beautiful, chronic illness, confession, family, fibro, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, Lately, marriage, parenting

In the dark & quiet…

Ten Fifty-Four has found me sitting, legs tucked deep, on this grey velvet couch in darkness. It is quiet, minus the hum of the air conditioner. The cable knit throw spread across my lap has been my friend today. It isn’t that I am feeling sick, or down, or sad, or tired- more or less that I seem to be a rubber-band-ball of feeling and not feeling and everything which radio signals in between. My mind, these days, sits like a dump truck carrying fifty ton loads of encyclopedia volume life-junk. As soon as I muster the bravery to dump one load, another is air dropped inside and I carry it around awhile.

We all do this, I am certainly not special.

This season I walk, barefoot, through milestones and measure-stones and sleeplessly dark evenings. I sip wine, I sip coke (zero sugar because all good things come to an end and I should stop drinking soda ((again)) all together but unfortunately there’s no room in my dump truck for such a task right now.) I sip and I ponder. I think on things, remember things, worry some, plan some, and practice letting go, letting go, letting go.

It is amazing how one Monday can flow into being, on the waves of hope and sunlight only to be followed by a new Monday bobbing along in the stormy seas of drowning agony and chaos. Such is life. Such is Parenthood. Such is home. Such is American.

America.

I saw a t-shirt the other day apologizing to the rest of the world for our president. I get it, honest. But why not toss the shirt and become an example of gracefully loving the people around us? If 100 of us did that, in just one day, we would make the world better for a minimum of one thousand people. It’s a small number within the grand scheme of America, but it’s a start. If they spread, and it grew, then we would not feel the need to apologize about anything because would actively be making the world a better place rather than spotlighting the ways in which it isn’t.

I also so a post on Instagram comparing our American and World society during the last solar eclipse verses this one. I am so sad that we as a people spotlight and high light the negative. I get it, I do. We don’t want to naively ignore reality for the escapism of nauseating cheerfulness. Totally. But say I have a mug of boiling water. I have options. I can throw the boiling water on the nearest body… I can whine about how the water is so hot, and I didn’t put the water in my mug so it isn’t my fault, and who wants a mug of water anyway when it’s early and coffee sounds better… I can steep some tea. (but what if one doesn’t like tea? Well then, I could steep some tea and share it with someone who does.) My point is, there isn’t anyone in the world who doesn’t realize what a cluster-mess the state of things are, at this given time. We all know, so why keep highlighting it, spotlighting it and throwing the boiling water on the people paying attention. Let’s close our lips and take some action.

Regarding the state of things and the world we live in…

  • Families traveled in car loads to stare at the Eclipse together. It became vacation worthy, something to meet up on the path of totality with other family members from other parts of the country. Neighbors and strangers chatted and shared in something truly extraordinary.
  • Somewhere out there someone became a widow, has a terminally ill child or is facing a terrifying operation and strangers banded together to raise money and send so much love. At no other time in history did acts like these occur at such volumes.
  • Random Acts of Kindness spread like wildfire. They are contagious, and it is not uncommon to know of someone who has done one (or ten,) or been a recipient, on any given day.
  • Flowers are still blooming, the sun still rises and sets and nature still looks as beautiful as it did then, only we have better ways of recording the proof and memory.

This is just the tip, for perspective. Yes, there is bad, ugly and worse. Let’s stop focusing on the gigantic zit on our chin, (I use that metaphorically, as well as literally, because I in fact have a giant zit on my chin.) because no matter how huge that pimple is, it is but a fraction of the rest of our appearance. Gratitude changes lives, positivity changes hearts and both lead to action. Action changes everything…

Today I did not watch the eclipse. I did not wash the dishes. I did not do a face mask. I did not read a book. I did not practice a thousand daily tasks which I probably should have done. The good news is that all of them, minus the Eclipse, will still be there tomorrow. Hopefully the things I did do today count for something, and if not, well, I will shoot for that again tomorrow too.

This night I sip my Coca Cola and squint against the harsh light beaming from this laptop screen. Not too far from my feet sits a wicker basket piled high with neatly folded towels. On the other side of the wall at my back, lay my handsome husband breathing soundly. The air conditioner is still singing, which tells me two things. One, it must be fairly dense and humid out despite the wind rustling the trees. Two, my power company is loving me.

Within this dark evening, wrapped in this blanket, I have nothing really vital to say. I simply have observations. Lots of nonsense, I am sure. My dump truck has a lot of room.

