Friday, June 11, 2021

Decluttering And Sacred Moments with Marie Kondo

Summer is upon us.  Yesterday, both of my children were out of the house.  I have been reveling in time alone and flitting from one thing to the next.  I could not concentrate on just one thing but I moved between twenty tasks.  My emotions were up and down.  The day started off with some blue feelings, I wrote, tears fell and I became energized. 

It was time to address the closet, it has been calling.  I want to streamline, get rid of clothes and anything else that is no longer in use.  This is easier said than done.  There are some fantastic memories associated with some clothes and other items.  I have read or heard that if you haven't worn an item in a year (perhaps 2 after the pandemic) then it's time to let it go. 

Long ago, I had watched only one episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.  For some reason, it did not resonate with me.  I don't know if it was the language barrier but I was not drawn to it.  As I ate lunch yesterday, I decided to give it another try for inspiration.  

It was the right intuition. 

I watched the homeowner, a recent widow and Marie meet and discuss plans.  They sat down at a table and discussed her goals for her house and for her. 

Then there was something very powerful which made me fall in love with Marie.  Marie told the homeowner she wanted to greet her house.  She got up walked around and found just the right spot and knelt on her legs sat on the floor and prayed. 

Oh yes! Cleaning out clutter is a spiritual process.  

(But there was more to come!)

I wanted to get on the floor and speak to Divinity about my intentions and goals.  Make plans for how I want to live my life in this house.  I want to think about the energy in the house.   It will soon be changing as my eldest is leaving for college which leads me to think of the empty nest in three more years.   Whoa. How did that happen?

Intention. For much of my thirties and forties, I took it to heart that I was a follower and people pleaser.  I did not know who I was and how to follow through on my own intentions.  I am learning to listen to my intuition, my gut and recognize the divinity that is guiding me.  Being in a quiet space like yesterday, really allows me to listen.  

I continued to watch "Tidying Up" and Marie blew me away again!  Her advice was to hold an item and see if it sparked joy.  

Oh my.  Yes!!!

Today, I could take in her message. 

Many items I keep, like shoes, I do so because they were expensive.  Would I ever wear them again?  Never, I think maybe the kids.  SMH. Nuh uh.  Some of them hurt my feet and I decided not to do that anymore.   So does that item spark joy?  Nooooo.   Instead it carries shame that I didn't wear them enough or that I had spent too much money.   And then there's the clothes that might fit in the future?  Nooooooo.

Why do I do that to myself? 

Conversely,  if I have a very positive memory of a shirt that I don't plan on wearing again,  she advises to hold it, acknowledge it and let it go. I Love that so much!   In a way, I had been doing a version of this with my daughters.  We would take pictures of items, especially stuffed animals and let them go. 

It's clear to me now, that this rule applies to all surroundings including people.   Do they spark joy, make me feel better or worse about myself?  Do I let go of trying to make things work with people it just doesn't?  (emphasis on work) It is hard to let people go though.  I can get on my knees, thank them for the role they have played thus far and let them go, or let my idea of them go.  I may have to do this several times over, because some people are harder to let go than others. 

This was such a simple but profound lesson. As I began to write again, I wanted to hear the exact words Marie used about sparking joy.  An interview of her & Stephen Colbert popped up.  He asked why Americans responded to her message of tidying up and sparking joy so much and it was because...we have clutter in our hearts. 

Those words permeated my body and straight to my heart.  I felt them and know them to be true. 


Thank you. 

My bag of shoes is waiting to be donated.  

Now the rolling of the clothes, I need more time. 


Saturday, April 10, 2021

God Save The Queen: She Helped Save Us During the Pandemic

My eighteen year old daughter burst into my room at 6:05am yesterday to let us know that Prince Phillip had peacefully passed away in his sleep.  This was not unexpected as he was ninety-nine and had been recently hospitalized. George was getting ready for work, so my eldest laid in bed with me and we watched CNN coverage.  Watching and reading about the British Royals has not been a new endeavor in our house, but it increased exponentially throughout the Pandemic and especially after we learned new information about a connection.

