Sometimes we realize there is something greater…

There are moments in our lives that can crush us to our core. Often times, there’s something that will happen that will open sealed wounds. And sometimes, we realize that there is something greater… something or someone watching over us.

I was driving home from dropping my son off at his VC POP Warner practice one night this past September. It wasn’t anything new to me since I did it 3 times a week. As I was driving on Cole Grade Rd headed back home towards the High School, I noticed a car stopped in the on-coming lane with their blinker on to turn onto Ava Ln. They were yielding to me coming down the road. Just as quickly as I noticed them stopped, I noticed a car coming up quickly behind them. Before I could even process how fast they were going, they were headed straight for me in my lane. The person driving the car wasn’t paying attention and hadn’t noticed the car stopped with their blinker on to turn and they swerved to miss slamming into the back of the stopped car. They swerved in the on-coming lane- where I was. I quickly reacted and had to slam on my brakes and turn into the dirt embankment to miss them from hitting me head on in a 55mph zone. They missed hitting me, but not before smashing into the corner of the stopped car. All I heard were tires screeching and a loud crash. I had been spared, but that yielding car wasn’t so lucky.

I was extremely concerned about the people that had been hit, so I turned my truck around and rushed to make sure they were okay. Upon arrival of their car, I noticed two older women sitting still. I asked if they were okay, to which I heard one woman say very much discombobulated, “we think we are”. They were clearly in shock as to what just happened. The driver grabbed her phone and dialed 911 to report the accident as I proceeded to check on the person who had hit them. Luckily, she was okay and was able to get out of her very smashed car.

Looking back now on what happened makes me realize there was something more. Something beyond myself there, protecting those who were involved. I keep replaying it in my head- how much worse it could have been…

Jason Armstrong was a local Valley Center resident who attended Orange Glen High School down the hill from Valley Center. He was struck and killed by a passing car who failed to stop while Jason started to cross the street from getting off of his school bus one afternoon. This happened off of Cole Grade Road back in 1995, he was in the 10th grade. Jason Armstrong died by the street he lived on, Ava Ln.

Many long time VC residents may remember this tragedy as it made a huge impact on our community. I was only 11 at the time and didn’t personally know this story until a few years later when I started school at VCHS in 1998. It was a story that many knew and talked about over the years. As much damage was done by an event like this, a lot of positivity came from it as well. The Jason Armstrong Memorial Scholarship would go on to raise $100,000 in his memory over the years for High School seniors who were involved with farming, 4-H and FFA programs. His memory is held up by the protocols in place today for school bus safety (you’ve seen those red flashing lights and STOP signs, right?!) and those of us who continue to spread awareness of this issue.

Fast forward 26 years later, I found myself standing alongside Cole Grade Rd. facing Ava Ln. talking to two woman who were just hit by a driver not paying attention. While I stood there helping with what I could, an older gentleman approached the scene concerned and wanting to know what happened. I began to tell him what I witnessed and what happened. We began to chat about the circumstances of accidents like this one and how lucky I was that I was paying attention. He was a kind, sweet man and he began to tell me about his truck driving years and the driving techniques that most kids nowadays are not taught. He complimented me on my truck handling skills to which I gave credit to my driving instructor that I had in school, Mr. Swartz. We also talked about another accident that happened just up the road from where we stood back when I was in school at VCHS. He told me he was the first on the scene at that accident because it happened right in front of his farm. He explained that he heard the crash and ran out to help. It was at this moment that I felt something come over me as we stood there in conversation. I looked at him while he paused and took a deep breath- he began to tell me about his son who was killed just feet away from where we were standing. My whole body became engulfed with what I can only describe as grief. As he stumbled with his words, he began to well up with emotion while he pointed out the spot across the street to me. He became quiet for a moment and I softly asked him what his sons name was and he proudly responded “Jason”.

We exchanged some more words with one another until the EMT’s arrived. I stood there, healthy and without a scratch and heard the heart-breaking words from a father’s own anguished mouth. His wife, Jason’s mom, was one of the women in the car that had been hit, right in front of their street.

