Grace. Giving grace to others is about showing kindness even when it is not always deserved.  To me, grace is going out of my way to show compassion, kindness and love to someone even if they might not appreciate it, or return the favor. It is choosing to do the right thing even when someone may have hurt me in the past or might even hate the sight of me. Giving grace to others means I take the high road.
That high road is long, lonely and exhausting. Doing the right thing, giving grace, is not always my first instinct nor is it always easy. It is often difficult and painful. But in the end, I know that it is the right thing to do.
These past few years I have done what I thought was the right thing over and over again. I have witnessed my children in deep pain in many different ways. I have soaked it all up like a sponge. I have slapped on a smile and kept my mouth closed all while absorbing their pain. They each lash out and emote in different ways. I see and feel their pain like only a mom can. My momma heart knows that I am the ‘safe’ one. They know that my love is stable and unwavering, that I am not going anywhere. So they emotionally vomit all over me and I just clean it all up. I continually offer them grace.
I want things to be easier for my children. I want to take away all the pain and make things easier for them. I want to feel all the hard feelings for them so them don’t have to experience any of it. But I can’t. I know that ‘you have to feel it to heal it.’ So I offer them grace.
The same it true for my friends. I see and feel their pain too. I absorb it all. I am an emotional sponge. And I offer everyone grace.
I am terrified to let any one down, scared to disappoint anyone. It seems that no matter what I do, not matter how hard I try, it is never really enough. Doing the right thing, taking the high road, supporting everyone, is exhausting and I am so very tired. I keep trying to balance all the spinning plates, but can’t stop some from stopping, falling, breaking. There is little to no grace left.
After it is all said and done, at the end of each day, I become so overwhelmed with trying to fix things and protect people that I lose myself in the process. I struggle to find myself in it all and find my center. I struggle to find a piece of that grace I so willingly and generously offer to others.
So what then? Well, I grab the little scrap of grace that is left and hold on for dear life. I cling to what remains like a drowning person. A person drowning in an ocean of tears and feelings. A person who is struggling to stay afloat. I remain in that space, floating, until I can regain my composure, find my footing and begin again.
Give yourself some grace before there is none left for you. Allow yourself to float for a minute…or more. Because when you offer yourself grace, it is so much easier to offer it to others.


This week three people close to me passed away.
All were sudden and two were young…in the prime of life. 
And I have not cried. 
Not one single tear has escaped my eyes. 
I am numb. 
My heart aches for the families of these people and I want to take away their pain.  But my only real feeling is guilt. I feel guilty for surviving. I feel guilty for my blessings. I feel so horribly guilty for not feeling anything else at all. 
I just don’t know what to feel or how to feel it. I am so afraid to allow myself to really grieve. I am afraid that once I open that door, I will not be able to close it. I am scared that if I feel anything, it will overwhelm me. I have been in that place of all consuming grief before and almost did not make it out. I am so terrified that if I allow myself to go down that rabbit hole again, this time I will not make it out alive. And for that I feel more guilt. 
So I wonder if my numbness is my soul protecting itself. I wonder if my numbness is my heart closing ranks and saying, “Not now. It’s too heavy for you to carry.” I wonder if my head got all those messages and has shut down the circuits so as not to cause a complete system failure. 
Perhaps someday I will  feel safe enough to feel all the feelings. But, for now,  I will carry on through each day, meeting expectations and helping others with their grief while I remain numb. 
For now I will be grateful for the mercy of numbness. 


