Just Send Love…

Hiya Everyone,

Last night, I got a message from my best friend. She said the Lansing Police Department had contacted her to do a “wellness Check” on her ex-husband. A little bit later they contacted her to let her know he had passed.

Today is a day of sadness. Today is a day of anger.

I hate the disease of addiction.

He was one of the funniest men, that I have ever known. He was one of the brightest, smartest humans. There was such an ease with his gentle soul… until Addiction took over. His life became conflicted. He began to spiral and he lost it all.

He went from a prestigious position in IT with many certifications and respect, to living in a shady part of town and not able to keep a job.

He could remember random facts, and was the person you wanted on your team in any board or trivia game. He knew details and could recall any Actor, scene or title to whatever movie you were watching. He loved animals.

I remember his gentle nature and smile. I loved his laugh and his ability to make anyone feel like they were the center of the world. He did this well. My best friend had one of those picture perfect marriages… from the outside.

From the outside, looking in- we all saw how he adored her and went out of his way to make her life rich. From the outside we all saw how hard he worked to provide and how much he loved his job. From the outside, we watched him build a life in a small community and supported her dreams.

On the inside… he was withering and dying. He battled with addiction and even though he wanted to be all of these things for everyone… the addiction kept him feeling alone. It pulled him. It lured him… and eventually he believed it. He didn’t feel like he had a choice. He didn’t think he could ever stop.

My heart aches for this lost life. My heart aches for this lost possibility. My heart aches for my friend. I am so mad.

I go from tears staining my cheeks to angry with fists clenched and jaw set. I go from praying to God to help her and her family… to questioning God for allowing this to happen. I miss him. I haven’t spoken to him in years, but knowing that I never will again- brings the ache and the guilt of allowing someone their own pain.

In recovery, I have heard it said many times that sometimes a person has to die… to be free. I will hold that in my heart today. He is free.

When Paul was sick, people asked what they could do to help? My comment was “Just Send Love”. It’s a universal language and in the Love, I found healing.

I ask you today, for my friend and those who loved this man… Just Send Love. They will need it.

If you or someone you know is suffering today, I pray that you find your way. I pray that nobody ever reads a letter at your funeral about how things could have been. I ask the powers that be… to help you and guide you. May you find peace on this side… not the other.

God Bless…

Until Next time… Peace and Love~

Check Yourself….

Hiya Everyone,

It’s been a minute since I have posted a blog, I have been enjoying my summer… Today it feels like Fall… I am excited for Fall. (Don’t hate me… I am one of the crazy Pumpkin flavored everything lovers… )

The other thing I love about Fall, is the transition in me… I get to slow down. I get to re-group. I use the seasons to check in with me. I allow the seasons to guide me. In Ayurvedic Medicine, the Seasons are a time to shift… your body wants to shift. Trust me.

So another reason I am writing today is because I have an opportunity tomorrow to speak at a recovery meeting. It’s not a huge deal, it’s maybe 40-80 people… Each week, one person opens the meeting- we call it a “Lead Speak”. Tomorrow is my turn. It can be ten minutes or it can be twenty… You don’t have to have a specific topic… you can just share your story.

I have been thinking about what I should share. In recovery, they teach us to share our ES&H… which is short for Experience Strength and Hope. The problem is… I feel like a Comedian- who needs new material! You ever watch someone and think… damn, I have heard this before. They need to get new stuff… that’s my fear.

So I was chatting with a sponsee yesterday and decided I would speak about “Having fun in recovery” Or “learning how to have fun” in general. It’s sad, like really sad… because most of us recovering addicts- don’t know how to be silly. We were not taught how to feel safe and to be child-like.

How many times did you hear, “Grow up… stop it… Behave… Act your age”??? I know, I did. It’s almost like I skipped that stage… being a kid.

So today, as a 53 year old grandmother… I am learning to be okay with being silly. To not take myself and other people so seriously. I can let you be you… and I can not carry your shit with me… I don’t have to look for your reaction to be okay. I don’t need your approval today. But… that was a process. So- that’s what I am going to share at the Lead Speak.

I also think I will talk a little about allowing other people to feel their own pain. Say what?? Ya… that’s hard, I know… but it’s necessary. I can’t save the world. I can barely save me. Along those same lines, I wanna mention what it feels like or how to recognize when we need to be aware of something. When we need to address an old wound…

A few weeks ago I posted something on social media, I won’t share what it was, because I don’t want to call anyone out. But here is the thing that sort of miffed me. (Is that a word? Please don’t go grammar Natzi on me…) Anyway, a person commented on my post, to “one up me”. (Or that’s what it felt like… and that feeling, alerted me to an area that I need to look at- in me.)

I am not even sure if they did it on purpose. But here is what I have learned about me over the past 20 years of soul searching and digging… people are brought into our lives to teach us something about us. When people irritate us, “miff” us, or in general just rub us the wrong way… it’s usually something about ourselves that we don’t like. (Here is where you can smack your own forehead….)

SO… I have to check myself. I have to look within to see why or what is going on? I have to genuinely look at myself and understand why it bothers me. Am I like this? Do I do this to other people? Is it my ego that is being challenged? Why does it bother me??

Someone once told me “If you spot it, You got it.” At the time, I wanted to smack them upside the head… really. What?? But when I step back… I can see clearly.

If I can recognize a defect of character in someone else, it must mean that I am capable of this action myself. Most of the time, it’s something in myself that I do not like. Sometimes, it’s an old wound that I haven’t addressed.

How is this done? How do we heal those old hurts? How do we not keep picking at it and finally let it go?

1) The first step is recognize that you want to change.

2) The second is to make a decision to change.

3) The third step- and this is HUGE, we have to make a decision to allow other people to not be okay with the new us. (Insert new decision, a change… whatever you’re trying to do.) Too often we will abandon our idea or our commitment, when we are challenged by someone in our group.

