books, confession, journey, Lately, rant

When do we say enough?

Coming off the weekend, I found notes scattered with an array of things I wanted to write about here. Somehow though, the weekend killed those desires, or at least numbed them. Monday’s are my big home day. The day where I catch up on laundry and household chores, the day I get some reading done, take care of phone calls I need to make and knock out a good chunk of work. Usually, I’m sad to admit, this is work related stuff I am a little behind on. This, of course, leads to loads of guilt when I don’t actually catch up on anything.

Except laundry.

Laundry is always done.

I am currently listening to an audio book that I’m not loving. Reviews of this book are GLOWING, which leads me to wonder what my problem is. Readers rave at its humor and easy reading, but I find my ears choking it down (if ears could do such a thing) and have not laughed yet.

I am not usually an audio book fan, but have found they help on the laundry/chore Mondays, as well as the longer moments in traffic. Somehow I lie to myself and tell myself I am maximizing my time that way. And sometimes the books are so great, but this time it isn’t. Perhaps it is the narration? At any rate… I read, on Saturday, the tale of this particular books author. The article mentioned that she’d simply entered a competition and won. Her manuscript was passed on to Penguin and a book deal was given. The article’s author seemed to be awed by not only the book’s author’s luck, but the fact that she is over 40. What? Is it more likely for such magical things to happen if one is under 40? What difference does 40 make anyway? Does being 41 mean that my life’s goals and dreams as I know them are screwed and I may as well select a coffin and begin planning my memorial service?

I mean, really… Just when our society seems to make great strides of progress in some areas, women decide to march around with vagina hats on their head and we have nazi gatherings. (While one is obviously NOT as garishly grim as the other, I’ll still admit it is embarrassing.) Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Trans, White, Black, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Athiest… Over 40, under 40- why can’t we, as a people, just get over our radical fears and judgements and just love each other? These things are getting worse because we are so adamant about taking sides. My side is community. Humanity. Can’t that just be enough? This division is being driven by bigger, governing forces and we just play along and people die. PEOPLE DIE…

We need to stop.

And also, let’s give props to an author for writing something that resonates with people, (even if I’m not one of them, I still applaud her!) and admit her age doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it…

beautiful, books, chronic illness, confession, entertainment, fibro, gratitude, home, journey, list, marriage, self care, travel

hey, hey, it’s the weekend…

The weekend is here, (Hurrah!) and I feel like, as of late, everyone has been heading to the mountains but me. It isn’t that I love the mountains more than anyone else, just that my soul is a little jealous…

Friday came and went, this week. Having Chw out-of-town with a weird schedule, and a couple of fibro flare up days, I found myself a bit behind. Thanks to my beautiful people though, I received half a dozen inquiries asking where my friday five post was. Is that what we’re calling it? ok then… You asked-

1.) I took a Tai Chi class earlier this week. It was amazing on so many levels and helped me address issues in a few key problem areas within my body. (Full discloser, I did follow a yoga class with it, back to back, which likely helped.) I went in a skeptic and with one session it won me over.

2.) A fellow K-drama loving friend (and AWESOME writer) got me turned on the series Goblin. It is unlike any K-drama I’ve watched before. Confusing at first, and now so compelling.

3.) I am reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and loving it. Really great read and I highly recommend it!

4.) Yesterday evening felt like Autumn. I had all of my windows wide open, breeze blowing my curtains. The air felt AMAZING and I just sat there wrapped in a blanket, watching Goblin and waiting for Chw to make it back to town. It was pretty perfect! I do hope, however, that this does NOT mean we are going to have an early/harsher winter.

5.) Day dreaming about vacationing here. Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Chw and I have talked about it more than once, and I’m not kidding when I say it randomly enters my mind at unexpected times throughout the day. We are just under two years away from our 25th anniversary. Maybe this will be our destination getaway? (perhaps once the change jar equals a puppy we can turn it from Project Puppy to Project Mexico???)

So there you have it… What would you like to share about the week behind us?

books, entertainment, gratitude, list

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

It has been quite a long time since I have written a weekend post. I am trying to be present and intentional and retrain myself in such things, and I really love things which help me do this. These days I find I am getting back to a healthy place and wanting to share wonderful things from my life, with you! (This is that place, and in turn, I would love for you to continue sharing really great loves with me!)

1.) Forest. Forest is an app that is designed to help us focus on what we are doing, without the distraction of a phone. We grow trees the more we ignore our phones. In time you can do this enough so as to plant real trees. It is all very cool and I LOVE it!

2.) The Big Sick. This film is not only a true story, but it is really, REALLY wonderful! *insert major hearts here*

3.) Storyville coffee. I may have mentioned it before (I love it so much!) But Storyville is my FAVORITE coffee. Not only is it amazing, but this company definitively supports the rescuing of human trafficked individuals.

4.) This week I’m reading My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella. While I haven’t loved most of her books, outside of the first three in the Shopaholic series, I am really enjoying this one. It’s a good middle-of-summer read!

