do you have a friend or loved one who has lost a parent or a child? Here is something you can do.

NEW – Introducing my newest Sacred Hellos remembrance greeting cards 

There are those days that come up; Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, perhaps a wedding, birth of a child or a deceased loved one’s birthday.

These are days where it would be so nice to have a card to send to the family member or friend who is desperately aching for a parent or child that they miss.

These cards are the perfect fit for those occasions.  Letting that person know you are holding them in love, for that specific day and all days. Letting them know you know and see them and their love, their pain. Acknowledging what they are going through without having to come up with the words yourself.

Do you know someone who has recently lost someone close to them?  Get this card, then set a reminder for 51 weeks from now, or for the anniversary of the passing to give that card to them. You’ll be prepared and they will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Click on the picture for more information or to see closeups.

For the parent missing a child who has passed:

   

For the person missing a Mother –

   

For the person missing a Father –

   

You can click on the pictures above or go to my etsy site to see all the cards. These cards to not mention a specific holiday so they are perfect for any day that you know your friend or loved one could use a little extra love.

I love living in a world, were even when we go through loss and hard times we can be surrounded by friends, co-workers and loved ones who take a moment to let us know they’ve got our backs, are holding us in prayer and surrounding us with love through those especially hard days.

Please share this post or a card link with anyone you know that would love to have this share with a person in their life.  Thanks,

could this be contentment?

 

I have a confession to make.

I have been experiencing something. It’s snuck up slowly.

I’ve tried to deny it, rename it, question it.

But friends, I believe it’s called Contentment.

Sunset 30 miles north off the coast of Cuba, taken this February.

After years of believing that I always have to be moving forward, growing, taking on more and more.  I’ve reached a place where I finally trust that no, right now for me;  I want to sit and bask in this time.  I don’t want to expand the time I put into my business, I don’t want to be involved in large numbers of art shows and networking and online classes.  I don’t want to join a bunch of mom groups.  I love my life right now.

After years of diligently looking at all my commitments and areas of stress, many which I wrote about in my ebook Finding myself in the Moonlight, I have added in breathing room and space into all areas of my life.  I’ve learned to trust myself more than ever before.  We’ve busted our asses for years and finally gotten to a financially free place where the only debt we have in the world isour home.  It’s truly freeing.  After years of having my head down and checking off an endless list of to-do’s I finally feel like I am in that place I prayed for so many times.

 

I’ll never stop learning (in fact I’m listening to a TED talk right now while typing this) but what I am getting better at is looking at classes and programs and knowing that now is not the time for most of them.  I’m still growing and learning and in fact my faith and spirituality is deeper than ever. Prayers and meditations and time in nature have all helped me to feel a contentment that I’ve never felt before. 

I share this to offer hope.  This may surprise you but I’m rebellous to my core.  I’m a rule following rebel I suppose.  I love to do good, I love to find good in others… but… the  minute society or people tell me that something should be done a certain way.. I question it.   It works though; I’m the happiest person I know.  I don’t feel like I need to do things the way everyone does them.   We all have areas we feel that pressure from. Here are some of the choices I’ve made that work for me (us) that have lead me more towards contentment:

