She Allegedly Retired

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Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

It’s been about 7 months since Valerie retired. And  WHOA is in her vocabulary!!!  She had no idea it was going to be the way it is.  Just to summarize that she did work in law enforcement for 26 years and  also wore many hats on top of that.  She studied singing, dance, started a blog and is also raising a responsible teen.  So needless to say prior to retirement she was on a fast paced treadmill.  And was able to run quite fast.  Did she get tired?  Hell yeah but she just kept pushing herself because after all that’s the  way she was trained.  No Pain, no gain.

Fast forward to retirement and now she finally gets a chance to rest and relax.  Umm not exactly.  She designed her retired life to keep herself on that treadmill.  How and why did she do that?  Well she got a puppy, kept up with all of my hobbies and realized that she was really exhausted.  But she kept pushing herself anyway.  Now instead of stressing about deadlines at work, she was stressing about getting the dishes done and doing laundry.  Seriously?  How the hell did that happen?

tired office worker

She realized that people get so programmed to go at such a high rate of speed that it is difficult to slow down.  Imagine when you are on a tread mill and you get off suddenly, well your heart keeps racing and it takes a little while for it to slow down.  Well that’s exactly what happens when you retire.  It takes a minute to slow down.  Except it’s a rude reality check to realize that you never got off the treadmill.  The treadmill just changed from the treadmill to “Plogging.”

The realization that one seriously just needed to rest.  Stopping all work just isn’t possible as a mom, your on call 24/7.  Especially with a puppy.  (counting respiration rates, taking temperatures of a puppy and trying to find her pulse,trips back and forth to UC Davis etc.)

How the heck do you slow down anyway?  The answer is to take time to rest.  Maybe  watching TV is not a waste of time.  I usually watch an interesting movie but you really need that downtime.

happiness

If you allow yourself to rest you will find  that one will start to feel more calm and sleep better at night.  Work still occurs but now just take more breaks and  don’t worry about anything.  Valerie is recovering from all of those years of over work.  Her favorite thing is when  plans are made and the plans fall through.  She stopped putting on make up as much.  Started doing yoga everyday.  Basically getting back to basics.  Valerie realized that “Yoga Teacher heal thyself.” has real meaning. Getting back on the yoga mat and just let go of the past and the future.  Allow yourself the time to rest and heal.

What was the result?  Well She feels way better.  She is more calm and relaxed.

Everyone is different in their experience.  And by the way what works for you might not work for everyone or maybe you want the freedom to explore your own options.  It’s called Freedom of Choice.  So please do what your heart desires.

Remember even cell phones get a chance to charge themselves.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and a Yoga Instructor/dancer and singer.  She recently retired and is redesigning her life.  Life is a journey and it has many ups and downs.  Find the pathway that serves you.  This is a belly dance inspired movement.  She also gives a talk at the end about diet.

Retirement Performance

VAL DANCING STAGE

Retirement Performance

When I first decided that I wanted to dance at my retirement party, my main motivation was because it was a dream of mine. I wanted to do it because I wanted to see exactly what my capabilities were at age 50. I felt that since I was a yoga instructor and a health coach that I should have the ability to perform and with the proper instruction, anything is possible.

So the dance training began and I found it to be very difficult. I had an injury at the same time I started training so I had to be very careful not to hurt myself. But I knew that I loved dancing and I just wanted to put on this epic performance at my party. I had an interest in belly dancing for years and I had done some training starting in 2008. I took a few classes with a local dance instructor and watched some videos but I hadn’t found a dance instructor in my area that I really was compatible with.
Then in 2015, I had surgery and the Dr. gave me the usual recommendation which was not to exercise for 6 weeks. I really despise that recommendation but of course I followed the Dr’s orders. They told me walking was fine.  Yoga was still not an option but the one thing I was able to do was belly dancing. And it just felt amazing on my spine, neck, shoulders and hips. Thus a belly dancer was born.
I soon realized that yoga and belly dancing were very much intertwined with one another.

VAL SPINNING
I kept up the belly dancing and I even taught a workshop at Angeline’s dance studio in 2016. I had previously been a Zumba and U-Jam Fitness Instructor and I felt comfortable dancing in front of people and I knew I wanted to perform at my retirement party in front of my loved ones, but I felt belly dancing alone would just feel completely inappropriate and I knew if I wanted it to turn out good, then I needed professional training and choreography.