Here’s an example… Let’s say that I want to stop eating potato chips. If I make a decision to not eat potato chips, and my friend buys me a bag of my favorite kind… I should be able to politely refuse the gift. If my friend gets upset and says something like- “That’s the the last time that I buy you anything….” (insert eye roll here… really- my friends don’t treat me like this… but follow along- this is good.)

If my friend couldn’t honor my change or my decision, and they started pressuring me… and I didn’t want to hurt their feelings… so I ate the chips to not hurt their feelings…. this is what I am talking about.

We have to be okay with allowing people to disagree with our decision and to allow them to not be okay. It’s not up to me, to make sure everyone is okay with my evolving. I am constantly creating a new version of me… remember?? I get to be whoever and whatever, I chose to be!

Okay, I completely got away from the social media post… backing up to the post. What was so upsetting about the comment? Why did I get irritated? Because I felt like this person was making me look dumb. (It wasn’t their intention… I know… but it stung a little.) Why??

It stung a little because I have not gone to college. I don’t have a degree. I know a lot, about a lot… but I am not a college graduate. Why is it hard for me to allow people to know more than me?

When this happens, I breathe deeply. Settle back into my truth… and know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I am smart. I have a good handle on many things. I am not an expert on them… but I am enough.

My name is Denise, I am a Daughter, Sister, Friend, Mother, Wife, Alcoholic, Addict, Sponsor, Sponsee, Grandma, Sexual Abuse Survivor, Reiki Master, Artisan, Widow, Writer, Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Blogger and Master Certified Health Coach. (I passed! ūüėČ)

A friend reminded me of this the other day, she asked “How many initials do you have behind your name now, Denise?” I may not have a college degree… but I am not dumb. I am enough.

Be kind ya’all… check yourself. Make sure your motives are good.

Oh… and random funny thing happened yesterday. (I told GT that I was going to blog about it and he said I was a glutton, that people would have a field day with this… so here it is…) Yesterday while I was making a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup, I burned my chin. I grabbed a spoon from the drawer to taste test a noodle to see if they were done… I slurped, it slipped… it landed on my chin. Yup… I have a burn on my chin from a noodle. A welt. It stuck- like a melted piece of plastic… damn, it hurt. Okay… so that’s me not taking myself so seriously. That’s me being silly. I can laugh at me today. Hope you can too….

Peace and Love~ Until Next time….


Hiya Everyone,

This morning while cleaning… my mind started to swirl. Some people’s minds may wander… mine does that sometimes… but today- it was most definitely swirling. It’s like a kaleidoscope most days.


As I am putzing around the house, GT is golfing… it’s a beautiful morning in Northern Michigan, it’s 77 degrees and I have the fans blowing and the windows open. Ashley McBride is playing, my homework is open on the kitchen table, dishes are washed… sheets clean and ready to be put back on the bed… cheese and crackers and watermelon on the counter for nibbling, and I started thinking about our little house.

I bought this place in 1996, it’s roughly 980 sq feet. I almost said it’s just 980 sq feet… that’s when I realized it’s all about Perspective

I actually looked at the definition of Perspective- it can be described as your particular attitude or a way of regarding something; a point of view.

This may or not be the same as frame of mind… you can decide.

While we were drinking our coffee this morning, Tom and I were looking at before and after pictures of our house and we realized how many changes we have made over the past four years.

Because that was still on my mind, and because we are always looking at new homes on the market… and dreaming of a bigger place with a bigger garage… I heard someone elses music playing…

Across the street is a young woman folding clothes in the back of her little SUV. I think she is homeless. I am not sure her story. I have never spoken to her. I just wave when I am in my front yard or driving by. One day I saw her and her boyfriend climb out of the hatch with bed head and noticed the blankets as I drove out of my driveway… They have been in my neighbors driveway on and off for a few weeks.

This is where perspective comes in to play… as I am thinking about our little house and wishing for a newer, bigger place… there is a homeless couple across the street wishing for a home.

It really did change my thinking.

I was talking to a client the other day and we were talking about successful people and how some people are just never happy. Some people always want different and more. I remarked, “If I can’t be happy with what I have, then how can I be trusted with more? If I can’t be responsible with this much money, then how do I think I could manage more money? If I am always wishing and wondering for more… how am I ever going to enjoy today?”




It comes down to contentment. Can you be content with your life today? If not… then make the changes to get you to the spot where you can be happy.

You are the only person who can make those changes.

One of the things I have been reminded of recently is that this is all only temporary. Life is changing, we are changing… either we get on board with the change… or we can fight it everu step of the way… and be miserable.

It all begins with you. Each of us has the choice to get beyond the past, heal the wounds, and climb up out of the dark.

If you don’t like where you are today, change it. If you don’t like your job, relationship, body, house or whatever else you’re struggling with… You have a choice today. Change it- or change the way you’re looking at it.


You are not a victim today. Let me repeat that… You are not a victim today.

Victims are powerless. Victims blame everyone else for their life. Victims never take responsibility for their life of their choices… You are not this.

It begins now. It begins today. Are ya ready? Hang on darling… things are about to get good…

Until next time… Peace and Love~

Leaning into it…

Hiya Everyone,

Leaning into it… So… what does that really mean?

We have all heard the expression lately, when it comes to fear, anxiety or anything that we just aren’t too comfortable with… “Go ahead, just lean into it…”

My definition of the phrase is to gently approach it… then step in. Gingerly step into the fear. Step into the discomfort. When it starts to feel like too much… just lean in a little more. Step in further… and commit to staying. Ride it out.

That’s the real test… can you commit to it? Can you ride out the abrasive, hot, lonely, overwhelming sensation?

Sometimes it looks and feels like you’re testing your bath water or the lake. You dip your toe in. Sometimes, that’s enough.

Sometimes it’s enough to just talk about the fear.

Today… You- Get to decide- what is enough.


I attended a workshop a few months ago in Virginia. It was held at a wonderful Yoga Ashram, called Yogaville. (They have a huge pink lotus temple… you should google it- really. It’s amazing.) The workshop was called Embrace Your Weird.¬†

The name alone, was enough for me… Hell ya- I am going.

