If you know me personally, you may know that I believe in signs. Signs from the universe, signs from God, signs from angels, signs from our passed loved ones… I believe they show up to guide us. We just aren’t always looking.

Cardinals are often associated with signs from loved ones. They also like pine trees. Since we are surrounded by a hundred or so, we see a pair of cardinals every year. This year, they decided to nest right in the tree/bush right by our front window (I’m not sure what it is- it’s either a cedar or an arborvitae). I noticed them flying back and forth and when I looked last week, there were 4 eggs. This week, two have hatched. I like to listen to the momma bird as she chirps and chatters. New baby birds are pretty ugly, but it will be interesting to see these little ones turn into beautiful red birds.

What a blessing to be a host to 4 more “signs” to guide someone else. This week has been busy with work, gardening and track meets. I started three different blog posts and never got around to publishing. Then these little ones started hatching. I took it as a sign that they wanted the attention and to be a vehicle to remind others to look. Look for the signs. When you start paying attention, you will see more than you realize. Every trip we go on, we find pennies or dimes (my grandparents and aunt) and even quarters (my mother-in-law wanted to be unique so we’d know it’s from her). A friend used to see eagles, which were a sign from her husband. She has passed on now too and her friends will see eagles and think of her. Some people find feathers or other animals. One friend gets skunks as a sign (I think I’d request a new one!!)

My point is, be aware. Be looking. What can it hurt? Noticing a sign can give hope, encouragement or help you remember someone you love. Maybe they remind us to slow down. To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you pause to look for signs as we go into the weekend and the new moon. You are enough, and your loved ones and guides are here to cheer you on and help you realize it.

(Side note, our school mascot is also a Cardinal!)

May’s basket is full…

May is a full month! It was difficult to fit all of the things in the basket. These are just a few of the events and things for May. It will go by quickly. Nurse and teacher appreciation weeks hit home for me – I have several of both in my family. These people care for/about and nurture others. They are often taken for granted and tend to put others before themselves. Thank you, nurses and teachers!

May brings us the winding down of the school year, and graduation prep for some. For those moms/parents of graduates, I understand how quickly this month will go. I understand how much you want to soak up these “lasts” with your child. Hang in there. Everyone is looking forward to the nicer weather. We often forget that not everyone is looking forward to summer break. For some, this means food insecurity, lack of a loving/stable/safe home and a lot of uncertainty. I’m fortunate that my summers growing up were spent at the pool or working. I looked forward to the break.

I skipped writing last week due to some personal issues. Since May is also Mental Health month, I’ll share a little of what is going on. I wasn’t doing well last week. My son was struggling and I couldn’t do anything to help/fix it. My work status was in limbo and it was out of my control. I felt sad and frustrated and scared. I wasn’t ready to write about that. We tend to share the shiny /happy moments with others and this wasn’t either of those. This week, I realized that we need to share these “not so shiny” moments also. I’m not alone in my struggles. While I tend to minimize these things in my mind, I listened to a podcast where someone talked about trauma being trauma, regardless of the size of it. That really hit home for me. It’s really what sparked the name of my blog… I felt like my cancer wasn’t bad enough and I frequently felt not good enough. It’s not a competition and it shouldn’t be a comparison. It’s OK to not be OK and this last week, I really wasn’t.

May also has Mother’s Day. I vividly recall a pastor who gave a sermon about Mother’s Day not being a happy day for everyone. I couldn’t understand why when I was young. As I grew older, I realized not everyone has a great mom, not everyone has a mom who is still here, and not everyone who wants to be a mom is able to be. I spent several Mother’s Days in tears… wondering why it wasn’t working for me. Why wasn’t I a mom yet. Since then, I have two wonderful boys who are now young men. I’m grateful and thankful to be their mom. I really am #blessed. For this Mother’s Day, I’ll be missing my oldest son. My other son had me on his podcast, which was cool. It will be coming out soon under the “Be Unspecified” Podcast. One thing I forgot to mention in the interview is how proud I am of him. He has come so far in the last year and I know he will continue to do great things.

So whatever your May brings you, I hope you take some time to take a breath…a deep, cleansing breath. (Hopefully the pollen won’t make you sneeze!) Peace be with you on your journey of enough. You are enough, just as you are.

A different perspective…

This photo is from a recent evening, right in my front yard. I heard there would be auroras visible, so we went outside. At first, it just seemed like lighter cloud streaks in the sky. Then I took my phone out to take a picture, and the magic dancing lights appeared. I’ve tried to take pictures of the moon before and those rarely turn out. For some reason, the northern lights like to have their picture taken. The greens and purples showed up on my phone just like I remembered them.

