College Campus

I love visiting colleges! For me, for my children, for prospective attendance decisions, for a sporting event ….

I’m alway jealous … every campus is full of energy, ideas, diversity, youth, conversations, unlimited possibilities!

As this was the weekend before finals, and a foggy gloomy day, it felt more hard than normal. life is hard. College is hard. But it’s a good hard. My report card was always perfectly imperfect, but it was all mine. I worked hard selling books or pastries. I rollerbladed, biked, walked to work to scrape together enough money to attend the next semester. My ideas, tests and papers were my own. They might not have been earth shattering, but I did my best.

The week before finals. You can feel the intense energy in the air. Excitement, but reasonable stress… that will end in a week.

Learning and growing. With time to think, focus on one subject at a time. Something that interests me. Someone that supports and encourages me (my professor).

My life feels like stress but it just goes on and on for decades. With no Christmas break or summer break or change unless I switch jobs. And if feels like when I switch jobs it just multiplies stress not removes any.

Instead of jealousy, I flip the script and ask ….

How can I have more boundaries for myself? How can I make more time to think strategically? How can I have more time to focus on one subject at a time?

Happy 16th Birthday!

I’m so blessed to be able to celebrate this special day with you. I’m looking forward to your dmv appointment on Saturday.

Have a Finn-Tastic 16th Birthday! 🦈 🎂

I just want you to know that you make everything better.

Perfecting the Pam and Jim air-high-five

I love your excitement, positive attitude and endless energy. I love that you listen to your body and rest when you need it. I love how you value sleep and eating healthy, but have balance and splurge sometimes. You are so fun to be around. I love talking to you. I love going anywhere with you, driving, shopping, dinner, a movie, it’s all better when you’re there.

Just like Christmas lights make this time of year more beautiful, Finn you light up my heart and make everything brighter. You sparkle! You shine from within, and never need the spotlight.

You’re the exclamation point at the end of our family and the end of each day!

Thanks for making our family complete! You’re the best of us.

Keep dreaming big, always follow what fascinates you, keep that passion for life, ideas and entrepreneurial inventions alive. You’re on your way to do great things.

Be Kind. Be Brave. Be Curious. I love you with my whole heart Finnegan and I always will.

2022

As we enter December I started reflecting on the year … and I am proud of myself! I really lived again this year! You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.

Rung in the new year in Jamaica 🇯🇲

Polar plunge in the Pacific Ocean. ✈️ 🏝️🐻‍❄️

Track and Cross country with F & M 🏃‍♂️

Finn Peoria, Springfield, NXR 🏃‍♂️

Michael Regionals 🏃‍♂️

Finn driving and first job @ Beach 🏖️

Luna was Born 👶

Brock’s first birthday 🎂

Lauren’s Engagement 💍

Winter Olympics 🥌

CLASSES! Cannoli, Glassblowing, Woodpainting, ASL, Story Exploratory

Directional Signpost Art Project 🎨

Drive in – Maverick Top Gun 🍿

Aunt Sara’s boat on Chicago river 🎣

Ukraine War 🇺🇦

Kevin’s heartiversary ❤️

COVID quarantine 🦠

Ice Cream truck ride 🍦

Office experience with Finn 💻

MHS state baseball games ⚾️

Annual Draft Party, Friendsgiving,Tailgate🍻

Grandpa’s Veterans wall 🇺🇸

Keegan family reunion

WonderBra’ds dinner 🎀

Shedd x2 🐧 🐋 🐬

SUP x 2

Lennon 💔 🐾

New Car 🚘

New Job 💻

First ride on a jet ski 🚤

Cubs box seats ⚾️

Green Bay and Northfield xc 🏃‍♂️

Clearwater Marine Animal Hospital ✈️ 🐬

Lunar Eclipse 🌙

Bo Deans Concert 🎶

Kids first half marathon 🏃‍♂️

Green metrics (9 months) ✅

Chevy Chase commercial 📺 🎄

Uterine Biopsy 🩸

Mundelein Tree Lighting 🎄 💥

Cystectomy👩‍⚕️ 🪡

First D&C 🏥

A Love Letter to Laughter

My laugh contains a giggle and sometimes a snort. My laugh is a unique source of pride, embarrassment, my originality, my fingerprint. As fleeting as a snowflake or life here on Earth. My laugh is my own creation and offering. A way to show up and put myself out there. Laughter requires being open, present, and authentic; the best qualities of life.