  • moving 40 miles from the cities to a property where we can grow food, embrace nature, have a workshop to build and create in.  We are tucked into the trees and have privacy and also the rejunating energy of nature.  We get a whole floor to ourselves and the kids have their own bathroom, all in our cozy little 1500 sq. foot house.
  • getting out of debt.  We paid off $48k in just under 2 years (you can read about that here).  What that has done to our lives and the peace it has brought since though has blown my mind. We recently were able to take our kids on a week long cruise to Belize and also do a small road trip after we got off the ship and see the Everglades and visit a state park in the Florida keys.  The best part; we paid cash for the trip. It is so freeing to be able to plan and save and pay for a trip like that and come home and still have money in a savings account.  We worked so hard for so many years saving every penny, selling things and praying that I share that to say all that sacrifice was worth it.  
  • Homeschooling our youngest. Our oldest is in public high school and she thrives and loves it, I was faced last year with a decision to homeschool our youngest.  While I admit I wouldn’t prefer to have homeschooled my oldest, each kid is different and it has been the right decision to homeschool our little guy. And we LOVE it.  Just this morning in fact, sitting with him and watching him learn to read.  It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve gotten to do in my life. Teaching him about living from the heart, music and the arts, endless time for science and real life experiences.  I am so incredibly grateful for this time, piecing together a curriculum and resources so I can connect him with learning opportunities that help him become the best whole health and knowledgeable person he can be.
  • Our 16 year old just got her driving permit and I’ve had a similar feeling teaching her to drive. It’s so special to get to witness and be a part of that growth. In a world where everyone’s first reaction is to go to the fearful side of this time, and yes of course that part is there too; I’m choosing to really honor the blessings that this stage of life is bringing for her and us.
  • This past holiday season I did something that I had never done before.  After years of doing holiday art and craft shows and in person shows, hauling all my work from place to place, getting sitters and paying entrance fees I turned them all down and trusted this little voice inside that knew I could do it my own way. (At least for now, with kids at home I have found myself losing interest in shows. There is only 1 that I love where the people and atmoshpere and crowd are so amazing that I may keep doing it, we’ll see – lookup 4Angels boutiques if you’re curious)   Instead I offered very specific items online including remembrance ornaments and sold hundreds of them. I also got a chance to connect with small groups of people in online artwork parties. During these parties I was able to show videos where I got to explain the deeper meaning behind my artwork pieces and really hear people’s stories and what exactly what people around them were going through and connect them with the perfect gift they could get for those they love.  It was such a rewarding and special set of parties and I got to meet so many beautiful women. Plus I got to do all of those from my home on my own schedule. 
  • January 1st, I deactivated my personal Facebook. I was finding myself having underlying levels of guilt, after cutting my friend list from over 600 to around 250 that helped a lot. Ultimately though I had to get really real that me being at home and having endless access to “check in” was costing me many minutes once I added it all up.  Now after 2 months after being away I can see that the part I was really reluctant to admit to myself was that there was a continuous feeling of static in the back of my mind. Anywere I was, anything I was doing; I always felt like there was something else I was supposed to be doing.  I don’t know if everyone feels that, but for me stepping away has allowed me to feel so present in my day to day life.  At some point I’m sure I’ll get back on but for now it feels like the right choice for me.
  • I don’t do networking groups.  Or mommy groups.  Here is what I know about me. My go to emotion is guilt. I really want to honor and connect with people once I let them into my world.  What can seem like a fun one time, meet new people networking experience for most people leaves me feeling flaky and unreliable after the fact.  I connect with people and then within my daily life I have no room for follow up.  I am not available to do follow up coffee meetups, business meetings in person or mommy activities.  So instead I’ve chosen to honor this time and know that someday I may want to dive back in and network and meet more people and really give it my all then I will do so with joy. For right now though I feel fulfilled with those in my life and the simplicity of our day to day.
  • I don’t do phone calls or in person meetings if at all possible.  Artwork is visual and for me sharing information via email or online works best.  I am choosing right now not to do a ton of in person events.  What I have found also is on my deeper, more intuitive based artwork projects I attain better results if I don’t have phone conversations with my clients.  That my sound strange but I hate the phone. I don’t like talking to new people on the phone and it drains my energy.  So knowing that I choose to keep my internal energy high and my intuitive energy at it’s deepest level by honoring them.  This will change at some point, but for me right now with a kiddo in tow and a routine we stick to it is what works best for me.
  • Choosing to drive used cars.  We don’t do car payments and all our cars (4) are paid for in full.  I was especially glad the other night (when I hit a deer a few hundred yards from our driveway) that I don’t worry about scratches or other life things that seem to happen out here. For the record the deer jumped back up and was fine and so was my car.  Someday we’ll get some nicer cars but for now, this works great for us.  I’m grateful that Bruce knows how to fix cars and keeps them all running.  I think the biggest thing has been to disconnect our feelings of self worth from the cards we drive. Yes, of course it is fun to drive a super new, decked out car and we had fun last year when we rented a car for a weekend and chose a new BMW suv. It was really fun.  But I don’t feel like less of a person because our cars are from both the 90’s and early 2000’s.  I actually feel great pride and think of the other things we have been able to do with that time instead of having to spend it making money to pay for upgraded cars. Right now, I prefer more family time.
  • Minimalism – we have gotten rid of so much extra stuff over the last few years.  6 months after getting married and combining our lives (stuff) my mom passed and over the next couple years our garage filled up with furniture, decor, clothes and candles that were hers.  It’s taken almost a decade but we finally feel like we have just a few really special things that help me remember her but don’t need to have our whole house stuffed with things.  We spend less time organizing, cleaning and moving things which has freed up not only time but also energy for the things we really want to spend it on.
  • We don’t have cable. We have a roku with netflix and amazon and a couple other channels.  We don’t dvr things.  So yes, we miss things that are on tv quite often.  Years ago I spent so much time watching tv and scheduling out what things would be recorded and learning about new shows but now it has faded.  But somehow I’m still okay.  This past year I’ve bingewatched; Heartland, Hart of Dixie, Hallmark’s Home is where the heart it and a few other shows that everyone else enjoyed years ago.  I’m okay with that.  They are coming into my life at the perfect time for me to really savor them and enjoy them.
  • Diminishing toxic relationships.  We can’t always completely avoid people who bring negativity into our lives but I strive to eliminate unnecesary drama or people I don’t trust.  Today I don’t have to spend much time or energy on this but years ago I had a list of people in my life who I knew I needed to move on from. I send them love and I chose to limit or cut them out out completely and it’s been life changing.
  • We talk in the language of love.  If you where a fly on the wall in our home you would hear my 6 year old talk about how his heart is exploding with love. How he happy cried in the car yesterday while looking at the sunset and again last night when we all sat on the floor working on legos with him.  We talk about our love, what eachother mean to us and share gratitude fr
    eely. Even while having a 16 year old daughter I love that we can talk so openly and validate feelings, our intuition and have worked so hard to make our home a peaceful respite in contrast to a sometimes crazy and stressful world. 

I share some of these things because I know so many people do fill so much of their day’s doing things they “should” do instead of really allowing themselves to schedule in breathing room, space and peacefulness.  We want to make the people around us happy and sometimes we let the rule over that little feeling in our gut that knows something doesn’t feel like it fits anymore.  Give yourself permission to honor peacefulness as much as success and knowledge in other subjects.  It will make every area of your life better.  I’ve experienced the death’s of loved ones, a divorce, multiple moves, and defining and developing my business. Then later marrying a wonderful man and making choices that move me closer year after year towards a life I really connect with (including working really hard to un-learn so much I’ve been tought growing up.) That journey has led me to now has given me this gift of a chapter of contentment.  I feel so grateful, even grateful for the really tough times that make me even more grateful each day for good times.  I know life will be full of ups and downs and times where I can’t wait to be around people and others where I again crave solitude and quiet, but for now in this moment…  it feels so right.