My husband and I started dating the summer after my freshman year in college. I was home for the summer near Fargo, ND and we started dating after a 4-H conference. When fall came, I went back to college in Grand Forks (80 miles north). I was a resident assistant my sophomore year. We continued dating, but that meant quite a few trips back and forth for both of us. Some of those trips back to Grand Forks were pretty late at night. It was common to see the auroras dancing across the sky as I drove back to my dorm. The greens and purples would ebb and flow like waves across the night sky. There was no city lights to get in the way.

The reason why the aurora looked brighter on my phone than in real life recently, is because the human eye cannot see faint colors at night. So last year, when my sister and I were driving all over trying to see them, we might have been able to if we took out our phones. It’s a different perspective. It got me thinking about how sometimes we need to change our perspective in our lives also. Taking a step back and looking at things through a different lens might reveal something beautiful.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May your “different perspective” bring you clarity and beauty.

Lights, camera, action!

This is our youngest son, Myles, as he prepared for his live show last Saturday. He started his YouTube show, “The Unspecified Show,” about a year ago. He wanted to do a live show with an audience for the one year anniversary. Of course he has help with some logistics, but he organized most of it on his own. My 16 year old son put on a comedy/variety show for around 120 people.

He wrote the jokes, planned the games, found the trivia, got the cast/crew he needed, promoted the event, ordered merchandise and more. To say I’m proud is an understatement. The show flowed smoothly. He even did a live call to wish his grandma a happy birthday. He modified “My Way,” and sang a finale song. He was hoping for a larger audience, but those who showed up had a good time. Some people in the audience were loud towards the end of the show, but kept his composure.

Some day he will look back at this event and say, “Remember when I did a live show?” He has big dreams. (I certainly wasn’t following my dreams at 16 years old.) Will he be the next Fallon? Who knows, but it’s not impossible. We are going to NYC soon, and hope to get in the audience of a few late shows. It will be neat to see how they run. We also will take in some Broadway shows and try to be on the Today show plaza (with Unspecified Show gear on!)

I’m thankful for the people who have encouraged and believed in him. I’m thankful to the people who helped with the show – before/during/after. I’m thankful for the people who watch the YouTube shows or listen to the podcasts. Having someone (other than mom) believe in you is powerful. I’ve had many people tell me that he will do great things. I agree. He already has, and that’s just the start.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Never underestimate the power of believing in someone. Never underestimate what kids can do. Check out his YouTube channel “The Unspecified Show,” and the podcast on Spotify, “Be Unspecified” podcast. His YouTube channel has a replay of his live show. Enjoy!

Puppy dog eyes…

Meet Penny. Our oldest son is home from Montana for a few days, and Penny came with. Since he is fishing with his buddy/buddies and dad, I’m dog-sitting. I’m not sure how to say “no” to actual puppy dog eyes.

I grew up on a farm on the edge of a small town. (Like literally on the edge – town was on one side of the road, and our farm was on the other). We had a few cattle and sheep, lots of “barn cats,” and one dog. He was a black and white Border Collie who was supposed to help with working livestock. We even took him to obedience school. Despite his breed and training, we had to put the dog away when we worked livestock. He was not helpful. He was a pet, but he didn’t spend time inside. This is my first experience with a dog in the house.

You may also know that we have a cat. The cat, Toothless, and the dog, Penny are not friends. If we keep them in separate areas, they are kind of ok. Until the cat forgets he’s not alone and starts meowing at the door, then the dog is on full alert. They think the other one’s food is much better and they are both used to being the only (& most important) pet.

Cat hiding under the tractor in the garage

So, Penny hung out with me today. She alerted me to the squirrels, the birds and the deer that were surely invading our yard. She cleaned up any crumbs on my kitchen floor, and she played a mean game of tug-of-war. Aside from working and making meals and treats for the guys, I made some homemade dog treats for Penny also. She approved.

It’s been a few years since I had little toddler eyes looking at me for treats. For a few days, I’ll have actual puppy dog eyes asking for treats. And in grandma fashion, I’ll probably say yes.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. I’d better go work on my arm strength for more tug-of-war with the doggo.