The woman who taught the workshop was a famous retired actress. Her name is Lisa Jakub. She was the oldest daughter in the movie Mrs. Doubtfire, Lydia. Yup… the one and only. (She has a few books out on the topic too, worthy of a mention.)

She talked about anxiety and depression and how to “manage it” with Yoga, Meditation and writing. She encouraged us all to write about our fears. We talked about the inner dialogue and how it can paralyze us. How the voice that always tells us we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough or worthy… That voice isn’t a voice that we should be listening too. But… how do we stop listening to “it”? She said we need to write about it.

Most of us have heard of the story of the Native grandfather, talking to his grandson about the two wolves that live within each of us. One is dark. And one is light. They battle for control. They are constantly fighting… The young boy asks his grandfather which one wins? If they both live within us and are fighting for control… which one wins?

The wise old man says “The one that you feed.”

The dark one represents our fear, anger, jealousy, distrust and all of the other things that our “inner dialogue” will encourage.

The white one represents love, respect, self-worth, empathy and all of those beautiful traits.

Lisa went on to teach us to take that a step further. She said if you tie up an old dog out back and try to starve him… he is going to get pretty angry. He will be fiery mad. So… just ignoring the dark side isn’t enough. She suggested that we live the white wolf and we write about the dark one. Give it an outlet. Give it a voice… Honor it… but don’t live it.


If you battle with an inner dialogue that is an asshole… begin today. Pick up a journal and write about it. Write about the things you fear. Give them an outlet so they don’t control your thoughts.

The other part of the workshop was about meditation and yoga. For everyone who says, “I can’t meditate. It doesn’t work for me.” I challenge you to do it again. Do it again and again and again. Keep doing it, until it does work. It may take weeks. It may take years. But… what do you have to lose?

Think of all of the things you have overcome so far. Can’t think of any? How about these…

Do you use silverware to eat? I bet you didn’t always know how to do that.

Do you know how to ride a bike? I bet you fell a few times before you got it down.

Have you ever driven a car? I bet you had to learn how to do that.

What about reading, writing, not wetting your pants, using a cell phone, using chopsticks. Bingo… you get the idea. (I still don’t know how to use chopsticks!)

For everyone who thinks that we all need to sit in a Lotus position with a quiet mind, with no thoughts coming in… on the first or tenth try… it doesn’t happen like that. Here’s a fun fact… If you meditate for 20 minutes, your entire nervous system will re-set. Now doesn’t that sound fancy??

Even if you sit and your mind is racing. Even if you sit and you can’t get quiet or sit still… you are beginning the process. You can do it. Promise. Just keep trying. (I will also keep trying the chopsticks.)

Now… how about Yoga? Did you know that the practice of Yoga, isn’t the Asana? Asana, are the poses of Yoga. Some Yoga traditions aren’t even about the poses. The practice of yoga can be quieting your mind at a stop light. Not swearing at your neighbor. It could also mean not doing harm to nature and respecting all living things. It can also be sweating your buns off in a room full of people holding in a toot. (Insert the 10 yr old me here…)


Yoga isn’t about bending yourself into a pretzel. But it can be. The practice of Yoga is versatile. It is challenging and it is beautiful. It is about self discovery.

Today… this week… I challenge each of you to lean into something.

Maybe it means you’re going to try to meditate. Maybe you will try writing or journaling¬†… possibly a yoga class. Or maybe you will just speak up and not let someone be rude. Whatever it is… Do it with zest. Shine on my friends… if we don’t do it… who will?

Here is the second part of that dare. Commit to it.

I read a book awhile back, it was about making changes and the author talked about that being a two-part process. Most of us will try a new diet, new cologne, new vitamin or a new mask… but what happens when someone challenges that new thought? What happens when your family isn’t on board with your new eating plan or the new you? What if someone doesn’t love your new cologne as much as you do?

Most of us will give up. Most of us will abandon the idea, because we haven’t committed to the idea of allowing others to be uncomfortable with it. Let that sink in.

When we try something new… we must also commit to allowing others to be uncomfortable with it. We can’t bail, because someone else doesn’t like the idea. We get to bail… only- when WE, decide to bail.

Commit. Stick with it. You can do it. I believe in you.

Be an example. Someone is watching and they need you to lead. Someone is learning from you and your efforts. Namaste…

Until next time~ Peace and Love.

Staring at a pile of….

Hiya Everyone!

A few years ago, I met a man at a 12 step meeting. He sat down at the table and when it was his turn to talk, he used his arms and hands to make a gesture. He started with outstretched arms and made his hands glide in towards an imaginary pile. He stacked and shaped it upward. He did this several times. He glided his hands on the table while scooping and making an imaginary pile…

He said he finally felt like he was getting his “shit” together.¬†

Then he said “But some days, I just feel like I am sitting here staring at a pile of shit.

I will never forget that display. I honestly don’t remember the guy or his name, but I will never forget the analogy. It stuck with me.

I mentioned last week that I was reading a book for my new book club, Daring Greatly, by¬†Bren√© Brown. One of the things I realized while reading this book was, how grateful I am for the 12 steps of recovery. If it weren’t for the 12 steps and some great sponsors over the years… I am not sure where I would be.

Probably sitting somewhere just staring at a pile of shit.

For those of you who aren’t in recovery, the fortunate ones of us… do recover. We do get better. It’s not just about quitting… it’s about recovery. Yes… I know… first, you have to quit. But here’s the thing… that’s just the beginning. That isn’t the answer.

Because… Alcohol and Drugs are just a symptom of our disease.¬†

So what the hell does that mean?? It means that we turned to a substance to escape us. We turned to drugs to not feel the pain. We drank to erase the memories and the sorry existence of us. We couldn’t cope any longer…. so we drank and drugged to get by.

