December 20, 2013

My Scarlet Letter

Growing up in a glass house, I cleverly hid a lot! I knew what I could not be and created a version of me that fit what I should. My scarlet A was a PK and not a sign of shame, but of Godly status setting me apart. I was suppose to be different.

Yet, I have my own Footloose stories locked away still.
I am no different than the majority really. Most of us hide our scars.

We feel imperfect as we try to live up to the societal expectations of beauty, emotional, life ideals of perfection.

I can't admit to others that I am depressed or that my kid cuts himself or that I am lonely in my marriage. I can't let others know that I am divorced or that I really don't enjoy running the church program. I can't say no because they will think bad of me.

We talk ourselves into negatives.

I'll never have enough money. I'll never be skinny enough. I'll never be like her.

Until one day the inadequacies of imperfections fester long enough that they explode.

TMI! TMI! others exclaim while running to hide from crazy you.

And sometimes they can't handle you anymore and they leave.

Taking your need to be loved unconditionally and shattering it more.

I was a perfect 36-26-36 several years ago and decided to post a picture of myself on Facebook in my bikini. Now at this time in my life I was going through a divorce where most of the people that were suppose to love me for me was throwing blame on me. Telling me I was not good enough, I needed to do this or that...I should have....the list of others faults thrown at me tore my hurting heart to shreds.

Only a few people who claimed to love me unconditionally embraced me.

So in desperation I did something I would have been embarrassed to ever do and posted that picture. I needed affirmation even if it was physical and fitted societal expectations of beauty.

The temporary feel good high lasted a few days, until I saw some of my best friends de-friending me without saying one word because I know longer fit their expectations. Somehow I had crossed a boundary in our relationship that I never knew existed. That still hurts me to this day.

I am still casting off the masks of who I was to become who I am meant to be.

Finding beauty in my own scars.

Like many mothers across my lower abdomen I bare the scars of pregnancy. I must admit I hated the site of my railroad tracks stretch marks until one day a friend turned the ugly into beautiful when she said, "My stretch marks are love tattoos. A symbol of the gift of my girls. A reminder of how amazing our bodies are."

There is a spiritual holiness in finding the courage to be you that I believe makes you the most beautiful.

See these scars we all have, they are not ugly. They are not things we should be afraid to share.

They are what makes you uniquely you. A perfect being in His own image.

I confess I still struggle. I occasionally place too much weight on what other's think of me. I never want to hurt anyone, but I am learning to no longer let others define me.

I am letting go of the belief that what I do has to be good enough for someone else. That my actions have to fit into a mold. That there is something wrong about sharing my hurts or imperfections with others. That I am less than someone else because of my beliefs.

That my scars have marked me unworthy, unlovable, dirty because others make me feel that way.

In reality we are all the same. Some of us are just more honest about it all. And often, the less honest are the ones who judge the most.

Wherever you are today, know that I think you are wonderful and beautiful and worthy. Embrace your scars not as imperfections, but as a part of what you had to endure to get to where you are. They are a beautiful part of your story. Don't be afraid to share them.

December 10, 2013

A Letter to Myself

Dear Me,

You sit here tonight feeling inadequate. You find yourself swimming in the mucky murky dirt of self doubt.
Whether it was an offhanded comment about the past or one of your thousand irrational fears, you have allowed yourself to feel less than you should.

You see yourself as second best. A place you have always thought you should be. You have continued to allow yourself to accept this.

The wind has been knocked out of your sails and like a ship on rough waters you continue to toss about trying to find your balance.

You aren't fighting right now, you are sitting down letting others throw their stupid comments or actions at you, like the downpour of rain in the midst of this storm.

Forget the rock star moments of his past, or all that was before. You have decided to create this life together and it's yours. Don't let others stupid comments or actions take away your joy.

Stand up and believe in what is now.

Remember, you are in control. (Yes, God really is but you know what I mean.)

You can sit in your party of one and pity, pity, pity yourself.

Or you can choose to live in today.

There are a thousand dreams you were created to live. A plethora of skills you possess to use. A heart of love waiting to give.

You might not see it, but they are all within your reach. Believe.

Forget all the naysayers who will always be there. They steal your joy when you let them.

Jealousy lurks just around most corners and will hit you again and again. Their jealous is not your problem. Leave it with them.

And Sarah...

You are wonderful and special.

You are smart and talented.

You take care of yourself and those you love in countless ways.

You are gifted.

You are unique and beautiful.

Wipe all this self pity crap out of your heart and head and love yourself tonight. Because you are so worth it!

December 6, 2013

A Selfish Prayer

Hey God, I am rarely selfish and I know there are thousands of people who are worse off than me.

I am not asking for you to fix my problems, but can you at least give me peace.

Peace that this business we are creating, which has received countless positive reviews, is going to be sustainable. I mean I really have no idea where the money is coming from next year to keep this going.

Each day Mike and I get up and take these ideas and create hope for others out of them.

And it works!

God, it really works!

But can you send some more customers our way.

The income side of things is non-existent, but the personal satisfaction is great.

Or can you bless us with a big investor who wants to help others in living the life they were meant to live who chooses us as that channel?

In a sense we are very much like those we are working with. Hopeful.

Mike and I continue to live the life we desire without a net.

We have no idea how we are going to pay for this or that. How we are going to take the time or money to cross Ireland off my joie de vivre list.

But each morning we get up and continue pursuing a passion we both believe in. Creating books, classes, workshops, and coaching because it works.

So, God...I believe all this comes from you.

Is there a greater lesson I am to learn?

I mean honestly, I am struggling.

And I know I am not more special than the next person, but can you show me just how  we can keep this going when we have bills to pay, and car issues to fix, and medical insurance issues to face, and dental work necessary?

I don't know how this is going to work.

And I am okay if it doesn't. But somehow I think it is meant to be.

Somehow it is so much easier to give others hope than to see it within your own circumstances. I guess the fact that we keep going makes us different. So many give up when the unknowns become overwhelming.

A deep breathe relaxes my heart and head into a place of calm.

I don't know God. I really don't know. And I am scared. I really am. But I believe. And I am learning to trust more.

Maybe this is a greater journey of personal growth before the professional. I don't know. But, you do.

And I am ready to know.

Do you think I am?