To create a laugh, I need nourishment, an idea, a funny moment and some oxygen. I use my breath, belly and facial expressions. Laughter is a behavior, attitude, thought and action all at once. An expression of love. Laughter is a way to honor what I am paying attention to. A solidification of noticing the small moments and making them more important.

Your life is just a series of what you pay attention to. So whenever you are distracted, you are literally giving up pieces of your life. 

Forever is composed of nows – Emily Dickinson

Laughter requires almost all of your body; muscles, neurons, lungs, mouth, vibrations, heartbeats and sometimes even tears.

Laughter is an acknowledgement and a celebration. Laughing nurtures curiosity, because what makes people laugh is rather elusive.

Laughter requires more than one person, a connection…which is why we are here on Earth, to build connections.

Laughter is an ordinary part of life, yet deeply extraordinary.

If a few of my laughs vibrate in the universe after I’m gone, a piece of me will still be here.

Beneath the Waves 🌊

I am a solar-powered-mermaid-wannabe.

It’s hard to feel like you have saltwater in your veins while you have a life you love in the Midwest. Every time I’m near sand, saltwater and sun, the best parts of me come brilliantly alive.

2 months ago when I learned I was going to a conference less than a mile away from the Clearwater Marine Animal Hospital, the conference was scheduled Tues – Friday , I immediately took one vacation day to fulfill a dream I have had ever since I saw Dolphin Tale in 2011 in the theatre.

My own little make-a-wish trip! And I say that not because I think I’m getting old, or dying or that I even deserve a wish-trip. But I believe if we focus on moments of tremendous joy, those moments multiply and keep coming into your life. And actions make wishes and dreams come true.

My flight was paid for by work, so this trip just cost me one vacation day and one night at the hotel. I frugally packed and brought beef jerky for lunch and a zone bar for breakfast each day before the conference started.

I tried to visit CMA during the pandemic with my youngest son, to meet Winter but I didn’t make it in time. I grieved when she passed last November, I rewatched the movie Dolphin Tale over and over until I had memorized the entirety, and then kept watching it again and again. It was inspirational on every front …. every character.

I wanted to rescue dolphins and connect with them while they heal. The best part of the Dolphin Tale movies are the live rescue footages at the end! I love what CMA does.

As I boarded my plane from Chicago to Tampa, my seat and gate were identical (26C, C26), and I saw that as a sign that this was meant to be. Then I noticed you can watch free movies on the United Airlines and Dolphin Tale began!

I checked in at the hotel, enjoyed some freshly caught Red Snapper for dinner and headed towards Pier 60 to soak in the sunset. The pier was overflowing with vendors, fishermen, artists, street performers. I paid a mere $1 for access to the perfect sunset viewing, I got a seat on a bench and this older gentleman sat next to me drinking liquor from a paper bag. At the moment the sun completely fell into the gulf, he declared “this day is done, there will never be another one like it” amen my barstool philosopher friend!

Monday morning, I walked the 1.4 miles to Clearwater Marine Animal Hospital (CMA) as if my body knew how to find it.

I arrived a half hour before the gates opened to the public, and found a treasure-trove of wishes on the surrounding sidewalk and dock.

I deeply loved the whole aquarium, every animal, every exhibit. And then, I became a VIP and met 3 dolphin trainers Gabby (Nicholas 🐬) and Chloe (Hope 🐬) and Meghan. The dolphin pools were closed and Meghan took my breathe away when she announced that PJ died suddenly over the weekend.

I saw on the news there was a school shooting in St Louis, a few miles away from where I stand, people are still homeless from Hurricane Ian; life is so difficult, and I am really grateful for this experience and I don’t take any of it lightly.

I left my dolphin experience urgently wanting to experience (and deserve) everything life has to offer. I’ve always been excited by sunrises, sunsets, seeing a new bird species or brilliant flower. But the sand on the beach felt softer, the air tasted more savory. In the words of Alexandra Cousteau “Water is the ink that writes the poetry of life” and I hope I go back into the water when I die and become a poet.

I’m not sure what lottery I won to be able to have had this week of dolphins, sunshine, palm trees, pelicans, public art, fresh fish, live music, beach walks, boat rides, swimming, coffee on a balcony, and 24-hr outdoor hot tub … but I deeply appreciated every single minute!