Sending you all love!

When a child has a reaction to food – our story

Back in the fall of 2015 I shared this story. I’ve since been getting inquiries about it and wanted to share it in a permanent location here on my blog. Please feel free to share with anyone you know who is going through something similar or has young children.

For the last 3 months we’ve been going through something with our youngest child. In case anyone is still wondering about the power the food we eat has on our bodies, I have a story to share. In early Sept. he started grabbing at his butt. Like all the time. Like every couple seconds. There was no rash, redness, nothing. He’s 5 years old, so he’s able to articulate that it just itched inside. Over the next 8 weeks we went to the urgent care, tested for pin worms, tried yeast infection medication, every over the counter anti-itch, vaseline, triple antibiotic oinment, bordeaux’s, everything. A presciption for an anti-fungal. 4 doctors, no medical reason could be found why this was happening.

Then around early October he developed a facial tic. He was scrunching his nose and raising his brows dozens of times an hour. For a few weeks he also started moving his shoulders up and down in a tic sort of way as well. As a mom it is heartbreaking to watch this sweet boy going through this, trying to explain to his teachers that yes, I know it’s happening. Yes, I’m still trying to find the answer… So thankfully it appears we are almost through the strom and I wanted to share what has worked.

A bit after the facial tics started I talked with my cousin who is a pediatrician. She was the first one to suggest removing wheat from his diet. Not just gluten but ALL wheat. Ironically I had just finished reading wheat belly because I was noticing myself dealing with inflammation after eating wheat as well. So I gladly decided to jump on board with her suggestion. After thinking about it, this all began since he had started school I began making him toast for breakfast everyday. Thinking that because it was organic it would be fine. Apparantly it wasn’t okay.

For the next 3 weeks he ate no wheat, no bread, crackers, etc. Pretty much no processed food either since so many things added in. After 1 month of doing this there was about an 80% decrease in his itching/grabbing. The tic was still there however.
The 4th Dr. we visited is the one who actually verbalized that he was having tics. Before that I had just been saying he’s scrunching his face a lot. So he didn’t have many answers, suggested I could give him benadryl if I need him not to itch for a short time but otherwise suggested doing some research on tics. So here is what I found: milk can be a trigger for tics. Lightbulb – Aspen rarely had dairy milk growing up, and when he did it was the hormone free or organic. He had breastmilk until he was almost 2, then rice or almond milk for the most part. I was trying to be a laid back mom and go with the flow when he started school so I agreed to just let him have milk everyday while there. I also read a lot about food colorings in foods causing tics as well as ADHD syptoms. Have you ever looked at how many foods have colorings? Almost anything in a package.

Side note – I was in total disbelief that the doctor and nurses still ALL wanted to give him a flu shot at this visit. Just from a scientific perspective; if you are trying to dissect what is happening in his body and remove things, get to the bottom of what is happening. WHY WOULD I EVER ADD MORE THINGS IN? This goes against all I know scientifically. Sigh… Trust your gut, don’t be afraid to delay or avoid.

After hours of scouring every article I could get my hands on and trying not to be terrified of the super extreme cases parent’s faced; we cut out all foods with the colorings (including the go-gurts he was having at snack time at school that I had never bought before then, as well as other candies, fruit snacks, etc. We also cut out 95% of sugar and no more milk at school. I had to instruct the teachers that he’s not allowed to have ANYTHING from school. I send an organic apple sauce with him each day. So we could have a controlled element in our observations of him.

We also did an at home allergy test (still hundred of $’s but WAY cheaper than going in and getting him tested.) We are still waiting on those results also to hopefully validate what we’ve been doing as well as make us aware of anything else. Update: His testing showed no allergies. This just goes to show that even if there isn’t a technical allergy that our bodies can still be overloaded or have reactions.

So fast forward. Almost 3 months since the start… and his tics are gone. His itching/grabbing is 99% better. Hallelujah! My hope would be that no one else has to go through this, but I wanted to share just in case. m&m’s, licorice, fruit snacks, gatorade, colored pops, and mac ‘n cheese. All have this crap in them that can cause our kids bodies to have all sorts of reactions. If your kids seems super hyper after eating them or has some of the same things Aspen went through it may be worth expirimenting with eliminating them for a month and paying attention to the results. We’ve also been able to buy organic, grass fed cows milk from a local farmer and so far so good with no reactions to that. He doesn’t drink it often but since we’ve added it back in he’s seemed to be fine (we alternate with almond milk) He doesn’t seem to mind goats milk either. So fingers crossed that things will continue to get better. Thanks to those of you who have known what he’s been going to and sent prayers and well wishes for him.

Update: It’s been 6 months since this all started. I wanted to share that we are still avoiding food colorings. I’m very strict on this. We have experimented with him having small amounts of wheat. A homemade burrito here and there. We still avoid enriched pasta, bread and other wheat based things. So far so good. It’s been helpful to cut it all out and only add back in months later in small amounts to observe.

I’ve since heard from so many other parents who have had similar reactions in kids. I must say also that we see the chiropractor on a regular basis (our biggest health secret) and thanksfully at 5.5 years old Aspen has never had to take antibiotics or take other medications. So the more natural foods are helpful in that way as well. I’m by no means an expert on this but I have found that by talking about it and being vocal about our struggle that it’s opened up communications that have been incredibly helpful.