Riley was only eight when Prince William and Kate were married.  I know I watched, but I was not as enthralled as I had been as a teenager when Diana and Charles were married.  In 2018, for Harry and Meghan's wedding,  Riley was very engaged and on her own, planned to get up early and watch.  So Mallory and I joined her and we prepared tea and partook of scones for the early morning viewing. 

As the pandemic began, Riley, was stranded and isolated at home as we all were.  There was a definite blow to her psyche with a mangled trip to Italy as Covid first broke out, forcing the group home early and into quarantine by her school due to parental demand.  She had one day back at school before it was shut down the rest of the year.   She was separated from a burgeoning new friend group, and around this time an obsession began with British Royals. For her, there was a deep loss of all certainty with her organized, methodical mind which thrives on routines.  Those routines were blown to bits. The British Royal family with their steady twelve hundred year monarchy and so much documented family history stepped in and filled a void. 

Toss in The Crown series, documentaries, Instagram pages, and we have been satiated with the history and current activities of past, present and future Royals.  We both love it.  Younger sister Mallory and husband George can tolerate it for a bit.  As we watch a documentary or The Crown, we both are googling facts to understand more of what is going on. 

During this current phase, I developed a newfound admiration for the staying power of Queen Elizabeth, the longest currently living reigning European monarch.  If she lives four more years, she will be the longest serving monarch as she is now fourth.  The sheer numbers are remarkable.  She has been Queen for 69 years, and married for 73 years.  Whether you agree with a symbolic monarchy or not, colonialism or how it's run, she has devoted herself to the Crown and weathered so many world events, scandals, joys and heartbreak.  She has been loyal to her country to uphold her duty, as best as she possibly could.  We don't actually know what goes on behind closed doors, even though The Crown tried to imagine it.  Only those who lived it know, and each of them will have their own version of their truth which we many never hear.  (unless they have an Oprah interview!)

One of the major highlights of this time, was the discovery that my family on my maternal side is indeed related to the Queen!  This picture is the moment Riley found out as my sister in law confirmed it.  She is 21st cousins with Prince Charles. 

We were driving home from a college tour in October 2020 and stopped at a cemetery in Mississippi to see the graves of some ancestors.  We begin talking about genealogy once again.  Riley knew that many European Royals were related as a number of Queen Victoria's children married into other royal families. With thanks to my great Aunt Maydelle, we knew we were related to Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland.  Riley wondered out loud if Queen Elizabeth was related to him.  We looked up a Scottish government website and texted back and forth with my sister in law, a fantastic genealogist and within minutes she confirmed our distant but known link to my twentieth cousin Queen Elizabeth!!  Within minutes, she emailed us Riley's Royal Register which broke down the connection. 

The amount of enthusiasm and energy we gained from this little factoid at this time was so much fun and held our spirits up for many weeks. 

Since then Riley joined Facebook only to be a part of a royal watchers page.  She sends me Instagram messages about the royals.  I will admit that I don't watch or read all of them, but am glad to have that connection and perhaps it will continue when she attends college several hours away.  Riley also sends the different royal couples greeting cards knowing that their offices will send responses.  She eagerly anticipates the Royal Mail arriving and I have to admit it is quite fun. 

After Philip's death yesterday, it finally resonated with me how much the Royal family really helped my daughter cope with her world shutting down.  Her young life was put on hold, her social world crumbled and her Senior year obliterated.  For me, this is just a regular year, but for her, she will never have another senior year.  I am thrilled that activities have opened back up and a bit of normalcy has returned.  

I hope some things will persist. We have broached the topic of how we can have a watch party for when the fifth season of The Crown drops.  I am told that is not until 2022, and that Diana the Musical will drop on Netflix first.  Riley has already mailed her condolence cards to selected members of the family. 

God Save The Queen!  πŸ‘ΈπŸ» πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ 

She helped save us. 


