beautiful, confession, entertainment, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, Uncategorized

It’s friday, I’m in love…

I have seven sleeps until I get to share my bed with my gypsy husband once again! I cannot wait! In the meantime, here are a few of the highlights/obsessions of my week… (quick disclaimer: This week is a little heavy on the TV… I totally want to blame the cool autumn evenings, but we’ve got sweltering evenings, so I can’t.)

1.) This is Us! It’s back, you guys! It is like an old friend (or family of friends) finally returned from vacation and we laughed, and cried and they gave me the little trinket they bought in that little shop because they were thinking of me… (note: I need friends.)

2.) The recording of the Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen… Seriously, I am obsessed! I adore Ben Platt and I want to see this show so badly! If you love shows, seriously, give it a listen.

3.) The Murder of Laci Peterson. Oh my gosh. I don’t even know; I can’t even… A dear friend encouraged me to watch it and hesitantly I obeyed. I am not a lover of true crime anything. At one point my BFF admitted I was crazy to be watching such things while I was home alone. I assured her it is “so interesting and not at all scary!”, which was true, until episode 6. Let’s just say 1 a.m. dog walking felt a little reckless, and not in a fun way. (1 a.m, of course, because I couldn’t stop watch the show. Ugh.)

4.) I adore this story so much! (i also adore the author, but that’s a different point all together!) I loved how universal this lesson is, because at 41 years old, I still find myself relearning this lesson…

5.) Go Macro vegan bars. Have you guys tried these? I was super hesitant because, typically, if my protein bar isn’t going to taste like a snickers bar, I’m likely not going to eat it. (I am mostly joking here, but I am pretty picky.) These taste super healthy, (at least the ones I’ve had) BUT not at all in a bad way. I actually really loved them! Now if I could find them for less than $2.69 a piece…

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beautiful, books, chronic illness, fibro, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, Lately, list, writing

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

Happy Friday, lovelies…

How has your week been? It has been an odd week around here.

It is amazing how unnaturally busy it has been. My husband is 8000 miles away and I had some pretty big ideas for how I would use this time that he was gone. Of course, I planned on completely revitalizing my eating and fitness routine, because that makes total sense and seems pretty feasible. It won’t likely shock anyone reading this that I did not do either of these things…

While it has not been a bad week, per say, I think it would be a much easier task to write a list of the week’s five worst bits. (ie: HUMIDITY, HEAT, FIBRO-CRAP…) but that would defeat the whole point of these friday posts. So, here goes…

1.) An ALL CLEAR visit with the vet, regarding sweet Elenor, and subsequently introducing her to Peanut Butter. (She’s a girl after my own heart. IOW: BIG PB fan!)

2.) Braving the Wilderness. Finally… Love Brene!

3.) Himalayan salt and essential oil baths. I’ve read about how beneficial they can be for Fibro stuff, and I have been really wanting to try it. It has, however, been so warm out, and that isn’t the sort of thing that is conducive to hot baths. This week, however, it got rough enough that there wasn’t much I would not have tried. I’m sold.

4.) The album Blurryface by Twenty-One Pilots. I am not new to their music. In fact, I’ve loved several of their tracks for going on two years. Late one evening this week, however, I caught a recording of a show they did in Oakland, on MTV Live. The energy was amazing and so I dusted off my Blurryface and have been listening like an addict ever since.

5.) Faith Illustration. While I am not at all artistic, this is kind of something I would love. I had no idea anything like it existed, but since I learned of it, I have been so inspired!

What about you? What is shareable about your week? Anything exciting about the weekend? I will be spending the majority of my weekend writing, and then taking Elenor to visit my mama.

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17/14 vision…

Seventeen years ago, three very fragile and amazingly resilient children asked me to be their mother. Being a lover of birthdays, I remember this clearly, in that mildew scented cafeteria, because it was my grandmother’s birthday. I am also, I’ll admit, a sucker for symbolism. After seven miscarriages and a failed adoption, wasn’t the very fact that it was ON my grandmother’s birthday exact proof that this was a good sign?

I know, I know. At 24, I should have been much wiser than that. The thing was, however, I loved those kids incredibly. I had not taken the job in that group home in an effort to shop for children. (A phrase my older daughter, at least, will find bitter twinged amusement in.) I had accepted the position because I needed to stand on my own and because I loved kids and was really great at my job.

I had developed various sorts of close relationships with various kids who were growing up there. Some souls simply click, but with these three it was different. The first confirmation, of the miraculous element, for me had been when I developed special relationships and felt drawn to each of them before I was really aware that they were actual siblings. The three were not particularly close to each other, and in settings like that you often have kids refer to other kids as siblings, when they aren’t. When I learned, a couple of weeks in to my tenure, that they were biological siblings I realized that pull had made divine sense.

