Some of us are raised in situations where we don’t trust ourselves- since we were maybe 5 ? We then look to the world to tell us who we are – how we should look, live, think & feel. We form relationships, join communities and do what we need to be accepted. We are reminded we can’t trust our best judgment. Ever. This is reiterated over and over. Do not trust yourself. You do not know your best interests.
If we are extremely lucky – we have a small glimmer of who we are that won’t ever give up hope – and it begs to be noticed. It says,” I’m here – I know what is best for you – I promise, please listen to me.” But that can’t possibly be true – we’ve been told the opposite for so long. Yet, the small voice is incessant- and you decide to give it some attention – you listen to it and maybe allow yourself to stop dieting, stop coloring your hair – you stop participating in friendships that no longer serve you. The voice gets stronger, it thrives on the love you’ve been giving it – you decide not to listen to what everyone else says so often – for they have their own voice and you inquire with your voice most often – it’s so grateful .. it loves you so much is so grateful you have finally come home.
The moral of this story is that I believed for the longest time I could not for one second trust myself when that has always been the absolute furthest from the truth – coming home to myself continues to be my greatest teacher. I do indeed know what is best for me. I am and have always been my greatest teacher.


Excerpt of Boulders

This is what I know – Parents love their children. I have met no exceptions. Love is a river, and there are times when impediments stop the flow of love.
Mental illness, addiction, shame, narcissism, fear passed down by religious and cultural institutions- these are boulders that interrupt loves flow.
Sometimes there is a miracle and the boulder is removed. Some families get to experience this Removal Miracle. Many don’t. There is no rhyme or reason. No family earns it. Healing is not the reward for those who love the most or best. Your parent – your sister, your friend, the one who couldn’t love you- their love was impeded. That love was there – swirling, festering, vicious in it’s desperation for release. It was there , it was all for you. That love exists. It just couldn’t get past the boulder. You deserved to have the love of your mother delivered to you. You deserved to be soaked through to the bone with her love every day and night. But now you need to listen to me.
The miracle of grace is that you can give what you have never gotten.
You do not get your capacity to love from your parents. They are not your source. Your source is God. You are your own source. Your river is strong.

Glennon Doyle


The Truth will set you free

Hi 👋

For the past 27 years I’ve been attending a self help group which focuses on twelve steps to establish a relationship with a Power greater than yourself in order to make your life livable & able to function as a contributing member of society- I’ve referred to myself as “sober” for the past 18 years because I have not consumed alcohol. I have also worked hard and taken really hard actions to improve who I am and my life HAS improved greatly from where I started-

However, I’ve also had some secrets that I’ve tried to hide from the world which I believe keep me less than sober – I’ve had a humbling and chaotic spending problem – (perhaps the working multiple jobs have given this one away) – this is something I’ve used and struggled with for as long as I can remember- I pretend I have it all together – I do not.

“Why come out with this embarrassing announcement? Why self flagellate on this open forum ? “ Here’s why: I’ve felt I’ve been hiding and living a double life my entire life – I’ve hid in dark shame with my struggles -sitting with the things I’ve used to make being me more tolerable – as I continuously try to get better , I figure “why not just be honest about who the hell you are instead of hiding in shame ? ” Either the shame is going to kill you or the truth is going to – I guess I’d rather it be the truth.

The only way I’ve ever gotten better with anything is by looking at it, showing myself compassion for it and telling the truth about it, Just tell the truth no matter what. “Hello – this is me – brace yourself. There’s more where this came from.”


