When God Says Jump, Jump!

Today I took my kids to the pool at the hotel we were staying at. It’ October, and we could still swim at the outdoor pool. I know that is a whole different subject. Anyway, it was a warm 88 degrees outside with a nice overcast, so you can imagine the pool water was slightly cold. The kids tried to ease their way into the water, but every time would run out yelling and screaming (happily), it’s so cold. I suggested they just jump in and get the initial shock over. There were tons of chatter and laughter about if they were going to jump in. Then finally they gathered together, I counted to three, and they jumped in. There was tons of laughter, excitement, and pure gratefulness that they were in the water swimming and floating. They were no longer concerned about the temperature or worried about having to ease into the water. They were simply enjoying the moment, the experience, the water.

This tiny moment was so symbolic to me. If you have been following me on Instagram, then you know I have a unique hashtag #whengodsaysjumpjump. This hashtag is a representation for me of my current journey of floating in the ocean with no raft and no life jacket. Because that is what being an entrepreneur and business owner feels like to me. Instructing my kids to jump into the pool of cold water and then counting to three and watching them do it was an aha moment for me.

God has once again instructed us to jump into the water. Right when we were getting cozy on our little raft. I have to admit I argued, begged, pleaded, asked a thousand times if he was serious, before finally jumping. There was no laughter, excitement, nor joy. There was only worry, doubt, confusion, and pure fear. Now I am in the ocean once again, I am still questioning the idea and his instructions on jumping. Was this a good idea, should we have really jumped, maybe he was joking, perhaps we missed understood. There is no swimming, giggling, laughter, or gratefulness for being in the water.

As my kids’ mother, I would never instruct them to do anything that would cause them harm or discomfort. I have their best interest and only want the best for them. Telling them to jump in the water, of course, was going to cause temporary discomfort, but I knew once the initial shock was over, they were going to have a great time, and that initial discomfort would be worth it. And they trusted me, trusted that I wouldn’t lead them in the wrong direction, trusted that I knew what I was talking about. So much so that all I had to do was count to three, and they jumped. NO questions or pushback.


Doesn’t The Universe want the best for us? Would The Universe ever cause us harm or unjustified discomfort when we are on our path of purpose? Some would have us believe the answer is yes. And honestly, if you grew up being with fear-based trust being shoved down your throat, then you probably answered yes to these. You can think of several examples from the bible showing just this. I know I was one of those that grew up with fear-based religion. And if we are speaking candid, this is why jumping when God said jump was so difficult for me. This is why I questioned the idea and notion of jumping. Can I really trust The Universe? Can I really trust that everything will be ok?


What would happen if you jump when you’re told to jump? Sure there will be a brief moment of fear, sure there will be a moment of discomfort, but once the fear, shock, and discomfort pass, there is excitement, joy, adventure, and, more importantly, freedom.

The thing is, God never intended for us to struggle with trust or fear. We have been given the ability to listen to the language of The Universe. Rather, we choose to listen and follow those instructions determines the outcome of our journey.  Deciding not to jump will prolong the reward. My kids could have opted not to jump and simply slowly ease their way into the water little by little. They would have eventually gotten the same joy and excitement in the end, but it would have taken a lot longer. The entry into the reward would have been a lot harder, as well. Trying to adjust slowly to the coldness could have taken away from the journey and the joy. It would have made them question the idea and ask is it really worth it. They would have gotten in and out in and out as they tried to force themselves mentally to get in. They wouldn’t have trusted the process that in the end, it would be worth it because they were still trying to jump unnecessary hurdles.


When God has instructed you to jump, jumping will elevate you to your goal a lot faster. You will bypass hurdles that you otherwise would have had to jump if you didn’t jump. I know it sounds crazy. I’ll give you an example. You’re floating on your raft, feeling semi-safe and secure. You know you are floating to your destination, and your perfectly fine with the estimated arrival time. God suddenly instructs you to jump. But you are overcome by fear, anxiety, distrust, and several other things, so you don’t jump. Several miles down the ocean, your raft begins to leak, there is a hole.

