Do you ever do something that you know will be great but you didn't know how great or how much you needed it? That's me at the Home for the Soul conference with graduates of Denise Linn's programs including her Feng Shui courses, Soul Coaching (my next course), Elemental Space Clearing....Tonight, I sit in my hotel with my hubby who flew down to meet me. We had a fantastic dinner where we stuffed ourselves then were forced to walk for blocks to allow our food to digest. Now, we sit in our hotel room with dueling laptops,both working in peace and quiet. Next to me is my altar that I have been adding to all day as I unwrapped items from my conference swag bag. My big take away today was finally getting the ultimate oracle card spread that resonates with me after 20+ years of wondering why I cannot read cards! I am so grateful for these gifts, these teachings and this time.
Normally when I travel alone, especially on a quest (which isn't very often if you know me), I take an altar. Have altar will travel is my motto. I did this in '05 when I traveled for my Feng Shui training and last year when I went away to a 3 day full moon feminine retreat. When we travel as a family, I don't typically travel with an altar (don't ask me why). I decided on this trip to not take an altar as I knew I would be picking up some items along the way, and I did.
The last couple of years I have seen lots of folks publicly declare their gratitudes during the month of November, the month of gratitude and today is day two. I am grateful for the sacred items I picked up today, such as this Archangel Michael that will be placed above our front door for protection and these lovely candle holders with Nag Champa candles to bring a beautiful scent to our home.
I have them in my hotel room on my Sage Woman magazine and a reminder of the feminine spirit that lives within me. These are not all that I am grateful for today. I am grateful for this time to myself, for being able to veg out in front of bad TV, for the wonderful Sisters I met tonight that are also here for my conference and for the bread we broke together over dinner as we got to know one another. For all of this and more, I give thanks.
Greetings from beautiful St. Augustine! Months ago, students of Denise Linn's teachings were invited to a conference titled "A Home for Your Soul". I knew I had to attend, but life was busy, my father was ill, my business was growing, I couldn't commit. After my father passed in August, I knew I had to attend, but instead of all of the "buts", I chose to sign up. I knew that this conference would feed my soul, allow me to deepen my knowledge, help me to grieve and allow me space to heal. Tonight, I headed to dinner and was nourished by salmon and asparagus, cooked by someone else's hands. Tonight, I lay in a bed made by someone else. Today, my gratitude is enormous in this month of Thanksgiving for everyone who is supporting my family so that I can take this journey. Now, if the drunk folks in the alley will go to bed, it will be perfect! #followyourbliss #ahomeforyoursoul #iamgrateful
It began in late March. My father walked into the hospital for what was promised to be a simple procedure, which later took his life. It was 4.5 months of watching him waste away, unable to recover as his 80 year old body fought for life. It was late into the night of August 13, around 11pm, that my sister called. "We are headed to the ER. Don't come. I'll let you know." At 2am the next call came. "Come now." The news was grim. 48 hours. Maybe a little more. Maybe a little less. Then, we took him home, my 2 sisters and I. For the next two and half days, the three of us, and my eldest niece, cared for him around the clock. We were joined by hospice, which was a tremendous help.
Death is so interesting and horrible and beautiful and I wish that each person would have, if they desire, the ability to pass away at home, surrounded by the things and the people they love and who love them. Both of my parents had this experience. We, those they left behind, were blessed by being able to support their transition in this way.
Honestly, there are moments when that time, those moments etched in my mind, are unreal. A bad dream. How could he be gone? So fast. Too soon. Is 80 years too soon? A Leo who lived a BIG LIFE. I mean BIG. The stories, his accomplishments. I could write a book about this man. He was the stuff of legends. Honestly, I have always thought that and then my mother-in-law, hearing some of the stories said it as well.
There is a part of me that thinks, "does everyone feel like this, take death so hard?" Actually, I am doing better with my father's death than I did with my mom's. As I have wept in the quiet, still moments of my day the last two weeks (which I can tell you has not been enough), I have considered this grief and how each of my parent's deaths was different. My mother lived a very blessed (after meeting my father and beginning her family) yet very horrible life. Her childhood was filled with abuse of various kinds, followed by men who mistreated her (not my father, the ones that came before), alcoholism and who knows what else that I have not been privy to. When she passed I grieved for her life, the pain, who she was and who she could have been had she been able to move beyond her suffering. I grieved the relationship that we never truly had, though I believe we both longed for.
With my father, this grief is different. It is a hole. A man who championed his children, always stood behind us, taught us everything. A hero to the grandchildren and friend to all he met. The son of a sharecropper, with an 8th grade education, he went on to run the entire manufacturing arm of the 3rd largest die-casting company in the United States. He traveled and met CEO's in the US and Europe working out contracts and specs on car parts and more. No small feat in a global economy for man who quit school to work in the fields so that there was food on the table! And avid reader, armchair political commentator, gardener and amateur engineer, there was nothing he could not do.
