beautiful, confession, creative, depression, family, friendship, gifts, gratitude, journey, marriage, self care

Pocket sized self care…

Several years ago Chw and I were doing an intentional dating workshop. We were desperately trying to break our dinner and a movie rut. (Oddly enough, through the encounter and 90 day challenge that followed, we learned that we really like doing dinner and a movie. Sure, we expanded to doing other things, but when we actually enjoyed something, it wasn’t quite a rut we learned.) One of the “dates” were for the husband (Chw) to purchase a small, pocket-sized totem for the wife to carry around. The purpose was to act as a grounding, between the two. Whenever the wife, (in this case, me) would pull said totem from her pocket, coin purse, etc, it would remind her of her husband’s love and her belonging to him.

Oddly, my sweet husband took it literally and thought he had to get something that would actually represent him. I went to my favorite store, stressed out over the pressure of the task that is Chw’s fashion, and purchased a silver dollar sized bracket with a C on it. It was so sweet, and funny and although i ADORE that C, I do not carry it in my pocket or coin purse.

This little task resonated with me. This adult girl with abandonment issues and a lifetime lacking much connection, I was in awe of the simplicity of the task. If you and I are remotely close at all, you have likely received some totem token from me. Perhaps it was a four-leaf clover coin, or a small silver elephant, or something similar. I love them!

During the time stopping six months, last year, that we were separated, I had found tiny, polished wooden hearts. I bought two, and carried one around in my pocket everywhere. (I mailed the other one to Chw.) Every time my hand came in to contact with that smooth and grainy heart, I prayed for him and us. I prayed for my heart. I prayed for love and I felt myself swell up with so much joy and longing for my husband. Within that palm, which I feared would never be held by his again, I clung to this heart.

During that time, as well, one day I was at work and feeling completely without hope. I prayed for something I could cling to, out of habit. I begged God to give me a small, piece of something. Anything. Just something to help me hold it together…  A minute or so later a flat ring was just sitting on the counter in front of me. It’s like the piece that goes behind a bolt or screw. I laughed a little. So, it was a piece of something. In my pocket it went, and for the next six months my pocket and/or palm was never without that little metal piece and my wooden heart…

Totems are important and often litter our lives, even when we don’t realize it. They could be a place, or even a person. Maybe it’s a photo, or a pocket-sized trinket like these. What ever it is, they can bond us to something we feel a need to hold tight to. The flip side is true too though, things can tether us to unhealthy memories, addictions or relationships. I’ve realized, over time, that I have had those too. Maybe not in my pocket, but certainly in my life. Yet another reason to cling to the things in life which I love and bring value, while throwing out the rest.

Self care comes in all shapes and sizes, it is not one-size-fits-all. Holding tight to the things which remind us to move forward while letting go of the things which tie us to an unhealthy past is a pretty universal necessary though.

 

beautiful, confession, creative, entertainment, family, gratitude, home, journey, Lately, list, parenting, Uncategorized

It’s friday, I’m in love…

Oh it’s that time again- Hello, weekend! These summer weekends are fleeting and I find this bittersweet.

This week was a BUSY one! Some moments I barely had time to compose myself and other ones were a little more intentional. It has been a weekend filled to the brim with stress and disappointment. You guys, parenthood is HARD. Adulting is HARD. Taking responsibility for screw ups is HARD. My week has been Die Hard with a Vengeance, minus the Bruce Willis/entertainment value/special effects/big budget stuff, and just loads of craptastic.

It is nice to take a few minutes to seek out the best bits of sharable…  I LOVED the links and little notes you guys sent last week! The best part of that was finding some new music. My readers have THE BEST taste! :)

Here’s my top five for the week…

1.) August is apparently the month for Random Acts of Kindness. If you know me at all, you know I am a sucker for RAKs! I absolutely LOVE this project and have been enjoying leaving intentionally written letters about my corner of the world.

