Joan Rivers + Robin Williams = My New Angels

{originally posted September 6, 2014}

 

Ever since Robin Williams went home, I have been thinking about loss (of strangers) like a gain (of angels).

 

Robin Williams Angel

 

I wrote this haiku for Robin Williams because I was so sad to lose him and suddenly reminded of what he taught me:

 

ROBIN WILLIAMS’ MORK

ALLOWED ME TO BE MYSELF

NEVER FORGET THAT

 

What does that mean? Well, if you’re not INFJ like me and Robin, you probably won’t understand, but I have always felt very much like an alien. Like I’m not supposed to be here. I guess that’s how Robin Williams felt, too.

 

INFJ

 

I felt stronger having gained Robin Williams as a guardian angel, like I AM supposed to be here. Yesterday when we lost Joan Rivers, I basically grew a pair of brass balls.

 

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Joan Rivers was not a perfect person, but for me she is a symbol of ferocious tenacity. I was born in 1981 and watched Valerie get replaced by Sandy Duncan on her own show because she dared ask for a raise. I watched Roseanne get crucified for daring to demand she be properly credited as the creator of her own show. I watched very intently to see what happened to women who spoke up. I still do.

 

I very angrily explained to my sweet husband last night that Joan Rivers did have the CLASS to only speak highly of Johnny Carson when she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon after nearly three decades of being banned from NBC. Johnny Carson was so angry at his protégé for daring to accept the offer of her own show with a different network (after guest appearing on his show for nearly 20 years without being offered her own show by that network) that he BANNED HER from NBC for life and now Jimmy Fallon is some hero for undoing that shortly before Joan Rivers’ death.

 

Hero. A hero to me is someone who will open their mouth and say what is going on regardless of the repercussions. Joan Rivers was not politically correct and she was often TRYING to shock and offend people with her outrageous comedy style, but she said what she felt and that inspires me. Too many girls and women are stifled. Oppression is stifling and often leads to depression.

 

Robin Williams Angel

 

(I MADE this Meme AND wrote the Haiku–do you LOVE it??)

 

XO

~Rachel

Heal your Self, heal the world

DIY stands for Do It Yourself

DIY means Do It Yourself

 

Yes!

 

I am in love with my home all over again.

 

This always happens in the aftermath of a DIY…

 

(I didn’t know what DIY stood for until 2014, so I will just stop here and say: I got crafty).

 

In my first YouTube video, I mention that I am doing some serious nesting right now in my home and explain the health benefits of surrounding yourself with Beauty.

 

1

 

This is a Kelly Rae Roberts piece that I actually don’t own quite just yet, but am still making the message a daily practice. As you all know, I am obsessed with potting plants and Kelly Rae Roberts art right now. But that’s just a fraction of what I have going on over here. By nesting, I mean I am on a quest to make my home absolutely beauty-FULL. I go at my own pace, only work when I am creatively inspired and am ALWAYS thinking about a variety of projects/ideas and how to best implement them. It’s a mental exercise I really enjoy (you should try it!).

 

It wasn’t always this way. I actually did not nest at all during my pregnancy; that symptom from the what to expect book never paid me a visit. I have always had a sense of style, but was very traditional in my home decor, which is not even my personality. When I was 30 weeks pregnant and turned 30 years old on November 30th (Golden Birthday!) my friend Libby came to visit and told me:

 

You have got to decorate above your cupboards.

 

Okay.

 

Shortly after my son was born, Libby came back to visit and told me:

 

I wasn’t kidding. I hate this, it looks terrible. I told you to decorate up there.

 

2

 

Obviously no one was impressed with my minimalist style. Libby whispered to me:

 

Let’s go shopping…

 

I started to nod my head uncontrollably and felt like a dog who wants to go on a car ride: ‘cited!

 

It was actually my first social outing since my son was born other than the dentist and I was pumped; we had so much fun at TJ Maxx Home Goods it was off the hook.

