Eulogy to my Hero…

#HonoringHer

As today’s denotes the official day my mom passed last year I thought the best way to honor this sacred day would be to share the eulogy that I gave at her Celebration of Life with our friends and family. I have revised it for content but admittedly it is still a long-read, just as it should be, as this was a life lived well. I hope you will take the time to read it and allow me to share her with you through my heart.

For my Mom…

Thank you for loving my Mom.  I am here this morning to honor my mother, my first best friend, my hero and the one with whom I shared a lifetime of music, experiences and advice. 

I have broken this eulogy down into three important parts of her life; the first 18 years, the last 18 years and in the middle, what I like to call, everything in between.  Let’s start…

The first 18 years:

Terry Lee Solnick was born on February 11, 1950 in Miami, FL. to Morris and Evelyn Solnick and lived in Opa-Locka, FL until she was married.

Terry became a big sister in November 1955 to Susie.

As a family, the Solnick’s spent a lot of time together at the beach and deep-sea fishing. Most summers were spent in Key Biscayne, FL relaxing and swimming. 

The Solnick household was a place that friends and neighbors enjoyed being. There was a piano, an organ, drums, a regulation pool table and pinball machine.  Many nights were spent with neighbors and neighborhood kids dancing in the living room to her Mom and Dad jamming on the piano and drums.

Terry had her friends over a lot for sleepovers and they all enjoyed playing pool and pinball in the Florida Room, which also housed a very nice and loud record player that got a lot of use.  Terry always enjoyed playing pool throughout her life and was very good at it.

Terry enjoyed music and would spend a lot of time as a young teenager in her room listening to music. She would stack her 45’s on the spindle in a specific order. Some of her very favorite artists growing up were Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight and Elvis.

Terry had always been an avid reader and enjoyed a wide variety of authors.  

As a Big Sister, Terry was a devoted one. She and Susie would spend hours and hours on weekends with a big stack of board games, managing to get all of them played several times before it was time to head back to school on Monday. Favorite card games of Terry’s were Crazy 8’s and Rummy.  When the whole family played board games together it was either Parcheesi or Scrabble, and Terry mastered those as well

Once Terry began driving, she would take Susie out with her to ride around, just spend some time together, or to get ice cream. Even if Terry was hanging out with her friends, she never thought twice to have her little sister along if Susie was having a bad day.  

Terry attended Carol City Senior High School and graduated in 1968.

One of Terry’s happiest days in her late teenage years, was the brand new 1968 Maroon Pontiac Tempest she got from her Mom and Dad for her high school graduation.  

Terry started working part-time shortly after graduation and was always a hard worker. She was a very fast typist and had won several awards during her senior year for her typing speed and accuracy, which was well over 100 words per minute. 

Everything in between:

My mom and dad were married in 1970, or so they say…but more importantly I came along in 1971.  I have always said I was the lucky one, as anyone that really knew my mom knew that she was not a “kid-person”.  The only two kids that she every really “liked” were myself and Cameron…but then again that is because she was stuck with us, literally.  So as it would turn out, I was an only child but not a lonely child.  My mom was indeed my mother and parented me in the ways a mother should; but she was also my first friend.  She was always up for a game (little did I know she was schooling me so she could later kick my ass in Scrabble!) and her love of music soon became mine. 

As I grew up the lessons I would learn by watching her gracefully navigate life would soon be the lessons of a lifetime.  Those lessons and the music of the 70’s and 80’s would be both our “Lifetime Movie” and soundtrack.  As I was a little girl I remember listening to my mom sing at the top of her lungs as we rode in her little yellow Celica.  The song that seemed to represent the 70’s best was “Baby Come Back”.  Later I would change the song to “Baby Don’t Come Back” ha-ha…  In my teenage years we were still singing, this time in her little red Toyota Celica.  One of my favorite car concerts was when we were heading to Disney and it was as if we had both become possessed by Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana”, we sang it (screamed it) again and again and again.  Later that love of music and our car concerts would be passed down to my son Cameron, he and his Mama’s first song would be “Life is a Highway”.

