A Letter to Myself cc: the world

I originally wrote this letter to myself (obviously) to post on my refrigerator as a reminder of sorts- something that would inspire me every day.  However, I know there are a few people out there who could also use some inspiration and I thought they might feel a bit lighter after reading this.

A letter to myself

cc: the world

Hello there, self.  I hope you’re doing well this fine morning in Portland.  The clouds have gently rolled in and pushed the exhausting heat out of the city for now.  It’s your dream weather for all of your favorite activities.  It’s one of the reasons you moved to the Northwest.  So, I have a question for you today: What are you waiting for?

Don’t play coy with me and pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.  You are well aware that you’re not living up to your full potential and manifesting your dreams because if you were, you wouldn’t have an unsettled feeling inside, like something is missing in your life.  You are capable of succeeding at whatever you set your mind to, yet you falter and play small.  There is so much more that you want to do in life, so let me ask you again: What are you waiting for?

I know you occasionally examine your past and you wonder what your life could have been had you made different choices.  Nearly everyone takes a trip down that road as some point in their lives.  However, your journey, your own unique path, has made you the strong woman you are today, so embrace your past and then set it free or the what-ifs will paralyze you.  You’ve learned from your choices and you make different, better decisions now, every single day.  Move forward because it’s time to


No more excuses.  Do not waste another day, do not hesitate.  Now is the time to work the soil and plant the seeds.  Today.  Every single day.

Acknowledge any fear you have and then push it aside because it will not serve you well.  If you had let fear hold you back earlier this year, you’d still be sitting in your apartment in Mesquite, dreaming of setting yourself free from your prison in the desert but doing nothing do make it happen.  You’d still be all talk and no action.

You broke out of a significant rut when you packed up your daughter and some belongings in your car and moved 1100 miles to a new city with no home, no job, nothing.  You took a massive risk because you had faith that if you made a bold move and put in the effort, the energy in the Universe would pick up the slack and all would work out fine.  It did.  Look at the drastic, remarkable change in your life from where you were just over four months ago.  Need I remind you that you have nearly every single thing on your wish list from last October?  Unbelievable.

me, loving my new home
just behind me through the trees and across the creek, is a park with a basketball court and playground. The sound of laughter and music permeates the air. It is absolutely lovely.

Now, keep that momentum going.  Sit down and create a new wish list.  Aim higher and act on those dreams with love and passion.

Refuse to accept mediocrity; choose brilliance and watch your world change.

You have joy and light within you and you need to let yourself shine.  Stop hiding your worth and commit to becoming the best possible version of yourself.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Demand more of yourself and stoke the fire that still smolders within.  It has never died out; it simply needs fuel to set a blaze once again.  Ignite that spark and let the inferno spread and inspire others.

Listen to your inner voice, the one that refuses to be silenced even after you’ve ignored it time and time again.  It will haunt you until the day you die if you refuse to act on its desires.  It’s never too late.

You will have difficult days and rotten weeks when you will want to give up.  Keep the faith.  You are sure to stumble now and then.  Get up, brush off the debris, and plow forward.  Don’t ever give up.

Everything you’ve ever wanted is right at your fingertips.  Reach out and grab it.  Claim it for your own because no one else can do it for you.  Do not settle for anything less than what you want.  Do more right now than ever before because you are worth the effort.

It’s time to be awesome.

With much love and admiration,

Your inner motivator


Hello Again

Tap, tap, tap.  Is this thing on?  Oh…  Ahem.  Hello.  My name is Michelle and I’m a recovering absentee blogger.

me may 2015

Greetings and salutations, my friends.  It’s been over a year since my last entry, but don’t mistake my absence from blogging as a sign that I’ve been hiding from life, as the truth is most opposite…