 

We decorated above all 3 cabinet areas in my kitchen and we were THRILLED.

 

3

 

That was 2012.  It took until 2014 for my husband to admit he was not thrilled with the area above the fridge. Why? He doesn’t know. Okay. So I started thinking about what would be the BEST thing for us? I thought long and hard and then I slowly began to execute my plan.

 

We like plants, so I wanted to have a nice green base. Went to the craft store and picked out a bunch of large green drapey fabric plant pieces. Decided while I was there that because I love hydrangeas and orchids, that I would be picking up fabric representations of those as well.  I got up on a ladder, used clear push pins and stuck all my pieces into the wall. Some of the green pieces I bought were so large, I cut them into 4 different pieces to cover the whole area.

 

DIY

 

It remained this way for weeks, maybe even a whole month until my lights arrived. I had to have a string of heart shaped paper lantern lights. Listen, if you feel that way, too, let me save you the headache and send you to Etsy where I got mine (this is also where I got the string of star shaped paper lanterns that I use in all my YouTube videos) because I could not find them in stores.

 

DIY

 

Clear push pins hold the lights in place and MIRACULOUSLY, there was an outlet in the top cupboard to plug into. My Husband drilled a hole into the top of the cupboard and fished the cord through so we can access the light plug by opening the cupboard above the oven. Easy.

 

DIY

 

Things remained this way for a few more weeks. The last step was the hard part. I had to figure out how to hang block letters in a whimsical manner that ensured high visibility of all pieces. My first thought was to string them all together like the lights, but that was a disaster because all the letters crashed into each other and spun all around; looked terrible. My second thought was to hang the lights from the ceiling using clear push pins and fishing wire. My husband put a special drill bit on the power drill and I went into the garage to drill holes into the tops of my letters, to string the fishing wire through. Ok, well, once hung from only the top, the letters still spun around constantly. My husband, who has the patience of a saint, climbed up the ladder to intricately tie down the bottoms of the letters with fishing wire and….drum roll please…

 

FINISHED PRODUCT:

 

DIY

 

Do you LOVE it???

 

DIY

 

We do. Every day when we use that door to the left to exit our home and enter the garage, I feel the love. When I’m preparing meals, I look at the oven timer and feel the love. When we hungrily walk to the fridge, we all feel the love. I want my son to know that we VALUE LOVE in this household.

 

Beauty matters. Surround yourself with it.

 

XO

~Rachel

Heal your Self, heal the world

PTSD Recovery (I made my first YouTube video!)

{Originally posted June 29, 2014}

 

So I made my first YouTube video.

 

It’s called PTSD RECOVERY and I made it in honor of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness month (June).

 

9ozwz

 

The process of making my first video was incredible. I had fun, I used my brain, I thought outside the box, I got out of my head, I was creative, I felt proud of myself.

 

PTSD Recovery

I was operating on all cylinders.

 

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I am a Director.

 

PTSD Recovery

 

Did I get frustrated during the process of learning something new?

 

Of course I did! I always do. What am I gonna do, cry about it?

 

Of course I did! I always do. But then I did some of my own Mind, Body & Heart exercises and I felt a lot better.

 

IMG_5252

 

 

I potted 3 plants, did yoga, took a bath, ate, drank water, journaled, slept, wrote this blog, complained to my friends and husband and jig saw puzzled (uploading my video took more than 24 hours with several attempts).

 

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People keep asking me why I am making/made this video. Volunteerism is healing to your soul. This is my own personal spontaneous act of service to help people who suffer from PTSD to recover.

 

I am a social change activist. It is very common to be insensitive and downright mean to people who have PTSD. That has to change. PTSD is an injury that requires sensitivity and kindness.

 

9p11p

 

Growing up in the 80’s, my older brothers and I happened to watch that Rambo movie, First Blood, just about every day of my life. Greatest PTSD story ever told. All he wanted was something to eat. Blowing up a whole town because of outrageous abuses of authority when you’re hungry made total sense to me.

