/ MAH – məs – tay /



Advice from a Tree

Where is your happy place?  You know, the place where you can go to just be.  The place that breathes life into your soul and connects you spiritually to the universe around you.  The place where you can enjoy your authentic self and for just a little while not worry about the day-to-day grind of life.

For me, it isn’t just one specific place, but rather a theme…that theme being nature.  This is where I find my happy place.  Outdoors in the fresh air, preferably near a body of water, enjoying the simplicity and quiet solitude of a world in which there are no deadlines, no drama, and no unnecessary noise.  It’s where I feel closest to God.  It’s where I can go and feel small (in the best way possible) and appreciate that which is so much greater than myself.  It’s where I like to go to just stop for a brief moment in time.

We have so much to learn when we just stop. Stop talking.  Stop texting.  Stop posting.  Stop buying.  Stop doing.  When we just stop and, well, be.  In our happy place, like a tree in the woods.

On a related note, I wanted to share the poem below as it contains so much wisdom from which I think we can all benefit.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


“Advice from a Tree” ~Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!

Drink Coffee. Reheat. Repeat.

Drink coffee. Reheat. Repeat.

When did this become my morning routine??

I used to be a morning person. I would literally skip down the stairs as the sun crept up over the horizon, make a pot of coffee, and enjoy the solitude that only the earliest minutes of daylight can offer. I would write, pray, listen to music, watch the news, sit in silence, whatever I wanted to do basically. I would even enjoy those couple cups of coffee slowly and intently. I savored them, in fact. Even through the first baby, this was my routine. My me-time. My time to take in the universe and to take in the small but awesome world around me. And to take in myself.

ENTER SECOND CHILD. This is where the story shifts, hence the all-caps. 14 months…the first time she slept through the night. And even then it wasn’t consistent. We’re talking 14 straight months of getting up several times a night for extended periods of time. And then for the day…EVERY day… around 4 am. Now, I have never been the co-sleeping, coddling, helicopter-type mom, but I am here to tell you, after over an hour of bloody-murder-style screaming at 2 a.m., you gotta do what you gotta do. And what you gotta do is sleep. This quickly became a hot-button issue for me, as all the other “normal” babies were sleeping soundly by 6 months, and “what if you just let her cry it out?” I still to this day laugh in the face of people who suggest this, FYI. And yes, I’ve read “Babywise.”

But I digress…probably because the memories literally make me shudder. Long story short, years 0-2.9 were a complete whirlwind. However, once she turned 3 years old, it was safe to say those days were completely behind us. She hit a great stride. She could sleep more peacefully and consistently, communicate more effectively, and really just enjoy life more fully. It seemed too good to be true. As I write this, she is about to turn 4, yet still I wake every morning completely in awe that she slept through the night and how amazing that feeling is for me personally, both as a mother and as a human being requiring a certain amount of sleep to function. She has turned into such an intelligent and strong-willed (ya think?!) little lady. I’ve never met anyone with more sass, more confidence, and more tenacity, and I look forward to (but am certainly not rushing) the days when these qualities will serve her quite well in this world.

My point is…it’s funny how kids change us. Once she showed up, my old morning routine ended. I actually miss it tremendously, and I would love to get it back, but unfortunately I still haven’t recovered from the years of no sleep. It’s become so hard now to wake up in the mornings. I set alarms, but I usually push snooze and drift back down until the familiar pitter-patter on the stairs jars me from some crazy dream.  Although I don’t judge myself for this lack of self-discipline, regaining time to myself in the mornings is something I am working towards everyday.

There’s certainly still a routine, however; it has just taken on a new form.  It is now…quite literally…drink coffee, reheat, repeat. In between each of these acts lies a certain amount of duties, including but not limited to…laundering peed-on sheets from the night before, raiding the fridge for Go-gurts or grapes or applesauces or eggs or hot dogs or whatever they may be craving that morning (which of course they will want at different times so right when you sit down you will have to get back up), making pancakes (but only with chocolate chips of course), negotiating arguments between “Mickey Mouse” on Disney Jr. and “Transformers” on the Roku, packing lunches if you’re lucky and they are in MDO that day, thinking about getting to places on time, and don’t even mention thinking about getting a shower, putting on real clothes and makeup, and having your own life. And here’s the worst part, although I’ve come to terms with it…there is only time for one cup of coffee, if I’m even lucky enough to remember it’s in the microwave.

This is the new routine. But you know what I have learned? Embrace it. Does it suck some days? Yes. Are the days long? Yes. Are the years short? Yes. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, there will be plenty of time in the future for those sunrises and cups of coffee that can actually be drunk before they get cold. Now is not that season. And I’m ok with that. What I can do is enjoy the time I have with them at this age and take time out for myself at other times of the day…that’s ok! In fact, that’s essential! But for now, the morning routine is…

Drink coffee. Reheat. Repeat.

Monday Morning Necessities

Am I right, or am I right??  Make it a great week!


Selfish is the New Selfless


I know, I know. Sounds crazy, right? Let me explain…

As a young mother in her 30’s, this is the best piece of advice I have learned, and it has quickly become a life goal to help share the good news with others who may be struggling as well. It took me being in an incredibly low and scary place in my life in order for me to fully see and understand what I am about to tell you. But I’m happy to report that, by the grace of God, I made it out bigger and better than ever…and so can you!

As mothers, we are taught by society to put the needs of others first. Needs of our friends, spouses, kids, and the list goes on and on. OK, take ‘society’ out of the picture for a minute…it is actually our natural instinct to put others first. In fact, we would go so far as to jump in front of a moving bus if it meant sparing the lives of our children. And don’t get me wrong…this kind of unconditional love is a beautiful thing. It is the closest thing I can think of to being like Jesus (which is the goal, right?).

BUT, I am here to tell you that this kind of “selfless” thinking and behaving on a day-to-day basis, year in and year out, is NOT SUSTAINABLE. Sure, it will work for a while, but I can almost guarantee you that eventually you will lose yourself somewhere along the way, and you will break. And it will not be pretty. We MUST learn to take care of ourselves first and foremost so that we can create the kind of sustainability necessary in order to take care of others to the extent that we do.

What happens when we fail to take care of ourselves? We lose touch with our passions, our intuition, and our relationship with God and with the universe.  We begin to shift the blame onto our loved ones by holding them responsible for our own personal happiness (or, rather, a lack thereof). We begin to tumble down a vicious rabbit hole of co-dependence. We take on the impossible task of attempting to make everyone else happy, and we become depressed when we inevitably fail. In short, we become incapable of taking care of others because we have forgotten how to take care of ourselves.

“When you stop taking care of yourself, you get out of BALANCE, and you really forget how to take care of others.” –Jada Pinkett Smith

So here’s my challenge to you…

Be selfish. Fall in love with taking care of YOU…mind, body, and soul. Learn to love yourself. Make your own happiness your top priority. Then, in the words of Gandhi, go “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Because then and only then, will you be able to truly and wholly help others.



Balance Amidst the Chaos


Balance.  What a funny word. Nuanced by individual thought, experience, and perspective, it becomes a rather vague and seemingly impossible concept.  Yet, my quest for personal balance is where this blogging journey begins.  As a sort of “resurrection” of my passions, buried deep underneath years of pleasing others – friends, family, husband, children.  It is a reconnection with the Jesus of my childhood and the being HE created that is Me – mind, body, and spirit.  It’s about attaining ultimate self-respect and self-love and the resulting peace and joy that emerges.  Only then can I truly give of myself in the manner for which I was made.  And at the end of the day, that is what it’s all about.

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