You panic and need to figure out a way to patch the hole. You stop at the little island you come across and spend days trying to repair your raft. While you’re there, several of your supplies are stolen. You are now short on food, water, and other significant supplies. You finally repair your raft and get back on it. Floating along, you come in contact with a storm that ultimately destroys your raft. You panic. You desperately grab on to one of the boxes of supplies and hold on to you get to another space onshore. You spend months trying to build a raft and restock your supplies. All the while, being attacked in different areas and faced with various obstacles to overcome. You question if it’s even worth it, maybe you should stay onshore and make this life work.

What you didn’t know is that God already foresaw the leak, the island, the attack, the storm, and this is why he instructed you to jump. Jumping wouldn’t have prevented discomfort, but it would have prevented additional obstacles.

Watching the fearlessness of my kids gives me hope and a renewed faith. They are fearless not because they are braver the next person, but because they trust everything will be ok. They believe in the end, it will all be great. They find joy in the unknown and discomfort. They trust my love. They are not concerned about what lies ahead; if they jump, they are only concerned with the present idea of jumping, and for them, that sounds like fun. They see it as an adventure to be conquered. They don’t have any reason to think otherwise.



What is an unskilled job? Is there really such a thing?

Is there really such a thing as an unskilled job? Are there jobs out there that require zero skills?

I would argue no. Every single job requires so form of skill, knowledge, and training.

When people start categorizing jobs and calling certain jobs unskilled, I believe this is another way we divide, judge, and make ourselves believe we are better than.

Can a low paying job provide someone with the lifestyle of their choice?

I say absolutely, depending on what the lifestyle of their choice is, the amount of debt they have, and their use of the money they earn. Let’s be honest, people spend their money on what they want or at least what they think they want. So, the amount of money a person makes doesn’t always dictate the lifestyle they live. You can take two people and put them in the same job and their lifestyles will look completely different.

Let’s go back to the idea of unskilled jobs. What classifies a skill? Is being a cook at a fast food restaurant a skill? Is being a cook at a 5-star restaurant a skill? Are they both chefs or is one a cook and one a chef? If you answered no to one and yes to other or defined them differently, ask yourself what makes one different from the other?

They both require a person to know how to do some form of cooking. You have to know how to use an oven, grill, fryer, utensil and other items. Knowledge and skill. They both require a person to be able to follow a sequence of steps. You have to be trained to know how to follow recipes and create masterpieces of food. Some would say a big mac is a work of art. There was a time when people marveled at the big mac.

One may have required formal training, but ultimately they both require some form of training and skill set. Everyone cannot cook. So, why do people look down on one and not the other? Is it the pay structure, the title, the business? Or, have we simply been programmed to find ways to make ourselves feel better and appear better than the next person? Have we been conditioned to think certain things make something better?

I imagine there was a time when being a blue-collar worker was considered hard and unpleasant work. People in those industries were sold a lie that they weren’t good enough, didn’t have enough, and weren’t living the dream because they weren’t smart enough. Most blue collar workers never wanted their children to be a blue-collar worker and no white-collar worker would ever allow their child to do the work of a blue-collar worker or worse the help. This was beneath them. Are you seeing the pattern?

Slowly, steadily and surely these jobs became frowned upon. They were considered a means to job. Work this job as a means to get to a better job. The pay structure increased, but not by much and minimum wage “unskilled” jobs continued to be frowned on.

What if these less desirable jobs paid more? Would that make them more desirable?

I believe we can learn and grow from every single job. With every job, comes the opportunity to learn a new skill, gain experience and knowledge. If we teach our kids to value people and the work they do no matter what it is that small change could result in big change.

For me, I see this work thing like a beehive, every single bee is important the job they are doing is crucial to the function of the hive. Every single bee is considered valuable. Worker bees have skills that are important to the hive as well. Because of this, I treat the janitor cleaning the doctor office with the same respect and value as the doctor. While their skills are different, they are both important to the function and health of the clinic.

Ultimately, I want my kids to do what makes them feel alive as long as it doesn’t cause harm to them or anyone else. I want them to live their passion and if that passion is cleaning toilets, then clean toilets and clean them well! I want them to live out their purpose and leave the world in a better place than it was before they lived out their purpose. I want them to know their value in whatever they choose to do is higher than a dollar amount. I want to teach them to be smart with their spending, budgeting, and debt so they are able to live out their purpose without being enslaved to the money. When money isn’t the motivating factor, you are more likely to find and live your purpose.

