A walk in the park.

I found a wheelchair for Grandma at a yardsale for 20 bucks!! It’s nice to be able to get her out of the house once in awhile. Her walker is fine but she can’t go that far.

An actual walk in the park is a good release for the not-so-much-a-walk-in-the-park that our lives can sometimes be. This walk was especially needed and pretty awesome!

We went to Blanford Nature Center. We saw Grandma’s favorite animal, Owls, and Natalie’s favorite, Bobcats.

But, I am not going to lie. The struggle is real for me on these outings.

We can’t just go out the front door like normal people do.

We have to go through the garage because we have a weird sidewalk. Almost always there is a pile of crap in my way that I have to move. Because. HOARDERS. So I throw on Nick’s flip flops to quick clear a path through the garage and open the door.

Then, I forget to shut the house door before I open the garage door. Because. Adhd.

Then the dog gets out. She has learned ALL my tricks. Now I have to actually get in the car and start driving away before she thinks I am serious enough that she will get in the car so I can catch her.

In the mean time, Natalie has gotten outside as well, saw me “driving away” and is now SCREAMING through the neighborhood that I forgot her.

Her tears subside as I drag my 110 lb jerk of a dog through the yard to the house, where Grandma is standing in the hall, with her socks in her hand, looking for her purse.

I run back outside to get Natalie, she is now crying because she wants to go and thinks we are not going because she has to go back in the house. There is no reasoning with her. Because. Toddler.

After a long battle she finally comes in. (Reality check: I carry her in while she tries to scratch my face) Grandma is still not wearing socks but she did find her purse. I remember that I should put Natalie on the toilet.

Natalie is screaming, “I don’t WANT to go potty, Mom!!” sitting on the toilet, and now Grandma is yelling that I need to put her socks on for her. I leave Natalie on the toilet to go help Grandma.

Natalie doesn’t use the toilet like I asked her to. She pulls her pants up by herself though, which is a bonus.

I roll up Grandma’s socks to avoid touching her feet. Because. Old people feet. I discreetly hold my breath, because when I put the socks on her feet her dry skin clouds through the air like dust. Its so gross. I am a rogue lawyer. Not a podiatrist. I am allowed to feel that way.

I am polite and helpful though. And I wash my hands quietly afterwards.
Now Grandma can’t find her shoes. Natalie has taken her shoes off. And I realize I am still rocking Nick’s giant flippy floppies.

Now Grandma insists that Natalie needs a coat. Its 90 degrees out. Dementia will do that to you. There is no use arguing. I find Natalie a thin hoodie.

Grandma finally stands up and starts the trudge to the car. This is not easy for her. Its painful. Its really, rrrreeeeeaaallly, slow. It sucks. It’s painful for me to watch. As she walks of course, she starts in, nagging about the coat again. She’s frustrated. It’s frustrating for me, even though I know it’s not her fault.

The slow walking allows plenty of time for Natalie to get distracted and gather up about 40 different toys that all have to go with us. Another fight. More tears. She can bring one. “Okay, two. Fine three. Just get in the effing car!!!”

I have to get out a bath side step with a tall handle so Grandma can get in the car. During this time, Natalie is collecting rocks that will be coming with us as well. I am on watch to make sure none of those rocks magically fly towards the car or Grandma. Grandma finally gets in the car. I buckle her in. Natalie throws the rocks (to the ground, thankfully) and cries because she wanted to do the buckle.

I unbuckle Grandma so Natalie can do it and I push the walker back up to the house. I open the house door without closing the garage door, because, adhd, and, again, the effing dog gets out.

As the dog is running full force towards an unsuspecting jogger Natalie yells, “Mom, I peed my pants!” And Grandma is yelling, “You left my purse in my walker!” The jogger is startled by the 110 pound friend she just made, but is thankfully not upset AND grabs her collar. That is a huge win for me!!

I thank and apologize to the jogger and drag the dog back in the house. Then I take Natalie in the house. Her pants are changed. We get back out to the car and I finally get her and buckled into her car seat.

I put the car in reverse and start driving when I see that the garage door is still open. I get out. Shut it. Get back in. Realize I am still wearing Nick’s flip flops. Get out. Go inside. Get my own shoes. Tell the dog I hate her. Go back out to the car. And we can finally go. When we get there we realize that I never got the purse out of Grandma’s walker.

