And Also With You

The search for peace can be a hard road… but a hard road in which one will be grateful for, even and especially for the difficulties that arise along the way, if one continues searching with an open mind and an open heart.

I was searching for peace in a troubling situation recently, and there was a good bit of time that I questioned the entire process. I didn’t understand why the peace was not already there, as I was questioning the “why” of a really heart-breaking occurrence. I couldn’t understand why this was even happening, and when I considered the idea that there would be an ultimately good reasoning behind i,t I then questioned why that reasoning couldn’t be obvious from the beginning… why did I have to go through all of this pain in order to figure it out? It was the first time in a really long time that I truly felt hope wasn’t even possible, and because of that I was hurting and confused…

But what was important was that I wasn’t giving up in my search for peace.

Truthfully, I was in so much pain that I felt like I couldn’t give up, because I simply couldn’t accept the idea that I had to live with this pain inside me forever. I love God and I know God, so one thing I was able to know and believe with confidence was that pain is not what God wants or intends, so I knew that while He’s allowing me to experience right now for a reason I can’t comprehend at the moment, there ultimately had to be something there that He’d allow me to find in order to authentically address and move forward from this particular situation. I didn’t understand how that would happen or when, but I held onto the hope that it would and simply continued to move forward in my day and in my coping process however I felt lead in my heart to move forward, baby step by baby step.

As my day went on, I was lead to finding one brick of my foundation of peace, and then another. I journaled here and there as revelations came to my mind, and I listened to music that spoke to me. Other times I sat in silence overlooking the horizon and contemplated life quietly. And throughout it all, I was ultimately lead to unexpected circumstances that I couldn’t have anticipated if I’d tried, which spoke to me in ways I could have never imagined prior to experiencing them. And slowly, but surely, my heart began to mend.

I wanted to share that story.


I was at the park really sitting still in silence, just trying to rest from the turmoil I’d been experiencing all day prior and doing my best to be open to peace coming into my heart. Up until this point, I’d begun to feet calmer, but I didn’t feel peace. I was just about to pack my things and leave, accepting what was/wasn’t for the moment and agreeing to turn in for the night and possibly try again tomorrow, when I saw a set of dolphins swimming joyfully in the bay. I ran across the seawall to try to catch up with them and caught the tail end (punny) of their playtime just as I reached the edge where they were. I was grateful for the unexpected distraction and opportunity for me to simply enjoy some of God’s beautiful artwork, even in the midst of an emotional storm.

I turned away and began walking back to the spot I’d claimed for the evening, and that’s when I saw feet sticking out of some bushes. My initial reaction was to assume this was a homeless person sleeping and to keep walking, as this is unfortunately not something unusual to be seen around town and I know they typically do not appreciate being disturbed, even by a well-intentioned citizen wanting to simply check up on them. But then I had to consider the idea that maybe this was a person who needed help, and that I should check on them. I carefully tiptoed closer in order to get a better look, and when I did, I saw that this person seemed to be curled comfortably within these bushes, with a bag beneath their head as a pillow. It appeared clear to me that this person had turned in for the evening for a rest within nature on a beautiful night, and I certainly didn’t want to disturb him. He honestly looked peaceful. So I continued my walk back.

As I walked, I contemplated what I’d just seen… I felt sorry for the man who saw sleeping outside as their best option for the night. But then I felt happy for him that he did have such a beautiful option for rest. I mean, here he is, resting on a beautiful evening within a beautiful, very peaceful, and fairly secluded park on the water, residing in the paradise location that is St. Petersburg, Florida. I was happy for him to have that blessing of an alternative to the standard four walls and a roof.
But as I continued walking, I thought about how badly I wished I had something to give this person. I’d bought myself veggie sushi along the way out to this park on my bike, but I’d already eaten it, as well as drank the water I’d brought. I had no cash, no food, and no water to give. I felt as though I had nothing to offer, and that pained me because here I was seeing someone in need right in front of me, and I didn’t feel equipped to do anything to help. I felt terrible about it, and I began to question why… “Why, God, did you allow me to eat that sushi? Why didn’t you suppress my appetite? Why didn’t you show me this man earlier before I’d eaten it? Why didn’t you inspire me to buy extra food like you’ve done before? Why would this happen this way, it doesn’t make any sense to me?”
I wasn’t angry with God, but I most certainly was confused and a bit frustrated about it. But, as I continued walking, my mind brought me to realizing, after racking my brain, that I did have something to give- I had a pen and some paper from my journal. If anything, I could write this man something loving and kind that might start his tomorrow off with a blessing, and hopefully bring him toward more gratitude, happiness, and joy in his day after he wakes to it. I figured if I couldn’t feed his stomach, I’d do what I could to feed his heart and soul by bringing him some positivity and encouragement, at the very least. Maybe he’d resent the unwarranted positivity it and throw it away, or maybe he’d love and appreciate it as it makes his day more beautiful… there’s really no way for me to know the outcome, but I knew I felt called by my good, true heart to try. And so I did.

As I got back to my bag, I realized that within my journal, I actually had a blank card. I’d put it in there for the purposes of writing a thank you to a friend a few days prior, but I’d chosen to use a different card that day and the other was left in my bag untouched as a result. I decided this card was here at this time for a purpose, and that purpose was to be fulfilled here and now.

As I began to write, I realized I had no idea what I should or wanted to write… but I trusted my intentions and ability to bring love onto this paper and I simply let it flow. Before I knew it, I was writing front and back on this card a flow of words that I felt were being derived straight from the depths of my innermost heart’s, through the ink in that pen and onto the paper. I prayed the person reading these words would truly be able to feel the love that was flowing within them, and I felt good about it. It felt right.

