Monday, December 28, 2009

live in the moment

Tonite I had this simple everday gift of spending time with mother nature. As I walked Kobe (my family's black lab) I almost just wanted time to stop. The moment was almost surreal. The moon lite up the frosted pines in a shade of white that almost looked silver. The snow looked as if it were sprinkled on the land like you would if you were baking cookies. The sky dark as it was black made the stars seems like they were stick on sticks from the pages of scrapebooks postioned just here and there and over there. There was not even a light breeze. It was utter peace. Pure nature silence. The only sound that could be heard was that of the snow crunching under my shoes and of a dog exploring the mountains of Montana.

This moment which is now a memory costed me nothing but a few moments of my day and a few cold fingers and toes. I only had to venture just beyond my door step and I was there. And I realized in that more the blessing it was for me to have it. I realized the gift I had been given. And I hope that I never take such moments for granted. Beauty surrounds me with every turn of my head--- I just have to be willing to venture out and live in the moment.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

29 years

Today is a day of reflecting. Of thinking of all that has been and yet to be. I think of all the moments of my life that I thought life could never get any better- life couldn't top this...and yet it did. I think of all the moments where I never thought the tide would turn. Of the times where I thought I never was able to pick myself back up and tryin again was an impossible task...and yet I did. I think of all the people that have blessed my life with their laughter, smiles, friendship, love and life lessons. I think of all the memories I have created. 29 years full of life yet it seems like just a short breath from yesterday. How did time move so fast!? Where did the time go?!

I know my years have been filled and lived well. But what I wish for this year is for the next 29 years of my life (if I am ever so grateful to have) to be lived not not just filled but full-- not just lived well but lived great. I wish for the strength and courage and yes even will to dream- to chase and to grasp. I wish for my best days and best years still to come not to have been. I wish to be blessed with double the smiles-laughter-love-friendships and life lessons from others. I wish for just a simple life filled with moments that are capped full for the things that matter. I simply wish for the chance to live this life... My life to the very fullest.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


They say the world is what you make of it, and to me that first all starts with what you make of yourself...who you are-what you stand for-what you live for and how you see the world & handle what this life brings to you. This life to me is about learning, growing, changing, letting go, and embracing. Its about facing the darkness and sorrow that life holds with the same grace, pride and strength we do when we embrace the happiness and sunshine of our brightest days. Its about what our name truly stands for - words like compassionate, understanding, kind, patient...these are things I strive everyday to make darn sure that someday my name will stand for such things. This world can be so messy, but in the same breathe so utterly amazing. For I have found that even in my lowest of lows I have so many gifts and blessings that surround me - ONLY if I CHOOSE to see. ONLY if I CHOOSE to embrace. ONLY if I CHOOSE to see the Glass of Life HALF FULL and not half empty. ONLY if I CHOOSE to have an open heart and mind. ONLY if I CHOOSE to let go. ONLY if I CHOOSE to forgive. ONLY if I CHOOSE forgiveness over bitterness. ONLY if I CHOOSE love over hate. ONLY if I CHOOSE to see good over the wrong. ONLY if I...ONLY if I... I hold the power over my good days and my bad days. I hold the fate of the Life I will lead and live. I hold the power of what my name will stand for by the choices I make, the words I speak, and the actions I compose. This life may be filled with darkness as much as it is filled with happiness, yet its ONLY I who control how I will be affected by such events. Its thats simple...

The world is what YOU make of it. And it all starts with what you make of YOURSELF.... So today I strive to face whatever life brings to me with strength, pride and grace. I strive to find laughter in all moments of this life esp in the midst of tears. I strive to find reasons everyday to LOVEthisLIFE. I strive to smile til my face is covered with wrinkles. I strive to love until my heart bursts. I strive to show understanding, kindness, patience, and compassion to all. I strive to live in such a way that one day my name won't just known, but worth remembering. That my name won't be just a name but will stand for something...And ONLY I hold the tools to do such things and live life in such a way. And ONLY YOU...have the power in your life.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Wish

