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My Granny was one of my greatest spiritual mentors. It was not until she had a stroke and could no longer walk or talk that many of the words that she had spoken to me over and over throughout my life finally really sunk into me. It was like all of her teaching time was over, and the lessons were finally transferred to me, and I began saying the words back to her….reminding her of her own lessons as she suffered greatly at the end of her life. It was beautiful and sad at the same time.

“I finally get it Granny, and now we cannot talk about it together. You can no longer speak, and I am speaking your words back into you.”

But the good news is that although she is no longer with us I did finally get it, and she has left a legacy of spiritual wisdom here on earth.

Granny had many flaws and issues. She was far from perfect, but she lived a long life of fearless faith. She showed me the power of the Holy Spirit in a surrendered and humble human being. She never made a spectacle of herself when the spirit moved her. It was not for show with her. It was reality.

She taught me far too many things to mention in one short post, but a few small examples come to mind.

She taught me about the power of spoken words to create in our lives through faith or in fear. It is our choice.

She taught me that prayer works.

Everyone used to call her and say, “Will you pray for me about such and such because your prayers work.” She would always firmly tell me, “Your prayers work too! But, yes, I will agree with you in prayer of course.”

I will never forget walking into her bedroom as a little child crying with unbearable pain in my feet…..an odd ailment that tormented me many a night in my childhood. She whisked me upon the bed with Papa and her, grabbed my feet and began praying out loud for healing. She even commanded the devil to leave my feet alone which I thought was very strange even as a child…..but to my astonishment it worked! My feet instantly stopped hurting, and that had never happened before. It was a lesson in faith that bewildered me but that I also never forgot.

I sometimes quietly told myself that she was really an angel in disguise on earth. She had learned over her long life the art of  keeping a gentle tone in her voice when dealing with us kids, and her hair was even snow-white which fit the angel persona in my childhood mind.

Although she was quite the Alpha woman, a leader, a mover and a shaker….she was also gentle and compassionate in her approach…..a delicate balance of power and humility.

Even her death seemed divinely orchestrated. She passed away quietly in her sleep early one Thanksgiving morning when the family was already gathered in from out of town for Thanksgiving Day. And it seems fitting that she would leave us with one last message just by passing on that day…..Be grateful for all of life, but do not fear death for it is also a part of life.

Last year when my family suffered two horrible losses…..the death of a baby and the sudden death of a beloved young uncle…..my mom found a copy of a prayer tucked away in my grandmother’s keepsakes. We read it at our private outdoor memorial. It seemed like Granny’s contribution to us during this difficult time. It must have been a prayer that she kept close to her heart, and it is a prayer that I hope to live by every day. I will close with the prayer:

Keep us O God from pettiness: let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.

     Let us be done with fault finding, and leave off self-seeking. May we put away all pretense and meet each other face to face without self-pity and without prejudice.

     May we never be hasty in judgment and always generous.

     Let us take time for all things: make us to grow calm, serene, gentle.

     Teach us to put into action our better impulses, straight forward, and unafraid. Grant that we realize it is the little things that create differences and that in the big things of life we are as one.

     And may we strive to touch and know the great common human heart of us all, and O God, let us forget not to be kind.                                                                                                                                                                 Amen

 

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I remember being about 12 years old when my 16 year old sister began desperately looking for an escape from our home. She had a very high SAT score so she saw entering college early as her way out. Ironically my mother did the same thing when she was 16, and I am not sure why.

My oldest sister had always been my ally. She saw it as her place to protect and defend me. She still feels guilt and remorse because she thinks that she failed or that she abandoned me by leaving. But she didn’t. I have never felt any resentments towards her for this.  She was a child too.

I did selfishly feel relieved when she did not get into college early because I knew that she would be staying, and I would have missed her terribly if she left. As I got older I had succumbed to sleeping with her every night. It felt safer with both of us in there. It seemed we were more difficult targets that way. She, being a teenager, sometimes expressed that she would like to sleep alone occasionally, but then I would just wait for her to fall asleep and slither into her room and onto her bed without making a peep or disturbing even a blanket. I could not sleep alone.

My relief that she was not leaving was short lived though. I walked into the dining room one day and saw her sobbing. She said that she had not been accepted early into school. Then she looked at me and said, “I have to get out of here Jess or I will kill him!” Those words cut right into my soul because even at 12 years old I had seen and experienced enough to know that this was no idle threat. She was serious. I then knew that I had to let her go. She had to get out. My selfishness flew out the window, and I felt the desperation for her to find a way out.