As I placed the card in the envelope, I thought about how I had nothing to place within the envelope or next to it- no money, no food, no water… just love. Although I felt good about the words I’d written, knowing that at times, kind and uplifting words can mean more to us than food and water, I still felt the need or desire to let this man know that I wished I had more to give, and would have if I did. So I wrote within the envelope flap the words, “I didn’t have anything to give you but my love… I hope today that is enough,” signed with a heart. I prayed he would feel and absorb the intentions behind this card and the words inside and that it would impact his heart and his day, even his life, in a way that brings him to more peace… and as I prayed that prayer, walking away from the spot in which I left the card by sleeping beauty, I came to a realization of my own.

Had I had what might have been the obvious solution at the time- food and/or water and/or money- I likely would have never continued searching for more. I likely would have left one or all of those things, possibly including a brief, but much less thought out, letter along with it of encouragement and positivity. And not to discount that type of a gesture- it’s beautiful, kind, and would have been wonderful in itself- but I was lead to something more on this day that I think could provide something much more meaningful for this person than food may have been. Had I had the obvious solutions at the time I wanted them, I would not have been motivated or inspired to reach deeper down within myself for that something more…

And at that moment, I was grateful for God’s timing.

I was grateful to have not had all of the answers at the time I wanted them. I felt that the journey which brought me to the place of writing and leaving this letter was maybe a bit more difficult and more drawn out to travel, but it was so much better than I could have anticipated or understood on my own in the time I wanted to know it all. And it hit me, that that’s how He works. That’s how God works in us at all times.

We are human. And since we’re human, we couldn’t possibly understand His ways, His timing, or His reasons… and that’s how it’s meant to be. Because if we did, we would do it wrong. But when we allow Him to work without interference of our own, His ways are higher than ours and bring much more beautiful results than we could ever imagine prior to experiencing them. We simply have to trust… we have to have faith, and then simply follow His (sometimes subtle) lead.

This experience brought me to realizing that the peace I was searching for wasn’t there at the time I wanted it, because I was meant to travel this journey. Not only was I meant to travel this journey for the man in the park, but I was meant to travel it for my own sake and for the sake of those who are impacted by the lessons I’ve learned, the strength I’ve gained, and the ways in which the Lord brings me to sharing it all. He didn’t cause the pain I was in, but He allowed me to experience it, rather than removing it how and when I prayed He would, because He knew that had He removed it then, I would have never been motivated and inspired to find my way to the true peace, strength, and blessings I found myself in as a result of that difficult road. I understand the difficult situation I was in much better now, and I have more than I could have dreamed as a result of the journey I traveled to finding it, and I’m grateful for it all… for the struggles, for the pain, and for the beauty that exists within every bit of it.

The journey to peace can be a struggle. It can be hard, painful, scary, and confusing, and no one truly enjoys those things when they’re happening. But what we can do is we can hold onto the hope, that one day we will better understand, and one day the peace will come… but we must have faith in the fact that although we cannot anticipate or control how/when/why, God can, and His ways are better than ours. And that everything will ultimately, always, be okay.

He takes care. Always and forever. Because He loves us. And because love exists, I cannot believe anything other than that there is hope and there is good, in any and all things. God is good.



As I was entering the airplane with 3 of my friends by my side, we each sought out the few available seats left because it was pick-your-own-seating and we were of the last group to board. I made my way toward the back and immediately noticed a man sitting in a window seat with two spots open next to him. For some reason, he really struck me and I felt drawn to taking my place by him. I asked him if he’d mind my friend and me accompanying his trip and he gladly agreed that it would be fine.

I made myself comfortable in what I know most would say is the most uncomfortable spot on the plane – the middle seat – but the way I see it, sitting in the middle seat only gives me more travel companions! There’s just something magical about knowing that each and every person on this plane is headed somewhere that means something different to them, be it work, vacation, something scary and exciting, or something awfully tragic… just so many different stories and walks of life coming together on the same craft. It really just leaves me in awe and wonder to know that we could have each chosen different paths, yet we’re here, together, heading in the same direction at the same time and I welcome the opportunity to know more about my companions along the way.

Needless to say, I was excited to know more about this man who I had somehow felt drawn to immediately upon arrival. I was quickly pleased with my seating choice.

After opening the conversation gently by introducing myself and my friend and asking his name, Pat playfully commented that he’d never had such a beautiful travel neighbor. I laughed, and maybe even blushed a bit, before I told him that he could stay and that he was officially my kindest travel neighbor so far. He smiled so genuinely, I could tell we were going to have a great flight.

As we moved through the air, Pat and I moved through conversation. I told him that I was headed to Las Vegas for work and he told me of his experiences on the strip. We compared notes and I silently thanked God for not sending me to the strip this time around. We were on the first flight of two toward Las Vegas and this first leg was flying to Kansas City. It wasn’t until about 5 minutes in that I had the opportunity to ask him why he was headed in that direction, but that’s where our conversation took it’s most significant turn.

Pat, at a mere 74 years of age, was headed to his daughter’s funeral.

My heart dropped… past the floor of the plane and plummeting straight toward the ground thousands of feet below. It absolutely broke for him and for his family. Knowing that he was having to bury his daughter – someone who he loves dearly and had expected to outlive him – left me without any words to offer but a simple and humble, “I’m so sorry for your loss”.

I mean really, what does one even say in a time like that?

But beyond the shock of hearing that he was having to experience a parent’s worst nightmare, what was so interesting to me was the way in which I couldn’t have even begun to anticipate where he was in his life upon meeting him. There was absolutely, 100%, zero indication that his heart was bearing such a heavy burden upon meeting this delightful, flirty, and seemingly cheerful man. Whether he was hiding the pain intentionally or not was irrelevant, because what I stuck out to me more was the fact that it was for any reason so undetectable, even by someone as typically perceptive and sensitive as myself. It blew me away and really brought me to facing a reality that I know well, but which is so easy to forget…

We can never, ever, assume that we know what’s going on in someone’s life or heart.