As the hours past and I arrived safely back home I couldn’t help but shake that feeling of grief and sadness. I had been given a glimpse of it from a man whose wound was still just as deep as the day it happened. I had exchanged some messages the next day with the wife and made sure she and her friend were alright, I had shared that I had been thinking about and praying for them through the night.

There are moments in our lives that can crush us to our core. Often times, there’s something that will happen that will open sealed wounds. And sometimes, we realize that there is something greater… something or someone watching over us.

I knew in my heart someone was watching over us all during that accident. It wasn’t until I stood there on the side of the road and heard the story about Jason that I knew who it was… and if you believe in that, I think we can agree on it.

There are such stories, history and people that make this community what it is. Even after 26 years from that tragic day, there are still bonds that were created from it, tightening and woven into this town. We can’t go back and change it- but we can continue to live in awareness and we can make sure that this never happens again in our town. It took me a missed accident to remember how unique this town is. May it be a reminder for you- you never know who might cross your path on any given day- so be kind.

An open letter to Knotts Berry Farm

An open letter to Knotts Berry Farm

It happened two weeks ago, two weeks ago yesterday. The scariest thing I’ve ever been through. The most fear I’ve ever had to feel in my life. It wasn’t uneventful for me, nor the people I was with or the hundreds of others that went through the same thing that day- like the media wants you to think. The media and Cedar Fair (Knotts Berry Farm) won’t hear my side of the story unless I tell it. I don’t want to make it easy for them to sweep it under the rug like they are trying to do.

So, here’s my side of the story in a letter. Share if you’d like to.

Hello Cedar Fair Executives, Investors, Board Members and Media,

I am reaching out to express my concerns about an incident that occurred at Knotts Berry Farm Park on 7/9/2021.

“One man was yelling over the live band while running past us ‘THERE’S A SHOOTER IN THE PARK! HE’S GOT A GUN!!! He’s got a gun! Run! Run! Run!!!’ People were running in terror; for their lives at this point.” This is a part of what I want to share with you- the terror we experienced at one of your parks that day. 

But, before I do, I want to say that I have visited Knotts Berry Farm numerous times in my life and have always enjoyed my time there. I never had a reason to write a letter like this before, until now. My hope is that you will read this story and be compelled to make a change and acknowledge those of us that had to go through this. I’ll start at the beginning because I think it is a very crucial foundation of not feeling safe at your park that day.

Our group of 7 was very excited to finally take part in a fun family day to celebrate summer and Knotts 100th anniversary! We had planned our trip in advance and the children in our group, ages 4,4,7 & 10 were so excited!! My children had never been to Knotts and we were so thrilled to be able to go after a crazy year we had.

When we arrived at opening I was highly concerned about the lack in security and disorganization for bag checks and metal detectors. People were just walking right past bag checking and metal detecting straight into the park with no restriction. We stayed in line to get our bags checked and had our entire group metal detected, the young boy doing this even used the metal detector on our young children. We were a bit weary of the lack of professionalism, but dismissed it and went into the park after we were cleared to. When we entered the park, it was so crowded we couldn’t even walk together as a group. Although we had to make a reservation to arrive at the park that day- I’m realizing now that a reservation wasn’t honored or monitored due to the shear number of people in the park, even though your website clearly states a reservation is needed. Now, I’m not saying I want an empty park and I am fully aware of busy days, however this was beyond a normal busy day. This was over packed to the point of riding that fine line of hazardous to all who were in the park- later on in the night we would surely attest to this dangerous outcome.

We had three adults (including myself) and four children (two of which were mine) in our group. We waited in multiple lines for well over 2+hours with little kids. The waits were excessive due to the massive number of people allowed into the park! We waited over 2+ hours for the Log Ride just to get to the front and for them to shut down the ride. We waited patiently for another 20 minutes until we decided it was best for the kids to get out of line. During this time, we were witness to the employees trying to scramble to figure out what was wrong. Yelling across and through patrons. It was unorganized. There must have been many new employees there that day because we witnessed a lot of employees not knowing what to do when things broke down (3 rides broke down on us while we waited in those lines for 2+ hours each). We understand the hardship it is to find employees right now and even harder time to get them fully trained for situations that may arise. My concern is the knowing of how many employees are new (or understaffing issues) to your ticket count ratio. I say this not to complain about any employee in particular, in fact later in the evening when Hell broke loose (it was, in fact Hell for our group), there was two employees that did a fantastic job at helping us keep calm and lead us into a storage room where we hid from what we believed to be an active shooter.