Growing up, we had our share of problems. Alcoholism with my mom, issues with my siblings, we had it all. We also had big Sunday dinners where friends and family would gather to swim in our pool, great family vacations, family businesses that brought us together in the best and worst ways possible. We are a close family and there are times that I marvel in our relationships and ability to get along and give thanks for the emphasis put on family that we had.
At this point I know I am beginning to become close to rambling, please forgive me. My husband's grandparents, in their late 80's, blessed us with joining us for the funeral and then lunch at my parent's home. Mammaw hugged me and told me that it will get better but that I will always hurt. This from a woman who loved her daddy more than life and lost him probably 25 or 30 years ago. It will get easier, but it will always hurt. There will be a day when I don't cry in the stillness of the day, when that hole will not burn through my chest. I know there will be a day when I will have stillness then remember and recognize that it has gotten easier.
This grief is layered with not just my loss or the loss of a grandparent for my children or the loss of a brother for those siblings my dad left behind. There is another grief that I am sure sits in my heart around my daughter. I cannot talk about it now as it deserves it's own place, but I will write about it later.
I'll leave you with my fave pic of my dad in the last few years. He is with Noah at his 8th grade graduation in 2016. I am so glad my children had the chance to know him.
Thank you everyone who has been understanding during this time.
"After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." - Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
3 weeks ago I turned 45. I was dreading this birthday. It seemed heavy to me, like a turning point on a wheel that is rapidly spinning and a reminder that I still have so much to do and need to make every moment count. When my friend Angela called and asked me to host a Pampered Chef party (yes, I do occasionally buy things), I said yes and let's do it on my birthday. We invited 60 women and as I know how these parties sometimes go, I assumed we would have 4 or 5 women show up. Was I wrong. But, that's not what this post is about.
The week leading up the party seemed fairly normal with the RSVP list, then the day prior to and the day before, the RSVP's started rolling in. When all was said and done, I had about 15 women, 10 kiddos, the hubby and 2 dogs plus myself and my Pampered Chef consultant all in attendance. I'm not gonna lie. We cleaned. I mean, it's me, right? The kids and I spent part of Monday and a little bit of Tuesday cleaning and tidying the house. We put things away, swept and vacuumed all of the floors, made the beds, cleaned the mirrors and the glass doors. In other words, we did what should be done each and every week but some of these things get missed. In a couple of hours on Monday and a couple of hours on Tuesday, we cleaned the entire house from top to bottom. Mostly. There were a few things that I could have done. I could have wet mopped the hardwoods or cleaned the baseboards or wiped down the chairs.
But, we didn't and we had the party anyway, because we could.
What I mean by this is thanks to keeping a fairly organized, clutter free home, it does not take us long to literally get the entire space ready to host a large gathering.
I'll be really frank with you. We have had to remove the storm door on the front due to shattering the glass, there are two pieces of tiles broken in one of our bathrooms, our downstairs carpet needs a very good cleaning and I need to reupholster two chairs that I have currently slipcovered.
It doesn't matter. No one cared about those things. They cared about me and they cared about us. And, I decided to not sweat the small items. I want to assist you in getting your space to where you want it to be. Do not forgo your joy because of your fear of a less than perfect home. You may have a few small hotspots that need to be addressed before you achieve perfection. You may have a home that is just shy of a Hoarders episode that need the chairs excavated so you can move into joyful living. You may have something in between.
We can tackle your big problems in your home through my new program and then the small stuff won't seem as big!
My Clearing the Way Course will help you to create a welcoming space in your home for your loved ones and for yourself. It's NOT ABOUT PERFECTION. It's about releasing yourself from your stuff. It's about freedom. It's about a respite from the storms of life. If you are not sure if this is for you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat or follow the link below for all the goods on this life-changing course.
If you are ready to step into sanctuary, it is only a click away.
I have this dream of sanctuary. Okay, I want to be honest. I have sanctuary. My dream may be more that everyone has sanctuary. There are so many days when I drive up my driveway and walk into the front door, lay down my things and find gratitude in having this space to walk into. I think I recognize it more after working with clients and knowing that so many struggle with this in their lives.
I'm that person that when I go into people's space, they apologize. The apologize for the mess, the clutter, the disorganization. They assume that my home is perfect all of the time. Truthfully, I suppose that it is fairly clean and organized most of the time. Even the kids frequently say, "it doesn't have to be perfect, Mom!" It's not about perfection. I promise. It's not.
It's about having a place to have laughter and joy and space to dream and, unfortunately, shelter from the storms that we weather throughout our lives.
Having a clutter free home is not the answer to preventing disease or infidelity or financial woes (though it can help). It does not mean your life is perfect. But, it can be your place of ease when faced with any of these.
