Getting your life together – how to create a 5-year plan and a weekly cleaning schedule

Creating a 5-year plan

They say a goal with out a plan is just a wish.

My husband and I have so many plans. We are always planning. We are always talking about what we want to do, accomplish. We talk and talk and talk and it always comes back to, “if we could just get things together,” or, “we need to get a game plan together.”

We wanted to take charge of our lives. We’ve had some pretty big things happen in the last year. We bought a new (to us) car, bought our first house, we are int he process of buying a business. We wanted to be able to confidently say where we were going and honestly answer the question, “where do we see ourselves in 5 years.”

Personal growth and development is important. For everyone.

It can be a bit overwhelming at first, but don’t fret. It is easier than you think!

I looked at tons of website that recommended lots of different categories, and we picked which ones fit our lives best. I suggest you do the same.

We ended up with:

Financial – savings, debt, budget, spending

Family/Relationships – significant other, children, family, friends

Career – career changes, advancement

Home Life – running your household, meal planning, organization, cleaning routines

Health/Fitness – weight loss, competitions, yoga,

Self-care – exercise, meditation, eating habits, connection with your spirituality

Travel – where you would like to travel

Passions – creative pursuits, reading, writing, other hobbies

Social/community – volunteer work, community service, charities

Personal development – education, conferences, books, classes

What we did was we asked and answered these questions about each category: 

  • What is it you want to achieve?
  • What are the steps I need to take to make that goal happen?

We have been holding each other accountable and it has been great. Two weeks in and we are still as excited about it as when we were just talking about it. It’s still the beginning but at least it’s a start! Not just talking, but actual real actions!

One of the greatest game changers and the quickest way we could tell we were on the right track was implementing our cleaning schedule. We started with a semi-clean house but with a few things we needed to clean out on the day that was scheduled (like our entry-way for example.) But having our house clean has been the biggest and most noticeable change in our daily lives. Having the house clean has been so great for motivating us to start on track with our other goals. It has helped make our weekends better. We are able to spend our free time doing things together instead of with the kid bugging us and us trying to get anything done. I looked through a lot of different ones online and picked the one that I thought would work best for our family. And sticking to it has been a nonnegotiable for the past two weeks and it has been incredible.

Here is the one we used:

Cleaning Schedule


weekly cleaning schedule



Everyone’s Thanksgiving… in GIFs

You have been preparing for this day all week. You are excited about a gigantic, delicious meal. Get excited.

Plus you’ve been putting in some serious meditation and mental focusing in for the last two weeks to be able to deal with the large amount of crazy that is headed your way dealing with your entire family for a whole day.

And you know that you are going to be halfway drunk by the time you get there any way.

Then it’s time to get ready, and we all know this is a competition so you need to look fierce.

You make your entrance.

See annoying cousin, B-line for the alcohol so that you can feign pretending to care to hear about how well she is getting over that weird rash that has been plaguing her.

Then it’s starting to get late in the afternoon and you are so hungry, and the food is starting to be put out on the table and you’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting until…

Until you’ve eaten your body weight inset potatoes and turkey and you’re all:

Until someone brings out the desserts and you’re all:

Then you realize you’ve upset the ratio of food to alcohol in your stomach and you are all:

Then you realize you literally might be dying.

After dinner and dessert the small talk continues, but by now you’ve had too much to drink and the really messed up conversations begin:

Then it’s time to leave but you are basically immobile from the amount of food you’ve just eaten and the several gallons of alcohol you’ve been consuming for the past 12 hours.

Then you get a cat nap:

Then you realize it’s time to go black friday shopping!

But you’re still drunk and you’re not insane and you remember you don’t go black friday shopping. So…

Thanking our Veterans: Today and Everyday!

Veterans DayToday is Veterans Day. A day set aside to celebrate and honor those who have worn a uniform in protection of our freedom and rights as American citizens.

