brink…

It was the September of my 20th year when the combination of feel and scent in the air took me back, ala’ movie montage moment, to so many Septembers past. High school Septembers, Jr. High autumn evenings. Flooding, internally, from one to the next.

When I was thirteen, I declared I would one day have a daughter and name her September. It turns out that I neither had a daughter, nor named a child (or pet) that. I do not regret this, just so we’re clear.

All in all, if we were keeping score, September probably shouldn’t be a favorably definitive month for me. It was when school years began, and growing up I was not a lover of school. September marked my first full month as a group home kid, when I was 12.

It carried me into my two definitive adolescent romances, which led, in different ways, to deeply broken hearts…

It also, in fairness, introduced me to my husband, when I was seventeen. That September nearly killed me, as I dealt with a health crisis of extreme proportions, which may (or may not- we will never know) have led to my inability to carry a pregnancy to term. Pretty much nothing, at all, was going remotely ok that September, but in walked Chw and I knew that the two of us would be married, so for that I will declare September 1993 a victory.

A year later, September would bring us full circle, to a horrific miscarriage.

Why it stands out to me that Septembers marked more loss than gain, I’ll never know. Sometimes my biggest gifts (I met each of the kids I loved like a mother loves, in Septembers. First, 2000 and then 2003.) Beautiful gifts, further falling in love and inevitable heartbreak.

Shattering.

Destroyed irreparably.

September…

Two of my three beloved dog besties were laid to rest in Septembers.

My husband left me for another woman in September. Though we reconciled two years later, that first September had us glued to the tv as planes hit the towers and we gained perspective unlike we’d ever had before.

SO MANY milestones of trauma mark the ninth calendar month, of the year.

And still… still, I find myself to be a lover of September. The autumn air ushers in this crisp scented magic, and I am here for it.

This year’s janky calendar had hoards of people unable to wait for summer, because summer would fix the world.

Then it didn’t.

And now, now people are chasing after pumpkins, and spice and new sweaters earlier than ever, with a misplaced faith in this next season bringing the reset needed to right the world.

I don’t know… Maybe it will. September has proven to be a magical and tricky beast. These Sept’s of past have been known to bring about some incredibly unexpected gifts- I’ll just caution us all to be weary.

Whatever these days actually hold, (and let’s be honest- it’s 2020, September could bring us ANYTHING!) I’m pretty certain we will arrive at the first of October scathed in someway.

For all of us, I hope it is a beautiful healing way… A restorative way.

I’m cautious, but also here for it. Despite the track record, I’m a September girl through and through…

A powerful thing…

A million years ago, we crossed into a new millennium.

I found myself a twenty-three year old divorcee with a trail of miscarriages, health issues and heartbreak in the jet streams behind me. Because I’d become a wife so young, and essentially achieved grown-up status as a child, in many ways it felt like I was beginning my life again.

With all of the change, why not add in my first solo-cross country move? I took a position in rural Kentucky and a Greyhound took me on the thirty-six hour adventure to my new life.

Prior to this unexpected chapter, I had always been the girl who prided herself on having an easier time forming friendships with guys, over girls. Sure, I’d had girlfriends, but I found it so much easier to be real with my guy friends. And then, suddenly I was in my new life, making new connections and friendships.

FORTUNATELY for me, the housing situation paired me with the sweetest girl, who I am still so grateful to call one of my dearest friends. Because we worked such long, and often opposite, schedules- it wasn’t super regular that we hung out. Quite often, the early foundation of our friendship was laid, brick by brick, around our shared kitchen table over Kraft mac and cheese, with music videos in the background and generic soda. We learned not only to laugh, and share, together- but I learned to heal and grow though that.

A few times, our days off aligned and we were able to take the winding mountain roads into town for a meal and some shopping. On one of these particular trips, normal for most girls but so foreign and mysterious for me, she mentioned needing lipstick.

I did not wear lipstick. In fact, I wore minimal make up. I didn’t love it, I didn’t understand it. I had never had anyone show or explain much of it, to me. I knew that my mother was glamorous and all about beauty, when she was in the mental health headspace to care about such things, but I’d left home long before I would have any interest in such things…

At some drug store, in small city Kentucky, my adorable friend Laura taught me about lipstick. She taught me about color matching, to the back of my hand, and about how a good lip color can bring with it the power to change an entire day.

Over the course of our months living near each other, this special girl would become the first deep female friendship I’d really know. She held my secrets and listened to the things. She would co-carry the load of inside jokes and sway with me to the rhythm of Dave Matthews, which was the very first magical thing to bond us. She would read a hilarious book, and then loan it to me so that we could swoon and talk about the same things. There are a thousand things my friendship with Laura shaped about my life, and the chapters of life that would unfold. I remember so much of it, etched clear as day, in my soul. The most prominent of memories though, is that Tuesday afternoon in the make-up aisle.

The truth us, a good lip color can deeply impact a lot of things, but the pure & honest friendship and support of another woman has the power to change the world.

I tell this story in this week’s episode {76} of the Collective. That is about the extent of what I bring to the table really, because our guest Katie Allen is an absolute FORCE and as she shared about reconnecting with herself, (and lipstick, I won’t lie) I was happy to just absorb her awesomeness. Women supporting women is a powerful thing!

and here we are…

A month ago I launched a mini, limited-run series on my podcast.

A month ago I prepared to celebrate turning 44.