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?

beautiful, chronic illness, confession, depression, fibro, gratitude, home, journey, self care

Inception…

I love the interaction and responses that I get from my readers re: Mask Monday and their journeys of self-care. (I can honestly say it is one of my favorite things!) I decided to make today’s blog post and Mask Monday a marriage of something to address a few of those questions. Mask Monday is not something I started. Let me be very clear about that. I saw it tagged on Instagram and being educated in esthetics and very passionate about skin care, I ran with it and practice it most Mondays. Initially I thought this would be a great opportunity to practice homemade face masks, but let’s be honest, we all have lives and while I soon realized this wasn’t super realistic in my day, every week, it wouldn’t likely be practical in yours, all the time, either. I do attempt homemade DIY skin care fairly frequently, (I have shared some of those in my newsletters.) and am currently working on a few things in that realm of skin care.

Today, though Mask Monday will be a key feature in this post, what I really want to address is the self-care aspect of it. While regular skin care is important, the act of intentionally take care of yourself is far more so. A few of my regular Mask Monday followers have confessed that this is the only time they really have for themselves, each week, as they sandwich it into busy lives, motherhood, work and other chaos. My response to this is always one of encouragement, and hope that they can sandwich a few more moments throughout the week. The art of living simply is becoming ever so trendy, and yet it still seems just out of reach for many of us.

If we can manage 15 minutes most Mondays, than let’s be intentional about it. The 10-15 minutes that our mask sits, feeding our skin, is our time to nourish ourselves. No dishes, or laundry. No checking in on social media. The care of self we take, within the time frame of the self-care mask on our faces, is vital.

I am not going to tell you what to do with your time, each of our needs are different. I will encourage you not to spend them on social media or technology of any kind. Though our lives have become more dependent on these things, they are pretty much the opposite of self nurturing.

Sometimes I do a few chores, but I make sure these are things representative of why this sacred slot of time is. This morning, mask on skin, I washed my make up brushes. Sometimes I brew a pot of tea and just dwell within the process, clearing my mind. There are days I stretch, journal, pick up a novel, paint my toe nails, write a note to a friend… These things work for me and fill my internal bucket, they may look different for you. Whatever they are, be intentional, and remember to take care of yourself.

I am a big believer in whatever we do, let’s do it well. The act of nurturing ourselves should not be the exception and it seems like often it is. There are days when I am just exhausted and doing a mask feels like the only thing I can manage, and even that feels daunting. On days like that, I may spread out my yoga matt and stretch, or just lie there and try to focus on the things I am grateful for. There are days when I drink a glass of water and take my vitamins, then choose a healthy snack (usually something rich in antioxidants) and practice just being while I enjoy it. On the really great days I do a hair mask as well. (Honestly those don’t happen as much as they should.) One of my favorite Monday things is to stare at my vision board. (Don’t have a vision board? Maybe take your fifteen minutes to start working on one! A Vision board is a GREAT way to love yourself!) Listen to you. Not the voices that tell you it’s a waste of time, or to do it later. Not the voices filled with negativity. Find what your soul is telling you today TODAY. It may not be what you need next time, and that’s ok. This intentional time for you is the most important thing you can do for you, so let’s do it well.

There is a need, and though I am no expert, I have read your questions and notes and heard what lies behind many of them. I’m going to make Monday posts here more focussed on self-care. Some days this may be loosely connected and other days it may be a brief blurb. I hope they help us all, as we journey through this life.

 

chronic illness, confession, fibro, gifts, gratitude, Lately, list

It’s friday, I’m in love…

Hey, you guys!

How was your week? Mine was a week. I had a court hearing regarding the care of my mom that simply illustrated why it is so important to watch what we say and only speak from a place of thoughtful intention. In a nutshell, a couple of years ago my mother said some steep things, on record, based out of anger that haunt us to this day… Beyond that, it was not a horrible week, really.

Here we are, approaching another delightful summer weekend! Big plans? My weekend hopes involve a bike ride, picnic, visit with my mama and finally seeing A Ghost Story. (If it is as good as I’m hoping it will be, it may end up on my list next week!)

This week found me with a few low-fibro days. There was a fair amount of down time, which isn’t a bad thing sometimes. My list of favorites might reflect that a little…

1.) If you know me at all, you will know that I LOVE all things Flow. (everything except how hard it is to get, here in the states.) Their app is really great and I love it so much that I wanted to share it with you! It is intentional, thoughtful and often thought-provoking.

2.) I’ve talked about Chocorite before. We really love most of their products that we have tried. I have fallen in love with a smoothie using their Vanilla Bean powder. (i also love their PB and their cappuccino, FYI) I use a nutri-bullet and I take 1 banana, 5 chunks pineapple, 1/2 cup orange juice, handful spinach, serving of vanilla bean powder and blend. CRAZY delicious and carried me throughout my morning AND a zumba class!