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Being In The Present Moment

It's taken me a long time to really really understand, "Be in the Present Moment."   Around ten years ago, I tried to make my way through Eckhart Tolle's, "A New Earth" with a reading group at church.  I could barely read the book or listen to him in audio because it was dry and heady material but it laid a foundation. Eckhart talked a lot about the ego, the pain body, about Jesus and inherently "be still and knowing that I am..." 

All of that came with a level of difficulty that was beyond my pay grade at the time.  

When I am quiet and still with no distractions, stuff comes up.  And I am bombarded with distractions to avoid the painful emotions that make me jittery, anxious and avoidant to ever sit and be still again.  Over time,  I have practiced over and over that what comes up will not kill me especially if I don't identify AS the sadness, anxiety or grief.  It is energy that needs to flow through.  These are "just" my thoughts and not who I am. 

Now hearing Eckhart years later in video, I can take in his slow, dry manner, and abundant wisdom and if he chuckles, it is like I won an Olympic medal.  So very delightful. 

Just now, I was standing at the kitchen sink with dirty dishes piled all around from last night. I have always HATED washing dishes.  George can swiftly verify this fact.  My head is spinning because I'm trying to think of all the groceries needed in preparation for Thanksgiving week and the girls home from school.  I can look and see things that need to be done everywhere.  There's a pandemic raging.  Political strife is ever abundant.  My lower back aches as I have grown accustomed to in the last few years.  My blood pressure is elevated a little.  And I have a slight headache that I'm not sure what it's from. And yesterday, I discovered that neuroma is likely the name for the tingling I feel in my right foot between the third and fourth toes. 

Yet, amidst all of this, I have Frank Sinatra playing on Pandora, and I have a dish in my hand cleaning it with my yellow smiley face scrub and I have a few seconds of peace beyond all understanding.  

It's magical.  

It's mystery. 

Being In The Present Moment. 

Ego aside, pain aside, sadness aside, anxiety aside, all of it aside.  It makes room for a well of gratitude for life, for a loving divinity inside me and inside every human being and I'm connected with all of it. 

Give me more of this. 

I know it's about loving myself and others and breaking through all of the barriers to get there. 


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Over Her Lifetime She Showed Them Why


I was in shock and numb after my eldest daughter ran in to tell me last night that Ruth Bader Ginsberg had died.  I was numb the rest of the evening and it was only fitting that I had to drive in the darkness late to pick up my daughter from an event. It feels like a light has gone out.  

My hope was that she could pull through for as long as it took.  This was her fifth bout of cancer in 21 years.  It felt like she was a super hero both in physical survival and also her fighting for the underdog.  And that underdog was those whose rights were being trampled upon by a white male dominated society and we needed another interpretation of the Constitution. 

She always fought in a quiet but brilliant way to interpret things differently and bring the all male bench along with her when she presented her cases.  She said it was like teaching kindergarten and they had never heard anything like this before.  She did it nicely without raising her voice as her mother had instructed. 

I watched her documentary, RBG when it came out in 2018.  As a baby, her only sister died of meningitis leaving her an only child.  Her mother whom she was very close to, valiantly fought cancer for several years and died when Ruth was seventeen and graduating from high school.  She said there was a smell of death in her house.  Her new husband, Marty had cancer when they were both in law school with their young toddler and Ruth did the law school work for BOTH of them!! That is when she learned to burn both ends of the candle.   As one of a handful of female law students,  Justice Ginsberg made both the Harvard Law Review and the Columbia Law Review and graduated tied for first in her class.  Yet, when she graduated, there was no employment to be found as a woman.  At a dinner in law school early on, Ginsberg along with other females were asked by a professor why they should be able to take the slot of a man in law school.  

Over her lifetime she showed them why.  

It seems her inability to find employment after graduation was the beginning of her lifetime journey of championing equality. 

As a human and mother of two daughters, I'm deeply grateful for Justice Ginsberg paving the way for gender equality in daring and innovative ways creating the Women's Right Project with the ACLU.  One of her first major cases was for a man to receive social security benefits for caregiving equally as a woman when his wife died in childbirth.  She looked at the law with new eyes and loved it.   It was the great love of her life along with her husband Marty and her family. 

