my heart looks like your heart

my heart looks like your heart

Thursday, December 26, 2013

sticks and stones

while i do believe that another person's opinion of you does not define you, and just because someone says something to you or about you, that doesn't make it true ...  i also believe that even though sticks and stones may break bones, words can in fact hurt sometimes...

i believe it is only right that we should be mindful of our words, our tone, and the energy that we bring into any space. 

it is our responsibility to recognize who we are, and think about who it is that we want to be.  to acknowledge that the way we affect others not only affects the relationship they have with us, it can also affect them as a person. 

this is true for any dynamic, whether it is a partner, a child, a parent, relative, friend, or stranger. 

our awareness can make the difference. 

a broken spirit takes much longer to heal than a broken bone. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

stain on your soul

there are some hurts that don't just go deep. 
they shatter. 
and pieces float around inside you, 
some just underneath the surface of your skin, 
where you can almost see them in your reflection. 
some lodging in crevices you never knew you had 
and getting stuck there with their fresh sharp edges. 
and others saturate you, 
soak through 
and stain your soul, 
changing you 
like beautiful 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

love is kind

love is kind.

this is not about scripture.
this is about life.
this is simple.

when you love someone you don't want to see them hurt,
and you certainly don't want to cause them pain.

loving is compassionate.
ego is self serving.

are you living a life of ego?
or are you living a life of love ...

Monday, December 2, 2013

have you ever been empty

i had a conversation with someone today who told me that he felt completely empty.  his face was soaked with tears.  his voice was choked with fatigue.

i felt what he felt, right along with him, i cried right along with him, and i felt the weight of exhaustion. the weight of emptiness.

afterwards as i sat with myself, immobile, i just stared, at nothing and no one.

it washed over me, the last time i felt that sense of emptiness or aloneness.

it was when i felt that a baby inside of me was no longer alive.

i felt that when it happened.  i could feel the difference in my body before even getting to the doctor.  i didn't need a doctor to tell me.  the first time i didn't realize that i knew what had happened.  it was the first time and i was in denial.  i was hoping and praying that i was wrong.  after that i knew.  and each time it was this feeling of emptiness.  

it was like life was inside me.
and then suddenly it wasn't.

i didn't want it to be true.  i was confused and angry and it seemed that other people were having pregnancies easily or having abortions easily.  it didn't seem to matter to anyone else.  there i was with this empty space inside me that no one could see, no one could feel, and apparently no life could live in.

that's how this emptiness felt.
not the presence of anything bad.
but the absence of something good.
the absence of life.

sometimes people come into our lives who have something about them that makes our world better.  they bring us life.  when people say someone is "a breath of fresh air" or "a ray of sunshine" ... they are basically saying that someone breathes life into their own life.  

the loss of someone in your life, due to any circumstance, can create this emptiness.  it is unlike any other, and if you have experienced this, you know what i mean.

if you ever feel this feeling, this hollow feeling, in part of you or what feels like your whole self, like if someone picked you up by your legs and shook you, you would be as light as air, and all they would hear is the sound of your broken pieces rattling around inside, i can assure you that you are not the only one who knows this feeling.

we have not all experienced love in its true form, but we have all experienced pain.

and i think love is the only way out.
the only way to fresh air so that you can breathe.
the only way from darkness into light.
the only way back
to life.

Friday, October 18, 2013

that's all

six months ago my friend callie left this world. it was unexpected. it was shocking. and it was her choice. 

callie's bracelet was on the table.
when i held it, from her wrist to mine,
it was like feeling the pulse of her life.
six months, in the big scheme of things, when you look at a whole entire lifetime, is not that long. 
when you look at a baby and the growth and development from the moment they're born until they're six months old, six months' time is tremendous. 
when you look at it not day by day or even minute by minute, but breath by difficult breath, it can be an eternity.
it can be a nightmare. 
and unfortunately, it can be a reality.

i spent some time recently with callie's mother. we cried a lot. we laughed a lot. how she laughed, i don't know. we listened to each other. we taught each other things we didn't know about callie. we held each other. 

sometimes it happens that we are gifted with the presence of another person and we don't know why it happens when it does ... we might not even think about it. but afterwards we know that it was necessary. that's all. we can feel that we needed to be sharing life with each other at that moment.  life. strength. love. 