Thanks be to God some strings were pulled, and she was accepted into college early after all. She left, and as usual I tried to ignore the loss and keep moving. I had no trouble taking over where she left off….fighting my step father, protecting the little ones, and protecting my mom which was more of my own thing.

She had taught me well by example, and I could fight that man like no one else. I rarely coward from him. I always stood strong and fought after she left. I remember many times he would say, “You are just like your sister!” He did not mean it as a compliment, but I would bark back at him, “Thank you!”

There were times when he would be having one of his violent adult tantrums, and the entire family would have scattered and gotten the heck out of dodge, but I stayed. I would plant myself on the kitchen counter and watch him. I would somehow find a strength within my self that expanded my spirit way above my tiny frame, and I would not flinch or move in spite of the craziness going on before me. Then I would coolly look at him and say, “Are you finished having your tantrum now?”

That pissed him off beyond belief, but he would end up leaving the room, and I had won in some strange way. This is the strength that my sister gave me when she left. This is the strength that I found within.

I remember finally one day getting the courage to go and look in her room after she left. It was not a room left for a child to come home to. It was totally empty. Even all of her furniture was gone. It was very final, and I finally felt the loss as the tears welled up in my eyes.

I then decided to paint her room lavender and move in there myself. Then my little sister could move into my old room next door, and my little brother moved into her old room on the other side of me. I could be mother hen really well from that vantage point.

I was still very afraid to sleep alone though. This was a huge hurdle for me, and I was terrified. But I remember drawing on that inner strength again and giving myself a pep talk saying, “I am 13 years old now. I am too old to be doing this. I have to get over this fear.” I white knuckled it night after night. I would lay in bed and frantically pray all night until I fell asleep early in the morning. Sometimes I would even grab my sleeping little sister out of her bed and put her in bed with me, but it wasn’t quite the same. Slowly though it got easier until eventually I had conquered that too. I could sleep alone in my room in the dark, and I was the one who woke everyone up for school every morning. Later my little sister would be the one begging to sleep with me.

Although my older sister feels guilty for “abandoning” me she did a good thing by finally making a choice to protect herself. She had taken enough. She had reached her limit, and staying probably would have lead to a horrible end. When she found the strength inside of her to do what she had to do to care for herself  she also allowed me to find a God given strength within myself. She passed on the fighting spirit that I would need to make it for the next 6 or 7 years in that home and on into the future, and I became a woman during that time.

By making one choice for her own health and safety my sister actually helped me too. It was hard without her, but I learned to dig deep, to exercise my faith in God, and that when needed there is a spirit in my tiny self that is stronger than even an angry big man!

I have been able to use these lessons through out my life, and I have even been able to use them to fight for my sister’s life in our adulthood when it seemed that no one else could do it.

My sister gave me many gifts. She gave me comfort when I was a child, and then as I began the transition into womanhood she gave me the gift of inner strength, and it has served us both well. I thank her and God for that.

Feelings of compassion are probably no strangers to most loving people, but I can still remember the exact moment when I came to the realization that compassion is profoundly painful. Sometimes true moments of compassion can be so unbearable that I think that many of us close our hearts just a little bit in order to bear it.

All of us being human have probably experienced compassion many times throughout our lives. I can think of many times that I have felt compassion for my fellow humans or even an animal. We have all felt that ache in our hearts when we see people suffering. That ache becomes stronger and harder to bear when it is a loved one such as our child, a sibling, a parent, a spouse, or a good friend.

Sometimes it is easier to work really hard at cheering the person up, to try to solve their problem, or to try to change the subject and stop thinking about it than to allow ourselves to really feel the gravity of the pain that they are suffering.

I have found though that when we do allow ourselves to experience compassion in its fullness we connect to something more true and more real in our hearts. We learn something instantly in that moment about ourselves and about humanity. When we allow ourselves to actually feel someone else’s pain even for a moment we connect to the truth about their soul and our own. We connect to our very connectedness.

This is very different from feeling sympathy. I am talking about having a moment of actually experiencing someone else’s pain in its entirety, and this is not easy or fun to do.

