Vaseline and fit nicely in my arms.

When the oldest little girl said, “This is my house!” we rang the doorbell twice and a disheveled and bleary-eyed young mom came to the door. She, too, was trying to assess the situation when Trinity asked, “Are these your girls? We found them 5 houses down.”  I watched the emotions cross her face. First there was confusion, followed by acknowledgement and then understanding of what may have happened.  Then, her understanding turned to anger, not at us but at her two little innocent girls.  She started to chastise them when my husband stepped in and calmly said, “No. No. Please don’t be angry with them or yell at them. This isn’t their fault. Maybe just install a lock on the door?”

We left feeling proud of ourselves for stepping in and helping those two little girls. But I kept wondering, WHAT IF?! What if I/we didn’t stop? What if we minded our own business and assumed everything was fine?? The whole thing bothered me so much that I talked with Susie about it.

Susie, being Susie, said, “People react differently when they are in a hurry versus when they aren’t. It’s human nature. If you perceive you are not rushed, you will feel as if you have the time to help. If you are rushing, you will feel you don’t have time to deal with it.”

Yes. Yes.  That makes sense, right?

So now I think of those drivers who are in a rush to get to their destination and feel frustration with the mere seven second delay I’m causing by using the cross-walk. What are THEY missing? What am I missing when I’m in a rush?

Then I think about the ones who aren’t in a rush. Those who can wait the seven seconds. Those that stop and help a child. Those people, like me, may be rewarded by glimpsing a little chubby hand waving to them, a wide, brilliant smile on an innocent face or perhaps, a direct, big blue-eyed gaze that could melt hearts.

Eyes

A new acquaintance recently asked me, “What personal quality of yours do you hope your child will adopt?”  Surprisingly, with all the great qualities I possess (cough), it didn’t take long to come up with the (as in the royal “the”, not the American “the”) answer.  As a side note, what was surprising was being able to condense my response into one SMALL paragraph!

My first thought was that of kindness. Then I thought about my uh, ummmm, let’s just call it, ‘superior multi-tasking and attention to detail’ skills. (You can read anal-retentiveness but I’m not writing it.) Then it hit me; I’d like for my daughter to adopt the gift of understanding why a person, including herself, reacts the way they do.

How did I arrive at choosing this particular personal quality over so many others? Let me weave a story that spans a decade.

I’m going to take you back to my Fate part I and Fate part II blogs. These are the blogs chronicling how my forever husband and I met, how he dumped me and how Susie saw, with her spiritual eyes, what was going on spiritually.  Even back then, when I was in such intense emotional pain, Susie was teaching me new ways of adapting and looking at things.

These conversations showed me that often a different set of eyes is needed in order to see what’s going on behind the scenes. What I mean by this is seeing why a person lashes out at you or why you lash out at them. And it doesn’t have to be lashing out (anger) either; it may be avoidance, sorrow or animosity.

A few years after Susie guided me through that emotional abyss and several instances later, I began noticing I often had a knowing or an intuitive ‘hit’ as to how a situation was different from what we saw with our physical eyes.

For instance, a client recently told me she was angry with a friend who had distanced herself without any explanation. I ‘looked’ into this and saw that the friend was trying to be supportive of my client’s busy life.  She wanted to give my client some space in order for her to accomplish all that she wanted to do. I also saw that this friend would be there for my client when my client was ready to reconnect. This took the hot air right out of my client’s anger balloon.

In another instance, my client was confused when a romantic relationship ended prematurely. She didn’t know what happened as everything appeared to be going well.  I ‘saw’ that this guy was very afraid of his intense feelings for her and bailed. This allowed her to understand she didn’t do anything wrong, she didn’t cause this and it helped her figure out what she wanted to do next. Hummm, this scenario sounds familiar, right Fate I and Fate II blog readers???!

One more example would be a client who was having extreme anxiety over how a coworker was treating her. I saw that this coworker was trying to help my client grow spiritually by putting some fuel on the proverbial low self-worth fire.  This person was trying to give my client opportunities to say no and to stand up for herself.   After hearing this, my client told me this was a life-long issue for her and something she wanted to work on. She emailed me a week later stating she had set some boundaries for herself, her friends, coworkers and others.

Developing this gift has allowed me to step into another person’s emotional shoes and better understand why a particularly painful or reactive response was triggered. It has helped me calm nerves and soothe anger. It has also helped me deal with my own emotional pain. But you don’t need to be an Intuitive to do this, you just need to be perceptive and open to looking at things in a different light.

