Want To & Vomit

While picking my cat (Felix-The Chief Nap Enforcer) up from the vet the other day I had an interesting chat with the Doctor who has helped several of my critters over the past few years. Our discussion was around Felix gaining weight primarily and how that is a good thing given how much weight he had lost. Then I raised the issue of hair balls and of course the vomit that produces these hair balls.

My concern centers more around how awful vomiting actually is and how that must be a terrible feeling for the cat or dog that has to barf. After all, if you have ever had to vomit for any reason you know the heaving, the gagging and the result are all extremely unpleasant. Last year I swear I had some kind of food poisoning that resulted in vomiting so hard that I had to get a chiropractic adjustment on my ribs. Seriously, it was that dang bad.

Anyway, we discussed the idea that dogs eat grass because “dogs want to vomit.” Hold it right there! I declared that “want to” and “vomit” absolutely do not belong in the same sentence. We agreed that NO ONE actually “wants to vomit” although there are times that afterwards we may feel better after that event.

Many people have asked me why I “want to” work in the arena of hoarding and at first I had no real answer to that. Who “wants” to walk into a house strewn with tons of stuff? Who willingly walks right into the eye of the storm? Who really wants to pull on rubber gloves, a hazmat suit and a pink mask to avoid breathing in mold, dust, allergens or sometimes essence of numerous pets?

What I have come to realize is that this isn’t about “want to.” It’s about speaking up because I know too much to be silent. It’s about shining a light on a scary space where people are afraid that their lives will be interrupted by any change in the status quo. It is about seeing the people for who they really are. It’s about helping kids and families and people release themselves from the chaos.

Ultimately it isn’t so much that I “want to.” It’s about I need to. I have to. I am compelled to. That this work is in alignment for me because I know what it’s like to be the kid that doesn’t fit in. The kid who doesn’t invite friends over. The sense of never belonging no matter where you go because you know you can never reciprocate with a sleep over. It’s about being really aware of the ways that hoarding impacts everyone.

It turns out this thing called hoarding is something I avoided and never wanted to talk about. But the thing is; IT IS THE THING.

The thing I have to face head on and talk about. The thing that I struggle with and try to find solutions for as a survivor of a hoarded home. THE THING is the reason I have become the voice of #AKOPTH (Adult Kids of Parents That Hoard) because we need to be heard and acknowledged for the hell we have managed to survive.

So I plan to keep moving forward, despite the fact that I “want to” has ceased to be part of the equation.

Where are you on the “want to o-meter?” Is there something you still need to be doing even if you “don’t want to?” You may find that there are more compelling reasons that push you forward into doing your greatest good yet!

Keep Going Darlings!


P.S. Join us in Extreme Self Worth! You know you want to celebrate amazing you!


For many years I worried, stressed and had anxiety about visiting the place where I grew up. The messiness, the vehicles parked catawampus, packed full of stuff.  Trying to be “normal” to make up for the not normal that at grew up with.

This trip however, I packed up my camping & travel stuff to include my weed eater, extension cord, cooler, tote of supplies and some clothes.  “Going to visit” isn’t exactly the piece of cake it sounds like. I stay in my camper specifically parked on the property so that I have somewhere to stay when I visit. The door is kept locked when I am not there so that stuff will not be crammed into it in my absence.

Somehow this trip was simpler, easier than any previous trip I have made in the past couple of years. Part of it is the mindset work around stepping into my power, owning ALL OF ME. All parts of the past, the present and the future coming together to represent who I truly am as of this moment.

On the drive home I usually feel self-conscious. Perhaps someone will think I am a fraud since I have so much crap packed into my own vehicle!

But this is what it’s like to be the #AKOPTH (Adult Kid of Parents That Hoard). 

You cannot pull into the driveway and take your suitcase up to your old room.  You cannot cook in the kitchen or sit down in the living room like you would in other people’s homes. In fact, visiting your parents can be like visiting a parallel universe. One in which “normal” is completely not a word that applies. In general I take my own living supplies for the visit, thus the packed vehicle is the norm.