I digress. 

While we weren’t having a best day so far because we were only able to actually ride 1 ride in almost 5 hours of being at the park already. We decided to try to make the best of it and had planned to stay until closing. We had purchased the all day dining plans and fed the kids to refuel them throughout the disappointments of waiting then not being able to ride the rides we had waited so long for.

As the day turned darker, we found ourselves near the stage of the live band that was playing for the Summer Nights event. We hung out for a bit and enjoyed snapping a few photo ops with the Summer Nights giant chair. We had heard there was going to be fireworks at 9 (it was around 8:15pm at this point) so we were going to head towards some games and then watch the fireworks show. As we walked towards the Bear-Y Tales area of the park we witnessed a few people running here and a few people running there. And then more people running. We had thought maybe one of the rollercoasters that was shut down all day might have reopened and people were headed to get in line. However, within the next few minutes we witnessed hundreds of people running towards us- just a sea of people! Screams were ringing out and people were frantic. We stopped one person to ask why they were running and they shouted that there was someone with a gun as they ran by us. Another person we stopped said they heard someone get shot over by the bathrooms. One man was yelling over the live band while running past us “THERE’S A SHOOTER IN THE PARK! HE’S GOT A GUN!!! HE’S GOT A GUN! RUN! RUN! RUN!!!”

People were running in terror; for their lives at this point. We quickly grabbed our children’s hands and told them that we were going to leave and it was time to head to the exit like everyone else. We stayed calm but moved as quickly as we could towards the front entrance of the park. Not knowing exactly what was happening we followed our gut instinct to get out of the park. There were abandoned freshly paid for meals sitting at empty tables and bags laying ownerless on the ground as we quickly passed by with hundreds of other people. We had parked in the south parking lot near the hotel and headed towards that direction. We were surrounded by people rushing, crying, screaming. As we quickly walked towards the parking lot, we saw shops, restaurants and stores locking their doors. I saw two young girls pounding on one of the businesses window crying and screaming to let them in. I picked up my youngest child and held my other child’s hand and started walking even faster.

Now, this is where the Hell I was talking about shows up. 

We continued to quickly walk down the pathway in front of the shops together in our group. I remember telling my friend “If we get separated, let’s meet at the car” because there was so many people weaving  and pushing around us. We passed the candy shop and the Market place emporium stores outside the walkway away from the main entrance. We were surrounded by multiple people who just wanted to leave like us. It seemed as though time had stopped when out of nowhere a group of people started running towards us screaming that the gunman was coming towards us, someone screamed out “HE’S AROUND THE CORNER!!! RUN!!!!”. 

I don’t know how to explain it exactly- shear chaos and terror broke out in that moment. But, what I do know is that I reacted with my natural survival instincts with the information that I had at that time. There was no information, no security nor employees who knew what was happening. So your natural instinct is to react for your life- for your children’s lives.

I was holding my 4 year old in my arms and had my 10 year old by the hand running. I frantically lost his hand when people trampled by us forcing us to lose our grip. There was people crying and screaming everywhere. People running for their lives, like us. I heard my friend behind me yell “STOP! STOP! STOP, JUST STOP!!!”