I picked the song which was Transcendence by Lindsey Stirling and it had a classical feel to it. Although I used to belly dance at home to that song, I knew that ballet would go nicely with it as well.

At first I wanted to do a partner dance. But it’s difficult to find a partner and I decided to just do private instruction.
So it was going to be a belly dance/ballet fusion dance.
So ballet is very challenging. It’s pilates on steroids as I like to call it. And I was still working at the time and my work was not helping the situation at all. Because all of the sitting was counter productive. But I kept up with the training and the video is the final result.
When I watch the video, I feel happy with certain parts and other parts, I wish were better. But overall, I feel grateful that I had the ability and opportunity to dance and perform especially at the age of 50.

Sometimes when the fear strikes me when I think about releasing a video, I just think well if someone wants to criticize me that’s fine. They can go ahead and do a performance and then we can discuss my performance afterwards.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and Yoga Instructor. She recently retired from a Career in Law Enforcement after 26 years. Email her at:estrella.valerie@yahoo.com

How I Became a Singer

 

Music has a way of being influential.  As a young child music was always being played growing up.  Having a music teacher, John DeDios Barron, for a father has many pros and cons.  An alleged pro is being exposed to many different formats.  The con is hearing the same song over and over and over.  Many times the music would be classical or jazz.  Mexican music was played regularly as well since he was a Mariachi as well.  My father could play the trumpet and piano very well.  However later in life he took up violin and that was just painful.  Wow!!  Also the volume of music could be very loud.

A regular scenario was trying to watch Gilligan’s Island to all of a sudden hearing, Brick House hella loud.  And forget about thinking you’re going to get your way and watch the rest of the show. TV time was just over.  That was a definite Con.

music therapy

Piano was offered as my father was a music teacher.  However I wasn’t feeling the whole piano thing with my dad so I rejected the concept and instead focused on dance.  I didn’t think I had the music gene until recently it has been awakened.

My daughter was taking voice lessons and she was being much towards me as I was towards my dad which was rejecting the voice lessons provided for her.  She was rejecting voice lessons and when she was  done, she was done.  So having already paid for the lessons, I decided that I would take the voice lessons in her place.  That was in 2014.

 

At first I was pretty terrible.  I had to learn so much and anyway I just kept going to class.  One thing I noticed was that the singing made me feel very happy.  It became music therapy for me.  So I kept taking the classes but then took a break in 2015.  I took it up again last March 2017 and decided to work towards my goal which was to sing at my retirement party.  Which I did.

Singing is very physical.  One thing I struggle with is singing and looking relaxed  You know like it’ the easiest thing to do.  Effortlessness.

Your body becomes your instrument and I have to keep it really strong if I want to continue to sing.  But it is very therapeutic to sing.  I would recommend it to anyone.  It did not come natural for me but it absolutely comes natural for my daughter.  Now if I can only figure out how to get her singing again.

In any case I am going to stick with it for now as it is a positive outlet and lord knows we all need that.soy milk(This is here just to see if anyone sees this.  I thought this was so funny!!!  Never thought about Soy Milk being in Spanish.  lol

My Dream Retirement Party

fancy reception

When working a long career, it is easy to dream about retirement.  Dreams about the future and dreams about a retirement celebration.  As the time grew nearer, I spoke to people about having a retirement party and I decided that I definitely wanted to have a party.  And I was only going to invite people who I truly cared about.  When you work for the government, you work with people that you have no choice in the matter.  I’ll say it first, I haven’t been the easiest person to work with over the years.

Anyway planning this party was a fantasy of mine and I only wanted super cool people there.  So I invited people who are currently in my life that were sweet. People that I’ve known for years since I was a kid and we kept some semblance of contact with each other over the years.  It’s so hard to maintain relationships over the years.  We get caught up in careers, kids and relationships.  Also for financial reasons, I just couldn’t invite everyone.

I decided that I wanted to share my dreams and passions with my guests.  For so many years I’ve had to walk around with this mask on that was suffocating me.  I had to be super tough and I couldn’t let the real me out or it would have been seen as weakness.

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Celebrating my 29th Birthday at SVSP.

