make the ordinary come alive

This is a wonderful poem… ❤

I didn't have my glasses on....


Make the Ordinary Come Alive
Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

credits: poetry by William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching, image by

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Reflections on 32…

Today I turn 32 years old.  Weird to think I am in my 30’s… a long, long time ago I thought it would take a long time to get to my 30’s.  BAM!  Here I am, 1/5 of the way done with my 30’s… happened fast.

I will say that my 30’s are nothing like I thought, imagined, envisioned… pretty much as far from where I thought I would be in this decade as they could be.  I am going through a divorce from the person I grew up with, I lost 1/3 of my lovely and crazy girls… I am in a place where I am lonely when I am surrounded, confused often and miss many aspects of life before 30.  I wonder often what the rest of this decade will look like… will I have a job, will I ever get a cottage on the lake… will birthday’s be fun and special again?  I know they will… it just feels so far away from the spot that I am standing in that I can’t see it.

I am proud of my changes in the past 2 years… I am proud of the fact that I am still hanging on (sometimes for dear life and other times just because I know I want to get farther and better and stronger)… I am proud of my girls and their resiliency and happy and sad and support that they are to me and others… I am proud that Madeline is still here… I am proud that I can live without Matt.

I think tonight I need to shift my focus and remind myself what I have gained, what I have learned and what I am proud of in these past 2 years…

-I am still here.  I run, cry, sing Frozen songs, laugh, hurt, get mad, feel a little happy, yell, move, travel and most of all live and breath each and every day.

-I have overcome A LOT of things that I don’t think ‘old Erin’ could have… public speaking, feeling and accepting vulnerability in a group of people, talking about and sharing death and grief and God.

-My faith has become so much BIGGER.  I am not scared to talk about God, heaven and faith.  I don’t care what people who disagree think… (Which leads me to another point…)

-I don’t care what other people think of those things.  I don’t care if they agree with my beliefs and lessons in grieving and mourning.  I don’t care if they think I am nuts for sharing my faith.  I don’t care if they get uncomfortable when I talk about my daughter, who is dead, as much as my daughters who are here… I just don’t care.  ‘Old Erin’ would have cared and softened and been careful…

-I am so much better at saying ‘No’.  I don’t fill my life with so many things that I don’t enjoy them (very often).  I don’t overbook with 3 birthday parties or 30 nights out… I just don’t.  I say ‘No’ when it doesn’t work (unless it is an emergency).  I am even better enough to not feel guilt for saying ‘No’ as often.  That is a big step for this Erin.

-I am so glad and happy and content and blessed and thankful for those that I have surrounded myself with (or maybe who have surrounded me)… who carry me when I am heavy and lift me when I am sad and take care of me when I am not good… They are friends that I see all the time, family that I see sometimes, old friends and acquaintances that have become people that I feel a bond and closeness to, they are people who were complete and utter strangers that have jumped on board and picked me up… with a message, a letter, a gift and prayers.  If I weren’t surrounded by these amazing people, in every different way that they surround me, I wouldn’t be in this very spot.  This spot, that I am reminded often, is the VERY spot that I am supposed to be in, at this very moment.

-I can do it.  I can public speak.  I can write a grant proposal.  I can talk to professionals and get things done.  I can make important decisions and take actions and direct others to help.  I can got to a professional meeting and get my point across.  I can be a part of a Foundation that is changing things and help start a coalition that is changing things.  All things that I was so scared of and saw as ‘grown up’… I guess this means that I am finally a ‘grown up’ (crap….)

-I run.  I sweat.  I move.  I push.  I get my butt up and do something (boot camp, run, machine…) pretty much every day of the week.  I work out so that my body is stronger and more tired.  I work out so that I can get those ‘high’s’ that keep me a little above the depressed line.  I work out to release some of the toxic and hard, and leave room for more healthy and positive.  I work out so that I can get stronger and healthier and find ‘me’.  I don’t have the energy to work out, ever.  I do it anyway.  I know that I must… because I am still here, standing and breathing and staying a little above depressed.  I am looking forward to the day that I have gotten farther from depressed… but like they say- one day at a time.

-I like me more.  I even like my wobbly bits more, enough that I can’t get the motivation to get rid of them.  I would like to be lighter and feel better… but not because I hate me… but because I know how healthier me feels.  I know how much better I feel when I am lighter and eating better… I just need to find that big push.  I will say though that I like me… the one I am today.  When I really sit down and think about my weight and image- that isn’t what makes my life hard or sad or darker right now.  It isn’t at all.  It is a hundred other factors… so I think that I am proud that I am me, I look like I do right now… and I am working to get that me healthier.

