Tuesday, September 14, 2010


So I come back to the lyrics that awoke with me this morning…

“… just gonna stand there and watch me burn, but that’s alright, cuz I like the way it hurts.”

Like everyone, I have made my fair share of mistakes I would like to forget, and I understand how easy it is to get wrapped up in the memories of who I used to be and think about the things I did or said, or allowed to happen to me or my children-things that today’s Cristin would never dream of… When I get in that space, it is easy to let others “stand there and watch me burn”, because the self destructive side of me “ likes the way it hurts”. But that is the old me.

I am grateful for my followers who recognize when I am burning and tell me jump in the water! I hope for my friend that the people he loves most will choose to follow his parade, learn the stories that shaped who he is today and watch the change as he learns to march to the beat of his own drum.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and in its own time. My life path is no different. I am grateful that I chose my family - both the one I was born into and the one I bore. That I chose the trials that have been mine, because for better or worse- they have given me life experience that has crafted me into the person I am today, and I like me. I am grateful that I have attracted these followers to my parade and that they are there because they choose to be, not because they feel obligated to stand and watch the parade march by. I feel so blessed and grateful this morning for those people… who take the time to follow because they love me.

I wish for each of you- loving followers to your parade, just waiting for you to be wonderful so they can yell out to support you, and willing to douse you in water the minute they see you start to burn…

From the bottom of my heart… Cristin

Monday, September 13, 2010


I have a friend who I have come to love for many different reasons. I have only known him a relatively short while. Some months ago I saw his parade passing by and decided to watch a while. The more I watched the more I loved it and decided I would like to follow it. I chose to follow because of the strength in which he held his banner, because of the smile he had for everyone he passed, because he stopped to help when he saw someone getting trampled in the crowd of onlookers. I choose to keep following because of the stories I hear about where he has been, who he has seen and affected, and the choices he makes daily to be a better man. His path has been riddled with as much darkness, sadness and self destructive behavior as mine, and like me, he is making choices now to change it. To be the person he truly wants to be.

Like me, he was raised in the LDS faith, following the path laid out before him, making all the right choices: lived clean, worked hard, served a fantastic mission, got multiple degrees, had a temple marriage, children, successful jobs, money, callings, leadership… and ended up trying to smile over the lie his life had become, though a marriage devoid of friendship and love. Looking back, he made mistakes he can’t do anything about… but I am sorry…haven’t we all? Haven’t we all reached a crossroads at least once, and known we made the wrong decision? Can you go back and change it? No. You just have to do the best you can and move forward. Trying to do that… how many of us have had to deal with our bad choices being advertised to those we love most and the world we live in? And how many of us in spite of it all, have taken the opportunity to look our demon straight in the eye and tell him to go to hell? How many of us have had the strength to make the daily choice to push forward-smiling, even when the very blood running through our veins is screaming at us to make a different choice- to take the easier, more traveled road? My friend has… and he does.

Unlike me, those he cares about the most are not close to him, so they are missing out on the process. Because of their limited exposure, they only know what others tell them about him and remember the old version of him that wasn’t good to himself, or as good to others as he wanted but was not capable of being at the time. They don’t have the benefit of the great stories about him from when he was younger, or memories of the good man he tried to be under not so great circumstances, or watching the change happening now and seeing the wonderful man he IS- emerge from the ashes of the man they used to know…

Sunday, September 12, 2010


If you know me at all, you know I live my life and express myself through not only songs and music, but stories from my past. I LOVE remembering the good stuff and I guess I keep it alive by sharing… so if you have ever shared a car ride, an afternoon at the park, a day at the mall or even a simple lunch with me, you have probably heard at least one story that helps you understand how I got where I am now… this beautiful path which I call my life! Now the point I want to make with that in mind… if you run across something you don’t quite understand about me, chances are you will either remember a story I have told you or experienced something on your own with me, which will help you try to make it right in your brain because you want to- because you care enough about who I am today, you are willing to search that which you know about who I used to be to reconcile the quirkiness and move on.