as i sat with callie's mom and felt her love and heartache, there were times when her laugh or her words would sound exactly like callie.  it was amazingly freaky and comforting at the same time.  i stared at her in a way i never have before.  i remembered how we first met and how we never would have imagined we would be in this position now.

after holding each other and breathing the same breaths with our faces touching, she got up to get something to give me.  i had not come for anything and certainly did not expect to leave with anything. she knew this, and she placed a bracelet in my hand.  a bracelet of callie's.  i held it in the palm of my hand, i held it to my face, and couldn't let go of it.  again it was like the pulse of her life.  the pulse of the universe.  i put it on and have not taken it off even for a moment.  when i first had the experience which i wrote about, of sitting next to the man on the airplane, taking pictures of his bracelets representing suicide prevention, not knowing that it was just hours after callie had left us, i had no way to fathom that i would be the one wearing a bracelet of the same heartache ... same yet different ... 6 months later.

there are some things that are never the same.
no one's life is ever the same as another's.
no one's grief is ever the same as another's.
and a mother's life after the loss of her child is never the same as her life before.

it isn't an experience that she ever "gets through." 
it isn't something that ever becomes "normal."

as mothers we often questions ourselves when it comes to our parenting:  should i have done that differently?  did i get that right?  was i wrong about that?  did i handle that in the best way?  was that a mistake i just made?  am i screwing up my child? over and over and over.  

a mother who has lost her child to suicide has her own set of additional questions that no one else has. 

i am grateful for callie's life.  i am grateful for the ways she touched so many lives around her.  for those who know callie, they know what i mean, and they know that i am not sanctifying her.  i am grateful for her mother, without whom callie would not have been the person she was and remains to be, to so many others in this world.  

as i sat with callie's mom i could feel not only her heartache and her struggle, but also callie's strength and tenacity.  i could feel callie.  and regardless of anything else, i was so proud of her mom.  not everyone grows up to have such a positive lasting effect on so many others.  not everyone grows up to be a giver.  not everyone grows up and asks that their mother live near them when they don't have to.  not everyone lives with the fearlessness of callie bradley mooney.  she exercised her right to make her own choices, that's for sure.  and her legacy will live on in the hearts and minds and lives of countless other people.  and that will then trickle down to the other lives that those people touch.  and callie would not have done that and been that, if her mother had not been her mother.

i knew while we shared this time, that there were no words i could say that would make anything better.  we both talked in circles with no logical thought patterns, just whatever came to mind and came out of our mouths.  i knew there was nothing i could do.  and i can't explain why or how, but i also knew i needed to be there ... we needed to be there ... at that very moment, having that very experience.  that's all.

you know how when someone's life is over, you have things you wish you had said, things you wish you had done ... it always happens, whether you knew the end was near or whether it was a total unexpected event.  yeah i have those things too ... 

i guess at this moment, with callie's pulse on my own wrist, i just miss her.  

that's all.

american foundation for suicide prevention
cards callie would love LOL

november 23 is international survivors of suicide day.  click here to get involved:
international survivors of suicide day 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013


i promise that you will have at least one moment in your life when you will feel scared.
you will have a moment when you feel misunderstood.
or alone.
or inadequate.
or just plain sad.
you are going to have times that hurt.
and times that aren't fair.
this is not because there is anything wrong with you.
there isn't.
this is life.
and life isn't always fair.
instead of asking "why me?"  learn to ask "why not me?"    

i promise that although i have never been in your shoes, and i haven't been You, i have experienced all of those things too, and i understand how hard life can be. 

i promise that when you are facing something i have never experienced, i will face it with you. 

i promise that you can come to me with anything, and i will stand by you.
i promise not to fix your problems.
not because i don't love you.
but because i do.
and because i believe in you.
i promise you are stronger and braver than you think you are. 

i promise that i will not scold you.
i will not judge you.
i will not use your words against you
and i will not tell you how to live your own life. 
your life is YOUR journey. 

i promise to love you, always more, and never less.
i promise that this will be true every single night when you lay your head down to sleep. 

i promise that you are never, ever, alone. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

pennies for fountains

there was once a time when i didn't know if i would ever be a mother. i woke up every day not knowing.  i spent every day wondering.  i went to sleep at night not knowing.