-I can do this with out Matt.  I don’t know if I knew before that I could.  I don’t particularly like it.  It hurts and stings a lot.  Days like today feel very full of holes of missing stuff.  Alas, tomorrow is March 31… and it will be one whole year until I have to feel what it feels like to miss my family on my birthday.  I guess I am glad for that.  I am glad that this day is behind me.  I have good faith that next year will look very different, I hope much brighter, lighter and happier.  I didn’t ask for this.  I must accept and move and find something brighter… and maintain faith that it will be brighter.  I am proud of ‘new Erin’ for doing things that ‘old Erin’ always put off or let go.  Stupid things like maintaining a checking account.  Very soon I will be in charge of paying bills and fully maintaining my home…  I guess I have made it 9 months and fixed things, taken care of things and adjusted things… I can do this.

-I am bolder.  just that… I am bolder.


I know there are other things I am sure… but these are some things that I was recounting and thinking about right now.  I hope tomorrow I wake feeling lighter and more ok.  I hope tomorrow I let go of March 2014 and move on…

❤ Mads… what I would have given to have some birthday cake and get a hug from you today.  I miss you darling, always will.

Perfect in the Imperfect…


You know what I miss… I miss taking on projects and crafts and sitting and doing them for hours at night with a glass of wine and a thinking brain.  I miss that.  I felt good this week to take it on, and of course bit off more than I should.  I guess it’s my nature.  I am not home unless I create a pile of painting chaos… a toy box for a friend, centerpieces for Myles of Smyles Gala, a Captain America project for a ‘best day ever’ and of course superhero personalized towels for a ‘best day ever’.  Honestly… I always did that.  Man I missed it.  This week I stood in my kitchen for hours with paint brushes on hand, thinking of ideas for life, things I want to do, deep contemplations about my life and marriage, thoughts about schedules and things… basically all the brainwork that I put off so often.  It was good.  I love how the projects are coming out.  I love being creative.

Back in the day… I kind of called myself the Queen of Imperfectly Perfect.  I felt that it covered my projects, my personality and the time I put in.  I came into the knowledge that nothing freaking works the way my head plans… so I am very good at finding a new direction for the project or placing strategic polka dots to hide or make it ‘perfect’.  I swear nothing I do it perfect… but there is patina in the mess… there is bits of me in the imperfect.  I think, and most people follow my lead… who knows.  Anywho, off topicish, I love it.  I miss it.  I found a bit of it.  My fingernails and cuticles are pretty much littered with orange, my lips have the colors of paint that I had to write with (‘sharpening’ the brush leaves paint on your lips).  I look a lot like Lucy when I paint.  I am a hot mess.  My aprons and table covers are FULL of paint and mod podge… my hair, hands and most likely side of my leg will end up with paint in It (sometimes I wonder how… but who really cares).

I love the mode that a project puts me in.  The concentration and focus.  I don’t really achieve that in any other activities.  I love to paint, mod podge, use polymer clay and make anything look distressed (another tactic to make something ‘perfectly imperfect’).

I remember my old table in my dining room, it was tiny and old and I loved it.  It was covered with bits of paint from my and my girls.  I could never get it all up.  It was the saddest part for me when I put it away and we bought a new, bigger table.  I missed the stories in the table.  I painted wooden valances to match the girls new bedding, a long time ago.  It was stripes in coral, teal, blue, yellow and green- thick and thin ones.  I worked forever on it.  When I took the table apart to put it away the spots from the stripes were there.  There were times the girls and I did projects that nicked the table, or got enamel on it.  I had all of those moments on that old table.  I miss it.  I have a fair amount of comfort knowing that Matthew sits at that table and uses it as a desk now.  That he has a bit of the girls and me and our ‘Musto Chick’ projects with him.  (I also told him that when he doesn’t want it that table is mine)… I love those Perfect Imperfections.  I love that there is a big spot on my new table, because for Amelia’s 100 day project last year I grabbed the wrong pink paint and she painted her canvas with my sister Molly with enamel paint… I can keep that spot forever.

I am glad I found some of my piece in my ‘Perfect Imperfect’ projects… who knows what kind of things I will take on next…

❤ darling.

Stupid March.

Let’s just talk about the obvious.  Seriously… when will I not be cold!  I miss regular March, you know the one that comes in like a lion and out like a lamb (vice versa).  I think this March (the lion only version) pretty much sucks.  I should be skipping around in a dresses and light jackets and rainboots… I should be showering and putting cute clothes on almost every day (Be lovely. Do Amazing.)… I should be setting up a picnic in 40 degree weather and my girls have to eat with mittens still.  I used to have a force BBQ in March… it would be a ‘summery’ spring day and I would go all out and make summer salads and grill out and try hard to get Matt to eat outside (to no avail people who weigh in at less than 150 and are not grown ups hate being cold).  Where the hell is the few days warm streak?  The sunny morning runs that start off cold and end with a tank top and the start of tan lines… grrr…

I am totally just stating the obvious, that unless you live on the equator, it is still winter and acting like February still.  I guess not February… it is light at dinner time and milder.  This has been a not-so-normal March.  I guess it has been a few years since I had a good March.  I don’t know.  I love March.  It is the true start of spring, with not so many allergies.  It is my birthday month… and my birthday is the 30 so I can celebrate the whole month minus one day.  It is a month when I start to feel the sun come out more and hibernation mode to subside.  It’s a month that used to be special for being Matt and I’s dating anniversary, My grandma’s birthday, the ice storm, St Patrick’s day… lots of good stuff.