I remember a time when I was about 17, and my mother had recently found out that my step father had been having an affair. She had decided to try to work out the marriage which did not work out in the end, but she was trying. Things were very uncertain during this time. Our lives were shaken.

My step father had been the source of extreme misery for our family. He was abusive, highly critical, negative, oppressive and wallowed in his own misery. He was messed up, broken, full of self-hatred, angry, bitter, and sick in many ways. And he took it all out on us.

But he had been the step father that I lived with the majority of my childhood. I lived with him from the time that I was 4 until I was about 18, and there were some good moments. There were some times that we laughed together, and there were a few moments that he surprised me with gestures of love, true affection, or kindness. This is a very confusing thing for a child. There is love for and even from an abusive parent in some strange way.

Well my mother told me that she was trying to work out her marriage with him, and she asked me to be kind to him (which was a strange thing for her to say I think.) Since I always tried to help my mother in any way that I could and had spent my life doing things to try to show her the love that I subconsciously saw that she never received from her husband…. like buying her tons of Christmas gifts, defending her in arguments with him, making sure she was okay, watching her back…etc….I got on board with her for this too.

I don’t know why I felt compelled to do this, but I got my step father a sweet card, and I wrote a pages long heart-felt letter to him. I do not even remember what it said, but it was something from a part of myself that is more loving than any other part of me because remember….he had abused and hurt me and my dearest loved ones repetitively. I left the letter for him to find.

I did not stick around to watch him read it, but later I heard him closed up in the bathroom sobbing loudly and uncontrollably. He was wailing, and I had NEVER heard this from him in my life.

At that moment I felt his pain in my heart in a way that I had never felt before. I felt his brokeness and all of the pain that caused him to treat us the way that he did. I felt his humanity, and I actually felt connected to him in a true way for the first and last time. The pain that I felt coming from his true self into my heart was one of the most unbearable feelings I have ever felt, and I could not even sit with it for very long. I had to consciously close my heart a little bit to it after a few minutes because it was so horribly painful.

It was in that moment when I felt true indescribable heartbreaking compassion for my abuser that I realized what compassion really is and the gravity of it.

I have never forgotten that moment because of the impact that it had on me and the immense lesson that I learned in that brief moment. Since then I have understood the reality of compassion in its truest form and the reality of its heavy burden. I have seen how I and others have to close ourselves from the fullness of it at times in order to protect ourselves from the extreme heaviness of it. I have realized that many times we mistake sympathy for compassion and that they are very different.

I have also realized that when we have the courage to keep our hearts open even for a brief moment to compassion in its entirety even with and especially with those who hurt us and perpetrate against us we learn lessons about the human spirit that we would never completely understand any other way.

I have been awakened to the fact that compassion is not about butterflies and rainbows like we sometimes like to think. It is hard. It hurts. It involves suffering, and it teaches us more about the purest and greatest form of love than most other things can teach us. And it is worth it.

As I travel in time revisiting the past and glimpsing into the future in order to live better in the present there is certain music that bubbles up just like the memories do. There is some melodic poetry that speaks truth about the souls of some people. The people who connect with this music all share some kind of bond because of the lives that we have lived and the ways that our souls were created. It is like you just get it or you don’t, and if you do then you know that you have an instant connection with one another. I suddenly remembered these two songs at about midnight after spending a wonderful evening with some of my siblings and my mom, daughter and niece.

I used to listen to the Indigo Girls with my friends at summer camp of all places. It is funny because it was church camp, and the Indigo Girls are lesbians! Ha! That was not what it was about for us though. Camp was some of the best times in my life as a child. I went every summer all the way through high school and even met one of the great loves of my life there.

Camp was a safe place for me. I remember feeling safe even at night in the dorm on my bunk bed as I shared a room with about 14 other girls. There were no locks on the doors. We just had screened doors actually, but when the horror movie thoughts would run through my mind I would just think, “No! I am safe here. This is Honey Creek, and God is here. Nothing bad can happen here.”

We were surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Honey Creek….. big trees with spanish moss hanging from them….. porch swings, hammocks, and decks in various natural hideaways dispersed around the grounds….. a little chapel with one wall totally made of glass that faced the water……sounds of laughter, singing, and music…..a piece of heaven….My dream was to get married there. If God could be felt anywhere it was there, and one of my friends came with my mom to pick me up one year and said, ” I see why you love this place. I could feel it as soon as we drove in.”