My mom and I shared so many firsts…

  • My first concert was with my Mom during Spring Break 1989 when MTV came to Daytona with Hall and Oates!  We would enjoy so many concerts through the years, music was simply our “thing” and it remains my “thing”.
  • Even in the last weeks we enjoyed music; me singing her listening…or lip syncing.
  • Our final car concert was this song with Cam in the backseat on our way to her final visit to the doctor.  I kept hanging her the hand microphone and she would just raise her eyebrows as she did while I would sing both of our parts.
  • One night in the last week she and I were able to enjoy the Paul McCartney special.  She wasn’t talking much anymore at this point and so I reveled in watching her tap her toes to the music.  That moment became a memory I will always keep close when I looked over at her during “When I am 64” and she was lip syncing it.  Oh the wonder!  We would get one more moment like that when I was singing “Lollipop Lollipop oh Lolly Lollypop”…and Cam said “Mom, look look”…and once again she was lip syncing!  These moments were so special to us because it was at this point that we weren’t able to easily connect with her so once again music became the medium.
  • My first job was Burger King at 15 years old.  My mom had worked many second jobs during our lives together however what a surprise when she decided to also take a job working nights at Burger King so we could still spend every night together.  We had so much fun and all of the kids loved her.
  • My mom and I even went to college together!  

I learned so many lessons throughout my life with her some deliberate and others understood:

  • Quality is so much more important than quantity when it comes to time and clothes J  I didn’t have a stay-at-home-mom in any way shape or form.  She was on the go and had a very big life whether it be with friends or work.  But when we were together we were truly together.  We could be singing in the car, attending a concert or just sitting together and watching what would become our favorite show “Hot Bench”…all of our time together equaled quality. 
  • You are your child’s role model, even when you think they aren’t watching…that is when they learn the most. It was through her life that I learned the importance of perseverance, stamina and work ethic.  All of these traits culminated into a woman that was fiercely independent.  She was independent in all that she did and how she lived.  What I learned from her independence is to fend for myself, never to rely on anyone for your livelihood and how to hold my own in any crowd or boardroom and in front of any audience.  In a “state” of independence you cannot be a hostage of anyone or anything.
  • Ultimately I learned that -You CAN do anything you set your mind to despite your means-

The lessons I learned that were taught through her advice and hours of shared wisdom were:

  • You are not entitled to ANYTHING!  You do NOT deserve THINGS.
  • You can have pretty boxes or you can have retirement…when asked why she puts her jewelry in butter bowls.
  • “We’ll see”…was easily her favorite phrase to say and my LEAST favorite to hear.  What I learned was that “we’ll see” usually meant NO and I would never say that to my children.
  • “I’ll decide”…was her next favorite phrase and came later in life.  It became a term of endearment between us and ultimately would be the sarcasm to any question on “what needed to be done”.  Funny enough when she was told how long she would have to live upon the diagnosis of cancer she told the Doctor, “he’ll decide” but ultimately and in one last fit of fierce independence “she decided”. 
  • Her favorite advice to me was to “act like a lady” I am still working on this but my Mom she had it perfected!

Later in my life, I would work to honor her by giving back to her whenever the opportunity arisen.  She would fly-in to Orlando to see concerts; our last being Barry Manilow and Hall and Oates.  We would fly to my Aunt Susie and Judith’s house in Nashville to spend the weekend laughing and playing endless games of Scrabble and Florida Rummy.  I would fly to her home in Woodlawn to just sit and be in her presence, not wanting anything in return.  Ultimately the greatest honor I could offer would be in walking beside her in what would be the last year of her life and giving her the assurance that all she had taught me would be used to make sure I didn’t miss a thing in her care and treatment.  As I sat beside her on her last day, I knew that we had come full circle and I was going to be okay…and so was she.

The last 18 years:

Eighteen years ago my Mom was blessed with a second chance at love when she met Bob.  Together they built a life that revolved around their common interests while finishing out their final working years in Florida.  Upon retirement they went in search for a place in the mountains to call home and after quite a journey they found Woodlawn. 

My mom quickly fell in love with Woodlawn and its small-town appeal.  She met neighbors and friends that soon became her Woodlawn family.  There she was able to realize a dream that she never thought possible in her earlier years, she was finally in HER house on top of a mountain with views as far as the eye could see. 