Size matters (or not)

I bought a swimsuit today in a size that I never imagined I would. Like, we are talking a jaw dropping size. I said to myself out loud as I was driving home “do you realize you just bought size “*”?!?! ” and the most beautiful part about this is that, my very next thought was, “and you are totally ok” – you are in a place, being this size, that you have never ever believed you could be. I really truly thought I would have to die before ever being in this size. But, I don’t have to die. I am me, just in a bigger body. I love the same, laugh the same, cry the same and feel the same way. Am I in love with my body ? No. But, am I walking around hating myself and my life ? No. Absolutely not. Yesterday I went to the beach with 4 grandkids and swam and dove after a beach ball, not caring who saw my jiggly thighs and droopy butt. Literally, not giving it one thought. No one gave a shit what I looked like And if they did, I had no idea. They only cared if I held them, fed them, laughed with them and listened to them. My daughter is getting married in 2 months and I don’t intend to go on a crash diet to look better for this day. What I am planning is to wear my mother of the bride dress in size “*” and cry, laugh, dance and be fully present for her day. Not paying attention to any numbers, whether that number is on the scale, a tag on my clothes or the amount of carbs in my food has given me so much more time to focus on other things. Like the people around me and what they need and how they feel. Size truly doesn’t matter y’all.
We’ve only been fed lies that it does.



“Have you seen her ? she put on weight”
Yes, I hear you , this could be my ego thinking FAR too much about myself. It’s definitely possible. I’ve been known to do that every now and then. But, what is also possible is that these words truly are whispered. We know this is true. We have all been on both sides of this conversation – the one telling the scandalous secret or the one receiving. I recall an incident a few months ago when I was with a male friend who turned to me with saucer wide eyes after seeing a mutual female friend who had put on weight. His reaction and the way we whisper ” SHE GOT FAT” is precisely why the world is wrought with fear to gain weight. This is why this fear grips us so tightly. What will people think of me ? What will they say ? Will I be good enough ? Will they leave. This is precisely why the diet industry is the most lucrative business in the world.

I was thinking about it this morning and I was thinking about what my own personal weight gain has meant to me that past 2 months. It has been perhaps my greatest teacher yet. What is has taught me is how much power I put on things outside of me to determine my worth, still, after all these years. Even though I know so deeply that nothing outside of me can bring me happiness, I still get dressed every day and hope you think I am pretty. I still hope and pray I am good enough. So, the past 2 months I’ve been digging deeper. I’ve been putting on the bigger jeans, the bigger shirts, I have been taking all my courage and walking in and I’ve been relying on what’s inside of me to get through the day instead of what’s outside. So frickin scary. I’ve been relying on my spirit, my soul and my heart. Holy shit. This is what I have learned thus far : I am still who I am whether I am in a bigger body or a littler body. I am still Stacey Lynn Wagner, daughter, mama, wife, friend, Nana, probation agent, Gods beloved daughter, sister and auntie. I am still pretty amazing and funny and awesome. I still love with all my heart. I still feel so much compassion, in fact a ton more. Here is what else I have learned – ice cream with my grandson is my favorite kind. Pizza and red velvet cake on my birthday was my favorite one yet ,cookies made with my daughter and granddaughter taste best and cupcakes with my step mom is a memory I will forever cherish. I feel like a newcomer to this world where there is so much besides what we look like, and that we are worthy of love no matter what ~ it’s a bit humbling and I’m embarrassed that I lived in the material world so long but I am so grateful to have stumbled onto this new world. Thanks for having me.


Half a life time old.

In 2 weeks it will be my 45th birthday. 45 is a big number. At the guaranteed risk of continuing to share how shallow this brain can be – I commence-

Ten years ago, I recall telling myself that “when I was 45” I would have it all together. I’m totally serious. 45 to me Is half of a lifetime. I’ve lived the first up until now and today begins the second half. As this has been approaching, the past few years, I have been preparing for how I wanted to be in my last half, mostly physically. I wanted to FINALLY have the body I’ve always longed for, that has to be something you acquire by the time your 45 right ?! It has to be. We have deprived ourselves cake and ice-cream for all of these years, 45 has got to be the pay off right ? God has to give that one to you. Otherwise, if you go into menopause fat, you’re surely going to end up …..Obese! Gross! Washed up! Forgotten… Alone..

The way I’ve historically seen it, if you have thinness you can then go on and help all Gods people and feel good about yourself in your good body. Then they can talk about how great of a person you are in your good body. You will be adored and admired. Ad nauseum. Because all that matters in life is that men want to be with you and women want to be you. My goal, even if I didn’t say it out loud, was to be wanted. At all times. To be outwardly beautiful until the day I died. There was nothing else. It was an insatiable thirst.. Again, yes, I’m being serious. A good heart was good, but beauty was essential. This has been my brain. How thoroughly exhausting. And empty.