 

9p0vn

 

What did not make sense about First Blood is that nobody CARED. It was obvious that Rambo was suffering from a serious injury but not one person demonstrated care or concern, empathy or kindness; not even after learning he was a war hero.

 

I’d like to change that.

 

Millions of Americans suffer from PTSD, not just war veterans.

 

9p26b

PTSD Recovery

PTSD Recovery

PTSD Recovery

PTSD Recovery

PTSD Recovery

PTSD Recovery

 

I hope my video helps raise awareness about PTSD and how to recover.

 

If you have 20 minutes, watch PTSD RECOVERY; if you find it helpful, kindly share it with someone you feel could benefit from the content as well.

 

XO

~Rachel

Kelly Rae Roberts, will you be my friend (yes, no or maybe)?

Kelly Rae Roberts, will you be my friend (yes, no or maybe)?

 

Before Disney’s Frozen, there was this:

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

 

I saw it in a shop window in Boulder City, NV on April 21, 2013 and almost had to sit down because I was so…struck.

 

I was overwhelmed.

 

I felt strong, sad, lonely, inspired, hopeful, angry, joyful and I was not sure whether I was going to scream or cry or scream cry.  So I just looked at my husband and said: she’s coming home with us.

 

She hangs on the wall outside of my bedroom so that we can see each other at the start of each day.  Let it go.  I move forward.

 

I google searched the artist the next day and was struck by how similar we are (http://kellyraeroberts.com/about).  Kelly Rae Roberts gave up her career as a social worker to follow her true purpose and she has a toddler boy.  If I hadn’t gone to law school, I would have been a social worker for women and children in domestic violence situations.  If I hadn’t given birth, I would probably still be practicing family law, but I too felt compelled to follow my true purpose; I just didn’t know exactly what that was yet.

 

There is this cute little stationary store in Village Square in Las Vegas called Alligator Soup.  I walked by it one day and could see them on the wall, even though the angle was not ideal, so I went inside and just stared.  Like a dozen Kelly Rae Roberts pieces staring back at me, calling to me, pulling at my heart.  When the clerk asked me if I needed any help, the tears brimming in my eyes spilled over and I had to take a minute before I told her that oh yes, I was taking some home with me.

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

“Kindness matters.  The hope and kindness we give to the world not only nurtures us but it becomes a gift for someone else to receive for their own healing.”

 

Every single time I look at it, I pause and am moved by its beauty.  It is hung on the wall when you enter the front door of my home.

 

Kindness is a huge theme in this household.  As an advocate for social change, I understand that it is the loss of feeling, the loss of caring, the loss of kindness and compassion that is my BIGGEST hurdle.  If people don’t care, then things stay the same or get worse.  If things are SAD and people FEEL sad, then they are more likely to DO SOMETHING to change it for the better.

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

“The whispers of our lives want us to take notice. They may just be whispers, small voices tucked deep inside the pockets of our hearts, but we must hold their possibilities close to our chests and allow them to step into the light.”

 

This piece…you know…I don’t want to say any of them are my favorite because I love all of them…but this spoke to me the loudest.  Obviously because I saw potential in myself that I was not tapping into. An important part of me was in the dark. I owned this piece for 5 months before I allowed myself to say: I am a writer. When that happened, I stopped crying every time I looked at it.  I don’t cry because I am just so proud of myself for having the courage to be ME.

 

Part of being ME involves sharing my light; that fills me up. I could not stand to be the only one basking in the glow of Kelly Rae Roberts, so I started buying them as gifts for family, friends, people I just met…Off the top of my head I can think of 17 pieces of Kelly Rae Roberts art that I have gifted away and I get even more joy out of that.

