Sum, Total.

Sum. Total.

“You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there.  Everything influences each of us…” -Maya Angelou

So powerful.  The sum total.  Each of us goes through this life, soaking up, basking in, running from, running toward.  Life is so messy.  It encircles us.  Life happens to us, we happen right back.  The lies we are told, the truths we refuse to hear.  Each a tiny piece in the puzzle that is us.  The person we become is shaped by each experience.  Lives intertwine, disconnect, support, destruct.  One life reverberates off another.  The great silk thread that links us all.  The underlying consciousness, the feeling of belonging we all search for.  Life is so complicated. So complex, so diverse.  That is where the beauty lies.  Beauty in diversity.  Beauty in each day, each moment being different than the last.

More.  I Want MORE.  I Need MORE.

I have felt so emotional lately.  I want so much more.  Not stuff, not possessions.  I want to help people find their own path.  I want to offer happiness in a world full of discord.  I want to see all the beautiful creations of Mother Earth.  I want to better my yoga practice.  I want to save EVERY animal.  I want to spread smiles like peanut butter.  I want to LIVE!

This past year has been…difficult.  I have battled with dark places within myself.  I have discovered negative thought patterns that threaten to ruin me.  I have learned that NO ONE is perfect, and EVERY ONE will let you down at some point (and that’s ok, we are all human).  I have struggled to find balance in all things.  I have cried, laughed, tasted the harshness of desperation, savored moments of pure bliss.

Looking Ahead.

If I am being honest, I don’t know where life will take me from this day forward.  All I know is that I am going to be ok.  I am going to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I have battled so much in my life and ALL I know for certain is that I WILL NOT QUIT.  I WILL NOT HANG MY HEAD IN DEFEAT.  I WILL NOT SETTLE FOR A LIFE I DON’T LOVE.  I WILL FIND MORE.

Thanks Peeps!

Thank you to everyone who has touched my life this past year.  Thank you for your encouragement, thank you for your criticism, thank you for helping to shape me into who I am.  I am so blessed with so many awesome people in my life.  I hope that you all take a little time and decide what it is that makes you tick.  What is your purpose in this crazy life of ours?  Once you find it…spin WILDLY in that direction!  I hope this year we all LIVE life to the fullest….each and every moment!  Spread love!  Spread happiness! Spread laughter!! Life is too short to do anything else!

Love and light to all!!!

sumtotal

 

All the Feels

The holidays…sometimes loved, sometimes dreaded.

Yet ALWAYS, for me anyways, a time for “all the feels”.

Seriously.

I cry.  I grin.  I reflect. I plan.

christmas-magic

Crying

I cry because all the animals in the shelter look extra cold and lonely this time of year.  I cry because there are kids being bombed instead of waiting for Santa.  I cry for the “perfect” holiday moments that I will never have.

I cry at EVERY. SINGLE. PUBLIX. COMMERCIAL.

Sometimes I know it’s coming, and other times (usually because of those sneaky commercials) ….BAM, floodgates open outta nowhere!

Grinning

When I’m not tearing up, I find myself grinning like the Cheshire cat.  I look at the kids and their eyes sparkle just a little brighter this time of year.  The expectation and miraculous wonder that this season embodies just emanates from kids around Christmas time.  I watch them sleep and I swear I can see those dancing sugar plums…

I stand there, creepily staring as they sleep….and begin to reflect…

Reflecting

not-a-season

There is nothing better than the holidays to put me in a reflective, “What’s the meaning of life” kind of mood.  Reflection is a good thing sometimes.  I just tend to go into reflective hyper-drive in the months of November and December.  It is during these months that I find myself reflecting on ALL things…. GREAT and small.  Yes, I said ALL things.

Pick a topic…chances are I have reflected on it during November or December.  And if I didn’t get to it this year…I will work on it the next holiday season…

I reflect on Christmases past. Nostalgia takes over.  I remember the excitement of my grandma’s house on Christmas Eve.  I see my grandpa laugh and smile as he opens his gifts (he was always a big kid at Christmas).  I smell oodles of Christmas cookies my mom and I baked in our overly-decorated, yet oh so cozy home.  I sleepily listen for reindeer and hope I to catch a glimpse of Santa.

There is nothing like Christmas through a child’s eyes.

I love that I get to experience this magic again through my own children.