The Speed of Life…

I’ve been trying to write on Wednesdays, but the “speed of life” has been pretty rapid lately. I finally realized it was Thursday already, and decided to write a quick post. (well, maybe not quick)

I remember (when I was a kid), the school year seemed like it would take forever. I remember thinking my kids would have never sleep through the night when they were little. Some points in our lives it feels like things are moving in slow motion. Then I blinked, and one boy is 20 and the other is 16. There are men in the photos that used to have little boy grins and buzz cut hairstyles. As nostalgic as I can be for the past, and how quickly it has gone, I’m excited for the future. I’m excited to see where life takes them. I’m their biggest fan (in my opinion), and I’ll be cheering them on through every stage of life.

We don’t see the playbook or the plan. We don’t know the twists and turns ahead… for them or for ourselves. I’ve often said that I’m not a fan of “where do you see yourself in 5 years,” because I never thought I’d be where I am. I also didn’t think our son would be in Montana and the other one would have a You Tube show. I’m so proud of them, and even though I have some regrets about my past, I’m excited for our future.

Last week, we went to Fargo for an improv comedy show. I hadn’t laughed that hard in a long time. Right after that, our youngest went to the State DECA competition, where he was in the final round. He’s planning out classes for next year, all while starting track, thinking of a summer job, and planning his live show yet this month.

To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life goes by pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I think it depends on why it seems like it’s going fast – is it exciting? Is it stressful? Are you overwhelmed or just trying to add a bunch of things into your calendar? Can we be busy and happy, or is it one or the other? I think that’s up to you to decide.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Whatever speed your life is at right now, may you be happy and blessed.

Traveled down the road and back again…

Sorry I missed last week. Ironically, I didn’t write because I was learning more about writing. I’m taking a class in the evening and learning about writing copy. It’s been a while since I’ve taken a class with homework, but I finished my first assignment. I also got caught up on the lessons last weekend. I have great respect for people who go back to school (after many years) while working and still doing all of the other life things. It’s certainly not easy. It has sparked my creativity and excitement for something new. Anyway, that’s the long version of why I didn’t write here last week.

I was thinking a lot about friendship this past weekend also. Isn’t it interesting how we become friends as adults? Kids just go up to someone and start playing a game or give them a cool rock… that’s their new friend. Adults try to find someone they have a lot in common with. Maybe we meet online or through a mutual friend. Maybe we meet at a community event or our kids are in the same activity. Maybe we are neighbors or meet at a retreat. There are so many options, but the next step is also varied. Do you just visit at the common event or do you speak outside of that venue also? Do you text, call or follow on social media? How often should you communicate? What’s appropriate to share? When do you consider yourself friends?

I’ve had friends come and go. It’s not always easy to part ways. Sometimes it’s a move to a different city or a different job that changes your friendship. Sometimes it’s a different opinion or even a loss of that common bond. I’ve thought I was someone’s friend before, but they made it clear that I was just a client or just an employee. Sometimes it’s hard to accept if you’re not the one initiating the separation. I’ve heard someone say, “bless and release them,” and I try to remember this when I feel bad. People come in and out of our lives for various reason. It may be for friendship, for learning what we do (or don’t) like, or even for creating a connection with someone else. It’s interesting how many different communities we can be a part of all at one time. As I go through my certification course and learn more about writing and publishing, I will likely meet some new “friends,” and inherently we will have at least one thing in common – writing. I’m excited to see what connections form as a result. Even thought I am not super outgoing, I am welcoming this opportunity. It’s a good time for me to take these classes since my evenings aren’t yet spent outside. It’s also a step outside of my comfort zone.

Soon, the snow will melt and the garden will be ready to plant. Just as we plant the seeds for the garden, we can plant seeds for friendships and connections. Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Thank you for being a friend.

If you give a mom a mission….

You’ve probably seen or read the books “If you Give a Pig a Pancake,” or “If You Give a Moose a Muffin,” by Laura Numeroff. There are at least 9 books with a similar theme. They are super cute and catchy. This past weekend they kept going through my mind. Why would I be thinking of random children’s books? Taxes. I was supposed to be doing taxes.