So… by removing the alcohol and drugs, we can work on us. In the book,¬†Bren√© talks a lot about vulnerability and shame. In our 12 steps, we heal that shame.

We get through it together. We learn that we never have to be alone again. We learn to give up the fight. For most of us, that’s all we have known. Fighting. Fighting to be included. Fighting to be alone. Fighting for our voice, our truth and our power. We learn how to surrender to win. Sounds like a novel concept… and it’s not an easy task. Not at all. It’s the hardest, most rewarding thing that I have ever done.

Showing up with my step working guide in hand. My notebook full of my writing. Full of my secrets. And… then- telling someone all that is written. Freedom at last. Working through the shame is the first step to healing.

words have power

The power in writing the 12 steps, is like no other. I have equated this to many sponsee’s over the years as “NA, is like a big giant mushroom of energy. Each time that we sit down and write our steps, we get to tap into that energy. We get to tap into that power. There are many thousands of people who have healed and worked through their past, by working the 12 steps.”

One of the reasons it works so well is that each time I have sat with a sponsor to do step work, she has shared with me, some of her story.


You see- Shame, tells us that nobody will understand. Shame, tells us that we are alone and we are always going to be “broken”. Nobody will ever be able to help us. Nobody, will ever be able to love us.

When an addict walks into a 12 step meeting for the first time, the healing begins. There is a power greater than any of us- that resides in those rooms. Many of us call that power our Higher Power, or God. Some people are so sick and tired of people trying to “save” them… that God is a topic they just aren’t willing to tackle.

Some of us have had our God change over the years. Through healing and our work, we have changed our view of God.

Some of us knew God when we entered the rooms. Others have found their God in the rooms.

It’s not a pre-requisite, but it is necessary to believe in some power. That fact- right there- has also stopped some people, from entering the rooms. Sadly, some people think that this spiritual program that we work, is all about God. It’s not. There is a difference between spirituality and religion. (But that is a topic for another post!)

Back to shame… let’s dive right back in. What if your shame no longer had power? What if your old ghosts didn’t stop you dead in your tracks? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to think of your past as just a part of who you were… and not who you are?


shame and guilt brene


Over time, even the guilt… can disappear. Promise.

guilt and shame

Recently I had a conversation with my husband about my blog. He wondered why I write about some of the things that I write about. What is the benefit for me? Just like most men… he shudders at the topics that I write about. Yes, that is a sexist statement. I know it’s not true for some men… It’s also true for many women. Why. Do. I. Write. What. I. Do?

Because there is someone out there that needs to know that they are not alone. Someone needs to know that there is hope. Hope doesn’t always come flying in on the wings of a dove either… sometimes it comes from a¬†few tears, a cup of good coffee and a few f-bombs. (That is a quote of mine from my writing about Paul’s death. I had a spiritual experience one day with my sponsor over a cup of coffee, a good cry and a few f-bombs.)

If you’ve made it this far… Congratulations. You are worthy. If you ever doubted that… let it go. And Cheers… hold up that glass of iced tea… You’re perfect right where you are.


Hang in there… it’s just getting good. Promise.

Until Next Time~ Peace and Love.


No more BFF’s

Hiya Everyone,

This past week, my 3.5 yr old grandson came from Nebraska with his family for the Holiday. My husband Tom commented to him about something and followed it up with, “Because we’re best friends, right?” To our surprise, Hudson replied, “No GT, there is no such thing as best friends, we are all just friends now.”

You could just feel GT’s disappointment. “What? Why can’t we be best friends anymore?” Hudson explained in the best way that he could, that we are all just equal. We all deserve to be friends. All of us. He said we should all be just friends, like Jesus wants us to be.

Wow. What a beautiful and simple concept.

That being said, I am still not so sure how I feel about this new shift. I understand the concept, it’s about including everyone, making sure nobody is left out, helping everyone to feel like they have a place.

I get it.

BUT… I am a little sad that we have to teach our kids that they can’t have best friends, to prove this point.

My mind races to a hundred topics. I know in my heart that it’s all about fostering a good moral standard and as children, nobody wants to feel left out. I know this… but I am being honest when I say I don’t know why… it still doesn’t sit well.

I had a talk with my sponsor the other day. As she sometimes does, she brought our conversation back to me. She asked. “Why does this concern you?” I responded that I wasn’t sure that I was concerned, just trying to fill her in on my life. I explained that I didn’t feel like I had to fix anyone or anything, I just wanted to give her some insight on what was happening. (Not about my grandson)

She then pointed out that I had taken the time to call her, talk at length about a situation… and she wondered why I felt, the need? I told her I just wanted to chat. I told her that I wanted another perspective on my thoughts.

She asked, “Why does it have to be one way or the other? Why can’t it be okay both ways?”


In so many ways in my life, I like things to be one way or the other. I like things to be black or white. I like to believe that I live in the gray area… but in reality, I crave the absolute. I want to know right or wrong.

She has been gently leading me out of this for a few years.

I am willing to listen… and I am willing to grow. I know that my need for rules was always a way for me to feel safe in the beginning of my recovery. If I could predict the outcome, or know what was going to happen next… I could feel safe. I could feel like I was okay.

News flash… I am okay with spontaneity too. I can be flexible… I am flexible. My mind will try over and over to make me believe that there is just one way.

The truth is, there are many ways.

My security is not based upon the narrow path of rules and direction. I grow when I am challenged and I find my strengths when I am willing to step off the predictable path.

Sometimes I feel like we all crave acceptance so much that we are just going through the motions of the day. I feel like we are all just busy bodies who stumble over one another to prove that “we get it” or that “we are right”.

follow the masses

What if my grandson is right?

What if… the simplicity of a 3.5 year old… is where we should be? Maybe it’s time to stop trying to categorize things and compete. Maybe it’s time to just believe a different way? Maybe it’s time to just find another truth.


I am so thankful for the wise people who have crossed my path. I am grateful for the willingness to change my path.