something many people take for granted:   having a baby.  women and girls do it all the time, sometimes not wanting to, sometimes without a second thought, sometimes as if it is their right and not a privilege. 

like many others, i spent years in quiet desperation, hoping i would one day be a mom, wondering why it wasn't happening for me ... yet seemed to be happening for everyone around me.  getting to know the joy of pregnancy only to then meet the agony of my baby not surviving.  more than once, reliving this tragedy to my heart and to my body.  to my spirit.

i prayed. i wished on stars. pennies in fountains. dandelions. birthday candles.  wishbones.  ladybugs.  other people's babies. any possible way to get my heart's desire out there. 

and then i gave up.

it was a time that made me question a lot of things. it was a time that made me re-evaluate love and life and faith and destiny. 

it was a time that made me the mother i am today.

i have never taken one day of motherhood for granted.  grateful for the honor of loving and guiding my two children and grateful for the children i am allowed to love as my own but who i did not give birth to, today i especially celebrate my baby, ian david, who i proudly named after his uncle, and who i proudly adore to the ends of the earth. 

ian has always wished on stars  

and asked for pennies for fountains.

i always have pennies for him. i always stop what we're doing and give him time with the stars, no matter where we are, how late it is, how tired i am, if it's raining, etc.  i always stand and smile both inside and out, in silence and respect, and admire him as he gets his heart's desire out there. 

i would be incomplete without the ability to love and experience the beauty of his very special soul in my life.  i am beyond grateful for him and for the fortune of being his mom.

i can't believe he is 10. 
i can't believe he is mine. 
i can't believe i could be so very very lucky. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

it isn't that you complete me ...

i've been thinking a lot about what a gift it is when someone allows us to love them.

the joy of love, really, is not that someone loves you back.

because that's not what love is.
loving someone doesn't mean loving them so that you can be loved.
it's loving because you will to love.

when someone allows you to love them, your whole world can change.

your heart can grow exponentially.

by the moment.

when you can love someone,
and love their dreams,
and love their life,
just to love them,
with no expectation or need from them,

it can bring your search to rest.

it can offer an answer to your prayer.

it can take a wounded heart

to whole.

Friday, September 13, 2013

make love a priority

you may have seen this quote like i have:  "never make someone a priority in your life when you are only an option in theirs."  
or maybe you've seen a similar version of it.  

i wonder how many people go through life always feeling like they are, or should be,  everyone's priority.  i think we all know people like that.

i wonder how many people go through life never knowing what it feels like to be a priority to anyone.  i think we all know people like that too.  the difference is that we don't know it.

people are not so eager to let others know that they have never felt like anyone's priority, on any level.

as a child.
as a parent.
as a sibling.
as a friend.
as a partner.
as a spouse.

we should all know that our own heart is just as important as everyone else's.  

we should all know what it feels like to be valued, 
to be irreplaceable, 
to be a priority 
and not just an existence ...

we all deserve to know that we matter.

how do you know when you are someone's priority?
how do you let others know that they are a priority in your life?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

weathering the storm with grace and love

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
– Louisa May Alcott

weathering the storm with grace and love is not only possible, but key to our spiritual growth and enlightenment. we can rise above and BE more.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

the four letter word i hope my kids get caught saying

ok, so i have often been teased for being over sensitive ... not just as a mother, but as a person, throughout my whole entire life.  it has become synonymous with my name, almost to the point where, you know how when people introduce each other, they often follow with a title, such as, "this is bob, he's an orthodontist" or "this is suzy, she's a photographer," etc. ... well when someone introduces me i almost expect them to say, "this is jacqueline, she's over sensitive ..." 

so four letter words in my house include not only the classic ones that rhyme with bit and duck and clam ... my children have also not been allowed to use the words "hate" "bored" "shut up" "idiot" (i know ... those are more than four letters) ... these are examples of the tone or energy that i allow and don't allow.  yes, i am that mom.  in fact, when they were younger and we were in the car, typically in traffic, they would call their father out with shock and dismay, expecting restitution, because he "used the H word" ... and he would just sit there baffled and in denial until we figured out that the H word he used was "hate."  trust me, he still sat there baffled ...

so yesterday my 9 year old and i were spending the afternoon together, playing tourists in a small historic town, when we found the gem of an upcycled art and love shop called "when pigs fly."

after indulging myself in all the goodness and life giving energy in this place, i decided that the one thing i couldn't leave without was a set of four letters.  a four letter word that i somehow needed to take with me.