Yet amid these heart-warming reflections, this year I also find myself reflecting on the state of our nation and the rampant hate that seems to have such a vice grip on it.  The state of our planet and the lack of regard for her. World-wide chaos.  Priorities that seem flipped upside down.

I reflect on my life, on past mistakes and past successes. On what I thought life should look like at my age vs. reality.  I reflect on people that have come and gone.  I reflect on the person I was three years ago, five years ago, ten years ago.  So many changes I have undergone…so many truths I have unearthed, so many people I have been.

Change

The one thing, the only thing, all my reflections have in common….

Change

Regardless of whether they are the best memories or the worst memories, the one thing they all have in common is…they don’t last.  Change is the one constant in our lives.

After all the crying, grinning like an idiot and being uber nostalgic, my reflecting turns to a focus on change.   What changes do I want to see happen in my life?  What changes are key to my success?  What changes can I make to get me closer to my goals?

Planning

While some people REFUSE to make one New Years resolution, I tend to make a LIST.  Go big or go home right?  Somewhere, in the middle of crying, grinning, and reflecting, I begin to plan.  My list is sometimes beautifully handwritten (those are my favs, all swirly and artsy, colorful and fun), sometimes it is typed, sometimes it is scrawled in barely legible handwriting on a legal pad, it has even been a journal entry once or twice.  It is normally at least 25 items in length…sometimes WAY more, sometimes a little less.

There are just so many things I want to do.  So many things that I want to remind myself to make into daily habits.  So many ways that I feel my life can be improved.

I have so many interests, so many goals, so much I hope to do with my life!  I can be a little scattered at times (which drives my husband crazy…sorry honey…).  This scattered thinking leads me down many rabbit holes.  Some of which I am glad I went down, others not so much…but live and learn, right?!? I am a believer that life is meant to be lived.

For too long I have let life live me.  I’ve gone along for the ride.  My planning this year is all about changing that.

I have plans to take charge of my life.  I have plans to make my dreams a reality.  I have plans to live MY life, MY way.  I have plans to be able to contribute in ways that matter.  I have plans to surround myself with people who are doing these exact things.

The magic of the holidays, the magic of possibility.  Love it.

Maybe I’m the only one who becomes emotionally unstable during the holidays?  I am sure there are others out there just like me…sniffling through those pesky holiday commercials, remembering Christmases past, planning for what is coming next.  Is this you?  What do the holidays bring out in you? What “feels” does this time of year bring to the surface for you?

Sending love and light

to you and yours

this holiday season!!

merry-christmas-to-all

 

 

 

 

Fur Kids

I am an animal lover.  That is putting it mildly.  If I had the money, time, or space (currently I’m 0-3 in those areas) I would have a farm FULL of pets (I’m talking ANY kind of pet)!!

Let’s just be real here, my opinion is…. people are overrated and animals are where it’s at!

Fur Kid #1: JASPER

Untitled design

Rescued in 2011. Jasper is SUPA lazy! Most days he can be found snoozing in a basket full of blankets or sprawled in the sun.  Jasper’s nights are fairly routine.  As soon as we head to bed, he can be found lying next to Brent trying to knead him, claws out of course!  He will even try stick his claws in B’s face!  When he tires of that he is unstoppable in his pursuits of finding ANY hand that is willing to pet him.  And, yes, he is named after a sparkly vampire, don’t judge me (I loved vampires before it was cool to love vampires…).

Fur Kid #2: DIESELUntitled design (1)

Rescued a few months later in 2011.  Diesel is the equivalent of a sloth on Ambien….a local radio host here in Atlanta made the comment that he felt his English bulldog’s blood was half Prozac…must be Diesel’s twin.  The only thing he gets excited about is food,  marking his territory and making sure that NO other fur kid gets more attention than him!

 

 

Fur Kid #3: VOLTAIREV

This is my main squeeze.  My baby boy. The most beautiful black cat that you will ever see.  Superstitions be damned!  I rock this dude like a little baby on a daily basis. Seriously,  he is so rotten, and I LOVE IT.  He will also let the kids carry him all over the house.  The funny thing is, he is typically anti-social.  He is NOT a fan of the dogs, he thinks they are unintelligent and they stink (I’m just repeating what he told me…).  90% of the time he can be found on top of the boys bunk bed where he is safe to sleep the days away without risking being annoyed by a canine.