I believe with everyone having a platform on social media and a soapbox, we all feel pretty sure that our way is the only way. Or the right way. We have become such wounded beings that we feel every little injustice, needs a voice. Remember the old days? When we could give someone a break? Remember when we could just shrug off a bad meal or a bad experience at a store?

I miss those days.

Life is about choices. It’s about noticing the details and adjusting as we go.

And… because there aren’t any bff’s anymore… I think I will just adapt.

Until next time Peeps~ Peace and Love!

Go ahead… I dare you.

Hiya Everyone,

Happy Saturday!

Today is a good day… I am able to sit quietly and write… my Granddog is sprawled out on the couch, my house is clean and my husband is in the shower. For those who have not met my Granddog, he is an Olde English Bulldog. His name is Bogey.

Bogey is not a snuggler. He tolerates me well… I am always in his face. I smooch him… I walk by him and scratch him and generally just irritate him. I grab his cheeks, I touch his tongue… he has a huge underbite, so his tongue is usually hanging out, most of the time, it’s dry- so I touch it.

He has a way of letting you know when you’re on his last nerve… we call it “the stink eye”.


My daughter and family arrived a few days ago for the Holiday. I have been in heaven. She and her husband drove from Nebraska with my Granddog and two Grandsons!! Kudos to them for trekking across the Country with a dog, a 3.5 yr old and a six month old baby. The only downside to having them here, is that I have to share them. Last night they stayed at my parents place so they could spread out a little bit and have their own space. Bogey stayed with us.

So while the kids were gone, we got the house back in shape. GT weeded the garden and Bogey and I scrubbed and cleaned the inside. (His contribution was minimal…)

Sometimes when I am cleaning and “in the zone”, I start to play a version of my blog over in my head… todays “head space blog” consisted of many topics ranging from organic cleaning products, healing from childhood scars, security and what that gives us… to fear based guilt, pushing through the muck.

The topic I have landed on for today’s blog is… Social Anxiety.

social anxiety

I attended a wedding last weekend for some friends of mine in recovery. It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony held in Traverse City, while the Blue Angels flew over! (The Pastor even made a joke, he said,¬†“I can’t even imagine how expensive it was to hire the Blue Angels for your special day!” Talk about thinking on your feet.

We were all anticipating the worse case scenario. There were many comments before the ceremony, as the loud, very loud, jets screamed overhead. We all talked about and wondered, how it would affect the wedding.

As it turned out… it was perfect.

Sometimes the anticipation is worse than the actual event or scenario.

As we were waiting for the wedding party to arrive inside, after pictures, a few of us munched and chatted. More than once, I overheard someone mention how nervous they were about attending. Several guests commented about how they had to talk themselves into coming. I was one of those people.

I heard women worry about their dress, their shoes, their size, how compared to a younger or smaller version of themselves… they just didn’t feel okay. I was also one of those people.

There were many conversations all running around the same theme. We were all worried that someone was talking about us or pointing out our imperfections.

Even a few of the guys mentioned how uncomfortable they felt, anticipating the day.

Here we were… all gathered to celebrate a glorious day… to watch two people commit to a lifetime together… and all, we were worried about, was superficial, ego based- shit. I looked around the room and saw beyond the masks. There was a lot of shame and fear behind those superficial, ego based masks. Lots of shame and guilt.

I was recently asked to join a Book Club. We met for the first time last month, and chose Daring Greatly as our second book. Oh M Gee. I know my last blog contained some¬†Bren√© Brown quotes and info… but holy moly… you must read this book too. She is amazing.

As I was snuggled in under a fuzzy blankie, with the air conditioner blaring at me… (Oh the irony of Northern Michigan) this morning reading, It felt like I was reading my own story. This woman speaks to my soul.

There is a part in the second chapter that took me back to an earlier version of me. That old version of me still surfaces on occasion… just like she did last weekend at the wedding. My armour was up. I was not going to be afraid. I was going to go to that wedding, solo… I wasn’t going to worry about. one. single. thing.

The old version of me, had other plans.

She started directing the show as soon as I picked out my dress. I chose the loose-fitting flowing¬†one, to show off my legs and to hide the extra ten pounds that menopause has graciously gifted me with. I lined my lips with a smile and a beautiful shade to hide the stinking cold sore that was just starting to sting… why me??

When I taught Yoga, I would start each class with a thought-provoking intention. Most of the time, it was something that I needed or something that I was working through. I was amazed at how many times a student would mention after the class that it was exactly what they needed to hear. They would tell me that it was perfect timing and how much they needed those words. I would write a 2-5 minute intention. As I read the intention at the beginning of the class… It was a time to settle into the room and the thought of a practice. It was a time to let go of anything you were willing to release. It was a time to just be present and to imagine yourself being okay.

I miss writing those intentions. I really do. I miss the grounding effect, it had on me.

Brené Brown talks about protecting ourselves with armour, shielding ourselves to prevent pain.

In reality, we are shielding ourselves from joy.

We are preventing freedom and allowing our fears to dictate the outcome.

We believe that If we can control the things around us… we can control the outcome. We cannot prevent heartache and, be present. We cannot shield ourselves from hurt, and be living our best life.

It’s exhausting trying to control the outcome and the people around us. It’s madness to stay so busy that we don’t feel. But… that’s what we do. We have grown accustomed to shining our best moments on our social media. You get to see the story book life of Denise Nathe… you can see me with make-up and no double chins. You only get to see the version of me, that I want you to see.

As I was mopping the bathroom floor this morning, I was thinking about my daughter. (Maybe because she sheds like I do… holy hell that’s a lot of hair in three days!) Anyway… I was a single mom, and I had an army of people around me to help. I read books and listened to tapes. I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing. I needed an army and I needed my faith.

Even though I battled with addiction and didn’t always make the wisest choices… I raised her with a sense of security. I did my best to show her what was important. I was always her advocate. I fought to show her a new way of life. I showed her love and helped her to know love. I allowed her to feel safe.