November 21, 2013

Who really wants to stand in an oversized net with balls being kicked at them from every angle?

The soccer season ended with both her arms wrapped in casts. Perhaps a better story could have been told, but the truth was her Bolivian soccer coach had done this during a practice. A dive the wrong way by her and the strength and precision of a professional soccer players kick had this end result.

But the season was over and she could heal.
Indoor practices began and every one on the team took turns being goalie.

This was not a favored position. Who really wants to stand in an over sized net with balls being kicked at them from every angle?

After several practices he came up to her and said, "Sarah, I want you to think about being our goalie for the next season."

My blue eyes threw all sorts of trashy thoughts his way. Images of her broken arms stuck in my head. A crazy spiral of my own personal destruction played through my mind.

His hand rested on my forearm, bringing me back to the present.

"I believe that you can do this Sarah! I know you are afraid, but you are strong. Just think about it."

I would end up having one successful career as goalie the next season (we moved to NY the following year). Minus breaking all of my fingers at different times, I suffered from no other injuries.

I still have the write-ups from the newspaper about me. They remind me that when I put my mind to something, regardless of how scary it can be, great things can happen.

Looking back most of my greatest moments have resulted in letting go of fear.

My relationship with God started out of my fear of burning in hell. But like anything rooted in fear it was doomed to fail. Until I learned that God is full of love and grace for me.

Letting go of the comfort of a safe community and moving to the city has filled my once predictable daily existence with wonderment.

Choosing to work for myself from home without the security of a steady paycheck has broadened my skill set and I create things I never knew I could.

Learning to not worry about what others think about me has brought an inner beauty and peace.

Marrying one who many warned me not to continues to flood my life with love I never imagined.

I made a choice to follow my heart, to listen to myself, to believe, to let go of other's chatter that fueled my own fears and what has become is extraordinary.

Looking down at my crooked finger's typing these words, I smile. Knowing that Javier's belief in me touched me deeper than just soccer. I learned to believe in myself.

There is something you want to do today, tomorrow, or next year. You know what it is, but fear holds you back. How...lingers in your head while your heart screams but what if...

"I believe that you can do this! I know you are afraid, but you are strong. Just think about it."


Even better, be part of our December class Doing the Right Things for You! It is 100% online and just $1.50 a day. You are so worth it! Trust me, I know.

November 13, 2013

Time for a Little Fun

You may have seen all these random numbers and facts about people popping up on Facebook. So, instead of asking my friend to give me a number, I decided to do my own.

Twelve random things you may or may not have known about yours truly.
1. I was a vegetarian for several years, multiple times. Not because I think it is cruel or ungodly to eat meat. Simply because I am such a visual person that certain images made me stay away from meat for years.

2. In a different time and place, I raised chickens for fresh eggs (and yet I don't eat eggs) and two goats as pets.

3. I love underwear. In fact, I love it so much I own 73 pairs.

4. I hate flying and detest looking down when at high altitudes, but love to travel. And sky diving is on my Joie de Vivre list (joy of life list- which many of you call your bucket list).

5. Macho Man Randy Savage was my dream man.

6. I took classical piano for 6+ years.

7. I removed my nose piercing only because I constantly felt like I had boogers on one side of my nose and it drove me crazy.

8. I am German, Polish, Hungarian, and Arabian.

9. Wanting to be a sports marketer I interned with the Buffalo Bills and the Adirondack Red Wings (the farm team at that time to the Detroit Red Wings).

10. I have sung in the Billy Graham Crusade choir.

11. Two of my three blessings were born on their due dates.

12. I cannot drive a stick shift car and have no desire to learn how.

Now which one of these isn't true?

November 5, 2013

Wonder Woman Exposed

A shiny white doll sized casket rested on a pedestal cradling my nine month old niece. A pastor spoke though his words were inaudible to most of us there. I was transfixed on her casket. And when they started lowering her into the ground and the first bit of dirt was cast atop, a silent screamed stopped my heart.

Later that day as I held my four week old newborn the deepest love and the deepest despair wrestled one another within me.
Life was so unfair.

This week I learned that two of my high school friends had lost their husbands, unexpected and suddenly. This occurred within a matter of just a few days.

My heart breaks for them and their kids.

I am reminded again that life is so unfair.

We never expect that we will die at a young age.

Truthfully, I think most of us honestly never think we will die.

We live that way.

We believe that in two years we will get fit. We believe that in five years we can change jobs. Or in 10 years we can buy our dream vacation. Or in 15 years we can live where we really want.

We hold onto all this things we want for our life, for another time.

Oh, I know the thousands of excuses filling your mind. I don't have the money, I don't have the time, I will offend my family, I.....

A plethora of excuses you allow yourself to believe that immediately cut off your desires.

So we sit in a world we wish was different.

We hope for better days, but make no effort on our part to have them.

We allow our desires to be squelched.

We become like the majority.

We think we can't so we don't. We settle. We give up. We die before we take our last breath.

There is no reason for this. None!

Death reminds me that we are all fated the same final outcome.

What makes us different is what we do with the time we have.

Why do you wait for the life you want? Why do you wait to make the move? Why do you wait?

Sooner or later, your waiting time will end.

Do you still want to be where you are today? Or do you want something more?

It is not to late to have the wonderful life you deserve.

And if you need support join us for our December 100% online class "Doing the Right Things for You" ( to get started.

"But, I am not like you Sarah." I hear too often.

I am nothing more special than you. I possess nothing greater than you.

I may pretend I am wonder woman, but I poop just like everybody else.

What I do though is choose to live my life loudly and largely today because my heart is filled with too many who never got that chance. Will you?

"Have the courage to follow your heart and your intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."- Steve Jobs

October 23, 2013

All Too Familiar

If I gave up every time my head told me I couldn't, I would be nowhere.

It is so easy to get discouraged. To stop trying. To give up.

Years ago I was trapped in a world I saw no way out of. The thought of what the future held paralyzed me. I admitted defeat and accepted that the life I desired to have would never be.

I made the best of where I was- career wise, relationship wise, monetarily. Bitterness set in to my heart and I was defeated. Anger engulfed my being.

My self esteem plummeted and my dreams were stifled.

I became like the majority.

I watched as others changed to embrace their world. I stood by and criticized them because I was jealous.