Pat and I sat there and chatted for the remainder of our flight. Some of the conversation was filled with being on the verge of tears, although the waterworks never quite reached their full potential because Pat was clearly keeping his emotions at bay and I, therefore, felt a responsibility to maintain my own composure for his sake (even though I wanted to cry and hug him at least 12 times), but then other parts of it were simply joyful and full of laughter. I did my best to remain in the present moment as we spoke, but I couldn’t help continuously coming back to the amazement of the fact that he was maintaining his composure so well in a time when a show of complete and utter devastation would have been more than understandable.

And how many times do we make the assumption that we know? How many times do we experience a person’s demeanor, or even hear part of their story, and assume that we know their story well enough to judge them in either a positive or negative way? We assume that the person who was rude to us must be a terrible person, or that the person who was kind must have a wonderful life. Very rarely do we consider the idea that those who are rude to us more than likely have experienced pain or insecurities of their own that bring them to that defensive, and at times offensive, place in which they hurt others in order to keep their protective walls up. Equally as rarely do we consider the idea that most of the people who are so kind and lovely are that way because they have experienced pain and struggle that they have moved past and processed in a way that has allowed them to see the world through a more compassionate, loving, and grateful way. Maybe the confidence that we mistakenly see as arrogance is truly a show of strength that these people have worked to acquire from a formerly insecure and timid place.

The point that I’m hoping to make in sharing this story is that we never know… and it’s not that we must always dig to find the deepest, most meaningful aspects of every person’s story, because there’s also something significant to be said for respecting a person’s privacy. But what I think we could all benefit from trying a little harder to do is to simply remember that we don’t know, don’t understand, and can’t assume anything.

So, if we must assume anything, assume the good. Assume the compassionate. Assume the love. Because in my opinion, if you give others the benefit of the doubt, they will rise to the occasion, and if you give them doubt, they will lower to that.

I’m grateful for Pat and the experience I had in getting to know him. He’s an incredible person with an incredible story, and I’ll never forget the lesson he taught me- we can be going through the world’s roughest storms, and we really don’t have any control over it. But what we do have control over is the way we react to those storms, in which case we can choose dwelling in pain or choosing to begin healing. He also taught me that every book of every cover is worth reading if you have the chance… you never really know how one’s story can impact you until you give it a good page turn.

*Thank you for sharing the love of your heart and of your family, Pat. Prayers go out to you and your sweet daughter in Heaven.*


I’m in the mood to create today… I haven’t quite felt the calling for creation in some time, but man is it screaming my name today! Part of this is certainly coming from feeling such inspiration in different ways from all of the various experiences I’ve had, both positive and negative, but I think a big part of it is also coming from a lack of personal time and a feeling of misalignment that I feel creativity can help to bring back into balance.

I am a person who loves adventure and loves exploring new places and new people, but I don’t feel the need or desire to do that in a big, bold way at all times. I don’t think adventure only lies within hiking, jumping off of cliffs, cave diving, sky diving, etc. because while I absolutely do love all of those things, I also see adventure within the bravery to do any new things that excite, scare, and challenge you, whether they are big and bold or small and quiet. The adventure is especially amplified when we opt to do them alone. To be vulnerable enough to really, truly open ourselves up along the way, as well as to live in such authentic love that we encourage and ask others to do the same, is an adventure that does not receive as much attention and praise as bungee jumping might warrant; but it most certainly is a beautiful way to explore and experience life, in my opinion, and that is the type of adventure I most often seek.

Now, this isn’t to say that there is anything wrong with adventuring in big, bold ways all the time. It’s just that that’s not how I personally prefer to go about my exploration of this world and this life. I love to have many of those quieter moments along the way, because those are the moments that allow me to truly absorb anything that I’ve experienced thus far, and it’s within those moments that I most often find my inner fire to bring these experiences to life in a creative way. They allow me to reflect on it all and find the most sincere gratitude for the experiences, to get to know myself better in a way I may not have acknowledged before, and to get to know the world and others on a deeper level by really stepping back and taking in the unique beauty that I learn from and see in them. Those moments realign me with me at my innermost core. And maybe it’s the artist in me, maybe it’s simply a homebody that exists within me in conjunction with my gypsy soul, but it does exist and I have to honor it or I begin feeling the disconnect and craving alignment more than I’d crave water in a desert.

I think it’s important to truly know ourselves- what we want, what we value, what we need. I’ve definitely put a significant amount of effort into getting to know my authentic heart, but I’m a Pisces and we are mysterious little beings… even I don’t fully understand myself yet! 😉 So it really is a constant journey of unraveling the layers, and the recent traveling that I’ve embarked on has done quite a bit of tugging. It’s difficult at times, especially when we feel like we’ve already made it to the core of ourselves and realize, “Oh! There it is… mountains more of unraveling has begun.” You really have to acknowledge it, brace yourself, and then dive right in.

And that is exactly what I’m doing. I’m diving head-first into this adventure and sooo looking forward to absorbing the experiences and sharing them in whatever awesome, amazing way God calls me to share them. Today, that way calls for some creavity and probably a lot of mess… can’t wait!


My journey so far has been interesting… it’s been interesting in a way that is so very different from anything I’d anticipated before embarking on it and I think that’s what has made it slightly difficult to verbalize or write about. I’ve been feeling out very different and unexpected situations involving adversity and negativity, exhaustion, unexpectedly limited resources, and suddenly changed plans. While traveling around in the country has been so much fun and so inspiring, it has also had its moments that felt slightly miserable and very disheartening. I really think I’ve felt all the range of emotions available to the human heart in a brief two weeks in time, and while it has been difficult to know how to verbalize what it was that I was experiencing or feeling, as I was still in the midst of processing it all myself as I went, the truth is that I ultimately did truly appreciate every bit of it, both in those disheartening moments as well as after they’d passed.