New Artwork – sacred garden

Growing, wishing, blossoming.

Life, color and possibility.

Connection. honor. love.

Savor it all.

For the expectant mother, the midwife, the nurse.

The honoring of the sacred garden. The growing child. New life.

webPregnancy_lotus_8x10_v2

This image is available in cards, prints or posters.  Visit my etsy shop to see the options.

© Noelle Rollins Art

Make sure you’re not making your family feel this way

It’s a cold, make that very cold few days here in Minnesota, because of that the kids are off school today and Bruce’s shop closed for the day so we are all cozied inside playing games and watching movies. 

I wanted to take a few minutes to connect with you and share a few very personal lessons I’ve learned.

 

Some of you may not know why I feel so passionate about helping women re-find themselves and their place in this world.  It’s a very raw story and I share it with you with the intent of using the lessons learned from it to help other families never go through what mine did.  My new e-course starts in a couple weeks and it’s not just a class to me, it’s about women coming together and helping each other through the life’s variety of paths and making space for our lights to shine.

 

I think back to 2008 feeling so helpless, shedding tears yet again, trying to figure out what I could do or say to help my dear, sweet mother.  I was watching the woman I looked up to my whole life not see her value in the world.  It broke my heart.

 

I don’t want ANYONE to feel what I felt then.  Sadly I’m learning it’s a silent epidemic that people everywhere are going through, thinking they are alone.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

 

While my mother was an expert at creating the best family get togethers, giving the perfect gift or even cutting our hair when we were young, later on she didn’t take enough time in her life to stop and invest in her own well being.  Her joys, her passions, her friends, the way she could connect with the world and what she had to offer it all took a back seat to making sure everyone else around her had what they needed. Those last 20 years it was all about her family.  

On one hand, as a member of her family this was an amazing gift she gave us. We all had a best friend on standby ready to help us, hear about what we needed to say and help us figure out lifes messes.  On the other hand had she taken time for her self, learned to say no more often and had better boundaries I believe she would still be here today. Regardless of whether that last part is true, undoubtedly she would have had a much more joyous last few years here on earth.  

She passed away unexpectedly from pancreatitis in January of 2009.  

I can’t speak for the other people in her life but I can share the lessons I learned from those days, her death and the years following.

 

I made a vow to myself that I would help women just like my mom; Beautiful, loving, wise, strong women.  This was a woman who raised 5 kids and had more love for people than I’ve ever seen.  The thing is her feeling bad didn’t happen over night.  It came after years of her taking on more than she needed, thinking things would get better on their own. Choosing to think that there was something wrong with her instead of realizing her emotions were very normal for someone going through what she was. Also, feeling shame that she couldn’t fix everything she felt and that was happening around her. 

 

 

I learned a few very important things in the following months.

 

1) Taking on everyone else’s problems and not having healthy boundaries can actually, really kill you.

 

2) We all think we have forever.  We don’t. It’s so important we spend our lives doing things that matter, that make a difference and then are in alignment with our truest selves.  

 

3) You can’t take the stuff with you. Don’t spend your life focused on things. It’s the love, memories and wisdom you shared during your life that matters after you’re gone.

 

4) Shame is deadly.  Don’t let yourself live in shame. Get help if you need it, pray, ask for forgiveness, talk to those who care about you. Often the power those things we are so scared of others knowing have over us are diminished once we talk about them.

 

5) No matter how much you want to fix the problems of someone around you, they have to be willing to do the work and WANT TO CHANGE.  You CAN’T do it for them. 

 

6) If you are noticing that you are feeling sad, out of sorts or you’ve lost your confidence and aren’t sure what your life is about as you enter a new chapter then please know that there are resources out there for you and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

 

 

Even if you don’t take my e-course or resonate with the other things I’m saying please listen to this one thing:  If you aren’t feeling well, or your intuition tells you something isn’t right, please get help, get checked out.  My mom passed away of pancreatitis.  A very curable condition if caught in time. Be proactiv with your health.  That includes your mental health. Talk to someone, journal, find an online group that fits what you’re needing.  If you have a family member going through this, I understand how awkward it can be to have these tough conversations but try to have them, lovingly. If you can’t say it, try to write a heartfelt letter or have a qualified 3rd party help in communicating the message and hope of getting through it.

 

The thing is, I hope to reach women much earlier than those darkest days, so none of us will never have to feel that despair.  Even if you don’t know what it is that you should be focusing on, we’ll be laying out a variety of topics to help get you started in the right direction. Equally important to the information is the community this e-course will bring. Loving, wise, compassionate women, each with their own gifts.

 


 

If you are interested in really honest, open coversations about the subjects above and more, please join me for the Finding Myself in the Moonlight e-course!

You can learn more information and watch videos about the course here.

 

I  have a great new payment option also if you would like to break up the enrollment into 2 payments.

 

The online journey starts in a couple weeks on January 19th!!  Click the links or the photo

 

Toy organizer

Just had to share:  A couple years ago I picked up this closet shoe organizer.  For awhile I used it to sort postcards, business cards, etc for my business.  Once I moved to the studio I had enough space to have other shelves for those.  So this shelf ended up in the garage… until yesterday.  When we realized it would be the perfect organizer for my sons growing truck and tractor collection. Viola!

ToyOrganizer copy

I give you permission to say, “NO”

I give you permission to say no.