I’ve traveled around a bit.  Built a heavy wood headboard.  Visited family I hadn’t seen in many years.  Fell in love.  Read books. Ran a 10K and a couple of 5K races.  Worked my butt off and saved a bunch of money.  Rode on a camel.  Briefly.  Quit my job in Nevada.  Sold/donated the majority of my belongings, packed my car with whatever would fit (including Miss Maya), and moved to Portland.  CRAZY.  Felt ridiculously happy.  Found a lovely apartment blanketed with green trees and home to geese, deer, birds, a beaver, opossum, and a perky squirrel I’ve named Skippy. Sampled delicious Oregon brews.  Noticed that my chronic neck and back pain vanished.  Visited the ocean and dug my toes in the sand again for the first time in almost six years. Had my heart bruised.  Settled Maya into a wonderful daycare/kindergarten.  Felt a bit gloomy and disheartened.  Went to the Tillamook Cheese Factory and stuffed my face with cheese, glorious cheese.  Felt better.  Meditated.  Hiked trail after trail.  Planted a vegetable garden.  Sent out resumes.  Went on an interview.  Walked in the rain again and again.  Felt happy.  Read some more books.  Wrote some nonsense.  Made some friends.  Had a cute guy grimace at my choice of IPA for a brew but then buy it for me as we chatted.  Two, actually.  Harvested various lettuces from my garden plot.  Reconnected with an old blogging friend who makes me smile and laugh.  Felt happier yet.  Sent out more resumes.  Became ill with acute bronchitis.  Won the HGTV Smart Home in Austin, TX.  (Okay, I haven’t won it… yet.)  Still felt happy.  Told the Universe to “show me the money.”  Promptly received multiple calls and scheduled multiple interviews.  (In fact, I received another call and set up another interview as I typed the last sentence.  YES!)

Which brings us to today: sitting in a coffee shop on a gloriously rainy, cool day here in Portland.  I am in heaven.

So, you might be thinking to yourself, “Michelle, if you had all these freaking cool adventures, why weren’t you blogging about them?  You actually took action instead of blabbing incessantly about what you wanted to do!  Why the absence?”  To be honest, I lost interest.  I felt my passion and drive wane early on in 2014.  I was stuck, not only with blogging and writing, but with my life in general.  I knew it was time for me to take a break- a long break- and basically:

Although I’m still ironing out a few details in my significant, change-of-life move to Oregon, I feel inspired again.  I am certainly no longer stuck.  I’ll admit that I have days when I feel lonely and I become wistful for my significantly less expensive former digs and “comfortable” routine, but I feel like I’m supposed to be here right now.  I’ve had some bumps along the way and unexpected turn-of-events, but there have also been an unusually high number of synchronicities in my life since I moved here.  Last October I made a “wish list” of what I wanted when I moved to Oregon.  I stuck it in a folder and promptly forgot about it.  I found my list a couple of weeks ago, and aside from having my ideal job and waking up with my love spooning against me as the rain falls outside, I have everything I requested.  It’s incredible.  (I can only assume my other two requests have been slightly delayed but on their way.  I did write “my love” and not one name in particular, so there’s still hope…)

I finally let down my guard and opened myself up to real life.  No more hiding.  No more talk and no action.  I’ve taken baby steps throughout the past decade and transformed my inner life slowly (with occasional stumbles), and then this past year I leapt, arms open with an eye-crinkling grin.  I fell in love, and even though we found ourselves on different pages and it didn’t work out, it was the loveliest thing that happened to me in a long time.  It opened me back up to love.

My “a-ha” moment, the instant I realized that all of my deep work on my inner world and my own well-being was real and actually paying off, was when I was able to sincerely wish him love and happiness as we parted ways.  I truly wanted him to be happy, even if that meant I wasn’t the right fit for him and he needed to be free to find someone who would be closer to his ideal.  Letting go isn’t typically easy by any means, and while I had a couple of “grrr” moments and a crying spell or two, I realized that I was going to be okay because I was happy before he came into my life; I was never dependent upon him for my happiness.


I am happy.  I’m centered, calm, and resilient.  I’m excited about my future, writing projects, and the possibility of big love being out there for me.  I believe it is.  I’m proud of myself for taking huge risks in my life this past year.  I kicked down the wall I built around myself and I’m thrilled to discover I have no desire to hole myself up again.  I’m free.

Hello again, world.

Some completely random pictures from this past year:





My Sunday Random Bits on Love… Even Though It’s Saturday

In honor of Matt and Vildana’s first anniversary (yesterday), I am reposting an entry I wrote last year about their wedding and a few thoughts I have on love.  My brother shared this bit on facebook, and I hope that he doesn’t mind that I’m sharing it here with you.  I think it’s lovely.

One year ago today I was honored to have the most beautiful, intelligent, caring woman place her trust in me to treasure the love she can give and to trust to be loved back in return. I hope the memory of seeing her walk down the aisle and completing the vows that bind us together never fades.
I wake each morning to prove to her she put her trust in the right man and I go to bed every night thankful she has put up with me for another day. I am continuously awed at the patience she has with my antics!
Happy anniversary to the woman who completes my life. I love you and love knowing the love you have for me too. I am yours til the end.