I quickly turned around to notice she was trying to help a young girl off the ground who had been knocked over by the rushing crowds. She was yelling for people to stop literally running over the girl. In the midst of the chaos, we don’t even know if she had a parent with her. While that was happening, I couldn’t find my 10 year old son. We had lost our hands and he wasn’t near me anymore. As a mom in that moment, my heart stopped beating and sunk down into my gut. I couldn’t breathe. WHERE WAS HE!! I screamed his name louder and louder over the rushing screaming frantic crowd. The majority of the crowd dispersed and I could see my son down the path a bit. The look he had on his face was something no mom should have to see on their children’s face, ever. My heart broke into a million pieces. He was terrified and crying. “Mom! Mom! I couldn’t see you, I didn’t know where you were!”. I grabbed him the fastest I could and continued to run away from what we believed to be an active shooter. At this time, we were just running away. Running for our lives and our children’s lives. I saw in the distance a man holding open a business door for people to come into. I continued to look back at my friends and their children to make sure we were all together. I ran towards the door and held it open for my friends. The man kept saying “once I shut this door it’s locked! Hurry! Hurry! Get in!”. We all entered the store and were told to go towards the back where they have a storage room. We entered the storage room where I could see about 30 people crouched down hiding. They closed both doors and locked them. People continued to whisper “shhhhhh, be quiet”. They turned the lights off and asked us to be as quiet as we could. The kids were crying and didn’t know what was happening. All we could do was get down on the ground and hold them. People were grabbing items to defend themselves from the storage room. You could hear close quiet cries and whisper prayers. My mind was rushing and all I could do was pray for a layer of protection. “Lord, put your angels around us right now, protect us and guide us. Protect these children Lord”. A prayer I never thought I’d have to pray in a situation like that. A prayer no mom should have to pray.

Fear engulfed me in that moment and I just hugged and kissed my children. I grabbed my son and told him with tears rolling down my face that I was sorry for letting his hand go. It hurt to even say those words to him. If you are a parent, you never want to see that much fright in your children’s eyes.

I quickly grabbed my phone and started to text 911 so if something were to happen they would know our location and that we were hiding in a storage room locked down. 911 responded quickly and told me officers were on the scene and if we were safe where we were, to stay there. We did. 

I then texted my husband “There’s an active shooter. We are held up in a locked room. Not a drill. Don’t call. I’ll text”. 

How shitty is that? To have to text your spouse, who isn’t there with you, those words. I wanted to breakdown- but held myself together for my children who were looking to me for protection and safety. 

About 20 minutes went by when one of the men standing by the door whispered that the gunman was outside the store and that we needed to be quiet. A man stood near us with his two babies in a stroller with tears rolling down his face griping a broom handle he had found in the storage room. There were two girls sitting near us shaking. My friend asked them if they knew where their parents were and they didn’t. They were so frightened. Employees were on their landlines trying to get help. It felt like a lifetime sitting there, not knowing what might happen.

After about 10 more minutes one of the employees had said that they got the “okay” from the police and we could go. They said we would wait for an escort to come before they unlocked the door to help us out. It wasn’t until I stood up that I noticed that there were rows and rows of people hiding, kneeling and laying down in that room, way more than the 30 I had thought.

We got up slowly and cautiously. We waited for others to leave the room first- we were in no hurry to leave first. We eventually funneled out of the storage room into a sea of people heading towards the parking lot again. They led us down through the employee entrance and out into the parking lot where we held our children tight and quickly walked to our car like we had tried to do before. We just kept telling the kids “It’s going to be okay, we’re just going to go to the car as fast as we can”. We constantly reassured them that everything was going to be fine when we didn’t even know that for a fact ourselves.

When we arrived that morning we made sure everyone knew that we were parked in Sally 2, so when we finally saw the sign for Sally 2, there was a little relief. We quickly loaded the children into the car and left the parking lot into a line of cars trying to do the same.

We left just in time, because there was a fire I hear that shut down the freeway just after we left. 

That day was something made up from a nightmare. After it all happened and we were heading home, I just kept thinking “what just happened?” I couldn’t even process it yet because I had little children that were watching me and looking to me for strength and to keep them safe. 

That’s my job. As their mom, it’s my job to keep them safe and away from harm. To protect their hearts and mental health. It’s my job. I take that job seriously. So when something happens like this, I find it painful and take it personal. 

There’s never been more anxiety I have ever felt in my entire life. Thinking about those cries and screams, they make you a different person. The depression is sinking in and I find it near impossible to even show a fake smile. 

I hold my children more tighter today and thank the Lord for putting his angels around us that day. 