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

 

So I treated myself to what I consider to be the crowning glory of all Kelly Rae’s: Kindness Changes Everything.  My son pointed it out and said “pretty” for the first 3 weeks this was hung in our family room and I think that his awestruck facial expression alone was worth it.  I want my son to know the truth: kindness changes everything.

 

I started to follow Kelly Rae Roberts’ blog and I noticed that she began to do this “wear your joy” project right about the same time I noticed that I needed to start putting myself back together after the “new mom” phase.  Showering, getting dressed in clothes that make you feel like YOURSELF, smiling when you look in the mirror.  Thank you Kelly Rae Roberts for the wear your joy project.

 

Birthdayselfie

 

This is me being kind to myself for my 32nd Birthday.  I am wearing my new boots and Kelly Rae scarf from my mom and enjoying my new Kelly Rae iPhone case that was my birthday gift to myself.  I blow dried my hair! I was beginning to recognize myself again after having a baby, which is a miracle because I very dramatically told my close friends that the old Rachel died and this less passionate, more boring shell of a person was here to take her place. (Thanks for letting me vent, guys!).

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

 

“Slow down. Breathe in the season. Wish upon a star.”

 

Breathing is a big deal for me.  I don’t always remember to breathe.  This was a Christmas gift from my Aunt Pam and I LOVE it! It hangs in the hallway between my bedroom and bathroom and I can see it from my bed. I see her when I wake up, I breathe and I smile. Thank you, Aunt Pam!

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

“Dream. My wish for you is that you feel the full breath of  possibility. And that love and kindness embrace your heart always.”

 

This was my Husband’s 2014 Valentine’s Day wish for me. It hangs on the wall next to my bed. I try to breathe that in as much as possible. My Husband wanted to remind me to give myself the love and kindness I deserve, to protect my own heart as I practice courage on a daily basis.

 

It’s not easy. But it is the right thing to do.

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

“Remember who you wanted to be.”

 

I remember when I was in first grade and began to write stories for the first time. We used the rectangular paper with the dotted lines that ensured your printing would be huge and hopefully legible.  I remember watching my classmates struggle to finish the assignment: write 4 sentences, a paragraph if you will.

 

I got bored waiting and wrote a much longer story, mine took up 4 pieces of perforated paper and still I waited for my classmates to finish.  I remember feeling energized, excited and competent.

 

My first grade teacher was one of my all time favorites.  Mrs. Andelora supported my strengths and encouraged me to pursue what came very naturally to me. I think about her all the time. Mrs. Andelora was an amazing teacher.

 

I remember now who I wanted to be: a writer.

 

Kelly Rae Roberts wrote this ebook that has helped me embrace the HOW; it’s called Flying Lessons.  I bought the whole Shabang, parts 1, 2 & 3 and highly recommend it to anyone interested in owning a successful creative business.

 

What REALLY struck me about the ebook was a random link.  The link brought me to Liv Lane’s blog and her blog contained a link that brought me to an entry from 2012 in Kelly Rae Roberts’ blog.

 

BAM!

 

That’s when I figured it out.

 

Finally.

 

Like me, Kelly Rae Roberts was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder shortly after her first child was born. We are kindred spirits.

 

When I purchased my first Kelly Rae, Let it Go, I didn’t even know I had PTSD yet…but I knew what this meant:

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

 

The cage…over her brain…the wings…

 

Here is an excerpt from Kelly Rae Roberts’ blog:

 

“I wanted to share this story because I believe in telling the truth of our stories. Not all stories we hold close need to be released, but some do, I believe. And this is one of those stories for me. With every piece of art I create, I release it out into the world in an effort to make more room in my heart spaces for more, new, fresh art. If I hold onto it, I can’t move forward – I need the mental space. Same is true for some stories – they need releasing so that we can make room for new, fresh, emerging experiences and new stories, so that we are no longer defined by a particular story by holding it too close.