We sang a lot to acoustic guitars. We went to chapel every morning and right before bed, and we were incredibly free at high school camp. We were even allowed to smoke cigarettes there because back then the law allowed smoking for 17 year olds! I know that’s kind of crazy! The place was a beautiful oxymoron…freedom at church camp….imagine that! But feeling safe, free, and surrounded by loving peers was truly like a vacation from life for me. It was a refuge like no other. I always grieved heavily when it was over. It never lasted long enough.

Well we used to listen to a lot of music there, and as I said the Indigo Girls were a favorite. I guess it is because of the raw acoustic beauty of the truth that they sing about. There were two songs that especially stood out to me and resonated with me in my teen years. I suddenly remembered those songs tonight around midnight after not hearing them or thinking of them for years. As I listen to them again they still resonate with me and actually bring tears to my eyes. Yes….there is a little bit of hippy in the music, but I would be lying if I said that there was not a little bit of hippy in me. Tee hee….There is something about my life in the words of these songs. There is something about me in them.

So I will share them with you for another musical interlude of melodic poetry. I believe that the music speaks for itself. It carries me back in time to my childhood, and it speaks to me again in the present. So here are the two songs….a brief look into my soul.

Prince of Darkness  ~ Don’t let the title scare you 😉

Kid Fears ~

As a very small child I had horrible nightmares. I remember a few vivid nightmares even as far back as my babyhood. As long as I can remember I was flooded with intense fear that escalated as night fell. I never slept. I would stay up all night and keep watch because I always had this feeling that someone was coming at any moment to brutally murder me in some gruesome way.

I am not talking about being afraid of the dark. I was afraid of something heinous happening, and I would not let myself sleep because I wanted to be ready to run or fight when this horrible event occurred. I always had an instinct inside me that said, “I will not be an easy target!” I was a little girl when this began….as young as four or five or younger.

I did not know why I had such horrible fear and such gory obsessive thoughts. When asked what I was afraid of  I would always say, “I don’t know.” But I was terrified, and my sleeplessness began in early childhood. I remember telling my mom when I was around nine years old that I just could not take it anymore….that the fear and the sleeplessness was too much for me to handle….that it was ruining my life. It seemed as if no one could or would help me though.

I still have a sleep disorder. My body is well-trained to be awake at night. I no longer have the graphic thoughts that scare me, but I just do not sleep well or sometimes at all.

I have no idea where a tiny girl would get such graphic thoughts of being  violently brutalized. I never watched horror movies. I still do not watch them. They are not good for my soul, and I do not get any joy from being frightened in that way. I do not need a horror movie to add excitement or suspense to my life. I have had enough of that.

Somehow in my subconscious I just had a horrible feeling that there was a predator in my midst and that my life was going to end in some gruesome way.

And I have a waking memory that haunts me sometimes.

I was probably about 5 years old and my sister was about 9. We were sitting at the breakfast table in the kitchen, and my step-father was cooking omelets before school. I don’t think that my mother was home because we had just moved to another town when she married my step father, and she was still working an hour and a half away in our previous town. She was not there in the mornings, and she came home at night.

My older sister was sitting at the table across from me sobbing hysterically. She was yelling, “I want my dad!” through her sobs and her attempts to catch her breath. She was inconsolable, but actually no one was trying to console her at all.

I was very little, and I just remember staring helplessly at her across the table. My step father was banging around at the stove.

I just remember being frozen, staring, feeling helpless and hopeless. And I remember my sister not having a child’s tantrum but sobbing desperately, uncontrollably, helplessly…..hopelessly. And no one was there to comfort either of us.

My step father was getting more and more annoyed as the banging around the stove became more intense.

He walked up and dropped an omelet on my plate. I looked at it. I picked around at it with one hand while my head rested on my other hand. I listened to my sister’s cries and screams. My stomach turned. I got up and threw my food in the trash.

Suddenly to my dismay my step father stomped up to my sister and yelled, “Now look what you have done! You have ruined your sister’s breakfast!.”

I remember being shocked. I remember thinking, “No!”

I remember thinking, “How did I just get roped into being on his side. She did not ruin my breakfast. That is not what I was saying. Something ruined my breakfast, but it was not her!”

As a tiny five-year old girl I never said a word. I remained silent. I guess I went to kindergarten shortly after that.