Temporary fixes of goodness band-aided what I craved.

Until that too lost luster and I was defeated and bitter and angry, yet again.

Eventually, I lost me.

Until one day a small glimmer of hope came in the form of a move. To a new place, a new career. I clung to that like a baby to its mother.

I feared it was a joke.

Leaving the familiar and venturing forward was scary. My heart longed for the familiar even though it wasn't what I wanted, but the comfort almost enticed me to stay.

But I didn't and that has made all the difference.

Deep inside myself is a passion to help others- not only because I believe we should all live the lives we desire- but because I was there; and I know.

I see too much of the old me in too many of the people I know.

Growth can be painful, but God it is worth it!

So while I am not sure just how all that Mike and I do with is going to work out, I believe in what we are doing from a personal agenda.

Because I know that if you are not happy where you are at, there is a way to change it. And I will hold your hand and love you through it all. As will Mike.

And I guarantee that once you invest in yourself, you will wonder why you waited so long.

You cannot change what was, but you can change what will be.

October 16, 2013

Falling Apart

Six blocks from my driveway the ocean continually kisses the beach while the water caresses the sand.

It is one of the most peaceful places I rarely visit.

Here I am living my dream of residing near the ocean, working from home, being my own boss, and yet I find I have easily slipped back into running around like a chicken with her head cut off.

 Demands of every day life engulf my time and I have a calendar overfilled with commitments.


Endless past weeks running, running, running left me worn out and frustrated.
Crashing on the floor I look at Mike and ask, "How did this happen?"

"I work from home and make my own schedule yet I have no time for myself or the simple pleasures of life. This is not right. Blah...blah...blah..." my outrage continues.

"This is not the life I wanted!" I finally exclaim.

And it isn't.

My shoulders slump and I feel defeated.

I feel exhausted and my lower back pains return. The running on empty me I fought so hard to get over is back. I literally ache.

But, I do not allow myself to stay stuck in despair. I give myself permission to put myself first again; to take care of me.

I spend an hour on Friday looking towards the next week and mapping out an hour a day for me. I vow to take better care of myself, again. I vow to make dates with my friends for fun, again. I vow to slow down enough to see things around me, again.

I forgive myself and return to loving me.

So when I am coming out of a new yoga class this morning and I am not rushing I see beauty.

Fawn colored shoulder length hair hangs tangled around her small head. She wears a short sleeved pale pink smocked dress with ripped lime green tights and tan ballet slippers.

She sits on a yellow plastic swing slightly twisted so her left leg hangs lower than her right. One bow dangles untied on her slippers.

The swing moves gently as if blowing in the calm breeze. Her head rests on her right hand holding onto the swing chain.

"You are my sunshine..." she sings loud and off key, a stark contrast to her serene posture. "My only sunshine..." she continues.

Stopping to listen I cannot see anything in her line of sight that she is singing too, but she is obviously happy in her own world.

I breathe. I feel. I know.

Just last week, and the week before, and the week before that, I missed a lot of this simple beauty moments. The moments that I call heart smiles. The moments when I realize that life is so much larger than my narrow minded view often allows me to see. The moments I believe God blesses me with.

Time is rarely our friend. We always want more of it. We wish for the kids to grow, to make more money, to be thinner, or retirement to come only so we can start living.

I was one of those once; I can easily slip back into that person.

It is a horrible shame when we find ourselves wishing for a life different than the one we have, yet doing nothing to create it. We sit waiting for what we believe is that magical time, or thing, or place. We let living become encumbered with craziness. Until we literally crash.

But, you know what? We don't have to.

This life you have today is not your dress rehearsal. What you do with your today and tomorrow is your choice. You know your desires. You have the strength inside of you to create the life you want.

Listen to your heart and give yourself permission to do one thing it is telling you. To see one beauty it is showing you. To feel one joy it is radiating.

I did. It was spectacular.

And as I turned and got in my car to drive away, I whispered a prayer in unison with the little girl..."please don't take my sunshine away."

September 26, 2013

Who Knew Santa was Mean?

I was 14, working as a waitress in the summer at a Bible conference.

Naive, unaware of my own beauty, oblivious I had talent, and enjoying freedom, I grew up fast.

I made lifelong friends that summer and we hold hundreds of stories to tell. Yet, a thousand more to never share.

It was a particularly busy week and I was serving three tables of 10 people each.

At the head of one table sat an elderly man and his wife.

He had snow white hair that he made no attempt to tame. His round glasses sat at the tip of his nose. His brown suspenders tightly hugged his robust round belly. And even though he was clean shaven his sunkissed cheeks hinted that he could be Santa.

But, he was not a jolly fellow at all!

He demanded this or that the whole meal with the continuous absence of a please or thank you.

His wife sat quiet the whole time.

I smiled and ran around like the energizer bunny that I was.

Lunch time was winding down and 28 people had left. Of course he remained with his wife.

He raised his hand again for me to come to his table.

I plastered the smile on and walked over to him.

Startling me he touched my arm, "You really are phenomenal. You kept up with every order and never complained. You made no mistakes. Smiled through it all. Plus you are beautiful."

Always sucking at compliments I started to walk away and said to him, "You are lying through your teeth!"

I went back to cleaning up to and only to see him raise his hand again.

Sighing, I walked back over.

He touched my arm again and said, "You really are phenomenal. You kept up with every order and never complained. You made no mistakes. Smiled through it all. Plus you are beautiful."

I started to walk away angry, yet he was still holding onto my arm.


And then I saw him slowly raise up his other hand which held his false teeth.

I laughed and cried.

While his lips parted, revealing his bare pink gums, and the most melodious laughter erupted from his soul. And I saw Santa's belly shake like a bowl full of jelly.

September 19, 2013

Bleeding Hearts

I stood outside the county courthouse in the parking lot surround by trees of yellow, red, and orange. The fall wind blew a chilly breeze that lingered in the air. It was Friday just after 5 pm and everyone was leaving work to rush home for the weekend.

"It will be okay," I said to one of my foster children. Really saying that for myself because I needed to believe that. The four foster children I had were moving to a new home.

I hugged myself, brushing my hands up and down my arms seeking more solace than warmth.