It’s all different now.  I don’t know if it is just ‘getting older’ or if I can’t find joy in the anticipation of my birthday.  It used to be the best feeling… like not knowing the gender of your kids.  I loved that for one day I got surprises and cake and spoiled.  I loved that on March 6 if I was having a crappy day I would just let it go and think ‘it’s my birthday month’.  I feel like a lot of the pain in this birthday is the changes.  All of the loss is so prevalent still.  I am also very able to see the blessings, but the loss feels heavy this year.  I know that someday, maybe soon, it won’t feel so heavy to carry it all.  I know that I need to put a lot of it down and let it go.  I am sure there are many amazing and fun and beautiful things to come.

So… welcome April this year.  There are many amazing and fun and special things in April to look forward to.  I will keep my head up and jump into April.  I think April might bring true spring… blooms, buds, pollen, growth, green… warmth, rain, sun and some sort of change from this season…


A bit of normal… in the midst of chaos

Today felt normal, minus Matt.  I think the difference is that it didn’t even feel like he should have been a part of it.  I guess that’s a move in the right direction, toward clear and real boundaries and divorce.  It is still hard to say those words out loud- DIVORCE.  It’s like a knife or something poking me.  It hurts to think we failed.  I can’t even remember succeeding…

We woke up and got ready really quick to head to the Y, so I could get a long run (ish) in and get back on track with this 1/2 marathon training.  Then we came home, watched TV, got ready for Lucy’s friends birthday party and Amelia had a date with our ‘Quel (kind of an aunt).  It was nice to head to the party with Lucy while Meme was enjoying some special time.  After the party… we headed home and I made a big taco dinner.  I never get to cook for people anymore.  It is one of my favorite things and one of the biggest losses in this separation.  Not only is Matt gone and some other relationships strained… but I don’t often feel like having people over, or it doesn’t work into others schedules to come over.  I miss that.  I grew up in the crazy, loud and family oriented dinners and parties… its hard for life to be so quiet so often.  So having our ‘Quel over and the girls uncle for tacos was a treat.

Then in true Musto form we had to find an adventure for the evening… around the corner from our house there is a Roller Rink and they were hosting a Roller Derby.  So- there it was.  A Musto Adventure.  What a cool and different crowd and experience.  I was totally impressed to see those girls get out there and 1. Skate  2. Push Past  3. Stay Up  4. Get Pushed, Banged into, Knocked over and fall… all for a competitive game of Roller Derby.  Impressive.  Seriously Brave.  I could not do it.  The energy in that rink was so good… competitive and positive and fierce.  I loved it.  I, of course, can’t even consider joining… with my lack of competitive gene, hate of bruising and did I mention I am a clumsy lady???  It was awesome though.  I will watch it again.

I love taking the girls on all sorts of adventures.  Things I may not have seen or tried… or things I remember I loved and sometimes things that really scared me.  I want them to experience it all.  I want them to be bold and creative and try things… even if it isn’t what I planned for them.  I want them to grow up and think hard about whether or not they want a tattoo, but if they do- I want them to get it because they want it… not because someone told them to or not to.  I want to them to try things that scare them… even if they seem easy to me.  I want them to chose to not listen to me sometimes, even though it is hard when they don’t… how else will they become the Amelia and Lucy that they are capable of without me.  I love when they are all excited and proud of something I do… like the Polar Bear Plunge, running a Marathon, speaking at an event… whatever it is.  I love when they are proud of me.  Madeline loved that I ran.  It was such a motivation to me, to prove to myself that I can do it and I won’t fail- and to see how proud she was that I did something that scared me some.