When I think of the veterans I know, I realize that I am constantly surrounded by them. They are my family, my father-in-law was an Army drill sergeant, my grandfather fought in World War II. My grandfather and grandmotherThey are my close friends I consider family. Everywhere I turn I am surrounded by these selfless, strong, amazingly brave people. And I stand in awe of their decision to put their lives on hold and protect our country. Some of them fought in actual wars and I can’t imagine the invisible scars they carry from having to carry that burden. Some might not have had to go into battle but that matters not in the slightest.

When I think about our veterans I am filled with love and hope for our great country. Then I think about the abhorrent way they are treated by our country and it’s citizens. Funding issues, poor healthcare during and after their service, homelessness, lack of mental health care, lack of support by the same country and people they voluntarily fought for and protected.

Veterans Day

If they are willing to potentially give their lives for our country, the very least we can do is support them 100% and since it will take a literal act of god for our government to change enough to do it, it falls on us, the citizens who enjoy the freedom they defend, to do it.

So, I ask you this Veterans Day, to take up the cause of supporting our military men and women. They deserve it. And there are countless ways you can get involved in the smallest or biggest ways.

Look up where the closest VA is and volunteer.

Write a Thank you letter to a currently service service member

Find a way to help homeless veterans in your area

Support Wounded Warriors

These are just a few of the many many ways you can help Veterans. They deserve our support. We own them at LEAST this much. I hope that you find some way to be supportive in your community.

Veterans Day

Don’t get mad. Get mobile: My response to the 2016 Election

The 2016 Election was decided late last night and today was spent in utter shock and disbelief. I didn’t think it was possible, but it has happened and now we have to look forward to where we are going.


All day long, my strong, brilliant, inspirational feminist friends have been texting, messaging, and emailing me in various states is duress and distress. From keeping distraught children home from school, to crying and depression, to starting a website to help people leave the country.

We are a passionate people. if nothing else has occurred to you in the last two years, it has to be that. Both sides, though, if we stripped away the labels of liberal or conservative are way more a like than we know. We all want what is best for our own lives, for the lives of those that we love and those around us. How those beliefs are shaped is what makes them different. Some come from a religion, other rely on reason and logic alone to guide them. But one thing is clear, we love this country and all of us want it to be great.

I had a good friend write about how she was going to promise her kids certain things and that she wondered what the world would look like when they grew up.

I, too, wondered the same thing. I write a journal to my son, that started before he was born. I write to him so that he can remember not only what was going on in the world, but what was going on in the day-to-day lives of our family.

Generally holidays and celebrations, things like that. Today’s entry was the hardest for me to write. What am I supposed to say?

I sat with an open, empty page for a long time before I wrote this, “I’m not sad. I’m not depressed. I haven’t shed a tear for my beloved country. We’re not leaving and we’re not backing down. When you read this, I hope that history has proven that I fought. That I stood up and said I will not allow hate to win.”

And I meant it.

I mean it now. I’m here to promise that I will fight.

I will choose love. And hope. And joy. And good.

I will fight for his rights. For the rights of others as I can.

Rosie the Riveter

I will show him that his mom and dad stood up. We stood side-by-side with others that didn’t look like us, pray like us or speak like us in the face of those that would otherwise tell them they are unworthy, not good enough, wrong or need to be “cured” and ‘fixed.”

I will help you understand that everyone is different and it is our differences that make us great and make this country strong. Race, color, orientation, beliefs system… there are billions of things that make each of us unique. And each of us has a right to those differences without qualification.

I’m not sad. No. I’m pissed and I hope that history shows that this election mobilized the people for REAL change. Systematic change. Substantive change that means something in real people’s lives.

So this is my charge to you, reader: DO SOMETHING.

Anything. Make a difference in your community. Volunteer. Speak up in the face of prejudice and injustice. Support those that need to be supported because the only way we are going to make it through this is together.

We are stronger together. It’s not just a campaign slogan, it’s just the plain truth.