B stood there stone faced and lost in her other world where she was safe. R sobbed and sobbed wiping snot from his nose across his sleeve. M tried to mother the two younger ones and assure them that this next house would be better than mine. N looked me straight in the eyes, casting her hurt to the depth of my heart while single tears rolled out of the corners of her eyes.

It was a moment I wanted to never end and a moment I wanted to end so quickly.

I hugged them all goodbye and told them I loved them always. I watched them get into other vehicles and drive away. N the only one to look back with pure agony in her face.

I fell into the driver's seat of my car and wept.

Until I was able to bottle up all the emotions and bury them deep in my heart.

I returned home and was embraced by my three girls who had tons of questions where I had no answers. Of course I responded perfectly to them and they were pleased.

My heart still aches.

Not a single day goes by that I do not think of these four children. There are songs, moments, or sayings that keep them alive. Their picture hangs on our fridge.

I can remember every detail about the night I picked up these kids and met them for the first time. And I remember the moment I realized I loved each of them for who they were.

It is easy to love others in general terms and there is a place for that kind of love, but I think what we all desire is to be loved specifically. I do not just want to be another acknowledgement in someones life. I want to be something more, different, special because of me.

The pain I felt when the foster children moved created a barrier around my heart. If I didn't let anyone else get close, I would not feel the pain. It was an easy maneuver.

But, I cannot desire to be loved specifically without giving that back in return.

So this carefree, loving girl created a heart barrier that resides inside a woman.

There are several people who have managed to poke holes in that barrier and I have learned to love them specifically, but I still try to protect myself.

Truthfully, I have no problem being expressively passionate about things that frustrate me or I see as injustices, but I struggle being expressively passionate about the joys.

It is so much easier to live life in our safe places. Isn't it?

Where we think we control the outcome. Where things are consistent, predictable.Where we can love others because there are so few we love. Where we can get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV and go to bed. Where tomorrow is a repeat of today. Where we are neat and tidy and everything really does fit into a place we have created.

I have lived it too. Honestly, there are days I am tempted to retreat back there.

Yet, deep down I believe life is meant to be lived, tasted, savored, devoured, explored, and messily wonderful.

I contradict myself.

I don't want to hurt. But I think that really living life is intertwined with loving specifically.

So, I confess that albeit scary, I push myself daily to try to love this way and to break my heart barrier away piece-by-piece.

September 11, 2013

Why it is Easy to Love your Neighbor

Sleep deprived, sore and elated, I stood over a three day old Madison Joy buttoning the last button on her pink, orange and white sleeper. Her long newborn fingers grasped my thumb as I picked her up.

I snapped her in her car seat and she started to scream. She was one of those babies who did not like their car seat.

"Ready," I said to my Mom and Dad. We were heading out for Maddie's first debut at her Dad's school.
And then the phone rang.

"Turn on the TV," and so we did.

My parents and I stood stunned learning that a plane had flown into one of the Twin Towers and we watched with thousands of others as another plane flew into the Second Tower.

I felt violated.

Maddie's screams brought me back to the present moment and I unsnapped her from her car seat and held her too tight for a long time.

A year later I would stand at Ground Zero in silence. My heart stopped looking at the surrounding buildings still damaged and covered in tarps. The magnitude of horrid unspeakable terror still permeated through the unsettled dust and rubble.

This morning I drove Laurel Grace and Cassidy Love to school listening to broadcasts from that day. They asked countless questions of which many I could answer, but still the one I can't...why?

We can all ask what we does one hate so much, why the allegiance to a ruler so nasty,  what religion could teach such acts.

But maybe what we really should be asking is how do I teach, show, and give love better. What can I do in my sliver of the world to make it better for others?

Trust me I understand we are all stressed, too busy, overworked, underpaid and the bills are never ending. We are tired. And when our children or spouse ask us for one more thing at night we often snap.

Oh, I have been there all too much. Guilt sets in and we beat ourselves up for saying the wrong thing.

I am married to a wonder of a man who loves abundantly. Not just me, and the kids, or his Mom, but everyone he meets. I am slowly and hesitantly opening up my heart to loving more like this.

To do this though, we first must examine our own lives and find what is it that prevents us from living our peace.

I must say it is easy to live out the second greatest commandment from Matthew 22:36-40...."love your neighbor as yourself," when you don't really love yourself.

But, we deserve to happily celebrate every day of our lives. We all desire to be loved for who we are. I believe we are naturally wired to love others, but often we hold back love unconsciously because our own self doubt trumps our rational side.

And we sit idle because we doubt we could make a difference, or we feel unimportant, or we are scared.

One day I finally said to myself enough!

I invested in myself and discovered that I was the one preventing myself from living and loving my life. And what I found was joy, and grace, and love, and peace.

You deserve this too!

We invite you to take part in our next 100% online class Embracing peace in your life at

August 29, 2013

Earthly Angels

Squished in the sweaty mosh pit of bodies I never wanted to touch I stood with my hands in the air, singing and swaying to the music. The drum beats echoed through my ears making my head spontaneously bop in beat. Hundreds of us moved in sync from the pressure of the crowd.

We far exceeded the amount of persons in a limited space.

My hand was grabbed as my friend Amanda was lifted to crowd surf and she tried to grab me along.

Her eyes beckon me to get her down, but their pull was too strong for me. I watch her body float through groping hands---farther and farther away from me. And then I hear a thud and she is gone.

My Taurus celestial self pushed through the crowd as they tried to push me back.

Glaring at a group of guys I said, "Move!" as steam blew out of my nostrils. I was determined to get to Amanda and make sure she was okay.

Obscenities were thrown at me but mostly deflected by the constant ringing in my ears.

 I was determined and I found her.

I grabbed her to make sure she was okay and then we both launched into telling our side of this story.

"I just realized, we have known each other for 18 years," Amanda wrote me earlier this week.

We met in college during soccer pre-season and shared too many stories never to be told.

From showering in my cleats, to belly rings, to concerts, to Sarah's salad, to sleeping bags, to boyfriends, and marriages, and births and deaths we have shared it all.

Of all that life has given me one of the greatest gifts has been some lifelong friends.

When worries plaque my head and the road I am traveling on seems a little too fearful, I retreat to these people.

They remind me of better days and who I know I am, but seem to have lost momentarily.

Sometimes, the just whack me upside the head.

A collection of cards they have sent remind me I am special. A heart hangs on my wrist reminding me I am loved. Music recordings sent confirm that the grove is still alive. A blessing basket reminds me that ordinary days can turn extraordinary from just a "hello."

I think that friends may really be our earthly guardian angels.

And I am so thankful for mine!

August 16, 2013

Unwritten Obituaries

His deep bass voice was easily recognizable and his laugh echoed the same beautiful tone. His snow white hair and beard adorned his large frame and gave off the aura of importance.

He would snap his fingers and his son would come running on command. I often felt compelled to do the same. That is how big of a presence he made.

I learned quickly that his domineering presence was not a reflection of his gentle loving heart. This big booming jolly man fought through kidney disease while never losing the twinkle in his eyes.

He became a welcomed "parent" in my world quickly.

When I graduated college, his alma mater, he made the 5 hour trip to see my commencement. By this time he was walking with a cane and limp and I know this trip was rough, but he was there.

I received news this week that Bill's body finally gave up it's fight of 17 years with kidney disease. What an amazing addition he is to the choirs of Heaven!

Bill was gifted 66 years and I honestly believe he wasted none! He gave, he loved, he shared, he encouraged, he supported. Pieces of him are reflecting in the lives of others because of the way he lived.

Naturally, when I hear of a death it causes me to pause.

When my life train gets involuntarily derailed and my inner demons taunt my worth, I often find myself reflecting on what will be said when I die.

In reality we are every day writing our own obituary. Not that our decisions should be based on what we want others to say when we die, but that our choices should reflect who we truly are and the legacy we want to leave.

Back in March 2008 I wrote the following in my journal: "Lately I have thought a lot about my life and I try to think what I want my obit to say. I feel it is insignificant to list my professional accomplishments, but I hope it says: on my tombstone- Now Dancing with Jesus, not resting in peace!; in my obit- full of love, life and compassion, shared a glimpse of Jesus with others through actions, mom that made us all feel like we were her favorite, wife who stood by me and loved me unconditionally, a true friend who enlarged others, Jesus lover and prayer warrior. Thinking of these things make me TRY to evaluate how I act each day. Oh I fail a lot- but I'm trying."

I am not sure what caused me to write this years ago, but much of it still rings true today.

It is all too easy to get bogged down in a job we don't want to do, or stuck in a place we don't want to live, or a trapped in a life we are not living. Because...well, we all think we have time.

In the future, I will..... we all say. We place core components of who we are on the back burner playing a twisted game of Russian roulette with time.

Why? Do you know your expiration date?

There are no guarantees in this life but this one...we are all going to leave this earth some day.

I don't know about you, but the sad solemn typical farewell service is not what I want. I want my leopard colored coffin (although I am debating being cremated and put in a bottle and thrown in the ocean to travel the world with a note to call when you find me to let others know where I am partying) to be surrounded with my friends who are dancing and alive. Who have tucked a part of me in the corner of their hearts to spur them on to keep living.

Too often we wake up too late. Too often we let fear hold us back. Too often we lose our enthusiasm for life.

"If you had permission to do what you really want to do, what would you do? Don't ask how, that will cut your desire off at the knees. How is never the right question, how is a faithless question. It means unless I can see my way clearly, I won't believe it; I won't venture forth."

Our world has advance so much that we are crippled. When prairie people hitched up their wagon to venture to a new land, they didn't check their GPS to make sure there were no accidents to avoid or bad weather to hinder their journey.

They saddled up and rode forward.

There are several people I am thinking of right now who have shared that they wish certain things for their life. I believe that these are true desires of who they are and the life they were meant to live.

And I pray everyday that their obituary doesn't stay unwritten.

August 8, 2013

Even So...She Shines Like Never Before

Her fragile heart hid beneath a self created cocoon of control. Where routine left no room for unexpected pain or joy. Where life was lived as a cookie cutter version of social mores. Days and times could be predicted by parking lots filled or empty.

Until "one day, she remembered that the only person who could make her happy was herself! So she took back her power, re-claimed her place in the world and shined like never before!"

Getting to this point was a tormented journey of alone. Friends fell away and she was shunned. Hate was thrown across the miles and scarred the fragile heart more. Trust and love became daggers with conditions.

Yet she pressed forward.

Letting the mask of expectations of others slowly break away. Revealing the person she had squelched so many years ago.

She felt alive, saw the magic of the world, tasted the sweetness of pure simple joy, yet her heart still rested within her safe cocoon.

Until one day, she decided to put it out there a little more than usual. And it was okay. Until it wasn't.

And time would pass. She would fight through to put her heart out there again. And it was okay. Until it wasn't. And again...and again...and again...

Yet others rarely saw this or understood how much it was a leap of faith to put heart out there over and over again. For they never understood what caused her to create the safe cocoon in the first place.

"That's the is not now..." was echoed from others who could so easily close the past door and walk away. Or perhaps their hearts where just more resilient, or maybe they really never gave them away in the first place.

It doesn't matter.

Her heart fits nicely in the self created cocoon of control and for now that is okay. After all, she has come so far. And she still shines like never before!

July 17, 2013

Simple Joy

My eyes caught three over sized orange wheels rolling towards the ocean. A matching orange seat supported an older woman in a white T-shirt, light khaki pants rolled up to her knees, and bare feet. Her hands hung loose in her lap and her head hung down as her peppered gray hair blew in the wind.

She was placed just where the waves kiss the shore and two men, two women, and three kids surrounded her with love. Her infant grandson screamed in glee as the water touched his toes again and again.

Two other kids ran around her in circles splashing and laughing.

One of the women took her foot and placed it in the water while the other one splashed her legs. Her head remained down, hands in her lap, hair blowing in the wind. I did not see the expression on her face change.

The family happily shared their beach time with her. Taking pictures, engaging her in an ongoing conversation while she remained responseless. She was in the center of all they did.

Eventually the two men wheeled her back onto the beach under an umbrella. Another lady sat there and immediately exclaimed, "Wasn't that just wonderful mom!"

Her expression did not change.

Later as Cass and I were walking home from the beach the two men where wheeling her chair back to their rental house.

It was a quiet walk most of the way until one said, "I just know she loved it!" The other one nodded in agreement.