It was in this safe space that I was creating that I knew I would be able to let my passions shine.  I decided I was going to perform for my guests.  It was really fun to plan this event.  I wanted to plan it because I knew it would be exactly as I wanted.

glitter girl

The most amazing people showed up and assisted me with this event.  My dear friend, Peggy who is an amazing event organizer, provided me with the caterer, a DJ was recommended by another friend and I found an amazing Videographer, Kristian Medina that was super cool and creative.

Kristian took these photographs but I am proud to say, I did the slide show.  Those that know me, know this is no small feat.  I was really happy with the way it came out.  I tried my best to put pictures in that were flattering.  Trust me I have some black male pictures if I wanted. Not really.

I did do a little editing and I finally figured out how to do a slide show.  And I picked some music from the evening and added that in.  #Lindseysterlingtranscendence, #Beatsantiquebattle, #Pa’Bailar-Siemprequieromasbajofondo&Julieta.  I threw in Siempre Quiero Mas because it’s an amazing song.  Great song to dance to.  (Wink Wink)

Also I really want to thank the people who showed up.  It’s not easy to get out of the house these days.  But thank you for showing up. I love you and appreciate you from the bottom of my heart.

I wrote a thank you note and was planning on reading it that night but of course I forgot it and had to just do it ad-lib style.  My favorite thing to do.  I’m going to write that here:

Thank you Letter intended for Valerie’s Retirement Party

I want to take this time out to thank everyone for coming to my party.  I really appreciate your spending time with me on this special occasion.  This has been a dream and a goal of mine for many years and I have happy to have finally made it to retirement.

Special thanks to the following:

Leonora Barron, mi madre and mommy.  I would not be here physically and also you helped me to make this event possible. Thank you Mom for always being there for me with all of my crazy ideas.  You’ve always supported and encouraged me and I appreciate you for that.   Again working for CDCR was not easy and I know I could be very harsh at times.  Thank you for forgiving me.  I hope I can be as gracious as you.

My father, John Barron who without you, I would not have been exposed to music to the extent that I was.  I know as a child it was sometimes very annoying to have a musician for a father.  But looking g back I am thankful that I had that influence in my life.  I understand now how you used to be “spacey” at times and I’m sure it was because you were mentally trying to figure out timing or a musical arrangement.  Thanks for following your dreams because I know it helped me go for my dreams.

For my daughter Victoria, Thank you for being so patient with me.  Thank you for being so loving and kind to me.  You have a huge heart and I hope you keep letting your light shine.  Thank you for going with me to all those classes and events and for taking my classes.  You were a real little trooper and I appreciate and love you for that.  Don’t ever forget your name means Victorious Star of the People.  Let’s enjoy my new-found freedom.  Let’s see the world.

To my brother, Adam Barron: Thanks for being there during the years and especially for looking out for my father.  Thank you for being supportive and for always opening your house up to me.  I know I hardly go around anymore but it’s because I’ve been working like a dog.  Keep shining your light Adam.  You are a beautiful person that everyone loves.  Don’t ever forget that.  Thanks for allowing me to be, “Adam’s little sister.”

To my brother, Ben:Thank you for always encouraging me to pursue my goals and for listening to me.  You’re an amazingly talented guitarist and performer.  I encourage you to continue with your artistic goals.  Thank you for staying true to your art which isn’t an easy task in these times.  You are a role model for everyone.

To my Aunt, Eleanor Barron-Druckery, thank you for being there for me.  Thank you for being supporting and listening to me over the years.  You a dreamer and I never realized how important dreams are.  But with all of your extensive writings on dreams, it has definitely helped me to find my vision for dreams.

To my cousin Ray Ray Lozano:  Thank you for being there for me.  It’s been great getting a male perspective on things.  No matter what we are family first and even though we don’t always agree on everything, we’re still family.  Keep striving for your dreams and goals and you are an awesome role model.  Remember it’s your strength is found in forgiveness.

Peggy Rairden:  Thank you for helping with the decorations and for all of the input on the party.  Who knew going to a Zumba class would bring me a great new bathroom and such an amazingly talorented interior decorator and party planner.  Thank you for all of your support.

