Family, Humor, Life, My Book, Soul Homework, Universe

Thirty-One Universal Things

July was full with Universal occurrences, strange occurrences, and things I honestly can’t explain. If you had informed me that my bird had gone missing and that one of The Breakfast Club’s cast members would email me, I would have yelled, YOU ARE SHITTING ME.

I bought this book from Amazon in the middle of July:

I originally bought it for Anna to take to college as a farewell gift. She’d been talking about manifestation all summer, and I thought it would be a nice little treat for her apartment during such a difficult time. But once I paged through it, I realized she probably wouldn’t read it.

She’d be busy with a heavy course load, moving into her first off-campus apartment, and socializing with friends, of course.

She also took three online classes during the summer, bless her heart, so I knew my child, who wasn’t a big reader to begin with, wouldn’t be doing much recreational reading once she got back to school. So I took the book and decided to do the Universal homework for both of us.

On a sunny July Sunday, I sat on the couch and read a few chapters as my white parakeet sang in the cage next to me. I underlined words like SOUL FAMILY and dog-eared pages that I knew I’d need later: sadness, fear, pain, and so on…

I started a minimalistic challenge outlined on the The Minimalists Instagram page, a lifestyle I’ve adopted and enjoy, by getting rid of or donating the exact number of items each day for the number of days.

I had no idea how I was going to get rid of 31 items by July 31st. I imagined I’d keep things like papers, the garage, or even the shed for those big days.

A friend said something very interesting to me while I was talking about this project on Instagram. “Removing clutter makes space for something new—not necessarily anything material, but rather growth or transformation in some aspect of life,” she said.

As I began to clear the clutter out of our bedrooms, closets, basement, and cabinets, my mind, which had been fogged by migraine medications as well as a lack of estrogen due to my impending menopause, became crystal clear with words.

In July, I felt inspired to start writing my first book.

The less I had on the surface of my world, the more I had underneath, if that makes sense.

Then, on July 23, our beloved parakeet flew out of our house and out of our lives. To say I was defeated would be an understatement. I couldn’t understand why the Universe would do this to me after I had listened to it so carefully?

My daughters couldn’t understand why I was unraveling at the seams over a parakeet, and I couldn’t understand either, to be honest. I mean, I love my pets, but I wasn’t this saddened by the death of Lucy, our 14-year-old goldfish.

Despite our loss, I continued with the Minimalist challenge, getting rid of or giving the appropriate number of items each day, then traveling to the thrift store each Sunday to give away the items I had accumulated by the end of the week.

I’d told Mike that I didn’t know how I’d find 31 items to give away on the 31st, and he’d joked about how I’d find 29? Where would I start looking for 30? I never focused on the numbers, preferring to concentrate on 31 items on the 31st.

The cabinet where Joy’s cage used to be. 

Amid all of this, Ani, one of my Facebook friends, messaged me the day after Joy went missing, asking me a series of questions that would lead to a message the next morning:

She was referring to a Cameo she had arranged with Anthony Michael Hall, in which he was speaking to me.

Me listening to the Cameo…

Ani had asked that someone video me watching it because she wanted to see my reaction, but the fact that Ani added, “I wish someone had recorded me watching it,” was really special to me.

When you have women in your life that are just as enthusiastic about things that aren’t even for them?

That is the most beautiful thing ever.

Such a JOY-ful moment.

Later that day, I told my mother, “I believe Joy had something to do with this.” Because, you see, Ani had no idea Joy had gone missing when she scheduled the Cameo.

My Universe was brimming with Ani and Joy and all of you guys and connectedness on this day. I felt completely enveloped in the best way imaginable.

I shared this video on my personal Instagram account, and later that day, a friend commented on the hat I was wearing. My Chasing Joy hat. I bought it (also in July) by “accident” while shopping for a birthday present for a neighbor. I liked it but didn’t associate it with my precious bird child. I only loved the saying.

I was wearing my hat on neighborhood walks, searching for my bird, literally Chasing my Joy.