Whatever your cause is, find a way to make a difference because our country and more importantly our world needs you.

I hope that my son is able to look back and say, “look what my mother did. She made a difference.”

I hope everyone in the future is able to look back and say, “look what they did. They made a difference.”

Don’t get sad. Don’t even get mad. Get out. DO SOMETHING.

positivity quote
[image source: D So Blu, Facebook]
Here is a quick and handy reference list to get you started. It is by no means exhaustive, just a few I found so if you’ve got a great resource, too. Comment with it or send it my way and I’ll post it. These are links to lists of groups you can get involved with:

Veterans Assistance Groups

LGBTQ Groups

Environmental Groups

Immigration-related Groups

Campaign Finance Reform Groups

Bullying Information

Inspiring Thankfulness & Gratitude: Books for Kids

13 of the Best Books on Gratitude and Giving Thanks for Kids

I am a nature lover. A lover of planet earth, of the spiritual nature of all beings and all things on this world. I love cultures and religions that champion the earth and a harmonious living within in.  So, when holidays and seasons come along that have a difficult history to jive with that, such as Thanksgiving, I always try to find a way not to be a Debbie Downer and turn it into a way to still celebrate the spirit of the holiday, while not whitewashing (literally) the bloody history behind it.

13 of the best books on gratitude for kids

Now, especially since I have a son and nieces and nephews, it is important to me to not perpetuate the popular narratives of Thanksgiving, but instead I try to focus on gratitude and being thankful in general rather than the whole “pilgrims and ‘Indians'” sat down for a happy civil meal narrative. Honor the spirit of the holiday, not necessarily the prettily wrapped up history. After all, Squanto was the only one left who survived slavery in English (and small pox) and thus knew the language and that is the reason he was able to negotiate any kind of treaty and thus a civil meal in his honor. It is even doubly important to me to not represent native peoples as caricatures of their culture, especially in the face of the tragedies going on across the country on native lands and specifically at Standing Rock.

So, I have put together a list of children’s books you can share with your little ones or classroom without any remorse, guilt, or misrepresentation. OR, just some plain cute stories about the holiday that aren’t historical at all.

1.Today I Am Grateful: Adventures in Gratitude By: Lorraine Miller

Today I am Grateful: Adventures in Gratitude

“Children can be made more grateful when the adults in their lives teach them how. Today I am Grateful is the perfect springboard for parents and educators to start helping kids see all of the goodness in their life.” —Jeffrey J. Froh, associate professor of psychology at Hofstra University

2. Grateful: A Song of Giving Thanks By: John Bucchino

Grateful: A Song of Giving Thanks

“In this exquisite picture book and accompanying CD recorded by Art Garfunkel, Anna-Lisa Hakkarainen’s radiant paintings bring John Bucchino’s words to life. A joyous celebration of the beauty of the seasons, the wonders of nature, and the blessings of faith, here is a gift to be treasured by children and adults of all ages.”

3. Thankful By: Eileen Hallinan


Who doesn’t love Spinelli?! I know I sure do. “Charming rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings. Like the gardener thankful for every green sprout, and the fireman, for putting the fire out, readers are encouraged to be thankful for the many blessings they find in their lives.”

4. Let’s Be Thankful By: P K Hallinan

Let's Be Thankful

“With colourful illustrations and charming verse, this book acknowledges people, animals, and activities that bring joy to a child’s life. Parents can read this book with their children to reinforce the concept of gratitude.”

5. Gratitude Soup By: Olivia Rosewood

Gratitude Soup by Olivia Rosewood

“Violet the Purple Fairy learns how to make Gratitude Soup by thinking of all the things, people, places, and experiences that she is grateful for, putting them in an imaginary soup pot. She is able to shrink her pot of soup with her imagination, and she keeps the gratitude warm and flowing in her heart all day and all night.”

6. Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving By: Joseph BruchacSquanto's Journey

This is a close historical version of what really happened, or as close as you are going to get. It tells of Squanto’s capture, but also how the actual original Thanksgiving tradition began. “In 1620 an English ship called the Mayflower landed on the shores inhabited by the Pokanoket, and it was Squanto who welcomed the newcomers and taught them how to survive.”

7. Milly and the Macy’s Parade By: Shana Corey

Milly and the Macys Parade

“In the spirit of Miracle on 34th Street, few people know that the first parade in 1924 was organized by immigrant employees at Macy’s eager to incorporate their old-world traditions into their new American heritage.”

8. Bear Says Thanks By: Karma Wilson

Bear Says Thanks

The Bear Books are fantastic and I highly recommend all of them, so it goes without saying that I would include this one. “Bear has come up with the perfect way to say thanks—a nice big dinner! When Bear decides to throw a feast, his friends show up one by one with different platters of delicious food to share. There’s just one problem: Bear’s cupboards are bare! What is he to do?”

9. Thanks for Thanksgiving By: Julie Markes

Thanks for Thanksgiving

A perfect “spirit of thanksgiving” book! “Everyone knows that Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks—the question is, where to begin? From the turkey on the table to warm, cozy cuddles, life is full of small things and bigger pleasures. But what is most important is being able to share them with family!”

10. The Quiltmaker’s Gift By:

The Quiltmaker's Gift

A great fable story about the joy of giving and how it can change even the coldest of hearts. Really a great story.

11. Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message By: Chief Jake Swamp

Giving Thanks

This is one of my favorites. “Giving Thanks is a special children’s version of the Thanksgiving Address, a message of gratitude that originated with the Native people of upstate New York and Canada and that is still spoken at ceremonial gatherings held by the Iroquois, or Six Nations”

12. The Thankful Book By: Todd Parr

The Thankful Book

Todd Parr is one that I always recommend to parents looking for great kids picture books. “The Thankful Book celebrates all the little things children can give thanks for. From everyday activities like reading and bathtime to big family meals together and special alone time between parent and child, Todd inspires readers to remember all of life’s special moments. The perfect book to treasure and share, around the holidays and throughout the year.”

13. Giving Thanks By Jonathan London

Giving Thanks

This is another one I ALWAYS recommend and is exactly what I envision Thanksgiving to be able. Finding ways to thank mother earth for her bounty and beauty. “How can a young boy ever show his gratitude for all the beauty he sees? He will learn from his father, who thanks the earth and the sky, the frogs and the crickets, the hawk and the deer, even the trees that wave their arms in the breeze. Majestic as the most beautiful autumn day and filled with glimpses of favorite woodland animals, GIVING THANKS is truly a gift to readers from nature-lover Jonathan London and master painter Gregory Manchess.”

How to Make a Book Tree for Christmas

I know I know I know… it’s not even Thanksgiving, so give it a rest with the Christmas post already. But this is just TOO cool not to get excited about. I know you’ve seen them on Pinterest and floating around the internet and if you really want to do it, it’s going to take some planning on your part (and unless you are a book hoarder like me… some serious book buying between now and then!)

So… first of all, gather all your books. I am lucky enough to have an extensive library of several thousand books and after buying the entire tree still didn’t even crack open all the boxes I had in storage (much to my husbands dismay!).

book christmas tree

The first thing i did after I collected all my books was find the largest and heaviest to start the base. I made it about 4 or 5 feet around, ensuring that it would be plenty tall.

Then you simply start stacking!

Finding the right books that will fit in your space is like a giant game of Tetris. The only piece of advance I can give is to separate books into small, medium, and large so that you can easily see what you are working with.

Note: I also have several hundred pre-1900 books that I didn’t want near the bottom (where little baby hands and dog noses might bother them), so I made sure those were used in the second half of my tree.

Book Christmas Tree

I left the middle open and just stacked closer and closer little by little and it worked it’s way in just fine.