I watched her head that hung down all day suddenly rise to the sunny sky. Her eyes were squeezed shut and her lips remained fixed in a straight line. She rode the rest of the way home looking towards Heaven.

He was right. She loved it!

June 19, 2013

My First Real Boss is Now my Husband!

Entering the bank looking lobby, I found a seat in as I sat waiting to meet the reverend. I tried googling him but this was before information was everywhere. I knew though that he was a large southern African American minister that was vibrant and a visionary. I was very excited to meet him.

As I waited a skinny, deeply tanned, pony tailed man dressed in granimals...(defined as khaki pants and a white or blue shirt)...walked by and said hello. I smiled and said hello back as he darted past. He looked professional but a little disheveled. I thought he was a maintenance worker or maybe drove the van to drop off people.

Five minutes later I entered the office of the minister only to see this skinny white man standing by a computer. It all made sense now, he was the tech guy.

Turning around a white Styrofoam cup was next to his lips and I hid my grimacing as he spat his chewing tobacco into the cup.

Who does that I thought.

"Nice to meet you Sarah," said the minister as I caught his blue eyes checking me out in my purple pants suit. Oh boy, he was that type of tech guy. Great!

Saving the awkward moment another lady came in. "Oh, I see you have already meet Micheal Elliott?" she said.

"Um...well...yes!" I said.

I grabbed the chair and used the moment to sit down and focus.

This was The Reverend Micheal Elliott. Oh boy.

He sat down, propped his sockless feet up on the table and spat in the Styrofoam cup again. Thank God he had on shoes!
"So, Sarah..." he said in his southern drawl...

"How much do you weigh?"  That's an illegal question to ask.

"I see you did an internship with the Buffalo Bills. Do you like football?" No. They are just people like the rest of us. We all poop.

"What are your favorite colors?" Black and red.

"Really, and you don't like football?" No

"Is your hair naturally blond?" Another illegal question, but no.

"Why do you what this job?" I need to make money. But, really I want to help others.

"Do you drink?" That is illegal to ask that question.

"Where do you see yourself in five years?" At home with my kids.

"How would you describe yourself?" What you see is not all you get. Honest, aggressive, always get the job done right. I am northern girl.

"What do you like to do in your spare time?" Read, travel, pole dance, cook and run.

"Where is your favorite place to be?" At the beach. I have always wanted to live near the beach.

"Cats or dogs?" Yes

"What is the last book you read?" The Bible

"Do you know who Frederick Buechner is?" Of course, just read Wishful Thinking

"What kind of music do you like?" Anything but rap, depends on my mood.

"You like country music?" I just said I like anything but rap. That is not rap, is it?

"Why should I hire you?" You can't live without me. Why should I work for you?

He swung his feet off the table, spat into his cup, and leaned closer to me. "Because Sarah, one day you and I will be unemployed because we have worked ourselves out of this job," he said as tears pooled in the corners of his eyes. "We will have ended homelessness in Savannah and replicated this program across the United States. And we will celebrate big!"

This southern boy lost his drawl as he fired random questions at me. And I fired answers right back. It didn't really matter what the questions were, but he needed someone that could keep up with him.

The next day he hired me to be his administrative assistant.

My second day of work he took me out to lunch and informed me that he fired everyone else before me. "Don't spell his name wrong," his wife at the time chimed in. "It's two l's and to t's." Don't..." And she went on and on and on. I tuned her out.

Later that day I saw him approaching my office wearing way too short red running shorts and a bandanna. "Employee fitness time," he beamed. "Either you run with me or you pay me $10." I laughed and said, "Can't show my boss up during my first month here."

He laughed and then sat on my desk. His itty bitty shorts were bothersome and I saw parts of my boss I never wanted to see. But at least he wasn't chewing tobacco and spitting.

"Sarah, what I need is someone to protect me. Protect my time. Everyone wants to meet with me, everyone needs me for something, everyone swears they are my best friend. You are the keeper of all that now. In one sense we are a lot like a husband and a wife. You tell me where to be and when and make sure I am there prepared."

I nodded. Please take your stuff off my desk I thought.

He bounced up off the desk and I shook my head in surprise and distaste and said, "Oh God!"

He chuckled and bounced away.

Everyone in Savannah tried to drop the old family names to me to get to see him, but they were all the same to me. I watched his time. Learned what his mood was for the day by what music he played in the morning. Listened to what he didn't say. Made distractions when he needed to get away from people. Scheduled empty time to protect his sanity. Said no often to others when they needed him. Told him the truth always. And never spelled his name wrong.

I know I surprised him in many ways.
He knew when he messed up. Often his apologies came with him dumping bags of chocolate on my desk before saying "sorry."

We made a great team for a year.

When I knew I was moving back to New York, I knew telling him would be the hardest thing. I rehearsed the most beautiful speech, full of admiration and thankfulness, but when it came time to tell him I couldn't find the words and just read my resignation letter to him.

"Damn you!" was all he said to me for the next 48 hours.

My last day they gave me a "Damn you!" party. We took one last stroll down the hallway..."Sarah, if you ever want to come back, the door is always open. Always!" he said as tears ran down his face. I nodded my head. There were no words.

It was a long time before I took him up on his offer.

But coming back was different and things in our lives both fell apart. And one day we both found ourselves sitting alone in the midst of hurt and alone. And we began deepening our friendship and discovering mutual respect and passions, and found a new door opened for us.

And we didn't wait to pass through it. And our journey has been the thrill of a world I never believed existed.

June 13, 2013

Kids, Round Two

I married a man whose kids were grown. Who lived alone with a dog and could walk around naked whenever he desired. Where a calendar didn't exist and "let's go..." meant the luxury of now.

Where vacationing half a year on his other island was possible. And laundry was nothing more than one load. Where toilet paper was bought in rolls instead of bulk packages. And the doors were never shut.

Sticky globs of I don't know what were rare and toothpaste spit didn't litter the sink. When rides in the car involved loud music just because and to not drown out the backseat fight. Where Disney did not hinder the Braves game.

Where colored out of love pictures did not adorn the walls and the counting of the ribs laughter was long gone. Where sparkle rainbows never appeared. When lazy days meant rest.