I had not been expecting the request, when they came together to ask it of me. I was, at 24, far too immature to understand the gravity of how difficult that must have been for them, considering their journey thus far, in life. My co-worker was sitting with me and she squealed a little and remarked “this is perfect! You and those three are a beautiful combination and seeing you all together makes life make sense!”

That journey towards them was not an easy one. There was much standing in the way and honestly, at 24, if I had known exactly what the heart fight would look like, I might have run away screaming. Thank God, I didn’t. I was witness to very abusive manipulations, over the years, and a control battle over those precious spirits, that still (in recollection) makes my skin crawl. Though our journey as a family has not been at all how I would have designed it, the outcome is a familial connection that I would not trade for the world. The journey was long, and eventually one of the three found parents who were closer and a better fit. I always understood, and grieved, and in the end came to peace with the fact that I love her just the same, no matter what…

~~~

Fourteen years ago, I was approached to be the mother of a broken little four-year old girl. It was a decision that we made within a few hours, even though I found myself weather worn from my other mother-journal-struggle. (which at this point, was still going strong) My fear was that we would grow to love this tender little child and then lose her, down the road. The once-again-symbolism of my grandmother’s birthday being near, and what the journey with those three beautiful kids had been like, were not lost on me.

You see, the feared possibility was not completely unfounded. We had been the soon-to-be adoptive parents of twin girls, once upon a time. Our ten months with them were that sort of chapter where every day felt a little like this is what my soul has been waiting for, finally I am complete. Then, due to a technicality regarding a gun, an arrest method and a court loophole, they were returned to the stranger that was their mother, leaving my arms empty and my heart officially shattered…

Two days after being asked, we drove out to pick up our daughter. It was a sunny September Sunday afternoon, and I had made sure to call my grandmother, on the way over, to wish her a happy birthday. The sunshine easily acted like a promise that this time, this time motherhood might not hurt as bad, and may not end with empty arms. This little girl was a gift, but she was also a daily reminder that there were no guarantees. For a very long time I walked the tightrope of guarding my heart and that same heart diving headfirst into the sea of her child-spirit. Tens upon tens of thousands of dollars later, (and sadly a nine-year court battle which always seemed to play out more uphill than down, until we one day found it over) she was legally ours. Throughout this time, there were sadly moments when this growing girl would be used, as a pawn, to hurt our older kids. It was a sick and a meant-for-tragedy thing, and miraculously it never worked. Seeds meant to sow resentment, simply sowed love.

~~~

My beautiful, (now in heaven) grandmother’s birthday has born to me, motherhood. She was such a strong woman who held a family together in ways which I could never replicate, all the while her birthday knit together another branch of her own. My motherhood journey has been anything but traditional. Just the same, I am the mom to some of the most extraordinary humans I have ever known.

For the first time since that timid little seventeen year old request for my motherhood was asked, I am spending this day alone. In the past I have either been with my husband, visiting my kids, becoming a mom again, just with one kid, two kids, or the best of times- all three. One year we were recovering from the wedding, the day before, of my older daughter. One year we went to the Lion King on Broadway, on other we sat around eating chocolate fondue and making silly home movies for my husband because he couldn’t be with us. Somehow the day has always been special, playing out as its own sort of character within our family and lives. (fun bonus fact, my son married a beautiful girl, whom I adore, whose birthday is the day AFTER this little anniversary of ours. Attraction truly is a spiritual thing.)

This year my husband is 8,000 miles and 16 hours away. My son is in the far corners of the country doing his part to keep our nation safe. My older daughter on her own motherhood journey, waking from ringing in her own anniversary- marriage. My younger daughter, the sweet little four-year old of fourteen years ago, is on a dark and prodigal journey that this mmama heart of mine hopes will not last forever, but worries about the consequential scarring that may happen along the way. My family is a lesson to me that fighting for those whom your soul loves, is primal at best and always vital. The journey will never be scripted the way that your heart hopes, but the outcome of love will always be worth it- even when things don’t go your way.

Happy birthday, Grandma…

beautiful, chronic illness, confession, creative, depression, fibro, friendship, gifts, gratitude, journey, Lately, list, marriage, parenting, self care

the wonder…

Over the weekend I went to Toledo to attend a Beth Moore conference. Of the pages and pages of notes I penned, there is one particular thing Beth said which I have not been able to shake. Don’t misunderstand- She said a lot of truly incredible things. Magnificent and wise things which had my hand, at times, scribbling a million miles a minute just to capture a small fraction of what she shared. This one thing, however, this one particular thing split me wide open and has clung to my spirit…

When you are unable to see the Wonder (of God) anywhere in your life, that’s when it might be time to realize you are the wonder.