L.  O.  V.  and E.

i have been immersed in the experience of arranging these letters in several different places today, trying to find the right spot, looking at them from different angles, in different surroundings, in different light ...  feeling what "fits" with me and what doesn't.  what resonates and makes me say "ahhhh ..."

in between this interesting ... wordplay (cheesy pun intended,)  i had a conversation with a loved one about how love and relationships mean different things to different people.  the conversation in many ways mirrored the experience i was having, it was much about looking at "LOVE" from different perspectives.  how awesome!

love does mean different things to different people.
all kinds of words or concepts mean different things to different people.
and rightly so, because other people are not us and we are not them.  they have not lived our life and we have not lived theirs.  they have different experiences, needs, wants, ideas, expectations, dreams, beliefs, and have grown up differently and walked a different path.

the word LOVE can incite so many different emotions and thoughts, some positive, some neutral, some even very negative. it can mean one thing to one person or it can mean many things to one person.  
all by itself.  
4 little letters.  
one word that can mean so many things. 

i am one who, when i think of love, it means a myriad of other things to me.  and each of those things ... in themselves they might mean something entirely different to you.

"We don't see things as they are ... We see things as we are."  -Anaïs Nin

so i wonder.  

what does it mean to you?
when i see this word, i also see:

i am really interested in learning, what do you see?

i feel like this is an important thing to consider and remember when we are interacting and living with other people throughout our life, particularly in significant primary relationships.

if one person believes that love means always-and-forever-no-matter-what ... that they can treat someone in any way, behave any way even if it is negative and harmful, and basically not honor their partner, (after all, what does honor mean to that person?) they might truly believe that it is okay.   because love means it will be okay and that partner will still love them and be with them no matter what.  however, if the partner believes that love means respect - both for others and for one's self, and those behaviors are not respecting him or herself, they will not feel loved, and there is a good possibility that they will not stay in that situation.   

this does not make either person right or wrong.  they just have different ideas of what love is.  i am not sure that this is something we are ever taught when we are growing up and trying to navigate our path and include loving relationships along the way.

what are your thoughts?

i am fascinated with the different ways that we, as a whole, can see the same thing. 

much like, i don't know, blueberry pie?  someone sees it as tart.  someone sees it as sweet.  someone sees it as comfort.  someone sees it as puke.  someone sees it as dessert.  someone sees it as punishment.    it is still just a blueberry pie.  we each have our own experience of it.

i would love to know how you feel about this.
the whole concept ... not the blueberry pie.
although you can tell me that too!  :D

in raising my children, i have made it a point to eradicate perspectives that foster thought processes involving words like "hate" "stupid" "shut up" "idiot" and other similar attitudes.  i care less about the "classic" four letter words that i know my kids have heard by now through outside sources, and they even know what half of those words mean ...  i know these words will not become part of their language in life. 

i hope with all my heart, that the four letter word that DOES become part of their life language, that they do get caught saying, often, whether out loud or silently, is LOVE.  

whatever that means to them.  

"For the two of us, home isn't a place.  It is a person.  And we are finally home." -Stephanie Perkins

Monday, May 20, 2013

how i faced my fear and found unexpected beauty

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."  -Wayne Dyer

 It was easier to feign fearlessness than I had thought it would be; all I could focus on was assuring my children that it was all fine and there was nothing to be afraid of.  It worked for them, but on the inside I was still trembling and having what felt like hot flashes on a summer day in the desert wearing wool and drinking hot coffee ...

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

and her light will continue to shine ...