My mom’s attempt to give back to Woodlawn was in her kindness and love for flowers.  She has always had a green-thumb and enjoyed flowers and gardening but never so much as she did in Woodlawn.  Here she found her craft and better yet because of her place on the top of that mountain she was able to share that craft with the many that would pass by every day.  She took pleasure in decorating for the holidays would delight at their attempts to one-up every previous year.  This year one of my fond memories of many visits was when I came at the beginning of January.  I flew in late that day and by the time I got to Woodlawn it was dark out but not at Mom and Bob’s.  As I came over that final hill I could see a glow coming from the Dearborn residence and as I lowered my window I heard the sounds of Christmas.  Their place was lit up like the Griswold’s, maybe even brighter, as their smiles were the brightest light of all.  They were so tickled with themselves and what they had created but most importantly that I was able to see and experience it as that is truly what gave them the most pleasure; sharing.

I always enjoyed my visits through the years where all I wanted to do was sit on their porch and enjoy the sound of the birds and read.  Their little slice of heaven soon became my solace as well.  When I needed a break from the hustle and bustle of my life, Woodlawn was my retreat.  On those visits my mom and I would walk up and down the mountain.  We would stop and feed the horses and would always laugh at how winded we would get going up and down the hills.  During those visits, I had the pleasure of meeting their friends and came to know them by name and learn their stories.  Little did we know that their circle of friends would become our lifelines in the last year and in the last three weeks they SHOWED UP beyond what anyone could have ever expected?  Coming from Florida I have never known a community like Woodlawn.  In Florida a good neighbor is one you never see.  In Woodlawn, a neighbor is a friend that soon becomes family.  There was rarely a night that went by in the last three weeks that there wasn’t a knock on the door from friends delivering food and treats.  I would laugh and say that this was something out of the movies as I had never seen hospitality like I had there.  In the end it served us well as the visits offered a needed distraction to that day’s routines. 

When my mom was diagnosed with Cancer a year ago the discussion turned to where she would get treatment.  Being in Orlando I knew that I could get her the best of care or so I thought until I met the Doctors in Mt. Airy.  It became apparent very early on that the doctors there were going to be as good if not better than anything I could offer her in Orlando.  In her final weeks we came to know the angels of Mountain Valley Hospice.  I have never had experience with Hospice in my life and will never forget this experience.  These angels, every one of them, made what felt impossible possible.  They became a security blanket around us giving assurance that we would be able to make it through. 

The final lesson that I want to share is the most important one and that is about SHOWING UP in your life and others lives.  I could site millions of examples of how my mom showed up in my life, some you would expect as my mom, but others, were the ones that meant the most. 

Many of you showed up in this last year; when we needed it the most.  In my life I have not always “shown up” in times of adversity, not knowing what the right thing was to say or do.  What I know now is that you don’t have to say or do a thing to show up.  Just being present, living in that moment with the person in need is absolutely enough.  So many of you could not know that your messages would be received at just the moment I needed it. 

thought would only be a dream and for truly standing by your vows and beyond.

In closing, there are a few things I am sure of in life but ONE is a standout: 

  • I am SURE that I had the best mother in this entire world.  I was able to see her through your eyes and that confirmed for me that you knew why I loved her.

She was my “person”.  I have struggled to define what this has meant to me in my life and then yesterday on my drive to work I heard the acoustic version of a song I have sung many times before and as I heard the words I realized that this defined it perfectly.  It was Issues by Julia Michaels.  We had trust beyond the definition.  As the song notes “you don’t judge me because you see it from the same point of view”.  And unfortunately as the song also notes “Yeah, I got issues, and one of them is how bad I need you”.  I miss you Mom now and always…  L.

Just show up…

Today I am reminded how important it is to simply show up in the lives of those your love. As I am sitting here at 1:38a which is officially one year from the last day I had with my Mom I am reminded of the kindness and selflessness of others. It was that selflessness that sustained me in the past year as life would test me to my core. I woke up this morning to a text message from one of my best friends reminding me of the selfless act she gave my mother. This offering gave my Mom and I yet another memory; one more for all of those we would not get in the future.

The last year of my mom’s life I would run every race for her and when I would fly up for her next doctor’s visit I would bring her that month’s medal. The medals were a source of strength for her to turn to when she felt she was at the bottom of her barrel. In that year of races, I would have to miss one due to injury. I was disappointed that I would not have a medal to give my mom that month but she understood. Then weeks later I got a call from my mom who was crying, absolutely moved by the selflessness of another. She says to me, “Did you know she was going to do this?” and me not knowing what she is referring to says “No” at which point she reads the letter that accompanied the medal, as pictured above. My mom was moved to tears and I was moved beyond words. This is showing up.