For 2009 I wish for forgiveness of my short comings, failures and mistakes. I wish for growth and wisdom from my wrong doings. I wish that in my weaknesses I find someday strengths. I wish for another healthy 365 days. I wish for more laughter than tears. I wish for my loved ones a peaceful and happy new year. I wish that I, You and all find the blessings in this life whether we be walking with the warmth of the sun or with the bitter darkness. I wish that we find ourselves laughing and smiling in all of our coming days not just the picture perfect ones. I wish that the challenges and changes that will be forthcoming in 2010 be ones that force me to grow-gain and become. I wish for a year of not standing still but one of constant moving. I wish to be challenge outside my comfort zone and experience new places, things and so on.

On this Christmas Day away from my family, I wish them the gift of love, happiness and health. I wish them many smiles across their faces and that their laughter echo thru out the house. And above all I hope they know the blessing they are and the gift that they are in my life...Together and especially apart-they will always be a huge part of my life. And I am soo grateful to call them Family. Though Christmas just isn't the same when it isn't spent with them, I know that somewhere they are all gathered - throwing wrapping paper at Aunt Karla, watching Aunt Renee carry around an endless glass of wine, jumping a bonfire, eating way too much turkey, playing games, singing Christmas Carols and just enjoying each others company. And knowing that those things always stays the same makes smile.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I am Thankful

December 23, 2009 can you believe tomorrow will be Christmas Eve? Where did the time go?? So we have just another day to bring to mind all the blessings and gifts we have in our lives. I am thankful for a fun loving and (yes most of the time crazy) supportive family. I am thankful for my true journey friends. I am thankful for a roof over my head and money in my pocket-even if its only 50 cents. I am thankful for my good health and the ones I love. I am grateful for being just where I am at. I am thankful for my freedom, being able to voice my thoughts and views. I am thankful for this life that I am simply able to live how I choose... I am truly thankful for so many things.

Monday, December 21, 2009


It amazes me how if you just let time and life flow its course the healing and letting go and well change in itself seems to losen its grip on you. Loss - Death and sorrow can consume you. And I have yet to know what is best: to hold onto such things or to just let life and time take its course. When you hold on the memories tend to remain soo fresh. The love is so deeply felt. I think of the people I have lost in this life and how real those memories were to the point you thought you never would forget. But then one day you awake and find that the tears have dried - the frowns have turned into laughter and the memories have become a bit hazy. We slowly let go so we can create new memories and find happiness in our lives instead of sorrow.

I never thought I would forget the sound of my grandmother's voice but lately I just can seem to hear how she would say my name. I never thought I would forget the feeling of her arms embracing me in one of her hugs. Which are constant reminders that life is helping me slowly let go. Yet there are some things that I hold onto so dearly still; like how her book of psalms and bible seem to just open to right where she left off or to the passages she read over and over. I remember right after she left this earth I got a few hankies from my aunts that were hers. I found myself smelling them everyday because they smelt of her. And one day the smell started fading. I found myself feeling like I was losing her all over again. Because to me that's what true loss is... Slowly just losing a piece at a time til there's really nothing left to truly hold onto of them in this life. So I decided to pack it away in a suitcase of hers and only open up that case when I truly need her. And in a way that's how life works. It takes things away from you only to bring them back to help you realize that what seems gone isn't truly lost.

My grandfather gave me one of granny's necklaces and I wear it daily as a constant reminder that thou she isn't in a place that I can reach her. hug her. or hear her. She is still with me. And I feel that's the way its meant to be. We are meant to let go-to heal-to change-to carry on. Because soo much still remains. Soo much love and laughter. And thou its hard at times for all of us to let go- we must get our fill on life's good stuff while we can. For it will be just a matter of time til we will be reunited with those we have lost.