I’m telling you my side of the story that day because I feel like it’s being dismissed. 

The article reads:

 “At least 1 wounded in drive-by shooting outside Knott’s Berry Farm”

But that’s not what I experienced. Shots were fired from the parking lot into the park area where we stood nearby listening to music, which caused a wave of mayhem to unfold. I don’t have to tell you about it, simply search videos of people who were recording from inside the park and you’ll bear witness to the cries and screams. Or better yet, pull up your security footage from that night- I bet you’ll see so many people running in terror, I bet you’ll see me and my children running in terror.

The dismissal of what people actually went through inside the park that night is disrespectful and doesn’t sit well with me. The people like me, my friends, other parents, kids who were alone and moms and dads who were separated from their children deserve acknowledgment. I wasn’t the only one to experience the horror that night. There were hundreds of people, especially moms like me, experiencing haunting trauma and still experiencing the trauma from that day- I know I am.

Knotts Berry Farm needs to be held accountable for their lack of communication, organization and security. I hope that there will be accountability, because if not- how can we as the human race ever feel safe at a place where we are supposed to smile, laugh and make happy memories? On your Cedar Fairs website you claim to “Take Fun Seriously” and to “Make people happy by providing fun, immersive and memorable experiences”. I feel you are not living up to this claim by dismissing the people whose lives were changed that day. 

Although you cannot control what happens outside your gates, you can however acknowledge the lack of security and the lack of discourse about what happened inside your gates that day. 

In closing, I would like to ask what plan does Knotts Berry Farm and Cedar Fair have to make this situation right? What kind of comfort can you provide for the families who experienced this and continue to deal with the impacts it has caused?

Thank you for your time in reading my letter and timely response. My hope is that you can have a glimpse of the fear we felt that day and hopefully make it right. 


April M. Reid

Frankly My Dear- 2020 isn’t over

Frankly My Dear- 2020 isn’t over


I sincerely don’t know where the last two weeks have gone. My days rolled into one another and I feel like it was just the Fourth Of July then I woke up this morning wondering what happened to the days that proceeded. Anyone else? I hope I am not alone in this galactic space travel. At least I didn’t wake up to the year 2050 to discover that I have been a frozen science experiment for an Under Ground Secret Organization that so happened to be linked to letting loose COVID-19 into the human world by a crazed bat that was infected with the virus and was “accidently” released and that I was one of the select few that they had taken for experimentation (because I’m smart of course)… I mean, it could have been worse. *writes down idea for blockbuster movie* Or did they already make that movie? Something about Resident Evil comes to mind….hmmmmm…..

I digress.

2020 was going to be my year. My families year. It was destined to be a breakthrough year of growth and change. It was a “fresh start” in a different state, a different life, and a promising new career. At 36 years old, I had finally felt like I was being an adult.

And then the shit storm happened.

And like the last two weeks, I feel like it was just St. Patrick’s Day and I just woke up and it’s 4 months later. I play back the last 4 months of my life and I can’t help but to think… “what the fuck just happened?”. 2020 was supposed to be my year! 2020 was supposed to be a year of triumphs and celebrations. But, here we are. Knee deep (or elbow deep) into one of the worst years to date. Can it just be the Holidays already? Can we take a vote on this? Christmas in July CAN ACTUALLY BE A THING PEOPLE!

I have had a lot on my plate with this new “normal” bullshit that I wasn’t expecting. And it’s gotten me pretty low. I bet you can relate. I’ve spent a lot of effort into forcing myself be positive, be happy, be grateful, be nice and patient. It’s been hard. I’ve found solace in reading meme’s and laughing about the most absurd things. I’ve found hope in taking risks and letting life happen. I’ve found that I can still make 2020 my bitch. Instead of remembering 2020 as the year that I lost my dream career; that I was pushed to the limits of trying to be a homeschool teacher; that I was irritable and cranky by having all my humans around me 24/7; that I couldn’t qualify for a new home loan; that I was trapped in limbo…
… we don’t have to remember 2020 that way- because frankly my dear, 2020 ain’t over yet!! (Said with ummmphh like Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind *swoooon*) We still have time to make 2020 our bitch and do something amazing, regardless of how the world around us is spinning. I can still reach my goals. I can still set plans and leap for them. I can still crush it!

I want to remember 2020 as the year that I finally bought acreage out in the country for my future home; that I revamped my baking business; that I made it 15 years of marriage; that I became a more patient mom (still working on that one) and that in spite of the uncertainty 2020 brought- I stayed true to being me. I continue to have faith. I continue to push forward. I continue to trust that through the toughest pressure we can grow. It takes courage, a shit ton.

Who the hell knows how the next few months are going to go- and maybe I might just wake up a few months from now in a comatose state with Turkey hanging from my mouth- But I will continue to try to make the best of it all. I mean, can you really go anywhere else but up? And if there is a bigger shit storm coming, I packed my poncho bitch- BRING IT ON!

Life is short, make it sweet!

❤ AM

Words for Wednesday- Taking the Leap

Words for Wednesday- Taking the Leap

Decide on the outcome-
even if you don’t know the steps to get there.

-Tony Robbins

I’m coming up on a year of making a drastic move. To say I was scared shitless would be an euphemism. It was much much worse.

I had this vision in my head of what I wanted for my life and what I wanted for my family. I had faith that we would one day not have to live paycheck to paycheck. I visioned a life free from the bondage and worry of money. To truly be happy. I dreamt of land- lots and lots of land. I dreamt of so much land that it was covered in trees and smelled of orange blossoms. It would echo sounds of life by my children laughing, riding bikes and playing by a creek bed chasing chickens until the sun set. I wanted a life where I didn’t feel drained of all my families resources and hard work. I knew this and so much more. I knew what I wanted. I made that choice. Because If I know anything at all- it’s that you have to have an end goal, a projected outcome, before you can set out for it. Even if that goal takes you until you’re 85 to reach it.

I jumped last year, I fucking leaped! I stepped back and I wound up my feet like the Roadrunner and released. I had a trusting moment. A moment where I let my faith and knowing what I wanted to take me to my next step.

Taking that leap was like deciding to drink an entire bottle of tequila the night before and waking up to yourself in the mirror in the morning-  it was ghastly. It hurt in so many ways. But as much as its hurt emotionally to make that leap- I have become closer to my goal. One step down, so many more to go.

No one can ever prepare you for the personal successes or failures you may experience in *your* lifetime- they are unique and catered to you. You could be scared shitless- like I am right now- about when your leap of faith will come to fruition. It’s a scary place to be, this limbo of faith and worry. Hope and defeat. The constant questioning oneself if the leap they made was the right one. No one can ever prepare you for that.  But I have my eyes set on my prize, my outcome. Do you?

In my random thoughts for today- I guess in the end, I just want to encourage you to decide on an outcome for your life. It can be anything you have been dreaming about, desired, or visioned. Be strong in your decisions, because once you are, you can figure out the steps you have to take to get you there. I’m not saying it will be easy because if you wanted something easy you can tell yourself you’ve decided to have an outcome of having Taco Bell for lunch. Well Fuck, now you know all you gotta do is drive your ass to Taco Bell. done. easy. –But if it’s a dream worth risking and leaping for, it’s going to take instinctual faith- and a little bit of impulsivity. Because, frankly sometimes you have to bend when the wind blows and sometimes you may feel as though you’ve taken a step back from your outcome- and that’s okay. Don’t allow yourself to be demoralized but in lieu set your eyes on your goal and keep pushing forward. Take the mothafuckin leap.


Life is short, make it sweet.

❤ AM

Words for Wednesday

Words for Wednesday

I never really cared what people thought of me. I have always been a free-spirit. I have danced to the beat of my own drum since I can remember and have expressed myself in many different ways- to which some might feel compelled to crawl bashfully into a cave. However, I own it. I’ve never been one to stop being me because of censorship or the fear of offending someone. but I also am very respectful and was raised to be so. I am honest (a bit too honest at times) and I appreciate it in return. I can’t tell you how many times I have had someone tell me that I am “too much” and that perhaps I need to be a bit more “reserved”.