I grew up with a superhero a superhero momma. She gave us haircuts or perms more than once the night before school pictures when we begged. Sewed our Halloween costumes, patched our clothing, even hand sewed on hundreds of beads onto my prom dress for me and made a purse to go with it my senior year. She showed up to every sporting event for all 5 of us kids, and even let me move back in with my daughter while I was going through a divorce years ago.  I learned how to be a devoted mother from my mom, I learned how to create a calming, love filled home from her. My biggest lesson however came from my mother as we picked up the pieces after she passed away.

Somewhere in her my mom associated her value with the sacrifices she made for all of us around her.  I watched my mom put each of our needs above her own.  I watched her take on caring part time for my nephew, watching my daughter when she could, I watched my brother come home with a dog (even after my mom told him he couldn’t have a dog in their home) but she gave in and let him keep it because she couldn’t say no. I later watched this dog cause thousands of dollars in damage in her gorgeous, beautifully decorated home.  Thousands of dollars in rugs with holes in them, a solid wood, carved dining room table with the legs chewed around the bottom, she bought a steam cleaner so she could keep up with the pee on the carpets, on and on. Plus then my parents bought the food for the dog, cared for the dog and my mom pretty much eventually stopped going out of town because she knew my brother wouldn’t care for the dog and it would cause more damage.  I watched my adult brother still living at home as if he was a child, my mom still giving him spending money and letting him pursue his dream of being the next Eminem rapper with God knows who coming in and out of their basement recording on the sound system set up down there. All hours of the night these creepy people would be coming in and out with names like Shadow and stuff. Can we just all agree that this in INSANE!!!!  Somewhere along the line I watched my mom blur the line in being loving and caring with enabling and not setting healthy boundaries.

When I was an adult and was back living in Minnesota again I thought it was great that she was going through a wine and cheese phase. . We’d watch movies together and have different wines and cheese and crackers or breads with different dipping oils. It was so much fun.  Pretty much any movie that included a Christmas scene or a house with fun decorating was always our favorites to watch.  What evolved in the years following however none of us saw coming.

Rewind to 2002 My mom was the peak of health, obsessed with vitamins and cooking healthy. She looked great, my sister and I had just had our first babies and our family was at such a fun place.  I was back down in Dallas from 2003-2004 and when I moved back in 2004 things were starting to be a little different. My mom had a knee replacement and was working on recovering from that, at the same time my youngest sister moved out and started college.  My brother was facing ongoing legal battles still haunting him from his wild teenage years and me back home with my daughter going through a divorce.  And then menopause hit. It was a perfect storm.  Had any one of these hit I am confident she would have made it through relatively unscathed.  However that’s not how it happened; the drinking increased secretly, (we didn’t find this out until later, I have since found out that increased drinking is very common during the menopause years) she became more depressed and from that showed even fewer healthy boundaries. She was so busy trying to make sure we were all okay and helping us fix our problems that she didn’t take the time out for herself.  What she needed then was to start saying no. No to the dog, no to spending money as an escape, no to all the relatives, no to us kids, no to trying to solve my brothers legal issues, no to paying for those legal issues, no to watching our kids so much… on and on.  I literally watched my mother’s inability to set healthy boundaries and her selfless act of helping others around no matter what it cost her ultimately kill her.  Her actual cause of death was pancreatitis but I know deep down that the world sucked her dry.

Oh how I wish I could go back and give her permission to be the bad guy a little bit. Tell people occasionally to fix their own shit, find that dog a new home so she could go take a vacation in peace. In fact tell my brother to go find a new home so she could regain her comfort in her own home. Tell all of us that she is not a daycare center.  I would make sure she knew that it’s okay to say no to organizing another event and she needed no other reason then because she needed a night to curl up and watch a much needed movie with my dad.  Sometimes you have to put yourself first; your life can literally depend on it. I wish I could tell my mom that she wouldn’t be letting us down if we had a small Christmas without all the gifts, gourmet meals and amazing décor.  I wish I could tell her that we would still know that she loved us even if she would have just said what she felt instead of feeling guilty that she might be a bad person because she felt resentful about trying to hold the world together for all of us. I wish I could just hug her and tell her that we love her for her and not for the things she did for us.

I’ve really been working on having healthier boundaries myself since she passed.  And just as important; giving myself permission to not have to justify my every moment or decision when setting those boundaries, speak my mind more when I am feeling resentful and explain more why some things I allowed to go for years no longer work for me.  Example: “I wish I could watch my sweet nephews every day of the week but I can’t do that and build my career. Dad, I wish I could continue helping you with your company for virtually free but it no longer works for me. I wish I could give away my artwork anytime someone says they like it but that won’t pay my bills. Sorry brother but until you help yourself by doing steps 1,2 and 3 don’t call me again. Once you do those things I will happily help you with step 4 but I don’t want to have one more phone conversation with you telling me I need to fix your problems and hear about your life falling apart when you haven’t even completed the first fucking step !!!!”

I have learned that there needs to be an equal exchange of energy in any transaction otherwise one person won’t feel satisfied.  How often have you helped someone with something that really put you out.  Only to later realize they really didn’t even appreciate it?  I did this with my ex; I would try to fix his problems, invest a ton of my energy, time and problem solving only to later be bitter that he wasn’t grateful. Finally one day I realized that he hadn’t even asked or wanted my help.  Light bulb moment.