The primary aspect of this journey that I appreciate more than anything else is the truth of experiencing this journey as it is, rather than as it “should be” or even how I wish it would be… because really, that’s how life in and of itself goes. In a major way, the travel journey I’m on has been very reflective of my life journey in general. I’m currently traveling throughout different states with a general purpose in mind that I am very focused on, but also with my spirit free for flying, enjoying, and expploring. That very much speaks to the way in which I’ve been living my life. Because while I most definitely had my own ideas as to how this whole thing was going to pan out for me regarding the types of situations, people, and opportunities I would ecounter, the truth is that we can never really control what is meant to come our way, can we? We can do our best to develop our dreams and ideas, maintain motivation and focus on them, and intentionally pursue them to the best of our abilities, but ultimately what comes our way is not up to us- that’s all up to God.

And I think that’s beautiful.

Because I don’t know about anyone else, but I personally don’t want that kind of responsibility on my shoulders. I’m happy to have that weight of having to control everything lifted from my shoulders so that I can be free to explore and experience this life in a happy, joyous, authentic way. No anxiety over what’s going to happen, because I can rest assured knowing that I’m doing my very best and whatever is meant to come to me will come to me. If I’m giving my all and something does not come my way, I know it was not meant to be in my life and I’m grateful for the fact that it’s not taking up time, space, or energy by being forced to exist for me. If I’m not giving my all, I can simply forgive myself for being lazy, acknowledge it, and then do whatever I can to do better moving forward, even if that means taking baby steps.

The point is this: nothing is really entirely in my control, and not only am I okay with it, but I am grateful for it. Because I’m lighter for it. I can walk lighter knowing that I don’t have the weight of my world sitting on my shoulders.

In fact, we can all walk lighter that way because the same applies to each and every person. The only difference is that we tend to lock ourselves into a weight-bearing, heavy prison via our mindset in which we don’t allow ourselves to move freely. For some reason, we feel like we’re supposed to feel weighed down… almost like if we aren’t carrying an unbearable amount of weight, responsibility, and pain in our lives, we aren’t doing it right. And that’s simply not the case. In fact, I beg to differ that if we would actually allow ourselves to live lighter, we free ourselves to do more to impact the world in a beautiful and significant way. Because, let’s be honest… is it more efficient to run into the water to save a drowning person with a 50 pound weight tied to our soulders, or to run in with our weight lifted and arms free to focus on holding the light and inflatable raft?

You don’t have to agree with me- that’s fine. But personally, I’d prefer to be as weightless as possible. I’m running in weight-free, ready to explore, adventure, enjoy, and save lives. 😉 Here goes something! Geronimoooooo

Secrets of the People Pleaser

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that is far too important to be a secret. It’s something that I’ve come to learn from my own personal experiences, as well as from observing the experiences that others like me have had, and have found to be one of the most significant aspects of my journey.

You see, so many of us fall under the category of “people-pleasers”. We want to avoid conflict at all costs, even if it means sacrificing our own well-being in the process. We want everyone, or at the very least the majority of people, to be happy in regards to the decisions we make, so we tend to become chameleons when it comes to our “opinions”. Our choices are constantly changing with the tides of who we’re around and the circumstances we’re in. And while there’s certainly some benefit to flexibility and the openness to compromise, people-pleasers take it 5 steps further, to a place that ultimately does more harm than good.

As people-pleasers, we strive so desperately to appeal to those around us that we often wind up losing ourselves in the process. We quite literally forget to acknowledge our own needs and desires because we’re so focused on what everyone else wants, and for many of us who have embodied this characteristic for the majority of our life, we have all but entirely lost the ability to know what our own needs and desires actually are anymore. Because our preferences have been molded to fit the preferences of those we love most, and even those we barely know, our identity lies with “whatever everyone else wants”, rather than with who we truly are. For those of us who have lost ourselves to this extent, we can barely say we truly even know ourselves with much honesty; although most of us won’t allow ourselves to face that harsh reality too closely before convincing ourselves once again that “this is who we are” because making people happy is our identity, and we feel a sense of nobility about it, even if we see the unhealthy marks of this type of behavior.

As mentioned before in regards to flexibility, there is absolutely benefit to wanting others to be happy and doing our best to play a role in facilitating that happiness; however, people-pleasers take it much further, and the truth (and secret) is that it doesn’t ultimately benefit others the way we think it does. So in honor of the journey I’ve faced myself and the gratitude I have for the people and situations that have come to me along the way to help me find my true identity in this world, I’m here to shed some light on the reality of the situation.

What no one ever told you about people-pleasing is that it’s not the magical fix-all conflict avoider that we want to believe it is.

First of all, it is literally impossible to please everyone. Every person in this world is different, with different upbringings, different experiences, different mindsets, different cultures, different physiological makeups, and simply different personalities and tastes. There’s absolutely, hand-down, 100% no way possible in the world that any person can appeal to every person they encounter. Knowing this doesn’t give us any reason or right to completely disregard the feelings of others, but it does force us to accept that there are always going to be opposers… even Ghandi had opposers! Many think he was crazy, an extremist, fake, etc., but many also deeply appreciated his teachings and the example he lead in a peaceful life. That’s just how life goes. But Ghandi did not adjust his behavior and his choices in order to mold to the preferences of those who might opposed him. While he had great respect for the feelings and differing beliefs of others and was open to learning differently than what he already knew (again, benefit to the flexibility), he ultimately did the work to truly know his own beliefs, needs, and desires, and he remained strong and true to them to the best of his abilities. Had he changed his mind according to his surroundings, he would have never had the opportunity to impact the world the way he did with his authenticity. Likewise, when we adjust our preferences and choices according to others, we are ultimately robbing the world of benefitting from the beauty of our authenticity that we may not have even given ourselves the opportunity to know exists…. which leads me to my next point.