2.) If you love Zombie movies, i HIGHLY recommend Train To Busan. (yes, it’s Korean, of course it is…) It was amazing, and by far the best Zombie movie we have ever seen! (also, it’s on Netflix, so that’s super cool too.)

3.) Quite awhile ago a friend of mine recommended the podcast Blue Babies Pink. Essentially it is Brett Trapp’s coming out story, told from his perspective as a now adult preacher’s kid, having grown up as a Jesus loving, well-adjusted youth. It is very interesting, very thought-provoking and at 44 (although super short) episodes, I am two-thirds of the way through and am really glad I make the choice to listen!

4.) I must clarify that i DO NOT own these earrings, but I also am publicly stating it right now: I really, really want them.

5.) Lastly, for this week… Coke Zero Sugar. I know, I know… I was just as sad as everyone else about the loss of Coke Zero. To be honest, my biggest worry was What will I drink at the movies now? And again, being honest, I am not certain they will even offer CZS at the theater, but I do like it. We still have plain old regular coke zero and did do a taste comparison. The two taste nothing alike. Chw likes the new better, while I still prefer the original. (likely because I HATE CHANGE!) that being said, I do really like the new. It tastes good by itself. It tastes good with a splash of lime. It tastes super good with a bit of crown. All in all, it’s a win. :)

Happy weekend!

beautiful, creative, friendship, gratitude, home, journey, list, marriage, writing

why hello there, August…

While I wish that my August was going to include some amazing beach time, I know someone out there will sink their toes in sand this month and I will practice being happy for them. (and count the days until I’m doing the same, 10 months from now!)

In questing to be more intentional, I like to keep a little list here of goals I have for the month ahead. I really love the emails and interaction I have with you about your hopes and plans, as well! What are your August hopes/plans?

Home:

  • make jam.
  • can peaches so that I can make my grandmother’s amazing Peach Cobbler as the weather turns cool.
  • Finish sorting out our garage.
  • Cook with my instant pot more.
  • Learn to mix four new cocktails.

Health:

  • Begin a Tai Chi class, for peace and balance.
  • Meet with a personal trainer to reassess the current state of things, where my health and body are concerned.
  • Go hiking at least 6 times, before month’s end.
  • feel happier with my strength, what I’ve accomplished and what the scale reads, than I am today…
  • Practice yoga weekly

Marriage:

  • spend as much time with my husband as possible, before he hits a heavy travel season.
  • bike rides and picnics.
  • Have intentional dates, with a dress and everything.
  • Go dancing.
  • Taco fest! <3
  • the drive-in before summer ends.

Creative:

  • Not only read this book, but spend my August putting Dear Stranger letters into practice.
  • Shoot a photo series.
  • Write a collective 40,000 words.

Personal:

  • Read Chasing Slow
  • Establish a new quiet time routine.
  • Get lost in one more good summer novel. (suggestions?)
  • This book will FINALLY be available! (i LOVE Flow! i just wish the magazine was more accessible here in the states!)
  • Have coffee with a new friend.
  • Step out of my comfort zone in a social setting.
beautiful, confession, creative, gratitude, home, journey, marriage

Home…

Two Julys ago I danced, headphones blaring, spreading a roller filled with paint over dingy greyed apartment walls. The walls were transforming into a brighter shade of winter snow, hoping to bring bright into the basement apartment which relied on only one glass door window for daylight.

I had spent months painting walls, beside my husband. We had tiled a kitchen, restored a fireplace and stood distantly side-by-side as we turned a house we were impartial to, into a home for our family. This last bit, an apartment for my mother, felt bigger than a paint job.