I read a quote recently by someone I really admire, she said “what I am now is the product of a lot of years of self-loathing, a few years of self-loving, and 43 years of being a human being. What I am now is OK.” She went on to say “I thought that being thin was the answer to my happiness, but it wasn’t. It was the answer to some things- more attention, a wider range of clothing options, fewer sideways glances from my grandmother over the gravy boat- but there were many things that being thin couldn’t do. Making me happy was one of them. I know from experience that my weight is almost irrelevant to my happiness. So I am choosing to stay fat.”
Jonie Delman’s words have been blowing me away. I have been meditating on them. Because she sings my song. I too have made a conscious choice to not diet and to stay fat. I have been accepting what is my body right now. I’ve been looking for my beauty in things other than my looks. I’ve been looking for it in my laughter and in my heart. And , for the first time in my life, I’m finding it. I am finding that who I am is so much more than my skin. It is my spirit, it is the love I have for you. Who I am is God inside of me.

My entire life until now has been chasing cool. How could I be cool. No, not just cool, the coolest! If my husband was remotely acting uncool I would scold him under my breath and put him in line. You see, He was making me look stupid.- (what I didn’t know is that I was doing a fine job by myself) I am realizing that the slickest people out there are the ones who do not care what anyone else in the world thinks of them. The ones who everyone else laughs at and they continue to be who they are. They continue to sing their song. Now those are some cool cats. For the next 45 years I want to learn from them. I want to learn from the ones I have hushed, the ones I have silently and outwardly judged. I want to look in their eyes and find their beauty. Teach me how to be uncool, how to be me. I have so much to learn but I am up for the challenge.


My New Years Resolutions ~

I am walking around in my underwear and my hoodie today in an attempt to befriend these thighs that, in spite all of my attempts to ignore for 45 years, are not going away. Don’t worry, no one else is home. Just the dogs get to see this show today.
For the past , oh 30+ years, I have followed some plan of eating. Whether it was given to me from a nutritionist, a doctor or a website, in points, macros, carbs, calories, cups, TBS, or ounces, I have CLOSELY, often times obsessively, monitored what I ate. I haven’t had birthday cake on my birthday for about 5 years now. Before that, I counted how many points it would put me in the negative ~ and I was ALWAYS in the negative (by the way, my birthday is in 27 days and I am looking very much forward to marble cake with cream cheese frosting this year, with ice cream thankyouverymuch) And as any good dieting woman knows all too well… we can only be good for so long. So, I would fall off, over and over and over and when I fall, I would fall hard and berate myself for being so weak willed and lazy. This would lead to more binging because, “what’s the use anyhow “ right ? After these binges, I would often times take laxatives because the only thing that matters is that we are skinny right !?!? RIGHT !! Pay no mind to the heart palpitations and dehydration.

Well, about a month ago, I decided I was done. (Again, as I have tried this before but was not ready to face the fears of gaining weight and judgement from others ~ who knew how debilitating this fear really was ) I was done listening to the tapes that told me that my worth was only as good as how I looked. Or let me take it one step further, I was only as “spiritual as I looked” ~ If I were even remotely fat, that meant I was not pleasing to God and I must be using food for emotional needs rather than God. Well guess, what ? FOOD IS EMOTIONAL! The first thing we did when we were born was bond with our mother at her breast. That’s about as emotional as it gets. Secondly, when women’s bodies fluctuate each month , they crave and need certain things, like higher carb foods that nurture them and increase serotonin.

