I'm of the mindset that to stay true and not rest on your laurels you have to tell yourself that you're only as good as your most recent gig.
My most recent gig was hitting that high G yesterday morning in the church choir like the badass singer that I am.
Singing in the choir is so great!
I'm so glad I came up with that idea.
The credit truly goes to the inspiration of the Great Beyond because I woke up with that idea one morning last week and I obeyed the inspiration.
That's what I get credit for, the obeying.
What makes people get stuck in life is when they ignore the inspirations and just pour themselves another drink or let the next program on Netflix start up or make another bowl of popcorn.
Obeying and knowing for certain that you are not creating alone is the key.
Knowing for certain that you are in a co-creation with that which created you is the goal.
I'm reading one of the weirdest books I've ever read right now...called A Course In Miracles by Helen Schucman.
Helen wrote it in 1970 and died in 1981.
She had her PhD from NYU in clinical psychology and she was primarily Jewish in her religious thinking and upbringing.
She said that this book was given to her by the voice of Jesus and that she only wrote it out as a scribe.
I believe her.
It's such a weird book.
But it's cool and it's got a lot of glimmers of The Truth about it.
For me, seeing The Truth in a book like this is like seeing a deer in the deep woods where you keep getting glimpses of him but you can't see him fully.
The book explains that if you think you created yourself you're doomed to be in the wrong mindset.
You have to give credit where credit is due.
Once you fully accept that you are not the highest authority or author in your life then miracles will happen.
Miracles happen all the time if you're tuned in with the co-creator which is God or The Universe or whatever you want to call it.
Words mean nothing, so don't use any if you don't want to.
The point is that if you acknowledge ideas that pop into your head as inspirations, and you are grateful for these inspirations, and you follow up on these inspirations with diligence and respect, and you are obeying the signs, then your life will be full of miracles.
So just do that.
I did that about this whole month of December thing and so far, day one of December was a fucking miracle fest.
I went to the church, I absolutely was overwhelmed with joy at being back in the choir.
Other people seemed pretty darn overjoyed that I was there as well.
My Mom came to church, it's a very short drive from her apartment, and was so happy.
She even took me with her to the grocery store afterwards and bought me a few grocery items for our house.
After church and shopping with my Mom I drove back across the city to our house.
I ate left over turkey and stuffing and green beans which was delicious.
I took a long nap.
Then I went with my daughter Nina to meet my boy Jordan, who has been here all weekend from California.
I wanted them to come hear this one musician, Doug Otto, at his Dusty's Bar residency.
Dusty's is the oldest "dive bar" in Minneapolis, or maybe all of Minnesota.
And Doug Otto is an unassuming white person of small to medium stature, not remarkable in his demeanor or fashion, but who plays an electric guitar in a singularly poignant way and sings in such an unassuming way but with such success that the whole very subtle impression is in the end quite remarkable.
Watching Doug Otto perform is like watching a really good magician do magic tricks.
You just can't figure out how it's so good.
He's fun to watch and hear so I brought my kids.
When Nina and I arrived at Dusty's we were joined by Jordan who had invited two of his favorite childhood friends.
The addition of the two tall handsome brothers with my tall handsome son and beautiful Nina who is nearly six feet tall, was quite the posse to make an entrance with at Dusty's.
Very fun to walk in with these fantastic kids.
They're all in their mid to late twenties so not kids but you know what I mean.
We took a table near where the musicians were set up.
Doug Otto looked happy to see me and we shook hands briefly.
I don't know whether he knows anything about me, maybe just happy I returned to listen to him.
We all loved the music.
Then we all left that place and walked two blocks in the snow to a secret back bar behind a restaurant that you have to know where the hidden door is, which is very fun in itself.
We ordered cocktails and small wood fired pizzas there and we all sat huddled together in this very cozy and charming atmosphere of the secret bar which is made to feel strangely like an old cabin but also like a speakeasy type of place, very special and quiet with candles everywhere.
The two childhood friends of my son reminisced about how much time they spent with me when they were growing up.
They are from a family with twelve, yes twelve, children.
My son was an only child in a way because his sisters were only a year and a half apart and five years older, so he was often doing things with just his Mom after his parents divorced.
To make things better for him, and to help get these best friends of his out of their cloistered home schooled family environment, I invited the two brothers along on many excursions.
Their parents didn't have much money and they were home schooling all the children in a fairly strict religious context all the way through until each child was eighteen.
Nobody likes pondering philosophy and theology more than I do, but these parents each only had a high school education themselves, and they were teaching all the subjects including their own dubious versions of creationism to their offspring.
I think that parents being the only teachers like that should be against the law.
I think that unless the parent has all the credentials required to teach all the subjects...which would mean having a college level degree in each subject, which nobody has.....then their children should be required by law to attend public school.
I hated watching these people stunt their twelve childrens' minds with their ignorant and arrogant bullshit about how the public school would corrupt their kids and ruin them for life.
So I invited their two youngest boys who my son loved so much because he had no brothers to join us as often as possible.
These two boys were somewhere in the middle of the eight male children, and there were four girls as well.
To be clear, the family was a very decent and loving family.
The kids were all hardworking, intelligent, good looking, well dressed, very clean, very polite, full of fun with a twinkle in their eyes.
They were allowed to dress up for Halloween and they made their own costumes and they always all looked like a bunch of real pirates whenever they came crashing around to my door to trick or treat on Halloween night.
So, I mean, they were a great family.
I just didn't prescribe to their religious views, their education values, or their politics.
All to say that, last night, sitting around a low table in the cozy secret bar replete with candles, all of us drinking these delightful mixologist's concoctions from the mystical apothecary style bar at the back of the flickering room, the two boys told me of how I had affected their lives and how much they remembered every detail of how I did things at home, what meals they had been a part of, parties for birthdays and holidays, camping excursions, trips to museums and pumpkin patches, so many wonderful details they remembered.
They gave me a great gift of reminding me who I had been as a woman, as a young mother, as a role model, as a fierce paradigm of all that I thought was right.
I did that alone.
I left my children's father because he did things that were intolerable.
I couldn't allow his actions to ruin my children's childhood, their one chance at a childhood.
I knew what a ruined childhood felt like and I fought for theirs.
In the process of course it got ruined anyway.
But maybe all childhoods and all innocence always gets spoiled somehow.
Maybe what we can do as stewards of our own lost innocence is provide a new construct, a new context, and work the entirety of our adult lives to restore our own innocence.
I have known for a long time that we can start over and give ourselves the childhood we lost.
I did that with these kids.
I gave myself fires in the fireplace, candles lit, great hearty meals coming out of the oven, the carving of pumpkins, laughter and comradery and beaming faces around the kitchen table.
The two boys from the twelve kid family always acted like there wasn't going to be enough to eat.
I was always able to give everyone second and third helpings of whatever I was serving.
They were always so grateful.
They were always so hungry.
It wasn't that their parents didn't provide well.
It's just that with fourteen people under one roof, nothing was ever enough.
So I gave these boys big bowls of strawberries.
Big bowls of popcorn.
Each kid got to make his own homemade pizza, and a second one too.
I had the money because for those ten years I received child support and alimony from the doctor I had been married to for fifteen years and I was raising his three children, so that was fair and square.
I had full custody of the children and they visited their Dad one weekend night a week.
It sounds brutal and it was.
The whole thing was downright Gothic in many ways.
We were only one mile down the road from the house I left.
I was given money to buy another house and I bought this awesome old Harry Potter four bedroom bear of a house on an old wooded lot, all oak trees and pines, owls in the high branches at night.
Wild turkeys traipsing through the yard, deer making beds for themselves in the soft fallen needles under the Cedar trees at the back behind the house.
I can't believe I did it now, looking back.
But in the fierceness, what I fought for was my children's decency.
I fought for their ability to see a home where there are no words of hatred spoken, where there is no need for crazy violent scenes.
Who needs that crap in their homes?
Some people just insist on stirring up madness.
I have lived that way, I have been that person, and certainly it followed us to our new house as well in some ways, but I knew that it was not who I wanted to be.
Last night, those two boys, with two of my children there to witness, gave me the enormous gift of telling me what I did for them.
They reminded me of who I was, who I have sought to be.
They showed me the influence I have had.
To wrap up this long musing this morning, I will say that my boy met with the head of the design program at the U of M yesterday morning for coffee.
He told us that he feels compelled to pursue this route, not to try the get-rich-quick ideas of starting his own brand at age twenty-three, but instead to come back to Minneapolis and study art and design at the graduate level for two years first.
He was given a lot of encouragement by the professor.
It seems possible that he would be able to work as an assistant to a professor and have his classes be paid for by the university.
I think this is great and if he does it we will all be thrilled to have him in town again.
This will be the beginning of many new adventures with these boys, now young men, and my daughters as well.
Maybe even Ava will come home.
In the meantime, to end this story of a day filled with miracles, one of the brothers who is making good money now as a bartender at a very fancy hotel bar in town, surprised us all by paying the whole bill for our cocktails and our pizzas.
He said it was the least he could do to even begin to pay back everything I had done for him.
I thanked him and hugged him and said, "okay well it's about time."
We all laughed our way out of the little back bar, out into the snowy night in Minneapolis, and I had a glimpse of God and of Heaven and of Time standing still like the deer in the woods who you only see for just a moment and then is gone again.
A course in miracles.