So now I give you permission also to say no, speak your mind and tune into your inner knowing. You can be loving, classy, kind and giving and still have effective boundaries.  You are not bad if you decide you don’t want the neighbors kids showing up at your home at all hours looking for entertainment. You are not a bad person if you say no to someone who wants to borrow money and you know in your gut that the money will not help them or it will cause you to not to be able to cover your own bills. I give you permission to just say, “Sorry, that doesn’t work for me”.  It may help build the no muscle to start with, “sorry I will have to get back to you after I check my schedule.” This will buy you time to really decide if something is a good decision instead of saying yes immediately and then later regretting it. Or for example say, “that day doesn’t work for me to watch your dog but if you are able to do help me fix my garage door  tomorrow that will free me up to be able to come over and pet sit for you this weekend when you’re out of town.”… you get the idea.  It’s sometimes helpful to think about if you’re going to feel resentful after doing whatever it is that has been asked of you, if you are then maybe you’re better off saying no or changing the terms of the agreement.   I’d love to hear any of your stories about how you’ve learned to improve in these areas or times you wish you had.

One of my favorite memories of my mom is her last Christmas just 3 weeks before she passed, my husband, daughter, my mom, a few others and I were all quietly chattering and taking in the peacefulness on a late stroll down her dark, quiet dead end street on the Christmas night of 2008. The snow peacefully falling on us, we were all together and we were all so happy and content.  It was simple, free and fair for all us.  It was also a moment that she didn’t have to sacrifice her own happiness or feel guilty in order for us to be happy.

Added 7/24/2012:  I feel the need to add one more thing to this post.  The reason I’ve chosen to share this incredibly personal and private story is because I know that it was something we as a family never talked about while it was happening.  It was one of those things that was off-limits. There is shame so often felt when we are going through a rough patch.  But if this could happen to my happy, articulate, loving family then it could happen to any family.  And even more importantly if my mom could go through this so could anyone. She was (is) a shining soul, loving and supportive person.  She radiated love and light to all around her. I share my perspective of her journey with a goal of helping other fabulously loving women see another side, another voice outside of their own homes and give them a reason to value themselves and their space, their dreams and cherish them.

girl doing cheers at restaurant

Outside of the “real world”

There can be an aching so deep and so widespread that creeps up so quietly you don’t even notice it’s there.  It may be your own aching or it may be the pain of another…

I remember myself lying next to my mom in her bed on Halloween night a few years ago. I’m holding her hand, my daughter is stroking her hair. My mom is crying.  She in the depths of a darkness that she doesn’t even know how she got into.  I lay with her and tell her that I’m here for her, I know it’s been hard lately but that she can turn the page and really embrace this next chapter of her life.  She says through tears, “I want to Noelle, I do. I just don’t know if I can do it. I don’t know how but I want to.”  My heart is breaking; here is my mom, my nurturer, my best friend and my teacher and I don’t know how to help her.

I rewind in my mind to 8 years prior: My parents had come down to Texas to visit me, I had just had my daughter a couple days before. It was their first granddaughter and they were beyond excited.  My mom looked the best I’d ever seen her, she glowed with peace and happiness from the inside out.  We spent the week doing touristy things and just laying around staring at this new baby. Six months later we moved to Minnesota and stayed with them while we found a place.  I was home w/ my daughter during this time just doing artwork part time so every day my mom, my sister and her newborn and myself would go on walks, hang out with the kids, have movie nights once we got the kids down. Life was good.  I moved to Texas again for a bit and then when I came back to Minnesota (sans husband) during my divorce in 2004 I noticed a slight change in my mom over the following years.  My best assessment is that she got caught in a Bermuda triangle-like whirlwind that she didn’t see coming.  Kids growing up and moving out (she had devoted that last decade of her life solely to her husband and raising 5 kids), knee surgery, menopause, income changes while my dad started his new company and I think for the first time since before she had kids she had a moment to think about her life. She had time to reflect upon her childhood and feel some of the feelings that she hadn’t even had time to notice.  She was a strong woman, any one of these things she would’ve handled no problem but I think the whole sum of them along with her not setting the best boundaries (see more here on that: http://noellerollinsart.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/i-give-you-permission-to-say-no/   )  set her into a tailspin.

As a daughter I wish I could’ve done more to help her. I wish I could have helped her earlier to get involved with some sort of activity that didn’t revolve around her family. I wish I could have helped her to believe in her amazing-ness.  Be an interior designer or some other career or volunteer position that would help her to see her gifts.  She felt so paralyzed by fear and insecurity after not being out “in the real world” for so long that it seemed impossible, and unappealing to her.

My mom came from a culture where there was no sharing of personal problems.  You smiled and pretended everything was fine to the outside world. From that there was an unspoken rule to not discuss what she was going through.  The clash comes though that my sisters and I especially are from a generation where we share everything, we learn from each other, we celebrate each other and we know that because someone is going through a hard time it doesn’t mean they are a failure. It went against her every instinct to share her struggles.  I know she is not the only one to go through this.

Back to that Halloween night a few years ago; while I’m glad I was able to just be there for her and listen I wish with every part of myself I would have been able to help her. I know my mom wanted to be in a better space mentally, and while that Halloween was definitely a low point she had many other really happy times over the next 80 days. I got to have a phone conversation with her where she was feeling down and she was worried about us. I got to tell my mom that she was the best mom, that because of her we had confidence in ourselves. That because of her we know how to love, make good decisions and be loving parents ourselves.  I got to thank her for being such a great mom and list example after example of ways that she helped us and we talked about happy memories from my childhood. I got to tell her how much I love her and she apologized for anything she ever did through our lives that made us feel bad and I got to tell her that I couldn’t think of a single one.