So this time on my drive home I consciously decide that I WILL NOT GIVE A F**K what anyone thinks.

That I will drive and smile as the ferry attendant tells me which lane to get into. I see a gentleman drop something as he gets into his car. I get out of my packed car and say, “Excuse me sir, I noticed this fell when you got into your car,” and hand him the receipt that had fallen from his pocket. He thanks me and in that moment I know I am right to just be me. Be human and aware and kind, no matter what.  I also take pictures of my packed car, already percolating on how I will turn my decision of “not caring” into a blog post to share.

What I know about being an #AKOPTH is that we have to learn to care for ourselves, we have learn to love ourselves and we do not have to accept feeling less than.

We didn’t create our parents mess and we cannot in the long run fix it either.   So today I raise my glass of sweet tea to those of us who are on the journey of learning to let go of what we cannot change.  Sometimes we just have to say, “Zero F**ks Given Baby!  Zero F**ks.”

Keep Going Darlings,


P.S. Are you struggling to establish your personal value?  Please join us in Extreme Self Worth!

P.P.S. Could you use some connection & support with other #AKOPTH’s?  Please join us in Clarifying & Peaceful Path!



Let’s Take A Walk

Inc Magazine and the Military Entrepreneur Program provide great opportunities for us military entrepreneurs! Learning about this program and being invited to attend these events has changed my perspective forever!  Last year I had the chance to attend the Seattle ICONIC Tour and also got to attend the Las Vegas event.  It is because of people like Eric Schurenberg (President, Editor in Chief-Inc. Magazine) Natalie Thomas (McNeese Thomas Group) & Jane Visser that this awesome opportunity is available and I appreciate it so much!

I feel blessed because I have learned much even in my brief interactions with people such as Jay Jay French.  He is indeed a calm, poised and very insightful person.  He reminded me of the simple pleasure of taking a walk.  It’s a great opportunity to think, to unwind and reconnect with our inner self.

On the days I am feeling hurried or rushed or just plain old irritated; I remember that maybe I better just get my butt out the door for a walk. My body appreciates me moving, my dog loves to get outside and my creativity has space to breathe.   And I am reminded that sometimes we need to just enjoy the birds, the flowers and the peace of mind that a walk brings. Not to mention how cool is it to do something so simple that other successful people do!

I am grateful that I had an opportunity to meet Mr. French and I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. That’s where amazing learning and life truly begins!

Let’s Have an Adventure Today!



Engage with the Person That Hoards

It is estimated that 2-5% of the population in the USA has a problem with hoarding issues. If you also look at how many folks who don’t hoard, but are impacted by it, the number is estimated at a staggering 100 million people!

I think of it like a web in which the person with the hoarding issue happens to be the center of the situation. It is their personal trauma that often is the root cause of the hoarding issue. Often the reason the hoarding occurs is that they have not found an alternative way of processing their personal trauma. Collecting items may be comforting for them. Items can also be a way to stay attached to a memory that they fear will disappear if they let the item go.

The amount of items can grow and become astronomical over time, leading to something where the person cannot navigate their home. Sometimes this is referred to as a “goat path” that is the only trail through the residence.

Stuff can overtake the space, rendering bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms completely useless.  The stuff crawls up the walls and creates avalanche hazards.  The items can protrude into the goat path, causing a person to lose their balance or fall down, grasping at air as they are unable to reach a wall or a railing to steady themselves.

Often scooting along the goat path is the only way to reach the bathroom or the refrigerator or the only door they use to enter and exit their residence.

Fire Hazard Ahead

The sheer amount of stuff is also a fire hazard! Often extension cords are strewn across the piles of stuff and over time they can become frayed and start a fire. Sometimes people die in the fire because of the ambient heat created by the amount of THEIR stuff. *Fire fighters CANNOT EVEN enter the residence sometimes!  Sometimes they have entered the residence and cannot get back out. Often the stuff will slide and block their only exit.  Yes, our first responder FIRE FIGHTERS have DIED trying to rescue a human being living in their hoarded residence.