My daughter was a busy body. She fidgeted and wiggled her way through her childhood. She sang and she hummed and she never ever sat still. Ever.

When she was about 8 or 9 years old, someone told me to prepare myself for the middle school years. She warned me that every little girl became a wench, when they went to middle school. This was totally news to me… I had no idea.

So, I began to prepare for it. I began to make changes to overcome it. This other mom warned me that they would start talking about each other, cutting each other down, and would become impossible to live with.

I was listening to Zig Ziglar’s “Raising positive kids in a negative world” cassette tapes at the time. I used his philosophy about teaching positivity and a few other tips, and began a new rule.

My rule was- “If it’s Negative, I don’t want to hear it.”

If you came to our house, you couldn’t talk smack about other people. If you were at our home, you couldn’t gossip and cut people down. If it was a negative story based in drama and sarcasm, I didn’t want to hear it.

It worked.

When she was about 11 or 12¬†yrs old … she put a sign on her bedroom door.

Hailey’s Room. Beware, I’m Happy

I also taught her that she didn’t have to worry or stress about things. I taught her that if she did the next right thing, if she did her part… God would take care of the rest. I would always tell her that if she was doing what she was supposed to be doing, He, would open the right doors.

I still remember when she graduated from college and moved to Texas, she called me to tell me about a job offer. She went into a jewelery store to get her engagement ring cleaned, and they offered her a job. She explained to them that with Hockey season in full swing, she wouldn’t be available certain hours. She also told them that she had plans to return to Michigan for Christmas, for a couple of weeks. They still wanted to hire her.

She called me and said “Mom, you know how you always tell me that if I am doing the right thing, that God will take care of the rest? Well… that works here in Texas too.”

Yes, Hailey- it does. It works in Texas too.

I was far from a perfect parent… I messed up in many ways. But this is one thing I am proud of. I raised her with enough security to dream of bigger things. I raised her to know that she could not fail if she did her best. (And it all began with simply removing the toxic talk and the negative focus.)


So here is the dare… here is what I am daring you to do.¬†

Join me… as I begin my mantra again. “If it’s negative, I don’t want to hear it.

Let’s raise these little humans to know they are safe. Let’s provide security and allow them to dream. Let’s show them, by holding each other accountable.

I dare you, to hold me accountable, and join me… as we remove the toxicity and begin the shift back to empathy. Let’s stop talking behind each other’s backs. Let’s stop wounding others with our words. Let’s hold each other to a higher standard and to embrace our shortcomings. It’s time.


new life old life

If you have a chance to show someone kindness, please take the chance. You really don’t know how much it could mean. Each of us is fighting some sort of battle. Just for today… I will show myself some grace. I will also “dare greatly”… because I have worked too damn hard to go back now.

Until Next time Peeps, Peace and Love~




























































































































































































































































































































































































































































grandsons. (It’s a 12 hour trip… kudos to them for treking across the country with a dog, a 3 and a half year old, and a six month old baby.)

Falling apart feels fantastic…

Hiya Everyone,

I just watched (again) “Listening to Shame” on YouTube by¬†Bren√© Brown, I absolutely frickin love that lady. She speaks my language. She speaks my story. These videos inspire me… I love all of her videos and have read some of her books. If you’re looking for some inspiration… do yourself a favor, look her up.

I also love the Ted Talk video by Amy Cuddy, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. That video was life changing. Really. If you have an extra few minutes… please watch it. I will talk more about it at a later date. (I just had to throw it out today… I know someone really needs this as much as I do.)

So… back to my topic. Falling apart feels fantastic?? Since when?

Since I decided that I didn’t need to be “that” person anymore. The day that I realized that it was okay to be me, to not be perfect, to share my story and to try to find my authentic self… that’s when I realized- Falling apart, feels fantastic.

I am actually growing, which sometimes looks like I am falling apart. Which sometimes looks like a mess… I am learning. I am searching. I am pushing myself. I am pushing through the fear of being judged. I am pushing through the anxiety. I am learning to quiet that judmental voice in my head that tells me that I can’t do things.

Bren√©, talks about shame and vulnerability. (Look at me, talking about her- like we are best friends…) Anyway, one huge point that really struck me today was “Empathy is the antidote¬†to shame.” Wow… let that sink in for a moment.

Then she shared three things that shame needs to grow:

  • Secrecy
  • Silence
  • Judgement

Let’s start talking about the hard things. Let’s also start showing empathy to those who need to talk about those hard things. You don’t need a YouTube video or a Ted Talk, to know shame, guilt and vulnerability.

How many of you reading this post, want to talk about the hard stuff?

Abuse/Neglect. Divorce. Being a single parent. Being adopted. Not breastfeeding. Being LGBTQ or an ally. Being Fired. Anxiety. Depression. Illness and pain. Education and Degrees. Being and Addict. Widow/Widower. Having a criminal record. Losing a parent. Feeling afraid. Mental Illness. Menopause. Body Image.

I have a beautiful friend that I am not real close too, but when we do chat, we always touch on one of those uncomfortable topics. Always. We don’t ever have much time, but we always seem to get right to the nitty-gritty and speak about the good stuff. Why is it that some people feel safer than other people to share these things with? I believe it all comes back to Empathy. I don’t know how it feels to be all of those things on the above list, but I do know a few. I also don’t know how you feel, with being- or about those things.

Then why, do people always want to share with me about those things?

Because I care. Because I am empathetic. I understand shame. I understand guilt and I know what it feels like to feel vulnerable and alone. If I can listen without judgment, there is hope. When I listen and don’t try to fix you, there is hope. When I can just allow you to speak. There is hope.

In recovery, we are taught how to share our experience, strength and hope (ESH) so that other addicts can relate. When I am practicing empathy, I am not sharing my story. It isn’t about me.¬†

I remember vividly how it felt to become a widow. When people said things like, “At least he isn’t suffering any more… or “At least he wasn’t alone… ” I wanted to punch them in the throat. Really.

