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… Β 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.

 

confession, friendship, gratitude, home, journey, Lately, list, self care

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

It’s true, I’m daydream in love with these beach chairs, but tragically I am not in one.

If I was in them, I am pretty sure these five loves would all involve BEACH.

What things did you love this past week? Was it a tough week for you? Maybe was there that one (or two) thing that really got you through? If so- I get it…

1.) School supplies! Pencils, pens, notebooks, sticky notes… All of it is so fantastic! I love it, love it, love it!

2.) Doterra’s Shampoo and Conditioner. You guys, I have struggled with my curly, fine hair forEVER, but this week, these two products CHANGED my life. I’m not kidding… (if you’re interested, you can buy it here. You will not regret it!)

3.) Manhunt: UnibomberΒ is so fascinating! Many friends and I have chatted about it, Chw and I are swept up in this limited series. It is so interesting how these events were paralleling our adolescence and young adulthood.

4.) Baby boy things… I know of about 9 baby boys arriving between October and November. To me this number seems crazy, but it is true. I love peaking at baby boy onesies and such, whenever I’m near a store.

5.) These stamps! They are AMAZING! I love fun stamps, but these are maybe my favorite so far! If you get one of these, on a note from me, you will KNOW I really must love you!

confession, friendship, infertility, journey, travel

My first time. {A tale of woeful regret and embarrassment}

Chw have had quite a few dreamy conversations about working towards a big backpacking trip. He’s never gone, and we both love the mountains so much. I love sharing adventures with my husband and so, with baby-steps, we work towards the possibility of it someday.

I had the really awesome opportunity of going on a week-long back packing trip deep into an Idaho mountain range, when I was 14. It was hard and I’m sure I complained a lot. As I am old, my 14-year-old self did not have the ability to take incessant selfies and photo document every single moment of the amazing trip, so I am left to rely on my memories. Tucked within those memories are some of the most beautiful things that my eyes have seen. The trail we went on, (there was a group of us. It feels like about 20, but I’d have to ask my dad to be sure.) where the ability to drive stopped. I remember really narrow and terrifying mountain side passes where, one landslide, and we’d have all died. I remember wearing black trash bags because of rain, eating astronaut food (MREs) and countless other amazing things.

It was a trip of firsts. First night in a tent. First hiking. First exploring. First real trip, ever, of any form of self resilience. First real, deep conversation with a peer. First time wearing a tampon…

Yes. You read that right. It might seem like an oddΒ first to remember, but as with most things- there is more to the story.

When you go on backpacking excursions, you are obviously pretty limited on what you can bring. Looking back, I’m thinking we must have camped for a week, and so the hiking in and hiking out may have accumulated an additional week. At any rate, we girls had to be prepared. In my packing list had been tampons, and I’d brought them obediently. I mean, I knew I would not need them… But then I did. And I had no idea what to do, at all. The group home I resided in, (because, if you remember, the dad I refer to was technically my foster/house dad) had a closet full of donated items, and among those items were some outdated, generic tampons. My plastic wrapped items had no instruction. I asked the only other teen girl on our trip and she quickly tutored me through what to do, and off I went, into the woods to do it.

But the translation or something went terribly wrong. Terribly wrong. Walking back to camp took ten times longer and the pain grew more and more excruciating. The tears were not at all exaggerated and I had no idea how to deal with it. Eventually the trauma had me double over, in agony, in the tent I was sharing with my faithful friend and feminine hygiene tutor. We tried problem solving but eventually she either grew frustrated, scared (or most likely a combination of both) and went to seek out our female staff on the trip. Her name is Carol. (I LOVE Carol. It is a small list of truly amazing women I’ve encountered over my life, and Carol is at the top of the list. The important thing to note, at this point in the story, however, is that I had not ever really interacted with Carol before.)

Carol, poor-poor sweet Carol had to dig out the horrible little cotton object, from deep within the depths of my blossoming womanhood. She then had to replace it with another cotton foreign object. She was reassuring, while I was beyond mortified. She was so sweet and exclaimed several times, “I have no idea how this happened. I have never heard of anything like it.”

Several years later, as a 17-year-old and out on my own, I decided buy a box of regular, pink wrapped tampons. While bored, one afternoon, I read the little accompanying pamphlet. In the back of said booklet were a few Q & A’s. Right at about the middle of the list read this:

Can my tampon get lost inside of me?Β I am living proof that their response was a lie. And I can tell you this resolutely because it happened one other time, with far worse repercussions, but that is best as a story for another time. (and probably NOT on this blog.)

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.
chronic illness, confession, friendship, home, journey, Lately

a little blue…

This photo obviously isn’t me. It also wasn’t either of my dogs. It also, in my opinion, is not exactly where one should be walking their dog, especially not with a handbag like that. Either their car broke down and they are setting off, on foot- or its a sort of city-girl-in-the-country thing.

Completely irrelevant to the point of this post really, except that it is a photo of a girl and her dog. Yesterday I was walking Emma, (who is mostly my husband’s dog. Emma enjoys long walks, dog parks and abhors any type of love, faithfulness or affection, thus making her the anti-dog) when we heard the bellow of a young beagle from somewhere not too far away, but also not visible from our vantage point. Needless to say, my heart skipped a beat. I miss Knightley so much. I miss Paisley too, (for those of you who aren’t up on the dog talk, my dog of 6 years passed away from cancer last August. Her name was Paisley and she was the most loving, faithful and best dog ever. It took me until March to be able to get a new dog. His name was Knightley. Unbeknownst to us, he had kidney failure from birth and so at our 3 month anniversary of being his family, we got the news that he was suffering neurological damage and was dying so we had to euthanize him. He was four months and one week old. It was terrible.) I already wasn’t having a great day. Fibromyalgia crash and burn day likely triggered by the life-cocktail of heavy humidity over the weekend and stress from a few family extended situations.

I simply came home, ate some carbs and laid on the couch, giving up on the day. I napped fitfully (WORST decision you can make with Fibromyalgia. Naps are of the devil, and yet…) and spent the rest of my Tuesday cycling through various forms of fire, ache, throb and stiffness. I had every fever symptom, to boot, minus the actual fever. It was delightful and I was beyond apologetic to Chw because the worst part of all of it will forever be the guilt that I’m not contributing. I finished my night with cereal for dinner and popcorn for snack. (yay Carbs!) Of course, I was awake until late in the night/early in the morning because of the devil nap from earlier.

Today is a new day, today is a new day, today is a new day…

We have this jar that sits by the door which we’ve titled Project Puppy. The plan is that by July of next year, that change jar will hold enough to adopt again. My heart can take it, I think. Until then I will be a little lonely at times and super lonely at others. I will imagine my bouncy little buddy (for the brief time he was bouncy, that is) at the most unexpected of times, and deal with our Emma, who maybe loves us in a super strange and un-doglike way. I will stow away my nickels and dimes within that jar and wait, seeing what lessons unfold from this season of life. Michigan is hard. Michigan is the only state I have lived in (of the five I’ve resided in as an adult) where it feels impossible to form close friendships. It was not like this when we lived here before, but most of those people also left the state and the rest- well, time changes things.

I remember having this conversation with a friend many years ago, when she said I just want to find a close friend who knows where the glasses in my kitchen cupboard are and she comes over and makes herself at home. I think of that often, her words haunting me a bit. I also wonder why there aren’t online “dating” sites for friendship but then realize it is probably because women can be awful and so that likely wouldn’t workout so well. These things have to develop organically, I suppose.

In the meantime, just so you know, my glasses are just to the right of my sink, but don’t drink that water, it’s pretty gross. There’s a cooler behind you, and that water is much better.