In some areas a home with a lot of stuff will be coded as a “heavy content home.”  If it is known to them and they go out to the fire, they may attempt to enter, if they can and it is thought a human being might be in the residence. However, sometimes all they can do is contain the fire, so it won’t spread to other outbuildings or neighboring residences.

An Aging Population

As of 12:25pm PST on 7/17/17 there were 326,581,249 people in the United States of America based on the live counter found at http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/us-population/.  And this number is increasing moment by moment!

Also our population is aging! Sometimes people get to the age where they can no longer maintain their residence. Or a serious long term illness may render them unable to maintain their home, items may fall and just stay on the ground. These items build up and also can create a trip and fall hazard.  For older folks, a trip, fall and broken bone can lead to hospitalization, a follow up nursing home stay and sometimes an inability to return to their home due to the amount of stuff in their residence.

An Outside Source

It is often only once an outside source gets involved that any traction can be gained on cleaning up or at least making the residence habitable again.  People with hoarding issues tend to have a lack of insight about the severity of their problem.  They may not report their living situation ever, to anyone because they do not understand the problem it presents.

Often a person is questioned at the time of discharge from a hospital or facility about who will help or guide them when they get home.  Sometimes the severity of the hoarding isn’t known until the person is about to go home and then they can’t.

Is it Urgent Yet?

Then it can become an urgent, have to clean it out now situation. The person with the hoarding issue may not have any say about their personal items at that point and it can be very traumatizing for them to have other people sort through their items. If the person is able to return to their home, they may begin hoarding again immediately and with much more vigor. People often re-hoard so quickly that in 6 months in can look like it did after they hoarded for 10 years.

Part of the reason is that the person with hoarding issue is now re-traumatized and their coping mechanism is to return to hoarding.  This is why forced clean outs are not the best way to deal with a hoarding problem.  It is far better for the person to be able to learn about making decisions and have some say so on how the items are disbursed.  Although, if it is at crisis point a forced clean out may be required for a number of reasons.

A person with a hoarding issue in general will benefit in working with a mental health professional in order to begin to address the trauma and issues that are causing them to hoard to begin with.  Even when a person may seek treatment, they may never disclose the trauma and/or their serious hoarding problem to their mental health practitioner.   Then, it is often hard to find a mental health professional who knows about hoarding and/or how to effectively treat the person with the problem.

Let’s Get Involved

Effective ways to handle hoarding issues are out there, but it is only a small contingent of folks who understand this and are working on bringing this information to the forefront.  Yes, there have been a lot of shows regarding hoarding and for the most part they have been helpful in raising awareness that hoarding is a problem and very stressful for all involved.

However, I find the shows to be very drama oriented and being the #AKOPTH (Adult Kids of Parents That Hoard) very difficult for me to watch for any length of time.  Although I know it’s a t.v. show, I know what that “smell” is and it is as haunting as the images portrayed on the screen.

Plus, I totally and completely understand the frustration of knowing you want to help the person, but they SIMPLY WILL NOT LET YOU. Nor will they let anyone else HELP THEM.

Outside Pressure

It seems that the only effective method of intervention is one in which an outside force begins to put pressure on the situation. This could be a landlord, a neighbor that complains, a court order, a family member at their wits end, a property manager or perhaps social services.

Once the pressure is on though, that is when we can make or break the situation. We don’t have to go in and be the end all and be all. We can detach somewhat and look at ways to 1)reduce trauma, 2)utilize teamwork, 3)create a plan, 4)do the work in an empathetic fashion.

Yes, there is a way to do this by gum!  No, it isn’t necessarily quick or cheap!  But-it can result in reduced trauma for the person with the hoarding issue. We can approach them gently, humanely and in kindness! We can have a conversation that doesn’t start with “Let’s throw it all away…” because in an instant that person becomes defensive and alienated.

Start A Conversation!