That stuff doesn’t make a person feel better and it should be left unsaid. Just like me, punching you in the throat, wouldn’t make me feel better either… it would just make us even. We would both feel like shit.

Here is a wonderful video that is about Empathy… I hope you enjoy it.

P.S… Please tell me that you laughed about the sandwich?

Be kind to one another peeps… it matters. I had a friend post today about her handicapped daughter getting bullied at a sporting event. (By an adult!) It infuriated me… it made me sad and mad. Love is the only thing that will take that away…

Until Next time… Peace and Love!



Being Brave

Hiya Everyone,

This morning at 5:20 am, I felt my husband crawl out of bed… I asked him through squinty itchy eyes, what time is it? Are you getting up?

sleepy eyes

He replied “Not sure yet… I just felt something crawling on me and I squished it.”

What. The. Bloody. HELL????? Are you kidding me? Did you just say- what- I- thought- you- said???


In my world… This is a major husband/protector fail. You don’t tell your still sleepy wife, that you felt something crawl on you in the safe zone!! I have to believe that in my bedroom, crawly things don’t exist. I HAVE TOO… otherwise, I would never, ever-ever sleep. Ever.

I laid there for a few minutes… then I got up. Seriously. What were you thinking GT? (Thomas/Tom/GT- Grandpa Tom/Hubby/Honey/Babe are the names I use for my husband.)

Tom has been my spider slayer for a few years, everyone who knows me, knows that I don’t like spiders.

spider slayer


I also don’t like snakes.

The statement about squishin something in bed- would be the equivalent to him saying “Hey HonBun, I saw a snake over in the corner of the yard. I am sure he is gone now… ” Nope… that wouldn’t work. I would call my friend Heather, and the house would be up for sale today. Today. No lie. That’s why I live in town. Truthfully, I would love a bigger house, I would also love to live on the lake… but… spiders and snakes like water.

Oh… and by the way, When I stripped the bed, I found a tick. Yup… a tick. I have heard how bad they are this year… Tom golfed last night, but he even showered before bed. I told him- Here’s your crawly thing… he said nope. I squished whatever it was. Great. Just great. There was more than one crawly thing in my bed. I hear the Hampton calling my name.

wait what

So, by 7:20am, I have already read a chapter of my homework, I have taken my weekly quiz (I got a 100% by the way!), I have stripped the bed and started a load of laundry as soon as the hubby got up, I have swept and mopped the kitchen and the bathroom, I shook the rugs, I scrubbed the tub, sink, and toilet, and I am now eating gluten-free/paleo waffles with crunchy organic peanut butter and real maple syrup… ¬†Gt may have redeemed himself slightly, he is the one who made the waffles.

Okay, so changing the subject… In case you don’t know this already, I am A.D.H.D. I could be talking to you about the really awesome non-toxic cleaning products that I use… and be thinking about the real reason I wanted to blog today.

I do have a topic!!

Being Brave... ¬†(And not, like spider slayer brave…)

A few years ago while I was the manager of the local 24 hour Gym, there was a super cute young couple that I got to know. She was bubbly and bright and her smile was infectious. He was a hard-working honest young man and his smile was also big and sincere. (He smiled with his whole face!) She had a strong, innocence about her, that I always admired… They were probably as old as my daughter, so I wasn’t super close- as in, hang out like friends… but he did come into my office to chat regularly. I got to know them and they each shared some details of their relationship.

One day, they broke up. I knew why.

He had shared that he had a tendency to drink too much. Once he got going, he couldn’t just drink socially… he had to get drunk. On a previous occasion, he had gotten mean when he was drunk. She told him this was not acceptable. So when it happened a second time,¬†she left. She picked up and moved on.

I must say, I was devastated. I loved those kids. I loved them together too. I thought they were so damned cute together. I sort of always thought that they would get back together… why wouldn’t they?? They were so cute together!

They never did.

I was so shocked. It felt so final. It was so abrupt. (In my eyes… because I wasn’t actually living it, I was just a witness.) I have watched them both over the years through their social media… and they are both married to other people now. They look genuinely¬†happy!

My point? How did she do it? How did she have the guts to just leave and not look back? I knew he was sorry… he told me how sorry he was. I knew she loved him, she told me she did. How did she make the decision that she deserved different? How did she know her worth? How did she do this?

As I have watched them each grow, separately… I have often wondered these things.

Here is my take. Honestly… this is just my opinion, they don’t even know I am writing this… I haven’t spoken to either, in years.

My opinion is that she just knew. She was probably raised to trust her gut and to know her worth as a young girl. She probably had people in her corner who showed her what was acceptable and what, was not. She may or may not have struggled with her decision, I don’t know those details… but I do know,¬†it was a clean break. She didn’t look back.

If I had a re-do in my life… I would be just like her. I would be this girl.

I would have left the relationships that didn’t fuel me, much sooner. I would have reached for bigger and better. I wouldn’t have allowed people to tell me my value or self-worth.

I would have shown my daughter her self-worth. I would have showered her with praise and nurtured her little self… I would have shown here these things.

A few years ago, I heard a musician at Earthworks Harvest Gathering, play a tune about a little girl. I cried. She played in the barn, she strummed her guitar and sang the song she had written about the things she needed as a little girl. I wish I had the lyrics. It was about letting the little girls be little girls. It was about not taunting them about their bodies, it was about allowing them to be innocent. (I have watched this musician raise two beautiful little girls, since that day so long ago… she is killing the mom gig. Killing it. Her girls will know their self-worth.)

I am sure the young girl from the gym was shown these things.

strong girl

Early in my recovery, I was taught that it takes each and every thing up until this point- to get us where we are today. (I think that statement helps the newcomer to not live in regret.) I do believe that each piece of my past has brought me here. To this moment… to Today.

I also think that each relationship I was in, has taught me what I needed to know in order to nurture that little girl within…. I don’t live my life with regrets. But… If I had a re-do…

What would you do if you had a re-do?