It’s all worth it for moments like these, though:

Cat Ladies

A few months ago this cat showed up at our door. For three days she just hung around the yard. We already owned one cat. I felt one cat is enough for a lifetime and we were a perfectly happy little family. I was a totally content, cold-hearted, cat hater.

On the fourth day the cat was still hanging out in our yard and it was really cold. Since I was under a vow to never own another cat I knew there would be no way her kitten eyes could get the best of me. So I placed a bowl of food and some clean water in the warm, safe, enclosed front porch.

By the time dinner was over that night Grandma had named the cat “Meisje” (pronounced My-Sha, dutch for girl) and decided it wouldn’t hurt to just let the cat in for one night. The cat immediately curled up on Grandma’s lap to sleep. A few days after that, Grandma, Natalie, and I were leaving the vet’s office with a newly vaccinated and flea treated pet.

Turns out, trips to the vet are a caretaker/toddler mom nightmare.

Since Meisje came in as a stray I had to take both her and my old cat Ryhkhey in together. There was no chance that Ryhkhey would share her carrier. But we had a ridiculous amount of empty diaper boxes. Perfect. Grandma suggested that we put Meijse in a diaper box and tie it closed with yarn.

Something you should know about Grandmas: what we do with duct tape, grandmas do with yarn.

So here we were, standing in the kitchen trying to shove this poor cat into a box, keep her there, and wrap it shut with yarn. The result was me being tied to the box and the cat escaping. Grandma finally agreed that we could try the tape.

Fast forward- cat back in the box, Grandma with her handy yarn, two year-old standing on the kitchen table, and me holding the box shut, trying to secure it with tape. I got about half-way when the tape ran out and the cat ran out too. Again.

Now we were about 15 minutes late for the appointment. That’s standard Melinda Time (I’m late for everything!) so we are still good, but it was definitely time to leave fast. The box was still not quite secure, and I was telling Natalie to get her shoes on as Grandma stood in the doorway with her coat and purse. Without a beat we were now at least 20 minutes late.

Getting grandma, two cats, and a child into the car is not a quick process so I skipped a few steps. Natalie’s shoes still fit in my pocket then (they grow so fast!!) so I scooped her up and threw her in the car seat, shoeless. Ryhkhey, who had been patiently waiting in her carrier this entire time fit perfectly in the back of the Jeep and I hastily folded up Grandma’s walker and tossed it in on top. Usually I empty the caddy in her walker but there was no time for that. I placed the diaper box of cat, half duct taped and tangled with yarn on Grandma’s lap in the front seat and we were off.

Of course, as we started driving the inevitable happened. Ryhkhey, who had been waiting so patiently, could wait no more, and did a job in the carrier. The smell made our nostrils burn and filled the jeep like the thick dense fog in cartoons.

We arrived to the office, almost 25 minutes late, but the amazing staff actually came out to the car to help unload, which was awesome. The vet tech waited as I opened up the back of the car to get Ryhkhey. At that perfect moment, the contents of Grandma’s walker caddy spilled out onto the street. Apparently it was laundry day, because inside the caddy were about 15 pair of underwear!

There I stood, almost a half hour late, with one poop covered long-haired cat, a shoe-less, toddler, a Grandma holding a box of cat (fastened with yarn and duct tape), and a giant pile of granny panties at my feet.

A day in the life.

An Illusion of Fear has a Remedy of Faith

Most of us have never paid attention to our minds. We hear our minds tell us things all the time. Mostly things we can’t, shouldn’t, or aren’t good enough to do. Then the thoughts our minds generate manifest physical sensations. Usually those sensations are related to the feeling of fear. Our human ability to think gives us a unique talent to not only anticipate risk and threat, but to also imagine it and plan for it, which is what puts us at the top of the food chain. That is why you see this image of a spider and the hair on the back of your neck stands up.

That kind of fear makes sense.

But somewhere along the way our minds got a little hyper vigilant and started making us afraid of things that don’t exist. Have you ever felt that pit in your stomach when you want to ask your boss for a day off? Or what about the burning, tingling sensation in your face when you look at your bank account and it’s almost empty? Nothing is going to jump out of a bush and eat your face off or anything, but still, you are terrified.