Book Christmas Tree

After about 5 hours of stacking, I had a 5′ tall beauty of a Book Christmas tree! I wrapped some lights around it and basically just stared at it every time I could. It really made working in my office hard.

Book Christmas Tree

Book Christmas Tree

Thankful Thursday: 108 Years in the making

I am thankful for so many things, but today, especially I am thankful for fate. For having been born in an amazing city, to parents to are huge sports fans. For my father for instilling in me a competitive edge that carried on to this day.

I have to take this Thankful Thursday to say I am insanely thankful that I was able to not only watch the game with good friends, but to watch history being made mere blocks away from Wrigley Field. We screamed and jumped for joy. I lost my voice, decided to join my fellow Chicagoans in a sea of people in a trek to our Mecca, all while singing Go Cubs Go.

We hugged strangers, we cried. It was one of the most beautiful, meaningful moments to have been a part of. Some people might not understand the big deal, and unless you are from Chicago, it might be hard for us to explain. But all I know is when they won, my father cried and a town was rebuilt on the backs of a team from 108 years ago. If you need a little help understanding how meaningful this is to people, take a look at this video and then see how people reacted after the win:

Here is a look at Harry Caray’s grab today:

Harry Caray's grave

I am thankful that I will get to share these memories with my son and that I got to witness it with my own eyes. There have been people who died waiting to see this. There have been people who were born AND died without seeing this. It is incredible and feelings that I will never forget.

Being able to recall things like Grandpa Rossy hitting a home run in game 7 in his last at bat ever and then watching him get carried off the field by his teammates… I am literally tearing up just typing about it.

The way the city is coming together is something that is to be celebrated, too. We’ve been waiting for a long time for this. Here are a here of my favorite things on the internet to come out of the Chicago cubs World Series win so far:

Eddie Vedder Cubs Meme

In addition to being a HUGE cubs fan, I have been literally in love with Eddie Vedder since I was 10 years old and that fact that he is so intertwined with my love of the cubs makes this even more sweet for me. When I hear and saw this video, of course I cried… again. So, I’ll leave you with this and when I’ve had a little more sleep, maybe I’ll writing something a little more coherent.

This win was for my father, who as a kid would walk down to Wrigley field with his baseball bit and wait on Waveland avenue all day long for batting practice before the game in the hopes that he would go home with a souvenir. All I have left to say is, Go Cubs Go, Fly the W and This year was finally next year.

W over Chicago skyline

[source: SportsMockery]


Being Brave in the Face of Death and how Organ Donation Saved My Life

You might think from the title of this post that I had a life-saving transplant and that would be a fair assumption. But I did not. I did not, but others did. Thanks to the selfless gift of my best friend and little brother, Andrew.

It is fitting that today I am going to write about being Brave as my Facebook memory was a post from 2011, a poem written by someone my mother knows about Organ and Tissue Donation.

To My Donor

You gave me life when the tide of my life was at ebb.

You gave all you had left to give

Life restored, I am forever grateful

Yet I know not who you are.

We are now a part of one another, brought together by tragedy

I shout my thanks from the silence of my mind, for I know not to whom I am speaking

I am you; you are me, as we share what you have given, unselfishly,
Without remorse.

I cradle your gift, as sacred as life itself.

Still I know not whom to thank.

So I shall continue to whisper a prayer of thanks, until we meet again
In a more perfect place, whole again.

Joseph E. Kralicek
copyright 2005

You see, back in 2009 I received a phone call from my sister, early one Sunday morning, while I was in South Carolina during graduate school, that changed my life forever. It was odd that my sister be calling that early int the morning. She calmly asked me if I was sitting down.  I wasn’t, she told me to.

Then she delivered words that echo in my head every single day, “Andrew’s been in an accident.”

My baby brother. My best friend. The idiot who was always up for doing dumb stuff if we were bored. The goof ball who never met a stranger. The protector of his friends and family, the enforcer when it was necessary, was laying in a hospital bed, 900 miles away, in a coma.