Alice Hutchings: I’ve known you for 20 years and have had a lot of fun in the past.  I want to thank you for coming the distance to be at this event.  I’ve always been able to rely on you over the years.  You used to be my mom at work.  Whether I needed a fork or if you shared your left overs.  You always helped me out in the best way and made me feel better.  You have a beautiful heart and keep letting it shine.

Special thanks to Angeline:  Thank you for pushing me beyond my limits.  Thank you for pursuing your dreams because.   You are always able to figure out what a person is doing and what they need to be doing so they can be better.  I don’t know how you do it.  As you know it’s not always easy working with people and our excuses for why we don’t do things to improve our capabilities.  Thank you for creating such an amazing safe place to learn to dance and thrive.  I wish you continued success.

Thank you to Alina for being the amazingly talented musician you are.  I know I wouldn’t have been able to get up here today and sing had it not been for your support and encouragement.  Thank you for following your dreams and you’re helping so many people and children to fall in love with the universal language of music  Thank you for sharing your gifts with us in the US.  I know you could have lived anywhere on the planet and yet we found each other. Thank you for following your passion had you not, you would not have been able to assist me with mine.  

I also want to thank all of the people who have been supportive of me throughout my career  As you know it’s not an easy career.  Sometimes it feels like all you are doing is putting out fires and it can be difficult to work together to reach a common goal.  I really want to thank John Butler who was my supervisor for 4 years.  I want to thank you for being supportive of me.  You probably don’t know how much you helped me and I will always be thankful for that.  I think I most appreciate was how you were more than understanding about giving time off.  Also after you retired, I missed your sayings or as I refer to them, “Butlerisms.”  Anyway I just wanted to say thank you!! In case you don’t know I’ve had some dark times during my career and as you know there are many people that suffer in my line of work.  

And it’s my passion and goal that I can inspire you to pursue your dreams and goals, no matter what they might be.

Lastly I love you all  and wish you all the best today and always.  I truly hope we are able to keep in touch.  And although we may not always agree on every single issue in life, I hope we are able to put those things aside and truly look at each other’s heart when we have disagreements.  We don’t know how long we have to live and I truly wish you all peace in your heart, love in your spirit and joy in your life.

 

 

Why a Blog?

I initially started this Blog because I was saddened to see so many of my co-workers end up dying prematurely.  It was very sad.  Some were a result of suicide and others due to chronic diseases.  I saw many people living unhealthy lifestyles.

I had learned quite a bit through my studies and I decided to start a Blog so I can say what worked for me and to give me a creative outlet.  Obviously everyone is on their own journey and I can only say what has worked for me.  We all have to make our own personal decisions about everything.  We have free will and can eat and drink whatever we want and we can decide if we go to sleep or stay up all night.

Apparently I like to learn stuff the hard way.  If someone tells me what to do, I’ll consider it but obviously I make my own decision.  The one thing that really motivated me was pain.  When my body was in pain, I would always say, “Oh hell no.  What’s that pain all about?”  And I worked consistently to try to remedy my pain.    But it wasn’t easy and I fell down a lot but I kept getting back up.  Thinking that successful people have it easy is a recipe for sadness.

When you get tired of suffering, you can figure out what you need to do to take care of yourself.  Prioritizing is not easy and any change requires letting go of something.  And that’s the hard part.  Sometimes you have to let go of people, jobs, food, alcohol and drugs.  But what you gain is so much worth it.  But it does take an inquisitive mind and a desire to learn and grow.  I get it not everyone is into that.  But many people are on their path and just don’t know which way to turn.  There is information overload and it’s hard to know who you can trust.  The answer is within you.  Only you can decided what you want.  tired office worker

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  You must desire to take that step and leave the past negativity behind.  It’s hard to do it alone.  So that’s why I started this blog.  Everyone has their own dreams and desires.  I believe that if you start to take one step in the direction of your dreams then you will begin the transformation.  What’s stopping you?

 

 

 

In this video I discuss my 26 year career and how I survived working in law enforcement and how there were many people who did not survive.

 

 

Just Show Up, You never know what kind of awesome you are missing

Recently I had a retirement party and had a 50/50 Raffle. One lucky winner would win 50% of the proceeds and the other 50% went to a “Mystery Guest.”  People were asking me who the mystery guest was and did they actually think I was going to tell them.  I don’t think so.  I had my mouth closed like someone pleading the 5th.

How did I select this mystery guest?  Well I really wanted to bless this person because I just wanted them to know how much I appreciate their work and how their work was a blessing to me.

So I had it all planned out.  I picked the most amazing person.  I was working on my speech and then after I sent out the invitations, I promptly received an RSVP saying they couldn’t make it.  “Darn it.”  I really wanted to bless the.  So I had to pick another mystery guest.  Guess what happened…. they didn’t show up either.

So then I decided that I could not choose just one person.  So I chose two.  In alphabetical order my first choice was Alina Adams.  I chose her because she is my voice instructor and she’s really patient, positive and gives really good feedback.  She’s from the Ukraine and she’s a very talented violinist who honestly could have lived anywhere on the planet.  But we found each other and I just appreciate her work.  And also if she didn’t follow her dream of music then she would not have been there to help me when I found my dream of music.

mystery edited

Next comes Angeline Lucia DeGeorge.  I first met Angeline at a Zumbathon at her dance studio and I was a guest instructor.  I noticed she was a very talented dancer.  After I quit being a Group Fitness Instructor, I decided to be the student and began taking classes with Angeline.  I started with beginning tap and then convinced her to teach an adult ballet class.  She told me if I could get 6 people to commit that she would do a class.  The first class was very full with about 8.  The second class was 4 and now it’s usually 4 to 6 regulars.  After I decided I wanted to do a performance, I asked Angeline to choreograph it and work with her privately.  So for six months I met with her weekly.  It was very difficult, agonizing and rewarding. She’s also a very talented dancer and instuctor.  I picked her to share as a Mystery Guest because after all, had she not followed her dream and passion of being a dancer than I would not have been able to follow my dream of being a dancer.

Bottom line, had they now shown up they would not have won and trust me they were happy they won.

One Day Left to Work

happiness

 

At the time of this time I currently have 1 days left to work in my career. It is something that I have looked forward to for such a long time. It feels kind of like that feeling of finally graduating from High School. The only thing is after High School, one is so very young that they really must contemplate their future. At retirement, it is much the same feeling and one has to contemplate their future as well. The former contemplation usually involves career planning unless you want to live at home for the rest of your life. The latter involves what do you really want to do now that the career is done and the options are endless.

I am very excited about not having to get dressed every day in work attire and come into the office. I look forward to being able to plan my day as I see fit. My only fear is that I will not wear real clothes anymore and I will wear nothing but yoga clothes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but I do think it’s important to get dressed up. So I think one of my goals will be to simply get dressed and put make up on.

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I also have quite a few projects that I am looking forward to tackling. One of them involves a guest bedroom and the other involves adopting a dog. I have been wanting to get a dog for the last few years and I kept telling my daughter that after I retire, we will get a dog. Well the time is getting closer so I am looking for my favorite Canine. I am looking to adopt a Labrador Retriever and we will see if I am able to find one. I just love their floppy ears and they are just so sweet. So I plan lots of walks with my literal “Road Dog.” So I plan on loading pictures of my dog and I in the near future ( I hope).

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Earlier this week there was a very sad occasion when a co-worker passed away and he was a Canine Handler.  So at the funeral they had canines and their handlers from all over California to pay their final respects.  And many of the dogs were of course Labrador Retrievers.  There were black labs and golden labs and they were just so adorable.  I just wanted to bring them home with me.  They were smiling and looking so adorable.  Then I made some phone calls about adopting a lab and of course they don’t call me back.  Who knew I could get stood up by a foster dog?

 

 

End of Career

There is a bright shining light at the end of a tunnel that I’ve been traveling in for 26 years.  It hasn’t all been a dark tunnel but needless to say it has been very dark at many times.  I tunnel-1963456__480 say that I can see the light to retirement very clearly.  If you can hang in there until retirement age, you will be glad that you did.  But it was definitely not an easy challenge.

