Saturday, January 28, 2017


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Dear Teacher....

I came across this email from almost 3 years ago, June of 2014. It was the letter I wrote to the teachers, staff & administrators at the therapeutic day school Maggie attended. It was sent to them after her last day of school there. She transitioned back into district in time for junior high. I was sobbing as I read it. I thought I should share it as a thank you to all educators, administrators and support staff because even if no one tells you, YOU make a difference! NEVER forget it! 💜 Thank you for all you do!

June, 2014
Dear S.E.A.L. Administrators, Teachers and Staff,

There is nothing we could build, write, buy or make for you that would ever show our appreciation for the impact you have made in the life of our Maggie!  This chapter may be coming to a close, but there are so many more chapters to come.  No matter how many adjectives we think of, there are not enough to describe or express the range of emotion and gratitude we are feeling. We can call every single one of you magnificent, fantastic, spectacular, grand, marvelous, outstanding, sensational, etc. and it does no justice for your abilities and dedication. A million “Thank You’s” would never cover it! Everyone in your school community had a part in Maggie’s triumph’s!

This was not a road we ever wanted to travel.  It was never a place we even considered we would be. What made this journey the hardest was the people that gave up on Maggie that brought us to you.  We had serious doubts about S.E.A.L.  No one really had anything positive or negative to say about what we were embarking on.  We came in very scared on this journey. What started as a bitter trip has brought us to a sweet, yet sad, curve on this journey.

Maggie came to you out of sync, scared, angry and ready for a fight.  This has been a 3½-year crusade that I can honestly, without a doubt say you won, she won and we won!  Do you realize you won?  Do you look at it that way?  You did!!  On so many levels!  You won her trust, you won her respect, you won her appreciation, and you won her love!  This VICTORY is yours and I felt you needed to know it!  You NEEDED to hear it!

We hope that you never doubt what you do!  We hope you realize what an impact you make in the lives of special needs children.  We hope you see the success that you are!  What you did for Maggie is nothing short of amazing; you helped her find confidence, compassion, patience and understanding.  You helped her find comfort in her ability to control herself and recognize her emotions and to express them. You taught her both academically and emotionally.  You taught her to communicate, to ignore and to tolerate. You taught her as a whole person, not her disability!  You taught us, also!  You gave her more than we ever expected.  You gave her a community to be a part of.  You gave her strength and hope!  You never doubted her ability!  YOU molded her success!!

As we continue to blaze this trail with Maggie, we hope you keep her in your thoughts. We have a long way to go, with twists and turns and ups and downs, but I pray that everything you have taught and given her will keep her moving forward. I’m so VERY scared for her and sometimes doubt my decision to move her, but I know you are all there to fall back on if we need you! For that security, I am so thankful!  

We know she/we will NEVER forget you.  You are all a part of her life story! How awesome is that?  Magnificent Maggie Takes on Junior High….  (to be continued)! 

The Becker Family

Copyright January, 2017
Sandra Murdoch-Becker

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Sort of Letter to Myself

I wrote myself a letter
A "How do you do?" letter.
"Where ya been?
What ya up to?
How's the weather?"
I didn't get much of a response...
Actually, I got nothing.

I persisted,
"How are you feeling?
Are you happy? Or sad?
Have you been busy?
Anything new?
Hello!! Are you there?"
Myself was slow to reply...
Her answers, whispers I couldn't make out.

Angrily I continued...
"Why are you hiding?
What's the deal?
Don't have time for me?
Open your ears!"

Myself retorted...
It wasn't pretty.
"Leave me alone!
I'm exhausted!
Get out of my face!
Go back where you came from!"

"Wow!" I thought,  "Not quite what I expected."
"You really should lighten up.
Things aren't that bad.
Where are you at? I'll come visit!"

With a huff and a sigh, myself caved...
"Okay, I'm here in the corner of our mind.
The chaos is overwhelming.
I'm just trying to weed through it all.
I feel attacked, on all sides, from every angle.
I can't see, our fears have flooded my sight."

There you are....
"Oh, how I have missed you.
Please come out and visit with me & I.
Let's just sit and breathe for awhile.
We've found a corner of silence, it's just what you need.
Can you hear it? No...over here.
Centered in our soul.
Get out of our brain for a moment."

Myself rolled her eyes in agitation...
"I can't do that. Too much to do.
I have errands to run.
I have bills to pay.
I have to fix this and that.
I have to solve the chaotic maze of hell! 
It's running our brain.
There's all that household crap.
There's all that family stuff.
The learning stuff.
It's a never-ending barrage to concentrate on!
Why are you two always slacking?"

I couldn't help but chuckle...
Which pissed myself off.
"You're so out of tune.
You have to take a break.
We need you here, accomplish all of that!
Can't sit in silence without myself.
You're pulling us deeper in. 
Me & I don't appreciate that.
Please, just stop and sit.
The brain will be there when we are done.
It'll be calmer, I promise.
Then we can take care of the chaos together.
If we sit in silence,
It will be less
and 'we' will be more!
We have to come home to ourself!"

Sandra M Becker
Copyright © January 10, 2017

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Just trying,
wanting to be.
Can you silence the negativity?
For a moment?
Let me be?
Searching the infinite path
between the illusion and the cosmos
for my place...
so I can just be.
ridding myself of the unanswerable's.
Sitting in the early morning dark,
waiting for the rise,
listening for silence.
Trembling hands
grasping my coffee,
Peace in my Soul.
Chaos in my Mind.
Trying to release
the anxiety of this world.
Breaking through the conditioning,
the ignorance,
finding, making new choices.
Breathing it all in.
Letting my Soul
guide me through the new terrain.
needing the divine.

Sandra M Becker
My Commonsensical Life
Copyright © 1/2017

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 didn't suck....

I am grateful for every gift, every moment, every memory, every lesson I have been blessed with. I celebrate and treasure every joy, sadness, adventure, and tranquil occasion I have been able to experience. The good and the bad that I have encountered has shaped me. Mostly, I am beyond grateful for every soul I have met on this journey through life. Thank you for your light and love and the lessons you brought to me. ~smb 💖

I'm really surprised at the number of friends and family saying good riddance to 2016. Seriously, did all of it suck? Did the entire year deserve the label of 'Suckiest Year Ever'? I can't say that. I can say that parts of it sucked, most definitely, but doesn't every year have those moments? My 2016 was truly a year of transformation for me. As the realization hit that the kids are getting older and I was being used way too much by them, I knew changes had to occur. Time to evolve for this stay at home mom. I had to, for my own well being, take time for me. Find my self-worth that I hadn't even realized was missing. I had lost my center, my balance, my sanity, who I was at my core and didn't even realize it. I found solace under the sky in the clouds, stars, sun and moon, even in the winter. I was so focused on raising this house full of kids, dealing with diagnosis after diagnosis, chaos (theirs and mine), drama, school, IEP's, extra curricular activities, volunteering, therapies, research on a never ending basis, and then all the normal household crap that went with it. Up at 5, bed at midnight; my days were long and sleep, I convinced myself, was unnecessary. The apartment (drink) was a huge thorn in my side this year with too much to remodel, a new roof and gutters and empty, income-less apartments. Yet, even through that, I found opportunity for growth and the motivation to just take off with four kids through 10 states for over two weeks. It was an empowering, beautiful experience that I wouldn't trade for anything! I found my inner child that I buried trying too hard to be landlord, mom and wife. We visited family and friends, made memories and found so much awe and beauty throughout the trip that will last us a lifetime! We met strangers with hearts of gold, collected more rocks than I can count, irritated the hell out of each other, laughed until our stomaches hurt, stared at the night skies and reveled in the beauty of seeing stars in a completely darkened state. The sunsets while driving, the rise of a full moon against the backdrop of mountains and the numerous cloud formations and rain storms were unforgettable and drew so much emotion. Visiting Sedona and driving through the mountains was definitely one of my favorite parts and the perfect spot to distract myself from the fact that I just left my parents house (it's always traumatic for me to leave them). I found myself breathless, in tears, longing to stay forever among the glorious red mountains with a never-ending sky. I don't know why I thought a quick stop was going to be enough to take it all in. The drive through Utah along the Colorado River and through the Rockies to Glenwood Springs and eventually to the Denver area drew the same strong emotions. I could stay in the mountains forever. The driving aspect of this trip brought a lot of time to reflect on myself. It gave me a lot of time to rip apart the layers and examine what was in my depths. All the stuff I tend to push back and ignore.