What do you guys think? Is there such a thing as an unskilled job? Are some skills more important than others? Does pay determine the value of a job? Let me know what you think.



Pain, Pain Go Away…

“Ouch, shit! I think I just freaking cut myself. I can’t see the back of my thigh” Turns around in the shower. “Oouch!! Yep! I cut my freaking thigh. How did I do that? I am acting like I have never shaved before. Yep, there goes the blood. Crap!”

This was the exact dialogue I had with myself in the shower the other day as I cut myself while shaving. It wasn’t an actual cut but a graze that hurt like hell, and I bled. I got out of the shower and asked my husband to bandage me up. Shortly after being bandage and going on about my day, I quickly forgot all about the pain I experienced earlier.

The wound was out of sight out of mind. I wasn’t beating myself up anymore, in fact, I forgot all about the band-aid until my husband asked me how long I planned on keeping it on. This short incident made me think about how we handle physical pain in comparison to mental pain.

Physical pain can be forgotten about with a band-aid and distraction. Mental pain almost never can be forgotten.

With mental pain, we carry it with us like a trophy. We talk about it every chance we get. We remind the person who caused it over and over. We use it as a crutch.

Think about it for a moment. What mental pain are you carrying around with you right now as you read this? It could be an argument you had with someone. Something your significant other said that you didn’t like. Something that happened in your childhood.   This thing, may have caused you real emotional pain, but what purpose is it serving right now in your life? When we hurt ourselves (like stub our toe) we don’t spend the next 20 years mad about stubbing our toe. You don’t walk by the corner of your bed saying “You stupid piece of crap, you remember that time you made me stub my toe in 2009.”  So why do we do this to people in our lives or even ourselves? Often times, people will remind the people in their lives of that one time. They carry the pain that person caused with them like a medal. They are quick to pull off the band-aid and be like you see this, you did this.

Carrying mental pain in your life prevents healing and growth. You can never truly heal and grow when you are cultivating a wound.

But, Tanyell, this person or that situation really hurt me? Understandable. Let’s talk about the healing process when you were hurt. How did you handle it at that moment? What things did you do to reduce the pain and begin to nurture the wound? When we experience physical pain, we immediately tend to the wound. We apply pressure to prevent further bleeding, we apply ointments and creams to prevent scarring or burning, we apply alcohol or peroxide to prevent infection, we apply bandages to ensure it heals properly. We do all these things so we don’t have to worry about a scar or this physical pain coming back to hunt us.

When we experience mental pain, we will sweep it under the rug. Hold in our emotions. Let the person get away with insulting us or saying something hurtful. We will hold in our thoughts or bite our tounges. We will process it over and over. We replay the moment and think about all the shoulda, woulda, coulda. We slap a band-aid on a huge wound and hope that it heals, only for the band-aid to fall off and we find ourselves furious with the scar left behind. Every time we see the person or experience a trigger we are reminded of the scar and seeing the scar pisses us off and then we address the issue sometimes passive-aggressively and other times head-on. But it’s too late.

But, Tanyell, isn’t it better to get things off our chest no matter when it is? Sure. I am not saying we shouldn’t sit down and address a person or situation that may have caused us pain in the past. However, we must understand we can never get that exact moment back. We must understand all the person can do is apologize (if they are willing) and once they have or haven’t we must be willing to move on. We can’t continue to bring up the situation over and over. This unhealthy cycle keeps us stuck.

Reliving hurtful moments propels us back to those times (it’s like a time machine) we are unable to see the blessings right in front us. We are unable to fully and completely enjoy the person today. The person today isn’t the same person who hurt you.

But Tanyell they are! Well, now we are talking about a whole new situation. If you continue to stub your toe on the same bed every single day, over and over, eventually you are going to get rid of that bed or make some necessary changes to prevent stubbing your toe. If a person continues to hurt you over and over, you need to remove that person from your life or make some necessary changes to prevent that person from hurting you.