This week has been tough but manageable but as I have drawn closer to the final day of the anniversary of her leaving this earth I have been searching for a way to bear it. As it turns out The Rolling Stones had rescheduled their original Miami tour date and now they were due to play Friday night. I have debated going all week thinking that it would be a great way to celebrate the one thing we shared a love for…music. I decided this morning as I was getting ready for work that I was going to go. I packed a bag and texted Molly that we were going! As I drove to work thinking about how I wanted the night to play out it became clear I wanted my Dad to be by my side. It just made sense. While he was caught by surprise by the spontaneity of the request he was quick to say YES! Tonight was everything I needed it to be. My daughter on one side and my dad and stepmom on the other and The Rolling Stones playing their last show of their tour. Perfection.

The other reason the night was perfect was because she was with me tonight, this I know. We were late getting to the venue and while the entire day had little rain, as soon as we got in it started pouring, delaying the show. Ironic maybe. But then at the very end of a very dry concert as they were playing their final songs; it started raining again. Just a beautiful mist of rain to cap off the night. When I looked at the clock it was the same time that she passed on this same Friday last year. I was moved to tears. I know she was there with me celebrating another great concert, another memory. She showed up for me tonight, she always has and she always will. L.

Human KIND

I have witnessed some amazing acts of kindness as we all have been exposed to thanks to social media. However I find pleasure in the smaller acts, those that seem less amazing based on “mass appeal”; but are far more impactful because those are the acts of kindness offered when no one is watching.

The other day I was getting on the Turnpike and the task of merging two lanes into one is always vexing as no one wants to let anyone in. The only way to merge in is to aggressively cut in front; or at least this is the way I do it. For this reason I was pleasantly surprised when looking in my rear-view mirror after making the merge and seeing the cars slowing down to let another car in…and then I realized it was a cop that was merging in. It occurred to me in that moment that if we were as willing to do the same for each other as we willing do for law enforcement, how much nicer this commute could be not to mention quicker. It really was very “human” and of course kind and proof that it can be done.

Today was one of those days where Human KIND amazed me. We were enjoying a day at the pool with friends and our adult kids. One of our kids has special needs and beyond those needs he is very special indeed. He is absolutely full of life, incredibly intelligent and the best “smack talker” around! What ensued was nothing short of kindness, pure HUMAN KINDNESS. The hotel guests that were also enjoying the pool quickly joined in his games, smack talking and fun! In a moment everyone at that pool was there for him, making sure that he was enjoying every moment.

This is what life is about; it is about the small things that can make the difference in one person’s day. Allowing someone to merge into traffic, yes it seems trivial but in a world of road rage and aggression in a moment it became worthy of witnessing and even better blogging. Witnessing the kindness of others to recognize a special day out for a very special person and deciding that it was worth their time to be a part of something so much greater than they could know at that time. This is the life I want to be a part of, that I want to live in. It’s starts with one and can spread like wildfire. Be a part of Human KIND and feel the blessings that will come back in return.

Life as I am blessed to see it — L.

4-Letter Word Series – poop, f-word and LOVE…

Well when my Aunt Jud came up with this suggestion for a series of blogs called “Four Letter Words” I am positive that she never thought the first word of this series would be POOP! As offered by my dearest K when I asked which 4-letter word we should start with the first that came to mind was POOP!!! Well it is certainly 4-letters and as we know poop happens; especially when you spend your days with a 2-yr old and 1-yr old. 🙂

The inspiration behind “4-letter words” is the sheer emotion that a 4-letter word can conjure up in the reader, listener and the impact it dispels on all within earshot. I read recently, when studying on the success of writing, to not use words that are unnecessarily complex as it is a turnoff to the reader. I laughed at this as I recall our dear friends always giving me a hard-time for my vocab through the years. Pontificating on this ribbing I cannot recollect on the lexicon causing such jocularity! Ha!!!

Okay back to the subject matter…4-letter words. Tonight I would like to start with what I believe to be the best and worst 4-letter words. The most obvious and the one to elicit the most reaction is of course the “F-word”. There is something about this word, this little 4-letter word that can bring a punch to any sentence, interaction or confrontation by the shear mention. I recall when I was in my 20’s, it was not a word that I used, but I had a friend that used it regularly. Every time she would say the word I would cringe. Worse, when she would say it in front of my kids I wanted to recoil. I am now guilty for using this word all to often and I dislike its place in my vocabulary. There is simply no reason to use this word unless you are trying to attract attention or intimidate.