I still do not know exactly what happened with my sister. I do not know what  happened to trigger her desperate cries although I have some good ideas. I cannot remember if this was an isolated incident or a regular occurrence. I know that this is a piece of a puzzle for me though because in spite of all that I blocked out for some reason this dark memory has remained with me and comes to my mind sometimes. It is like a dark shadow coming up behind me and tapping me on the shoulder and whispering in my ear, “remember.”

I believe that deep inside a part of me knew that something heinous was going on and that there was a predator in my midst. I never felt totally safe. I just cannot remember details often, and in my baby mind there was a horror movie constantly playing. I could not understand or make sense of or accept what was happening. All I knew was that there was something nightmarish going on, and I was terrified for my life.

I have been totally sucked in to the Casey Anthony trial this week. I have had emotional reactions that are different from most people that I hear talking about it. I have learned that when I have a strong emotional pull to some drama that really has nothing to do with my own life that it is because it is pointing me to something emotional about my own life that needs dealing with.

Of course the loss of a two year old girl is too much for me to imagine because my daughter is two, but strangely my heart is broken for the young mother accused of murder, Casey, also. Most people seem to want to see her as the heartless cold blooded murderer of her own precious child, but because of my own experiences I can see it differently.

So far every single witness from her ex-boyfriends to her friends and family have stated that they saw her being a very good and loving mother to her child. They said that her daughter was always with her when she spent the night out. They said that she did not spend the night out often or drink much before this because she did not want to leave the child with her parents. Was she protecting her from something? They said that she taught her a lot and interacted with her in sincere and loving ways. They said that the love between the mother and child was obvious and genuine. So why do many think that she is the murderer?

It is because of her inappropriate behavior after the child’s death. It is because she says that the child died by accidental drowning in the pool and that she hid the death and pretended as if everything was normal, along with her dad, out of fear and desperation……basically an insane response to a tragedy.

She says that she learned this kind of extreme behavior from being a victim of sexual abuse by her father. Her defense is that she was raised in extreme trauma and dysfunction and so when a tragedy occurred with her own baby she and her father made horrible decisions and continued the cycle of hiding things and moving on as if nothing happened because she was afraid of the consequences. This snowballed out of control because she had to keep lying to hide it and to remain in the extreme denial that she was living in.

Now I have no idea what really happened in this case, but unlike many my heart tells me that there is something very wrong with this family and that it does not make sense for her as a loving mother to suddenly decide to murder her daughter so that she can go party. Even a very troubled lying young woman who likes to party and has learned to live life in denial and to hide crisis behind the mask of  a happy social butterfly does not a cold-blooded murderer make.

Why is my heart so stirred for this young woman’s story?

Because it takes a person who has come from a dysfunctional background filled with family members in deep denial….filled with smiling happy faces hiding trauma….filled with inappropriate responses to crisis to understand that this really could happen to a very young woman who is hardly even an adult.

When I was growing up I was known by my friends as a social butterfly. I was the life of the party. I was the captain of the cheerleaders and full of life and energy. I even heard one of my classmates describe me as “always happy.” And not one friend ever knew what I was really dealing with at home. I was not purposely trying to be this way. I was not putting on a show. That is just the way that I was. Somehow that is just how I learned to be.

I hid things very very well. And I had a strong drive to create happiness wherever I could.

When I became a very young adult of 20, 21 years old my life started going off the rails on a crazy train. I made some very bad decisions that had traumatic consequences and once again I hid them not only from the outside world but even from my own family and kept going as if nothing happened. It was not until years and years later that I ever even began grieving over those things. And I still have the tendency to stay weirdly okay during trauma as I have written about before. I can also still keep a secret and carry it to my grave if need be. If you want someone to confide in….I’m your woman!

I have seen all of my family members engaged in some strange coping behaviors. I have seen a family member acting like a clepto from the time of his/her toddler hood. I have seen family members become compulsive liars so that they were lying about things for no reason, and so when it came to telling the truth about the abuse they had genuinely suffered people did not believe them. I have seen family members behaving violently and being committed or just having it brushed under the rug. I have seen severe addictions in many. I have seen most of  us hiding something major in our lives, and it was either kept in the family or hidden from even the family. I have seen two family members involved in cover ups together….sometimes siblings….sometimes involving a parent or even a grandparent.