Holiday hints from Krissy Claus.
First the easy stuff….Do not count calories. Do not wear a watch. Try doing what other people feel like doing rather than being compelled to always make the plan. Stay in pj’s as long as possible each day. Getting coffee, bagels, donuts or tacos in pajamas is not only socially acceptable, it’s encouraged. Get down and look at your children when they talk to you. Or if they are getting taller than you these days, look up. Make eye contact. Cook someone’s favorite meal. Or cook your favorite and deliver to some friends. Sit by the fire and leave your cell phone in another room. Let the kids frost the cookies, trash the kitchen and get high on icing. Watch Christmas Vacation. Make pancakes with holiday M&M’s in them. If it’s not a hassle to make a fire in the fireplace, it’s an invitation. Pet your dog, especially right behind the ears the way they like it. When you grab your last minute stocking stuffers from the drugstore (admit it, I’ll see you there), pick up a couple scarves, socks, or fleece blankets to hand out to homeless people when you drive by – you can even let your kids do the honors and feel warm inside.
Now these are a bit more challenging but Krissy has faith in you! Put away your politics for a while and just love on people. Be kind …..especially to those “sandpaper people” in your life. The people who bug you are in your life for a reason, you may as well love them because they have something to teach you (as my friend says on the subject of judgment, “You spot it, you got it.” THAT makes you think twice). Don’t assume people know you love them, be clear. Ask questions and LISTEN to the responses. Active listening is a form of love. Accept people where THEY are right now…not where you want them to be or where you are in your comfort zone….you don’t have to step all the way out of your box but perhaps take down part of a wall. Think of someone you know (maybe not even very well) who has had a tough year this year and pick up the phone or put pen to paper and wish them a happier new year. Go for an evening walk and take in all the lights. Turn off all the lights in the house except the tree and sit there, at least once, late at night and recall what you are grateful for. Try to make peace with (instead of sense of) the things you don’t feel as grateful for. You are not too old or jaded to believe in magic. Everything you need is right here – every day, and especially at the holidays.


Baggage. We all have it. It is the stuff we carry around with us. All those little anxieties and insecurities that we carry with us from one day to the next, one relationship to the next, one experience to the next. We can learn it, inherit it, create it, or have it thrust upon us but what we do with it and how we carry it is up to us. It is our choice in how we handle that baggage.
I have often been called a ‘bag lady’. I love a good purse of any size…but honestly, the bigger the better! And it is in the purse, I carry EVERYTHING! I went from teacher bag to diaper bag to giant purse. I have also carried everything for everyone else. I have everything for everyone all the time. “I put in in your purse…” “It is in my purse somewhere…” are common phrases in my family. But when I slowed down and started cleaning out my purse, I realized how much crap I was carrying that was not mine and how much of my own crap that I was carrying that I did not need. I had been so insecure and afraid for years that I was carrying things ‘just in case’ out of sheer fear. I needed to unpack. I needed to prioritize what was important to ME and face the fear head on.
When I started to unpack my emotional baggage, I realized that it was taking over and defining me. Emotional baggage slows and sometimes stops us from reaching our goals. We head into emotional overwhelm without really ever realizing it. I was not just overwhelmed…..I was buried and suffocating! I needed to find a way to lighten the load.
Unpacking was not fast nor easy and I often feel like it will never really end. But just like cleaning out a purse, we have to sort and get rid of what we do not need any more.
I no longer want to carry around a steamer trunk, or even a large purse, full of stuff I don’t need. I am downsizing like a flight attendant with a small, carefully curated bag filled with only the necessities in travel sized containers.
The bag I carry now is smaller. It is packed intentionally with only what will serve me in this next stage of my life. What are you carrying around stuff that is not yours? Are you carrying around stuff that is no longer serving you? It is time to unpack and travel a little lighter.


Disconnection. You ever feel like you need to disconnect? You know….unplug and reset? I am am strong and have been for a long time but sometimes I get weary. I get tired of being strong. I get tired of carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.
We only have so much emotional bandwidth and it is all been used up….there is no more space. Other emotions that need access are getting an error message. The server can not process any more emotions as it has reached its bandwidth usage limit. The whole system is slowing down.
I have days like this, more during this time of quarantine, than even before. I ride the emotional waves but lately I have found that some days I can not handle any more input. I am on overwhelm. The constant consumption of information and comparison to others. The fleeting images and superficial comments. The criticism, negativity and judgements. It starts to eat away at the core of who I am. As an empath, I take it all personally and want to fix it all. I want everyone to be friends and help one another. Well, that is not reality. Everyone’s reality is different. Everyone carries different baggage.
We all need time to rest and recharge. Time to unplug and reset. So for today, if you are feeling that system slow down, take the time to recharge. Unplug and reset the system. Allow yourself the disconnect from everything and everyone for a bit and focus on yourself. Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.
You are are strong. You deserve rest. The world will still be here when you return, renewed and refreshed. You are worth it.