Lifting The Fog

1Lord knows it sucks: getting up in the mornings, getting going. When you’re looking down the road ahead and it’s gonna be the same ol’ day, the same ol’ thing, the same ol’ life—SSDD: same sh*t, different day! Some mornings I struggle with thoughts like that, they creep in and settle in my head like a frigid fog. The alarm blares, my eyes open, I take a deep breath and I start to think: “I know what this day’s gonna be like, there’ll be big piles of bullsh*t and I’m gonna have to deal with all of it.” Or, heck, maybe I didn’t sleep worth a damn and I’m exhausted, or I have a cold or, or, or, there could be a million reasons for a sucky morning!

But you know what? There are people who would love our bad days. Whose lives or circumstances are so sad and hopeless, that even our worst (got fired), worst (gained 15 pounds), worst (kid brought home an F on a test) days seem simple and transient—nothing lasts forever, not even the bullsh*t! When that fog settles over you, you just have to pull yourself up and, sometimes, the best thing for me is to break out my morning playlist and rock out! Music has a mystical effect on attitude! Some mornings I may jam to Miranda Lambert, Pink, Blake Shelton or the Eagles. So, if a certain mood strikes, like the blues or anger or exhaustion, I pick the opposite mood and find the appropriate music. If I feel blue or angry, boom! I play happy music. Exhausted, then bam! I pick energetic music that makes me want to move. Whatever “foggy” mood I find myself in, I want to be the opposite of that ASAP.

You’ve got to figure out what’s going to make you feel good in the morning—yeah, you have to plan ahead. You’ve got to figure out what’s going to give you an optimistic attitude, because whether you realize it or not, you’ve got an audience: your kids, the people you’re leading or the people you spend time with. The attitude you display and how you treat others is what you’re going to get in return. Remember the old saying, “What you sow, so shall you reap.” So, the mornings that I want to be in a not very good mood, I get up, get my music going and I get moving. I make my bed (LOVE a fresh-made bed!), clean up my house and get to work on banishing the blahs.

Those rough mornings are the ones where you need to be extra nice and extra smiley. Your kids, your family, the people you work with—they’re very sensitive to your demeanor, and they’ll feed off of that. If you want to see a bad day get worse, then reflect on the days you’ve woken up kinda pissed at the world, then you treated everyone around you like you’re pissed at the world, and pretty soon, everyone around you is also pissed at the world. So, so, so not fun, right?

So, I guess all I’m saying is, life sucks sometimes. It does and we all have a right to recognize that and get annoyed or angry or frustrated, but we don’t have a license to treat people poorly. Yes, morning sucks! Crawling out from under those warm, snug covers, most days, is haaaard. But, we have to get up, pull on our boots—figuratively speaking—and go to work, whether that’s to an office or out to the kitchen to rustle up breakfast for the kiddos. You have to be the leader, in word and in deed! So if you need to write yourself a motivational note before bed that you stick on your bathroom mirror at night, so that it’s there to greet you every morning while you brush your teeth, then do it!


If you have to make a new playlist for every morning, then do it! How long does it take you to get ready? How many songs does that equal? So really, most people who are up and going and running around, they probably only need about 10 songs on the playlist—and you can make a playlist right from your iPhone in less than 10 minutes, y’all! No excuses!

Another tip for making mornings better is to do as much as you can the night before. Like, pack your lunch or your kids’ lunches at night! Get breakfast items out before bed—gonna make muffins? Get out the tins, the mix, the bowls and it’s all on the counter ready and waiting. Get everyone’s stuff ready, briefcases, backpacks, diaper bags, etc., and have them ready to roll out the door. Do you have animals to feed? Then fix their feed cans at night and have them ready to pour the next morning…seriously, these little things make an enormous difference the next day.


Enjoy those days when everything goes right, but be prepared for those days that crash and burn, and have something up your sleeve that’ll pull you up off the ground. You can do it, girl!


My Nirvana

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This place can smooth the wrinkles out of my most bunched up day. I think it’s a lifetime of enjoyable experiences that make me love this place so much, because almost all the time I’ve spent in a barn has been positive.

I know that every time I walk into a barn, I’ll feel a sense of peace wash over me. Kinda like being really, really cold and stepping into a steaming, hot shower, it just washes over me and warms me up!

My time in barns began when I was a tiny girl, and that was definitely a carefree phase in my life. I’m a long, long way—physically, spiritually and time-wise—from that wild wee girl on my family’s ranch in Southern California. Today, I’m a mom, a wife and a business-owner. I have so many people I have to worry about: my sweet girls, my loveable hubby and my awesome employees!


