Be The Tea Bag

If I could name 2020, it would be, “Welcome to the Shit Show”. My life is changing in every way imaginable. It’s been a roller coaster ride. So much has happened that I thought about just throwing myself on the floor and having a real tantrum. But mom reminded that it would only make my voice hoarse and I would cough more. Thanks mom for the dose of reality. I can always count on you to keep it real.

2020 began with massive changes. I couldn’t just make a few changes….no…I chose to let go of all that caused me pain, including things. Purging everything that I no longer needed. The house got pretty empty. I said goodbye to my marriage and we put the house up for sale. I left a career that I was very unhappy with. Each step very painful. It left me feeling very vulnerable with my heart broken open. But I have a theory about life. Life is always working for us, even if we don’t recognize it as such. I’ve really questioned why things happen the way they do. So I’ve come up with a possible answer.

I have a theory that I have some spirit guides with a wicked sense of humor. I envision two little leprechauns with their unicorn Fred sitting up in Heaven co-conspiring to give me the most personal growth possible in this lifetime. I can see them strategically planning my life for maximum growth. Leprechaun 1, “Hey, you know that Covid test we made positive last week? That threw Dina off just a little bit but let’s make it more interesting this week. Turn up the coughing. Then let’s get rid of her fever. That will confuse the hell out of her.” They laugh hysterically and continue to plan their shenanigans. Leprechaun 2, “Hey remember when Dina thought her house would sell within 60 days? We sure fixed that didn’t we? That large plumbing problem…nobody saw that coming. I’ll have to admit that we might have went too far with the big plumbing bill. That was tough. At least we gave her a cute plumber that sat with her for 2 days and he saved her from her least favorite bug. That did lessen the blow a little didn’t it?” Leprechaun 1, “Hmmm, so far this year we have stalled her from getting a new job, the selling of the house and her divorce. Is there anything else we can put in her path to slow her down? Oh, I know! Let’s mess with her health. I know she has kept her lupus under control but we need to see some flare ups. Let’s see how she handles herself under pressure.” Leprechaun 2, “You know she worries about her mom too. Let’s crank up the pain for her mom. They can both be down physically at the same time. That should promote some healthy bonding.” Leprechaun 1, “Yeah that’s great! She is really going to stretch those spiritual and emotional muscles. I bet she will question her life purpose. And I’m willing to bet you two rainbows that she blogs about her experiences.” Leprechaun 2, “I sure hope so because she is behind on finishing her book. It’s taken her almost 10 years. We have to light a fire under her ass. Poor girl, didn’t know what hit her.” Leprechaun 1, “Yes but we do it with the best of intentions. She is meant to be a badass woman. She’s getting there aside from her schmaltzy meltdowns. lf she could only see herself ugly cry…wah, wah, wah. Doesn’t she know we are preparing her for greatness?”

That is how I envision my life unfolding. Unforeseen events happening not to me but for me (leprechauns optional). I imagine myself as a tea bag being put in hot water.

“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” 

Surviving covid

Wednesday, June 24th, I got up at 5 a.m. and prepared to go to work. My sinuses were draining down my throat and my voice was raspy from the drainage. I dreaded going to work and being exposed to the Saharan dust that would permeate the warehouse. There was no avoiding it that day. I was actually glad to have an excuse to wear a mask. I’ve suffered from allergies most of my life and am no stranger to migraines and sinus headaches. I got to work and waited my turn for the thermal body scan which would give me the go ahead to clock in at work. With mask on, hands sanitized and work gloves, I was ready for my shift. I felt a little off but continued to press on. I attributed my energy level to the Sahara winds that probably were antagonizing my immune system. After all, I had been at this job since the beginning of the covid lockdown. I did my due diligence at work as best as I could. Recently, there were a few dozen cases being reported at work. I honestly did not worry too much.

Thursday morning I woke up with muscle pain. It was nothing new. It is what I experience when the lupus acts up. It felt like my feet were on fire. My hands were hot and hurting too. In addition, I was having a fibromyalgia flare. All my touchpoints for fibro were hurting. I applied for time off. Since it was my Friday, I rationalized that I would have three days to recuperate. Hopefully the Sahara dust would move on and my immune system would adjust.

On Saturday, I was not feeling better and knew that I would have to prepare to go back to work. Yet I was still feeling under the weather. So I made an appointment with urgent care and went in to see a Doctor. They took my vitals which did not raise a red flag. My temperature wasn’t even normal! But for me, I knew it was a little elevated 98.1. The Doctor suspected an upper respiratory infection and swabbed me for Covid. He told me to go home, drink plenty of liquids and isolate until the results came back just to be safe.