The second aspect of people-pleasing that I’d like to point out is harmful is the way in which it breeds resentment within us, which is harmful for both ourselves as well as for those we encounter. When we focus on people-pleasing, rather than on simply growing within our own authentic selves and becoming the best, most genuinely loving version of ourselves possible, we are subconsciously setting ourselves up for disappointment, as there are so many in the world who do not operate in that way and for people as sensitive to feelings as people-pleasers are, that can be very hurtful to experience. Over time, the negative feelings towards those other people cumulate and it can be hard to let go of the sadness, fear of disappointment, or even anger that develops. This is because while the people-pleasing is coming from a good place – wanting to make others happy – the truth is that there is some selfishness in there because people-pleasers are typically seeking approval from those they’re pleasing, whether they realize it or not. We’re seeking praise or thanks, or at the very least an avoidance of conflict, and if those expectations are not met despite our self-sacrificing efforts, we can feel confused and even upset or angry at the outcome of our circumstances. And because we know that we’ve done all that we can to make the other party happy, we assume that any misalignment that still exists must be the result of the other party’s lack of love/effort/care, and our feelings are hurt for it. Not only that, but because we are self-sacrificing to such an extreme extent, when our efforts are not met with the praise, appreciation, or care that we were hoping for or expecting, we are left feeling depleted from all that we’ve given and battered from the hurt we’ve experienced, with no one there to take care of us the way we have taken care of others. This is a very sad and lonely place to be, and it only fuels the resentment that has begun to build from the situation that got us here in the first place. And for the most part, no one will know or understand how to fix it, because ultimately this was our own undoing.

So what’s a people-pleaser to do? Welp, I’ll tell you! Again, this is simply from my own experience. I don’t claim or assume to know everything; I simply know what I’ve experienced and how I’ve moved forward from it. This is my attempt to share that with you, but I understand that we’re all different and others may have a different path to follow that’s more beneficial for them… I simply hope whatever path each person takes leads to true happiness and satisfaction in life. But, for me, these were my steps.

1. Learn to accept that you can’t please everyone.

As I mentioned before, this doesn’t mean we need to turn into selfish, disrespectful jerks that are constantly doing rude things and yelling, “I do what I want!” as we run away with our prize. It simply means that we do our best to remain respectful of those around us, just as we would if we were to visit another person’s home or another country that encompassed a different culture and different belief systems, but we do not need to absorb their preferences as our own. There is a balance to it all, and finding the respectful, caring way to maintain your own beliefs while allowing others to have theirs, and occasionally finding the compromise between the two, is a beautiful thing.

2. Learn to get to know who you truly are – what you like, what you want, what you need, what you believe – and love it.

Take some time for yourself! It may feel selfish at first, but the truth is that you can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first. Depleting yourself of all that you have to give and losing yourself leaves you with little to nothing of real substance to give those you love and the world around you. So look at it as an investment for others and allow yourself some quality time with yourself. Discover hobbies that you enjoy because YOU like them, rather than those that you enjoy because others enjoy them. Discover what truly makes you tick and acknowledge what you need in your life to help you develop into the best version of yourself possible. Not only is this okay, but it’s so incredibly crucial to your purpose here in this life. Allow yourself and others to experience that beauty.

3. Learn to see words like “strong”, “confident”, “independent”, and even “determined” as compliments, not insults.

As a former people-pleaser, I can relate to the icky feeling that resides in our guts when we hear words like that after always identifying endearingly with words like, “sweet”, “too nice”, “shy”, and even “naive”. We accept these words as compliments because we see them as examples of our kindness and loving hearts. When we’re told that we need to have a backbone or we should stop being so nice when someone is cruel to us, we take pride in the words because they show the world just how much we selflessly give others, and again, we feel noble for it. Especially as women, we feel the need to be weaker so that the men can feel stronger in protecting and taking care of us. If we’re too strong, we feel as though we may have lost our feminine quality. That’s not the case. There is nothing wrong with having a kind, giving, selfless heart, and in fact there is everything right with it! But there is always a balance to be found that can be much more beneficial than residing on the side of either extremes, and finding a place in which we begin receiving words like “strong” and “independent” as compliments that we hold just as dearly as “sweet” and “kind” is where we will ultimately find the most freedom.

In order to change the world for the better, we must allow our authenticity to shine through brightly… otherwise, we’re simply conforming to the world, whether it changes for the better or for the worst. Going with the flow in that kind of way is self-destructive and does not ultimately help those we love. The people we care for need us to know our value so that we can be stronger in supporting them in their moments of weakness and lifting others up to do the same. Think of it as adopting a healthy lifestyle… we can skate through life consuming everything that’s put in front of us, so as not to offend anyone, but we will ultimately become ill and weakened from it and the burden will be placed on the very people we wish not to burden as they are forced to take care of the neglect we had on ourselves throughout the years. But we can choose better. We can learn to take better care of ourselves by consuming the proper diet and nutrition as well as maintaining exercise to be strong, which allows us to be of much more use to those we encounter. We’re stronger, healthier, happier, more vibrant, and much more truly present in the moments they need us most.

But it’s all up to us, as we can’t ever change anyone else. We must choose to take care of others by first taking care of ourselves – and that’s the secret. That’s the truth to people-pleasing that no one ever told you. Take it and fly, my independent, strong, kind, loving, sweet, confident, selfless, determined, caring babies! Go sprinkle that authentic fairy dust all over this world, will ya? 😉

Letter To A Friend

I recently wrote this letter to a friend. But after rereading it, I realized that while I truly meant every word to be specifically written for that friend, if I changed around some of the wording and replaced the names it became something that I think many of us could find something valuable in, in some way. So I thought I’d share it, in hopes that it speaks to each of its readers in the precise way that they need to hear it. Because you deserve all of the love you desire in the world, because you’re wonderful too.