I emailed Anthony Michael Hall (should I use all three names?) a few days later, as he suggested in the Cameo, and he responded promptly. He was gracious, and he intends to read my screenplay and provide feedback. Even if it doesn’t go any further, I told Ani, this whole experience has been so much fun and given me so much life. This year has been so difficult to bear that just this week has provided me with the fuel I require to get through the remainder of 2020.


I told Mike a few days after Joy went missing that I thought the 31 items were all of Joy’s possessions. I believe she was aware that she needed to leave, and I believe the Universe was as well. I believe it was fate, that she was only meant to be in our lives for a short period of time.

He said she couldn’t possibly have 31 items, but I told him I wasn’t ready to count them yet. That if she wasn’t home by Friday the 31st, I’d have to donate everything she owned. If she comes back, we’ll just get her new items.

But I needed that closure.

A week after Joy went missing, Anna was watching High School Musical in her bedroom. She was in her jammies, eating a snack, and looked exactly ten years old. She was leaving for college for her junior year a few days later, in the midst of a pandemic, and the thought of that made me cry. The type of cry that initially sounds like a scream.

“I know I shouldn’t say this to you,” I sobbed to my oldest daughter, “but I don’t want you to leave; I wish you could stay forever.”

I wanted her to be a little girl again, to keep her in her little girl’s room, to snuggle and watch Disney Channel with her, and to keep her safe from everything bad that could happen.

Then it dawned on me why I was having such a difficult time getting over Joy’s departure. Spreading one’s wings right now is terrifying. Perhaps that’s why it was so difficult to get over when Joy spread hers.

Too many parallels, I guess.

I miss this bird so much.

I chose to donate Joy’s possessions the next day. I counted them and found 31 of them. To be sure, I counted them five times.

Joy was making way. Spreading her wings for extra joy in our universe.

34 thoughts on “Thirty-One Universal Things”

  1. I’m in tears.
    I can’t believe HOW many signs the Universe sends to you, but then again, maybe we are ALL getting signs but you have to be receptive to them.
    I love SO much about Ani inspring you to write and sending AMH your way. And then for AMH to want to read your stuff? He’s going to love it, I just know it.

    Joy. *sigh* 31 things? *sigh*
    That adorable hat? And your elated face? LOVE!

    There was so much in this post, it’s going to take me all day to process. (I’m slow I tell ya!)

    I’m so happy that such a shitty July ended on such a good note for you. You deserve it my sweet friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read this to Mike yesterday in the car on the way to get custard (it’s different than ice cream, not sure you guys have it down there?). I said to him I wanted him to hear it before the public does.
      I cried when I was done.
      The night I saw Anna in her jammies eating that snack, watching her old shows, I realized that I just don’t want her to go into the real world right now. I want to keep her in our bubble.
      Seeing Joy fly into the world right now just feels scarier. Like I wanted to protect her more than normal, you know?

      Thank you, friend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is BEAUTIFUL. I mean, just beautiful. I am sitting at my desk in a puddle of tears. I’m crying for a daughter and a bird that isn’t even mine.

    That is a talent.

    You are an amazing writer, Kari.

    That book is going to be a best seller.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Man oh man. You make it hard to be a nonbeliever. And I don’t say that lightly. I used to believe in signs, and the universe, karma, and God. More and less of each with time. But I believed. I felt connected.

    And then I didn’t.

    And I didn’t for a while.

    Darkness feels so much darker when you feel completely alone. And I had been in darkness for some time. Then I started writing again. Really writing to share myself. Not to sell products, or appeal to some superficial mommy blog audience. And then, I found your blog. And through it, I found so much more.

    I know it’s a lot to put on you, but you opened more for me than just the space to write in a way that was honest. I saw you do it, and you did it really really well. I thought, what is it about her blog that I love so much, and how do I do it? On top of writing, you helped me plug myself back into the universe. You helped me shake off the debris and get back to it.

    There are a lot of things that make us who we are. And there are the people who help us become who we will be. You are one of those things and one of those people. I am grateful to have met you and to have a line in your story, as you have one in mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There’s so much in this, Kari. I can’t respond to all of it, but I want to say that I understand everything about your daughter and your feelings about her leaving. When mine came home in May, one of the first things she did was order Disney Plus, and then she re-watched every single episode of Hannah Montana. Somehow, this past week, it has really been hitting me that I am going to have to let her go all over again. It was so hard the first time, and I wasn’t releasing her into a pandemic, to go live on another CONTINENT. And then there was the terrible accident at Pendleton, and I just feel like all I am doing is holding my breath, all the time. Maybe I need to get her to watch Frozen with me and let it go.

    I am so glad that you’ve had the month you have. I am SO GLAD you are writing. We do all need your words and stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SO DID ANNA! I was going to mention that too. She re-watched all of Hannah Montana too. I think I will re-watch it too after she goes back.

      We need yours too like I said on your blog this morning. Don’t you EVER stop.


  5. You have always had such a keen awareness for finding signs. I remember we’ve talked about this in the past and I realized I needed to be more aware. I still have a lot of work to do on that. I love your idea of clearing out the physical clutter. I truly believe that physical clutter clutters up your mind. All that clutter is symbolic of what’s going on inside. I can think of a couple of people off the top of my head (a good friend, a relative) whose houses are cluttered with STUFF. It’s overwhelming to me when I walk into their houses, so imagine what it does to them? Interestingly enough, both these people are disorganized and always saying how overwhelmed they are.

    I MUST order that book on Amazon! Happy early birthday to me. The one part I saw in your photo…”You can expect your pain to transform into portal (not sure if there was a word before that that got cut off in the photo?) where the right people will always show up at the right time” really struck me. I have always strongly believed that God/The Universe puts certain people into your life for a reason. I can even take you as an example. 😉 I met you by “chance” at that small blogger’s meet-up years ago. We connected. There was only one other person at that meeting that I “connected” to. Why is that? I can only speak for my side of our friendship, but I feel truly blessed to have you in my life. You encourage me, you make me laugh, my heart somehow feels pulled towards yours. I feel uplifted after I’m with you.

    I cried when I read what you wrote about Anna, about how you wanted her to be a little girl again and to keep her in her room, safe from every horrible thing. I feel the same way about Tim – and he is 29! Our children will always be our “babies”. He is currently going through some awful struggles and I just want to rescue him and keep him here and make everything OK, but I know that’s not how life works. He has to figure things out on his own. That’s what’s so painful as a parent, isn’t it?

    I CAN’T WAIT TO READ YOUR BOOK. And yes, I’m shouting.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES, YES, YES…” she was heard exclaiming while reading her friend’s comment”. LOL

      So I was just telling my parents the other day about how when you enter a person’s home how you can feel the energy when you walk in the door. Or the lack of it? When I enter a home whom you can tell if they just don’t care about it? The energy stops at the door. I don’t even want to go any further. It’s not like I am being a snob, it’s simply my energy not wanting to connect with theirs if that makes sense. It has nothing with the way they decorate but if they have no respect for their space? It is sad because that is where you spend most of your life.

      I feel exactly the same way about you. I remember the exact moment I met you when I was with Jen. I remember the room of the house where we met at the blogging meetup. Then I remember when I was in Santa Monica with Anna and how I was filled with inexplicable sobs while walking the pier? And you said that some of Phillip’s ashes were there? Then I knew why I was supposed to meet you at that moment. YOU ARE MAKING ME CRY AT 11:30 ON A MONDAY! I mean, it’s not the only reason but one of many. I believe in these things. Soul family…..when I read those words, you popped in my head. 🙂

      YES to the kids. I have a neighbor/friend whose daughter just moved to Florida this weekend. She will be 24 this fall and she is like family to us too (she watched Ella as a baby and has been like another daughter to us as well); she is a nurse and will be working at a Level one ER in Florida. Well of course her parents are worried sick but she is an adult and she needs to make those decisions as does Anna. She is almost 21 and a college student. It’s not like she is going down to go shopping for nine months, but it feels so unnecessary right now. It is such a hard time in our lives. Who knew that college would seem so unnecessary during this time?


      I can’t wait to read it either LMAO. As I haven’t been working on it for a solid five days. It comes and goes in spurts. I run into writers block here and there but I am told that “good writers have that problem”. I hope that’s true. 😉


  6. I love the messages in this book. How timely?! I got the minimalist video yesterday and really enjoyed it. I think it is great that you are tuned into the universe and open to what comes your way.

    31 items? What? Amazing.

    Anthony Michael Hall . . . love that story, love seeing the joy in your pictures. How exciting! It makes me so happy that connections through blogging has inspired you to try something or consider something and these things have sent you down an incredible path that will undoubtedly lead you to new adventures and rewards.

    The universe IS speaking- glad you are listening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad you liked the video. I watched it again a few weeks ago and learned some new things I didn’t pick up watching it the first time. It is definitely not for everyone but I do love the way it has changed our lives for the better.

      The Universe IS totally speaking. 🙂


  7. Wow! I love your reaction– Ani is incredible isn’t she?! Like how does she even know Anthony MH and why did she think to bring you up and how wonderful to connect you two together!!! I love both of your blogs so much and this friendship you have for each other is fabulous.

    I just can not even believe that Joy had 31 things! That is definitely a sign and not just a coincidence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She is so incredible! I love that we all have connected each other. Thank God for blogs and blog reading through this pandemic. YOUR blog has saved me as well. You have helped me immensely in homeschooling, I don’t know how I would have gotten this far without you.

      RIGHT? The 31 things is too much of a coincidence!


    1. She really is. That thoughtfulness is still with me today, a week later. And I feel as though it will be with me for the rest of the year. ❤️

      It powered me through July, honestly. My migraines were sapping my energy all of June. There were days in June that I don’t even remember and that makes me so sad. But this challenge, the book, all of this, just SAVED me.

      The more I got rid of, the better I became. 🙌🏻

      Liked by 1 person

  8. In a puddle over here over all of it.

    I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist…yet; but the freedom you feel as you let things go is amazing and yes, does leave room for something new. It’s kinda goes hand in hand with feng shui. You’ve re-energized my lagging project of getting rid of all the stuff we don’t need.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I love the art of feng shui! I remember studying it in the 90s when it became “popular” even though it has been thousands of years. We can learn so much from Asian cultures; such gentle people and such purposeful ways of living. Minimalist living seems to be something they’ve started and we are just now catching on to here.

      I feel so much lighter physically AND mentally since beginning this. I wish this for everyone. 💕


  9. I’m not sure how I missed this post, but I am tickled for you! I was wondering last week about your screenplay and now I have an answer (and I wish, too, that you had sent him that alternate ending, because I love the idea of it as well.)

    I’m hoping this means August will be a better month for you (in as much as any of this shit time we’re in is good).

    I don’t think much about minimalism – I just know my ADHD brain does not function in clutter. And while I feel like I’ve wasted so much of these 5 months at home, it hit me just how much clearing out I’ve done over these 5 months, and how much better I feel for finally getting it done. So THANK you for that, friend.

    (And I’m buying that book. Not that I need another “read this daily” book on my desk, because I have enough of them, but I need a little manifesting in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is such a good book, I definitely recommend it! I haven’t revisited the book in August, though. But I have been busy writing my book, so I am happy about that. I haven’t been getting rid of anything so far in August because the challenge is over but I have plans to do that in the basement after Anna goes back to college next week because I need a distraction. 🙂

      I noticed that Ellie (and my) ADD brain reacts so much better when we have structure in our home, so it was my mission to keep that in our home no matter what. It has served us well throughout the years. The Minimalist lifestyle and ADHD go hand in hand in the best possible way.

      Liked by 1 person

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