Since we have a side business, Frueh Market, and I am also a Norwex consultant on the side, our taxes are a little more complicated than they used to be. The idea of it being overwhelming prompts a kind of avoidance feeling… I want to do anything but that task. So here is my Saturday/Sunday version of “If you give a mom a mission…”

If you give a mom a mission (doing taxes), she will want to make sure she does a great job. Since taxes are overwhelming, she will look for some cocoa to drink while she does this task. When she goes to get the cocoa, she notices that some corn syrup spilled on the lazy Susan. She will see that it has made other things sticky, so she takes everything off the shelf. She finds some things she no longer needs, and some things that have expired, so she starts to throw what she doesn’t need. She sees the sugar container, and that reminds her that she has some red M&M’s left. She decides to make some cookies with them. Since the sugar was on the other shelf, she decided to clean off that shelf also. While she is cleaning off the other shelf, she sees cocoa powder, which reminds her she came into the kitchen to get cocoa. The cocoa will make her think of spices, so she will decide to clean her spice cabinet also. While she is in the spice cabinet, she sees some Italian seasoning which reminds her that she has a large Italian seasoning in the other lazy Susan. She will start to combine spices, and will see the red pepper flakes. The red pepper flakes will remind her of her chickens. So, she will go give water and treats to her chickens. Her chickens will remind her of the farm and the fact that she needs to do her taxes. While she is looking for some receipts, she will find some papers she no longer needs. She will decide to go through the stack of papers and burn what she doesn’t need. As she is throwing papers, she will notice her carpet needs to be vacuumed. She will vacuum her office and decide she needs to vacuum the bedroom also. In order to vacuum the bedroom, she will need to clean some things off the floor. While she is picking things up off the floor, she will remember she was going to put away some Christmas sweaters. Christmas sweaters will make her think of giving, which will make her think of donations, which will make her think of taxes.

On and on it went throughout the weekend. Tuesday night, I completed most of the tax prep and finalized it today. In the meantime, I got 4 shelves of Lazy Susan cleaned, the spice cabinet, my office, carpets, silverware drawer, medicine cabinets, closet and more. Some of these things I’ve held onto for too many years. It was a relief to get rid of some clutter, donate things, and do some pre-spring cleaning! If you came to my house now, you wouldn’t know I cleaned, but I could give you a cookie.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. And, if you want to get some projects done, tell yourself you’re going to do taxes!

It’s free…

A very small number of people know that I had a bit of a scare in the last week or so. There was a red spot and some pain on my right side. Although I had my mammogram in January, it wasn’t going away and I don’t really want to take chances. They only do ultrasounds certain days in my town so I had to wait a week. I contemplated canceling the appointment because it was getting a little better, but I decided to go anyway.

The ultrasound tech was so kind. She complimented my shoes and talked about how she was thinking of getting a pair. She asked about my hair, if it was naturally curly. She talked about her friend’s curly hair and how she wished she had curly hair. She noticed my Valentine nails & we talked about those for a bit. She put me at ease. Kindness is free. She could have just done the ultrasound & sent me on my way. Instead, she validated my concerns, saw me as a person, not just another patient, and complimented three things about me. She asked several times if I was warm enough. She sat with me while we waited for the scan to be read in Fargo.

The scan showed it was ok…Probably just a skin blemish. She said the only “wrong” thing to do is to ignore changes. She walked me out and told me to have a great day. The sun is shining, I still had some money on a Starbucks gift card and I now have a clean bill of health. Life is good. Kindness is free. We should sprinkle it around a little more freely. Share some joy with someone!

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. You know your own body the best. Advocate for yourself and do not feel bad about doing so.

Be fabulous…

This fabulous, tutu wearing, glitter crowned, dancing chicken hangs in my office. It’s a card I got for my birthday. It makes me smile and reminds me that we can all be fabulous. She reminds me of my chicken, Sesame. Yes, my chickens have worn tutus. In fact, there is a video of them running around with tutus and I was laughing so hard while filming that I literally almost fell to the ground in the woods.

How often do you underestimate yourself? How many times do you avoid something new because it’s scary? Fear of failure or rejection, imposter syndrome, lack of self confidence… all those things try to keep us small. We wonder if we are enough. We may miss out on life.

Our youngest son has a You Tube show “The Unspecified Show.” He started it last year when he was 15. He has adjusted and improved and now he has added a podcast (Be Unspecified Podcast). At 16, he’s more brave than many adults. He took a chance, and he’s fabulous. He has learned new skills, advocated for himself, met with businesses, had a float in the parade, is working on an adopt a highway section, and has grown his audience. I am so proud of him.

He has inspired me to reach further myself. I am working on self-publishing a book and starting a another project also. It’s going to be fabulous. I’m going to learn, grow and meet new people. Is it scary? Yep, yes it is. I don’t want to be left with “what if’s.” Life is short, make it great!

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Have a fabulous day!