Reminding a person who is continuously hurting you, about a time they hurt you 5 years ago serves zero purpose in your life. It isn’t beneficial.

Ok, so what do I do then? I am glad you asked! The best thing to do with mental pain is to face it head on when we experience it. The same way we do with physical pain. We must be willing to address the situation and give it the attention and nourishment it needs right then. We then have to make sure we apply the proper bandages to prevent pain and reduce any scarring. This may look like setting boundaries, changing dialogues, expressing expectations, and/or seeking counsel or coaching. Once we have taken the appropriate steps, if we experience this pain, again and again, we may need to remove the person or ourselves. Taking these steps helps ensure we heal properly and quickly. If we find ourselves triggered by something, we must assess what is causing this trigger and why. Sometimes triggers are healthy reminders and other times triggers are time machines. A healthy trigger might be you walk into a hotel room and see a bed in a corner (the same way your bed was when you would always stub your toe) and all of sudden you feel anxious or nervous. This is a trigger reminding you that you need to be careful because beds positioned this way may stub your toe. It’s a reminder a warning. An unhealthy trigger is every single time you walk into any room with any bed you find yourself frustrated and irritated. These triggers aren’t beneficial. They cause us to worry about things we don’t need to worry about. They cause anxiety and take away from enjoying the present moment.

When we experience mental or emotional pain face it head on and then let it go. Once you have nourished it and addressed it, move on from it. You may never forget it or forget what happened, but you must move on from it and let it go. Never forgetting doesn’t mean reliving it, it simply means you remember what happened and you know not to let the same thing happened again. I remember cutting myself in the shower and remember what I did to do it, I know not to do that again. However, I am not triggered by the shower or the razor. I addressed it and moved on.

Scarring from emotional pain isn’t the result of the action made, but the result of  action not taken.


inspirational, Life strategies

Live Dangerously

I have talked a lot about the purpose of life. My belief is and continues to be the purpose of life is to “live”. But what exactly does that mean? I have given examples with trees and other metaphors, but somehow this idea is still a hard one to grasp.

I was recently journaling in my “The Circle Maker  Prayer Journal”, ( I recommend this book to everyone, no matter your religious beliefs) and the quote for the day was

“stop living as though the purpose of life is to arrive safely to death”

How profound this? I had to really pause in that moment and allow this quote to sink into my spirit. You’ve read my post on stop waiting and start living, where I talk about the idea of dying and how we are all going to do it. Is the purpose to arrive at that moment safely? Is the goal of living to arrive on your death bed and say, “whew! Thank goodness I got here with no broken bones, no horror stories, no exotic memories, I got here safe and sound!” Will this safe arrival to the one place many of us fear make the arrival easier and better? I’m going to go out on a limb and say probably not.

My guess is many of us will think about all the chances we should’ve taken and how we would’ve taken those chances had we known this was the ultimate outcome (as if we don’t already know this). No one really wants to play it safe. When we play games, we take chances and go out on the limb, because we want to win and we think it’s just a game so I’m going to go for it. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but no matter the outcome at the end of the game we have a story to tell and memories to share. We learn valuable lessons for the next time we play the game and we go into the game more confident than the last time.

Isn’t life a game?


Who told you it wasn’t?

When you think back on this great philosopher that told you life isn’t a game and we need to take life seriously and proceed with caution, how was their life?

All the greats I know, played life as though it was a game, a game to be mastered and won. Many of these greats lost the game of life several times, but in the end they won. I can assure you they didn’t arrive at death safely. They had stories and war wounds to prove it. Us, too afraid to live folks, marvel in their stories and think how can we live freely like them? The question I ask is, what are you afraid to lose? Me, I am afraid of dying and never had lived. I am afraid of dying with regrets. I am afraid of dying while still living.

I am afraid of dying while still living

Many people play it safe in fear of loss and death. I don’t or can’t do that because I might lose my job, I don’t want to do that because I might die, I don’t want to go because I might die, I can’t buy that because I might lose my car. The script is different, but the plot is the same. The ultimate goal is to safely walk through life. It is only when we are faced with loss or death that we throw caution to the wind and truly begin to play the game of life. It is in these moments that we truly begin to live. The  problem with this narrative is it’s still fear driven. Fear prevents us from living while also making us live. Isn’t that amazing how one single emotion can determine the path we choose in life?  What would happen if we removed fear? It is even possible? Do we ultimately need fear to live?