3.) Like I said, I’ve had a fair amount of downtime, as of late. It was in that, which I found that our family’s FAVORITE board game has an awesome app. Ticket to Ride is so fun, and the app is no exception. Chw and I playedd in pass-n-play, I played it solo mode and tried online with others. (That option was my LEAST favorite.)

4.) The new album Ti Amo by Phoenix! I have loved them for years, but this album really is a great listen. (It is filling up my spotify time!)

5.) This Ava & Viv Tankini top! I had to buy a new bathing suit earlier in the year and I have had issues falling out of it constantly. Recently I got fed up and decided the stress over worrying whether or not I was going to give the lifeguard a show was not worth it, and so I found this. It is flattering, comfortable, cute and super supportive!

What things did you really love, this week?

chronic illness, confession, depression, family, fibro, gratitude, home, journey, Lately

Shoeboxes…

Several years ago, when we were sorting through our  attic stuff to move to Michigan, we came across the Orange shoebox. Just seeing the shoebox will cause us to give pause. Makaila, our beloved golden retriever and Genny’s childhood best friend, was diagnosed with bladder cancer. As her health deteriorated we, as a family, gave her the best week ever. The week was filled with her favorite things and foods. Our Idaho vet has a cool program where you can have your dog cremated and scattered at a local Christmas tree farm. It was beautiful and fitting. 

This shoebox has become this heavy thing which we carry through life, but cannot part with, nor would we want to. This shoebox seemed like such a solitary life weight, until last August anyway. After five years alone, we had to add another shoebox. My beautiful dog Paisley hid her cancer so well that when we realized she was sick, she had such a short amount of time left. We did not have the time to afford her best week so we settled for a really awesome best day. Both of our girls had loved peanut butter pancakes, soft serve vanilla ice cream and car rides, so we said tear-filled-smiling adventures with those.

The loss of Paisley hit me so hard and I was left with a gaping hole. Seven months later I stumbled upon a listing for a litter of puppies in southern Illinois. I’d wanted a beagle for as long as I could remember. I knew that, as I approached this new chapter of life, the companionship of a dog would really make the difference.

I fell in love with the last of these little puppies. He, my Mr. Knightley, was instantly smitten with me. He loved me almost immediately and though he wasn’t quite Paisley shaped, he was Knightley shaped and come to find out- I needed that hole filled too. It was early on that we learned his beginnings had been less than ideal. He was so young and required a lot of attention and love. The first five-week that he was mine found me with very little sleep. Most nights he snuggled into my neck and chest while I just held him tight and soaked his puppy goodness into my soul. It seemed as though my little snuggle puppy could not get close enough, and I was all too happy to comply.

As time passed it become clear that our Mr. Knightley- my Mr. Knightley– was going to have a bit of a tough time. About 5 weeks ago he had a traumatic experience with growing pains in his back left leg. The ordeal left both Gen and I pretty severely bitten and him very shaken up. We forged through it though, and fell even more in love with him. About two weeks ago it seemed the growing pains were at it again. He received a soft diagnosis of Panosteitis and an appointment to follow-up was scheduled for two this past Tuesday. We were encouraged to keep his movement limited, and just love on him and as comfortable as we could.

Tuesday did not go well. A full blood panel was done and Wednesday  morning found me sobbing on the phone, with the results. His kidneys were not working. His other organs were compromised. The kidney thing wasn’t new, they’d likely always been damaged. We were encouraged to not let any time pass, as he was suffering immensely.

My adorable little blue-tick beagle Knightley, with the black heart on his left side, did not get the luxury of a best-week-ever, or even a best day. He got to lay on my chest, breathing turned shallow over night, content to just be with me. We were at a loss with how to love him in special ways as he wasn’t eating and we’d only had three months with him, and many days within those months had been struggles. We weren’t sure what his best things ever would even be, except one… The boy loved his puppacinos. For eleven minutes of that forever-long car ride, that sweet little puppy was beside himself with joy.

His heart and body gave out as they injected the sedative, prior to euthanization. One moment he whimpered, staring into my love filled eyes, and the next he was running free and playing somewhere far more heavenly. This afternoon I gathered his tiny collar and his favorite chew toys into a shoebox. Another shoebox, another hole. An empty home and painfully empty arms. For three months and seven days I was deeply connected to this sweet little baby boy, and now I am not.

Goodbye sweet boy.