Sunday/Mother’s Day

 

I am not going to lie, today I feel pretty low, heavy and sad.  I woke up this way, in fact I woke up several times feeling this way- I even felt this blah sad feeling before bed.  I am trying all my strategies to stay up and not let the heavy feeling ruin the day my girls planned for me.  I worked out, took a walk, showered and went to Target… I smiled and ate my lovely eggs in bed, I let Lucy massage my feet even though they were freezing and I ate salad made by 2 girls I love a ton.  I am trying…

I don’t really know what the specific trigger is, just that today I miss Madeline.  I wish I lived closer to my sisters so we could have an afternoon of craziness with little ones and one who has a permit.  I see trios of lovelies with their mommas and know that the days of that are over for me.  It’s just us… just my itty bitty family.  I love that they have their trios, their full families.  I know their lives aren’t perfect, I love seeing those mommas being spoiled and cared for.  I love seeing husbands thank their wives for all the building we do, for all the sacrifices we make as moms and parents.  I am so happy to see others happy, I am just sad in my own corner.

I just miss her.

I miss seeing her in the midst of a birthday party celebrating her baby Lucy.  I miss making her costumes and planning her birthday.  I miss the way she smiled at me and the way she loved me.  I always felt like Madeline heard me, like she listened.  I miss that today I only got 2 lovely cards… I wonder what kind of card she would have drawn for me.  Madeline told me over and over her Kindergarten year that when it was Mother’s Day she would make me breakfast in bed, thankfully her sisters have always done that. 

Today is about being a mom and honoring other moms… in my world being a mom means missing a third of the ones who made me a mom.  I am forever grateful for the time and honor of parenting her and my girls.  I feel like I got the coolest and most unique set of girls God ever made- I am sure you feel that about yours.  I am trying to redirect my brain and heart to smile today, to not be sad and not be mad.  My girls deserve my attention and smiles…

It is hard to do all of this, it is hard to live without. 

Today I keep chugging, keep moving.  I keep redirecting my brain to a path that helps me remember good and positive.  I will keep smiling and thanking my girls, and reminding them to not make a mess or stop fighting.  I think I finally get my mom’s request for ‘5 well behaved children’… I used to tell her we wanted to get her something we could buy, that gift is impossible.  Now I get it…

So for now… I get through a Sunday, an important one- but one that is hitting me hard this year.  I will get to bedtime and sleep and tomorrow will be Monday.  I am enjoying the girl’s plan for the day- minus their choice of dinner (all things they like…) and I am grateful to be their mom and help build them as they build me.  I can’t discredit my sad, my missing… it is just here for the day.  My missing part is a part of the deal… part of the time moving on gig. 

I can’t go under it, I can’t go over it… I just have to go through it.

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Happy Mother’s Day to the mommas I know and love… for all that you have taught me and for how you have helped build me into a mom for my girls.  Happy Sunday for those who just need a day of the week… Chin up, bedtime is coming, and tomorrow is a new day.

3 funerals, no wedding.

I will never not break inside when I see my child hurt.  It is one of the hardest part of parenting.  I mean the big hurt, the shoulder shaking sobs that just break my heart.  In those moments, I always just pray I keep myself together for my girls, so they can just feel what they need in those moments. 

The other night, after a very cold baseball game, we settled in to watch a few Golden Girls episodes and warm up before bed.  Amelia went to grab Pinky, her pet rat.  I saw her lean down and open the cage… and look in.  She touched him and he was cold.  She was immediately upset, filled with worry and pain for her pet.  She broke into sobs and I got moving.  I took Pinky out and assured her he had passed in his sleep, he looked so calm.  I wrapped him in a small blanket and handed him to her to hold.  She pet him and felt his hands… the only time she ever felt his whole hand because he usually pulled away.  I grabbed my clay and my ink pads… we sat and made clay imprints of his paws, nose and tail so she would have a physical and tangible keepsake to feel.  I loaded his paws with in and printed them into little cards for her to save, to write all that she loved about him.  She cried for a long time, and woke up emotional.

Through it all I just tried to calm her and reassure her that he was not hurting, that he is with Madeline and she is probably showing off her rat right now.  She asked if we could bury him and I of course agreed.  Lucy has been hanging on to her friends (Jack and Jake) the Hissing Cockroaches who passed for months.  She wanted to bury them as well.  So… we set out to have a funeral yesterday and celebrate the lives of our friends who are no longer here.