Yes! We need fear to live! Fear is what drove many of the greats to be great. Fear is ultimately what forced me to jump ship. Fear is what motivate us to do the unthinkable and move into the unknown. Fear is what drives us to change.

Fear; freeing  emotions, abandoning reason.

When there is fear present we tend to either allow our emotions free or we free ourselves of emotion. If you are a person that holds onto emotions and do not allow your emotions to be known, when fear is present you may allow your emotions to flow. You may say I love you to a person you never allowed yourself to say I love you too. You may express the feelings of concern or worry. You may allow yourself to say all the things you wanted to say before but didn’t. If you are a person that is always thinking about your emotions and assessing a situation, when fear is present you may free yourself of these thoughts and emotions. If you were always worried about something or someone, when fear is present you throw those worries to the side and move pass whatever is driving the fear. Fear causes freedom.

With this freedom, there is an abandonment of reason. When you are faced with fear, you somehow no longer wrestle with reason, you simply react to move pass the situation that is causing fear. When fear is present, you somehow are no longer scared or afraid. You don’t have time to think about what if.  There is no time to reason in a “life or death” situation. If you ever been in a fearful situation, then you know the feeling of abandoning reason. We often find ourselves saying “I can’t believe I did that” It’s as though we would have never done whatever that was if fear wasn’t present. Unlike being scared fear causes action. Being scared causes you to be paralyzed. Scared is a state of being, while fear is a motivator. When you are scared you are thinking, analyzing, reasoning. When you are fearful you are doing, reacting, letting go of reason. Again there is freedom in fear.



So, how do you live in constant F.E.A.R? Ask yourself what emotion am I holding on to or hiding?  What negotiations and reasoning conversations am I having with myself? What am I scared of? Once you begin to ask yourself these core questions, you will begin to feel the fear emerge. Don’t run from it, that is scared rearing it’s ugly head trying to confuse you. Feel that fear and ask yourself what is my biggest fear? Once you allow yourself to feel the fear, you will without thought begin to take actions. Fear is jarring. One action will arise more fear and more fear will arise more action. All these tiny little actions will cause you to live! But not only live, but live in the present and live the life you want and deserve.

Remember being scared is being paralyzed, having fear is having action.


inspirational, Life strategies

Stop or Keep Going

There is a quote by Gracie Allen that says “never place a period where God has placed a comma.”

I struggled with this quote for a long time. Trying to figure out when I should keep pushing forward vs when I should throw in the towel. Often times, we get confused on to quit or not to quit. You hear things like “nothing worth having comes easy” “you have to go through it to get to it” “Nobody every said it would it be easy.” These are the little motivating lines people will throw out to us when we find ourselves at the crossroads of wanting to give up.

The other side to that coin is “ask and you shall receive.” “when you really want something the universe conspires for you to have it” “nothing is to big for God” and so on. These seem to be conflicting messages.

Then there is the quote by Oprah “life always whispers first, but if you ignore the whisper sooner or later you will get the scream”

All of these quotes can leave any person confused. How do you know if this is a comma or period, a mountain you have to climb or a whisper you need to hear. But nothing is to big for God.

I believe all of these quotes are true. I believe when we are living our organic lives the Universe will give us exactly what we need to achieve our goals. I believe nothing is too big for God and God will use his power and strength to protect us from getting in the way of our organic selves. I believe sometimes we have to go through it to get to it and it’s not easy living an organic life in a world full of preservatives. I believe we have to listen to life whispers to know there is a period and the Universe is saying go the other way, God is saying stop.

But how Tanyell? How can I tell the difference?

The difference between a comma and period is challenge and struggle.

When God is saying not yet or the Universe is saying you’re going to have to go through it to get to it you may experience challenges. These challenges may throw you off, trip you up, cause you take a moment of pause. You may even question whether you should keep going and may second guess yourself. It’s going to feel hard, but not impossible. You may face one challenge and God opens a door of opportunity then face another challenge and the Universe gives you what you need to get through that one. Either way with hard work, determination, and tenacity you will get through those challenges. This is what a comma feels like!  It feels like pause, take a break, hold on, not yet, almost but a few more things. A comma lets you know you need to stop for a brief moment but more is to come if you keep going.