My brother’s wedding was in Las Vegas about two weeks ago (the goofball is pictured above with me and our dad) and the whole love and marriage bit has been on my mind quite a bit since then.  Naturally.

Nearly all eyes were on the bride as she walked down the aisle.  My eyes were on my brother.  I figured everyone else would have dozens of photos of the woman in white, but I would have the only one of the groom as he watched his soon-to-be wife enter the room.

I was right, and I’m so happy I caught the moment.

It was a lovely ceremony, even if my daughter and the bride’s daughter were conspiring to torment us the rest of the evening.  (I would love to say that Maya was the most well-behaved, delightful girl the entire night, but it would be a fantastical lie.  She was a typical 2 year-old.)

The happy couple.

I was never one of those girls who dreamt of a white wedding.  I can’t recall ever pretending I was getting married, either.  (Except to Telly Savalas, obviously.)  I’ve never even tried on a wedding dress.

However, this past week I discovered a few things about myself and weddings.  I’m not conventional.  I would definitely want it outside.  October would be ideal.  Near dusk.  Give me some rust colors on the trees and the distant scent of wood burning.  Say “I do” to the words of Tom Robbins:

Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.

I want a simple silver band with one delicate, round, conflict-free diamond.  Small scale.  This Vera Wang would be my ideal wedding dress (unlimited $, mind you):

I want to sink into wine and cheese and bread and dark chocolate.  I’d rather smash fruit-filled warm brie into a man’s face than color him with the typical white cake.

Am I nuts?  Probably.  Will it ever happen for me?  I’m not sure.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Here are a few things that I know so far about love:

First off:  You must love yourself.  Treat yourself with respect.  Honor your highest priorities.  The whole “love is patient, love is kind” bit from the Bible?  Apply it toward yourself as well as others.  Forgive yourself.

Trust your gut.  Not your heart.  Your gut.  Our hearts can lie and our brain defends our heart’s actions.  The gut doesn’t lie.

Don’t be afraid to be a nerd in love.

Yes, you might look like an idiot and maybe the relationship doesn’t play out how you envisioned, but such geeky actions can bring forth something great into this world.  Like a little girl.

If you love someone, tell them.  I mean, if you think you love them while the two of you are enjoying a cocktail on your first date, I would suggest waiting for a while before declaring your love.  Could look a tad desperate.  Otherwise, we all know that life is too short to dick around.  “I love you.”  Simple, yet powerful.

There are more things I’ve learned, but I’d rather keep you in suspense.  Because I know you will all be waiting with bated breath for my next random bits on love entry.

Until then, here’s an entry I wrote years ago as I babysat a friend’s wedding dress.  I was still madly attached to a certain man at the time, but the theme remains true.  I will warn you, the writing is wordy, but I haven’t the desire to edit it.  I’m too tired.  Plus, I’m not gunning for an award here.  Grimace as I just did and skim through if you wish.

Nevermind.  I can’t bear to post it, the writing is so bad.  These few paragraphs are okay, so…

For me, the wedding dress symbolized a marriage of illusions instead of illuminations- until Juno murmured in my ear and introduced me to an electric soul.  I discovered how delicious life can be when the mere thought of a person sets into motion those dancing butterflies that create a bizarre recipe of nausea, hyperventilation, and uncontrollable perspiration, which somehow transforms into a gourmet feast of love.  I realized that if you are fortunate enough to stumble into that indescribable bond, one that refuses to dissolve despite time and distance, you develop an unyielding desire to nourish and protect that connection- hence the commitment. 

Now, primarily due to senescence, I know that a healthy relationship rooted in friendship, respect, and love, can spring a person from mediocrity to brilliance.  Ordinary to extraordinary.  With positive communication and compromise, a romantic partnership can be beautifully symbiotic.  

I don’t have grand expectations and I don’t expect another person to piece my puzzle; I’m realistic.  Just love me.  In my opinion, if you truly love someone, then you respect, cherish, adore, and fiercely protect them, and that crew of virile verbs pitches the tent that protects and strengthens devotion during life’s many storms.  Yes- we’re both going to screw up from time to time and hurt each other.  That’s inevitable.  

Still, I want to open my eyes to your face every morning and drift off to sleep after I kiss you goodnight.  I want to share my ideas, my fears, and my lame jokes with you.  I want to watch you grow into the person you’ve always wanted to become.  We were hooked from the beginning by an unseen bungee cord that continues to pull us back together, and I’m deliriously happy to be tethered to you, you amazing person, you.

A lovely song to send you on your way: