Magical Day


Living life out loud means being mindful of the ebb and flow of emotions that we all experience as we travel our own unique paths.  It means listening to what our hearts are trying to tell us.  It means paying attention to the things that trigger sharp emotions for this is something important our inner self is trying to teach us.  Living life out loud means speaking our own truth as it relates to our story and our lens that we look at the world through.  It means being authentic, claiming our joys and our sorrows.  It means being real!

I am continuously amazed at how the mere act of writing about my sorrows releases the strange hold these deep emotions can try to have over me.  When I write and share of the waves of sadness, grief, anger, etc. that can wash over me I feel my deepest self say “Yes, thank you for listening. Thank you for acknowledging the darker side and not simply hiding it away.  Thank you for speaking it out loud.”  When I do this I find myself much more able to ride the waves rather than drown under them.  Speaking all of my story out loud allows me to move through life in all of its’ glory – dark and light, sadness and happiness, grief and hope.  And then, in the journey, I find the wonderful joy of light and love.

Thank you my Web of Love for holding space and loving me through the entire journey.  Know that I stand ready to do the same for all of you.    Have a magical day!





Well shit


Well shit!  One of those waves just came out of nowhere flooding over me.  The world around me fades away as tears flow out me as rapidly as waves of sorrow just crashed over me.

I am sitting in the early morning hours at the resort before any of the rest of my family is awake. I sit in the restaurant area sipping my coffee, reading,  listening to music, and journaling about the ebbs and flows of life.  I am listening to my power songs, the ones that have special meaning to me.  I’ve been smiling looking at pictures of our trip.

I’ve been musing about the ways in which our experiences of life can switch as quickly as the movement of taking one step.  All can be going fantastic, with joy and playfulness the key notes in our song.  Then with one step, one quick text, one word it can all change so drastically we feel like we must surely have entered another world completely.  Fear, sorrow, remorse wash over us dragging us down into the deep places within ourselves that we don’t want anyone else to see because we are afraid they will leave us alone there, unwanted and unloved and alone.

As I watch families slowly enter this vast cafeteria I remember our family’s last visit here 5 years ago.  Memory after memory of the ways in which Russell played with his kids and me, letting the stressful cares of daily life slowly fade away, are rushing through me. And I find myself in one of those places of such deep missing that physically takes my breath away. In this place I cry not caring who sees me and the outside world fades away. This place is the place of why? of what the hell has happened? of how can this possibly be real? where am I and how did I get here?

This is the place of my heart crying out to Russell “I miss you.  I’m sorry I didn’t show you the most real, deepest love I could for you every single day. I wish I had known then what I know now. I wish you were here to play, to love, to be joyful with again.”  This is the place that fuels my deep desire to always choose love – moment after moment, day after after day.  This is the place that leaves me wanting to text, call, email, shout out loud to everyone I love “I LOVE YOU!  No matter what, I LOVE YOU!”  This is the place that leaves me wanting to mend the tiniest of conflicts between myself and others so that I never again worry that I’ve left things unsaid that can never be said because it is now too late.

Breathe and ride the wave Lara.  Just breathe and ride the wave!

Gratitude – the practice of joy

“Joy seems to be a step beyond happiness. Happiness is sort of the atmosphere you can live in sometimes when you’re lucky.  Joy is the light that fills you with hope, faith, and love. ”   Brene Brown, Gifts of Imperfection

I would tweak this understanding of joy just a little bit.  I don’t necessarily think that joy is a step beyond happiness. For me it is more a step to the side; a step into another state of being filled with light, hope and faith.  Joy is a state that seems to rest next to, or even all around, my other emotions.


I can honestly say that yesterday was one of joy for me. Being with my kids and a bunch of my extended family at a place that is designed for magic and play was amazing.  Feeling as giddy as a kid at rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and Buzz light year ride left me feeling as young as Sequoyah and Payton.  I was almost jumping up and down at the parade seeing all of the characters and the giant dragon.  Joy and happiness!

Throughout the day as I played and watched everyone else play joy flowed all around me like the cool air of the air conditioning we would step into every once in awhile.  Heavier emotions of sorrow at missing Russell and exhaustion from going probably far longer than I should have in the heat pressed upon me at various points.  A couple of times they came crashing through in quick bursts of pissyness.   But the joy of overflowing love and gratitude to be able to take this trip with family who I dearly love would then wash over me and my swirling insides would settle.

The more I practice gratitude, joy, and love everyday the easier it is to access these things in my darker moments.  The darker moments still come, sometimes quietly like a little mouse sneaking out for food before racing back into hide and sometimes like the crash of a wave crushing everything in its wake, but they do not hold the same power over me. I recognize these feelings for what they are, honoring the messages they have to speak to me, and I step into another space.

At least in this time, in this moment – the only moments I really can be sure of – I will wrap joy around me. I will fill myself with light, love, and gratitude so that the dark cannot take a stranglehold on my heart.

I will create the most magical place on earth inside of my own heart!

Driving – I did it!


We don’t really know what we are capable of doing until there is no other choice before us.  Well, even as I write that first sentence I realize there is always, ALWAYS  a choice.  But when the choice is between doing it ourselves or not getting to do it at all it is amazing what can happen.

Russell was the one who loved long drives.  I like driving but don’t love it.  I like road trips and loved the trips that we would all take down to Sarasota, FL every year.  Mainly though I liked the driving part because I love napping in cars.  It drops me back into childhood when we would drive to Wisconsin as a family. Those trips were times for reading, playing the alphabet game, and napping.  Our family trips that Russell and I shared for decades were the same with lots of fun music added in – especially Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley.

Last year when we drove to Florida for our beach vacation in July it was a shorter trip – only 12 hours compared to the 16 or 17 it takes to get to Sarasota.  It was a trip broken up by Kateri and Soren both sharing in the driving duties and us making lots of stops to keep me awake enough to keep driving.  When we traveled to Sarasota in December we flew down because the thought of making that very long drive made me want to curl up and hide under my covers, no matter how much the lure of the beach was calling to me. No way could I handle making a drive that is technically 16 hours but would surely take us 20 with all the stops I would need.

Not only have we made it to Orlando with me driving all but 2 of the hours, I actually really enjoyed the driving this time.  We stopped in Atlanta last night which was a good break splitting the drive into a 9 hour day and a 7 hour day (stopping for lunch always adds time).  I’m tired tonight but actually much, much less than I thought I would be. Instead I feel energized and excited for our adventures at Disney to start tomorrow.

My kids slept much of the way, as I always used to do.  I would drive maybe 10% of our trips with Russell driving 90%. I never understood how he would say he actually liked the driving and wanted to do it. I never understood until this trip.

As the kids slept I listened to my favorite songs; started listening to a Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly which I am loving; let my mind wander through the opportunities currently before me for my life; allowed myself to be filled with gratitude for my children, my family and this trip; and smiled as memory after memory flooded through me of the dozens of trips Russell and I took on the very roads I drove mile after mile.  My heart rode wave after wave of memory simultaneously missing Russell and smiling at the joy of remembering.

What I couldn’t fathom ever being able to do a year ago has been a joyful experience in this time, in these moments.   The very thought of being strong enough to handle all that driving last year made me want to throw up.  Instead by saying yes I will and can do this drive has left me with filled with gratitude, renewed confidence in my strength and lots of new ideas.  I have at least 5 blogs posts that started writing themselves as  I drove, this one being just the first. I had some good conversations with my kids and lots of fun, silly moments that I treasure deeply.   And I feel that I am rocking my life right now.

Not too shabby for someone who believes car rides are really just moving nap time.  🙂


Tiny Steps


Tiny steps forward are often all that I can take. As I keep stepping forward, baby step after baby step, sometimes slow as a turtle I end up making huge strides forward.

It’s okay to walk your path with quiet, steady determination. No matter what the world tries to tell us life isn’t a race.

I’m going to enjoy every step of playfulness and time with my family over the next week and a half. Joy, playfulness, gratitude, breathing space, listening to what I want, all of these are the steps I will take.

What tiny steps can you make today?

Get it Going!


Wow, just WOW! I shared this a year ago with the additional question to myself if I should give myself and the kids a full year to learn how to walk again. Standing where I am today I can easily and confidently say “YES! It took a full year to learn how to walk again.”

We are walking tall and strong most days. Oh we still have moments, and days, that we are knocked back to our knees and find ourselves crawling along. But that is simply life. We are moving forward with new opportunities, new passions, and new hope. And we just keep trying!

In a few hours, Kateri Hannes, Demetri Peterson and I will be leaving to start our vacation. We will stop in Atlanta tonight where we will pick up Soren after his month long adventure in Colorado. My heart is filled with joy at the thought of us being all together again.

As we drive I will think of Russell Peterson often and not just because he was the one who did 90% of the driving on our trips. 🙂 He would have loved the trip we are undertaking – Disney for a week with a bunch of my family then onto Sarasota for a few days to visit with Barbara Peterson. Family, fun, beach, sun – it didn’t get much better for Russell and doesn’t for me either.

Though I will be tapping out of work for 12 days we all know I will be posting tons of pictures because it’s one of the things I love the most!