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

Hints

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.
Peace.
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Advice

Advice. We give it and we get a LOT of it…especially when it comes to parenting. Moms get so much advice from the moment they disclose they are in the process of becoming a parent. No matter how a women chooses to become a mother, there is plenty of advice(and criticism) to be given. As children grow, so does the amount or advice…and criticism.
Over 5 years ago, I chose to leave a toxic, abusive marriage. It was a horrible process during which I lost my way many times and almost lost my kids. I was grasping at straws, fighting tooth and nail to hold on to my sanity as well as my kids. In the midst of it all, I received one of the wisest pieces of advice, one I will live by for the rest of my life, from the most unlikely source….the court appointed child representative for my kids, Beth McCormack.
“Just be their mom……”
she said and continued, “They know you love them but they are hurting too…..just be their mom and keep loving them…..”
She repeated, “Just be their mom…” many times through the course of my very messy divorce. At first it frustrated me when she would say it because I was so angry and confused. I thought I was being their mom. I thought I was loving them. And I was….but I could not see it. I wanted her to tell me exactly what to do…..and she was. But I did not realize it.
“Just be their mom……”
I may not have always been the best mom, the mom my kids wanted or the mom my kids needed but I have, and will always, love them. What I needed was help to refocus and trust myself.
“Just be their mom……”
As moms we really do know our children best. I have often spoken to women over the years about trusting the “mom gut.” Trusting that intuition takes strength and support. Moms are often overwhelmed and afraid. We worry about the criticism and judgment of others when what we need to focus on is our children.
“Just be their mom……”
When we mother, and not smother, we love our kids. When we mother, creating reasonable boundaries, we love our kids. When we mother, setting individual expectations, we love our kids. When we mother, creating opportunities for failures, consequences, successes and celebrations, we love our kids. When we mother, accepting each as a unique human, we love our kids. When we mother, trusting our own intuition and gut, we love our kids.
“Just be their mom……”
Now, more than ever, women need each other. We are all struggling in one way or another. Women, in general, have the weight of the world on their shoulders. Moms are making choices that are right their family and already doubt themselves enough. We need to lift each other up, help and support one another rather than criticize each other for the difficult choices we are having to make. So when another mom asks you what to do, respond with the best advice ever……
“Just be their mom……”
Peace,
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Domestic

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month, which first began in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It was designed to raise awareness and empower others to speak up, speak out, and get help. Nearly three out of four Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Now is time to take a stand. Support survivors and speak out against domestic violence.
Domestic violence is more than physical violence. It is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Ending the harm, shame, and stigma of domestic violence requires an understanding of the behaviors that define it. It affects millions of every gender, race, religion, culture and status. It’s not just punches and black eyes — it’s yelling, humiliation, stalking, manipulation, coercion, threats and isolation. It’s stealing a paycheck, keeping tabs online, non-stop texting, constant use the silent treatment, or calling someone stupid so often they believe it. The mental wounds of Domestic Violence are invisible and run deep, with recovery often taking years of therapy.
Domestic Violence is:
Physical
Psychological
Financial
Verbal
Sexual
Digital
Stalking
Spiritual/Cultural
Damage to property
There are so many other forms of abuse and control, many that utilize the children. Once a victim has the courage to leave, they are often not safe and nor free, especially if there are children involved. Abusers use the children and the family court system in a variety of ways to continue the abuse.  The family court system is slow to change, thinking that ordering the abuser to attend anger management classes will address any issues thus correcting the abuser’s behavior. This only angers the abuser more thus empowering them in new ways.
To be clear, abusers never start out that way. They slowly, insidiously destroy the boundaries and self esteem of the victim. In a relationship with an abusive partner, the future-abuser has an agenda. And future-victim will not be aware until it’s too late. Those who abuse others are skilled manipulators who play on the fears and insecurities of others. They feed on the victims need for love and acceptance. They dish out kibbles here and there to keep the victim in line and coming back for more…..just like a casino! Lose every time you visit the casino? You stop going. You need the hope and promise of a win to continue going back. Victims always hold out hope that the abuser will change. Abusers groom victims to trust them, they learn the victims’ weaknesses and use that knowledge as fuel for further control.
What does Domestic Violence look like? It looks like the neighbor who wears a lot of makeup and long sleeves to cover bruises and then lies about how she got those injuries. It looks like the friend that never can go out with friends or when he does, he has to share a location with his partner at all times all the while his phone is blowing up. It looks like the lady in the checkout line who will not speak without looking at her partner first. It looks like a teenager who changes their whole personality for a partner. It looks like the friend who is isolated from friends and family by their partner. It looks like the depressed anxious person who can nor seem to focus, fearful of doing/saying the wrong thing, forever walking on eggshells. It looks like the one that is posting about how perfect life is…..It looks like me.
People who haven’t lived through this kind of trauma will always ask, “Why don’t they just leave?” It’s not that easy — if it was, they would. Choosing to leave an abusive partner is arguably the most life-changing and empowering decisions a person can make, especially if children are involved. Finally, the victim chooses to become a survivor. Victims live in fear and shame. The decision to leave is one that they will ponder many times before actually being courageous enough to actually leave. A nonjudgmental place of safety is what every victim craves. .
What can others do to support victims of Domestic Violence?
Watch for the signs. Start a conversation. Listen to them. Just listen. Do not pressure them. Do not tell them what to do. Do not blame them. Although your natural impulse may be to “rescue” someone from domestic violence, the person being abused needs to make the ultimate decision whether and when to leave and get help. Support them no matter their decision and continue to provide them with a loving and safe place. Once they do feel supported and safe, they will eventually make a life-changing choice. Always…
LISTEN TO THEM!
LOVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
We need to break the cycle of violence. We need to continue sharing stories, listening, supporting and loving, all the while raising awareness, empowering victims to become survivors and thrivers. Lives depend on it!
Peace.
#tutulady
#forwardisapace





Stories

I met a woman through a mutual friend. She said she was divorced as well and while we talked, I realized she was holding back. As her kids ran towards the water, I said “Tell me more.”
She said a few things and then looked at me sideways…..
“You get it! You understand…..I can just tell….. “
And then the real conversation began….
We as women need to own our truth and our story. When we do, we allow other women to do the same especially the women that surround us. Our story may not always be pretty but impression management has gotten a better of us. I know because I did it for years. We use social media to manage other people’s vision of us which has made it worse. While we are looking for the carefully curated photo and post, we have lost ourselves. We want others to believe our life is perfect, but that is not reality. That further widens the divide.  Other women feel they can not relate to our lives….when, in-fact, if we were more real, we would realize we have far more in common. 
The women that I love and relate most to are those that are imperfect. They own their story making them the bravest, most badass warriors in my eyes.  I may not know all the details of the story or those imperfections but I know that they struggle with all sorts of different issues. I know that their life is not all sunshine and rainbows, Again they may not share all the gritty details but I know they’ve been through some shit. I can relate to and admire that authenticity.  
We women need to own our story. Good, the bad and the ugly. We all have chapters that are short, some are shorter than others. We all have those long chapters we thought would never end. We have chapters that we only write in draft form and never share. We have some chapters, the details of which, have only been shared with those that are closest with us. All those chapters make up who we are as a human. 
There will always be those that want to tell our story for us.  Some that tell stories that are not theirs to tell and stories they do not understand. We can not stop them.  What we can do is fearlessly own our story and live our truth allowing our strength, truth, honesty and transparency to inspire others. 
Let’s stop worrying about what other people think. Those closest to us know the truth, appreciate our honesty and will love us unconditionally.  
 Peace,
#tutulady
#forwardisapace