Her work in the 1970's as aConstitutional lawyer for equal rights winning four out of five Supreme Court cases was proficient for changing the lives of women whether they know it or not.  (I didn't know what she had done until 2018)  This accomplishment stands out as historical even without her work as a Judge.  She was shy, quiet and taught by her mother not to let emotions overwhelm but to do the work and be independent.   

The morning after her death and a disturbed night of sleep, I woke and the sadness set in.  It felt like a body blow, like the 2016 election all over again.  Mitch McConnell will hypocritically work to fill her spot on the bench when he sat on Merrick Garland's nomination for 10 long months in the election year of 2016 because what he said back then was we should hear the will of the people first.  Not anymore. 

With this sadness, I have cried for someone I never met but for her ideals, decency and tenacity.  We lost a lion of courage but a legacy to act, even in quiet ways.   

As a stay at home mom, what does the story of a prolific litigator for equality and a Supreme Court Justice and Master Dissenter move me so?

Quiet, tenacious, do your job well.

Before I had children I decided that I wanted to be emotionally present for my children.  I didn't really understand what that meant but have spent the last twenty years figuring it out, diligently.  It was a calling.   I did not feel heard growing up because I felt I didn't have the right to speak.  I can see this pattern to different levels in my daughters and in other women of all ages.   I processed life alone in my head and now I do it by writing and hope to connect with others.   I was a people pleaser and I stayed silent until it really began to burn me up inside and then I dove in hard to understand.  That anger of staying silent was a sign that my boundaries were not being honored.  I didn't have any boundaries!  Therapy along with changing my image of God has helped tremendously.  God is love and God is in everyone, of every color, race, creed and religion.  Justice Ginsberg who was Jewish fought to care for the marginalized just as Jesus instructs us too.  It's amazing that non-Christians act in a manner following Jesus better than many Christians.  

Justice Ginsberg's tenacity in interpreting the law was overwhelmingly obvious when watching her story. I feel the that same way about healing pain that is passed generationally.  If you don't transform your pain it will be passed on.  Even before I knew that what meant, I was unconsciously working hard not to do that.  I have stayed with this learning of how to listen to my children, and be a heart with ears.   I am learning to listen to my own self this way.  


I'm not a "march for your rights" kind of girl.  I'm introverted and learning to write my way out and take care of those whom I love with tenacity, listening and continued learning. 

Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a transformational powerhouse in her own quiet but mighty way.  I take inspiration, and much gratitude for her as a role model and icon.  

Be who you are, use your talent and do it to the best of your ability. 

Stand up for those who need it. 

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsberg - You fought the good fight.  Imagining your joyous reunion with your mom whom you lost so early and your Marty with a smile on my face. 


Friday, August 28, 2020

Sitting With Hot Lonely Pain: It's A Spiritual Journey

So I have been partaking in Internal Family Systems therapy with my longtime therapist for the last few months.  I'm so glad she went to a conference and we began this new journey.  It is awkward, and uncomfortable but throwing me for a loop in the best possible way.  The theory is that we have parts of our personalities that sprang forward to take care of us since we were children (and continue today).  Life happened to us and we were overwhelmed and protective parts arose.  These parts are very connected to our woundings. 

My most active protectors are anxiety, sadness and eating. I know judgment and shame are in the mix but I don't know how they show up.  We begin by seeing which part is showing up in my body at the present time and then we kindly, compassionately, talk to the part and there is always another one waiting in the wings.  I have chest pain that appears as anxiety, I have sensation that starts in my chin and leads to my eyes for sadness.  My therapist tenderly asks questions like how do I feel about the anxiety?  Can sadness go to a a safe spot and let us talk to anxiety?  Does it know Adult Carolyn is here?  What age do you remember this showing up?  Whatever the parts want to do, is okay and met with gratitude and compassion.  With each question, we are teaching the wounded parts that there is an adult core (Self) of confidence, compassion, acceptance, calmness, wisdom, connectedness, and leadership that is in place and is ready to take over.  We are synthesizing the protective wounded parts with the core Self.  

And guess what that core self is?!


The Divine One.

One That I Want to Get to Know!

IFS therapy at this time in my life amazingly builds on other theories and spirituality that I have been exploring for years. One of my favorite therapist teachers, Mary O'Malley, has advocated for curiosity, compassion and kindness with ourselves. This stands out to stark contrast with the judgement and shame that I have heaped upon myself for decades.  The religion of my youth added to the self-criticism.  God was not a loving being, but a judging Santa Claus in the sky, whom I needed to be saved through Jesus in order not to be punished to Hell.  

I didn't want to get to know that God. Who would want that? 

The judging Santa Claus with a side of Jesus was the message I received and took to heart and it has taken two decades and counting to begin to rewire and transform my image of God. 

My life along with this therapy is a spiritual journey of being in the present moment, and for me to know God is inside each and every one of us.  The love of the Divine One is unconditional, and the Trinity. Oh the trinity!  I continue to heal with the Father, Son and HOLY SPIRIT in the mix.  There is a Divine Flow which has been around from the very beginning of creation of the World. (Thank you Father Richard Rohr!) This flow when I can rest in it, makes me feel connected to the entirety of creation, humans, plants, animals and includes those with whom I utterly politically disagree in our current most divided world.  You know that's some powerful stuff. 

It takes a long time to unlearn what was learned from the very beginning of our lives.   Spirituality is really about unlearning. One of my biggest teachers is emotions. 

Emotions overwhelm me (as they did in extreme form in Postpartum Depression). If I don't identify with them, attach to them, become them, they flow through.  (Different flow though!!)  

I know this mechanism well but I lose sight of it and then I remember again, and then I forget.  In my most recent therapy session earlier this week,  I very unexpectedly was taken back to the postpartum depression I had with my first child.  In past sessions, I have gone back and forth between sensations of anxiety and sadness in mere seconds.  In the last session, holding those two emotions this time, seemingly "out of nowhere," my mind went to my first postpartum experience.   I had fallen into a deep pit of despair, and volleyed back and forth between grief and overwhelming anxiety.  I hit bottom one night after months of struggling, when I finally started an anti-depressant.  That night, it ramped my anxiety up even further.   I did not sleep at all, and my overwhelming fear was that I needed to be carted off to a hospital and that my baby needed to be taken away.   The memory of this night and the postpartum depression, is still present in my body and I can call up the depth of the fear, isolation and utter despair easily.  

I felt so utterly alone and abandoned.  

My therapist and I address the Postpartum Depression experience lovingly and carefully during this session.  I attempt to recognize that my adult self is present.  When I answer the age question, it seems like I'm a teenager.  When finished, she tells me the Postpartum Depression is likely related to feelings of abandonment from early on.  She told me to take special care of myself.  For days afterward, I felt the aftereffects of examining these parts in the form of mental exhaustion, irritability and sadness.  I felt blah, I really wanted comfort.  Not so long ago, my therapist and I had discussed looking at anxiety head on and not avoiding it.  I was having chest pains, with the pandemic and my daughters going back to school.  My therapist would ask, how do I feel about the anxiety?   I began to feel edgy towards her which I have never done.  I'm freaking terrified, of a heart attack right now is how I feel.  After the session,  I did a little research into heart attacks, because you know, I had too(!) and as I had gone through cardiac testing before, I knew the chest pain was anxiety.  I sat with that knowledge and when I began to feel the anxiety again, I thanked it for working to take care of me, for showing up and that Adult Carolyn had this.  

And the chest pain went away.  

I know it will come again, and I will forget but ultimately,  I plant to practice gratitude, kindness and compassion towards the anxiety over and over.     

So, here I was again, days after exploring postpartum in my last session. I don't like it, I want to escape it and I want it to GO AWAY.    I talk to a friend.  I look things up on the internet.   Somehow I come across this video of Glennon Doyle.  It is a 23 minute Master Class in being with the pain while laughing.  She comes on very strong, but hold on for the ride.   

She gets my pain.  She is saying this stuff out loud and people respond to her.  I respond to this. 