That kind of fear does not make sense.

It makes no sense, yet your heart is racing, your palms are sweating, your armpits are sweating, your ears are on fire. You are in fight or flight mode. Only, there is nothing to flee from. 

Your mind is sending signals to your body, telling it to produce a reaction of fear. Your body responds with those signals which loop back to your mind, validating the fear. You stand, frozen, in a mode of panic, as a victim to nothing actually, but a really messed up corporate structure going on inside of you.

This is different than a typical corporate structure though, because it turns out, YOU are the owner of this business, and YOU have all the say in what the chain of command will look like.

Eckhart Tolle brings this to perspective in his book, The Power of Now, with a strategy he outlines. This is how it goes: 

Stop thinking.

How?! Thoughts are like rapid fire.

Just close your eyes and try to catch what your next thought will be. Just try to think, “What will my next thought be?” Focus on waiting for your next thought to come so you can catch it. It’s like sitting in a tree stand during deer season. 

It’s HARD!! You have to really get past all of the noise in your head and intentionally create a thought or you will never catch the next thought you have. They just dash around like lightening bugs.

This is a profound type of realization and a seriously powerful way to pray.

The book explains that two things happen when you reach this realization. First, you discover that if you can watch your mind then naturally you must be something separate from it. Second, if you are something separate from your mind, then it, your thoughts, can’t possibly control you. 

The point is, unless a real physical threat exists, all that other junk you are afraid of isn’t real. Your mind is creating a very real reaction to something that doesn’t exist.

You have three options when you are faced with a fear like this:

  • You can listen to your mind, which we just discovered has no idea what it’s doing and is totally living in an imaginary world,
  • You can listen to your body, which is essentially a blob of meat telling your mind things that it already told your body;
  • Or you can listen to your faith and trust that you have been given exactly what you need and are perfectly, comfortably, safe.




Friday? Sunday? Same.

It’s FRRRRIDAAAAAAY! What are your plans for the weekend? I am going to try and sneak away for a bit and design the month of May. I use a lot of different tools, but one of the most profound are tools from Charley Gilkey’s arsenal. I cannot wait to get started! This month is what I was made for! I love my life and my job!

Now forget it’s Friday. Just for a minute. Imagine it’s Sunday night. You just had a great weekend and you’re brushing your teeth, getting ready for bed. If you are like most people you’re looking into the eyes of another five day workweek. The thought of another Monday probably generates a sick feeling of dreadful sadness in you. A chemical reaction to an unhappy thought. If it doesn’t, if you are genuinely happy and can’t wait to get started, then congratulations! You’ve made it. If you know the feeling I’m talking about, then you are not in alignment.

For me, it’s really bad. When I am out of alignment, my body tells me.

The feeling creeps up my back as a heavy, warm, tar-like darkness that I imagine spreading over my shoulders, pressing on my collar bone, putting pressure on the veins in my neck, making it harder and harder to breathe. It’s worse than sadness. It’s more like a grieving process. The grief turns into anger as it spreads up my cheeks getting hotter and hotter, and as it enters my nose and mouth I can’t breathe. I feel like I am being smothered, suffocating under this thick, black, sticky monster called a job. I honestly don’t know how people do it. I tried and I ended up heavily medicated with a diagnosis of adult ADHD in my early thirties. It wasn’t good.

So I quit.                                                                                                                                                   I knew there was more out there for me.

The illusion of fear told me that I would go broke, that I would be judged, that I couldn’t take care of myself. It told me I had to stay miserable if I was going to be happy. How much sense does THAT make?! But I remembered a verse, Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” I have nothing to fear. My only duty is to spread love and the word of love. I have a talent for writing. I have an amazing grandma and a precious daughter. I also have a pretty unique dog and a great story. You have something too. I promise. God doesn’t want me having anxiety attacks because I am trying to pay the light bill. And he doesn’t want that for you either.

So whatever it is, the love inside you, let it out without fear. God has this.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I don’t ever want to feel like that again, so I started writing. That is where bold courage comes into the picture. It’s scary to take control and put yourself out there. But I wanted to share this stuff, because it could help you like it has helped me. And that comes from fearless love.

I want you to know you have power, you have control, and you were designed for freedom. It’s time to find it.