When God is saying no and the Universe is whispering stop, stop, stop it feels like a struggle. Struggles knock the wind out of you. No matter how much you push and pull there is resistance. You just can’t seem to get a break one thing after another. Rather than the Universe throwing you a bone, you have to make and create ways to try and move past the struggle. These ways may make the struggle even more difficult. If you are able to create a way beyond the struggle, immediately another struggle appears. It may be bigger and harder. A period let’s us know to stop this is over, something new is coming. It allows us to reset our thoughts and prepare for new information. A period says stop here but keep going in a different direction. This is the end of this.

See we look at these as road blocks as blocking us from our destination rather than, road blocks protecting us from danger. Road blocks are designed to protect us from accidents. These roadblocks may be inconvenient but they can set us on a path of beauty if we allow ourselves to be open to the new journey.

The thing about nothing being to big for God is true, which means God can place a period in our life at any given time. He can see us trucking along on our path and he may see a ditch up ahead.

So what happens?

Life whispers STOP. Some of us are so attuned with life that we hear this whisper and we are able to stop. Some of us aren’t as attuned and may continue to drive and then suddenly we hit a road block. From here some of us are able to realize this road block is a period we need to turnaround and figure out a new direction. While a few of us think this is simply is a comma. How can I get through this roadblock. What is a period now becomes a struggle because we refuse to stop and reset.

Suddenly,  you find yourself in a ditch trying to figure out how to get out.

The key to life is knowing and having faith that God wants us to live our organic lives he wants us to have the best, and when we are living our organic lives or on the path to our organic lives the Universe will conspire to give us everything we need. But when God sees we are setting out on a path that is not conducive with our organic lives he will do everything in his power to prevent us from moving forward.

The trouble is…. free will.

inspirational, Parenting

Children Do Not Require Much

“shhhhhhhhhh, shhhhhhhh, shhhhhh. Wait Charlie, It’s too hot!” I heard my little Major say to Charlie. I went to see what exactly was to hot and what I found was the two of them nicely playing with a box. “You want to take a bath?” Major asked her as he continue to make the running water sound. I decided to sit and watch them as they carried on with this pretend bath in this box. At that moment, I realized several things. In watching this innocent pretend play among my children, I had a moment of clarity and another brick from my wall came tumbling down!

Children do not require much.

Yep, you heard it here first! But just in case you didn’t catch it, Children do not require much. I have always known that quality time over quanity of things is more important for a healthy happy child; however, I sometimes find myself getting caught up in the societal ideas of things and the idea of things my children should have. Rather it is educational toys, board games, electronic games, and the list goes on, I find myself running to the store for birthdays and holidays to buy these things, when in reality my children would rather play with miscelanous things they find around the house. Children are really simple beings, it is us who make them complicated. They only require and honestly, desire the basic needs in life food, water, shelter, and love. We, as a society, begin to put these other wants and desires into their minds and change them into something else.

As the wonderful Holiday of Christmas quickly approaches- and I for the first time in my life haven’t run out to buy up the entire stores for my children-still find my self struggling with this idea.

The noise of society swishes around in my head, “your a bad mother””what’s wrong with you” “you’re not in the Christmas spirit” “you need to get it together” “no gifts, what are you going to do for Christmas” and the noise goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying zero gifts (that many bricks didn’t fall, YET) however, I am saying quality over quantity. I am saying a packed Christmas tree is no longer necessary. After losing my mom in 2014, we decided to take a family vacation for Christmas. (A) to celebrate  what would have been my moms 50 birthday. (B) to get away and do something different after a really rough time. We skipped gifts that year and took a trip instead. Although we didn’t get to have a nice good ole fashion Christmas dinner, we did have a fantastic time. Memories were made that can’t be trashed, replaced, set aside, or forgotten.

Every Holiday we are told to go out and buy an enormous amount of stuff only to replace that same stuff with new stuff on the next Holiday. Slowly we either replace old stuff or begin to collect stuff that has no real sentimental value.