I realized, that on my journey, I tend to draw the right people into my path. The timing may not always seem to be right, but there is always a reason or a lesson or a new/rekindled friendship to be found. I have become much more conscious this year of the little things. Of the things I have always taken for granted. Gratitude became a huge part of my life. Gratitude of all those little things and big things!  I decided to take the compliments of others a little more to heart instead of brushing them off as if they were crazy and didn't see who I really was. I began enjoying the moments as they happened instead of stressing over what still needed to be done. I began to love who I was instead of searching and trying for societal perfection. Perfection, after all, is only one's perception. I embraced my weirdness (more so than I already did) as my uniqueness. I quit giving credit to the insults, whether they were my own or from others. I let go of a huge part of myself that I never should have been holding onto. I got angry, I got mad, I held onto some hate that I shouldn't have. I was hurt and hurt others in return, but in the end I had to forgive myself and them because we only ever have this moment and to spend any amount of time in negativity is counterproductive of our purpose! I chose to spread as much kindness as I could and found the happiness within myself that I so desperately needed. I found beauty in my flaws that led me on the path of self love. I finally realized, 45 years too late, that it isn't up to me to make others happy, nor would I ever accomplish that.  Happiness is a choice, your own choice! I discovered the only person I truly needed was myself. We can only love another as deeply as we love I did a ton of self-loving! I've worked hard this year spreading love in any possible way I could, although I didn't always succeed. But, that's the beauty of awakening to a new get to try again. There is no perfection here, I never wanted there to be. I just wanted to be the real me.

I for one am wrapping up 2016 with a pretty little bow and placing it on the shelf as a huge accomplishment, a trophy of sorts. Overall, I found it to be a beautiful year. I know we all felt loss this year in a big way with the deaths of many music, actor/actress and literary icons. We had personal loss of family and friends. They all were emotional and heartbreaking losses. I tend to look at it this way though...they left behind a legacy of beautiful music, movies, books and memories. Through the experiences we will hold close what each one meant to us and most of us will share that with generations to come. These souls are still close by because we valued them so much. They will impact many lives, and those not yet born.

I already began unwrapping 2017 and decided to embark on expanding my purpose beyond being the lady in the brick house on Raynor Avenue with all those kids. I accepted a part time job and will start school full time and in the process, will more than likely lose the rest of my mind and that's okay. I will work my way through it as I always do. I plan to find the magic, beauty and love in everything I can. I plan to follow my dreams, accomplish my goals and triumph over my self-doubt. I plan to have fun in the madness, chaos and crazy dynamic that is my kids. I plan to stay excited and continue adventuring (even if it's just at the grocery store). I plan to continue dancing and singing (even though Maggie reminds me constantly that I don't sing in tune). I plan to continue finding some time for silence and keep my soul free from the confines I tend to place on it. I plan to go freaking SHINE and AMAZE myself!  I HOPE and WISH all of you do the same!

Have a Happy, Prosperous, Beautiful full of Magic & Love 2017!

Copyright December, 2017 ©

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dance with the Devil

I’ve danced with the devil
on my own turf,
in the pinnacle of my life.
Image Credit:
He tugged at me
ever so gently.
I withdrew,
my choice,
my own.
How does one compel another, precisely?
Even the devil cannot force his prey to choose him.
Thoughts are only that of the soul which beckons them.
The one who revels in the dance
attracts the immorality (if that's a thing you believe in).
This power, his coercion and twisting tactics,
are powerless without ones desire.
The devil, however one sees him, will offer duress
in a pretty package with a bow.
Do you untie the bow?
The imprisonment (or is it freedom)
is yours for the choosing.

~ Sandra Murdoch Becker
Copyright © February, 2016

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Self Doubt

I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face, staring at my FASFA email and clicking ignore on my phone from the online admissions office wondering what the hell I think I'm doing. How can I possibly believe I can accomplish a full time program (even online), take care of kids, a house, an apartment, volunteer, take on another student loan and still breathe. I haven't been in a classroom since 1997. I was working full time, carrying a part time class load, pregnant, no kids at home, I was nineteen years younger and I couldn't handle it. I never went back and I only had one kid. Now I have four at home. One with special needs and an attitude, one who knows it all and has an attitude, one sick with lyme (who doesn't want to take care of herself) and has an attitude and the youngest one who is always bored, needs help, is hungry and has an attitude. I'm just a Mom. Does my brain even have the capacity and focus to absorb a whole new world of knowledge? Do I have the ability to organize and schedule the time to do this? Will I be able to selfishly put my needs above their chaotic, dramatic, trivial BS (because I will, of course, always be there for the big, important stuff)? So, in a house full of the frick am I going to do this?

What would I tell my kids?

You got this!
You're smart!
It'll be a breeze!
You will figure out a way, you always do!
You rock!
Get out your calendar and write out your week.
Stay positive!
Take a moment and find your center, rebalance!
Turn on some music.
Go have a good cry and get back to it!
It doesn't matter if you fail. It only matters if you've tried your best.
I believe in you!
I'm proud of you!
You're the brightest star out there. Now go freaking shine!💫

It's easy to encourage your kids, you truly believe in them and their abilities...convincing myself that my self doubt is unjustified is a much deeper struggle.
Here goes nothing! 💜