This call I now know was a gift, she passed away just days after.

No one knew she was sick, I still believed that she was going to pull through this funk and return to her happy, conquer the world self.  While she didn’t know that she would ultimately get pancreatitis, her soul knew that the end was near.  My phone call was just one of many calls or visits that she made those final days that helped to give so many of us peace.  Someday I’ll share more about so many of the synchronicities that occurred.

I’m trying to write this in the most honest heart felt way that I can both to possibly help others and help myself in finding peace but also respect my mom’s dignity, privacy and her spirit.   I know my mom is now at peace but I realize through my tears that I still have a bit of a longing for what could have been and for what I wish I could have done and mostly a deep need to take her story and turn it into something that can help myself and others from possibly knowing they are not alone. There are many facets to the feelings and emotions that go along with raising a family, honoring ourselves and loving one another; no one should have to feel alone while going through them.

It’s my dream to create a safe space to help women that are going through life’s big changes (divorce, children moving out, menopause, career changes, new baby, etc.) Help through honesty, infusing creativity, giving permission to take time for yourself and spread the message that you are worth a fun hobby, a new group of friends that get you and it actually makes you a better mom, friends, sister, daughter, etc.   It’s my vision to create a space for women that encourages authentic, soulful living, self-discovery, support and creativity. I want to create and share my work in a way that provides value and encouragement to others, help them on their own creative journeys meanwhile helping all of us to live our most abundant lives.  I am not completely sure how this vision will unfold, but I know while I am allowing those answers to come through I will continue to reach out, create artwork to inspire and move into a space where I can teach art classes.  Art classes where the final painting isn’t the focus, it’s the journey, the tuning into our creative voices, learning something new, and just going for it.  You were created and put on this earth for a reason. I believe with all of my being that we each have a soul mission.

My hope is that if it’s meant to be that our paths will cross in the future as we help one another on this journey.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/103541775/mother-and-child-bond-8×10-artwork-print

 

If you are interested in staying in the loop on any future classes and posts on this subject please subscribe to my blog and stay in the loop.   Sending you much love!  *N

I give you permission to say NO

I give you permission to say no.

[slideshow]

I grew up with a superhero a superhero momma. She gave us haircuts or perms more than once the night before school pictures when we begged. Sewed our Halloween costumes, patched our clothing, even hand sewed on hundreds of beads onto my prom dress for me and made a purse to go with it my senior year. She showed up to every sporting event for all 5 of us kids, and even let me move back in with my daughter while I was going through a divorce years ago.  I learned how to be a devoted mother from my mom, I learned how to create a calming, love filled home from her. My biggest lesson however came from my mother as we picked up the pieces after she passed away.

Somewhere in her my mom associated her value with the sacrifices she made for all of us around her.  I watched my mom put each of our needs above her own.  I watched her take on caring part time for my nephew, watching my daughter when she could, I watched my brother come home with a dog (even after my mom told him he couldn’t have a dog in their home) but she gave in and let him keep it because she couldn’t say no. I later watched this dog cause thousands of dollars in damage in her gorgeous, beautifully decorated home.  Thousands of dollars in rugs with holes in them, a solid wood, carved dining room table with the legs chewed around the bottom, she bought a steam cleaner so she could keep up with the pee on the carpets, on and on. Plus then my parents bought the food for the dog, cared for the dog and my mom pretty much eventually stopped going out of town because she knew my brother wouldn’t care for the dog and it would cause more damage.  I watched my adult brother still living at home as if he was a child, my mom still giving him spending money and letting him pursue his dream of being the next Eminem rapper with God knows who coming in and out of their basement recording on the sound system set up down there. All hours of the night these creepy people would be coming in and out with names like Shadow and stuff. Can we just all agree that this in INSANE!!!!  Somewhere along the line I watched my mom blur the line in being loving and caring with enabling and not setting healthy boundaries.

When I was an adult and was back living in Minnesota again I thought it was great that she was going through a wine and cheese phase. . We’d watch movies together and have different wines and cheese and crackers or breads with different dipping oils. It was so much fun.  Pretty much any movie that included a Christmas scene or a house with fun decorating was always our favorites to watch.  What evolved in the years following however none of us saw coming.

Rewind to 2002 My mom was the peak of health, obsessed with vitamins and cooking healthy. She looked great, my sister and I had just had our first babies and our family was at such a fun place.  I was back down in Dallas from 2003-2004 and when I moved back in 2004 things were starting to be a little different. My mom had a knee replacement and was working on recovering from that, at the same time my youngest sister moved out and started college.  My brother was facing ongoing legal battles still haunting him from his wild teenage years and me back home with my daughter going through a divorce.  And then menopause hit. It was a perfect storm.  Had any one of these hit I am confident she would have made it through relatively unscathed.  However that’s not how it happened; the drinking increased secretly, (we didn’t find this out until later, I have since found out that increased drinking is very common during the menopause years) she became more depressed and from that showed even fewer healthy boundaries. She was so busy trying to make sure we were all okay and helping us fix our problems that she didn’t take the time out for herself.  What she needed then was to start saying no. No to the dog, no to spending money as an escape, no to all the relatives, no to us kids, no to trying to solve my brothers legal issues, no to paying for those legal issues, no to watching our kids so much… on and on.  I literally watched my mother’s inability to set healthy boundaries and her selfless act of helping others around no matter what it cost her ultimately kill her.  Her actual cause of death was pancreatitis but I know deep down that the world sucked her dry.

