Tuesday, July 18, 2017

you're never going to believe it

Hell, I don't believe it myself.
I had a big deadline and I told myself I wouldn't write again until I made it.
I'm not exactly at the finish line but I came to a stopping place for now.
And I had to pop in here.
Because this place is a sacred spot for me.
I love writing.
I love y'all.
Even though I probably have only met a handful of y'all.
But I feel like I know some of y'all personally.
And I think, maybe, y'all feel the same way about me.
So let me tell you about yesterday.

Notice the 3 7's.
Holy number.
Just saying.
It started off business as usual.
I woke up early, read my Bible, got ready to meet my running group.
I get in the car and am listening to the radio for the like four minute trip.
I don't remember the song that was on.
No, I don't think that was it.
I don't know what it is about driving but I've told you before
sometimes this overwhelming sense of grief 
will roll right over me.
Yesterday it did just that.
Right as I rolled into the parking lot
where a bunch of my running peeps were already gathered.
I ended up doing a circle in the parking lot until I could wipe away the tears.
My peep Steve gave me grief about my circle.
He was questioning my state of mind.
I made up some cockamamie story and let him poke his fun.
It's so hot here that within a minute of stepping outside
I knew beads of sweat would start popping up,
the better to hide the last remnants of tears.
As I ran with my crew I tried to figure out what the trigger was.
Then it hit me like a slap.
My late niece's parents and siblings came to visit us over the weekend.
I didn't see them at all on Saturday.
I was working with a client that afternoon
and came home to an empty house.
Everyone had gone to the Astros game.
When they came home I was in bed.
I'm living on the edge y'all.
Early to bed, early to rise and all that jazz.
Since I always wake up early
Sunday morning at 530
I was awake and reading on the sofa
when I saw my brother-in-law come over from our guest apartment
trying to get in the back door.
I knew what he was looking for.
He came to the right place.
You know he did. 
I poured him a cup and we sat whispering on the sofa,
trying not to wake the masses.
Chit chat.
About our recent trip to Yellowstone (more on that soon)
and about the game the night before
and about how our boys are getting so big.
As we went through a run down of how the boys had changed
since the last time they saw them
I hesitated to say what I was thinking.
But you know me.
If it's on my heart I'm gonna say what I'm thinking unless it hurts someone.
In this case I wasn't sure.
Sometimes I wonder if its like touching an open wound to talk about her.
but I've read where its really a good thing to talk about those that have passed on.
Its keeps their memory alive.
So I told him how one of our boys reminds me of her.
Sometimes he'll say something in a certain way,
with a certain affect in his voice
and I'll just stop and stare.
Just like her I'll think to myself.
I told my brother-in-law this and he smiled.
Then he shared a sweet story, one I didn't know.
Of how one year for her birthday she asked that in lieu of presents
she hoped everyone would instead donate food to a local food bank.
Everyone who loved her donated.
So much so that the priest even mentioned it in their church one Sunday.
We both just laughed and smiled.
With tears in our eyes.
That was so her.
I wanted to tell him the story of my little lego girl in my kitchen window,
and to point out the antique blanc de chine lamp with the pencil in it,
the one she'd pierced when she was two.
While my husband watched.
She looked at him with her big brown eyes as if to say "uh oh."
He put his finger to his lips as if to say "it'll be our little secret. I'll never tell."
And he didn't.
Until after she died and he told me that story.
I held those back, to be told another day, another trip.
He shared with me another story,
of how she changed someone's life,
one I wish I could share but its private in a way 
that seems like its not mine to share.
But as he told me this story of how she changed someone's path in life
just because of knowing her...
I could tell how much it meant to him as her father.
I wanted to tell him how she changed my life.
One day I will tell him.
Its weird to admit this but none of my in-laws know about the business I started.
They don't know about my business
or how her death changed how I live,
how it pushed me to a deep personal journey,
a trip that I and I alone had to take,
down a road once darkened by secrets of the soul,
without friends or family or my dear sweet husband.
Her death and that of another friend soon after made me commit
to finding light where there once was darkness.
For secrets can't live when you shine a light on them.

If you've been here long enough you'll know that last year
by taking a class with Brene Brown.
It was called the Living Brave Semester.
If you're rolling your eyes because you're tired of hearing about it
please know I understand.
I wish you well.
It's ok to click away.
If you're still here you might be as excited as I was today 
to see that she has a new book coming out September 12.
When I saw the title I thought to myself
"that's exactly what I've been doing since her class."
Especially while in Yellowstone.
You might also be excited when I tell you
that I met her yesterday.
I'd say something funny here like "Drop the mike." 
Only it wasn't a funny moment for me.
It was a surprise.
And real.
And moving.
And better than I would have imagined.
And it was like all of four or five minutes.
But it happened.
And I still cry at the thought.
You might not be surprised to know that anytime
I see her online or on tv and I hear her voice I'll admit I cry.
I know stuffz about to get real.