Where "uh-oh" shouts were not heard and the only mess made was by Goddess. Where shoes were never left out and the sock monster never existed. When ketchup was not a staple in the house.

When marsh mellows were not cooked in the chimanea and the cabinets were not full of sweets. Where napping meant not waking up to painted toenails.

Where Barbies, and Furby's and Polly Pockets never existed and bikes were always put away. Where the pool was to give Goddess a bath in and the outdoor shower never lacked soap.

When snuggling to watch a movie was not common and knock-knock jokes were not told. Where books stayed on the shelf and were not read out loud. Where ponytail holders came in only one color.

When conversations did not involve interruptions and bodily noises were rare. Where food prepared was always eaten and a dishwasher was not needed.

Where I love you and kisses were not heard daily and a house lost the lackluster of home. Where goodnight hugs didn't exist. When a man once lived alone.

Where we now share three more blessings, creating a blended six. When every day I am reminded just how special this man is- Happy Father's Day honey!

June 5, 2013

She was Here Before Me

When I married Mike, I gained a honey colored beauty. Golden locks adorn a whitened face accented by amber eyes.

On command performances are happily given with expectation of sweet rewards. Kisses are sloppy, butt rubs are yearned for, and the most expressive eyes get me every time.

The play with me energy often surprise me accented with "come on, let's go!" And the trance of the chase often makes me forget that a slow meander is more typical.

The "I have never met a stranger" welcomes everyone with love and often becomes every man's best friend. The rare to be angry still embodies a protective fierceness for those who are special.

Outside is the preferred location for anything, even when the southern heat causes panting and drool.

Growling and tail wags are simultaneous forms of communication for all happy occasions.

Clumps of hair litter my living room floor and often my couch looks like it is growing whiskers. Peering down at my feet I often feel like I missed shaving tons of my toe hair.

Before me, she was here. She comforted an abandoned and broken man. She licked his tears away as he laid on the floor in despair. She carried sticks in from outside to build a protective nest around his bed.

She made him take her for walks and gave him something to take care of, even when he couldn't take care of himself. She watched, and felt, and loved.

She saved him daily.

In some cultures Goddesses are associated with motherhood, love and the household. In other cultures, Goddesses rule over healing.

When she was named no one knew what the future held...but I cannot think of a more appropriate name for this wonder of a dog.

Before I married Mike I sat on the floor with her paws in my lap and looked into her eyes. I thanked her for saving him and I asked her for permission to be part of their world. She cocked her head sideways at me peering back into my eyes. She licked my face before running off to chase a squirrel.

In a house full of women, she truly is the Goddess.

May 23, 2013

You Actually Were Born to Fly

In the quiet of the morning I stood with my bare feet nestled in the soft St. Augustine grass that adorns our front yard. A very faint swishing noise catches my ear and I turn to glimpse an orange and black butterfly in flight. I watch this butterfly make loops in the air until it flies off beyond my view.

A few years ago the girls and I ordered a butterfly house and bought some butterfly eggs. We took care of the eggs and watched as they grew into caterpillars. The third stage of their life cycle was amazing as we watched the caterpillars reached their full length and form themselves into chrysalises.
 The chrysalises attached themselves to a branch in their butterfly house and began changing into butterflies. An amazing metamorphosis in the safety of their cocoon. Finally, we watched as butterflies emerged and unfolded their wings and gained strength to fly. In the end we released our butterflies into the great outdoors.

As I sit here and think about this process I am reminded of how we can relate life to the growth of a butterfly. We all start out and progress to a point until we find ourselves attached onto something--- here many of us get stuck.

We attach ourselves to the safety of a relationship despite the lack of love, to the security of a job that we have been in for years and years with no raise or challenge, to the familiarity of a place that we long have outgrown.

We stay clung to the branch sitting restless inside our cocoon because we fear the process of our own metamorphosis. We convince ourselves that it is okay. We become the greatest actors masking our wishes, dreams, and desires behind false fulfillment and a smile without joy.

Sometimes we know what we want but just can't find our way to get there. Other times life throws hell and more hell onto us that darkness overwhelms us and we muddle though each day the best we can. Some of us don't know exactly what we want; but recognize the restlessness within us to know we are not there yet.

It is okay. Most people choose to forgo finding their amazing and stay put.

For the past few years I have undergone my own transformation. Truthfully, I am still emerging. There are painful parts that I am still working through and learning to let go. There are days I want to crawl back into my safe place. It hurts. Yet, the peace I have found supersedes the pain and I continue my process.

A necessary painful exfoliation of fighting through the dark to get to the beautiful.

Others have decided it was their time too and I encourage them as they fight through their dark to find the strength to spread their wings and fly.

And God, it is beautiful to watch.

The truth is we all possess the strength to grow beyond our common and be the uniquely created being that we were born to become. Some just don't know how.

Born from our personal journey's and our desire to help others, Mike and I have spent a long time talking about what we could do. We finally realized that through the beauty of technology we could help others by offering online workshops and create an online supportive environment for others. A virtual cocoon of friends all working through their dark to emerge. After all, it's is always nice to know you are not alone.

When we released the butterflies from their house a few fought the new environment. Eventually though each one made it's way to full flight.

Are you ready?

Check out our first class starting in June focusing on Surviving Dark Times at

May 8, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

Friday looms on turning the page                                            
Another year gone by;
Body changes, a few gray hairs,
Glasses a necessity not just a rage

Getting older may not be fun
But you cannot stop;
Natural physical changes that occur,
Nope, you can't even stop just one

But the mind, on the mind one can adjust
To never lose childlike awe;
Beauty abounds in the simple,
Joyfully overdosing on wanderlust

Kisses from the ocean floor
Dancing in the rain;
Jumping into the waves
Never seeing a closed door

Singing like your inner rock star
Laughing just because;
Coloring never in the lines
Not caring it's too far

Believing in miracles so true and real
Dandelion wishes sent;
Admiring natures animals
Giving kisses endlessly, even more to steal

Rainbow reminders that something greater exists
Blessings of years gone by;
Thank you God for thirty-five
I am ready for thirty-six!

May 1, 2013

Love Lessons

The sticky late night August air swam through the crevices of the screened door. Shadows of sugar maple tree branches sprinkled across the entryway floor casting images of lovers entwined. Fireflies danced.