So, let's talk about how it can help. If your bed is filled with clean and/or dirty laundry you or your spouse are sleeping on the couch or in the recliner each night and not making a space in your bedroom for the energy of love, then it can create problems. If you are a binge shopper and purchase the same items over and over because you never emptied the bags from the last 10 shopping trips and your home is so cluttered that you cannot find items, thus purchasing new ones, it can contribute to your financial woes. What about your health? Does your home have lots of spaces for mice to live and to create waste due to the mounds of "stuff"? I promise you, if your home is severely cluttered, it's a real possibility and I have seen it in home after home after home. (Mice are a real problem in the cleanest and most orderly of homes and can easily be dealt with as the evidence can be seen, but it is amplified in cluttered homes.) What about your mental health?
Let's stop here. This. This is what I am most concerned with for SOME of the folks I work with. It's the walking in the front door to the piles, then into the kitchen where you do not have room to prep healthy fresh food, then into the bedroom with 6 baskets of laundry and no room to put them. Then, you begin the cycle of overwhelm. For some of you, you know what I mean.
I work with clients at all levels. I have clients who just need some tweaking in their space or dealing with that one hot spot. On the other end are the clients who have a home full of furniture but no where to sit as ever space is covered with things. And, of course, there is everything in between.
I am not here to judge you. It is the last thing on my mind. There are those days when I wish my own home looked like something out of a magazine. I see the door that fell off the cabinet in the kitchen, waiting to be repaired or the carpet in the den that needs to be replaced. And then, there are those days when I teach a class and show photos of my own home as examples and have people in the room say they wish their home were so empty of items and am reminded that the struggle to find sanctuary in our homes is so real.
On August 1, I am launching an online program to support you in your journey to sanctuary. I'm going to be showing you into my home, my less than perfect, but clutter free home, giving you tips and tricks, talking about why we have clutter and so much more! I know I've been hinting at this for a while, but creating a program like this takes some time!!! I'm almost ready to launch this thing and you will be the first to know. Are you ready?
Let me go back and explain some things about me. I am not a feminist. There was a time when I would have claimed that title and you can be sure that I am SO GRATEFUL for those women in our past who have worn this as a crown to allow me the freedom to be whomever I choose to be. I am a woman. A daughter, a sister, a friend, a mother, a wife, an entrepreneur, a priestess. I am all of these things and I get to choose these things. But, there came time when I no longer could say, "I am a feminist" in the way we view it in our society. I believe in gender roles (there, I said it). I believe that that MAJORITY of us fall into gender roles and are happy to be associated with our gender while some do not. To each their own, but, I am comfortable in my woman-ness and know I can be a badass woman who loves, parents, relates, and leads ferociously.
This Goddess-worshipping Southern woman chooses her own path each and every day and revels in being a W-O-M-A-N.
And, this is why I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this movie above all others. I mean really. I am even going to see it again. An island full of warrior women. They are lovers and fighters and teachers. Diana's mother, Queen Hippolyta, is the perfect feminine archetype. She is soft and loving and wears her wrinkles like a beautiful piece of art, all while wielding a sword and shield to protect her tribe and her family. Her sister, General Antiope is the harsher of the two. Beautiful, hard, and aged like a fine wine to show that beauty is not only for the youth but those in mid-life and beyond, she has a softness for Diana and her students that is rarely revealed. I identified so much with both of these characters. Hippolyta, the leader and the mother, Antiope who teaches in much the same way as I parent, I am nearly at a loss for words and cannot get enough.
To me, this movie is everything that represents women at our best. It is the story that needs to be told. Is there a group of Amazonian women living eternally due to their connection with the gods? Well, even I don't think so. Nevertheless, this is the story of women and our abilities, it is what I didn't even know we needed right now in this moment in time. We need this for each woman from 18 to 88 and for each girl who is growing up now. I need it for my daughter to show her what she can do. I need it for my son so that he knows that women can be strong. I need it for me to remind me that being in my mid-life can be beautiful and fierce. We have needed this story for longer than I can say.
I was not going to let the Moon see the movie. It is a little more violent and edgier than we normally allow her to see. I have tried to stand my ground. But, my hubby is the one who is insistent. I don't know if he is worried about her in some way or just knows somewhere inside that the girls of this generation, in the face of where we are as a society, needs this. With this aaaaallllll said, I'll leave you with this quote from the movie:
“YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU BELIEVE. YOU HAVE GREATER POWERS THAN YOU KNOW.” - Antiope
I’m Dana Croy and I am a modern day mama. Balancing family and work is not always easy (not to mention a little self-care). Though being Mama to two fantastic kiddos is a huge part of my life, that was not always the case. I wear many other hats and invite to sit down and find harmony with me.