Yes, I even appreciated the really long conference days! I am so used to my 14-meeting work days where I am always presenting and it was lovely to sit back, take notes and learn!

six days of seashells, sunshine, sand, saltwater …. and software….I’ll never forget!

I grieve with you for PJ. I will bring Hope’s playfulness and energy and Nicolas’s tenderness and fragility with me throughout my precious life.

love is powerful

I can’t even express how proud I am that I created these two amazing humans and they created this brilliant bond for one another …. And support each other and surprise everyone and go to extra effort to share in the excitement of a big accomplishment like qualifying for varsity and running regionals … and rearranging their own ncaa training schedule the week before conference … I am bursting with pride that our little family is not as dysfunctional as how I grew up, and we are all making the world a better place ….

birthday thoughts

What am I doing today (and this year) to keep myself off autopilot? A daily dose of novelty!

Live an authentic life, not an anesthetized one. I want to feel everything, even if it’s hard or uncomfortable. Instead of running away from the world, we can find escape by immersing ourselves in it.

Whenever I find myself feeling jealous, flip it to find some of that for my life. Quote from Ferris Bueller “you could ditch.”

WWTD. I give moments power, tell my story, and transform my suffering so I don’t transmit it. I won’t keep old wounds open as evidence of a trial that will never come.

The mind-body-spirit-connection is the tension of being alive. All working together, the nervous system, consciousness, dreams, cell regeneration….

Believe in the power of the incremental, habits and consistency are the keys to a well-lived life.

Treat emotions like a compass, pointing you in a the right direction. happiness is not the same as pleasure.

I deserve to live in peace. be still and know.

Don’t break promises you make to yourself. Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

I can think expansive thoughts. I am the universe. I am an abundance of love, light, peace and growth.

surf

I picked one little word for 2022, and I chose “surf” because I hoped I could channel the phrase “surf the urge” when I craved sugar. It was a verb to me… but the more I brought surf to the surface and to my attention, I noticed the noun showing up everywhere …. podcasts, tv shows, the Jimmy Buffet channel in my new car, book titles, movie cameos from Bethany Hamilton. So interesting!

We can’t stop the waves, but we can learn how to surf!

I thought of ways to use this word intentionally; couch surf, channel surf, crowd surf …. I learned surfing lingo in sign language class, used it as a writing prompt, and kept the message top of mind that I can harness the energy from the sun and waves and create the life I dream of. Ride the wave. Go with the flow. We don’t have to sink or swim, we can float/surf. And stay grounded on a strong foundation, but still moving in alignment with the universe!

I don’t need easy, I just need possible – Bethany Hamilton

a big wave, swell, surge, ripple, ocean, foam …

I’ve never experienced large surf or hurricane. Waves always calm my soul. They’re just magic to me.

Sun. Sand. Salt Water.

If I ever have a boat I’m naming it Seas The Day 🏄

Under the water where you can’t see, an underground canyon/cliff produces the worlds biggest wave in Portugal.

Brave wait patiently and then Commit

Perfect Wave, need cooperation

from the sea

Dangerous POWER of the Sea,

the Ocean’s Energy

Cross between Danger zone & Playground, the rescues are dangerous .

I didn’t know there would be hurricane Ian or a trip to Florida in my future when I picked this word!

I picked this word as a verb to help me overcome sugar cravings & surf the urge. It hasn’t really worked for that, but I have been delighted to find this word SURF popping up in other places. And the messages really help me feel aligned.

From showing up in the tv shows I watched to podcasts and book titles. Also, meeting new people at our local hangout who surf the Lake Michigan waves. Leading me to my trip in Clearwater. And that work and life is a wave of craziness too that I just need to surf. And enjoy the ride!

CK, Surf, Dolphin ….
I am where I’m supposed to be
9 days left this year and what a find! How fun! Santa’s Surf Shack

earthlings

What’s your favorite part about being an Earthling? Sunsets? Sound of Rain? Wind in your face? Waves crashing? Campfire crackles? Baby giggles?

Earth 🌍

🐙 🐢 🌊 🐟 🐬 🐳 🐋 🦈

Love ❤️

Laughter

Dolphins 🐬

Sun ☀️ ⭐️ 🌙

Chocolate 🍫

Birds 🦅

Coffee ☕️

Autumn Leaves 🍁 🍂

Water 💦

Beaches 🏝

Naps 😴

Books 📚

Movies 🍿

Music 🎶

Art 🎨

Adventures 🚘

Baseball ⚾️