A small bench supported him as he sat down. He reached out and gently pulled her towards him. Wrapping his hands around her waist, he brushed the bare skin of her back accidentally as her shirt had come untucked. He placed his forehead against her stomach and sighed.

The wind kissed their skin as their hearts erratically beat. Silence loomed.

He moved his hands to her hips pulling her closer, and nestled his head deeper into her stomach.

"What do you want from me?" he whispered.

The question she had wanted for forever now made her mute.

Her head swarmed with visions of their life. Travel, adventure, simple joy. Laughter, dancing, unexpected bliss. Glimpses of beautiful, pure, wonderful love. In a moment they went from young lovers to parents to grandparents to holding hands as they rocked side by side in rocking chairs.

Her tongue wrestled to find the right words to say all this.

Time was now.

Somewhere in the distance a clock struck two times.

She placed both of her hands on the back of his head. Her deep breath made his head bob up and down for a moment.

"I don't know," she finally said. Her voice echoing eerily in the muted night.

His head shook in affirmation.

An unknown amount of time passed before he stood up, took her hand, and walked her to her car.

Before opening the door he took her face in his hands and turned her head towards him. Their eyes held mutual tears. He pulled her closer and hugged her goodbye.

She knew this was love lost.

She sat behind the steering wheel placing her keys in the ignition. He reached out and touched her through the glass of her window.

Wanting to touch her, but realizing that barrier now went deeper than a windowpane.

She would relive this night throughout her life. Not lamenting what might have been, but never missing the moment.

That night had given her an uncanny ability to face life with a force of bravery and passion that what do you want from me would never go unanswered.

And when just a little while ago, another he sat on top of the the dining room table, bare feet dangling off the side, and asked her the same question, she smiled. She walked to him, placed her hands on his knees, looked him in his eyes, found her words, and told him all that she desired.

And that was the life she received.

I stand in awe of the love I have been gifted. Knowing that I have never before felt the depths of pure unconditional bliss you have shown me. Thank you for the most beautiful life.

April 24, 2013

Lessons from a Third Grader

Sandy blond hair askew, he stood there just to the left of the classroom door. Stationed on the end of the second of three rows, he fixated on the back classroom wall at some obscure spot. It seemed as though he was oblivious to the babbling of voices creating a singsong echo around him.

He waited.

As part of the third grade historical wax museum he stood wearing his "press my button to hear my story" button. Each time your button was pushed you were to recite your story.

I stood in front him wishing I hadn't stopped. The blue of his eyes glistened behind the pools of tears they held as he averted my gaze. His nose ran adding more tear streams to his cheeks.

I looked at the teacher and asked, "Does he want me to push his button?" 

"We are encouraging him to participate," she said. 

Hesitantly, I reached out and gently touched his left shoulder where his button was.

Immediately, more tears streamed down his face. He took a deep, deep breath, started shaking, and immediately launched into his story. His gaze never left the back classroom wall. His voice remained a constant tone, even as more and more tears fell from his eyes.

I held back my own tears and smiled.

I have no idea what he said. I was too overcome with emotion to hear anything.

When he finished I bent down and looked at his beautiful face, trying to find him in his blue eyes. I grasped my hands behind my back so I did not wipe his tears away, smiled and said, "wonderful job." He remained wherever he had gone.

I watched others come up to this same boy, press his button, and wait. Through his tears and fear he shared his story. Every single time.

What made this more extraordinary is that this beautiful boy is autistic.

This was not his comfort zone and yet he stood there and participated. He couldn't help but show his fear, but no one minded. I imagine when they day was over he was elated and I hope he was so very proud of himself.

And I pray that those of us who are hindered by our fears, allow ourselves to stand in the midst of uncomfortable and find the courage to participate. When we muster up the strength to take the first step forward. When I will do this tomorrow, becomes today. When this can't work develops into well maybe. 

It is a beautiful thing to witness, an even more beautiful thing to be part of.

For there is a scared holiness touched when we take our "I can't do this..." and try. 

April 18, 2013

What would you do?

There was once a TV show called This is Your Life. Each week, an unsuspecting celebrity would be lured by some ruse to a location near the studio. He would then be surprised with the news that he was to be the featured guest. Next he was escorted into the studio, and one by one people significant in the guest's life would be brought out to offer anecdotes. At the end of the show family members and friends would gather about the guest who would then be presented with some gifts.

Viewers got to glimpse amazing lives of others. 

Now through social media we are able to do this on a daily basis. Sadly, though, almost every day I read how one of my friends is stuck. Stuck with fear in a life they are not living.

The settle for less than spectacular held back by their own narrow opinion of their capabilities.

I admit it is all too easy to limit ourselves to our narrowed perception of who we are and what we are capable of. It is fun to dream about what if, but scary to think about what if became reality.

Unless forced to changed by someone else's decision we tend to stay put. When someone kicks us out of our own life we tend to fight and scream.

"Just imagine me a year ago..." she said to me. "Had things not forced me to leave, I would never be doing what I have always wanted to. What a blessing in disguise!"

She worked for me a few years ago and when I left, she left. With her sudden free time she ran for a public office and won. Now, she is doing what she had always wanted to do.

Another friend got the courage to step away from her abusive marriage and just opened her own shop. Another lifelong dream now reality.

To many of us get caught in the day-to-day dread. We get up tired, not wanting to go to work, we go through all the motions and another day passes. We want a different day. Not because we feel it is greener on the other side, but because we are not living out our passions.

Desires of who we are burn within each of us. We are equipped and created to become..,, we often are mistaken about how we think these desires will be lived out.

"If you had permission to do what you really wanted to do, what would you do? Don't ask how, that will cut your desires off at the knees. How is never the right question, how is a faithless question. It means unless I can see my way clearly, I won't believe it; won't venture forth."

I often think of my life as a canvas and each day a new part is added to my final masterpiece. There are lots of nasty old dark blotches, but vibrant sprays of color fill most of my canvas. Small circles of bright color explode and pop as I live out my passions.

And there will come a day when I will see my masterpiece and be told, "Sarah, this is your life."

I cry today thinking of the just how beautiful that masterpiece will be.
No regrets, facing my own created fears, bumps and bruises along the way-but never kept down. 

If you gave yourself permission to do what you really wanted to do, what would you do?