So on this holiday season I want to remember the lives of Granny-Grandpa Jake-Jay Swegarden,Ben Lenzen, Amy Kritzberger, Simon Schroder, Ken Toop, Alec Lausen, Jo Swegarden,Aarron Bauman, Lindsey Cunningham, Derek Martin, Damian Kunkel, Ryan Havelka, Dennis Paulsrud, Chris Vettel, Shannon Huber, Rhonda Gunsch, Keith Smetie, and so many others as well as those loved ones gone from your life. Though time has gone on we have not forgotten their love and thou the light of their soul has faded for us to brightly see, I know that its only because it has moved not been blown out. For somewhere it is burning bright and we will see it again and feel their warmth one day.

My thoughts and prayers are with these people's families for I know they are missed and thought about each and every holiday and esp to those who are for the first time having a holiday without a loved one. I pray you still see the gifts in this life even thou it seems like they have been all taken from you this holiday season. For thou its your first Christmas without its their first Christmas with those all up there.

So take the time to remember those we can no longer see-hear and hug...they are always worth remembering and speaking of...for in a way it brings a piece of them back to us with just remembering.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


"Somebody lives...someboday dies...somebody wrongs and a mother cries. And I don't know why. Somethings we will never understand. Other things we will change if we can. PEACE you will find it where the heart is and the heart is right where LOVE lives. LOVE can always find a way. HOPE is something that reminds us. Its not too late to find us. One day we may be in PEACE... Its all about forgiveness. With God as my witness... I wanna live to see PEACE"...

Its this time of year we reflect, we think back, we remember. Of the memories of both happiness and sorrow. Of overcomings and shortcomings. Of the hurt we caused and the forgiveness we were given. Its each of these moments that we bring to mind, whether they be moments of spent in sunshine or in moments we would rather forget... help us in some sort of shape and form to grow and become. Its easy to grow from success, happiness and time spent in the sunshine. But the real growth, the real becoming are from the moments where we find ourselves in the darkness, where we have fallen smack on our faces, where we have failed and messed up beyond what we think is forgivable, where our hearts are filled with sorrow that we feel that never ends. For in those moments where we thought the tide would never turn, where we thought the grip would never let up, where we wanted to cash it all in... Somewhere inside of us--we found the courage and the strength to hold on. to carry on, to pick ourselves back up, to believe in hope and in life. And from those darkest of moments we were granted growth, strength and one piece more of becoming who we are meant to be.

Life is made up of a thousands simple moments. Combining them all we find the story of our journey in this life. I know of sorrow, of failure and of regret. I often carry with me a thousands questions of why's left with no answers, of moments begging for understanding...but yet I still hold onto HOPE... that one day the pieces will come together. HOPE... that one day I am granted forgiveness. HOPE... that I will always grow from my failures-sorrow and darkest moments of life. HOPE... that one day I will find myself living in PEACE... HOPE... that one day you will too. HOPE... that one day we all will live in PEACE... Til that day...I will wrap myself in HOPE - layered in LOVE and coated with FAITH...and only then will I feel the warmth of this LIFE.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Winter Blessing

Soon the mountain will be filled with families and guest who have traveled to Whitefish to spend their christmas and winter holiday in the fish. It will become well madness here...people everywhere! But what a joy to see a family together spending the holiday in each others company. It seems like on those family trips everyone gets along and everyone is glad to be in each other's company. Everyone has a smile on their face and a please and thank you.

It is in a way a gift to be able to witness this- to see the happiness and love in the riders and skiers on the mountain. I love Whitefish in the Winters and Christmas on the slopes. It is a magical place in this little ski town. I could try to explain the magic it holds but its one of those things you just have to be here to hopefully know the blessing---for its a feeling that just overcomes you when you see the snow covering the landscape before in white-the stillness that is in the air and the softly fallen snow that adds even more to the moment... In many ways its like spending Christmas in the North Pole. I have been skiing and better to other places but I have yet to find such a place that could top Life in the Fish for Christmas. And with knowing that I know of my winter blessing.... To call this place home and even more so being someone that helps others fall in love with this magical place and have a winter blessing of their own this season.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Holidays

It smells of fresh pine and cinnamon. The twinkle and sparkle of the tree with ornaments reflecting the christmas lights. And to top it off snow is softly falling down... You might just think I am living in the Norht Pole... close... Its Christmas in Whitefish... and let me tell you its a magical place here. The town is festive and the people greet you with a Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas. The snow transforms this town and mountain into a winter wonderland. You can't help but hmm a tune of frosty, or its beginning to look a lot like christmas...