My career has been very rewarding but very difficult.  I did not have an easy ride.  Unless you tell people about your situation, they don’t really know what you have been through.  And our experiences shape who we are as people.  You see someone who is going though a difficult time and wonder, “Wow, how did they get there?”  Well I guarantee if you take a minute to stop and find out, you will see that they have probably been given a life with difficult circumstances.  In any case, I’ve been through many difficult situations at work.  From seeing dead bodies to being a victim of indecent exposure on numerous occasions, to having people attempt to have very inappropriate relationships, to being called names for my physical appearance, sexually harassed, and also not getting along with co-workers which is the most difficult situation.  I’ve almost had to shoot at someone, cell extractions, being a witness to an autopsy, testifying in a death penalty trial, photographing trails of blood and I won’t even get started on the numerous disgusting descriptions of crimes that I’ve read about.

It takes its toll on a person.  It makes you tough and it can make you a hardened person.  Have I had to be tough?  You had better believe it.  I feel that I am not a hardened person although I know I am definitely rough around the edges.  I at many times find myself wanting to fight.  Not physically although I am not afraid of it.  But many times I can be defensive and if I feel someone is trying to threaten me or come at me with something inappropriate, I will slam them down so fast, their head will spin.  I don’t mean to be so hard, but it’s because of all of my experiences.  And also because people still want to be disrespectful.  But I can be disrespectful too.  If someone goes low, I can go low so fast and I will beat them at being low.  Kind of embarrassed to say that.  But it’s true.  I can use profanity like there is no tomorrow.  Sometimes, you just have to use profanity to describe the situation.  And it feels better.  Thank Steve Martin in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

steve martin

But now I for the most part am loving to people. If I see that they are suffering if they are acting out, I have compassion for them.  Many of the people I work with have also been through some bad stuff too.  Such as being assaulted which in my opinion is the most traumatic.  But the thing is once you’ve been traumatized, we all heal in the same way but the more traumatized, the longer it takes to heal in my opinion but feel wonderful exploring this area yourself.

So needless to say, many co workers act out in my opinion because they are stressed to the max, sleep deprived, suffering from PTSD, poor diet, over weight and lack of social support.  So pretty much just living in survival mode.

And also I just want to say that I know I have been hurt, but I have also hurt people very much.  So I have been the victim and also been the one hurt people too.  I have hurt people in many different ways and I am really sorry to those I did hurt.  That was never my intentions to hurt anyone.  But sometimes when we are going through grief, we don’t always treat the people close to us with the most appreciation.  We need them to take care of us and usually parents do that for their kids.  And sometimes people grow up on the outside but are still behave very much like children.  I think there are many examples of such behavior in politics.

bratty kid

But I do feel that all of us are big kids anyway.  We still like to kick back and watch grown up cartoons.  So it’s the adult version of you as a kid watching cartoons.  So let’s all be patient with our big kid self.  And let’s have some fun for a minute.  Seeing dead bodies isn’t fun and I’m ready to get away from that drama and negativity.

I think people around there are an extension of the inmate populations. So the negativity just flows out to the staff and then they turn on each other.  Also because there is not a lot of violence on staff, the staff turn on each other for their aggression and frustration.  If staff were being assaulted, staff would so be united.  I can guarantee that there is a lot of camaraderie at MCSP where that Officer was almost murdered.

But I do feel that I can lose contact with people there very quickly. The good new is  if you want to keep in touch with me after retirement, you can.  And if you want to share with me your experiences on the comments that would be fantastic.  Or you can just follow me and see if anything I am saying resonates with you.  You can also email me questions or comments or you can just say, “Hi.”  What I would really love is for you to share with me how you are dealing with your traumatic situation.  I know we are all so resilient and you can overcome whatever situation you are in, you can turn it around.  It will take time, work and more time but it will be worth it.  But just start somewhere.

And I’ll just say this now, the hardest thing to change is your eating habits.  So just consult a professional health coach for assistance.  What you put in your body has a huge effect on how you feel mentally.  Start with what you are putting in your body.

I am a health coach but I’m not currently taking clients because I am working full time and blogging and being a mom with a house and trying to keep myself healthy.  But start with your Health Insurance.  Kaiser has excellent programs and I think they are really invaluable.

If you are reading this, I want you to know that I am wishing you all the good things in life.  And may your guardian angels protect and guide you.  I hope you are having an amazing summer and that you don’t take things too seriously.  Life is going very fast.  Just know that you can all on your guardian angels anytime you feel like it.  Just try it and you will begin to see amazing things begin to happen in your life.

With lots of Love and Blessings and all good things.

Val