It was a process for the girls to prepare final resting places, dig holes, set up chairs for the services and of course write Eulogies.  Just before dinner last night they called Rick and I to the yard for the services, Lucy was the ‘Priest’ and she led to service.  She spoke about each of the pets and how they lived good lives and we all hope they Rest in Peace.  Amelia wished for Pinky that he was as happy in heaven with Madeline as he was here on Earth.  I thought it was pretty profound…

Some might roll their eyes at this loss, but I will tell you loss is loss.  We cannot and should not avoid the feelings associated, the hurt and the missing.  My girls know what it is like to miss the most amazing sister.  They know what it feels like to wake up one morning to not have that skin next to them, and now the fir… or in Lucy’s case the exoskeleton.  Loss is loss, pain is pain.  Not honoring or feeling it is a injustice.  Some kids can lose a hamster or 20 and be ok, to others it is a heartbreaking reminder of moving on without. 

When Madeline died, I learned a lot about how to memorialize and remember.  I try to get to every child and pet to make clay imprints.  I try to get those ink prints… so later we can find them and remember.  I know that having a tangible keepsake can be a priceless gift to someone who is missing another.  I also learned that we all do it DIFFERENTLY, respect the different.  I knew in the moment I saw Amelia’s shoulders sink and heard her words… that I would let her do this the way she needed.  I honored Lucy’s desire to double up on the funeral and lay Jack and Jake to rest… I also looked forward to them not being on her dresser.  When Jack and Jake passed Lucy held each of them in their last moments, she wanted to make sure that when they left they were ok.  She knew her job as their ‘mom’ was to get them to their final place as comfortably as she could.  Now they all lay under my trees… with lilacs and simple petals over top. 

As Rick and I sat and listened to the girls I thought about how thoughtful and compassionate they are.  He messaged me later and told me the same.  I love those girls fiercely, just as I am loved by Him- Fiercely.  I am grateful for all the moments we keep accumulating, I am honored that He gifted Madeline to us for her moments.  My girls are grateful for the moments they had with the pets, kids, they loved.

In our back yard, our little hideaway back yard, now lies some of our missing friends… they will be there for the adventures, BBQs, swinging, bonfires, lawn mowing and laying in the hammock with us.  I love our little retreat… I love my girls compassion and simple faith.  I remind myself another day- God is GOOD, always.

Reflecting on age.

Two times today I have been a part of conversations about aging.  One in the teacher’s lunch room and one at the wine store, both places I love to visit.  It kind of got me thinking about aging and how I see life as it keeps moving.

To age well is a true gift, not in the no wrinkles and no gray hair kind of way- but to get to an old age and still be you is a gift.  There are many, many… many thefts to that gift of ageing well- dementia, cancer, loneliness, Alzheimer’s and of course death. 

I see wrinkles and gray hairs as reminders of the lessons and laughter, pain and joy that we all experience by the time we get to be an older person.  I want wrinkles right near my eyes, showing that I am a laugher… I want hands that show that I worked my butt off to be a mom, a homemaker, a gardener and a hugger.

Today’s conversations reinforced my belief that age is a gift, and getting there is a privilege.  To be 90 or 75 and get around, work and enjoy time, cook for family and have coffee with friends… to bake with grandkids and take care of my list of life things is a pretty awesome blessing.  It isn’t like that for all.  I have seen Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, I have seen cancer break down bodies and minds… for some that is the journey.  I remind myself that we don’t get to know the journey, only the right now.  I remind myself that I need to get to my ages content with my life.

We should enter each age, stage, growth and level of maturity content with our life.  We don’t get to see tomorrow, to know that we will be there or be healthy for it… so we just need to be in the now.  We need to live our life how we need to in the moment we are in.  When I am 42, 55 ½ , 64, 72 or maybe even 90 I need to be okay with life.  If get to those days unhappy, unfulfilled, empty, angry or dissatisfied I didn’t do life right.  I need to do life right…

Bare with me…

I used to deliver newspapers, I hated it.  Rain, snow, sleet, Sundays, Easter, vacations… ugh.  My sister and I would split the route, whoever drew the short straw had to do the ‘Far End’ all.the.way down to Ainsworth’s.  Just before the ‘Far End’ was Mrs. Scott.  Back then she was only in her 90’s… with her cute green house, her dress with an apron and her uncanny ability to tell you what was on her mind.  My mom would tell us she better not find out we didn’t help Leah (Mrs. Scott) sweep her porch or shovel the snow.  The thing is if we did more than put her newspaper into the wooden box on her porch, she would be out there telling us she can do it all.by.herself.  One night my grandparents brought us to dinner for Leah’s birthday, in Chaumont for a fish fry.  She ordered a big beer and laughed her butt off.  My sisters and I sat wide eyed and wondering about a 90 year old ordering a beer at dinner.  She lived.  Leah Scott lived exactly how she needed to, until she didn’t.  She didn’t live her life easy, or pain free.  She lived it, until she didn’t.