Two years ago I was seeing a counselor weekly. I was on the verge of an internal emotional collapse due the impending changes happening in my family, and in my home. My mother was coming to live with me. My mother, whom I had not actually lived with since I was twelve. My mother, our history of severe abuse and neglect spread like a chasm of complication and fear between us. She stated that coming to live with me sounded like hell to her, and if I were being honest, I felt the same. Instead I lied to myself and anyone who would listen about how I simply wanted her last days on earth to be happy and healthy ones. I picked up the responsibility of healing the relationship between us and carried it all alone. This, while distance grew by the day between my husband and I. He was my partner, my very best friend and I had no idea how to process such an unexplained gap. This house, and the impending arrival of my mother sat between us like a foul toad, squatting and promising to destroy everything it touched. Life felt hard, heavy, with air dank and thick. My flight or fight instinct kicked in roughly two years ago. I had to fight for everything I loved, or get out. I knew it as well as I understood anything. What I did not understand was the distance between Chw & I, or how to repair it. I did not understand how to walk in steps without him really present by my side. I did not understand how to approach and deal with this thing regarding my mother. Who am I kidding, before that house I felt competent and capable, but in that house I did not really know much of anything at all.

I flew. I disappeared into school on an impulse decision and lost myself into the healing of an unhealthy friendship because there I understood exactly where I fit in. While every day confirmed to me that my husband, my daughter (at home) and my mother were the people who liked my presence the least, this friend needed me. I knew where I stood with him. We did not have the sort of relationship that betrayed my marriage, though honestly I was so desperate for someone to actually find me of value- it could have happened. I was like a person living so far outside of their actual life, numb to the realities of what happened and just getting through each day.

My life fell apart, and I am sad to say my counselor was very instrumental in everything. From the losing myself in the friendship, to the personally pushing distance between my husband and I. By the time a few months had passed, I was only listening to two people- the mental health professional I relied on, and the only person who seemed to think I was worth anything. I felt like I was daily dying to be loved.

It has been a really long two years. It is hard to believe that Chw and I were only physically separated for 6 months, it felt like years. Years of heartache, years of life experience and years of growth and healing within myself.

This July I chose paint colors for the walls of our new home. (it’s a rental, though long-term. I’ve learned the lesson of buying houses in Michigan. Two huge financial failures, and I’m secure in a lease, thank you very much.) I unpacked boxes and displayed family photos as though they were precious art. The reality struck me that the last time I put together a home, was that house, those two years ago. I both loved and hated that house. Seeing the new buyers change things is both bitter and sweet. While new homes should feel full of possibility, that home never really did. For two years I have wandered internally, wishing for balm to soothe aches and hurts, devastation and broken trusts. For two years I have felt stranded and abandoned. The last year of that had me finally sleeping in the same bed every night, though temporary. loss and turmoil were the interior design of choice then.

This time around there is simply home. My soul needed the roller on wall to reset the purpose behind such acts. The process, the newness, the fresh paint scented creation of some place good.

It has been one literal hell of a journey, but I finally feel home. Home is not walls and a roof, nor is it a destination. Home is simply a place of peace and rest, and a shelter for the growth life takes us through.

confession, creative, entertainment, holiday, home, journey, Lately, marriage, parenting, writing

The deep mundane…

Last week I received a lovely direct message on Instagram from a fellow writer. We had crossed paths over the social media platform and she had been led to come follow my blog. Her message was heartfelt and encouraged me to write, within this space, more. Honestly, when I read her words I nodded and thought I couldn’t agree more. And yet…

And yet, another week went by of parenthood and exhaustive defiance. Another week of ridiculous traffic, appointments, stocking the fridge, preparing meals, folding laundry, friendship, etc. What would I write about? How I disliked folding laundry that sat overnight in the dryer? How it is flip-flop season and I am in desperate need of a pedicure. How graduation and an open house are approaching at rocket speed and not fast enough, all rolled into one. How I am packing to move out of this temporary apartment and I am beyond tired of transition and moving. How my puppy is the most stubborn potty trainer and how, with Fibro, I am as consistent as I can be but that every moment of every day feels like I simply am not doing good enough at anything. None of these things are blog worthy, dwell worthy, or really worth any thing at all. They are what they are. Some days are better than others. Some days full on blow, while others are exceptional. This is life for each of us, with our own details.