On the flip side of “being too much”, I have always been a caring, passionate and spiritual person. I dive right in with my heart most of the time and I find myself engulfed with a benevolent manner. When I feel my life shifting or I find something that is encouraging, I want to share it with everyone I love! But as life would have it, there are some people whom you love that in fact don’t want to share in your enthusiasm.

A few years ago I started a group thread with some of my close friends and I would share with them some life epiphanies I had. I would share quotes, encouragement and thoughts from my heart. I did this every week on a Wednesday. I would eventually dub it Words for Wednesday. Personally, It was something that was born out of hurt. I needed to express something that I was dealing with and finding clarity in. My hope was that maybe if it helped me- it would help someone I loved. Words for Wednesday went on for awhile until some unforeseen issues arose in our girl tribe and I stopped sending them out. To be fair, I felt judged by some. To clarify, I felt as though some might have taken it the wrong way. Perhaps they thought I had all my shit together and that I needed to share what I thought everyone else needed to hear and do to have their shit put together too. To imply that maybe I was more “holier than thou”. That couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I believe that when you are on a journey- whatever it may be- sharing your truth to those you love can be very helpful. But, I was hurt when I was falsely accused and did what any hurt person would do- I backed the fuck up and stopped altogether. I thought about the likelihood of my “friend” being right. Was I truly being all the nasty things she said I was? I fell hard. I questioned everything I was and who I am. I had no good answer. Not a damned one. Because frankly, I know who I am. I know my heart. And anyone who truly knows me wouldn’t have to question it.

Recently I had one of my friends ask me why I stopped sending my Words for Wednesday. She had appreciated them and it had helped her through some rough times too. It was utter shock to me. Not only had it been over a year that I stopped sending them, but the fact that she actually looked forward to them and missed them made my heart ignite.

*Insert light bulb here*

Ahhhhh a moment of clarity!

I allowed myself to deny my own healing because of what one bad apple thought of me. And along the way, I denied the people who were actually seeing my sincerity for what it was by giving in to preconceived lies. I never really cared about what people thought of me, why was I doing it now? And at the expense of my own salvation? Ugh! Why do we, as humans, dwell on the one bad thing out of a hundred good ones? Fuck if I know. But I can say that I learned a lot about how to react in those moments and I shall carry on with just being me. Because in the end what is it all worth if you can’t be yourself?!

I am happy to say that Words for Wednesday will be making a jubilant return.

Life is short, make it sweet!

❤ AM

20 things to keep viruses away (and my impulsive thoughts)

20 things to keep viruses away (and my impulsive thoughts)

During this time of craziness in the world, there are a lot *and I mean A LOT* of people who have advice to give about how to protect yourself against viruses, including COVID-19, even if you never asked. It’s almost as if it’s coming outta their ass and they don’t have nearly enough toilet paper hoarded in their garage to contain it all. So, they inevitably go to social media and spew unwanted words all over your screen.

I get it. The uncontrollable need to express oneself in a time of uncertainty. The need to share what you may think is necessary for others to know or how you think others should be living (or not living). The opinions of others aren’t in short supply. And, that’s okay. You can choose to take their opinion with a grain of salt (and a shot of Tequila if you were me) or you can just keep scrolling. No one said you *had* to follow others opinions, nor do you have to even respond. There, however, comes a time when you are just overcome with lethargy and send an unsought, alcohol induced counterargument to a friends caring and benevolent advice.

I call this:

“20 things to keep viruses away (and my impulsive thoughts)”