Since making this decision , I have been eating things that have been sinful to me for a long time. I have thourougly enjoyed delicious lasagna made by my aunt Cathy, I have had a greasy burger and cheese fries, custard and Christmas cookies, (oh the Christmas cookies) … and yesterday I had carrot cake for breakfast and today it was Chili. Yes, chili for breakfast. I am learning to ask my body what is hungry for today. And yes, I am gaining weight. How much, I do not know. I refuse to weigh myself. I have also taken down my full-length mirror. Not because I am avoiding looking, but I want how I feel about myself to come from the inside instead of outside right now. I have looked outside from compliments and at so many numbers to tell me if I was good or not… the numbers on the scale, the size of the clothing. I am choosing to completely disregard them today. Who I am is so much more than a number.
So, my news years resolution: My resolution is to not diet in 2019. To not determine my worth on how I look. To determine it based on my spirit, my soul… and to continue to enjoy the shit out of some carrot cake. Happy New Year !



This old car was not the ordinary definition of pretty. In fact, she was pretty ugly. Some might even say repulsive, an eye sore. If I had an ounce more pride than desperation I would have never been seen in it. It was a 1982 station wagon, pea green mind you, with wood paneling running down both sides. Bring to mind the car from National Lampoons Vacation, remember that one? Yes, you got it, that’s the one. She was the ugliest car you could imagine, but she was part of our life that we will never forget.

My Dad bought her for us, “She’s dependable”, “a good sturdy car”. He had gotten it down the road from a neighbor for a good rate. He came pulling into the driveway with it and inside I was squirming and pleading that this was not want he wanted me to drive my 3 kids around in. He got out, handed me the keys and she was mine. All mine. This green giant was mine. My Dad excitedly pointed out the special feature that the back window went down, so when you piled all the kids into the back they could see out and make inappropriate faces and hand gestures to the cars behind them. The interior was brown, so the car almost looked like an Avocado, which is exactly what she affectionately became known as.

(but for the stories sake, let’s call her Avo).

Let me tell you a little bit more about Avo and the capabilities she had. She could carry two adults, 3 children, 1 dog, 2 cats, approximately 25 sand toys, 55 random French fries, countless Barbie shoes, missing socks, important school papers that never got turned in, $56.00 in loose change and 10 bags of groceries. Avo was a power horse. Until she wasn’t anymore.

In July of the following year, Avo had been making a lot of trips to the courthouse and wildly stressful and sad places as my husband and I decided to get divorced. During that time, she was my sanctuary. I would take her down to the lake and she was the only one in the world who knew exactly how I felt. She would hold me while I cried and tried to figure out what to do. She kept my secret smoking habit under wraps. Every month for 6 months, Avo and I would drive to that huge white building in the middle of the city and we would look for an open spot with no other cars near so Avo could have her space. We would lumber passed the sports cars and the elite ones finding our spot a few blocks away.

Nearing the end of the marriage, when the divorce was soon to be final, I noticed Avo starting to get old. Her locks weren’t opening when needed, she was getting a lot of rust around the edges and one day, she just decided not to go into reverse anymore. It was almost as if she just decided “nope, I’m not doing it anymore.” But, truthfully, she had done so much for us, the soccer games, the fireworks, the sleepovers, the long trips, I couldn’t blame her. I understood. I could have gotten rid of her at that time and replaced her with something new. But, I didn’t. The kids and I learned how to park very strategically for the last 6 months of Avos life. We would look for hills to park on so when we needed to reverse we could just “Roll” back. If that was not an opportunity, we made sure we could just pull forward. And worst-case scenario, we would all put one foot out and push her backward like a scene on the Flintstones. It was almost a game we played every day. You see, Avo was not just an old ugly car, Avo taught us about love, family, commitment and togetherness. We learned about life and love with Avo.

Avo lasted another 6 months with us. During that time, I started back in college. Night after night Avo would start up and we would trudge through the snow and sleet back and forth to school. She truly was my trusty steed. One especially snowy night, I had a late class. I was creeping home very gingerly as Avo’s tires had been smooth as butter for about 5 years. About half way through my trip home, I came upon a snow plow in the oncoming lane. Before I knew what happened Avo and I drifted into the other lane and we hit head on with that snow plow. That was it. It was over. Avo was finished. Her front end was crumpled into a heap, the bumper is probably still in that ditch. The tow truck came and before they hitched her up, while I waited for my ride, I said goodbye. I thanked her for all she had done for me and for all that she taught us. I told her how much I would miss her and then I watched as she lumbered down the road one last time hooked up to the back of the tow. I stood there until she was out of sight and slowly walked to the car there to pick me up. As I wearily climbed into my seat, I heard the familiar tune of “Long May You Run.” Come across the radio waves.