Not everyone is as open with the chapters of their life as I am. It is a blessing and a curse for me, so I understand those who choose to keep themselves to themselves. But there are times that I feel knowing a person’s story- who they used to be and how they got to the path they are currently following- that helps us understand WHY they are there, and even endears us to them because we can feel compassion for them. “Walk a mile” so to speak.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


On any given day, I have half a dozen teenagers wander through my home or yard, waiting on one of my boys, taking food out of my cupboards and fridge, grabbing a hug and sometimes a kiss from the parental unit they all call mom… that would be me. J Some of them have known me for 10 years or better and others just met me this month, but they all gravitate here and I love it. If you were to tell any one of them that I used to be a frustrated, overwhelmed, could barely smile at the kids who passed through my home-mom, (because they were interrupting the schedule I had so carefully crafted for my children to be “well rounded happy individuals”) they would probably laugh in your face. Cristin? Mom? No way! Hewy and Devin may remember whispers of that woman, but probably not because they didn’t spend much time here the. The mom they all know today is who I really am- just me-pouring out at the seams, ready and willing to accept all who enter with a smile and a cookie if they are lucky! I like her much better than the old me- trying to filter through everything and still smile at the person standing in front her. I used to have to struggle for the energy to smile at my own kids and show them the love they deserved, let alone welcome somebody else’s kid in my home. Thankfully not anymore!

I know my big boys remember that woman. They loved her because she was their mom. Nic talks often about the struggles growing up in this house with the cloud of tension constantly threatening to rain on his picnic. The woman I am today is the mom they choose to love because they want to and it comes naturally. This space is much happier for everyone who enters.

I have had the benefit of having my kids, close friends and family here the past couple years… while I was breaking the hard shell off of the exterior and allowing my true self, the room to BE. Because they have been here every step of the way and watched the process happen, I think it has been easier for them to grasp and to forgive the ugliness in the woman they have always called mom. I hope that as the years go by, they will learn to forget as well. Because really, what is the point of remembering things that don’t make you feel good inside, right?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Introduction to the Parade

I realized something in one of my restless thought processes last night or maybe it was this morning... The only people who really know who I am today, are the ones who are currently in my life and hear my daily happenings. My life is changing so quickly these days. I have chosen a path and find myself in unfamiliar territory at times, but the surroundings are familiar. I guess it is because I am creating the road as I go, using my life experience to make the road what I want it to be. It is a little scary, but exciting, and at the end of each day when I lay my head down, I am generally at peace...

Because there are only a handful of people who are choosing to be followers as my parade goes by, there are few who can even pretend to understand me. I am ok with that though. 1- I don’t feel the need for everyone to understand me and 2- those who are most important to me are here- My children, my closest friends and some of family members. When my parade began, there were so many people waving flags and hollering as I marched by. Because they recognized the path, it was easy to follow. Now, as I have continued marching and changing the path, there are not many who have cared enough to continue. It is only those who watch, and smile in happiness because I am wearing MY smile instead of the “painted on” one that was crafted for me… that follow. They are the ones who care enough to see what I am wearing today, is my hair curly, straight, in a pony tail or did I choose bedhead all day long and the real question is, why... They are the ones who look to see where I am going instead of just wishing that the parade had the same look, feel and route it took last year. I am a very different person today than I was even a year ago, but I would think we all are really. If we choose to embrace life and take it all in, how can we NOT feel a change! Today, I am more genuine and true to myself and those around me than I have ever been. The best parts about me are still here, shining through… the things that needed to change-are… and that is what is causing my route to change.

So I reiterate…The only people who really know who I am today, are the ones who are currently following my parade.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lack of Sleep

Friends…I have written one continuous thought, but broken it into bite size pieces and will post over a few days so you don’t get bored reading a book. I talk about one of my friends here, but please know that anyone could put their name into that space and make this story their own. I hope you can feel the open love pouring from my soul as I wrote it. This is for anyone who may find themselves in a space of change and craving acceptance from those who they love most.


I couldn’t sleep last night (a Saturday night). When I last looked at the clock it said 3:43am. Now granted, I only got home at 2, but I was giving a serious effort to sleep for over an hour before my brain finally conceded.

Unfortunately this morning, I woke at 7:34am. 7:30 has been my normal time to wake this summer so I wasn’t really surprised, but I WAS pissed. Of all the mornings to wake early- NOT TODAY! My brain is full, my heart overflowing, my spirit crying out for peace...and sleep is momentary peace when none else can be found. I would have gladly slept the day away like a teenager- to crawl into dreamland and pull the covers over my head, releasing the cares, frustrations and emotions of the conscious mind was truly, the most enticing escape. But of course, my responsible mind overrode that which every other fiber of my being wanted… and woke me with a song in my head.

Now if you know me, you know that music speaks to me. I think in lyrics. Many times when I am unable to express my thoughts or emotions, a pocket in my mind is opened and lyrics float out, giving me words to think about and then fashion into something my conscious brain can wrap around. Always, I feel better after the exploration process. So this morning, while looking for comfort, I am diving into these lyrics I barely know.

“… just gonna stand there and watch me burn, but that’s alright, cuz I like the way it hurts.”

These are probably not all of the right words, but that is beside the point. The point is that these are the words my brain fed me this morning to think about- after a night of events I didn’t quite understand.

I fell asleep with weight on my mind and woke with a million thoughts running through my head, all jumbled, disconnected and looking for resolution. And again, if you know me, you know that my brain likes resolution: thoughts, emotions and tunes to songs as well! So I know my brain is searching this morning, attempting to make sense out of this train wreck that keeps replaying in my mind. And THESE lyrics are supposed to bring me the comfort I am looking for? Let’s see how it plays out…

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

He thinks I am amazing

So I have been dating this guy Bruce, for several months now... we have a lot of fun together, stimulating conversation, definite chemistry and man does he make me smile... and laugh! I used to think I was incapable of true laughter because I didn't seem to find anything anyone else thought was funny, funny. But thankfully he has proved me wrong!

You know how in the beginning of a relationship, friend or otherwise, you kinda hold back a little so you don't overwhelm them with the quirkiness others have come to love, instead of just find annoying...We have reached that point that I find myself allowing a little more of me to sneak out every time we are together. I feel like a stick of dynamite though... trying to let the wick burn slowly so he doesn't get the BOOM all at once. Hmmm...I kinda BOOMED tonight.

I totally exploded my day all over him. Told him all about the boy who is fighting with his parents and staying at my place right now, the conversation I had with him about learning life lessons and making better decisions, talking with the dad of this boy and not accepting the problems he was attempting to push on me, having the "talk" about rules, chores, food, finances etc with the boy who is living with our family this school year, making dinner for not only the 8 people in my home, but also my friend's family as I took her to the hospital after getting dinner in the oven. Sat with her until her husband came, went home and showered quickly so I didn't smell like my workout clothes when I went to meet Bruce, and verbally vomit all over him! Can you say WOW! It was a day.

I was of course talking a mile a minute, but he appeared to be following just fine. He did throw me off once with a "soooooo....", just trying to participate in some way. I laughed and moved on. When I finally stopped to take a breath, he asked how I did it all. I just told him it happened like that every once in a while and you just do it! He said I should rename my home the pound. I giggled because my friends Dave and Scott (who visited for dinner last night when there were 11 around the table) asked if I attracted every stray puppy dog around... too funny. So happy this home has become a safe and comfy gathering place.

So, I finished, took a breath and looked over at Bruce with him telling me to rename my house while grinning at me, and I worried for half a second that I had revealed too much and the dynamite had exploded!

Then he said I was amazing ...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Communication is key...

...this is a mantra in my home. It has been for years, having the need for introduction when Nic, (my coming up on 20 yr old) became a teen some 6 or 7 years ago now. From the time he was old enough to speak, we realized that he was intelligent beyond his years, quite articulate and decided to cultivate that little brain to let him know he could do or be anything he wanted. Consequently, he grew up a little more arrogant than most children, and when he reached the blessed joy of puberty, his little brain- full of testosterone that didn't have a home yet- thought that HE ruled the roost. It then became my job as the mom, to teach him that he didn't.

One day we were having a disagreement about something and I told him that communication was key. If he wanted something, or wanted for me to understand something, it was his job to convey it.