Writing, (something I haven’t been doing much of, beyond the occasional freelance piece) requires deeper than that. If my eyes are trained to see the mundane, the details, the nows and the this minutes, I am unable to plunge. And so, for a blog post you’ll get surface level stuff, unless I resort to the fake. Truthfully, I can’t take either of those options and so, best intentions cast aside for another day, this space remained silent.

Part of my problem, I’ll admit, is that I haven’t had a designated writing space. As I type this very collection of words, I am writing from my bed- my least favorite place to write. I do not have a dining table, as of right now, my bar to bar stool ratio is too much for my little t-rex arms to comfortable type and my living room is cluttered with boxes and mess. Every week I declare that I will take one to two days and go to the local coffee-house to spend a few hours writing from there. In theory, this is great. In reality I have an adult child who makes this idea hard, coupled with a stubborn and needy puppy- and so… So I tell myself a routine can be established later. (Later: tomorrow, next week, next month, next year) and I cope the best I can through the seconds turned to minutes, which link together, arms tight and unforgiving.

This morning I woke up, having survived the various elements of the three-day weekend, motivated. My to-do list was ready. I threw my collection of frozen and fresh fruit into the blender, along with some spinach and various additives to make my breakfast smoothie healthy and filling. By the time I got the blend point, however, parenting frustrations had already occurred (actually about half had carried over from the days of the last few months, hurtful and unyielding) and so when the first sip of my smoothie tasted like a cross between toilet cleaner and a thin mint cookie, I had to take pause. What was going on here? Why wasn’t I writing? Why didn’t I just sit down and do it? Why wasn’t I looking beyond the surface, beneath the BS and in between the lines? Why wasn’t I transparently sharing whatever came to mind? Why was I continuing to sip a smoothie which sort of burned my taste buds and reminded me of my short stint as a professional cleaner in a small hospital?

So many questions, (the “smoothie” is almost gone, by the way, in case you were curious. I’m thinking the Tumeric is where I went wrong- though that it has the power to transform EVERYTHING to such wickedness is a terrifying thought.) with no real answers. So I sit here, feet slightly numb at this elevated position. Stubborn puppy is crated for a two-hour stint of further attempts with project potty train. My stomach is currently unsure of how to digest the new market cleanser I seem to have whipped up, (All natural!) and my laundry sits folded beside me, begging to be put away. Today I will walk the dogs, take some photos of swans, pack a few boxes, list things on Ebay, drive Gen to work and return an insane amount of books to the library. This week I will wrap gifts and put a few last-minute details together for my mom’s 70th birthday, further progress on my daughter A’s birthday and Gen’s graduation open house. This week I will also, hopefully, know exactly where we are moving to. Let’s put it this way, I care a little- Mostly though, I am just excited to get out of this transition. It has been a year of transition. (and over paying for a dump, but that’s a whole other issue.)

The takeaway that I have from our three-day weekend is this: long weekends have a lot more room for the unexpected. While sleeping in and leisurely brunches are lovely, life still happens and stuff has to get done. I think, when I imagine the looming extra long weekend, I forget that part. Furthermore- date nights are so cathartic, and fun, but also sort of pricy. The new Pirates movie is seriously better than I expected, and late night John Cusack marathons might be a little too wild for this girl, as I slept through most of it. (#41isold #canistillcallmyselfagirlifimold) All in all, life is about balance. Sometimes, for various reasons, a fun adventure really can be a run to Sonic happy hour, an hour away. Sometimes a hard day really can be a result of an overcast sky and you feel sad. We are where we are. Period. I suspect I keep waiting for something else, looking for something a bit more to push me to that point where I can be a real writer. There is no point. This is it. The quest of the writer truly is to find the beauty and story within the mundane pile of laundry and accidentally abrasive smoothie. Message noted, and so I will try my best to do better, sweet Instagram friend.