As I searched for meaning and where this word originated I learned that it was first printed in a dictionary in 1598 and was later banned from the Oxford English Dictionary. Dictionary.com notes that its origins are “remotely derived from the Latin futuere and Old German ficken/fucken meaning ‘to strike or penetrate”.

The opposite of the most hated, despised 4-letter word is LOVE. Love is a sweet word in most forms but is able to express sarcasm and discord equally. Love is a word in my lifetime that was not often said but undoubtedly known. It is a feeling more powerful than the spoken word in both the best and the worst. I Love hard and Love to be Loved but am disappointed by everlasting Love that is short-lived. Love can be the greatest gift and the severest weapon. Love should never be used as an excuse to stay or endure as Love doesn’t hurt, Love respects and honors.

So our first series of 4-letter words starts with

  • Poop – yep it happens…and sometimes it doesn’t and you end up in a hospital embarrassed as hell when you think you are having a complication and you are “acutely constipated”…true story, stupid as hell!
  • F-word – a word that does not rhyme with do, re, mi and needs to find its way out of our vocabulary. It is unnecessary it is a word used when we cannot summon the brainpower to do the work.
  • LOVE – the universal word of kindness, the emotion we chase, we long for, we sacrifice for the good, the bad and yes, the ugly.

4-Letter Word Series started! Woot! Looking forward to sharing the f’n poop out of my love for all of my followers! Living as I say it 4-letter words at a time – L.

Music and Mine

So my day starts with a song that brings me straight to the heart of what music meant to my Mom and I and my night ends with the annual Bush concert that me and mine I have come to enjoy as “our thing”.

I have literally had to move heaven and earth to make it here because of cancelled flights threatening to hold me hostage in Nashville. But what Mother Nature did not know is that there is not enough weather to stop this mother from having this moment with her girl; point proven as I have now arrived in Tampa.

We are on our way, raining and late but we will be there soon enough singing at the top of our lungs.

This will be another memory for the books of music and moments that define our lives. Hers, mine and ours.

What to write about…

I sit here every night wondering what inspired me today enough to make it my subject. And then I have those days that are simply wonderfully random and I have thought I would like to write about all of these “feels” that I have experienced that day. So today is that day, my day of randomness that I just want to share everything:

  • Watching AGT which I was never a fan of before but became a fan in the year I spent with my mother, it was a fave of hers. The randomness of my thoughts tonight are that the judges just gave a standing O for a lovely girl but the song was not so lovely…
  • So many changes happening with my youngest who just passed his Learner’s Permit tonight and talked to me about getting a job next. It’s happening…freedom found…and I am losing my last baby. Oh my heart…
  • My husband was not feeling well today and as I am listening to the symptoms I am internally panic stricken that the thought that he would ever leave me here alone is beyond comprehension. Do you ever panic over the thought of losing your loved ones even though you know even thinking about it is the wrong train of thought, but you are so in fear…ugh…I’ll stop now.

This was just the randomness of my evening. My ride home conversation was rewarding as yet another one of my loves shares their next venture and courage to make the change they want in their own life.

This is life, it’s random, it’s not predictable but most importantly it is absolutely what YOU make it. I have struggled lately figuring out this “new normal”, making sense out of the randomness and the many changes occurring all at the same time in my life. What I have learned in these moments is:

  • To be grateful for the stability in those around you that are your constant.
  • Don’t miss the moments of fellowship in every experience. Today that came in the most random moments. A person interrupting a meeting, a person staying late to share stories about their children and the best of course was being having a late dinner and playing in the ball pit with my grand babies.

Tomorrow is another day. It will be random as any other day. These days I look forward to the random, I am beyond longing for normal, my life is as versatile as my spirit, my views and my love

What do I write about tonight? What I always write about…

Life as I see it – L.

First Day of School

The excitement, the energy it’s in the air! Today was my son’s first day of 11th grade. Just two more years and he is a FREE AGENT! Ha!!! I love the first day of school and the proceeding week as he will be up early every day, showered, fed and ready to go at our 6:30a departure time. Then after a few weeks when the newness of a new school year wears off we will be back to the chaos that school mornings bring. Turning of his alarm clock, me going back and forth across the house 563 times to tell him to get up and give him the latest time check. Us rushing out the door late, he begging me to stop at the store to grab a coke and a donut on the way and then inevitably in the attendance office he will go for his morning tardy pass.