5.) My toes are LOVING this line. Specifically, at this time, I have on Bubble Bath. Perfect summer fun, now all I need is some sand to sink my toes into.

Here’s to an amazing weekend, where we take time to really enjoy these summer moments!

beautiful, birthday, books, confession, entertainment, family, food, friendship, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, list, marriage, parenting

intent & loving…

Happy Friday!

Things have been fairly quiet around here. Turning 41 and having my youngest turn 18 has been serious business. Add to that my 23rd wedding anniversary and WOW, busy busy. Plus the fact that I spent the upwards of twenty days with an upper respiratory infection. Thankfully Gen contracted whatever nasty virus I had, but in her it seemed to only live a day or two. Chw, thus far, is in stellar health. Minus being a little sleep deprived from sweet Mr. Knightley, we are doing pretty grand.

I have been thinking, over the past few days, about wanting to blog and connect with you a little bit, but perhaps it’s the combination sleep deprivation, our blustery weather outside and just beginning to feel human again, which had me unsure of what to write. Then, this morning, as I was making a small pot of tea- it hit me…

As of late, I have stumbled upon a few things I am really loving. Some have been at the suggestion of friends, some have been by chance and I wanted to share them with you.

  • I love tea. I have likely always loved tea, but sometimes I just get a little forgetful of how much I truly love tea. Then, I wind up being invited to tea somewhere and my love is rekindled. This past weekend I was introduced to a tea flavor by Harney & Sons named Paris. I have to preface the furthering of this subject with a confession. I pretty much detest bagged tea. I am a loose-leaf girl, all the way, for a variety of reasons. My only exception is Harney & Sons. I went to tea on Saturday and this flavor sounded interesting. (don’t get me started on how caught off guard I was that a tea house used bagged tea, because I will come across as a total tea snob and I really am not. I promise) This flavor is AMAZING! I immediately purchased a tin of Paris because- DIVINE.
  • Last night for dinner, I tried this recipe. While I did a couple of things differently, I have to be honest- it was DELICIOUS!
  • My friend Jen told me about the book Big Girls Do It Running. I really enjoy it because, for the most part, I find the Author’s story and approach really relatable. I am inspired to give carb cycling a try.
  • We really don’t watch a lot of TV. Occasionally Gen and I get caught up watching entire series (Currently it is 90210. The girl has a healthy obsession with the 90’s… I am so proud!) There really isn’t much that all three of us really enjoy together, but this new sitcom on NBC called Trial & Error is one we adore. So funny, we LOVE it.
  • I am not sure how familiar you are with Essential Oils. I Swear by them! Over the past few months my dear friend Debbie has turned me on to a few products (that go a bit beyond Essential Oils) that have literally changed my life. They are both in this brand, the ON Guard line. One is the throat drops. While I was sick, these made an amazing difference! Two is the toothpaste. Listen for a moment, this toothpaste, after just ONE use, became something truly special for the three of us, as well as my older daughter and her family. Amazing does not begin to cover it. (I already loved the hand soap, all-purpose cleaner and oil itself.) I am honestly not trying to sell you, just sharing what I love and am willing to elaborate if asked! :)
  • Word searches… No, I am not joking. a couple of months ago I picked up a pretty little Word Search book at Barnes & Noble. (who knew they could be cute and pretty???) I used to love them, was giving up most phone apps (time wasters) for Lent and decided to use this as a substitution. Talk about rekindling a love! For my birthday I received another pretty Word Search book and my spare moments often include doing a quick WS puzzle.
  • Our pet store (which is awesome) told us about these teething rings. They promised a life saver, and they weren’t kidding. Knightley loves them. (he loves chewing on toes, feet, fingers, chins and any other visible flesh more, but these serve as a good distraction!)
  • I received a bag of this coffee, as a gift. You guys, if you are wanting an indulgent weekend coffee, this is the one for you. It is amazing. It is too decadent to drink every day, but it is absolutely our new weekend treat!
  • Rising well before the sun. Having a chronic illness has made early mornings, over the past few years, a struggle. I won’t pretend something changed, because it hasn’t. Because of Knightley, early mornings are a necessity and I have been using that time in more intentionally positive ways. I make a homemade breakfast for my family, play with the puppy, read a little. Whatever I need to do to think less about how crummy and sore I feel, and more about the people I love. It’s not always that easy, but I have seen it shaping my days/week a little differently.
  • If you pay any attention to me at all, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of face masks and skin care. I stumbled upon this mask, and what I loved about it were the ingredients and the price. I used it this past Monday (while sipping my Godiva coffee) and it was heavenly. Five days later and my skin is still amazing. (plus, you guys, we went to dinner for our anniversary and the entire staff REFUSED to believe that we’d been married 23 years and that our youngest was 18. There is really something to be said about an intentional and healthy skin care regimen!)