I often think of Leah Scott and my grandparents and my Aunt Jane.  I reflect on them living.  I miss my grandparents, even today.  They lived into their 70’s, not old but enough.  My grandpa passed away on the first day of college.  He had Alzheimer’s.  He spent a lot of time not getting to be the Lyle he was before… the one I miss.  My grandmother missed him terribly, she battled Parkinson’s and Dementia, waiting to dance with him.  They needed a lot of help in those years but I look up to them so much for living and respecting and honoring one another.  I know those last years weren’t the way they imagined, but I know they did their lives the way they wanted/needed.  I know things happened that hurt and broke them… life is hard.  I also know that they aged and lived well- not all super perfect.  My grandma died with her feet dancing, like her husband was waiting for her to dance again. 

Live it well.  Get to those years and know you did it well- even if it isn’t always happy, be content where you are.  If you aren’t content- change something.  Live today just as you should- contently.  Tomorrow is not promised and it can change your forever plan in a moment.  In moments our ideas of our future can and will be shattered.  Live it well.

I will get to the age that I do… I will be content and wrinkly and brushing my gray hairs.  I will live the way I need to as long as I can, until I don’t.  I know I have ZERO control about how I will be as time moves… whether cancer will hurt my body, dementia will attack my thoughts or I will be blessed with time that I can care for myself for a long time.  I know life is freakin’ hard.

So… for any fearing age- be grateful.  Age is a gift… some never get wrinkles, gray hairs.  We all have hard times, loss, grief… how we live and maintain contentment is a very big indicator of how we live and survive and hurt and cry… at the end of the day we must live it until we don’t.

Cheers to 5 years…

When Madeline was diagnosed, my brain kept repeating “What are we going to do?”.  To say I was overwhelmed would be a supreme understatement.  I couldn’t think ahead, I lost that skill.  My internal clock was set right to RIGHT NOW.  I remember driving home from the hospital with Madeline, on our way to Target, I looked at Matthew and asked “What are we going to do?”.  The words that followed reset my brain and focus- “Madeline will tell us what she needs”. 

… And that she did way back then.

… And that she does right here and now.

In the days, yes only days, that she got to be here on Earth after we knew she had DIPG, the world carried us.  We spoke, others listened and amazing, important things happened.  After Madeline passed I wondered “What am I going to do?”… how can this world keep spinning, how can the bus still drive by, how is everyone not screaming out and standing still?  Yet… somehow she still kept telling us what she needed.  We knew that we needed to carry on her legacy, but I could never have imagined the beautiful network she would create. 

Out of the darkness and grief and fear and broken…. Out of the ashes… came a way to make Maddie’s Mark on the future.  All of the marks she should have made in this world, chalk drawings and hand prints in my future home’s sidewalk, scratches in my car when she learns to drive, art work she was supposed to make and votes that she never gets to cast.  Her Mark is different, it is all that she was and all those she connected and all the ways God sent light to us.  Maddie’s Mark is shining light into other’s darkness, carrying joy right next to others pain.  Her Mark is carrying those families, like we were carried.  Her light is embedded in me, that dark and painful hole inside of me is brightened by a light that never leaves.

I know that Madeline is ok, she is safe and fine.  She was an amazing gift that I only got to hold for a short time.  She is an amazing light that I get to carry and shine on others for my forever.  I wouldn’t trade a moment of it…

Last night the foundation we created to honor Maddie and to help her leave her Mark turned 5!  It has been 5 years of carrying Maddie’s light into others darkness, 5 years of her sending in connections and support.  I am in awe of what her legacy looks like now, what it does for others.  She must be crazy proud and grateful.  I love the work that we do, even when it hurts or it’s hard.  I love it when my errands for a day include stopping to drop off dinner to a family who has a sick child at home, or bringing fingerprint necklaces to Albany Med, or stopping at target for a tablet for a little who needs it, or meeting with a caterer for a graduation party for a child with Leukemia… I love my job.  I am pretty sure every.single.day there is something I get to do to leave Maddie’s Mark.  It is the best.