Besides, our connections live inside our stories, where we see ourselves mirrored in one another’s stories, where comfort and belonging reside. Some of these stories are private and some are not. Either way, there is just so much, so much beauty in our brokenness and our wholeness. I believe in sharing both.” (Kelly Rae Roberts).

 

The courage it took for Kelly Rae Roberts to speak out about her PTSD caused a visceral response within me because I’m supposed to do it, too. I am supposed to share my messy, complicated story.

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

Kelly Rae Roberts

This is my Kelly Rae Roberts writing furniture.  My Husband got them for me for our 4 year wedding anniversary this May because he believes in me and wants me to succeed.  I cried so hard when we unwrapped the huge package, I could not believe how LOVED this couch made me feel.  Our cat understood immediately and has been napping on it ever since we brought it into the bedroom.

 

The chair sits at my vanity in my bathroom and every day when I get out of bed and get myself ready for the day, I sit in that beautiful chair and declare: “I choose hope.”

 

Thank you Kelly Rae Roberts. For everything.

 

The next creation I launch will be my YouTube video about PTSD and it will be in the month of June in honor of PTSD awareness month.  

 

Stay tuned!

 

It’s about to get real.

 

For more information on PTSD, please visit the website: a gift from within.

 

Thank you for your support!

 

XO

~Rachel

My hero, Maya Angelou

Will you join me in a moment of silence in honor of my hero, Maya Angelou?

 

My initial reaction to being told she had died today was screaming followed by scream crying. My husband did not see that coming.

 

Neither did I.

 

It’s just…I thought…I don’t know. I made this website and blog because I was inspired. My dear friend, Sarah, sent me this Meme today:

 

Maya Angelou

 

I love Sarah so much and felt it was a real gift to hear from her in this way so I invited her to look at my new website, as it is rife with Maya Angelou quotes. I then launched into a desperate plea for her strength, explaining to Sarah that I was too afraid to put myself out there (as in, too afraid to shoot my excellent YouTube video scripts or tell anyone that I started a blog).

 

Sarah told me: I think the Internet is a great resource in having your voice heard and you should 100% go for this.

 

When I began to tell my husband about my conversation with Sarah, he informed me of the great Maya Angelou’s passing. During my scream crying it occurred to me that Sarah reached out to me today so that exact conversation could take place; so that I would 100% go for this. I think it’s what Angel Maya Angelou wants.

 

It makes sense that she would use Sarah, as my connection to Maya Angelou is linked to my friendship with Sarah. In the Spring of 2002 Maya Angelou spoke at our college in New York thanks to the painstaking efforts of the students involved in the Women of Color Club. Her message of activism inspired the rest of my life. When she sang, the huge packed auditorium went dead silent, you could hear a pin drop. It sounded a bit like this:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtdffxj7pNE

 

At the time, Sarah and I had just finished Co-Directing The Vagina Monologues for our school’s first ever V-Day college campaign to benefit the local YWCA Aid to Victims of Violence Unit. Maya Angelou blew our minds. I bought her autobiography afterwards called, “The Heart of a Woman” and was just astounded to learn that, like Eve Ensler, Maya Angelou wrote a play in an effort to create positive social change.

 

THIS was my calling.

 

My heart wanted to right all the wrongs that my GIANT brain could readily see, but I knew that I still needed to learn HOW to be heard. So, I went to law school and excelled. I got to stand up for victims of violence. I got to represent children in the middle of nasty custody disputes. I got to work for Family Court Judges as their Law Clerk. I even got a very nice thank you letter from a Family Law client, which is almost unheard of among attorneys.

 

However, this was not my calling.

 

I don’t want to argue. I don’t want to be lied to. I don’t want to be in a position where I witness children being used as pawns or bait.

 

I want to be heard. I have a lot of important things to say.

 

I don’t have Maya Angelou’s height or booming voice, but her spirit is within me.

 

I will shoot my YouTube videos; that is a promise.

 

Thank you for listening.

 

XO

 

~Rachel