Tuesday, June 30th, I got the results back and I was shocked. The Covid test was positive. We immediately scheduled my daughter to be tested and I spent the next few hours reaching out to all that I had contact with in the last 2 weeks. I hated that I was responsible for friends being exposed but felt it was my duty to reach out on a need to know basis. That evening, I began to run a fever. It was the first real symptom that I attributed to Covid. Until then, it mimicked lupus and sinus issues. Keep in mind that I had this for almost a full week without a fever. I never lost my sense of taste or smell. I had not been nauseous or throwing up. I didn’t have a dry cough. I did have an occasional wet cough due to the drainage but it was not a constant. The next couple of days were rough. I developed even more muscle pain to the point that it hurt to walk on my feet. The weakness became worse leaving me barely able to get out of bed. Still no heavy coughing and no problems breathing. My temperature went up to 100 degrees which was high for me. Thank goodness my daughter was able to bring me water and gatorade. She filled the humidifier for me and made sure I was doing okay. The appetite left during the next few days. I lost 4 pounds from not being able to eat. The nausea set in and nothing sounded remotely appetizing.

It has been 6 days since my diagnosis and I am certain it’s been 11 days since the beginning of it all. There were about 4 intense days of not feeling well. It’s been 3 days now with no fever. The pain lessens everyday and is nominal compared to a week ago.

What have I learned from this? That I ignored symptoms that didn’t seem to correlate with Covid. Covid actually mimicked symptoms that I have frequently when my body is stressed (allergies, sinus, lupus, fibromyalgia). If I hadn’t of taken the Covid test, I would not have believed the positive results until the fever set in. That’s when a few of the traditional symptoms appeared. What I hope you take from this is to pay attention to your body. If something feels off, listen and take care of yourself. I ignored my gut on the Wednesday I showed up to work not feeling well. I pushed through thinking I didn’t need to miss another day of work. Looking back, I know that my health is far more important than a day of work. I’ve had time to reflect on my current life and realize there are changes that I need to make to ensure my best health possible.

I am not sure when all the lingering weakness will go away. At least I am on the way to mending. My daughter’s test came back negative. Hopefully my mom will continue to stay healthy.

I am not overly worried about Covid nor am I ignoring precautions. I think fear is a terrible thing and that we must help one another through this time with love and compassion. We are all doing our best to navigate these uncertain times. Love your family and friends with wild abandon, be grateful for your health and be kind to your fellow humans ♥.

In retrospect, I watched a video that might have shortened the down time I had. If you feel you have Covid, or know of someone that does, please share this video and reach out to Dr. Bartlett or ask your Doctor about this nebulizer treatment with steroids.

My Heart is broken open

Photo by Joseph Hernanadez

Sitting in my office, I am reflecting on the journey my life has taken the last 14 years. It is much easier to share the highlights and hide the struggles and hard times. Yet that is where the richest part of life comes from….the brokenness and the pain that causes a person to grow and expand in ways they never imagined. No one is exempt from trials, tribulations and heartache. It is just not shared so openly.

I never imagined myself to be married twice let alone on my way to a second divorce. I was in it for the long haul. That’s where I got sidetracked folks. Trying so hard to make something work that had naturally run its course. I found myself swimming upstream and I was exhausted. Finally I threw my hands in the air and asked for some spiritual guidance. What came out of that conversation is that I did not support myself or have my own back. Let me repeat that loud and clear…I DID NOT HAVE MY OWN BACK.

My journey to being authentic was just beginning and might I add, it is not a destination…it is a journey. I’ve always been a person to be supportive of other people, but not myself. The realization hit me hard and stopped me in my tracks. I took a good look at my life and decided to make some changes. The Marie Kondo for the Soul began to help me clear out the baggage in my heart so I could clear up my life. Being real and speaking my truth has taken me out of my comfort zone. I’m living on the edge each and every day. It’s a beautiful place to be as I see my new chapter begin to take shape.

Divorce is not my finest hour in life but it is necessary for me. I am always going to love the man I chose to marry. We share beautiful children that we raised together. There were great times, good time and sad times. There is no right or wrong. It just is. I am grateful for our time together. We helped each other to grow and expand as human beings. Coming full circle, that journey into marriage led me to where I am right now…with the courage to have my heart broken open.