Dear Friend,

I want you to know something that I’ve noticed about you, because I think it’s important to be aware of these things. I know it can be hard to face at times, especially when you’re surrounded by the types of people and situations that are currently a very big part of your life, but still, it’s important. Please receive what I’m about to tell you with an open mind and an open heart, and know that I have nothing but the best of intentions in bringing this to your attention.


you are…

an amazing person.

You have such a beautiful heart that I don’t think you realize is quite as beautiful as it is. I know that you struggle at times with the “falls” in life, but you know what I see about those falls? I see that you care that you fell. The fact that you even care that you fall, and the heaviness that you feel in wanting to get back up and do better in the future is not a heart that’s like those who you’re surrounded by and I know are afraid of becoming like. I know you know that your heart is different from theirs, but I just don’t think you see quite how different it is. That conviction you feel in your heart is unique and so special. It’s the beauty of God’s light shining through you, and His Spirit speaking to you in order to guide you in the right direction. The fact that you feel that is incredible, and the fact that you care so deeply about it is an anomaly.

You are an incredible person.

You are not defined by those past mistakes that you’ve made. None of them matter as far as who you are today goes, aside from the past role they played in breaking you down and providing you with an opportunity to build back up to a stronger, wiser, more confident, more resilient, kinder, more loving, more vibrant version of you. And maybe there’s still some working through that needs to be done in regards to past mistakes that remain lingering in your heart, and that’s okay. You can do that. It’s never too late, and the mistakes never need to linger and provide any added weight to your journey as you move forward, because those mistakes you made are no longer your mistakes. They are your past’s mistakes, whether they were yesterday or 20 years ago, and you now have today in front of you. You were blessed with another day, which is huge because there are so many who are not given that blessing today. But you were, and that means that you still have purpose to pursue and fulfill. And that could mean purpose that manifests in a few years, or purpose that manifests now… we never do really know, do we? We can feel pulled toward fulfilling something great in the future, but we may be only given today to live purposefully. Either way, there’s something beautiful to pursue each day, and that’s enough to make me excited and full of gratitude when I wake up in the morning.

I know that you have great purpose on a daily basis.

In the way you speak, the way you treat others, and the way that you choose to shine God’s light to the world, you are fulfilling purpose. Remember that. And remember that that’s where your value lies. Your value is not in the job you work. Your value is not in the way that you look. It is not in the weight you think you may have gained or lost recently, nor is it in the money you have or the car you drive. Your value is not in any other worldly thing… your value is in your heart. Plain and simple. Pursuing finding value in any other form is to cater to something other than God. Because it’s the way that you allow your heart to shine and touch others that is the most valuable currency to exist, as it is the way that God made you, and that is ultimately the purpose he created you for. How many times in the Bible does it say that love- loving others, loving God, as well as respecting and loving yourself- is the most important thing? He gave you special gifts in many different ways so you could explore how you’re meant to share that light at various different times in your life, and that’s okay! That’s what he gave them to you for. EXPLORE THEM. But He most definitely never wants you to forget that the ways you do it are not where your actual value exists… it is what you share from deep in that heart of yours that is the most valuable. The love you give is what He cares about, and what He cares about is far more important than anything anyone else could think about you, even in regards to your family and friends.

I know that you know all of this. I’m sure I’m not telling you anything new. You’re intelligent and wise and I’m well aware of that, so I hope you don’t think that I’m patronizing you in any way by sharing my thoughts here. I simply know that sometimes, we could all use a hug. No matter how strong our friends and family know us to be, a hug is always appreciated… it reminds us that we’re cared for, and worth caring for, because the truth is that we’re human and we can forget those things in our darker hours.

And this is my heart hug to you.

I really, truly, 100% believe that you are a special person who was put on this planet, at this time, with all of the array of gifts and talents that you have, and having experienced all of the trials and struggles you have, for a big, big purpose. You’re here to change the world, Friend. And while that may seem like a really heavy, slightly scary sentence to read, just know that it’s nothing of the sort. Because you can change the world simply by being you- the you that God created to be. Not the “you” that society wants you to be, or the “you” that your friends might want to be, or even the “you” that your family might like you to be. You’re meant to play a significant and unique role in this world as the real, true YOU, in all of your authentic glory. Sometimes it takes work to find our true authenticity, because we have been shaped by society and so many things, but it’s absolutely worth it. And after we do the work to shed all of those layers, nothing could be easier or more genuinely joyful than gliding through life by God’s hand and guidance, simply being who we are at the core of our heart in the Lord. I know because I’ve done it, and because I’ve done it myself I can see past your moldings and walls and see your heart for what it truly is underneath it all… and it’s beautiful. It’s so beautiful, and it will change the world.

I’m grateful to know you. You’re a beautiful soul with a beautiful heart and I look forward to seeing all of the incredible things you’ll do with it. Thank you for sharing a small piece of it with me. ❤

Looking forward to seeing your best role yet play out,

The Veil

I do have to say, though… death brings a thickness to the air… a fog. It’s as if someone placed a semi-thick sheet of plastic over your body that acts as a veil as you walk through your day, shielding you from fully being a part of the world but not completely blinding or secluding you. It’s more like a light barrier which just requires much more focus and attention from you in order to function at basic levels, as your sight, hearing, smell, and coordination have all been compromised. You walk through the grocery store and the sounds you hear are suddenly a bit muffled. Someone says hello and it takes you a moment to realize they were addressing you, much less hear what they said, because that plastic sheet is just so separating. The grocery store clerk asks how you are and suddenly that plastic sheet becomes tighter and you think of how almost inconsiderate that was, as if they should know what you’re going through. After all, you feel like it’s practically written all over your face…
Don’t they know what your life entails at the moment?
Don’t they understand the pain you’re in?
Don’t they get that your world has just fallen apart right in front of your?
How anybody can not see the shattered pieces all around you is beyond you, but you don’t even quite care. All you truly care about doing is getting back to whatever shell makes you feel safe- home, office, park, beach, car- and spending all the rest of your days curled up there, staring into the abyss, just trying to gasp for a fresh breath that seems to never come, because someone you love is suddenly no longer a part of this world… and you just can’t… process.