What if we all practiced seeing each other’s pain with compassion and empathy instead of with anger and hostility? What if we all calmly said, ‘Wow, it looks like you’re having a strong reaction to what I said. Can you tell me why?”  Or, what if you internally said, “Wow, I am having a strong reaction to that. What do I need to look at and work on in order to try and heal the pain inside of me so this doesn’t happen again?”

By holding off on reacting to what we think is true and looking at things from a slightly different angle, it may help all of us to heal old wounds. And that, for me, is why I chose this particular trait or gift for my daughter to adopt. I believe it can literally change the world into a better place.

Channeled Message 6.20.14

Melissa’s Note: I’ve seen so much discord and physical injuries with my clients lately that I asked my Guys for a channeled message. I asked them if all this upheaval was due to Mercury being in retrograde or the upcoming Summer Solstice.  This is their response….

“You humans put too much emphasis on a certain day (i.e. Summer Solstice) when the reality is, the energy exchange has started weeks prior.  Have you not all felt it? Maybe it translates into unease for some of you. Maybe it shows itself as unrest or even fear. Maybe you are struggling with relationships or letting go of that which you know is no longer for your highest good. Whatever it is, the majority of you are feeling out of sorts or distended, if you will.

We offer you this: This energy blast will not last.  This One rolls her eyes as she transcribes this and perhaps she is wise to do so. She is no stranger to how we work and she knows that when we say something will not last, it could become worse before it becomes better. She is a veteran in the trenches and has seen her fair share of triage as well as bruises and bumps.

We wish to let you all know that YOU are making this more difficult than it really needs to be.  You are given options and sometimes you choose the easy route and sometimes you do not.

What is the ‘easy route’ you ask? It is simple.  Let go of all that is no longer serving a purpose (for your highest good). Time to declutter? Then do so. Time to weed out the weeds in your life? Then do so.  Time to cut dead weight? Then do so.  See? We tell you it is simple and yet you humans sometimes make mountains out of mole hills.

We do not understand why you languish at some of these changes. Have they not served you better in the long run? Have you not thanked the Powers That Be for allowing you to move forward and find greener pastures?  Have you not rewarded yourself for getting through the emotions and energies that seem to plague you?  Yes, YES! We see that you do! Time and time again, we see that you do.

And still some of you struggle to retain the Old. Yes, yes, we know it is ‘comfortable’ as this One is telling us. We see that patterns are hard to break but we offer you this; why did you choose to reincarnate? Why did you willingly and lovingly choose to return to a planet where there is so much dysfunction and abuse? We will tell you. It is because you CHOSE to do so. You CHOSE to return in order to work out issues, amend judgments and right wrongs that you were not able to do in past lives.

Everything, EVERYTHING that you are struggling with can be made easier if you will allow it to be so. We do not wish to sound trite, we wish to sound knowledgeable as that is our role in your lives. We are here to guide you and help you but ultimately, you make your own decisions. Right or wrong, you will live out the consequences of your actions.

Sometimes you will need to sit with your decisions and other times it will come naturally to you.  It is as it should be. You are guided by an inner compass, if you will, that you humans call “intuition.” For some of you, you have forgotten this innate gift, while others embrace it and hear its call.  Intuition is there to help you, to guide you, to show you and to help you heal. Ignore it at your own peril.

We offer you this; do not fear what you cannot see for it often turns out to be exactly what you need. We deal with your spiritual growth and we never steer you wrong. Ever. It is not in our DNA as you humans like to say.  It is our job and we take it very seriously. We are here to guide you and help you grow. How you perceive our help is up to you.

You are being asked to let go of all that does not serve you. That may mean ending relationships that are tired and worn, moving beyond taxing emotional burdens or embracing something new.  Whatever it means for you, do not fear it for it is not to be feared. It is to be embraced, rejoiced and enjoyed.

Are we speaking directly to you? You might think so, but this is something that is meant for the masses.  Globally.  There is no “right or wrong” as it is all just energy. How you deal with that energy is soulely (did you catch our play on words?) up to you.

We leave you now with gratitude.  You are strong and have an amazing sense of character.  Keep honing and refining and you will see the load lightening or shifting. Or you can choose to stay just as you are and feel battered and broken. The choice is yours.”