She and Pema Chodron both say: "If you can sit with the hot loneliness of pain for 1.6 seconds, when yesterday you could only sit for 1 second, that is the Journey of the Warrior."

Glennon continues: "When we transport ourselves out of our hot loneliness, we miss our transformation. And everything we need to become ourselves is in that hot loneliness".... "the pain teaches us what we need to know."

This is spirituality like I never knew before whereas the judging God of my youth would never evolve to knowing how much I'm loved, how I am at one with the entire universe and knowing the peace that surpasses all understanding. 

With the hot pain, also comes joy.  When you numb pain, you also numb everything else. 

So this crazy therapy is deep, deep spirituality at it's core and coming to know God and myself in ways I never ever dreamed of. 


Here is the Oprah's Super Soul Conversation featuring Glennon Doyle Melton.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Presidential Leadership Traits in Time of Crisis: Trump Has None of Them

Every now and then I need to hear a historian.   I unexpectedly caught a glimpse of Doris Kearns Goodwin yesterday.  I watched it, I paused it, recorded it with my phone and I listened again because she made so much sense.  Hearing someone speak eloquently with education and authority about Presidential history is a welcome, welcome relief to my soul.  Hearing what would make a good leader explained why Trump is failing. 

Here is my summary of Ms. Goodwin's answer to one question about the historical nature of Presidential leadership in times of crisis: (I included much of her own wording.)

We are facing a triple crisis: pandemic, economic fallout and search for racial justice and in the midst of that we hope would be a leader who would have the ability, skills, and temperament to mobilize all of the national resources, to provide national direction to bring the country together. 

During the Depression, (and WWII) - what mattered and what worked is that Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew you had to have action and move.  President Hoover couldn’t change his ideology that the federal government should not be involved in local and state governments.  Hoover could not act but only get excited and say there is an uptick in the economy, the stock market, went up!   {Does this sound familiar?!!} But to deny the realities of the moment when you are a leader in a crisis is the real problem because the ground will catch up with you. 

What FDR did as a governor in NY, with no national leadership, he took action. He starts unemployment insurance, and public works jobs.  He takes responsibility for dealing with the crisis.  That is what catapults him into the Presidency. When FDR runs, Hoover has to defend his non-action.  FDR, says let’s get together, have collective action, we are going to work as a team, it’s going to be like a war.  He produced the action. The people then say, we finally have a leader!

Collective action of a nation as a whole is a central key to dealing with any of the crises as a team, much less the triple crises that we are experiencing now.

Back to me: Trump is unable to respond to these national crises because it is not in his makeup or mode of operation at all.  I kept thinking at some point, he would pivot.  He will never pivot and never speak for the entire nation.  He is a reality tv show presence and his instincts are no masks, no social distancing, in favor of the photo op and everything revolves around re-election.  (per Bolton and his actions) And it doesn't matter who he puts at risk in order to have that photo op or event.   

In his Fourth of July speeches, he doubled down on White Nationalism.  He uses race baiting rhetoric to appeal to his base which worked in 2016 with the caravans.   Yet we were not in the middle of a pandemic, economic downturn and racial turmoil that he refuses to address other than standing for the Confederacy and monuments over human beings.   We have to address our history and put the monuments in museums.  Looking at the past, reckoning with it with new eyes and receiving education of history and current times that we do not know.  I didn't know about Tulsa or Rosewood.  I didn't know about the mass incarceration rate of black men versus white men which is about five to one.   The system for profit for corporations in the prison system is diabolical to keep numbers.  I didn't know about the clause in the 13th Amendment which although it freed slaves it allowed black men to be rounded up for minor offenses, and lose their freedom forever.  The powers in charge, needed labor to make up the loss of four million slaves. 

Back to Presidential leadership.  These are the traits we need in a time of crisis: 
Humility and empathy, acknowledgment of facts with hope, surrounded by a strong team and set an example and share a sense of mission.  