Tonight’s adventure was fun and easy and light.  Amelia was dressed in pretty normal Amelia clothes… and was complimented by a Roller Derby Skater… maybe that is the comment that will stick in her brain.  Her hot pink footless tights with stars on them were really noticed by one of the skaters… I wonder… I left our house thinking of how she looked like Carrie Bradshaw must have looked when she was 6- but that skater saw roller derby :).  Who knows what types of things my girls will love… who knows what adventures they will take and what will stick with them…

I am going to bed tonight thanking God for some semblance of normal… a bit of old with a bit of new… I am going to bed with a feeling that it is going to be okay for us…


❤ you darling.  Thought about you and your one roller skating adventure… thought about how great it would be to have my three chicks watching a derby…


101 Things I Will Teach My Daughters

I need to work on some of these myself… but by the end of the list I can hear myself saying some of these already… I hope my girls grow up bold and happy… able to deal with the sad… surrounded by awesome people but able to be independent… I hope they find themselves and love all the wrinkles, gaps, scars and wobbly bits- for those are all part of the story. My story is conservative and crazy, happy and sad, good and bad- but it’s always a good story when I bust out good lipstick and 4 inch heels… and when I am lucky enough to wear fake eyelashes- BAM. Different Erin. I hope Amelia and Lucy make mistakes and learn by them, and love themselves anyway- God knows I always will…



Imagine… 100 people in a room listening to this song as a slideshow shows pictures of children and families in the room… It flashes through with names and dates… birth and death.  It is heart breaking and lifting… to be in that room.  Each of the children shown in the slideshow, each candle that is lit and each name read is no longer here on this earthly journey.  These families have gathered to remember their lovely… and share them with each of us and join together in our grief, fight, love, loss and familiarity.  It is a reminder of all that is lost.  The Rosie’s Love Memorial weekend is a sad/happy.  The girls love it.  They love all of the other kids there and the activities through the weekend.  I love the feeling of surrounded.  The feeling of tough comfort.  We have all lost our lovely to childhood cancer.  We have all gone in directions and lived life after that loss… but we are all connected.

This morning I kept Amelia home because she had a stomach bug.  We have been home all day long, which is very unorthodox in the Musto House.  So by this afternoon, with a ‘sick’ meme who was dancing and running and being crazy I put on Pandora Disney.  All the good songs played.  Frozen, Pocahontas… then Tangled ‘Now I see the light’… followed by this song.  I went right back to that Memorial Weekend with the girls and all of those families.  This song is so true… it talks about how Madeline will always be in my heart, no matter where we are.  It talks about how the world will not understand this, how they will have their own ideas about how to do this right.  Such smart words in a children’s movie song.  It was an emotional dance party.

I see this now more than ever.  I know that if people had a longer time to see how I dealt with Madeline’s death sentence they would have.  I know that with more time they would have deemed my lack of fight and desire to ‘live’ as wrong.  Not everyone, just those who don’t know what it was like to be in that spot.  Believe me, if there was hope or I knew there could be a different outcome I would have fought.  I knew though.  I knew all along.  Madeline knew too.  Her 5 days were the exact number she was gifted from the start.  She changed my heart, my brain and my soul.  I know many have differences in how they would do this now.  How they would mourn (outward appearance of grief) and grieve (deal and accept the loss)… but I have never been like anyone else.  I reflect often on why I am the way that I am.  I reflect often on why Matt is the way he is, why Amelia is, Lucy and of course Madeline.  I guess, in my heart, I don’t care how others would do this if this were the position they were in.  I know what I should, could, will, must do.  In all of this I know so many can’t read my mourning… my outward appearance of grief.  I am always grieving… thinking, hurting, struggling.  You may see me smile, I may mean my smile and love what I am seeing (thinking, feeling, hearing) but my heart hurts always.  When you see me smile (laugh, sing, move, run) you have no idea what is going on in my brain and heart.  I love to see Amelia perform.  I love to see Lucy run.  It brings me a big rush of good stuff to see that.  I love to laugh at funny things and feel my cheeks hurt- but under it my heart hurts.  I don’t wish at all that anyone knew what this feels like, I don’t wish at all that people who don’t have a missing daughter try to compare.  I know that it hurt for everyone who knew Madeline, who loved her… who lost her.  I know that.  I hate when people think that I do not know that.  What a hurtful and deeply unkind thought.  To think that I don’t know that your loss of my daughter didn’t hurt… I know it does.  I think it would hurt more if I thought it didn’t.  My grief is present, heavy and I see it.  I know it is there.  I have an amazing counsellor and take good care of my grief, body, mind, heart and soul.  I take the best care of my daughters grief, mourning, happy, sad, hard, heavy, joyful, busy and real.  I am glad that God gave me them and trusts me to be a huge influence in this journey.

I guess that song brought up a lot of the underneath feelings I have had lately.  In the end of this, I don’t care what people think of me.  I am listening, moving, breathing, running, parenting, laughing, crying and living in the only way I know how.  The world will have judgments, ideas and opinions on how we live ALWAYS… if you know it is right for you do it anyway.  I know what has helped me in grieving, I know what has helped many others… I see it all.the.time.  I will write and share and talk and listen… I know that Madeline’s gift is in the message, in the journey, in my heart…