It’s definitely a process.

And it’s strange.

Soon you begin to realize that maybe not everyone is being inconsiderate… that maybe, just maybe, they truly can’t feel your pain. That pain that you think is so explosive it could take out at least a city radius around you might actually just be yours and your alone to feel.

So you begin to soften.

You remain tucked under your plastic sheet, but you begin to soften your frustration with the outside world for not seeing it and treading more carefully around it’s delicate layer. Someone begins to speak to you and you think, maybe this is where the opportunity lies for me to communicate through this thick layer… maybe I should go for it.

And so you do.

And you know what? It’s not so bad. Sure, it was difficult, And it might have even been a little bit painful. But it was nowhere near what you were anticipating, and ironically enough, there was a moment or two of completely unexpected actual relief. Something about opening up to the outside world made you feel like you were somewhat of a part of it again, despite the heavy sheet that still seems to be remaining in place over you.

Time goes on and that sheet begins to thin out. Fresh air breezes in from time to time when you decide to let go of your grasp of its veil, which you do reluctantly because something about its protective layer has become surprisingly comforting. While you don’t quite feel like you’re functioning “normally” as a part of the world again, something about the new you feels like it’s okay. You start to realize that you may never not have this plastic sheet draping over you again, at least not entirely and at least not permanently, but that the thin layer it has become is… doable. You can bear it.

And so you try.

And the thinner the sheet becomes with time, the easier it is to see through it and notice that there are others who have plastic sheets draped over them too. Maybe they were there all long and you simply never took notice before, or maybe they are entirely new sheets, it doesn’t quite matter. Because anyone wearing a plastic veil is someone who’s lost, and no matter where they are on their journey, that is pain that you can relate to, and your heart reaches out to hug. Some are thicker than others, but what’s beautiful is that each of these people can relate to one another, simply due to the existence of these veils. And yours, having thinned out quite a bit, becomes a source of comfort for those just beginning their journey of adjusting with this new addition to their existence. The thin layer of your veil as well as your ability to survive, and even possibly thrive, with its existence becomes a light at the end of their tunnel. It gives them hope, which give your purpose.

And suddenly, you realize, your pain has meaning. And while you may always wish that this plastic veil did not have to exist, you’re grateful for the opportunity that its existence has given you to lend a helping hand to others who have been in your shoes. Suddenly, you find the rainbow in the storm.

And you thank your late loved one for it, because it’s them, and it’s beautiful.

Forever In A Day

I had the pleasure of meeting a very sweet woman in my class a couple of days ago who was positive, kind, and simply radiated the type of energy that people are drawn to, like moths to a flame. Not exactly the type of demeanor you’d expect from a person who’d been diagnosed with cancer… earlier that day.

This woman isn’t the first of guests to come to my classes seeking therapy though learning to paint in a creative and positive environment, but she most certainly is the one who had the most impact on me.

We spend a good deal of time talking that night and she shared her story with me. She’d had cancer a couple of years ago and beat it, but it was back, this time with a vengeance… it seems there’s no hope for recovery this time around. When she told me this, I could see that it broke her heart, because she’ll be leaving behind children and other family and friends when she goes. But the entire time we spoke, she didn’t shed one single tear, and her illuminating smile didn’t waiver at all, not even a little. I know that most would say that she was faking it, or that she could have possibly been in denial, and I know I could be wrong (I’m not her), but I didn’t think this was fake. I truly felt that the joy and love she was showing was the joy and love that she felt, not because she was oblivious to her circumstances or faking through the pain, but because the good things that she saw to come from her circumstances far outweighed the bad.

See, she spoke a lot about her children… they’d actually lost their stepfather- her second husband- to cancer a few years back. I think it was knowing the pain that they’d endure in losing her which was the worst part for her to have to face. It was the only time I thought maybe her smile could begin to fade. But as she continued to tell me about their plans to enjoy life to the fullest, beginning with my class as their first step toward adventure (I felt beyond honored), her face quickly began to light up again. And it wasn’t only the idea of making new, amazing memories with her loved ones that seemed to filled her heart; it was more what she knew her children would take from it all. I saw that it was the strength that they’d gain and the appreciation for truly living and enjoying life that she knew they’d never let out of their sight was what made her glow. She knew that through her difficult circumstances, she was able to give them something that was absolutely priceless- the gift of life.

We talked some more about this and I told her how wonderful I thought it was that they were choosing to move past what they can’t control and toward finding new, wonderful things to build upon in the rubble. I know that’s not easy for most to do in much less of trying circumstances and I found it to be so inspiring to see her making the most of something that she would be more than justified to spend her remaining days crying and sulking over. I asked her if she thought it was funny, that it often takes something as catastrophic as being faced with death for most to wake up and realize what’s truly important in life, and she said, “Absolutely. It’s a terrible waste that we allow our whole lives to pass us by, only to realize what we were meant to do with it all along right before we’re gone. That’s why I’m glad for my daughters to get to have this experience. My heart breaks for them to go through this again and lose another parent, but my heart leaps for the lives I know they’ll live after. They’ll never take a moment for granted… they actually have a shot at living.”

I believe that. I believe that we can choose to live our lives now. We don’t need to be faced with death to see the importance of our lives and understand what a blessing it is to have this one extra day, even if that’s all we get. I also don’t believe we need to be faced with pain and illness in order to appreciate the meaning of true health and vibrance. I do my best to live each day with meaning and purpose, and I try to always make choices that feed my body, mind, and soul properly along the way to benefit my today as well as my tomorrow, if I should be so blessed to have one. And I’m not perfect- I’m human- but I try. And I think that’s all we can really do. It’s the effort that shows gratitude and appreciation, which is the most important part. It may not ever yield perfection, but it will ultimately yield results worth having.