Tanning

“Oh, you got some sun!  You look SO good!”  Or, said with an enviable voice, “You’re soooooo tan.” I have overheard these and similar comments being said and I’m finding I’m having a very strong reaction to them…so….a blog is born.

A tan is NOT healthy, it is NOT good for you and it is NOT to be envied. Do you know what a tan is? It’s your body’s innate reaction of trying to protect you…your skin… from further damage. So let’s tweak the above statements.  “Oh, you got some sun DAMAGE! Your poor skin!” or “You’re soooo tan. I’m so sorry!”

Yeah, I’m having a little fun with this but I do speak from experience.  You see, when I was a teenager and a young adult, I remember racing home from work so I could lay in the sun, even for a half hour.  I would bake in my early to mid-twenties by applying baby oil or Hawaiian Tropic Tan Accelerator.  Then something changed and I started applying sunSCREEN.  That was also about the same I started washing the make up off of my face at night, but that’s another story.

As a child, I was lucky enough to be at several lakes throughout ND, MN and SD. I used sunscreen, but I don’t remember reapplying.  I loved being in the water, and my pale Norwegian/Austrian/Mutt skin had many, many severe sunburns. I remember one, in particular, that caused me to throw up several times.

In my mid to late twenties, I visited my parents while they wintered in Arizona.  It was a cloudy day but I was in Arizona and I wanted to get a suntan, dang it!  Oh my LORD! I’d been warned that the Arizona sun was much different than the North Dakota sun but I didn’t listen. Sans sunscreen, my face became so badly burned that my eyelids swelled shut.

When I was in my late thirties, I worked at a skin and laser clinic.  I learned much about our skin and how to take better care of mine. I also learned that the cosmetic industry was capitalizing on the fact that women were willing to pay big bucks in order to reverse the damaging effects of their days of fun in the sun.

My oldest niece (she was 38 at the time) was diagnosed with Melanoma. For those of you who don’t know, Melanoma is the mack daddy of skin cancers. It is scary stuff and it takes lives. Based on my childhood/early adult sun life, I’m a prime candidate for melanoma, as well.

So how did we get our love for tanning?  Here’s a little tanning history; back in the olden days, you were considered ‘lower class’ if you had a tan because that meant you had to work outdoors.  Conversely, those without a tan were considered ‘upper class’ because they didn’t have to work in the sun.

Then, in the 1920’s the designer, Coco Channel, became sunburned while on vacation and well, that was the start of our sun tanning love affair1.

It doesn’t matter if you choose to get your tan on from a tanning bed or the sun; both give off UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) radiation. In fact, tanning beds emit concentrated doses. I can usually spot a tanning bed user as they tend to give off a weird glow, kind of like a neon bulb.

And don’t think you can’t get burned on a cloudy day. I asked my 14 year old bonus son to apply sunscreen the other day and he looked at me like I was spouting a second head (he IS a teenager, after all!). He said, ‘It’s cloudy outside! You can’t get burned when it’s cloudy!!”  Ohhhhh…chil’….I have the same argument with your dad.  YES, yes you can. The sun’s rays penetrate through the clouds.

When I was younger, I didn’t take aging very seriously. Who does?! Back then my attitude was ‘get a bronzing tan today, feel/look good and don’t worry about tomorrow.’  As a teenager/young adult, you never think about your own mortality because you are invincible. Plus you know more than your parents, right?

Now that I am older, I am trying to reverse the damage. I’m fighting the odds of skin cancer and aging. I am proud to be pale. You’ll not hear me apologizing for being un-tanned either, as that would be like me apologizing for trying to stay healthy. “I hope my white legs don’t blind you. I’m trying to remain cancer-free.”

So here I am, years later and much wiser, a self-proclaimed ‘sun-safety girl.’  I wear sunscreen almost all of the time (I’m not perfect!) and I wear hats. I seek shade whenever possible, I wear UVA/UVB protective sun glasses and I am rarely out during the hottest part of the day. I watch my moles and have my doctor check them once a year.

I hope this blog causes you to rethink, even for a moment, how we aggrandize a tan. It is nothing more than our body trying to protect ourselves from harm. The rays, whether they are from the sun or a UV lamp, are NOT healthy; they CAUSE CANCER.

Vermin

Many, MANY years ago in a what seems like a different lifetime, I lived in a home that was located within a budding new development (read: open lots/fields). I was trying to be domestic by planting flowers (ewwww…shutter!) and I was truly the ultimate Attila the Mom with my new plantings.