Now this is the only time I can remember ever really smacking one of my kids...At this point, he was finally nose to nose with his mom, quickly becoming the 2nd tallest person in the house, (which granted, isn't very hard to do, but it meant something to him!) and those little hormones without a home, they decided to flare in my little 13 yr old boy. He puffed up his chest and got right in my face, as if to intimidate me into understanding HIS point of view. Unfortunately for him, he had never experienced the wrath of his mom before, and therefore was completely surprised when he found himself stumbling backward from the blow across the face he just received from... his mom! My next move? I got right up in his face and said, "Don't you EVER think that you can disrespect me like that. I am your mother! You may get bigger and taller, but you will NEVER do that again! Are we CLEAR?" Of course he said yes, through the tears spilling from his eyes...

I think I communicated my point quite well as I have 3 teenage boys now... all at least as tall as I am, and I have never had to be physical with any of them, and not one of them has ever thought about doing anything like that with me either...

I have shared with my kids the idea of this mantra so they understand what I mean when I say it. If you tell me what you are thinking and I can understand where your head is, the chances of us reaching a decision together are greater.

I just asked Jack... "Fill in the blank babe... Communication?" He said, "...is key!"

Getting some points across...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Beginning...

If you know me, you know that I am a talker...but I am a listener too. I love to tell and hear stories. I love to feel like I can learn from other people's experiences and be a better person because I DID listen.

My intent in this blog is to share my feelings on topics that are fresh in my life. If you are reading here, you probably are aware of the new space in which I find myself. Divorced, single mom of 5, almost 40, but feeling more empowered today than I think I ever have... more on that another day.

My hope is that I can turn my "stream of consciousness" writing, into thoughts that will engage you, and cause you to think outside your box. I am unique-I know that. I know that I AM misunderstood many times, as I say things that absolutely make sense in my brain, and even when I put it on paper and read it, it STILL makes sense, and then it is misunderstood. But I know the emotion behind the words, I know how to read between the lines, because I made the lines. I hope that you will choose to try to do the same, so that you can follow my flow and enjoy these few minutes of your day... spent in my brain.

So I have this friend at work who never ceases to amaze me. He is probably the funniest person I know. He is intelligent, confident and a great dad... he does his job well, and has fun too. At times he seems to be rough on the outside, but on the inside...I think he is really a big softy. I love that the more time we spend together, the more he lets me see that side, and thereby allows me to feel like we are friends, not just co-workers. We have had conversations about everything from kids and how to raise them, to sharing high school memories. He never lets me down if I have a question and he has given me some of the hardest belly laughs I have had in my adult life. Today...I didn't get my normal belly laugh. Today, he talked to me like a friend and I left his office feeling like a better person than when I entered. I was impressed and inspired.

After finishing the "work talk", we were re-capping the weekend, as we often do. Mine was up and down... but his sounded wonderful! He spent it reconnecting with old friends and capturing memories. This tough, 40+, single, mouth-like-a-sailor friend of mine... writes letters to people he has connected with on FB, recounting memories he has with, and of them. He shares because it makes him happy, and he is so excited when they return the letter with memories of their own!

Hearing his story this afternoon inspired me to start writing tonight. My life has been in a constant mode of "change" for years and I have wanted to write my thoughts and feelings about it, but couldn't quite open up enough to share. I think I felt like I would share something that didn't really belong to me, even though I was affected by it... and I didn't want to hurt anyone else, just to satisfy myself. Since my divorce last spring, I have realized that I am not alone on my path and that maybe I should share with others, so THEY know that they are not alone. I have had several, life altering experiences with one of my best friends. Because of these experiences, I have realized who I really am, and that it is ok to embrace all of me, not just the parts that others may think are ok. I have created new friendships and rekindled old. I have had a break up and renewal of friendship, had fun family experiences, attended events and parties and even tried my hand at dating... all noteworthy topics, but still, no action. My sister helped me set up this site over the weekend and I just couldn't do it...yet.

Hearing the joy in my friend's voice as he told me his story this afternoon was exactly the kick in the pants I needed to begin. Thanks mister...and if you read this post, I am sure you know who you are. :)

So... it begins.