You might be an empath if

What is an empath and how do you know if you are one? Some people wear like it like a banner and others are ashamed to admit that they are because there is a vulnerability that can misconstrued as weakness. Sometimes it is a weakness. It depends on the individual and where they are in their journey.

My journey as an empath began at a very young age. I was an emotional sponge and I still am if I’m not careful. Friends, if you read this blog and relate to the traits I describe below, be sure to do your own self care. The world needs us right now AND they need us healthy.

If you have most of these traits, consider yourself an empath:

  • Emotional sponge – you take on other people’s feelings. Most of the time you don’t realize what you are doing and wonder why you are having such random feelings. They are not yours!
  • Being in large crowds exhausts you – the energy of people in masses can be exhausting. You might pick up physical symptoms of those around you. Be sure you check in with your body often and ask if it is your symptom or that of someone else.
  • People in stores mistake you for an employee and begin to ask you questions.
  • Strangers tell you their life story. It’s a common occurrence in your life because they sense that you are a caring person who listens and takes their story to heart.
  • You cry easily or are touched by simple things in life. It could be a silly commercial with cute animals or someone singing a patriotic song. Some empaths have a fear of expressing their emotions so they don’t cry but end up with knots in their throat from not expressing their emotions. Not expressing emotions can lead to physical discomfort in the body such as anxiety.
  • You attract narcissistic people into your life. Narcissists can spot an empath a mile away.
  • People take advantage of your kind and generous nature. You might end up an angry and/or a resentful person because you feel taken advantage of a lot.
  • You have weak personal boundaries with people.
  • You seem to know a person’s story before you get to know them. Most empaths are very intuitive.
  • You have a tendency to have autoimmune diseases. Some empaths have multiple autoimmune diseases.
  • If you are tuned in, you can feel your emotions and locate where they are in your body.
  • You are clairvoyant, clairsentient, and/or clairaudient.
  • Your body is very sensitive to the touch.
  • You are a kind and thoughtful person that usually goes the extra mile with people.
  • You are trustworthy.
  • You say yes to too much and have trouble saying no. You overwork, overcommit and sometimes disappoint people.
  • People value your opinions.
  • You can be a social chameleon, changing as you see fit.

Being an empath can be both an amazing experience and a curse. It depends on how you develop as a person. The most important take away I have is that setting personal boundaries should be your first priority when you realize that you are an empath. Realize that you are enough and you don’t have to give up who you are to please someone else. Set boundaries with family and friends and all that cross your path. It is not easy to do. Start small by saying no to things that don’t matter too much to you. For instance, say no to volunteering for something that will cost you precious time that you don’t have to spare. Begin considering yourself first before you commit to anyone or anything. This is not being selfish. If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot help anyone else. I liken this advice to the instructions that flight attendants give when you are on a plane. In order to help your children or anyone around you on the plane, you must first put your own oxygen mask on. Self care is important.

If you have an experience you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you.

I would like to add a very important detail that some of you can relate to – addictions. Empaths are prone to addictions of all sorts. The sensitivity can be overwhelming at times so we develop addictions to dull the senses or distract us from dealing with our feelings. It is so important to honor your journey if you are in the midst of an addiction. Get real with yourself and be gentle and loving. Forgive yourself and forgive others. That is the path to healing.

Finding My Warrior Princess

Eleven years ago I made a conscious decision to volunteer with an organization that advocates for children. I went through the extensive training and background check and was ready for my first case. She came to me as soon as I graduated the program. She had trust issues and I was her second advocate. Already at a disadvantage, I decided that I would dedicate time on a weekly basis to build her trust. She needed me and I needed her to trust me in order to be her voice.

When I began this journey with my Warrior Princess, my hope was that we would be able to reunite her with her family. I was told that it could take up to a year and to be prepared to attend all meetings and appointments on her behalf. I was ready and excited to be of service. I did not realize how deeply involved I would become with my Warrior Princess.

My Warrior Princess was 15 at the time we met. I could see so much potential in her but it would be years before she saw that potential in herself. Every week I would pick her up and spend a couple of hours with her. She began to see that I really cared. We worked on an end goal of her being able to go home. Unfortunately that didn’t happen for her. I crossed the line of being an advocate and developed more a family bond with her. I loved her like my own children and felt more like mama bear versus advocate. What she went through in her young life broke my heart. I could relate to some of her trials and tribulations as I had experienced them too.