We can however start a conversation with them! “Hello, Mrs. Jones! How are you today?” Ask questions and listen to what they are saying!  We can be a sounding board and often they have not had a conversation with a caring person with their hoarding issue, EVER!  They may isolate themselves in their homes, buried in their stuff.  There is a shame, a stigma and an overwhelming fear of being found out and forced to deal with the hoarding issue.

That is not to say that many of these folks hide away all the time.  In fact many of these folks are amazing volunteers, employees and church members! You may never know that someone has a hoarding issue until you maybe give them a ride home or attempt to visit them at their residence. Even then, they may not acknowledge that there is problem of any kind.

A person with a hoarding issue is a human being, just like you or me. Believe it or not, we all have some kind of issue in our lives that we may not want to have discovered. And hoarding crosses all socio-economic lines.

Be Kind & Speak Up

So if you happen to know someone who has a hoarding problem the best thing I know of is to be kind and for goodness sake have a conversation with them! You might just begin the process of saving their life and anyone else who might be trying to rescue them in the future.


I Don’t Do Chunky Milk

One of my first jobs that I can remember was pouring milk for pigs.  I believe I was paid 75 cents an hour to take the old milk or almost old milk and pour it into 5 gallon buckets and then pour that into the trough for the pigs.

The space where I worked was cool and somewhat dark, but I remember feeling rather peaceful doing the work and enjoyed earning some money.

What haunts me though is the milk itself!  For the most part the milk had just expired or was about to expire, so pouring it was not a traumatic experience.  Until one day I poured this container of chocolate milk and it came out in chunks and smelled expired!  I do not recall ever having a desire to drink chocolate milk after that experience.

I don’t drink milk personally because I don’t really like it. On a rare occasion I will have it with a homemade chocolate chip cookie, but for me that’s the only acceptable reason to drink milk.

Milk for me is an ingredient or tool, not a beverage. I do put it in my coffee, but the ratio needs to be just so.  I have learned this week during a conversation with a friend that this makes me “selective.”  I love that concept!  That we are selective about what we drink, eat or choose to accept in our lives!

For a long time I accepted a lot of things in life, including the idea that I was “picky” and couldn’t possibly be my dad’s kid because I disliked raisins (murdered grapes) or the texture of cooked lumpy oatmeal or sometimes drinkable oatmeal. Either way I was out of the oatmeal game!

Something else I accepted was my perceived idea that I wasn’t valuable. That I didn’t meet some invisible standard of worth. Therefore, I was not considered worthy and didn’t value myself enough to become selective enough about what I would accept or tolerate.

Certain painful events over the course of my life forced me to start looking at this issue of low self- worth. Once I began to understand that I had inherent value, that I was worthy of being treated well, the Lioness awoke.  I quietly began to make decisions based on my inherent value, selecting how I would be treated. Choosing to remove toxic people from my life.  Stepping away from situations that no longer served me in a positive way.

What I know now is that we are all inherently valuable! We are worthy of respect and deserve to be treated well!  We also can choose to change our future, because our past doesn’t need to dictate what we choose from this point forward.

Would you like to acknowledge and celebrate your self-worth? Could you benefit from a daily dose of encouragement? Or a weekly session where we celebrate you and work on your mindset about choosing what you deserve? If you are thinking, “Yes, please,” then check out Celebrating Awesome You A 30 Day Self-Value Immersion Program!  


Using What We Have

Do you ever think I need more?

More stuff? More knowledge? More education? More shelving or another car?

While we need certain things, like food, water and toilet paper, it seems there are a lot of things we don’t actually “need” in the same way.

When it comes to organizing our stuff, or paring down or simplifying it can be a difficult task. Perhaps there are fabulous memories attached to our stuff and for many that is the challenge with downsizing or letting things go.

Recently I decided I needed to rearrange my office space and I started thinking about how I was going to make it more user friendly for me and my purposes.  I pondered buying a different desk, but realized that the one I had been using elsewhere would actually work quite well if I dragged it into my office.

I think part of the reason I was considering just getting a different desk was because moving the desk meant I had to deal with “stuff.”

Moving stuff, looking at that dusty table behind the coat rack and making decisions on what I was going to do with some of the stuff!  The decisions on what to do with stuff can actually cause analysis paralysis, so we make no decisions and just keep moving our stuff around instead of actually discarding, donating or making a dump run.

As I transitioned my desk from one spot to another and got it placed to my liking, I realized that I really enjoy this desk in my office. It is pleasing to walk into my office space and think hey, I like this space now! And I was pleased that I was able to just repurpose what I already had hanging around.

Granted, I have some more decisions to make around the stuff that I had to wiggle around to make room to even move the desk.

But, having taken one large step in creating the space I enjoy, I feel more confident in making a few more decisions about the stuff that no longer serves me.

Speaking of things that no longer serve us: is it possible that you perhaps struggle with feeling worthy of an organized space or other thing that would make you so much happier?  If you have ever struggled with feeling worthy of good things or just plain need help feeling that you are valuable, please join us over in Extreme Self Worth!

If you are looking for even more support, you can check out Celebrating Awesome You! A 30 Day Self-Value Immersion Program.  I look forward to connecting with you!



Doorbell Dread is Real!

There it goes. My peaceful evening shattered by the sound of the doorbell.

Freaking out because someone might SEE MY HOUSE and JUDGE ME.  I make my way to the door and this time it’s someone that wants to sell me a magazine.

Oh good! It won’t be weird if I don’t let them in!

If you grew up in a hoarded home or some similar dysfunctional situation where strangers were not allowed in, you know exactly what I am talking about.  If you didn’t grow up with that kind of shame hanging over your head, you are truly blessed!

Doorbell dread is a real thing and it can create havoc with our emotions!

Yes, that heart rate will go up and the anxiety may just keep a person from answering the door. Seriously, the anxiety may be too much!

The other thing is, even if my house is spotless or as acceptably clean and organized as I can get it, I still have been known to say, “Please excuse the mess.”  Whenever I have said that I usually get “the look” that says, what in the hell are you talking about?

Oh, that’s right-you aren’t here to see my house! You are here to see me.

And truly I believe that 99% of the people I know don’t actually care what my house looks like.  And I have been informed that I don’t technically, actually have a mess. Probably because I straightened up like a mad-woman for the ten minutes prior to your arrival and pulled the door shut on “that room!”

BUT I DO CARE about the “state of the house.” And that’s the problem! I could tell you 100 things that I didn’t get done before your arrival, but since that isn’t why you came over, I don’t dive into it.

But I may end up dwelling on it later when I realize that one of the dust bunnies did roll out from under the couch, attach to your shoe and follow you around during the visit.

For the most part I am learning to just go with it and if my house is not up to my standards, well, the good news is I won’t die if there is a dish in the sink or dog hair on the couch pillow.

So come on over! Let’s have some coffee and a chat. The dust bunnies and I will welcome you to our humble abode.


We Aren’t Punishing Properly, Let’s Redirect!

Remember the days of getting sent to the chalkboard to write, “I will not punch Johnny?” Or “ I will not pull Susie’s hair?” Or even having to sit down and write it out 100 times or something equally ridiculous?

I was reading this statement, “I receive with ease and gratitude. I am worthy of receiving.”  I read through this repeatedly before I wrote it out repeatedly. I started to tear up and feel emotional because I realized I needed to redirect to what I needed to focus on: I am worthy. We are worthy of receiving!

Suddenly it hit me that we get what we focus on!

Hello! Duh!

So if we want a kid to do something DIFFERENT why on earth would we have them sit down and write out, repeatedly, the behavior we don’t want them to repeat?!?

Shouldn’t we have the kid write out something like: “I will keep my hands to myself?”

Unless, of course, we need to do some self-defense moves!

I have been reminded to focus on what I want and help others focus on what they want by simply redirecting!

Do you need to redirect and start focusing on what you want/need/desire?

You could try a couple of these things:

Stop saying, “ Don’t forget…” and replace that with “Remember…”

Stop saying, “You always do…” and use, “I feel/want/need…”

What comes up for you when you start thinking about what you really want? Where can you start injecting the positive into your thoughts, your words and your actions?