I want you to think about a thing that has sentimental value to you …………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Got it? No? Need more time?—————————————————

Ok, if you don’t have it by now, these next few sentences won’t apply to you so feel free to skip over them. For those of us who have the thing in our mind that has sentimental value, what makes this thing special? Why is important to you? What is the story behind it? What do you remember about it? Can you tell me a story about it? Sticking with the holiday theme. One thing that is sentimental to me is this little elf  we have on our tree. img_2118

This little elf is special because he has been in our family since 1978. He is important to me because he was on my granny Christmas tree, then my mothers, and now mine. I remember putting this elf on the tree every single year! I always put him on last and I remember I would get into trouble when I was younger, because I would play with him like a barbie doll with the rest of my barbies during Christmas. My granny would get so mad at me, but I absolutely loved to play with him. It was something about him that made me happy, probably the fact he is an elf!

You see the elf himself isn’t sentimental the memories around the elf are sentimental. The memory the elf brings back to my mind when I see him is what is important. Even without the elf himself, I would still have these sweet memories of putting him on the tree.

Is this resonating with you?

Are you getting this?

You see, the thing you thought of probably wasn’t opened in a sea of other things on a random Holiday full of gifts. The thing you thought of has a memory attached to it. I have bought my kids over a thousand items and many of those things they can’t remember. I believe this is because they were too busy opening the next gift and the next gift and the next gift. In a society were we are never satisfied and always saying give me more, give me more, Christmas has done nothing but to aide in this more, more, more attitude.

Think about how kids rip through gifts on Christmas, not having a moment to fully enjoy what it’s front of them, because they are looking forward to whats to come. Wow! Does that sound familiar. Sometimes as adults were are unable to enjoy what’s in front of us because we are looking for what’s next.

Learned behavior?

This Christmas we aren’t traveling, but we aren’t ripping through tons of gifts, we aren’t focusing on presents, but  we are going to focus on the present  and each others presence. I’m going to listen to my kids and give them exactly what their hearts and soul want and require connection, fully and wholeheartedly. I’m going to make memories with them that may become attached to an item they get this year, but it won’t be the item it will really be the memory! I’m listening with to my soul not to my society.

Someday, Major and Charlie will see a box and they will laugh and they will get a warm and fuzzy feeling. I imagine they will say, “I love boxes! I remember when we use to collect boxes and make up games to play with them. Now every time I see a box it makes me happy! Such great memories”


inspirational, Life strategies, Parenting

Live Inside Your Walls

After brushing my teeth, I begin to put the few things away that were straggled on my counter. As I cleared the things, I stumbled across a spiderman toothbrush cover. I picked it up held in my hand and begin to smile. It was covered in old, hard toothpaste. It must have fell behind my counter, because the kid that adored this toothbrush holder was now in college. I sat down on the edge of my bathtub and listened to the silence. The silence that was once bliss and desired more than anything in the world. Tears begin to stream down my eyes as I held this tiny toothbrush holder in my hand. I looked around my bathroom and it was spotless. Not a thing out of place. I had spent yesterday cleaning it which explains how this tiny treasure had surfaced. I had longed for so long the desire to have a spotless bathroom, you know the kind that you see in magazines. And finally the day had come, and I was sitting in my magazine worthy bathroom balling tears of sadness. Why was I so sad? I pulled myself up and got dressed. Life was so different now, my house stayed clean, I had ample amount of quiet time and I was never short on me time. My career was thriving, yet my heart wished for the ‘good ole’ days. The days when I had tiny feet running about. The days when I had people storming into my bedroom asking me for help. The days when I had tiny arms wrapping around my neck and pecking me with little kisses. The days when my days were full of joyful chaos. Why had I rushed those sweet days away? Why was I in such a hurry for things to be different? Sure, I loved my life now and I enjoyed how things were, but there was still those sweet memories of yesterday.

What is it that makes us rush our present, in hopes of a better tomorrow only to get to tomorrow and wish for another yesterday?