I mean seriously- BOOM.

There are times in my life when I have seen the hand of God all over the place, and other times when I would have to simply reassure myself by acknowledging the very miraculous wonder of my journey to motherhood, because nothing else came to mind. As bold and big as that part of my story will always be, there was never a moment when I flirted with considering my own life (or self) as any sort of wonder.

Self care is at the heart of everything I say, anymore, and yet, ironic isn’t it, that I would point to my kids, my spouse and many of my friends as the miraculous wonders of someone Holy, while ignoring the mirrored reflection I posses completely?

No, not me. I have a lazy eye. My hair gets frizzy. I screw up way too much. No one cares about what I have to say. The list can be long and go on, and on, and on.

When I want to be, I can be pretty skilled at finding joy and awe in the moment by moment “small” things. I have journals chronicling my gifts in the ordinary and often pain filled moments. I get it… But what about looking a little differently at these things? It is totally ok for me to see Elenor as a gift, my kids as gifts, my marriage, money, friends, etc… It is an endless list when heading in that direction, but if I reverse it back, it pretty much stops where it began. Am I possibly a gift? Could I be? Could I ever see myself as such a thing, and should I? This goes beyond feeling grateful that, when fibro sore legs throb, at least I have two legs to carry me. This goes beyond when an eye strain headache deblitates me, at least I have eyes to see, to read. But me? I’ll have to question and meditate on such things, but for now I have decided to challenge myself to look a little deeper.

Where is the wonder today?

Today I will photograph.

Today I will write.

Today I will capture.

Today I will create.

Today I will be still.

Today I will bridge a gap and connect.

Today I will…

And maybe it will simply be one capture, one snap shot or one written word. Perhaps my stillness will last three blissful minutes before life sets it. It does not matter the volume, only the intent motivating it. It is in these intentional acts, as well as outside of them, that I will see the wonder.

Some wonder.

Wonder…

beautiful, books, chronic illness, entertainment, fibro, friendship, gratitude, journey, Lately, list

It’s friday, I’m in love…

I would love to delve into the Cure lyrics here and say that I don’t really care if Monday is actually grey, but I’d be lying. This whole week was a little grey honestly. My husband is away on business and I’m missing him. On top of that there has just been sickness, fibro crap, a dental nightmare and odds and end little things that would bury me alive, if I let them.

(I won’t!)

Instead I’m focussing on the great things, and I’ll be honest, I have had to practice being aware and think a lot more about what this week’s little list might look like…

1.) Portugal. The Man... Heard them? While they aren’t new to my radar (think indie alternative meets totally fresh and amazing) this week I found myself gravitating more to their music that I have before. Big awesome, and very much the bulk of the soundtrack carrying my week.

2.) Sweet potato dog chips. Basically I believe they are dried sweet potatoes. We tried making them a few years back and it was a bust. I became so jaded from the experience that I swore my dogs would never eat sweet potatoes again. (just kidding, that’s not true) We did recently pick up a large bag of them and I can honestly say both dogs love them far better than treats. The super nice thing is that 3.5 month old Elenor will stay “busy” on one for a good chunk of time, giving me a small window of productivity.

3.) This book! While I am pretty new to the Enneagram, this book seems to be the perfect launching pad and I am loving it!

4.) You guys… This week I stumbled upon a 55 gram of protein shake, (55!!!) that tastes like dessert. Seriously, it was decadent. (Nutri-bullet: 1 chocolate Premier protein, 2 scoops Chocorite Peanut Butter protein, 5 ice cubes, 1 banana (potassium!!!) and listen for the Angel’s chorus…

5.) Last but not least, this movie! I was lucky enough to catch a showing, earlier in the week, with a friend. We live in a time when new movies come and go so fast, and most of the time they have the feel of mass production products over art. I realize this film is bombing critically, and as a former critic I get it. Here’s the thing though, critics pick faults by nature- it’s the job. (I can also tell you that watching movies, as a critic, sucks.) I know that average viewers aren’t loving it by the majority either. I think maybe it is marketed as something it isn’t… I think the Sweet Home Alabama fans are shouting from their rooftops “FINALLY!!!” and flocking to see it, expecting Sweet Home Alabama. It isn’t. (not even in the same genre) It is Home Again. Not better, but very, very different. Also, it is very, very beautiful…

So that’s my week… Other bright spots are the constant laugh-til-tears over Elenor and her huge personality… She’s going to her first sleepover tonight and I do declare, I’m going to miss this girl like crazy! Tell me about your week…