Donald Trump does not have these traits and never will.  His diagnosable extensive Narcissism does not allow him to look at the big picture.  Even as the governors began leading the war on Covid19, he would get jealous when one got attention over their leadership skills, so he fought with them.  And most negligent, he turned wearing masks, the only method along with social distancing that we have to combat the spread of the virus, into a political divide.

Could you imagine if he did wear a mask, promote social distancing, and be the leader to head up all the governors and local officials in the war against Covid19?   He could be the general of the war on Covid and be lauded for that but he is incapable of taking on those reins.  His poll numbers would rise.  He tried out the moniker of a war leader for a half of a second but being a general takes fortitude, patience, long term direction and acceptance of facts...  He could express empathy about the 135,000 lives that have been lost and comfort our country.

The problem is he doesn't know how to comfort himself because his ego needs constant stroking.  He likes chaos and he's got it as does the rest of our country and the world.  We are leading the world in infections.  He's winning that number in the most advanced country in the world because he's ignoring the virus and hoping it will magically go away.   Trump won't allow the infectious disease experts speak, and they have to tiptoe around him because he and he alone wants the spotlight and... re-election.  At this point, his personality defects are impacting the country with death, economic destruction and inflicting more pain on racial minorities who have had enough pain for too many generations.   He could take it on, and turn the tide but he is clearly incapable.


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Feeling The Spirit of Departed Loved Ones

I had pulled out all the Christmas presents to wrap while the rest of the family was off running errands yesterday morning.  I am moving into the holiday spirit.  If feels like I'm getting a handle on the to do list.   It's time for some Christmas music!  This occurs every year just a few days before Christmas. I steal back my bluetooth speaker from my eldest and I pick a Rat Pack Christmas album on Pandora to listen to.

I have not walked this rainy day and I don't want to go to the crowded mall which is my go to for inclimate weather.  But this music by Frank, Nat, and Dean makes me want to move.  I wonder if I can get my cardio in this way?!  "Fly Me to the Moon", "The Way You Look Tonight", "I Love You for Sentimental Reasons", "I Could Write a Book" and "Fever" are the selections that are played after my Christmas album is over.

Pandora really knows Me  (Okay, yes, they have a good algorithm. )

As I'm wrapping the presents that only I know about,  I will be delighted to see the family's reactions when they open the presents.  I'm on a little high. I'm dancing and wrapping.

It's such a lovely delicate moment. 

And then it pops in my head and heart that I'm channeling my mother in law right now.

My mother in law, Mary loved Christmas and Frank Sinatra.  She had several of his CDs in her collection that we have now. Her parents did not have a lot of money as she grew up in a Pennsylvania coal mining town
with her six brothers.  Christmas presents were sparse for the Polish immigrants who came through Ellis Island.  Mary delighted in making a big deal out of Christmas for her children growing up and that spread to her grandchildren.

I had wondered why I loved to dance and clean the kitchen to this era of music that I did not belong to.   And it finally dawned on me, it was Mary.  Mary was my savior with our young daughters.  She delighted in spending time with our family, but she also would quietly wash clothes, clean the kitchen and loved ironing!  What?!! She also sat down and played with the kids, even climbing in the crib to do so.

There comes a time when you can feel your departed loved ones presence. It hit me that GaGa was with me as I wrapped.  Goose bumps arose when I put the two together.  I have heard TV mediums says those goosebumps or when emotions wash over you means your loved ones are present with you.

I believe it.

Mallory and I were in Piccadilly months ago, and there was an older gentleman playing a keyboard for the older crowd that was there.  My old soul youngest child loves Piccadilly mashed potatoes and friend chicken.  We sat down with our food and I started listening and I was overcome with emotion.  It was not my era of music and  I don't really remember what they were playing but Dad came into my mind.  He loved to dance and this was his era.  Blueberry Hill was playing when we left.  It's very powerful when these emotions come over you.  It cannot be denied, something is going on.

These moments don't last long but when they come along, I acknowledge them and the person they remind me of.  It's a bit of delicate mysticism and I embrace it fully.

The rest of the family thinks I'm crazy, but I want to visit a local medium.  I'll let you know what happens.