I am sitting here, fighting a nap, letting it all sink in.  Yesterday my Treasurer told me that she had done some math, like she does all day long, and determined that we have put back $250,000 into the community.  In 5 years we have invested funds that were gifted by others to create ‘Best Day Ever’s’… to create spaces for families to enjoy their time and to try to raise awareness for Childhood Cancer.  When Madeline passed away funds were collected by many to help us with medical expenses, experiences and maybe funeral costs.  The thing is… she only got 5 days.  When she passed she didn’t get to enjoy all of those funds or reap the benefits of extra medical care… so that became the nest egg for Maddie to leave her Mark.  Those funds were how the first ‘Best Day Ever’s’ came to life…

$250,000.  Holy crap.  I can’t count the number of families we have encountered and supported.  I have no idea how many big Best Day Ever’s we have done, how many people we have entertained at events, I have no idea how many little one’s have played on the playgrounds we have created.  I have no idea how many souls have heard and connected to her- that have become more aware of Childhood Cancer, DIPG and the importance of enjoying time.  How many little girls have come to the Madeline Father Daughter Tea and twirled and watched in awe while the dancers danced?  How many families and nurses have joined us on Thanksgiving for a comfortable and beautiful dinner in the midst of their child being inpatient in the NICU or PICU?  How many children have enjoyed a graduation party, a remission party, trip to a waterpark, new bedroom or a backyard makeover while they are stuck in a very hard and scary time?  So many…

I sit today and reflect on the businesses, donors, kiddos, moms, board members, nurses, siblings and all the others who have been connected and enjoyed Best Day Evers with us.  What an honor…

Last night celebrating these 5 years at The Point was such a special gift.  In the golden glow of the lights there, surrounded by exposed brick walls and the most inviting long dining room tables- all meant to connect and laugh and enjoy… I felt so grateful.  I am so blessed.  We all are.  In all of the hardships and struggles- the joy and light ride along as well.  Life is about loving and accepting what we are handed- even the pain.  Madeline gets to make her mark and ride this journey right along with us. 

5 years and $250,000… what else does this journey have for us?  Where will be all be in the years to come?  Where will the connections we just made bring us?  One thing we should all remember is we don’t have control of this, that we need to enjoy this present and be prepared for Plan B… Plan B and C often trumps the plan…

Cheers to 5 years of making Maddie’s Mark, creating Best Days Ever, building better and accepting Plan B (or C or G) and embracing what He is creating… sometimes He gifts you a Madeline, other times He trusts us to make her Mark.

… that hit me like a tractor trailer

Sometimes those moments just sneak up and hit you like a tractor trailer veered into my lane on the thruway.  I had to maintain composure- but on the inside I was a shaken up.  I managed to steer to a clear spot, saved for the moment… but my insides were still a hot mess.

I was sitting on the bleachers watching my Lucy play ball, Amelia had Sparky’s leash.  A few kids that I was talking to when we came onto the field were leaving and a mom I didn’t recognize asked me “How many kids do I have anyway?”.  I am sure she was wondering if all of the kids I was talking to were mine… and she knew it was a harmless question.  The thing is there is no harmless answer for me.  I think I stuttered, or asked ‘who me?’… then it felt like forever while my brain figured out the way to answer her the safest and most honest way.  The other moms sat and looked worried for me… my daughter’s father was standing behind me.

“I have 3 daughters, but only 2 are here.”  Crisis averted- honest answer that avoided darkening the sunny afternoon and embarrassing another mom.  Amelia said I acted annoyed, though I didn’t mean to be.  I really just didn’t expect it.

It is weird how that question is always a rough one… do I want to spend the time to explain Madeline being the oldest Musto Chick but is forever only 5 ½ or do I want to go into it with a person I don’t know and change the direction on my day?  The bad part is I don’t ever not want to include her in the count… so every time it is a different answer.  I guess it is part of this missing, part of this grieving process… though I often wonder when parts of this process become normal and not so Earth shattering.  I am guessing never, or at least never while I am still roaming this planet Earth.

When we got home we talked about that moment, Amelia applauded my honesty and noted that I have 3 girls and 1 isn’t there.  I told her that it hurt my heart very much, not in a way that she meant it to hurt.  My heart hurt because Madeline died and I miss her.  I mostly love the world, but sometimes I just hate it.  I hate that it spins- it spins! 