I would love to know what comes up for you!

Please comment below and let me know your thoughts and questions J

Remember, it’s about our #mindset! #whatdoyouwant #youcanhaveitall

Do you need some help on the redirect? We are releasing Celebrating Awesome You: A 30 Day Self-Value Immersion Program on Monday, July 10th!

Please check out this program and join us for a reset on how you see you and your self-worth!


Divorce Must Always Be An Option

Recently I had a conversation regarding the fact that I had gotten a divorce. The person, not knowing the whole scenario, said how sorry they were that I had gotten a divorce.  This apologetic statement surprised me because I had not had to explain to anyone in quite some time that I was divorced.

I had forgotten how many, many people view something like divorce as a soul-crushing-you-are-now-going-to-hell-event.  However, for me it isn’t sad or terrible or horrifying.  What led up to it was far more excruciating than the actual event of the divorce.

I am happily, unapologetically D I V O R C E D!  And my life is now more A M A Z I N G than I ever thought possible!

There are times when I think I shouldn’t focus on this issue or topic… EXCEPT.

Oh yes!

Let’s talk about the exception!  

The exception applies when you are living in a hell of a marriage where are you devalued, put down psychologically battered and financially exploited.  The exception applies when monogamy is thrown down the stairs. The exception applies if you are physically abused. The exception applies if you or your kids are in danger of being abused or demanded.  This is by no means an exhaustive list of exceptions, but a general idea of what things I think fit in the exception criteria.

What I decided is that I have to focus on the topic of divorce sometimes, partly because it’s part of my story. Partly because there are other people going through the exact same b.s. that I did just a few short years ago. Also, because no one should have to feel like they are a pariah because they took the life-saving measure of getting out of an abusive marriage.

What I offer is that there are times when a D I V O R C E is necessary, healthy and life affirming.  There are times when you MUST take that drastic action to save your own life, mind and sanity.  This also by the way; applies to both men & women who may need to take drastic action to escape a sad and scary situation.

Although I personally did not have the hard task of children and divorce, I know many people who have had that part of the puzzle to deal with. Certainly this makes things so much more challenging!

Remember that the kids are learning from you about what is acceptable in a marriage and in a relationship. What are you teaching them if you stay in an abusive situation? What are you teaching them if you decide you must leave?    They are watching, they are smart and most likely they know exactly what is really going on.

If you are facing a difficult decision around relationships, please know that you are not alone.

Sometimes we must make the difficult choice that others may not agree with in order to save our own lives.

That is also why divorce must always be an option.


Can You Ask Me A Question?

People often ask me if they can ask me a question. I say, “Sure, you can ask me anything. Whether or not I will answer it is a different thing entirely. ”

I have decided that I need to begin adding the following statement, “Please be advised that I don’t tell people what they want to hear. I will however, say what needs to be said.

For a bit I was thinking this makes me special or different. But in reality it doesn’t! I am realizing that most of the people I respect and listen to are EXACTLY THE SAME WAY.  They will not tell me what I want to hear because they do not believe in blowing smoke up my seat. They will however tell me what needs to be said.

There are many labels that could be applied to me: woman, leader, business owner, friend, introvert, daughter, girlfriend and veteran. More than all of that though, I would choose to be thought of as honest, authentic and walking in integrity, which means I get to tell the truth.

Oh Yay!

That is quite a burden sometimes and some folks don’t appreciate that level of, shall we say….authenticity.

If you have a question, please do feel free to ask it. However, be advised that you should only ask me questions that you actually want me to answer. 😉

I will temper it with empathy and kindness and an awareness of who you really are because I think that is how it should be.

Do you need to ask some questions about how valuable you really are?

Do you need to engage with people who are also on their journey of embracing their unique self-worth and value?

If you are looking for some authentic answers and a nudge in the right direction, please join us in Celebrating Awesome You!  A 30 Day Self-Value Immersion Program.  We start on Monday, July 10 and I would love to see you on the INSIDE!

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