 ♥ the inspiration of callie mooney

friday morning, april 12, 2013:  little did i know, that while i was reminiscing about our friend callie, she had just taken her own life the night before.  

my heart is broken.  for callie.  for callie's husband.  for her family.  for his family. for all of us who knew her.  nothing is making this seem real.

all of us knew callie in a different way, just like we all know people in the way that we relate to them and the specific dynamic of our particular relationship.

i know that we will each treasure her in many similar ways and at the same time also many different individual ways ...

i loved callie … my children loved callie … and we have beautiful fun memories to keep like treasures in our pockets and in our hearts.  

discussing legos.  serious stuff. 

but among all of these memories playing through my mind like a home movie, i have been thinking about the most significant way in which callie inspired me.  

callie liked to party and speak her mind and didn't give a rat's behind whether you agreed with her or not.  but this is not the way i am thinking of. 

she could be loud, she told it like it was, she made no apologies.  she loved the zombie movement, was so excited to be part of organizing the charitable Fredericksburg Zombie Walk, and found true friends she loved and said she never wanted to leave, in the Mean Mommies Club.

she declined the Facebook friendship of a friend's teenage son, explaining to him that she uses language and content that she felt was inappropriate for him, and although she very much appreciated knowing him, she didn't want him to see her Facebook world in his newsfeed.  

she played both online games and board games with my children, staying up until 2am on some summer nights, yawning and laughing ... and winning … 

these aren't what i am referring to either.

what i am thinking of is that callie inspired me in a way that no other person has … to love without boundaries.  even though our personalities were very different, she was living confirmation of my beliefs of loving from the inside out.  she made me think about the love that i have for others, about the different kinds of love, different kinds of relationships, and i had to question that love … in a good way.  was i loving someone as completely as callie was?  was it the true inner essence of a person that i was loving, beyond all human accessories, gender identifications, and multi-faceted make up?  if someone i loved changed their identity, would i still love them the same way?  because of who they ARE?  not because of who i think they are or who i want them to be, who the world sees,  or what they have to offer me and my life?

if callie loved you, she loved you in this way.  what an honor!  i can't think of a more important inspiration or contribution to the life of another human being.  my thinking and my heart was opened to this because of her, and i was forever changed.  i can honestly say i never knew another person who loved like callie did.  her love capacity was greater than anyone i had known, and was in fact, unbeknownst to me in terms of capability.  i challenged myself to love as greatly as callie did.  it became part of who i am, and i am proud to say that my own capacity, my own heart, grew like never before.

friday morning, april 12, 2013:  i was sitting on a plane with an empty seat beside me.  writing my previous blogpost "handle with care" about callie and my son.  at the last minute before take off, an elderly gentleman came and sat beside me.  he wore glasses, his hair was very thin, his clothes were of muted color, and he was totally quiet.  i noticed that on his left arm were two rubber bracelets:  the flat kind that are usually colorful and have words embossed on them.  i was taken with this because i typically do not see this older generation wearing these kinds of bracelets.  they stood out against his plain appearance.

i noticed that the words on one bracelet were:

and the words on the other bracelet were:  OUT OF THE DARKNESS

and i felt loss or emptiness standing out against his chest.

i typed them into my post so i wouldn't forget.  i wanted to look them up later.  i felt so drawn to do so and couldn't explain it, yet didn't feel the need to.

i wanted to ask him who he had lost because i felt that he had lost an adult child.

then when he closed his eyes i took a picture of the bracelets.  even though i had written down the information, i wanted to capture that feeling in that moment.  i wanted to be able to bring back the power of that moment to my own chest.

we never spoke.  i wanted to, and i looked at him many times, but he never made eye contact with me.

these bracelets and their messages walked around inside my head all day, tugging at me as i repeatedly put them aside for later.

i woke up the next morning to the news of callie's passing.

i was out of town and couldn't reach anyone, and nothing seemed real.  i was in loving hands, but no matter how disoriented i was, i knew that it was nothing compared to how callie's inner circle was feeling.

since that very moment, things have been a bit of a blur to say the least.

ryan, her husband, said to me, "i don't know how to do this ..." 
i could only reply, "i don't know how to do this either.  i only know that we do it together."

i don't even know how to stop writing this except to offer the following link, from the bracelet beside me on that flight:

and to invite you to please contribute any helpful resources that you know of.

and to please, please share this story of callie's heart …

if we can each love another the way callie did … even just one person in our lifetime, her light will continue to shine ...

     callie came to all of my son's art shows.  her support made his heart super happy...

lego brick fair fist bump.  it is cute, how obvious callie's hand is!

this is not callie's plate but i saw it on my way home from the airport.  one of her nicknames was bunny.

first fridays