What are you doing with your life ?!

I was asked for my liberal studies class to show what I would bring to a prospective employer as far as awards I have won or my achievements – I wrote this instead since I didn’t have any awards to show for –

If I were to go to a new employer today, it seems I would have to bring my experience.  My experience that I would speak of would be how I started school in 2006, but at the same time I was hired for my current career.  For the next 11 years, I raised my children, worked at an extremely demanding career and never gave up my personal dream of finishing my degree.  The road has not been straight and without detours to say the least.  I quit, both school and job at times.  I tried many other avenues looking for what I believed would bring me peace.  I returned to work part time because I believed school and work to be too demanding for me not yet sure of how capable I really was.  I took multiple breaks from my career because it was emotionally taxing.  All of these experiences taught me truly that there is no “place to get to” there is “no place to arrive.”  The peace that I was seeking outside of me had always been with me, but I was searching in the wrong places.  This life, every day, truly is just a journey.  I may die today. I may have to drop out for unforeseen circumstances.   Would that mean that all of my years of trying to get this degree have been wasted?  Many might say yes.  Many would shake their head at what a life and money gone down the drain.  Many wonder why, at 44 years old, I continue to learn?  “You have a good career, why do you continue to do this?  Especially if you don’t intend on changing careers.  “

I do not stand with these beliefs.   Not one second of my life has been wasted.  Each day has been an adventure.  Each day I have encountered new people and new lessons.  When I started to look at each day this way and stayed present for what was that day instead of what I could be someday, my life changed.  When I looked the person in the eye who I was engaging with instead of wishing I was talking to someone else across the room, when I am fully engaged in what is happening right now, the sounds, the sights and the smells, I have the best life I’ve ever known.  This is where all of my experiences have brought me and this is what I started out searching for.


Bondage or Freedom

I was asked yesterday why I greet everyone I see. Why do I say hello and smile at them. The person I was with was taught to specifically NOT make eye contact and certainly do not engage. Wasn’t I afraid of being harmed ? … I’ve been thinking a lot about this since yesterday. I’ve been questioning if I am naive in times such as these when every day there’s torture and abuse to astounding degrees. I’ve been questioning if I’m being gullible and perhaps setting myself up as a target….My answer ? I’m not.  

 Furthermore, if I am ~ I guess it’s a risk I’m willing to take.  

This is the way I see it… I literally can’t afford to walk around afraid and suspect of the world. That kind of thinking eats me alive like a cancer. It robs me of joy and dries out my soul. I’m so much more peaceful believing every single person in this world has the exact same amount of love inside of them but sometimes it gets covered up by things … like fear, anger , abandonment, abuse …. that fear causes us to react in order to survive. I’m going to say this .. even Charles Manson and Jeff Dahmer – love, they were born with love. 
now this does mean I put myself in stupid situations- not for a second – I have a very acute sixth sense and I listen to it . I have intuition and gut feelings that direct me. Above all, I know that love responds to love … 

Fear breeds fear. Love breeds love. It’s the greatest fact of all time. 

Test out my theory.  

And what if I’m wrong .. what if this were my last post ever and tonight I was let’s say mugged, beaten and left to die in a park , would I take this post back and change my mind ? I pray not.  

I pray that I would ask for the willingness to forgive and understanding for those who hurt me. Compassion and understanding for their struggle that put them in that place. Im not saying it would be remotely easy, and I don’t even know I would achieve it , but I would die trying because to me , hate truly is too great a burden to bear.
A story by the Dalai Lama – “A monk who had been held captive and brutally tortured for years in an effort to force him to renounce his faith, was asked on his release if he had been afraid. He thought for a while, then smiled and said ~ Yes, I was afraid. Very afraid. I was afraid towards the end that I would lose compassion for those who tortured me”.