I pray that this beautiful woman is healed and blessed with years upon years of happy, healthy, vibrant living… but if that is not what’s meant to be, I pray that her life continues on through her children and those who know and love her. One way or another, she has impacted this world tremendously simply by existing and by allowing herself to be authentic and true, and I’m grateful for her. Thankful for the love that she shares with the world… felt like I got forever in a day. ❤

The Butterfly Effect

This story is so incredibly touching. And while it may seem like a sad story, because when we watch it or hear about it, we will be associating the experiences of this young man with what we would do and feel if we were in his shoes, which is likely loads of self pity and wallowing in negativity each day, but what I would encourage anyone who watches this to recognize is the light within it all. See the light that’s in his heart and be happy for it, but also make sure to understand what it takes for him to maintain that. It’s so inspiring and moves me to constantly remember that what I feel is painful or hopeless in life is nothing more than an obstacle, which I can choose to view as a roadblock or I can choose to view as an opportunity for strength and success.

Imagine living with the immense pain that this young man lives with all over his body… now imagine living with that pain each and every day of your life. Imagine that it does not ever get better, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel- no possibility of it ever dissipating. And then imagine finding the strength to get up each and every day, knowing what awaits you, and still looking forward to your life… still maintaining a positive perspective and motivation to make the most out of what could very easily be seen as an entirely hopeless situation. This condition effects every single aspect of his life. From the smallest aspects like eating and drinking or using the restroom, to larger aspects like the activities he’s able to engage in and any social life, hobbies, or work he’d like to do. Most of those parts of his life are severely limited in ways that we could never imagine truly coping with. And yet, he gets up out of bed each and every day, and he continues to have a spirit and hold a positive outlook about his life. He continues to seek and find purpose in his life. I’m sure he certainly has his bad days, no doubt about it. He’s human, and while he’s a strong human, he most certainly is going to have his moments of weakness in which I’m sure he questions his purpose and the necessity of him being here in this life, enduring this pain over and over, feeling restricted from experiencing the many things in life that the rest of us tend to take for granted. But he continues to push through, knowing that there’s never actually going to be a point in time when his efforts are met with what I think we all would see as a “success” here, which would be living pain free and having the ability to live a normal life. He will not have that, yet he pushes through and speaks of positivity, dreaming, helping, loving. And it’s beautiful.

This provides some strong perspective for me, as well as an immense sense of love and gratitude for this young man… for his strength in finding purpose in his life each and every day and for his strength and selflessness in sharing his story. It leaves him so vulnerable and so exposed, but rather than wallowing in self-pity and hiding from the world and diving into a sea of darkness in his mind and emotions that I think anyone could understand and would agree to be well justified, he found strength. He found purpose. And it blows me away, reminding me of just how trivial most of our “problems” in life are, as well as just how insignificant most of what we value in life is. The way that we look, the status we hold, the power we have, the things we own… it’s all so insignificant, and every bit of it can be taken from us in an instant. Then what? What happens when we place our value in things that can change at any moment? What this story highlights is someone who was never given the opportunity to place his value in any of those things, and he has taken that as an opportunity in and of itself. He has taken the opportunity that he’s been given to find his true value, which lies in his heart and in the purpose he has in this life, and he holds onto that so strongly. That cannot ever be taken away from him, not even in death, and I think it’s a lesson that so many of us can truly learn from. Placing value in something as trivial as physical appearance or ability, in the things we have, or in the opinions that others have of us is leaving your worth in the hands of what’s temporary and, ultimately, insignificant. When we learn to focus on what truly matters- what’s in our hearts- our whole world changes, and as a result, THE world changes.

My thoughts and prayers go out to this amazing young man and his friends and family that make sure he’s surrounded by love and support. He’s an inspiration and a light, and I’m grateful for his existence. ❤


I have always been a wanderer, barely grounded and unconfined… and I don’t mind that. Not only do I not mind that, but I have come to love that about me. Because my wandering heart has brought me to many people, places, and situations that have inspired me, touched me, broken me, and rebuilt me. My wandering heart has broadened my horizons in thought, emotion, and dreaming in ways that I couldn’t have intentionally imagined if I tried. It has has filled my soul with beauty, amazement, awe, and love to the point that I can no longer hold it in, so now I overflow these things and share them openly with anyone that cares to receive them. I can no longer contain my spirit, nor do I want to.

Because what I once thought to be strange and doubted would ever be understood or valued is now my most coveted piece of my me. My desire to know the world more- to really feel it and learn to understand it, to be open to meeting strangers and unattached with saying goodbye, all while holding onto gratitude for the part that they played in my journey- comes from a place of deep, unrestrained love… a love for life, for others, and for myself.  And while that may seem dangerous to some, to live with a heart so wide open for all to see and even feel, I know that it is also an adventure and opportunity. Giving and receiving love in abundance simply cannot happen with the dam walls in place.

I do not fear that danger, that flood, anymore because I see that it is not pain, nor failure, nor rejection, nor uncertainty that I have to fear… it is living a life in fear of living my life that I should be afraid of. And I do not fear the falls of my journey, as I have learned to create a dance with them. I no longer fear feeling the pain of rejection because I welcome the excitement of exploring a new and unexpected path. My wandering heart used to instill fear in me- fear because I could see that I was different and didn’t know how I would ever blend in with the world around me, fear that I might not ever truly be understood, and fear that I may be dreaming too big and, therefore, might fail in what I pursue. But thankfully, my wandering heart has kept beating, and despite my best intentional efforts to ignore it, my feet knew to follow. And now I know that I was meant to dance all along.

That rhythm inside of me has been calling me out to the dance floor ever since the time of my birth and I now realize that there is nothing that fills me with joy more than when I’m stomping my feet down and waving my hands high, because man, oh man… this wanderer’s heart knows the best damn songs. This isn’t wanderlust, this is wanderlove. ❤