So this is the reason that her defense seems possibly believable to me when others who are not used to this type of dysfunction cannot possibly believe that life could be this way.

This is the reason that my heart hurts for the young mother who acted insanely “just fine” after her little girl died.  This is the reason that instead of  strongly desiring to burn her at the stake… my heart longs to see redemption for her life.

I know from experience that a child does not grow up to be as messed up as Casey Anthony for no reason. A young woman’s life does not snowball into this horrible situation where her child is dead and she is in prison facing the death penalty just out of the blue. This kind of nightmare is exactly what it looks like when an extremely dysfunctional family just continues riding down the wrong side of the road at 100 miles an hour, and no one knows how to put on the brakes. This young girl did not happen in a vacuum. She is the product of something horrible, and that is obvious to me.

Now I am not writing this to plead her case. I could be wrong about her. I am just working on understanding myself. I am figuring out why I feel so angry when I hear people say that she is definitely lying through her teeth about the abuse that she claims she suffered. I have seen this in my own family.

I am working out the reasons that instead of hating her and wanting her dead my heart bleeds with compassion for her…..I see traces of my family members in her.

Thank God nothing ever got as far for us as it has for her.

My heart longs to see a tragic story of a tragic life filled with death, lies, pain, and soul sickness…… healed, redeemed, and restored.

That it what I am working towards for myself and my loved ones. That is what I want for all of us humans who share this kind of story.

There are certain gifts that people are just born with. Well, “gift” is not even the right word. It is who we are. It is not only part of our DNA, but it is somehow imprinted into our hearts and souls.

That is how dancing is for me. I am not saying that I am the world’s greatest dancer, but I was a born dancer. I was dancing before I could walk and begging to take classes by age three.

My parents saw this true desire and gifting in me and were good at supporting me by taking me to classes and coming to all of the performances. My mom even held my dancing as sacred for me because she stood up to my step father when he bitched about my loud dancing feet scratching up the wood floor of my bedroom on the second floor above his room. She said, “She’s a dancer! You cannot tell her not to dance!”

My dancing was the expression of my deepest soul. I danced for hours and hours in my room when I was not in the studio. I could free style and just allow the music to move me, and I also choreographed and performed daily for my family. My friends and I even spent our play time choreographing and performing for our parents during play dates.

I danced when I was sad or angry. I would passionately dance it out alone in my room. I danced when I was happy and celebratory as well. Dancing was my way of releasing everything, and it was my escape. It was my refuge. I could literally block out everything around me and enter another dimension when I was dancing whether shining like a star in front of an audience or all alone in secret solitude.

Dancing was also my way of connecting to God. I could feel a larger higher spirit pulsing through me when I danced, and I was even asked to dance in church as a young teenager. When I was finished and  “came back” to reality I saw everyone in tears in the congregation. Apparently they could feel it too. But usually this was something that I did alone with God.

When I went to college I immediately got into a dance company. At that time I was so depressed and still reeling from the things that I had been through before college that I no longer felt like dancing. I just didn’t care anymore. I could hardly dance, and that was my major red flag that something was horribly wrong in my very soul…….But that is not the story for today.

Saturday night I got the pleasure of dancing with my two-year old daughter in her very first dance recital. It was more than just a child’s recital for me because it was as if everything had come around full circle, and I was back on that dance stage. But this time I was with my baby…holding her hand….quietly whispering the next step in her ear….lifting her up….swaying and sashaying hand in hand….and experiencing her first performance with her.

What a magical and healing experience. I was taken back to all of my childhood performances. I was reliving them …not just through my daughter…..but actually with her.

Honestly I can hardly explain it, but if your soul is a dancer like mine you may understand. Or maybe if your soul is a singer or an artist of some sort you may understand too. But helping my baby as she danced for the very first time under the lights stirred my soul. It re-awakened something within me that is actually me, and I was teary eyed all weekend.

When she came outside after the show and saw her two grandmothers she gleefully said,  “I’m a dancer! I’m a dancer!”……

Wow!…… Me too!…… And forgetting that is forgetting who I am in my truest self.

I am thankful for the divine cycles that bring us back around to ourselves. And I will never forget the feeling of dancing with my baby girl in her very first performance. I will try to hang on to that feeling of life continuing…..renewing…..and healing. And I will try to dance again.