So as I sit here and type to the world of unknow readers...I am filled with peace - joy - love... to be right where I am at - at this very moment. I am not quite sure what could top this holiday moment... Gosh I love holiday moments... and I hope to have heaps more before the big man gets here on Christmas Eve.

Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


We all have something that we wish we could take back. We all have something called regret. If we didn't have at least one of these such things we wouldn't be human. Because that's what we do...we fail. We mess up. We make mistakes. We are quick with our words when our thoughts and feelings truly don't agree. We hurt.

Yet the truth of it is that somethings can never be taken back. Some mistakes are unfixable and some mess ups can't fully be cleaned up. Sometimes no matter how hard we try we can't put things back together and pretend like nothing ever went wrong. In the end all we are left to is living with it.

We can try to forget but well even when I try I still remember. It will sneak up on you in your moments of the day sometimes invited as a friendly reminder of the lessons you learned from the regret(s) you carry in your life. Sometimes they blind side you and suck the life right out of you. And sometimes its just constant-you can never escape it. You learn to pick it up each day and carry it with the same way you brush your teeth and put your socks on each morning. You try so hard to find ways to put it down but its hold is too deep.

What's the point of regret? Well I am still learning...but I am sure it has to deal with learning. I am sure its there to haunt us with what happens when we hurt. When we are less than who we are. When we know our actions are wrong and still go about doing them. Regret are wounds that never fully heal-we are forced to adjust our life around them so they in the end become apart of our life. Which is mainly why I refuse to have even one. But even I am not above such things. Maybe someday I will just carry such things with me without even knowing-kind of like brushing my teeth-i don't think about having to do it...I just do it. And yet sometimes I hope I never do forget the mistakes I have made and the hurt I have caused so I know and learn from them. So in some way I become better and more because of the regrets I have and not less.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

i hope...

...sometimes this life just doesn't make sense...we search and grasp for understanding...and yet in the end this life isn't meant to be understood...just lived to the depths of your soul...more than anything I want to trust in a journey that i don't understand...

i pray for those who we have lost much too soon. i pray for the mistakes i have made. i pray for forgiveness. i pray that someday i will have reason to all my unanswered questions. i pray that you forgive. i pray that you embrace life's gift. i pray that somehow in the end this life will make sense. i pray that you know that no amount of failure or struggle will make you less in this world. i pray that you always know you are never alone.

this holiday season i pray that you ... say i love you, you matter, you are a gift, you belong, you make a difference...don't let someone slip thru the cracks. don't let someone think they don't matter. don't let someone think they are unforgiveable, unlovable...speak the words that your heart feels for your friends, your family...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gone too soon.

Just moments ago, I was told of some terrible news. A student at Whitefish High took his life today, he was a senior with the world at his finger tips. After spending a year sub teaching at the High School I was given the chance to get to know most of the students, Derek was one of them. I am having a hard time gasping with the Why's...My heart just aches for a life that was taken before it was ever meant to be over. My heart aches for the students of Whitefish and the teachers. My heart aches for his family... his mother, who is a teacher at WHS. It aches to the point where it almost sucks the air right out of my lungs.

Death never comes at a point where we like it, its always unwelcomed in our lives... But right before Christmas tears at my heart even more. When you teach and coach those students aren't just students...they become your kids...every last one of them...even the ones that cause all hell and test you...ALL of them. I think of my Packer punks daily...and I always find myself praying that if they ever feel like the tide is taking them down to reach out and ask for help. I pray that they realize that they aren't alone. That they realize that tough times don't last...but tough people do. I pray they know someone will understand-if that someone is me or whoever...but someone will. How did Derek not know these things? How did he just slip thru the cracks? How did you ever think his life wasn't good enough to be lived?