I'd call it a fluke but I believe there are angels among us.
Yesterday my angels were watching over me with a twinkle in their eye.
I was running late taking one of my kids to an orthodontist appointment.
For me, the girl who likes to be early to everything,
being late meant I got to meet
the one living person on my short list of people I'd want to meet.
See, I had it in my head that I couldn't leave for the appointment 
until I emailed something to a client.
It took me all morning to finish.
Finally with eight short minutes until the appointment
I called time, hit send, and shouted orders to my kids.
Get in the car.
We gotta fly.
When I roll up to the building you and you get out.
Run upstairs and check him in.
I'll be there after I park the car.
With a yes ma'am and a see you in a few, they were off.
I parked the car and with my mini-me in tow
we ran for the front doors.
I tugged open the heavy glass doors and was going through a mental checklist.
Two kids upstairs, one with me.
Gangs all here.
Then I looked up.
There she was coming down the stairs.
And I stopped, wide eyed, in shock.
It couldn't be I thought.
Could it?
"Oh My Ga."
which is great because I always thought,
imagined in my head,
because listen, I believe you gotta put it out in the universe,
I honestly thought I might drop some cuss words if I ever met her.
But thankfully I remembered my soon to be teen right next to me.
Or maybe I didn't.
I'm pretty sure I lost consciousness and went to some weird place
where you can't believe what's going on.
So I said "Oh. My. Ga" with that wide eyed emoji look.
She looked at me like "What? What happened?
Did something bad just happen and I don't see it?"
She was looking at me like "did you lock your keys in the car or what?"
as she walked towards the exit.
My brain recognition center went
ding, ding, ding
"yep, for sure, that's her"
and the tears just fell like rain.
I'm pretty sure I had a little Oprah ugly cry going on
but honestly I didn't give a damn.
Still don't.
The same cannot be said for my tween.
I remember saying "you changed my life."
I'm pretty sure she hugged me at that point.
In my mind I'm thinking...
"I cannot believe she's here and I'm here.
In the same place. At this moment."
 God is so good.
I started rattling things off the top of my head
because I knew this moment wouldn't last
and I had to tell her everything I could possibly think of.
How I did her class.
How it changed me, my life, every. single. thing.
How I did the hard work.
(The emotional equivalent of birthing twins
and running a marathon.
At the same time.)
How I started my business because of her class.
She gave me a high five when I said that.
Then I think I started rambling.
Like where I lived and why I was in the building,
and how we were late so two of my kids were already upstairs.
She laughed and said "yes, they ran by me, they were a blur."
And to my tween beside me in his Harry Potter Hogwarts t-shirt
she looked at him, smiled, and said "Hufflepuff" as if to say
"I see you too."
Who does that?
Brene Brown.
That's who.
She explained why she was there in the building.
And then she thanked me for stopping her to talk to her.
Drop the mike y'all.
She's just...beautiful.
Inside and out.
To say she was lovely was an understatement of indescribable proportion.
She was patient when she had no time to be.
Gracious beyond words.
When I saw her I instantly went to that place in my heart,
the place she helped me heal,
still with a bit of resonating pain that will never go away,
like a wound that healed but left a scar.
Her work helped me peel back the layers to the place
where my soul stores memories of both pain and joy.
She helped me journey through those memories,
like navigating the land mines of life.
That place where I'm so thankful I can now be still and not be afraid.
Where I now know that everything is just as its meant to be.
The place I used to hide from, I now relish in knowing.
Because to hide is not to be seen.
To not be seen is to not live fully.
Every day I dare greatly.
I refuse to do anything less.
Others were not given that privilege.
I will not take it for granted.

Yesterday she met me in that place,
the one she helped me heal.
And I was able to say thank you,
to the one who taught me
 how to show up, dare greatly, and rise strong.
Through tears of joy and gratitude and with love for the person who,
before yesterday, I thought I'd never meet...I was able to thank her,
honestly and from the bottom of my joyful, thankful heart.
I can't remember everything we said.
But I'll never ever forget that feeling
or the day I met Brene Brown.
We don't always get to thank
those people that change us and how we live.
But yesterday I did.
Somehow I think my niece knows she changed me too.


  1. Wow! I am so excited for you! Who knows maybe your angel niece had a little part of that meeting! I would like to think she did!

    1. me too Tery. I'm sure she did play a part :) I so believe in angels among us. I often think she was too good to be here on earth any longer, that God needed another angel to do His work. xoxo,nancy

  2. Nancy!! Tears as I'm reading this!! I'm so happy for you and I can only imagine what this meant to you. I feel like I've walked a little of this with you since finding your blog and getting to know you!! SO FREAKING AMAZING. XOXOXO

    1. you're so sweet Bethany. cant wait to catch up with you soon! xoxo!

  3. So happy for you Nancy! How amazing that you had the chance to meet this wonderful "stranger" who has helped you so much. Please know that you to help people by sharing what is on your heart in such a beautifully written and honest way. ;)

    1. you always say the nicest things! thank you so much for reading and commenting. it means more than you know. xoxo, nancy

  4. Nancy you are honestly what most of us strive to be. You are so special. I hope one day we will meet in person.

  5. Your little angel niece is smiling down on your whole family.


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