I talked to a momma who just found out she is expecting her second soon, some wondered if she would find out.  I went back to those days… those moments of hope and excitement.  I loved the preparing, the nesting.  I loved holding a tiny human and seeing the funny faces, the perfect hands that always wrap around a finger like they are meant only to hold a parent’s finger… I loved watching my girls sleep on my Boppy… watching them take each breathe.  I loved the faces we made when we would feed little ones… showing them they need to open up to devour their pears or sweet potatoes.  I really go back when I see a mom in Target trying to look at labels and still entertain their littles… lending their child a silly face and handing them something they could play with.  I still rock side to side in Mass, like when I used to have a baby…

Anyway, today we were talking about how different the second is from the first, as all progressive pregnancies and parenting experiences are I assume.  I only went to 3… so I guess others would know better.  I know for me that going from 0 to 1 was the hardest for me.  I was just me, me and my work and social life and travel and just thinking of me.  All of the sudden one day a hospital let me take home this baby that I carried for 10 months… inside where she was fine and cared for.  I felt like an alien leaving that day, like I was not at.all.prepared.or.the.correct.fit.  I went from the Erin I knew and loved to this different version of me, not ready to be recognized.  Erin as a mom…

It took me a long time to connect to Madeline, I had a very traumatic labor and delivery.  I understand it better now, that in my mess of delivery and hormones and loneliness and fear, I had postpartum depression to an extent.  As I healed and grew… Madeline and I became adventurers together.  She and I walked the wheels off a stroller… she saved me in my loneliest times.  Then came Amelia, mom’s groups and Lucy… and I started to know this new Erin better- I even felt like she wasn’t an alien.

Back to the hardest transition being 0 to 1… I learned to give up some control after.  I learned that we needed to work as a pod and when a new member joined we worked together to live and enjoy and nap and grow and cry together.  I tried to let go when things didn’t go as planned, detours and changes of plans need to be a normal with littles.  I also loved trying to figure out how to fix a change of plans with only things I had on hand… in my family we call it ‘Magyvering’.  I would challenge myself to fix the situation- sometimes with a diaper wipe and homemade onsie… other times with placemat and jelly containers as blocks- I would be super proud if I could do it for free.  I think I loved the challenge of having 2 and then 3… I loved best seeing them together.  My little tripod, my clan. 

I hate that my pod is so damn tiny now.  1/3 is never at baseball, 1/3 is never visible to the ones we have never met.  Stupid.  This world is amazing and beautiful and kind and hard and painful and terrible and stupid… I mean it keep spinning.  The sun comes up, the day goes by then comes dinner and bath and bed… and the sun goes down and it is still truth- the world can turn without her.  So must I…

I never know the next time I will be sitting on a bleacher or in an office or at an event and I will go back to all of this pain.  For now I am here… today it is softer than yesterday.  I loved going back to those early days today… for that moment of feeling her skin, hearing her murmurs, watching her breathe, feeding her food trying to avoid the spit back I might get and walking the miles and miles we walked together… our pod of ladies.

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Grateful Heart & Easter

Grateful.

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This Easter season really snuck up on me.  I really didn’t keep track of weeks or Fridays… and weekends just flew by.  It was a pretty nutty 40 plus days.  I don’t think I purposefully avoided it, but I definitely put the importance and holiness of this season on a back burner.  I love the preparation, including avoiding meats on Friday.  I like trying to abstain from something very normal, and I totally get other people with different ideas and feelings.  I mark those weeks of Fridays, and every time I think of the fact that I am abstaining I really do think about Jesus and all he gave up for me.  I watched as people went to mass last night… and wished I had planned to bring the girls to the vigil.  It is a beautiful service, with low lights and candles… it is an emotional mass.  They were too young to enjoy before and this year I chalk it up to poor planning.

Mass this morning was lovely, sunny and bright.  I loved seeing the children of people I grew up with, and the priest invited kids up on the altar.  I looked up there and in a group of 10 kids, mine included, was a child waiting on a best day ever and a set of red headed twins I have watched grow on Facebook.  The circle…

Life is a big circle- connections everywhere.  He is in the connections.  I waited for a profound homily or moment of connection to some of the words- but I kept focusing on the community and the connections in that sacred space.  I thought about how grateful I am for all of it; grateful for the connections, communities, blessings, mercy and grace.  I am grateful for this temporary home.