Thou I didn't know you very well, Derek. You were such a polite, kind and hard working student. And I hope that you know realize what a true gift your life really was. And I pray that the life you will never have a chance to live will be a hard life lesson for friends and classmates...that they realize the things you never fully knew... That you are not alone, that someone does care, that someone does understand, that your life is a gift, that you are loved, that tough times don't last-tough people do, that you are forgiven for mistakes you never think can be forgiven. That you are worthy of living this life, that you ... YOU... belong... YOU fit... YOU just being YOU is enough...I wish you knew such things Derek...May the angels lead you into paradise...and may God wrap his love and strength around your family and friends.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I am a little late...BUT well on Nov 6, 2009 I was unable to post the blog I wanted to write. So today, a month and 3 days later I am writing it. I called and talked to her-which is what really matters on her Birthday! RIGHT!?!? But I will officially say it here now... Happy Belated Birthday Rebecca Jean Rodine-Undem!!

Rebecca aka Big Mama (and its not because she is BIG or at the time a Mama) OR Becca was my college roommate. We met in an Interior Design Class when I was a sophmore at North Dakota State. Thou we both switched majors soon after, it didn't matter the friendship was already formed and we knew it would last from then on out. The following semester we became college roommates...and for the remaining two years that Big Mama had til graduation as a Bison we lived together.

Oh the fun times we had. Some of my favorite memories of college ever were shopping at 3am at Walmart with her. Sometimes we were well a little impaired other times most prolli thought we came straight from the bars but in fact completely sober. Usually those were the times in Decemeber where we would go Christmas shopping for our apartment. One Christmas we had our very own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree-which I at a later date I decided to cut down and bag for removal with a streak knife...but thats a story for a different time and place. Living with Big Mama always meant singing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving and having our radio tuned into the River 95.1 for 24/7 Christmas songs. To this day she calls me the day after Thanksgiving to sing the first Carol of the season to me. Gosh was the winter holidays a fun time with her and I.... and oh do I miss it!!

Becky was always a good influnce on me...for the most part. She could speak and understand Michellish from the start. She got my strange sense of humor. And for a person who was very private and didn't so much as like to discuss anything about myself--oh did she have a way of sucking info and thoughts out of me. Thou times have changed and distance is now between us...Becky has not changed one bit.

She is still kind, still a ball full a fun, still all about the holidays, still can suck out info and thoughts out of me, still can speak and understand Michellish...But now is also an amazing mom and wife. Two roles she was well...BORN to be! And I know first hand she rocks at both!! She has always been someone I can fully and completely count on and trust in. She has always been understandings, encouraging and supportive --esp when it comes to well my strange and most of the time random ways of living and thinking.

Today and ALWAYS Rebecca...I hope you know how every special you are. And what a true blessing you are to those who know and love you. I knew from the very moment I met you, that you were something special. And I am so thankful that we sat down next to each other and started talking... I am so thankful for all the memories I have with you, and all of the fun times we had together. I know we are both busy and life sometimes has different plans than we have in mind...but I know our friendship will never fade. Its like how I can count on year after year after year...that on Black Friday- my phone will ring and you will be there singing the first Christmas song of the season... thats our friendship...something we can both always count on... Love ya BIG MAMA...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just a Tuesday Winter...

So today, I am nestled up in my warm and cozy mountain home. With the smell of pine and cinnamon filling the room. I decided what a perfect time to spend the day watching my christmas movie collection...When its too cold outside to go skiing on my off days... than its a perfect time to get in the holiday spirit. So I am goin to go and cover up with my winter blanket with a nice cup of hot cocco and continue on with Miralce on 34th Street....Next up will it be Its a Wonderful Life or ELF...decisions decisions.... Wishing you a Happy Holidays!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Christmas Wish.