 

Fur Kid #4: CIRCE KANAGAN SOLSTICE MCEWENUntitled design (2)

So Circe is the only AKC registered dog I’ve ever owned.  We typically rescue all our animals.  I have hoped to own a Great Dane since I was a kid.  I love BIG dogs…(and little dogs, and medium sized dogs….ok, ok, I love ALL dogs).  She was my birthday present almost 2 years ago.  She was born on Dec.14th 2014 (who else was born on that day you ask?  Brent! Crazy coincidence? I think not! ).  She is ALL puppy STILLLLLLL!!!  Brent is patiently waiting for this stage to be over.  So far she’s eaten: an entire door frame, a window sill, bed posts, 1002 toys, multiple pairs of shoes, half of a 2×4, at least 2 lawn chairs….ok so you get the idea.  In spite of her current chewing obsession, she is an awesome girl.  She LOVES attention, HATES to be alone, and is SCARED of EVERYTHING!  Thus far we have be unable to convince her that she is not a Chihuahua, but we love it!

 

My Tribe

 If you’re anything like me you wanna put a face with a name…

Here’s some help with that…

MY TRIBE

BRENT (2)

 

→ B/Brent/Kermie

Meet my ride or die.

We are firewater. Complete opposites in almost every way! We’ve come a long way together…our story is Lifetime movie worthy to say the least!! Our relationship has been rocky & at times utterly dysfunctional (we’ve been in some CRAZY situations)!! Despite all that, truth is, I’m certain we are meant to be. Realistically there is no reason that we should be together…our circumstances and zodiac signs can both attest to that. Still we remain, sharing a bond between us that is unique to anything I’ve ever felt. I feel like the Emery Allen quote says it best, “…maybe we are from the same star”. 

 

→ The Fab Five

kaylyn (1)

These faces keep me going.  Without them I am positive I wouldn’t be around today.  They have saved me in more ways than one.  I am eternally grateful for each of them.

Kaylyn Rebekah ↔ Kaylyn Bekos ↔ “K” ↔Sissy

The eldest of the 5, this chick right here is AMAZING!  She’s a brilliant student who also happens to rock at b-ball, dancing (one of my goals in life used to be to beat her at Just Dance, ha! I’ve long given up that dream), singing, drawing, and being random.  She is fun and hilarious. Kaylyn’s smile lights up a room!  I can’t wait to see where life will take her next.  She is unstoppable.

Collyn Wyatt ↔ Wyatt ↔”Freckles”

The odd man out.  A red-head with four blonde siblings.  My only lefty.  He is super athletic and super opinionated!  Wyatt’s always had MORE than enough personality.  He is the one you gotta keep an eye on! He’s the spunky one of the bunch.  Always has something to say!!  Just call him Mr. Personality oh, and Mr. Football at the moment…

Caleb Owen ↔ Owen ↔ “O”

Owen is one of the most caring, sensitive kids ever.  Always concerned if someone is left out and also serves as “protector” for the younger two.  He’s always willing to help out.  He is an early riser, a thinker, an old soul.  Owen wants to be a MLB player…go ahead man!!  We are still working on goals that are non-professional athlete related…

Trinity Sophia ↔ “Trin”

Trinity is still convinced that the Princess Sophia cartoon on Disney is about her (pretty sure I told her that when she was smaller…).  It may as well be.  She is a princess through and through.  We are trying to convince her that we are mere town folk and unable to support her royal ways, as we are fresh out of butlers and chauffeurs!!  Trinity loves to dance and play Minecraft. An aspiring ballerina (she’s a ballet school drop out), gymnast, artist, professional gamer…honestly her interests change daily.

Phoenix ↔ “P” ↔ Tarzan ↔ Artist formerly known as “Meesix”

The baby of the bunch. Tarzan himself.  Trinity couldn’t pronouce Phoenix for a long time so until about a year or two ago, he was still forced to answer to “Meesix” on the reg.  This dude could be mistaken for a kid raised by wolves.  He is in a constant state of undress.  He is candid and full of crazy (mostly made-up) stories.  He is the actor of the group.  I need to sign him up for acting classes and profit from some of this craziness! Ha!  Phoenix is a mini-Brent.  He looks and acts WAY too much like his dad most of the time!  From his freckled face to his picky eating habits he is Brent made over!  He keeps us hopping! Never a dull moment with him!

These are the people I share my home with…but that’s not all!!! We have fur kids too! Check them out!