When you attend a “White Out” game at Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley, PA – the home of the Penn State Nittany Lions, you are experiencing this:

When you drive in Syracuse, NY any time between October and May, you are experiencing this:

Courtesy of Deaf Geoff (Click image to read his incredible Lake Effect story)
Courtesy of Deaf Geoff (Click image to read his incredible Lake Effect story)

Both are labeled WHITE-OUTS. That is the name we have attached to these two phenomenally different experiences. If it’s a Saturday night in September and I happen to find myself in Happy Valley with two tickets in my hand, then I am over-the-moon thrilled with the notion of a White-Out. If it’s a Saturday morning, the day after my birthday, and I am tasked with transferring expensive cargo about 50 miles during a typical Central NY whiteout, then I am terrified (at least to start).

I am awakening more each day to the notion that we are always in control of our expectations and our attitudes. I am not saying that I’d prefer to drive through a whiteout, rather than sit on the 50 yard line, 4 rows up, at a Penn State White-Out. What I am saying, and what I really want you to hear, is that you are in control of how you FEEL during every experience life is offering you. You can choose to align yourself with fear, worry, doubt, negativity and anger – OR, you can choose alignment with hope, love and positive expectation. I worry sometimes that this all might be a little too far-out (a little too “hippie”) for a new reader stumbling upon my thoughts today; however, I’m choosing to replace my own fear with the trust that any new person who happens to find these words today absolutely NEEDS to read them. This must be the perfect time for someone to tune in to this message, otherwise I wouldn’t be inspired to say it. Not today. Perfect harmony.

The day after my birthday this year, Thommy and I had planned to do some shopping in Rochester, visit Analy, John & their little one, and party with Justin. Since we were headed in that direction, I was asked to do a transfer of candles from our store to Waterloo. Originally planning to pick them up on Saturday morning, we changed our minds during our Friday dinner and got them loaded up in the car early, ready to go. Saturday morning was an absolute nightmare. I can usually gauge how bad the snow is by how far I can see out my dining room window. If I can’t see 81, then it’s really bad. If I can’t see Route 11, which runs just parallel our complex, then it’s really, really bad. On this particular Saturday morning, I couldn’t even see the far end of the complex. It was accumulating so fast, and the winds felt tropical storm strength. I was virtually in tears and *thisclose* to calling the whole trip off. Seeing that our trunk and back seat were completely filled with crates, I felt a larger responsibility to getting the candles there in one piece than I did for us. A neighbor, who had just returned to LaFayette from a town near our destination had one word to describe the roads: shit. He said I-90 was basically an obstacle course due the high number of vehicles involved in each crash. You know how quickly chain reaction panic can spread on days like this, under these conditions.

How obvious then, all things considered, that when we panic over small things, little inconveniences and even medium-size problems, we all of a sudden find ourselves BURIED under more and more problems, getting heavier as the chain reaction negativity piles up around us. How quickly do you find yourself going from 0 to 60 in the “crises” department; everything having started after just one glitch in the plan? How often do you find yourself saying, “Great, NOW what?” How about saying, “What else could go wrong?”

I do it. But I’m certainly doing it less than ever because I am truly, truly learning that by saying those things, I am only attracting more of the very thing I don’t want. When things seemingly go wrong, I begin to ponder what else could happen, and I wish out-loud that all these glitches would just stop; but the more energy, attention and focus I use on things that are going wrong (EVEN IF I’M ASKING THEM TO STOP) – the more I pull them closer. I guess what I’m trying to say is the same thing you will read in all the Law of Attraction books: the Universe doesn’t understand “NO”. It just sees you putting all your attention on so-called “problems”, detours, mistakes, accidents and “tragedies” that it just pulls in more of the same for you to have. It is a cycle. Thankfully, it is one that is easily broken.

