Truth

“Truth –
Fully present. Calm, balanced, at peace. Living my truth. A declaration of self — my soul’s freedom. Embracing who I am and what I stand for. Aware of my faults and loving myself anyway. I am content. This is me. I accept it and that’s what matters.”
– Fellow Flowers Blue Flower

I signed up for a virtual race and chose Team Truth because ….
5 years ago I made a life altering decision.  After being married for over 20 years, I made the choice to leave my abusive marriage and filed for divorce. I made a choice so that my son could live his truth. I made a choice so that my children and I would know freedom.  I have spent every day since,  sharing my story and helping others in similar situations so that they too can experience freedom and live their own truth.So, as my son would say, here’s the “Tea”….I missed the race on Saturday.
I signed up before I knew when graduation would be held and as luck would have it….my baby boy’s high school graduation was on race day. He is the last of my 5 to graduate so….the race was put on hold. Sunday it was hot as blazes and I found a million excuses. My adult kids had spent the night and I was not ready to leave “mom mode” for a run.When I originally registered for the 10K, I was not sure about the distance. See….I have not really run since January.
Why? Well, I wanted to celebrate my birthday, planning to run 5.5 to celebrate 55. I was about a 1/2 mile from my house when my pup and I were chased by an off leash dog. I turned, looked back, missed a curb and face planted …..on my arm which snapped like a frozen twig in the cold winter air. I drove myself to the hospital (much to the shock of the ER staff) only to find out that I had a colles fracture. Closed reduction, surgery, hours of OT and here I am.  What a great way to celebrate turning 55!
Since then, I walk over 10,000 steps per day with my dog but have not really tried to run. 
This morning I went to OT before school. Today was my first and last day teaching from home since March so I had a little time! My therapist asked if I was running yet and I told her I was a little apprehensive. She is a runner too…..”it’s time…” she said.
So, during my lunch hour  I decided to put on my MTM tank, tutu, flower and try for 3 miles. Yes, I was running around my neighborhood in a tutu! Full disclosure, I tucked the medal into my pocket fully planning to take a photo and celebrate just running a 5K. 
Well, I was feeling a little like Forrest Gump,  so I kept going!  
6.2 later…..I was done!
It was not fast.
It was not pretty.
There was walking.
There was crying.
There was cussing.
There were flowers (and my blue flower got lost!)There was another big dog (this time behind a fence)
There was a nervous pup that kept looking back to make sure Momma was ok.
There was a point at which a choice was made….go big or go home.
There was a text to my BRF at mile 5 asking for a kick in the a$$.There was a response “You can do anything for 14 minutes”
There was a friend who drove by at mile 5.5 honking, hollering and playing loud music! (Totally fate!)
There was the perfect song at the perfect time from the playlist when I needed a reminder that I am a fierce badass.
There was an eight year old pup pulling me the last few blocks (because he wanted his ball!)
There was a shade tree to collapse under and take a photo. 
There were a lot of signs that told me that this was the run I was supposed to have today.
I needed this run for so many reasons. 
I stopped caring about my finish time a years ago. 
Time is numbers on a clock. 
I am content.
I accept myself, my life and live my truth.
That’s what matters.
I was Made to Move. 
Forward is MY Pace. 
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Pride

June is Pride month. It is a month to celebrate the LQBTQIA+ community. It is far more than rainbows and parades. While the rainbows and parades are important to increase visibility, the work is year round and ongoing.
Pride is about celebrating celebrating people. Pride is about protecting those trans and queer young people. Pride is about validating intersections. Pride is about honoring those that paved the way like Marsha P. Johnson and those at the Stonewall Riots. Pride is about respecting those that can not or have not come out yet. Pride is about fighting for equal rights. Pride is about doing hard shit. Pride is about love.
My Pride is that of a mom to a gay son. My. Pride is that of an ally. I serve as a safe place for those who don’t have loving and accepting family. I coach parents on how to accept the child in front of them. I coach colleagues in how to ask about and honor pronouns. I serve as a safe space in my school. I am still learning and growing in my journey. I am far from perfect but I follow my heart.
This is why I partner and volunteer with Free Mom Hugs. This organization is a group of affirming parents and allies who love the LGBTQ+ community unconditionally. They are dedicated to educating families, church, and civic leaders encouraging them to not only affirm the LGBTQ+ community but to celebrate them. Each year at pride I walk in the parade just giving hugs and listening to the spoken and unspoken words of so many. I have heard stories….so many stories. Some bring tears of joy and some bring the tears of searing pain. But it is in those moments, there is so much LOVE. Love, acceptance and affirmation…..and did I mention LOVE?
This year I have taken on the task of organizing our group for the Chicago Pride Parade. The Parade has been moved to October this year, and for that I am so grateful as I am hoping for cooler weather!
If you are someone in need of a virtual hug, an in person hug, a listening ear, or just to be seen…. I am here for you. If you need support and do not know where to turn for help. I am here for you. If you are a parent who is learning to navigate a different path and want a friend to walk with you. I am here for you. I am here for you. My head and heart are judgment free zones. I may not have all the answers for you, but I can help find resources that will not only help you but others as well.
For those that are not accepted as they are, I am your mama now. I see you. You matter. I love you!
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Love

I posted this photo and story last week but now it seems more important than ever.
*
This man was in front of me at the grocery store. I complimented his jacket and he told me he made it. I asked him if I could take a photo of it to share and he agreed. 
We stood, holding up the line, chatting for a bit. The front of the jacket had more words as well but the back is what tugged at my heart. 
The people behind us were getting a bit frustrated, so I turned and said, “Thank you for your patience. I appreciate the time to speak with someone about his art.”
They nodded…… and it was like a pressure valve was released. I think they expected me to get mean. 
I turned back to him and said, “Thank you again for chatting and letting me take a picture. God bless…. “
“No, bless you for taking time to get to know me….I love you”
And he walked away. And that was that. 
*
It is moments like this that again remind me of my privilege. It is moments like this I am reminded of the disconnect in society. It is moments like this I am reminded of the power of love.
This man took a chance by wearing his heart not only on his sleeve but on his body. He showed all those he met that there is strength and power in love.
I watched videos of reactions to the Chauvin verdict and what I noticed was a collective exhale. Visible and palpable relief. It was not justice. It was accountability. It was one man being held accountable for his actions. It does not solves the systemic issues of race inequities in this country. What this verdict does is begin to move the needle in the direction forward. We need to move forward towards creating a country where all people feel safe, loved and valued.
Moving forward happens one step at a time….one moment at a time. It all starts with love.
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Connection

2021 Pay-It-Forward:
The first five people to connect with me will receive from me, sometime within the calendar year, a handwritten note, perhaps with a gift attached. There will likely be no warning and it will happen whenever the mood strikes me.
Let’s all pay it forward this year!
🖊
Pay it forward!!
Let’s connect!! Peace, #tutulady #forwardisapace

Election

Day 3 of 30
Election day. 🇺🇸
Many people have already voted. But today is the final day to cast a ballot for this election. Many of us differ on our politics, however today is the day to put up or shut up. People have put on a uniform, fought and died so that we all have the right to cast a ballot for the candidate we feel is best for the job. I never take that responsibility lightly!
I never take that right for granted.
I exercised my freedom to cast a ballot for our future.
I cast a ballot for love.
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace