Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Return to Me

I'm over at my business website, Embracing This Moment Life Coaching, helping mother's get the best of Mother's Day.  Come on over and check out a great life coaching package deal...and see what I've been up to lately.

Return to Me, A Mother's Day Special 

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Tornado that Took An Inspiration

Planting the Seed
"So, I want you to record your observations of the weather systems.  The clouds.  The temperature.  The winds.  And then we will discuss the data and make predictions."   
I was so fascinated by this weather exercise, that with great care, diligence and determination, I have been observing weather patterns since.  Mrs. Emory.  Eighth grade Physical Science.  A young mind at work.  A planted seed budding with curiosity.  

"MOM!  There's a TORNADO coming!"  
By high school, I had moved beyond cumulonimbus clouds and onto complex weather anomalies.  As an air force family, my grandmother, aunt and uncles all told stories about surviving tornadoes while stationed in tornado alley.  The erratic nature.  All the unknowns.  My curiosity mixed with fear and fascination.  The first hand accounts made it all the more real, compelling, curious.      
One night I ran screaming to my mother's room "Mom!  There's a tornado coming!"  It was a windy night.  I knew tornadoes sounded like a train.  I was convinced we should take cover. She rolled over, said, "Honey, do you hear the horn?  It IS a train."  
Epic fail.  
We lived in sunny California, pre-global warming crisis, so there never was a threat of any real tornadoes.  My mind, still obsessed with a compulsion to know, to understand, to study meteorology, even if it meant waking my mom in the middle of the night for a false alarm.  

Oh, You're Going to Study Space?
When you tell people you want to be a meteorologist, most assume you want to study meteors, from outer space.  That's not quite right.  It's Atmospheric Sciences to be exact.  
"The weather for your week will be mostly mild, in the mid 70's and a slight breeze from the northwest.  Stay tuned for the latest news updates at 11."  Yes, that's what I wanted to be.  A broadcaster.  Meteorologist.  "You've got a great face for television."  they'd say.  
In the end, I decided to make the switch and study chemistry instead.  Despite this educational change, my fascination and curiosity with the atmosphere and all it's magic, has never faded.  A dedicated follower of all things weather.  
Storm Chasers
With the likes of Reed Timmer and Sean Casey in Discovery Channel's, Storm Chasers, my curiosity and passions were matched.  "There's a massive tornado straight ahead!"  "Never stop chasing."  With Reed's mottoes and raw passions, how could you not become an instant follower?  I could sit and watch Storm Chasers streaming on Netflix for hours at a time.  Adrenaline junky on the couch, waiting for the next sight of a rain wrapped wedge headed straight for the teams.  TIV and Dominator...who'd get the next perfect intercept?  

A True Atmospheric Scientist and Researcher
In the background of the cowboy Storm Chasers, with steadfast determination, and a calm demeanor, stood Tim Samaras.  A true Atmospheric Scientist, not after the brazen show of adrenaline and rush, but the cautious and strategic researcher, determined to collect the data to protect innocent lives from being taken by unforgiving tornadoes.  No agenda, other than to give his curiosity and brain to science, to discover, observe and relay the necessary complex information.   
Tornado Whisperer, they called him. 
The footage of Tim Samaras standing in the field, arms outstretched, as if he was communicating back and forth with the storm.  The wind lifting his hair, his clothes in the breeze.  "We've gotta move!" he'd yell, and the team would run to their designated spaces, ready to collect data from the quickly approaching tornado.  How would he know?  What was he feeling?  My wanna-be Atmospheric Scientist brain would analyze it through the television, drooling over the abundance of experience, wealth of knowledge, and scope of curiosity put to the best possible use.  Always cautious.  Respecting the reverence and the intensity of nature's fury.  Tim Samaras was a good storm chaser.  
With the cancellation of Storm Chasers, I became an even more dedicated follower of each of the stars of the show.  Announcements on Facebook, websites, and documentaries.  Twistex.  TVN.  It was evident in all of Tim Samaras' posts that he was as passionate and personable as he'd been portrayed on the television series.  Leading from the center of his passions, raw and unbridled curiosity led his every move.  Truly dedicated.  A true scientist.  

The Tornado that Took An Inspiration
I am devastated to learn that Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and his colleague Carl Young, were killed in a tornado in Oklahoma on Friday.  The atmospheric scientist wanna-be in me, that considers myself an atmospheric scientist even if only from the raw passion and curiosity, for lightning, for weather systems, storms and tornadoes, is absolutely heartbroken.  

The Oklahoma tornado took an inspiration.  A legend.  Good men.  Beautiful souls.  Amazing researchers. The men best known for their safety and caution gone with a random swirl of the very thing they loved studying most.  It is incredibly tragic.  

Tim Samaras makes me wish I had continued my studies in atmospheric science.  If only to be closer to his love of learning and study of the nature of these storms.  I wish I could have met him, heard one of his lectures, been able to thank him for his sacrifices his steadfast determination and his natural curiosity.  He was an inspiration to the network of atmospheric scientists, even us wanna-bes, and he will be greatly missed.  

May his legacy of work studying tornadoes and lightning live on in the passions of young little ones asked to look at the sky and make observations.  

May Tim Samaras' and Carl Young's families feel the love and warmth that surround them, hold them up, and send them peace and hope during this difficult tragic loss.   May all the curious minds, with the same passion for storms, stay safe in the storm chase.  

Photo1Photo 2Photo 3

Sunday, May 12, 2013


"It all works out.  It always has.  It always will.  You're gonna be okay, honey."

She says it with such determination.  A calm serene acceptance, an inner peace for the moment, for the truth.  I want to believe her.  I want to know she's right, it's true.  And I do.  She calms my doubts, she validates my strength. 

She's believed it from the beginning.  As they wheeled her across the parking lot, her ass hanging out of the hospital gown.  I was coming.  And she knew it.  It was going to be a struggle.  A 5 pound preemie.  All alone.  

But she did it.  She foraged the way for us.

It was just us.  And it wasn't.  Aunts.  Uncles.  Cousins.  Family.  Friends.  Music.  Ballet.  Broken down cars.  Potato bugs.

The never-ending battle of a single mom's budget. 

Living on faith, of pay check to pay check.  When I needed new toe shoes for ballet, or clothes for school, we had just enough.  When we moved back in with my grandma, and my mom switched careers to stay home with me, to be my mom, we had each other.

Sometimes it was a tough journey.

We battled for a while, as most mothers and daughters might.  Getting boundaries clear.  Unpacking and throwing out the old baggage.  Making amends.  Growing up.  

"Why doesn't she want the same things I want?" I asked my husband.  It was a hard lesson to learn, to let go of the expectations of what I thought the perfect mom should be.  And then it wasn't.  Because in letting go, I was able to see all I have, in my beautiful, courageous and powerful mom. 

I respect and admire her.  

Not because she's always done it perfectly, but because she's always loved me.  Even when I disrespected her.  Even when I denied her.  Even when she didn't do it right.  She still loved me, wholeheartedly.  And even when I thought she was full of shit, or when she left me disappointed, I always knew she would be there for me, even if I didn't want to hear it.     

"Love is unconditional, Aubrey.  No matter what, I will always be your mom, and I will always love you."  

My mom always makes it work.
Because she loves me.

It feels good to be her daughter. 
Because I don't have to be perfect either. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

You Know, *That* Christmas Song...

We were laughing at them, my husband's sisters, the whole room was full of joy. 
One of those scenes you can replay in your head, like a movie, like it happened yesterday.  

I can still smell the kitchen.  The chilies.  The meat.  I can still feel the hard surface of the table and the chair, supporting me.  The ceiling fan and the flicker of the lights from the spinning of the blades.  The TV, loud in the other room.  The radio, a mix of holiday jingles.  The kids, screaming and playing over all of it.  

My feet were crossed.  I was nervous.  I hadn't done this before.  I didn't know what to expect.  It was one of the first holidays with my husband's family and I wanted to be good enough, I wanted to be accepted.      

I sat across from her, from Adriana.  My mother-in-law stood at the kitchen sink.  And my other sister-in-law sat next to me.  We set up the assembly line, and we had been going for a couple of hours.  Despite my nervousness, I was at ease.  I was having a lot of fun.  The room was filled with joy as we sat there, spreading the masa, filling the tamales, tying the corn husks, laughing.    

"Have you heard that song yet?  The one about the boy and buying his mama's shoes?"  Adriana asks.

"No." I shake my head.  

"Oh, we heard it on the way here, it's a terrible Christmas song." says my brother-in-law, Adriana's husband. He chuckles, and rolls his eyes.   

"It was just the little boy....and"  says my other sister-in-law shaking her head in agreement.    

Adriana and her sister look at one another.  And as if on cue, both begin to well up with tears.  

The room stops.  

I hear my husband, with comedic timing blessed by movies (this one thanks to Sleepless in Seattle), screaming from the couch, "and then they....and then he says....and oh my goodness"  and he fakes a good cry. 

There was a moment of complete silence, only to be followed by roaring laughter. 

It's one of my favorite memories of tamale-making-days.    

So, you can imagine my surprise as I am driving to my mom's this week, having recruited my white-girl family members, I am determined and unwavering to make homemade tamales for Christmas day, and guess what song is played on the radio, a song I've maybe only heard one other time?  

And, I bet you can guess what I did.  I cried my eyes out.  And then I laughed.  

Adriana and all of her love and acceptance is still surrounding us.  You see, my nerves that day, so long ago, at being the white girl who sat down to make tamales with my husband's family, my worries about being accepted, about our different cultures, were all put at such ease by Adriana's love, by her laugh, and by her cry.  This is the first year I have made tamales since her passing.  And as much as my heart aches at not having her here with us, I know her love, her guidance, and her laugh, are still embracing every moment.

Adriana's passing plays a pivotal role in the foundation of Embracing This Moment, you may want to read the full story.  She is a remarkable soul.   
Other posts that you might also want to read:  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Building the Life I Want, One Moment at a Time

The overwhelming abundance of divine grace. I always find it at the beach.

Perhaps it is the shear volume of sand, water, and air....the taste salt on your lips, the feel of gritty sand stuck between your toes, the mesmerizing crashing of the ocean is grounding, meditative, peaceful.

So long ago, I sat in the sand, reading Brene Brown's book, so lost in my worries, anxieties and weaknesses, the identity I knew, the life we had, all of it changing.  I was so resistant to it.   I would not know it for a while more, but I found serenity sitting in this sand, and in this moment, I found me.

(Excerpt taken from the blog entry Beach Day, July 2011.)

I gaze, mindlessly, at the waves crashing onshore, the foggy haze of clouds and sun further behind. The sand in my toes starts to tickle.

I'm curious, if we took each grain of sand, the ones stuck on my jeans, or the ones all over my feet, how many moments I would be able to count.

Meeting my husband, our first kiss.
Oh geez,dating "what's his name."
My grandmother's death.
Giving birth.
Becoming an administrator.
Holding my son after a fall.
Quitting my job.
Dancing on the stage.
Nursing my toddler.

I am overwhelmed by the number of moments in my life, and I'm only on my big toe. I imagine all the moments in everyone's lives filling up the beach shores.

I'm surrounded by moments. How many have I been present for, living and embracing fully?
 I knew, from that moment forward, regardless of all the reasons my life did not go the way I hoped, I wanted to embrace the moment.

Embracing the moment allows for tremendous freedom.  Freedom from judgments, from shame.  I can decide who I am, who I want to be, in each moment.  My past mistakes make no difference.  My future worries are not reality.  Inherent in the moment is my self-worth, something I have been struggling with such conviction and entitlement to prove...right here, peacefully alive, shining bright as the sun, waiting for me to embrace.  

So simple.  So true.  My life, right here all along.  My own inherent goodness.  Me.  The beauty and the grace of the moment, the only place I know truth.  I found it, and I want to scream it from the mountain tops, and I want to help others find it, and know this peaceful and joyous freedom.

Don't get me wrong, there will always be moments we don't really want to embrace.  The day marking the year long loss of my sister-in-law to breast cancer, the questioning and proposed end of my relationship with my biological father, a miscarriage, the end of what seemed to be seemingly good all of these moments, I found sadness, grief, loss, but I also found love, gratitude, and a deep respect for me, for my self worth, for doing the best I can do, and for all of those being enough, no matter what....

So I stand here, in my truth, and know I am building the life I want.  I have a business.  I am an artisan.  I am a writer.  I am a life coach.  And, I am Aubrey.  And that feels really good.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sorry, Oprah, I Don't Want to Do It

Recurring Dreams

Do you ever have those recurring dreams? Yeah. Me too.

I keep having a coffee shop dream.

The premise is always the same. Sitting face to face with another person and it's a casual conversation. I am explaining to her, no, actually, justifying to her, why I ended the relationship with my father. All the reasons are always the same. There is an undertone of desperation, need for approval, the deep desire to still be loved by him, to prove I am lovable to him.

I am tired of this dream. I am tired of this reality.

Oprah's Life Class Tour with Iyanla Vanzant

Coffee Delusions

In one of my sleepy mornings, I read a call for submissions in my Facebook news feed. Stories about father-daughter relationship problems. OWN.

I sipped my coffee.

Wow. Wouldn't it be validating to hear Oprah and Miss Iyanla Vanzant rip him apart? I know, that's mean, and not really the Oprah way. Okay, to simply be in the presence of Oprah? Miss Iyanla? Wouldn't it be nice to tell my truth, to tell the world how I have found myself through this journey?

I will argue it was because I hadn't yet finished my first cup of caffeine reality, but truth be told, there was little to no hesitation. I submitted the links to my blog, wrote a quick blurb and sent it off.

A few days later, I got the call...

Lisa from Harpo

Lisa: Hi Aubrey, this is Lisa from Harpo.

Me: Hi Lisa from Harpo!

This is not me,
but surely how I feel.
I couldn't think, let alone breathe. Oprah was calling me! Oprah was calling me! Oprah was calling me! I know. I know. It's not Oprah. But it is Lisa from Harpo...and she's still waiting for me to respond...

And, did I really just call her Lisa from Harpo? Oh geez.

Lisa: So we read your submission. Can you tell me a little about what's going on?

Me: I quit my job when my son was born, my father disapproved, said we were making poor financial choices, and has only communicated by email since. We have not had any contact in three years.

Lisa: Oh I see. Well, let me tell you, we are looking for a situational dynamic, one in which you would sit down with your father and discuss the problems.

Deafening silence...I can't even hear my heart pounding in my my heart still beating? Is she still wondering why I called her Lisa from Harpo? 

Me: Uh, um, Lisa, (I leave out the "from Harpo" this time), I don't know what to tell you. I can't say that he would be interested in this...I can't say that I want to sit down with him...I don't know what there is to resolve.

Lisa: Well, think about it, and if it seems like something that would work, call us back.

Me: Okay. Thank you for calling, and I will consider it.

 Sorry, Oprah, I Don't Want to Do It

Oprah reassuring me...
Or at least how I like to picture it.  
Consider it. Consider it. What is there to consider? 

Duh! National television! What was I thinking? I didn't think Lisa from Harpo would actually call me. Didn't think they would find any merit to little old me. But they did.

And actually sit across from my father? Even in the presence of Miss Iyanla and Oprah, I wouldn't feel protected enough...from the criticism...from his truth... 

No. No way. Not what I want. Not now.

 Who's Got the Power?

So, after I turned down Oprah, (long sigh) I had the coffee shop dream again.

This time, the dream ends with me screaming it, screaming loudly, all the things my father did to me, to hurt me, to criticize me, to crush my passions...all the reasons he is wrong. I scream it loud and I scream it proud. At the top of my lungs. It came with such conviction, pure rage, like nothing I have ever allowed myself to feel.

I sat that morning, sipping my coffee, feeling such vindication, such freedom from the burdens of my father's truths. His words are not my reality. Whether Oprah, Miss Iyanla, or even little old me says it...I am enough. I have the power. Those things he says about me, about my future...they are's not the truth for me, and it never will be, because I have the power.

So, if you see some crazy white girl shaking her booty at the grocery store, as she crosses the street with her kid and her dog, or even up on stage with Miss Iyanla and Oprah, you know it's me! I've got the power!

Are you dancing now too? Are you embracing your power? Come on, sing it (and even dance it) with me! Ready, go!

It's gettin''s gettin''s gettin' kinda heavy....I've got the power! whoo..whoo......(booty shake)....I've got the power!

Other links that explain more of the story:
Do I Save It, Just In Case
Parent Free By Choice, There is No Room for Regret
Fatherly Blessings

Photo 1: Oprah and Iyanla Lifeclass; 101doves{dot}com picture shot
Photo 2: Faces of the Last Season of Oprah; The Atlantic, Entertainment Section 09.14.2010
Photo 3: Reassuring Oprah, google images
Video courtesy of YouTube.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fatherly Blessings

They met after I went off to college.  My mom called me to ask about dating rules.  Her nervous giggles.  I knew she had found love.  It made me nervous.  It had always just been my mom and me.  I knew this would change things.  I just never knew how...

handmade gratitude altar
He is an artist.
He is a scholar.
He is a friend.
He makes armor.
He loves my mom.
He loves my family.

He is my father. 

He is not the biological one, but the one present in my life.
He is the one that opened his home to my family when we needed it most.
He is the one that shares creative space, encouragement, and optimism with me.
He is the one whose eyes light up at the sight of my son, his grandson.
He is all the things you would expect a father to be.

He always has the time and energy to listen.
He sees me for all that I am and loves me for it.
He is my father and I know he always will be.

When we focus our energy analyzing what we don't have, when we spend our energy resisting reality, we miss the beauty that lies right in front of our eyes.  I am so very grateful for the love of my step-father, he has made my life more beautiful, more meaningful, and more special than I could have every imagined.

To trusting that we are supported by the universe, that we have all we need for our souls to be healed.

Have you ever focused so much on the larger more negative thing, only to find that you already have what you want?

Other readings, you might find useful in understanding the whole story...
The story behind my biological Parent Free By Choice.
My own processing of the relationship with my bio-father...Do I Save It, Just In Case