Maybe its the holidays, maybe its people making an extra effort to show kindness and compassion. Maybe its because everywhere I look I see a face smiling back at me. Maybe its because I hear thank you so much more. Maybe its because its around this time of year people are coming together and just enjoying the company of others. Maybe its because so many are realizing what this holiday it truly all about. Its just a blessing I guess you could say, to walk the streets and hear a happy holidays or merry christmas to you. You see....people for some reason get it around the holidays. They finally see that the best gifts they can give others is simply something that costs nothing and well can't be found anywhere but inside of your heart. They are saying such words as Thank you, Your welcome, I forgive you, I love you, I am grateful, I am blessed. Such words as I hope the coming year is gentle to you, I wish you a Merry Christmas...Happy Holidays....Its a smile from a stranger, its holding open a door, its giving a helpful hand....its these well simple simple simple things....that well in all honestly could be done all year along but for some reason most of the time you only see them around the holidays....YET in all honestly that is better than nothing.

I have had the blessing of having 28 Winter Holidays...soon to be 29...and there are soo many moments to choose from but one I would like to share...As a child, I remember goin to midnight mass in my grandparents church...Before this church remodeled...they had huge cement steps leading up to the church doors. And it was a Christmas tradition to gather on those steps at midnight --no matter what it was like outside-- and sing christmas carols...I will never forget one Christmas prolli when I was 9 or 10...standing on the church steps holding Granny's hand...and well as a girl of that age...I typically hated or at the very least couldn't stand my brothers...esp my kid brother. But that Christmas I remember not only was I holding my grandmother's hand but also one belonging to someone on most days who drove me to almost taking his life(my brother, Jacorian)...even then I realized that thou he was on most days a huge some strange way I was grateful that he was a pain in my life...because it meant he was in my life. OH course after the singing was over it went right back to him being a pain and me wanting to take his life... But it just goes to show you...Christmas has a million moments of people showing kindness, compassion, understanding, forgiviness and love....which in itself if you think about truly remarkable....

Everyone has their favorite part of the holidays. Some its frosting cookies, decorating the tree, christmas shopping, wrapping the gift so perfectly...Some its the gathering of family and friends, some its midnight mass in a candle lite church.... Well I guess mine is a bit of all...but if I truly had to pick...its hearing the laughter bounce off the walls in a house filled with my family. My favorite part is to step back in the shadows and just watch...just hear...just feel... For I can see-hear and feel the love that has blessed my life. And sometimes I feel like my heart could just brust into two because in those moments it is soo filled with love and happiness...And that feeling right me...thats what Christmas is all about.

So whats my Christmas wish this year...what do I want?? Well...I want someone to forgive someone they never thought they would. I want someone to hold open a door for a stranger. I want someone to hold their kid brother's hand and for at least ten minutes not have the urge to take his life :). I want someone to take a step back and for a moment truly see-hear and feel the love that surrounds them. I want someone to say thank you, your welcome, I forgive you, I love you. I want many many someone's giving the gifts that they have to offer that they carry in their hearts. WHAT a CHRISTMAS that would be if everyone showed understanding, kindness, compassion and love....not just to those they love and care about but to all....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's HERE...

December 5th, 2009....its the opening WINTER SEASON of 2009-2010 in Whitefish Montana. It just might be my favorite day ever. It just might be one of the best open ski days ever. Mother nature decided to give us an early christmas gift...5 inches of pow pow...and well still counting since as I type the snow if softly falling from the sky. Some people take this everyday place for granted. Some people don't realize that some save all year to ski and ride the FiSH. For us locals its our backyard. And for a select few ****ME included**** we call this Big Mountain our home and our doorsteps open to a slope....SO I ask you...FiSH LOVERS out there anything better than this? Opening day powder??? Is there anything better than a cold beer at the Stube??? Is there anything better than finishing the day knowing you will be back tomorrow??? Is there anything better than knowing today was just the first day and you have the whole winter season (filled with much much snow) to come??? Is there anything better than to call this winter wonderland HOME?? Is there anything better than WINTERS in WHITEFISH??????? TODAY was a double thumbs up -smile bigger than your face kind of day. LIFE IS GOOD.