At 18, she graduated school and was given a little money and she moved away. The grown ups involved in her life hoped that the years of counseling she received would help her as she embarked on her life as an adult. My biggest wish for her was that she could break free from the emotional oppression that she had felt as child. But again her life took some twists and turns. She became a young mother and the patterns continued. We stayed in touch throughout the years and I held a hope in my heart that she would one day realize who she is.

That day has come. My Warrior Princess is a little weathered from her trials. She has walked through fire and she has been burned more than a few times. Yet it has removed the shell of a person that has held her back. Her new skin is shiny and bright. She’s still getting used to the look. But she is beautiful inside and out.

She called me the other day to let me know that she heard me all those years and she knows on a deep level that she is worthy of all the good things life has to offer. I believe her. I shared that I myself am going through the fire, shedding my old skin to prepare for a new life. We are mirroring that for each other. She is a strong and resilient spirit and I know that she is here to make a difference. Her walk has not been easy but so worth it. I look forward to seeing her create her best life.

My Warrior Princess is an inspiration to me and I love her with all my heart. She is like a daughter. I will always be her biggest fan.

My Warrior Princess is a beautiful flower.

Going with the Flow

Death, separation, job change, financial struggles, remarriage, family reunion, surgery, kid going to college, moving upstairs, major house renovations, relationship challenges, paranormal experiences….This has been my 2018 so far.

On January 1, 2018, I sat down on my living room floor and had a prayer in my heart.  I asked the Universe to provide me a word to focus on for the upcoming year.  It was an immediate response…almost like my angels were yelling at the top of their lungs…FLOW.  I thought to myself, wow, that’s going to be interesting.  Then the words began to flow into my ear…go with the FLOW, ebb and FLOW, heart FLOW, financial FLOW…It was very clear that I would have to be flexible in my life.

Life hit me like a ton of bricks towards the end of January.  My partner Bobby and I were going into our 12th year of marriage.  I attended a 4 day seminar that made me take a good look at goals, intentions and purpose.  I had to admit to myself that I was terribly unhappy on so many levels of my life.  Bobby and I didn’t communicate and most of the time we tolerated each other.  How did that happen?  We were very much in love at one point and then we barely talked.  When you attend a self help class of any sort, be prepared for the unexpected to show up…especially baggage that you store away and refuse to deal with.  That’s the gift of self help.  I call it, “Welcome to the SHIT SHOW”.  Look at your shit, deal with your shit, admit your shit,  release your shit, stop being a shit.  It’s not pretty but it IS pretty raw.

I came to the conclusion that I could no longer tolerate my “tolerable” life.  I had come too far to “settle”.  So I gathered my courage and told Bobby that we were not working and I needed some space.  I wanted a divorce.  He was stunned to say the least.  I moved upstairs.  The next few months were nothing short of miraculous.  A series of very paranormal experiences began to commence.  It is still something I am trying to wrap my head.  Divine intervention is an understatement.  Maybe someday I will be able to talk about it freely but I will share that it woke Bobby and I up and made us realize that we are partners in this life and we have work to do.

I’ve always lived my life with an exit plan in place.  My marriage was no exception.  Although in survival situations in my life it worked brilliantly, having an exit plan did not allow me to completely commit myself to Bobby.  That was the part of the shit show that I had to own.

We worked on our problems and left the outcome open to possibilities.  Easter weekend came and new beginnings were right around the corner.  Bobby proposed to me on bended knee in front of family and friends.  I said yes.  We went from planning a divorce to planning a wedding vow renewal.  So many things happened throughout the process.  Looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t see all the changes coming.  The fur babies that we raised from the beginning of our marriage both passed away same day.  Our youngest son left for college.  We decided as a family that Mom would move in with us.  Our youngest daughter moved back in.  We took in our adopted nephew while he waited to go into the Air Force. I broke a toe and had double foot surgery.  Our house foundation began to falter and is in the process of being fixed.  We changed jobs unexpectedly and emptied our savings building our business.  Our daughter-in-law began training as part of our team.  Relationships with some family members took a turn for the worse…and then came full circle.  Friends passed away.  I went through menopause.  I embraced my love for Unicorns.  I quit giving a shit what people thought about my happy disposition…no more dimming my light.