Easter is about the Resurrection, about Jesus giving his life for us and rising from the dead to join His Father in heaven, so that we too can join Him in heaven.  Someday I get to join Him in that paradise, Madeline already did.  If Jesus never gave His life on the cross my Madeline wouldn’t be in paradise- so I will be with her one day.

I wish I hadn’t missed/avoided all of the special parts of these past 40 days, but we can only be right where we are right now.  I can work on tomorrow and next year.  Having a year that I really missed all those bits reminded me to get back to it, and put it in the front.

I left mass today with a grateful heart.  Easter, today, is about being grateful.  Grateful for the simplicity and the constant love, for the support when times are tough and the grace to get by, for the roof and food and family.  I am grateful for my 3 girls, and for every day they were gifted to me.  I remind myself that I was never promised 100 or 1000 or 5000 days with my girls, but I am grateful for every day I have.  I am grateful that when those days are done and I am no longer the caretaker to my girls that they are in good hands- He will have them.  I can’t imagine not knowing she was okay even though she isn’t with me.  Thank you Jesus…

So today as most enjoyed the sunshine and the family and too much dessert I hope you let your brain and heart feel gratitude for the gifts in your life, for the strength to get by, the grace to move on, the support when life is unbearable… I hope you felt gratitude for the gift of a safe place to land and the most amazing paradise to call home.  I felt it. 

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you. 

For the first time in forever…

Pardon my little ‘Frozen’ song clip.  Last night was the first time in forever that I wore high heel shoes, which sounds like a little deal.  Last year I injured my ankle, and since sprained my other one when I took a digger.  I have rocked boots and flats and sneakers for many, many months.  I miss my heels, like I miss my cocktail dresses (but not enough to get to a point that they fit).

Anyone who knows me knows I always had a kick butt pair of black heels on when I went out.  I told Rick early on, even though we are the same height I will always wear high heels.  I love how it felt to wear those shoes, I even liked the next day when my feet hurt some and I put on sneakers.  I felt worth it to feel confident and beautiful.  Hence the missing these past months of those shoes…

I had to go shopping for an outfit yesterday… to the mall… ugh.  I had a great purple tunic dress option I wanted to wear, but I made the mistake of wearing it to work on my Birthday.  One friend thought it would be prettier with a big circle where pressed his salami… and salami oil doesn’t come off well.  The mall was a punishment place yesterday… rude people who budge in front and bump into us… not to mention I brought the kids who kept fighting.  I found 2 cute dressed on clearance at JCP and wandered over to shoes.  It is there that I found them… a pair I have wanted to rock for a long time.  I grabbed them up and instantly got nervous for the night. 

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The what if part of my mind wouldn’t stop bugging me… what if I step in a pothole, or fall all off the stage… what if I get off balance and fall and reinjure my ankle???  Last year at this event just after I spoke and thanked everyone I stepped back and my heel got stuck in a crack on the stage… and there was ALMOST a disaster… what if??? 

I took some deep breaths and got myself ready and buckled the shoes… I walked in feeling and looking confident.  I managed to not fall, to not trip and to not get my foot caught in the stage crack.  I made it!!!  For the first time in forever… I rocked a pair of hot black shoes.

Last night, along with the black shoes, was a great night.  Maddie’s Mark was honored by the Schenectady PBA with a comedy night.  It was wicked fun, my cheeks hurt.  I just love events like that… sitting in a room FULL of people some who have no idea who Madeline was and what we do, others who have supported all along.  It is a special gift to introduce them to Madeline, Maddie’s Mark and the amazingness of our community.  I love it, it gifts energy right to my soul.  It is like a bolt of sunshine that gives me the energy to get all the work I need to done.  I am grateful to all of those PBA planners, they did an excellent job planning and setting it up.

Remind me to laugh until my cheeks hurt more often, seriously.  Comedians gifts are some I wish I had been gifted, but alas I get to watch and hear.  Life is so serious, so busy and full of paying bills and picking up and going to work and all that jazz… stopping to laugh is pretty important.  I think it is up there with going to the beach or on a hike.  I feel fresh today, like the morning is well inside me.  I love comedy nights, even if I am the one getting picked on. 

Sometimes my song is ‘Let it go…’ but today it is ‘For the First Time in Forever’… I am content and grateful for an amazing night with some awesome people.  I am wicked glad for my new shoes, and for all of the adventures they will come along on.  Today I remind myself, as the sun shines into my living room, that life is good.  It is good and hard, but it is good.