That’s where God’s little creatures and I butted heads for the first time. Let’s just say I had to do a tango with some chipmunks who were nesting under our front porch. They were eating my ’ittle baby budding flowers, for pity sake! You can mess with me, but when you eat my precious flowers (again, I HATE planting flowers!) then you’re gonna get the horns, my friend.

I seem to vividly remember chasing these little chipmunks from their hidey hole with my teeth bared and a broom (or was it a shovel?) over my head while producing a feral scream in the back of my throat. And yes, I performed this little dog and pony show in broad daylight. 

I cornered a couple of them in downspouts and thought I was so smart. Then, when I’d try to raise the downspout and capture them inside, they’d move, scratch their little claws on the metal and I’d let out a little girl scream and drop the downspout.  Some warrior, huh?

And let’s not leave out the time I tried to ‘drown’ them when they were nesting under our front step. That was before I realized it was all sand underneath the steps and the tons of water I was pumping into it was just being soaked up and spit out by our sump pump.

I was consumed by these little machines of mass (flower) destruction. I don’t remember quite how I did it, but I got them all into a 5 gallon bucket and they were either too cute to kill or I didn’t have the chops, so I took them to an empty field about ¾ of a mile away and released them.  They didn’t come back and we didn’t have any more ‘renters’ under our front porch step, either.

I wish I could tell you my flowers survived, but they didn’t. Alas, to add insult to injury, my well-meaning (ex)husband thought my flowers were weeds and he pulled them. ALL of them. I kid you not.

Fast forward 17 years. New husband, new house and critters again, this time voles.  The first year I was all like, “Oooh, they’re so cute! We can’t kill them!”  Wait, that was like the first week or maybe the first day.  Then, the little shits started eating our house, literally, and our window screens AND to top it off, our new landscaping!! 

Well, that’s the proverbial kiss of death right there.  Landscaping is expensive and now you’re eating our HOUSE?! Something changed inside of me and I hardened, if you will. It’s primal. It’s like, “Me or you, buddy and it ain’t gonna be me. This is MY turf and you are not welcome here.”  Picture me beating on my chest with closed fists, because that’s the energy I was exuding.

Trinity was on it. In fact, he was waiting for me to give him the approval. He was much more effective and efficient in dispatching the ravenous rodents in our window wells. Granted, he didn’t try to use a two iron or a basketball as my starter husband tried to do, but he got the job done in a humane way.  

By the way, interesting fact about voles (who look like mice but are smaller), they can have 100 babies a year.  Yes, ONE vole can have 100 babies. They have a three week gestation period and can start breeding at one month. 

In 2013, Trinity started, evidently, evolving into the bird whisperer and built two bird houses. One was for a wren and one was for a robin. We got our wren who is really a fabulously polite renter and instead of the robin, we got a black bird that is so damn high strung she flies out of her nest when I sneeze INSIDE the house with the windows CLOSED.  Oy! We call her Nelly, as in Nervous Nelly.

So now I’ve noticed barn swallows around our home. I don’t recall seeing them around here before and today one of them flew into our garage. I investigate and the bird flies out. Ok, that’s weird, but whatever. 

Then, THEN! I walk to the end of the garage and about 6 of the little aerialists dive at me. Oh hell no. HELL NO! I see what is going on here and I won’t have it. I look for nests inside the garage and I don’t see any. I shut the garage door (I really wanted to type ‘down’ after that but refrained myself!) and immediately hear a racket of excited chirping. Then I see the posse land by our front door and on the eaves above it.  Nope. Not going to have it.

I grab a broom. I have visions of my Grandma Jessie doing this at the lake and have an instant flashback to the chipmunks. I pray nobody is outside when I open the door.  There is (of course!). I start shouting (as if the birds can understand the lunatic woman), “Get out! Get the hell out of here!” and wave a broom around.  My neighbor looks up and I justifyingly and righteously stammer, “They’re trying to build a nest in MY garage!”  He smiles and says, “Oh.” And I’m thinking, with one eyebrow raised, your garage door is open too, buddy, I’d be on my guard if I were you.

After repeated failed attempts  (doi!) to use the broom as a baseball bat and the birds as the baseball, I slunk back inside with my head low. Then, my friends, sadly I quietly shut the garage door. For now.

You may have won the battle, barn swallows, but I WILL win the war.