1.) Get solid sleep each night (7-8 hours).
2.) Gargle warm salt water twice a day. It makes the mucosa at the back of your mouth less hospitable to viral visitors.
3.) Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
4.) If you have a humidifier use it properly (clean every day). Viruses have a harder time when ambient air has 40% humidity.
5.) Easy on the dehydrating things like too much coffee.
6.) Make foods with immune boosters—garlic, ginger, turmeric, parsley, thyme, sage, bone broth if omnivore.
7.) Elderberry syrup (I read the study on the blood of 12 people and how elderberry syrup applied directly to monocytes induced pro-inflammatory cytokine production. I don’t see this as evidence to not take this powerfully protective medicine).
8.) Increase the ZINC in your diet: chickpeas, almonds, cashews, lentils, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, oatmeal.
9.) Eliminate all booze (it depresses the immune system).
10.) Don’t smoke (it comprises your respiratory system’s defenses).
11.) If you have underlying lung disease consider taking Ashwagandha for the next two months (not if pregnant).
12.) Get some good time outdoors each day, get the sun on your bare skin to activate Vitamin D.
13.) Express appreciation out loud to the earth who supports you and your loved ones who love you.
14. Sing out loud, expands lung capacity and the stimulation of the vagal nerve can calm your body’s overdrive from stress.
15.) Hold your kids close. They are awesome and won’t be small forever. Even as we are financially challenged, try to see this moment of them being close as a gift.
16.) Call your mom if you can and tell her you’re grateful for her.
17.) Check in on elders. Do their shopping for them so they don’t have to be in public.
18.) Limit gatherings and if you need to meet, keep it to small family size (6-8 people).
19.) Namaste. No hugs or Hi5.
20.) Wash Your Hands, Don’t Touch Your Face.

Those are all great things to do. Undoubtable some good advice. But, to be honest, I was on the tipping point of having one too many cocktails and licking the cheesey-powder off my fingers when I received her proposal. So, if you’re like me, you’d appreciate my response:

1.) Yeah. Okay. I’ll totally put that on my “to do” list. Oh wait, it’s been on there since I had my first kid… 13 years ago! That bitch hasn’t been checked off yet.
2.) Does licking salt before a shot of tequila count? *licks salt – shoots tequila* Yeah, that totally counts. I can totally feel the mucosa in the back of my mouth less hospitable to viral visitors. Boom! I am nailing this.
3.) Coors Light basically counts as water. I’m so hydrated. So, I’m golden there.
4.) My vagina radiates more humidity than 40%. So there’s that.
5.) Fuck you! Coffee is life. And I will punch you in the throat if you speak like that again.
6.) I hear sex is an immune booster too. But that ain’t on the fucking list now is it?! I am feeling like this list is a scam…
7/8.) Blah blah blah science shit. I had some chocolate covered almonds today. That totally counts. Check!
9.) Hahahahaha hahahahaha! Now I really know this is a scam. You know what depresses my immune system? You telling me to eliminate alcohol! You know I am stuck home with tiny versions of me, right?
10.) Marijuana reduces my stress. Stress causes my immune system to break down which causes heavy breathing and panic attacks. So this doesn’t even make sense to me. Seriously. Wtf. You call this “science”? *Do this with Dr. Evil air quotes*
11.) Ashwag..gggaaaah What? Wait I didn’t know there was going to be a fucking quiz on words that I have to Google. I don’t have time for that shit. But. Thank the lord Jesus I’m not pregnant! Let’s do a shot to that! (See number 2)
12.) Vitamin D, yeah that comes in pill form now sooooo….. down the hatch it goes chased by a rum n coke.
13.) EARTH and LOVED ONES! I appreciate you! Check!
14.) *Steals Disney Mic out of my 3 year-olds hand and belts out songs from Frozen II in a drunken karaoke stooper while said 3 year-old cries* You’re right, that did make me feel better. Oh and you said Vagal. Hehehe.
15.) Little shits. I love ’em… but can’t I fucking go poop in private?!!! *Screams and slams head against table*
16.) I called my mom. She wanted me to go to church with her via Zoom. I rolled my eyes. I invited her over for some stress-reducing throat-soothing medicine (see number 2). She said no. I told her that I loved her and that I was grateful for her anyway.
17.) I’ll shop for you for 50% of your TP? Fine, I’ll settle for some wipes? Kleenex? Adult diapers? Wine? Okay, that cough syrup in your cabinet that’s been expired since last year. Fuck! Wait, wanna watch my kids?
18.) I only know 6-8 people anyway. Wait, I’ll rephrase that… only 6-8 people are willing, without bribery, to hang out with me. I can be a bit much for most.
20.) Don’t forget the Shaka bruh!!!!