Good Things #28: Secret Santas.

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My Third Eye Blind superfan group (and let’s be real here: we’re a family) did a secret santa gift exchange this year. Without getting too deep into the story, there is a particular lyric that means a lot to me (so much so that it is actually my hashtag for my cancer journey). It’s from the song “Sharp Knife” and the lyric portion is “return to fearless.”  My friend, Holly, got Stephen Jenkins to write the lyric at a show this fall for me. It is probably one of the most awesome things ever.

And then my secret santa took to the next level and got it put on a t-shirt for me.

So the next time I get really scared or discouraged on this journey I’m going to put on my t-shirt and remember that not only do I have this, but I am so loved.

Good Things #27: Red Cups.

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I had my first Chestnut Praline Latte on Saturday in my first Starbucks Red Cup of the season. It was happiness in a cup.

One of my first memories of Kansas City is of walking around Ward Parkway Center clutching a red Starbucks holiday cup, the air brisk with winter’s chill and my entire being settling into my new hometown. A dozen years on I am always taken back to those first days of wonder when I hold a red cup in my hands.

Here’s to the season.

Good Things #26: The Kansas City Royals.

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I’ve loved baseball since I was a kid. I remember listening to Jack Buck call Cardinals games from the time I was first able to understand what baseball was. Dad would have the windows down in the car and he’d have the stereo on, the volume up and we’d be out in the garage on a summer day just listening. Or we’d watch on a local station. I remember the 1985 World Series when my Cardinals lost to the Royals. I remember having a KMOX radio emblazoned with Cardinals logos. Now, as an adult, I even have a Fredbird the Redbird puppet my dad made me at Busch Stadium a few years ago.

My love for the Kansas City Royals started in 1985 in that World Series against my St. Louis Cardinals. Both teams are from Missouri and Missouri is my home state so when I moved to Kansas City 2003 I became a passionate fan of the home team. One of my first purchases here was a pale blue Royals hat. I still have it. I wore it proudly on game days, even in years when we suffered 100+ losses in a season. Then last season the years of believing opened up to hoping. Yeah, we lost the World Series last year, but it wasn’t over. We came back this year and went for it again. Picking ourselves back up is what we do. This is Kansas City. We work hard and we never quit.

Last night that work ethic and that faith paid off. It was a big bit of baseball magic when we entered the 9th inning losing and exited the 12th World Champions. I’m still crying with joy. The crown is ours and it’s not just a good thing, it’s amazing.

GO ROYALS!

Good Things #25: Supergirl

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It’s been 36 years since there was a female superhero on TV. Last night, CBS moved me to tears as they presented a young woman coming into her own, finding her own power and her own voice. It was beautiful. I am beyond grateful to see this show. It was something I could have stood to have seen when I was a girl so I hope young girls see it and are inspired to have their own power and voice and fly like a girl.

Good Things #24: Simple.

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I recently sat through a conference session regarding mindfulness.  I’m not going to pretend that I gained some sort of incredible wisdom or zen from it. The reality is that I nearly fell asleep in the session from a combination of it being after lunch and the speaker’s voice being so soothing and soft. I didn’t really learn much about mindfulness, to be honest, but during one of the exercises I did have a moment where things were very clear. I couldn’t focus well on my breathing like I was supposed to, but I kept coming back to the idea of simplicity. Just keeping it simple. You’re breathing, that’s good. The sky is above you, that’s good. Tiny little things. Just the basics. All good.

It was in that moment I also realized that I had some pictures on my phone from my recent trip home. There was a beautiful night where the sky was the right balance of just a few colors and the moon was bright. The air was cool and clear. The world was still. Just the basics. All good. I need to remember every day the importance of simple because that is where the good is. It’s where the peace is.

Good Things #23: Introspection and Reconnection.

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Sometimes when I look at old photographs of myself I question whether or not the girl in the image is really me. So commonly in old photos I’m unabashedly alive. The girl in the picture is always giddy, laughing, smiling from somewhere deep inside, completely goofy, and so deeply connected to her body that she practically transcends. Those old pictures are bright lights and the shine they bring to more current pictures of myself reveals only shadows. The giddy, laughter, smiling, goofiness is gone. I’m not sure what it’s been replaced with exactly because my smiles are real, but they feel lacking.