Me and my brother

Long story very, very short, he had hit his head in a pool and broken his neck. He would never recover. By the time my then fiancé and now husband arrived with my other sister who was living in North Carolina, my brother had been declared brain-dead and was only still “alive” because he was on ventilators and other machines keeping his bodily functions going.

When I walked into the hospital room where my giant of a brother lay, not fitting on the tiny hospital bed, I was enveloped by my father’s arms. Through sobs he told me he was gone.

He then explained that they had been approached about organ donation as he had registered as an organ donor with the DMV when he got his license.

Now, you see, my brother was 22 years old, 6’4″, broader shoulders, strong, football player… you couldn’t ask for a healthier more vibrant person.  In my family’s eyes, there was no question, my brother would have wanted someone else to live on because of his death.

Me and my brother at his high school football game

He was selfless and compassionate, and had the biggest heart of anyone we all knew.  Which funny enough ended up literally being the case as his heart was too large for the first two people on the top of the transplant list, so it ended up going to the third person on the list.

Our family was called brave and strong so many times over the course of the next few weeks for our difficult decision to donate my brother’s organs and tissue after his death. But the truth is, while it was a hard time, watching the casket close on him for the last time, the easiest part was making that decision. Giving the gift of life to others is exactly what he would have wanted, and I can say that without the saccharine after-taste you get when you say something like that just to be nice.

The truth of the matter was that it might have been brave to give life to those waiting for life-saving transplants, but it saved our lives, too. Losing my brother blew my family’s core nucleus into a million pieces. We were broken, might as well have been dead ourselves, too. But having that one thing, the little tiny spark of light in such a dark time was all we needed to keep us together, to literally save our lives.

me and my brother at our sister's wedding

Knowing that my brother’s heart beats in someone else’s chest and that his lungs take breath on this earth, still. It makes all the difference in the world.

So, the last time we had to be brave in the face on insurmountable times, we might have come out battered and bent, we may have been broken for a while, but our bravery and my brother’s selfless gift of life became the glue that now holds us together and bonds us to each other and to this world around us.

My final thought is this: The most important thing you could ever do is register as an organ donor. Then talk about your wishes with your family. You never know when it is your time, and if your time is up, it will help make an impossible time for your loved ones, just a tiny tiny bit easier in the end.

donate life logo

If you are looking for more information about organ and tissue donation, please visit Donate Life America and get all the facts.

How to check in with your mental health if you are having a bad day.

How to check in with your mental health if you are having a bad day.

Let’s face it… life can be hard. Stress is, unfortunately, a way of life for a lot of people. And if you are a woman, who has a career, kids, a partner, friends, a social life, hobbies, I could go on and on and on… it can be even more difficult to feel like you are “having it all.”

I, admittedly, have it “easy.” I work full-time, from home. I voluntarily put my young son in part-time day care so that he get some other kid interaction and I can get some serious work done while he is gone. So, I at least don’t have that to worry about, as much. But I still stress out over what he eats, how much TV he watches, is he getting enough protein, are his tantrums normal?

On top of mommy stress and work stress and life stress… I have had some dark events in my past that, whether I like to talk about it or not, bring anxiety creeping into my life even on the brightest and most sunny of days. High-functioning depression and mild-PTSD are no joke when it comes to your mental health and it took me a long time to not only realize that but to do anything to try to combat these mental health issues that I was having. My family isn’t the best at communicating about these types of things. We are more of a bottle it up in side and pretend it isn’t there…

And while I still *kinda* pretend it isn’t there, outwardly, inwardly I do mental health checks when I feel the anxiety or stress beginning to take over.

I start by checking in with all of my senses. Taste, touch, smell, sound, sight.

I am a very auditory person.  What I hear makes a huge difference in my mood. So, I start by making sure I am listening to either something relaxing, meditative, or soothing. I have several Pandora stations geared towards this. Not just classical stations, but I love indie folk music. It has such a calming quality about it. I am instantly in a better mood when I hear good folk music. Another great set of sounds I found comes from hang drums. If you have never listen to hang drum music – seriously, get on that.