I was thinking this morning how much fun it was and wondering how I can make that excitement last. As a matter of fact he was so darn excited that he said he got up in the middle of the night realizing he had a few more hours to go before it was time to get up. Of course all of that early-morning rising has now caught up as I get home from work at 7:30p he is passed out! I will have to take the first day of school news from the little bits I could garner out of Gary…something about a greasy cheeseburger at lunch and getting home late on the bus. Wow, exciting first day…ugh!

I remember my first day’s of school every single year. To prepare we would go school shopping for all the regular things; clothes, shoes, backpack and Pepto Bismal! Yes, every single school year I would start the first week from the toilet. I would actually have to configure the toilet time into my morning routine to make sure I would not miss the bus. As the years went on my Mom would laugh as this ritual never left me; even in my last year of high school I was toilet-bound for that first week. It was just a nervous energy but definitely more excitement than trepidation. I really liked school and loved my circle of friends. Summer’s were boring as heck for me as an only child with two parents working; I was left to watch TV all summer long…b-o-r-i-n-g!!!

I think now about what those things are that cause as much excitement or nervous energy. I have been at my current job for 11 years so there is nothing stirring me up about going to work. Not that I don’t absolutely love my job but I haven’t needed Pepto in 11 years. 🙂 In a lifetime of “always starting” there really is something so exciting about those “first days” of a new venture. Maybe our work lives should mimic the school environment…just think how much fun it would be to have two months off and go back to work in a new department and every year you continue to switch departments until you have worked all departments at which point you graduate. Brilliant however I think graduation leaves you unemployed…oh wait, yea that is exactly how it works…you graduate and welcome to the world of the unemployed! Yea I’ll pass on that excitement.

Happy First Day of School to all of my peeps and peeps children and grandchildren. May you have a great first week, Pepto-free and post those first day of school pics on Facebook for me to stalk!! As for me, this is my last kid, my last 11th grade and coming up on my last senior year of having a school-aged child. I will cherish every single day I have left to wake him up 563 times over the next two years knowing that I will miss these days very soon.

Living It – L.

I’ll decide…

This was one of my favorite things my mom would say. We would be contemplating something and she would say “l’ll decide” and the debate would ensue.

My least favorite thing she would say was “we’ll see”. She knew it would make me CRAZY and so she would say it as often as possible.

The irony in the two statements when you think about it is funny; one determining a final decision and the other holding one off.

I prefer “I’ll decide” because I dislike the state of limbo of “we’ll see”. I need things in my life to be black or white; decided one way or another. Sleeping on it has not been my strong point yet when forced to do so, I do and benefit from the space in the gray.

  • The issue with the black and white is that decisions are made with haste because after all a decision has to be made.
  • The issue with the gray is that it allows things to linger. Leaving things undecided and left in a state of limbo stunts progress.

Ultimately what I have learned as well is that not making a decision is a decision. It may start as a “sleep on it” or “we’ll see” however left to ponder, opportunities are lost. Balance is the answer when the choices are “I’ll decide” or “We’ll see”. Somewhere in the middle is where we are best served.

Back to the inspiration that started this blog, my Mom. She had a tendency to be very “fresh” or as we used to call her “smarty britches” and that is the sarcastic charm we loved. This month is a reminder of her love for these two statements as we are approaching the anniversary of her passing. What I can tell you about how she embraced both phrases is that when the Oncologist told us how long she had left to live I remember her pointing up to the sky and saying “He’ll decide”. Wow it was the first time I had seen her give that power away and how fitting as she was giving it to her Creator. In the end “we (would) see” who was going to decide because despite medical prediction she decided. Hospice and the Preacher would come to the house time and time again and be shocked that she was still holding on and I would tell them that she was not going to be bound by anyone else’s timeline (not even “His”) and that she would decide when it was her time, not anyone else.

Even in those final moments of silence that defiance came through. “I’ll Decide” and “We’ll See” will forever be her defining statements. I still NEVER say “we’ll say” but I love when I get the opportunity to say “I’ll decide” because the recipient of my “smarty britches” response cannot know that is yet another moment that I am #HonoringHer.

Living life as I DECIDE – L.

It is what it is…

…or is it? We hear this all the time; it is our cultures way of allowing things that otherwise cause disdain to exist. I checked the Urban Dictionary and it defined it as ” Used often in the business world, this incredibly versatile phrase can be literally translated as “fuck it.” to this I say #WORD and WOW!!!