But, the barn, it’s my little piece of heaven. If you’ve never spent a lot of time around horses, you might think they’re stinky animals, but they’re not! They have this wonderful salty-sweet smell. The feel of their coarse manes, their tender soft ears, their bristly lips, and their insatiable curiosity! People think cats are curious, you should see the stuff horses get into—you turn your back for a minute while you’re saddling or grooming and you’ll turn around to find that your horse has a broom, straw-end first, in his mouth, swinging it around, trying to get a bite of straw! If I close my eyes, I imagine myself within those four walls: the heavy scent of horses, the fresh hay and almost sugary scent of the feed, aged leather aroma from well-used and well-loved saddles and bridles—it’s so comforting and assuring to me.


A visit to the barn means getting a chance to spend time with my horse Prince—it’s all-encompassing because I’m immersed mentally and physically. You can’t groom or ride a horse with half a heart, you have to be all-in, or you’ll get your toes crushed while you’re on the ground or get dumped while you’re on his back! So, horse-time is a kind of forced escape, your daily worries are put on hold while 100 percent of your focus is on this gorgeous, solid animal.


So, that’s my joyful place. I wanted to tell you about it because I hope everyone has their own place that makes them content! It can be the mall, baking, cooking, running, swimming, hiking, hunting—we’re all different. Just don’t take it for granted, don’t forget to live in the moment, soak it all in, stop and breathe and look around at your joyful place. Be grateful for it.

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My productivity relies on my creativity. That’s my life, creating things. And, y’all, sometimes it’s exhausting. I put so much of myself into my work and I spend so many days on the road, it can drag me down if I’m not careful. And, if you don’t work in a creative field or you’re not a creative person, you need to know this: creativity does not happen on a schedule. I can’t say: Well, between 8:30 this morning and 1:30 this afternoon, I will create!

Nope. Doesn’t work that way. It has to hit me. And, lots of times it hits me at 2:00 in the morning, or driving in rush hour traffic, or zipping through an airport trying to catch a plane. Crazy! That’s why I always have something to take notes on so I can remember my wild ideas that pop into my head at the most inopportune times. But I’ve said all that to say this: my mind never stops. Sometimes I have to force myself to shut down, turn away from my passion of creating, and just breathe.

Often, on a weekend, all I want to do is retreat and not think of work. Yes, I’ve been called a workaholic, so some may be surprised by my “retreat” mentality. I wasn’t born a workaholic; I was born a hard worker with a vision, creativity and drive. I was raised to take pride in everything I did, no matter how big or small. I was raised to know that my work was a reflection of me. I also knew that the only way my visions would come to fruition would be for me to make them happen. Although I had many supporters and helpers along the way, I knew that, ultimately, I was in charge of my vessel.


There’s a Steve Earle song I love: “It’s All Up To You.” In the song he sings: It’s all up to you, no one else can get you through, right or wrong, win or lose, it’s all up to you.

We all, at different times in our respective lives, have this realization. Maybe you were 15, maybe 45. But when that reality hits you that “It’s All Up To You,” it’s a moment of such clarity. If I want to succeed, to realize my dreams, the only person who’s going to make that happen is me.


I’ve got to steer this ship to make it happen! But, that doesn’t mean I don’t need down time, that I don’t need time to dream, that I don’t need to time to just be creative without a purpose, just for a high. Taking a break from the real world and just living in my world—appreciating the blessings in my life. I have found that my work is better, my creativity more intense and my anxieties—shocker, I got ’em, too, girlies—are kept at bay when I do this.

Why do I feel guilty when I take the time for myself? I don’t know, but I work on feeling okay with recharging my batteries and letting go of worries. I strive to just be happy being.

Yes, every morning, pretty much seven days a week, holidays and vacations included, I get up and check my emails. That’s my way of giving myself permission to enjoy the days I decide to recharge my batteries. I’ve made sure all is right in my work world and it brings me peace of mind, so to speak. That’s never going to change, and I’m okay with that.  But, I’m also working on giving myself permission to let go and enjoy!  We all insist of being the captain of our ship, to be the one in charge of driving that dream. But sometimes, I’ve learned as life happens, we just gotta let go of the wheel and enjoy the days we have in this crazy journey we call life.


Sometimes I just have to get out of my zip code, drive down some back roads, jam to my favorite music while singing at the top of my lungs. All that letting go brings my life into focus. I don’t have to be at the beach to allow myself to have fun—although that’s still my favorite place! I have lots of other favorite places and things to do that bring me tranquility.

Immerse yourself in following a dream, but keep in mind that to achieve that dream, you sometimes need to retreat and refresh and take the time to recognize what an amazing journey life is!