I was hosting a giveaway for movie tickets and, for the most part, one month ago it was business as usual… We knew what the news was saying, and we heard what others were warning. It is so easy though, to live in a state of voluntary tunnel vision, isn’t it?

We human beings can pretend really well.

I was among the many, who grew more anxious about impending March changes, and yet somehow still felt blindsided when reality, Shelter in Place orders and infected numbers continued to rise…

Season three of our show was set to premiere mid-april. A powerhouse of a virtual conference was being designed for a few days later. Enthusiasm for both things was HIGH. Despite the looming threats, we had no idea how that would impact us, and how could we? The only thing we’d ever seen, remotely like the world suddenly feels, today, played out on the big screen.

When I line up guests and topics, for the show, I take a pretty organic approach. I usually follow the opportunities that come my way and seldom have to chase down a person. The upcoming season three was no exception. Most guests were scheduled and confirmed, by Thanksgiving. We were set to begin recording in March. It had all gone together so smoothly, it was easy to feel a sense of accomplishment as the calendar turned…

Ironically, there were several mental health experts, therapists and coaches lined up. As my team and I connected, via zoom, to meet our guests, mini therapy session began to unfold. While taking care of families, responsibilities, our lives and going through the minute-by-minute changes the world was sending our way- we were there on screen together, processing with experts along the way.

It was hard, and awkward, cathartic, vulnerable and all around necessary. Unplanned by us at all, we have weeks of conversations with really strong women, unfolding on the show. It’s amazing really, and humbling as I am once again seeing how important this journey is…

This week’s new episode is with Nicole Burgess. She is a psychotherapist, introvert empowerment coach and also has an awesome podcast! Within her interview the one thing you can expect is several jewels of wisdom and perspective. Nicole said so many healing and healthy things that I am sure you can hear me scribbling notes in the background.

Towards the end of this powerful episode, Nicole challenges us to determine an action step that we can do each and every day. I’ll admit, such a simple directive can be incredibly powerful during this season of uncertainty and self-isolation. (On her website, she has the opportunity for a free workshop that is also timely and relevant.)

Come listen to Episode 71, and learn along side us, better ways to get through this season, but also to give us essential items for our tool box of the future.

The Grizzlies…

And the awesomeness continues!

I’m giving away another pair of tickets! Plus, I get to tell you about a film that is garnering amazing attention!

THE GRIZZLIES (Trailer here)

THE GRIZZLIES (website) is an inspiring, true story based on a group of Inuit students in a small Canadian town who are struggling to find their way. With nothing to do in their extremely tight knit community, many of them turn to alcohol and drug abuse to ignore their problems. Arriving on a one-year teaching contract, Russ Sheppard unwittingly steps in and the whole town experiences a major shift. While at first they don’t trust this newcomer, the students and elders of Kugluktuk grow to lean on Sheppard and allow him to change their lives forever.

The film has already been released in Canada and stood at #1 for five weeks at the box office upon its release. It is entertaining, inspiring, and shares a glimpse of what many families and communities are dealing with today – mental health issues. Audiences and critics alike have been loving the true story of THE GRIZZLIES for its ability to tackle very serious subject matters with heartwarming overtones, and the film currently boasts a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (seriously, this Rotten Tomatoes score speaks volumes. As a former critic, and an AVID RT watcher, this is amazing!)

To enter:

  • leave a comment, telling me ONE person, you know, who had a large impact.
  • Share, share, share… :)
  • Giveaway winner will be chosen, at random, on 3/18

“Unfortunately due to the current recommendations around the Covid-19 virus, Elevation Pictures has decided to postpone The Grizzlies from opening in theaters this weekend.   We look forward to bringing the film to theaters and audiences at a later date.”

The Way Back…

We are a few short days away from March, and March happens to be my birth month. In an effort to redeem a lifetime of hard birthdays, I am planning to celebrate, in small ways, all month long. Even though it isn’t March yet, this post contains giveaway for one of my VERY FAVORITE THINGS, and it runs THROUGH March 4th!

The majority of us find ourselves drawn to redemption stories. As we scroll social media, the rare posts about people who have overcome really hard things, and changed their lives, seem to draw us in… We LOVE a good comeback story.

Maybe this is because we both relate and aspire for our own version of one. No one knows our own, personal hardships more than we do. No one will ever be as invested in our efforts, our successes and our failures, than us. We understand how crushing lows can feel, and we hope that our life will see those moments turned around for greatness.

We love these stories because they give us hope.

I am partnering with Grace Hill Media to promote the Warner Bros. film The Way Back, starring Ben Affleck. This inspirational film is a real and raw portrayal of how hope is found in second chances.

In this heartwarming story of redemption, Jack Cunningham (portrayed by Ben Affleck) is struggling with addiction when a priest offers him a coaching position at his former high school. He reluctantly agrees to accept the job and ends up finding a glimmer of hope for the future and shot at a second chance. The Way Back is an honest representation of how we all struggle and face set-backs in life, and emphasizes that the way back is never too far away.

In case you haven’t seen it, here is The Way Back trailer. (You can also follow it via their website, Facebook, Instagram: @thewayback, Twitter: @TheWayBackMovie)

The film opens March 6th, 2020 Nationwide

*I have two movie tickets to give away! (PLUS you’ll be entered into a special birthday giveaway, happening later in March!)

*To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment (or reply, if you subscribe by email) telling me the type of movie you love, and why!

*BONUS entries, if you share THIS POST on twitter or an IG story, AS LONG AS YOU TAG ME @rainydayinmay

Ok~ let’s chat movies!