Oh how I wish I could go back and give her permission to be the bad guy a little bit. Tell people occasionally to fix their own shit, find that dog a new home so she could go take a vacation in peace. In fact tell my brother to go find a new home so she could regain her comfort in her own home. Tell all of us that she is not a daycare center.  I would make sure she knew that it’s okay to say no to organizing another event and she needed no other reason then because she needed a night to curl up and watch a much needed movie with my dad.  Sometimes you have to put yourself first; your life can literally depend on it. I wish I could tell my mom that she wouldn’t be letting us down if we had a small Christmas without all the gifts, gourmet meals and amazing décor.  I wish I could tell her that we would still know that she loved us even if she would have just said what she felt instead of feeling guilty that she might be a bad person because she felt resentful about trying to hold the world together for all of us. I wish I could just hug her and tell her that we love her for her and not for the things she did for us.

I’ve really been working on having healthier boundaries myself since she passed.  And just as important; giving myself permission to not have to justify my every moment or decision when setting those boundaries, speak my mind more when I am feeling resentful and explain more why some things I allowed to go for years no longer work for me.  Example: “I wish I could watch my sweet nephews every day of the week but I can’t do that and build my career. Dad, I wish I could continue helping you with your company for virtually free but it no longer works for me. I wish I could give away my artwork anytime someone says they like it but that won’t pay my bills. Sorry brother but until you help yourself by doing steps 1,2 and 3 don’t call me again. Once you do those things I will happily help you with step 4 but I don’t want to have one more phone conversation with you telling me I need to fix your problems and hear about your life falling apart when you haven’t even completed the first fucking step !!!!”

I have learned that there needs to be an equal exchange of energy in any transaction otherwise one person won’t feel satisfied.  How often have you helped someone with something that really put you out.  Only to later realize they really didn’t even appreciate it?  I did this with my ex; I would try to fix his problems, invest a ton of my energy, time and problem solving only to later be bitter that he wasn’t grateful. Finally one day I realized that he hadn’t even asked or wanted my help.  Light bulb moment.

So now I give you permission also to say no, speak your mind and tune into your inner knowing. You can be loving, classy, kind and giving and still have effective boundaries.  You are not bad if you decide you don’t want the neighbors kids showing up at your home at all hours looking for entertainment. You are not a bad person if you say no to someone who wants to borrow money and you know in your gut that the money will not help them or it will cause you to not to be able to cover your own bills. I give you permission to just say, “Sorry, that doesn’t work for me”.  It may help build the no muscle to start with, “sorry I will have to get back to you after I check my schedule.” This will buy you time to really decide if something is a good decision instead of saying yes immediately and then later regretting it. Or for example say, “that day doesn’t work for me to watch your dog but if you are able to do help me fix my garage door  tomorrow that will free me up to be able to come over and pet sit for you this weekend when you’re out of town.”… you get the idea.  It’s sometimes helpful to think about if you’re going to feel resentful after doing whatever it is that has been asked of you, if you are then maybe you’re better off saying no or changing the terms of the agreement.   I’d love to hear any of your stories about how you’ve learned to improve in these areas or times you wish you had.

One of my favorite memories of my mom is her last Christmas just 3 weeks before she passed, my husband, daughter, my mom, a few others and I were all quietly chattering and taking in the peacefulness on a late stroll down her dark, quiet dead end street on the Christmas night of 2008. The snow peacefully falling on us, we were all together and we were all so happy and content.  It was simple, free and fair for all us.  It was also a moment that she didn’t have to sacrifice her own happiness or feel guilty in order for us to be happy.

Added 7/24/2012:  I feel the need to add one more thing to this post.  The reason I’ve chosen to share this incredibly personal and private story is because I know that it was something we as a family never talked about while it was happening.  It was one of those things that was off-limits. There is shame so often felt when we are going through a rough patch.  But if this could happen to my happy, articulate, loving family then it could happen to any family.  And even more importantly if my mom could go through this so could anyone. She was (is) a shining soul, loving and supportive person.  She radiated love and light to all around her. I share my perspective of her journey with a goal of helping other fabulously loving women see another side, another voice outside of their own homes and give them a reason to value themselves and their space, their dreams and cherish them.

girl doing cheers at restaurant

Cheers to you momma!

more on the throat chakra – my personal journey

I’m learning to speak my own truth so much better. I think this year has been the biggest growing year for me in that area.  I was working with one of my coaches and it was interesting how many of the things I’m going through right now stem from some things I went through in the 5th grade. The year I hit puberty and my weight changed and I first felt some insecurities about my body, the year stupid Jim humiliated me in front of the hand washing station outside of the bathrooms and I didn’t have the skills to verbally put him in his place or the skills to not feel bad about it.  It’s no coincidence that my daughter is in 5th grade now and as I’m watching her go through this time period I’ve unknowingly been re-writing my own boundaries, sticking up for myself, finding my voice and FINALLY making peace with some of those past events.  So cheers to loving ourselves and having compassion for ourselves and others!

Me and my girl

I really believe that when we are in tune with our life’s purpose and are speaking what is true for our most authentic selves that the universe responds.  There is power in thoughts and tremendous power in words, good or bad. Speak from your heart, your souls best intentions and truths and it’ll all work out.