I am always interested in book, show, music and product recommendations! What are you loving lately??? PLEASE SHARE!

beautiful, books, entertainment, family, friendship, gifts, gratitude, journey, parenting

Her Children Will Rise and Call Her…

Decades ago there was a woman who identified herself as wife and mother. She had a heart for Jesus, and this would come to sustain her more than she may ever have imagined. It is easy, in such a role, to find yourself in the details of sack lunches, ironing shirts and after work embraces, greeting your husband at the end of his day. When her husband found himself unfaithful and interested in a life & family with someone else, leaving her and her four daughters, it may have been hard to imagine herself at all- for a minute…

These days this scenario is almost expected, and there are programs and plans to help. Decades ago, this was not the case. To be the left, carrying the load, well- I can only imagine she endured judgement and bigotry at times, at the hands of others maybe so trapped in their fear. An absent husband/father and the either compassion or disapproval of others will not put food in your daughters’ bellies, so this beautiful woman had no choice.

She rose.

In an era where men were still handed most opportunities, she marched into a bank and offered them herself. She presented herself with such honesty: this would be her first job, she was an abandoned single mom, she knew she would work hard, and she did. Many years later she would retire from that very same bank. Times were so different then that, truthfully, we may have a tough time even understanding how isolating and brave this all had to have been. While her friends were lunching and sharing in each others lives, this beautiful soul would miss class parties and the like, just to keep power on in her very modest apartment. These days single motherhood is such a thing, and working mothers are very common, but this story is more. Even though single motherhood and working motherhood are among the most common elements of todays society, the fact that this woman’s life fell utterly apart and she rose in the morning, rising to give her daughter’s life. Rising to create a life that was so full of something bigger than any dollar could buy.

Rising up and moving past is not something common these days either, but maybe that has never really been on trend…

Beyond that, any of us who have been parents for any point in time know that parenthood is hard. So hard, and going at it alone only multiplies that. This incredible woman raised four incredible women. Women who went on to raise incredible kids. While no one is perfect, these 5 women have set the standard for keeping family at the center of the vitalist of priorities, also in a time when family grows less and less important.

There is not a person out there who could not learn something life affirming from knowing these girls or their mother. These days, most of girls themselves find themselves grandmothers. Their family has seen illness, loss, struggle, death and heartbreak. The tragedy which altered their world at the start of this story did not cripple or eternally victimize these five women, though it could have. It did not create an opportunity for them to settle down and live off of charity. It did not inspire deep, life long rebellion and acting out. Did it devastate them? yes. This woman, whom I admire beyond words, worked hard every day for her family.  In rising above and with such courage, she planted the seeds which would grow what was necessary, in her daughters, to stand throughout the heartaches and struggles they would face. She fought hard, for her family. She prayed hard, for her family. She was in the trenches for these girls, without ceasing. What began as clothes on their bodies and heat in their home continued through dating, marriage, childbirth, some divorce, heartbreak, health problems and even burying one of her own beautiful daughters. She still stands strong for these girls and their children, and their children’s children. Having known this beautiful soul since I was sixteen, I have to believe that if we are earning “jewels in our crown”, in heaven, for the beautiful things we do on this earth, this woman is going to have a castle filled to the brim with jeweled crowns.

Her daughters continue her legacy, rising up and fighting for the ones they love. They are united, kind and supportive and their children have become this as well. Among them is so much success, many geographical locations and, at the core of everything, family.

When I was challenged to write about a woman, a heroine, whom I have known in life who has gone above and beyond, sacrificed and inspired, there was no one else I could imagine. I met this soul when I was sixteen, visiting her tiny apartment with her granddaughter, who was my friend. I had no idea the ways that this woman would be so important in my life. She has stood beside and fought for me more than any one I’ve had. She is tiny in stature and fierce in heart, even so much as going up against my husband 18 years ago for his own adultery and abandonment. There she stood, taking him on and this man of 5′ 11″ towered over this tiny little woman and yet the only thing he was feeling was terrified. She, one of her amazing daughters (who would become my mentor and one of my dearest friends) and her own mother made three of four people who attended my wedding shower, when the world I’d lived in had all but thrown me away. I have recovered from miscarriage in her home, cried on her shoulder, prayed beside her and had so much loving conversation.

Any popular story I hear about people moving great obstacles to accomplish bold things simply does not hold a candle to her, in my book. What she had to do (and really, when she had to do it) combined with how her own daughters turned into loving mothers, fierce advocates for their family, and wild supporters of others- that is everything right there. She is a heroine with an amazing heroic legacy.

There is a film releasing on the 31st called The Zoo Keeper’s Wife. (It is based on the novel of the same title, and you can see the trailer here.) It is the story of Antonina and Jan Żabiński, a Christian couple who save and house hundreds of Jews during WWII. This not only an inspiring and life affirming story of heroism and faithfulness, but in a time such as this, it is a necessary story of humanity tearing down the walls of religion to help others, regardless of theirs. 

The world is scattered with brave souls, their beauty and their stories there for us to learn from and do with. I am so blessed by knowing this beautiful woman who I have shared with you. Who would you have written about? I would love for you to share. On the 31st, at 12:00 a.m., I will choose a winner (at random) to receive a $25 Fandango card… (comment additionally if you tweet or FB share to be granted extra entires.)