I find myself, as a mother of 9 children at home, hoping for better tomorrows. Hoping that one day I don’t have to fuss as much. Hoping that one day my house will stay clean. Hoping that one day I will have an hour to myself. Hoping that one day I will get a moment of peace and quiet. I find myself daydreaming of these tomorrows. The problem is while I am daydreaming of these tomorrows the today is a blur. As a mother of 1 child out of the house, I find myself wishing for yesterdays when he was tiny. I know all to well what is to come, wishing for yesterdays; however I still find myself hoping for better tomorrows.

It’s almost as though society has arranged it for happiness to be impossible. The system has been setup to never be satisfied always wishing for something. It would have us believe we are incapable of living in the present. We have been programed to be living in the past or looking to the future rather eagerly or anxiously.

I have spent a lot time talking about kicking down walls and living outside the box. But for a moment I want us to live in the box. I want us to stop and look around our tiny little box and recognize the beauty of our box. Not concerned with what is going on outside the box, not wondering how we got into the box, but simply enjoying the box. For a moment we aren’t going to try to rip down the walls and get to a better place, instead we are going to say our box is our box and it’s enough! Can you make up your mind Tanyell….. I know, I know it can seem confusing. But, part of living beyond the walls is recognizing that our walls are our walls.

Let me explain. We take the time to build our perfect little four walls. For me my walls consist of my husband, 10 children, a dog, cat, a few small animals, my private practice, our inflatable business, our spirituality and view of the world, and a few other bricks. I have been careful with building these walls, being very strategic with each brick. However, inside these walls is chaos, craziness, madness, messiness, laughter, yelling, love, tears, laughter, and a plethora of other things. People will often come inside my four walls and begin to tell me what I need to change what I need to do different. I sometimes find myself comparing my four walls to other people four walls. And slowly, the beautiful bricks that I have strategically placed and the perfectly carved wood I have placed, I begin to chisel and hammer down. I find myself beating my bricks up and cutting my wood up with should and could. I find myself saying I can’t wait until this brick is gone or this wood is moved so I can_________ fill in the blank. My once perfect walls slowly get destroyed piece by piece by piece. The light shinning through isn’t a bright happy light of promises of freedom. The light shinning through is a blinding bright light that forces me to cover my eyes. My walls are crumbling and it doesn’t feel good.

In order to repair the holes in my walls, I must begin to plug them with memories and moments of the present. Take time to enjoy the tiny moments that are happening within them. The heftiness of life and all of it’s imperfections. It means allowing my littles to sleep in the middle one more night while my husband and I hold onto the edge of the bed. It means wiping tears and cleaning non existence booboos. It means stepping over toys and framing literal wall art. It means listening to the yelling and screaming and the details of who did it. It means putting the phone down to make eye contact and fully engage in a 20 min story about a teddy bear and barbie doll. It means reading one more bedtime story.  It means walking into a bathroom with tissue hanging off the roll and toothpaste spilled across the counter top from little hands brushing little teeth.

Sometimes life beyond the walls means remaining in our four walls. Sometimes it means not allowing others to come inside of our walls and try to tear them down with their ideals and opinions. Life beyond the walls can mean seeing beyond our walls to know that everyones four walls are different and the beauty inside of each of them is to be held by the person living inside. Before you begin to chisel down the walls in your life, make sure they aren’t your four walls that you built.

After brushing my teeth, I begin to look around at the toys in the bathtub from last night baths, the toothpaste splatters on the mirror from big spits, the clothes on the floor that lead into the closet were pajamas were kept, the tissue dangling from the roll from someone who needed a piece to clean their nose. I looked around at the beautiful mess of life, fun, and memories. I took a deep breath, put my toothbrush away, and walked out of the bathroom leaving the mess for another moment. I went out into the living room and embraced myself for all the mommies and feels that were going to flood me before I could make my way to the coffee pot. I took the time and hugged each and everyone of them looking deep into their tiny eyes and feeling their tiny arms try to wrap around me. I hugged my bigs and remembered their tiny arms. I took mental pictures of this moment and listened to all the dreams and the plans for the day. I didn’t think about the dishes, the work load, the better tomorrows. I held onto this moment and closed in the holes of my walls so no light could get in and I could focus my eyes on the beauty of what was happening inside of my walls. And at that moment I begin to live life beyond the walls within my walls!