I love this song in particular, it speaks really well to me.

Also, it has been proven that not just BEING in nature but listening to nature is SO helpful for your mental state. So, I use several different background noise sites. This one is great for nature sounds.

how to meditate in nature

And of course, if you are a Potterhead like me, you could listen to the background noises of the Gryffindor common room.

I often use meditation and breathing exercises to bring down my stress level and it is a tremendous help. You don’t need any special equipment, special spaces or even to know what you are doing! Simply close your eyes and breath deeply, keeping track of your breath. You can sit back in your chair, on the floor or with your legs up on a wall to help destress.

meditation chant

I generally do mini-meditations for 5-10 minutes at a time and find that my inner voice that is telling me bad things is MUCH more quite after a mini-destress sesh.

Working at home, I am often in my pajamas (hey, just keeping it real…) and I find that if I simply go jump in the shower and put on “real” clothes that it can work wonders for my disposition. I can often feel cut off or isolated from the rest of the world in my little hole of an office and simply being clean and freshly dressed can turn around my mental state really quickly.

shower meditation

Finally, I will brew myself a good cup of tea. Valerian root teas, chamomile, green tea… will help ease your anxious mind, putting your mental health back in check. My favorite herbal teas are Celestial Seasonings, which you can purchase at most grocery stores or on amazon here:

These are just a few of the quick things I can do, in the moment that can help from getting my mental state derailed by a bad day. Long term things are different, like keeping a gratitude journal, for instance.

I know life can get stressful, and you never know what curveballs you are going to be thrown any given day. But I hope that these few quick methods can help you get out of a mental funk or destress on a bad day.

It’s just a bad day, not a bad life!

Death Is Nothing At All

Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we are to each other, that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. it is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well. (Beautiful word by: Henry Scott Holland)Death is nothing at allAll is well.

Reading this, as I often have and do, is one of the few things that comforts me, to this day, about losing my brother. I hear his voice saying these words softly and slow (throwing in a few , “dudes,” as I know he would). I know he is with me all the time, I feel his spirit often. I know he watches over my son and is his guardian, knowing he is the keeper of his name.

I do not, however, believe he is up in heaven. I don’t know if I believe in heaven, a place unattainable by humans without intervention. I don’t know if I want to give up that much autonomy to something that was made up by man. I believe his spirit and energy are still here and that he is now the earth and part of this universe as we all will become. The strongest impetus behind my shift in thinking was actually the Bible itself. When I came across a verse in Revelation, which states that you will not recognize your loved ones in heaven, I was stopped dead (no pun intended).

Right there: count me out. There is no, according to Christianity’s own holy book, “see you again some day,” as much as people don’t care to realize it. It certainly wouldn’t be unheard of for Christians to pick and choose what they believe the Bible says or doesn’t say… But, this verse made me reevaluate everything I believed and I decided the religion I grew up with, the religion I was told was true and right, the way the world IS and WAS… was not what I believed anymore.

I understand Christianity and it’s purpose.  I understand why it was needed before we, as a human race, understood the way the world worked. But for me, personally, I don’t need it anymore. I see it all as a made up system to keep people where the people in power want them. I don’t fault anyone who believes.  Everyone needs a belief system. The ideas of Christianity are comforting and a really great thing for a lot of people.

But not for me, anymore. I believe in the earth. In Mother Nature. In the purity of the universe to provide me with the spirituality I need. They beauty and grace people find in Jesus Christ, I find in the goddess of nature now. That is all. The tangible and physical world we live in sacred. That is now what I believe. And my brother, and all of us really, are physically connected to it, if we just listen and pay attention you can hear and feel the reverberation of energy on the universe. And the vibes you put out I also feel will come back to you.

To me, it makes death… nothing at all. To me, it means… All is well.


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