Here is to all the badass mammas who are raising strong girls. Here’s to all of the women in the middle of their life, who are killing their own spiders and conquering fears. Here is to all of middle-aged and beyond women who are honoring that little voice within and who are allowing their little girl to finally be brave and strong.

starting over

It’s never too late to start over. Give yourself permission today to go all in. Give yourself permission to just dive in. Allow yourself, wherever you are… to just be brave.

I am not writing this so that people can tell me that I did a good job raising my daughter… I don’t need assurance that I did the best that I could… honestly. I am good today. I am writing this for anyone who needs assurance that they have what it takes to push through the fear. You can do it. Really. You have the power. We all do. If you doubt it… ¬†then start your day over with a quiet moment. Reach higher. Pray. Meditate. Ask for help… we are all waiting for you.

If you haven’t ever watched Bren√© Brown… do yourself a huge favor and watch her video on Netflix. You won’t regret it. (Then watch her video on vulnerability, and the one about empathy, read her books… you get the point.)

Until next time, Peace and Love Peeps~



Behind the Mask…

Hiya Everyone,

I have taken a few weeks off from writing and today as I sit in front of my computer, I scan through my recent Facebook ¬†and Instagram posts…

There are a lot of wounded or hurt people who put on a happy face each day, and push through the pain. This post is all about you. Thank you for being so brave. Thank you for not dwelling in the negativity and for shining like a bright star. We need more bright stars.

shine bright

Social media has given us a platform to shout out about our trips, our delicious meals, our adorable grandbabies and to either lift people up or tear them down. There are “trolls” whose job in this life, is to be an idiot and to just post negative stuff. I wonder why someone would want to be so mean and ugly… I am so happy that isn’t my path today.

Over the last 20 years, I have reinvented myself a few times.

I have looked in the mirror and have decided to change my looks with countless hairstyles and hair stylists. I have taken many new jobs, have changed my living situations. I have been a Yoga teacher and a Yoga student. I have been in book clubs and have gone months without reading. I have moved my Massage business several times. I have eaten vegetarian, I have been a fast food queen, and everything in between. I have been a role model and I have also been someone who has put on a mask, just to feel safe. I have been a struggling single mom, a business owner, engaged to be married, broken-hearted, married, divorced, married again, widowed and married again.

I have been happy, clean and sober, a hot mess and grateful, probably all of those last four in the same day! I have been unemployed, self employed and punched a clock at a job that drained me. I have worked with assholes and Saints. I have met some amazing motivating people, and have been the motivator to many.

Behind each and every step… behind each and every “new me”… I was still the same person. I was, and am still, Denise.

I am just doing the best I can and trying not to get stuck. I am doing my best to carry the torch and to blaze a new path. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to decide in a flash, that you want to change? Isn’t freedom marvelous?


We are each given the same 24 hours each day. You get to decide your path. You get to decide your truth.

A few years ago, my friend and I were driving along and she shared a fear. She told me that she heard many years ago, that you end up marrying someone like your mother. (I had always heard it was your father…but you get the idea.) Anyway, she was terrified that she would pick a mate that was like her mom. She had a pretty shaky relationship with her mom and she didn’t want that, kind of partner.

I thought for a few seconds and then shared my thoughts. If you don’t want that to be your truth, can’t you just focus on a new truth? If you don’t want to marry someone like that, then don’t hang on to the belief, that you will.

I am a firm believer that we can change our path. We can change our truth. But… what if you don’t know how?

This is how it’s done… pay attention… this is important. You simply model your behavior after someone else. You look at someone elses choices, someone who you admire that really has their act together… and you follow that path.

If you weren’t taught how to walk away from a dead relationship or a job that is sucking the life out of you? Look at a brave soul that has done just that, then ask how they did it.

If you have been rocking the same hairstyle since highschool, it may be time to look at your options. If you have always polished your toes in a neutral or pale flesh tone… it may be time to hook those pigs up with some blue, or red!

I had a conversation with a mixed group recently… the topic was about how to address a person, who was out of line. The story started in a gym setting. The woman sharing the story said she had a male, cross the line and made an advancement towards her. One of the guys in the group asked if she told him, that he was out of line? You could literally see the woman shrinking and pulling back. No. She did not. Why not? Asked another guy… I stepped in. I asked her if I could answer the question. “Nobody had ever shown her how to stand her ground or gave her permission to tell someone, that his actions were wrong or unwanted.”

How in the hell are we supposed to know this stuff if nobody teaches us?? Nobody had ever taught her how to address someone like this. Nobody modeled that behavior for me either…. Sometimes we learn how to stand up and have a voice, the hard way.

Most of us were taught that this is as good as it gets. We have been taught by our own actions and the situations we have brought upon oursleves, that we just have to suck it up and deal with it.

Some of us have never given ourselves permission to speak up.

role models

Or maybe you were taught that you should run? Running is easier than developing the tools to handle situations. Running is easier than feeling the pain. I thought for years that the “fight or flight” instinct was just a saying, a myth or wives tale. I didn’t know how to fight. I just ran. That was strength, to me. Get the hell out- before someone hurts me.

This is why we need a tribe. We need people like us, who deal with stuff like we do, who have traveled the path… That we can confide in.

We need others to show us the way.


Thank you to all of the strong women who suit up and show up, so that I can learn how to be a better version of me. I get to reinvent me, because I have seen how it’s possible, by watching all of you.

I know change is hard, but it’s not as hard as staying stuck. I know pain is a great motivator… physical pain, emotional pain and even spiritual pain. If you’re at a point in your life that you’re just sick and tired… of whatever it is… look around. Look within. Give yourself permission to stop posting “woe is me… look how sucky my life is…” and start focusing on your choices.

I challenge you to look for your solution. Look hard. Find your tribe, the people who will guide and support you. Be authentic and live, peeps… it’s possible, just take the first step.

Until next time ~ Peace and Love!