Sometimes the phrase is entirely necessary to allow you to resolve something that you cannot change or affect. If it helps you move on from something that you need to move on from then “it is what it is”. I think I use it most often to help other people move on because I am typically too darn stubborn to let it be.

I worry when I actually use this phrase because it is a form of giving up on something; because in those moments I worry that I am at a critical point of caring less. It is not in my nature to give up but that gets me in trouble, causes me stress and creates my own misery sometimes. Today was one of those days. I should have said “it is what it is” long ago on a situation that I have given way too much power for too long. Fighting for “it” has made me look like the lesser person. To compromise myself for someone or something that has no value in my life is simply displaced angst.

Tonight I take a stand and say “It is What It is!!!” not giving up simply resolving not to spend my energy on things and people that do not matter. it feels good and that is a start…it is what it is – L.

Wake Up Call…

…and just like that a blog is created! I am driving home from my litany of errands this morning and Scott Stapp’s new song “Wake Up Call” comes on my radio and BOOM I am inspired.

First of all, I have to give credit where credit is due. Scott Stapp’s new album is SUPERB! I am so impressed at this mans comeback; it is all things impressive, inspiring and deserving. He had the setback, did the work and is having a kick ass comeback!!

Second, there are so many songs on this album that “do it for me” but this one inspires me and reminds me of the WHY when I simply don’t want to “adult” today. Please listen to it, the lyrics are below, and then continue reading and contemplate with me the meaning.

One day the bridge is going to break
One day the world will stand still
The sky will fall the earth will shake
There’s just so much a heart can take

This is a wake up call
How many times before you lose it all
You’re like a cannon ball
Breaking walls
This is a wake up call
Before there’s no one left to catch your fall
But you can change it all
If you want to…

Sometimes life is so insane
Sometimes we don’t know what to feel
Does God help us when we pray
Or do we face it all alone, all alone

We all get the wake-up calls however they are only effective if you actually “wake-up” and do something about it; hitting snooze is not an option.

Here are some of my defining wake-up calls that completely changed my course, my journey and if it weren’t for me listening my life would not be what it is today. I hope it inspires you to listen to that wake-up call that is happening in your life right now.

  • There were so many wake-up calls that I was a part of in my first 15 years of life but they were not mine. What I will say and what I learned from “their” journey is that the wake-up call was put on snooze multiple times because the power of love drowns out that wake-up call, no matter how loud. These are times we simply have to go through it.
    • Public Service Announcement – “If you love something set it free. If it comes back it’s meant to be” and “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” are not quotes I believe to be true…these are myths. I believe in “failing fast” and “learning from my mistakes”. Regardless, lessons were learned by all.) #Word
  • My first love (no, it was not G…he was/is my TRUE love) was my first wake-up call. I fell hard and hit my head on the way down…for sure! I decided to have a baby at 17yo, I decided to quit school five months before graduation (yes, little known fact…remember it’s not how you start it’s that you finish!) and then woke up one morning (Nov. 3rd 1991) and realized I got it all wrong. Yes I loved “him” very much, but I could not “fix him” and after many crushing blows it became apparent that it was time to listen to my wake-up call. That day would be my FIRST independence day!
  • My weight-loss journey would be 140 more wake-up calls, reset again and again and again. My mother would frequently ask when I was going to “hit bottom” (aka hear the wake-up call) with every health crisis that would emerge. She hoped that I would have a chance to get back up and that the bottom would not be the end. It was kidney failure that was the final wake-up call, there would be no snooze after that crisis. I woke the hell up from a lifetime of living in a body that was never mine. My SECOND independence day was December 15, 2015!

My wake-up calls are not always life-changers and not necessarily so dramatic. Sometimes they come in the form of a whisper or a tap on the shoulder. In the last year those whispers sometimes simply gave me permission to grieve, sit in front of a TV all day or just “be”…meeting myself where I was at that moment.

What are you wake-up calls? How many times have you hit snooze? What will it take to get you to wake the hell up in your own life and LIVE it? For me I do it every day. Not perfectly, but I do it because it’s what I have to do to TRULY LIVE. I can’t live a life of surviving I have fought too hard to live beyond that baseline. I am living my best life, where there are bumps in the road, but blessings to cushion the falls. Thank you for being a part of my blessings and forgive me if I have been your bump…Un-apologetically Lori.