View More: http://blutreestudios.pass.us/dina-complete
Photo by Blu Tree Studios

Why am I sharing with you?  It’s not to air dirty laundry…but hopefully you can relate and find some insight and even humor in my situation.  We all have a “situation”.  Looking back, I’ve had some priceless moments arrive in the midst of emotional turmoil.  That’s something my Mom taught me…you can laugh or cry…it’s up to you.  Well Momma, I’m laughing and learning.

2018 is far from over but I’ve already gotten my word for the upcoming year.  It is FOCUS.  This one makes me real nervous as I have self proclaimed SS “Squirrel Syndrome”.  What’s with these F words???  I wonder what 2020 will bring?  That’s a loaded question!

View More: http://blutreestudios.pass.us/dina-complete
Photo by Blu Tree Studios

I Dance Anyway

4fe1ff4939e2dbd987fa04e00b435bb8For years I have had a story inside of me.  It surfaced a few years back and I began the process.  Then one day, I put my journal away and went back to work.  It felt like the journey wasn’t finished and the story had more chapters.  It is a fictional story loosely based on true characters.  The main character faces many challenges in her journey.  She deals with her problems from a unique vantage.  My hope is that people will be able to relate to the characters and recognize the dynamics in their own life.

An excerpt from the beginning:

She looked beyond the horizon hoping to find the answers in the colors.  Such beauty she thought.  How would she get past the wall this time?  The sky seemed so limitless and expansive.  The air, filled with ever changing possibility. Yet her feet were planted firmly in the ground.  If she were a sapling, she would break in half from the wind  What would it take for her to pull her feet up and change direction?

The clouds began moving and the sun peeked it’s head out to warm her shoulders.  The feeling of warmth began to flow through her veins.  It became so hot, she had no choice but to move.  Her foot lifted, free from the heavy burdens that were on her shoulders.  She took another step forward and then another.  The horizon was still in sight.  She looked up to the sky and realized the rainbow that was hidden from her.  She smiled and had an urge to skip in the street.  With child-like abandon she moved with a deeper purpose.  She was put on earth to be fearless.  The world was colorful again and she was ready for the next chapter in her life.

Here’s to the beginning!

 

Dare to Follow Your Dreams

“I can’t do that!  I’m too short, curvy, and my nose is too long.”  That was my inner voice bully in response to modeling.  She can be so mean at times!   Luckily I have learned to hush the rambling and move on in spite of her.  Modeling is a hobby for me.  I may not be a runway bea18403879_10154677382347426_774723773989012061_outy but I CAN be a great example of courage for others who want to do something that they think is impossible.

Do you have dreams that you are afraid to follow?  I dare you to begin.  Do what scares you most.  That is where the greatest accomplishments arise.  Be that person that shakes and trembles and does it anyway.  I’m rooting for you!

We rise by lifting others.

 

For all of the Mom’s out there – Happy Mothers Day ♥


A big thank you to the photographer that believes in my dreams – Joseph Hernandez.  You are insanely gifted!

#JosephHernandezPhotography  #Dowhatscaresyou  #happymothersday

Why I Wear a Superhero Shirt on Fridays

 

One day a week I indulge my belief that I have superpowers and wear a Superhero shirt.  This could be misconstrued as ego but let me share my “why”. 

Growing up I had it in my head that one day I would find my knight in shining armor.  It’s a romantic thought but not very empowering.  Why would I need someone to “rescue” me?  I threw that childhood story out and created a new one.  The new main character was no longer a hero but a heroine.  She rode her own horse and didn’t need to be rescued from anything because she had the courage and strength to do things for herself. 

A few years back I began to wear to superhero shirts to work on Fridays as part of a campaign.  No longer with the company, I continue to embrace my inner superhero.  Quirky?  Maybe.  But Fridays give me an opportunity to remember who I am and hopefully inspire others to embrace their own superpowers.

 

Make Winter Your Season

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The days grow shorter, the leaves fall from the trees and winter approaches. Animals hibernate and people “settle in” for the cold season. Even trees seem to come to a complete halt. But trees possess a magic in the winter that allows them to survive. On a molecular level, tree membranes become pliable and the fluid within the living cells becomes like an antifreeze.    This process changes the tree cell viscosity to where cells appear solid which increases the tree’s survival rate. Why would this matter to you? Trees appear dormant in the winter. But are they REALLY dormant? Absolutely not! They are busy changing on the inside to prepare for the harsh winter conditions that may come their way. Not all winters are difficult but they prepare nonetheless.

Will you survive your “winter”? What are you doing to prepare?