As soon as you find yourself focusing on what has “gone wrong” (remember, something “going wrong” is just the label you have given any particular incidence that you do not fully understand- perhaps this incidence has gone exactly right, just in expected and unknown ways) – CHOOSE A NEW PERSPECTIVE. Pick a better feeling. What has gone right today? “Right” in the sense that it was expected, planned or appreciated. Focus on that for a minute and feel whatever positive emotion you can attach to it. I usually choose gratitude.

During that wild and crazy ride to Waterloo, I was scared, no lie. I felt awful for the multitude of cars around us that were on the side of the road, in the ditch, up on the guard rails and way out in the drifts of unrelenting snow. I prayed and stayed quiet while Thommy drove. Even though we hadn’t reached our destination yet, I said prayers of gratitude for getting us there safely, candles & humans unharmed… I said these prayers even before we were “safe”, even before we were at our destination… I fully expected and intended a safe trip. At one point, we were monitoring how many cars were around us – in front, to the right and left, and behind – so that when the next gust of wind brought thick bursts of snow and took our sight, we would be ready. We wanted to know what was there, all around us, even if we couldn’t see it. Then, when the winds died down and our vision became clear, we saw everything as it was before the blindness.

And that’s the point. You won’t always know what waits for you up ahead, or around the next corner – but it’s there, where it is meant to be, doing everything it is supposed to do. All you have to do is believe, trust and expect that it is working in your favor – because the absolute truth is this: IT IS.

We are still grieving the loss of Pumpkin and in a few days I’m going to reflect deeper and thank him and all his caretakers for the lessons they taught me. Last night was hard; this morning, a little less so. But then, the Neon (our second car) wouldn’t start. It wouldn’t even make the sound of a car with a dying battery. Just … nothing. A few hours ago, I notice that the water in our apartment was grey, gritty and just plain dirty. I called the property manager. A water pipe broke and will be fixed shortly but in the meantime, she cautioned, don’t touch the water.

Hmmm… ok, well – at least we have one running car at the moment. Blessings that I took my shower earlier than normal today: Thank You intuition (and You’re Welcome, future customers & colleagues at Yankee Candle). I will go to work in peace, enjoying the ride with my husband who I would not have the pleasure of seeing this afternoon had the Neon started this morning. I don’t know what is wrong with the car, and I certainly don’t know how much it will cost (if anything!) to fix it. I trust that I don’t need that information now. The mini-blizzard we had here in LaFayette this morning has moved aside for some gorgeous blue sky to hold up dozens of perfect clouds.


I have the best Mom in the world who loves me unconditionally and is so strong and courageous. I can’t imagine her kind of strength yet, but since I know it’s in the genes, I don’t worry. She amazes me and inspires me and I hope that my words and my attitudes about trusting the Universe resonate with her, and help her any time she might need it. I read a letter she wrote today and her words were so perfect. I am grateful she passed along her love & use of our language.

I have the best husband. I saw him as “perfect” (or, perfectly flawed) even when he acted in defiance of my image. He creates himself so beautifully every day and I am so grateful he’s shown up as such an amazing driver, partner, friend – everything.

I have the best friends. One in particular that I spoke to this morning, one who started speaking to me about her truths and her awareness years ago. I am so blessed she has chosen to continue this conversation with me, after everything, after all the years. She is powerfully inspiring and my heart is full of awe and love for her and the love that she gives to her children. Miraculous.

Remember, today, to choose the best feeling you can find… the rest is yours to discover.

Love & Light,

“It Gets Better the Better it Gets” ~Jerry Hicks

One thought on “Whiteout

  1. Your beautiful words have always resonated with me, even when they were not recognizable words but to me. Once again you surpass yourself…these words are truly inspiring. Being the best Mom as you say is easy when you have the best Daughter EVER…you have lifted me up once again..you have been doing that since the second I knew about you and you have never stopped. You are my amazing beautiful gift from the heavens. Keep going in the direction of your light because it is now and will always take you to your perfect place. All my love-to the moon and back. Mom xoxoxo

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