Along the way somehow I got the idea that giddy, goofy, laughing, being utterly myself was wrong and needed to be reigned in. So I did. At least two decades worth of this reigned in shadow has stacked itself up to the point that I barely recognize myself. This past weekend, though, instead of a sadness at what was lost I felt a hope for what could be. I’m not sure what changed, but I made peace with some of the things about my life and my person that have been heavy weights. I accepted that I’m not and never have been some orderly creature stuck on politeness and timidity. I’m loud. I’m goofy. I’m creative and funny and there is power in that. There’s a fire in me that may have dimmed but has never gone out. Getting back to my fearlessness has been an ongoing thing for me the last several months, but this weekend something perfectly unlocked. Old wires came back to life.

And that crazy-haired girl no longer exists just in still frame. She’s back (though this time with better hair.)

Accepting yourself is an extraordinary good.

Good Thing #22: Life

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I’m honestly just happy to be alive.

It’s been a less than stellar couple of weeks, but this morning when I crawled out of bed the only thing I could think about was just how happy I am to be here, on planet earth, breathing in and out, and getting to be me. Life is amazing and beautiful. Enjoy every moment of it.

Good Things #21: Supermoon Eclipse

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I’ve loved the sky since I was a child. My first dream (other than to teach) was to be an astronaut. My feet remain firmly planted on the earth, but my love for the heavens remains now that I am an adult. Last night’s super moon eclipse was pretty much the perfect thing after a couple of really rough weeks.

The moon at it’s closest point in orbit to us, our little planet in perfect alignment with the sun and moon, creating a pretty little symmetry in a world full of chaos. I felt very content and very calm standing on my street looking at the sky and letting myself believe that some small part of me makes up that shadow creeping over the glowing moon above.

It’s amazing how you can feel so small and so large at the same moment. It’s beautiful.

Good Things #20: This Squirrel.

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I looked out the window and saw this guy just hanging out on the hedge in front of my apartment. He was just snacking away on something and dancing around, putting on a little show. The light was soft around him, the air had a little chill, and this squirrel was having the best time. I’m pretty sure my cat was annoyed, but the squirrel was a joy to watch. I’m glad I got to see him do his little happy dance. You go, Squirrel. You go.

Good Things #19: Lola.

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This week my Third Eye Blind fan family was struck by a pretty heavy blow. One of our own, the beautiful and joyful Lola, passed away. She was only twenty-six.

Death is always hard. The death of a young person is even harder. And a death in the family? Excruciating. And make no mistake, that little community of fans that we have built is a family. Many of us didn’t know Lola well, but that didn’t matter. She was one of us and she was deeply loved. Today, as she is laid to rest, there is not a one of us who isn’t thinking of her and her “real life” family. It’s just so sad and so heartbreaking.

But even in death there can be beauty and joy.  Losing Lola sparked an outpouring of support, love, and beauty unlike anything I’ve ever seen. People started lifting each other up. As one-by-one members of our group started opening up about their own struggles, everyone joined in to tell them it was okay and they were perfect even for their flaws. They even started telling each other what was amazing about them, because it isn’t easy sometimes to see the good in yourself. It takes those who love you to do that. And there is just so much love there.

And for Lola? Though she is gone there is love for her, too. What started out as a simple “anyone want to chip in for some flowers” has turned into a tidal wave of support. Our beautiful Lola will have beautiful flowers as we say goodbye, but there will also be support for her family in the dark days to come. I’ve never been so overwhelmed with wonder and amazement at the goodness and generosity of people.

So today’s Ordinary Good is Lola. She left us far too soon but she also left behind a piece of herself in all of us. She left behind love. It lives on in all of us and as long as we keep loving each other and keep lifting each other up she will always be with us.

Rest in peace, Lola. You are beautiful, you are wonderful, you are amazing, you are joy, and you will always be part of us.

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week. If you are struggling, please reach out. You are so important. You are so loved. 1-800-273-TALK.