creative, depression, family, fibro, food, friendship, gifts, gratitude, holiday, home, journey, list, marriage, self care, travel

Octobers are my favorite…

I love the beautiful simplicity of this photo. It isn’t mine, it isn’t us. There is something so beautiful about clasped hands, held together, skin-tight, love all that will fit in the between. After yesterday’s post, I wanted to take a little time before posted something far less significant. At the same time, however, looking over my list really allowed me the opportunity to be intentional about the 30 days still to loom ahead, within the month…

Home:

  • decorate for Autumn
  • more candlelit evenings
  • donate 31 things to charity
  • make candied apples
  • make my Grandmother’s apple butter

Create:

  • paper crafting projects
  • pull out the knitting needles
  • experiment more with essential oils and ways to help others with them

Relate:

  • spend time with my BFF, for the almost-week she’s visiting
  • apple picking and making memories
  • welcome my husband home and connect with him in all of the ways, before life takes us on legs of our own journeys again
  • speaking of journeys- fly to Seattle to spend time loving on my beautiful little granddaughter
  • dates with my mom
  • actively displaying gratitude and support to the staff in the nursing home
  • reaching out to connect with other women in life affirming ways

Personal:

  • (finally) meet with personal trainer
  • stick to a schedule for writing, and progress.
  • continued work with my chiropractor and kinesiology
  • hot baths, yoga and self-care

Read/Watch:

  • American Made. (dying to see this movie, even though I know it was technically as September release.)
  • The Mountain Between Us
  • Goodbye Christopher Robin 
  • Reread Alice in Wonderland
  • Braving the Wilderness 

 

What about you? What are you looking forward to, in these growing and cooling evenings? What things do you look forward to the most? Life is hard and heavy, but we still have the responsibility to love the lives we’re living and try to breathe life and beautiful in the brutal… Some days that may be all we’ve got.

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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…

entertainment, family, friendship, gratitude, journey, parenting, self care

Words to live by…

During the Emmy’s on Sunday evening, I took to twitter to solve a mystery. I had to learn what Elizabeth Moss was saying to her mother… I HAD to. (It is things like this which drive me.)

Earlier in the evening it had been Alexander Skarsgård’s lovely words to his own mother which began the evenings trend, much to the delight of mothers tuning in everywhere. When Lizzy’s comment got censored though, my curiosity sky rocketed and I could not let it go.

So, what did she say? She thanked her mother for teaching her that she could be kind AND a fucking badass. 

Amazing really.

I know profanity is a sensitive topic for many, and I apologize if what I am about to say offends anyone, but if my child ever stood in front of anyone and gave me such an incredible credit- my motherhood would be made.

I want to be like Lizzy Moss’ mom, when I grow up.

I want to teach my daughters and son, my grandsons and granddaughter that they need to treat everyone with immense kindness, but to believe in themselves and have such internally rooted confidence that they kick ass in everything they try to muddle through. (And please note, success is not the same thing. It is possible to completely rock all you do, and still fail at things. Failure is learning, failure is growth. It is the wallowing that keeps us down, not the failing.)

Before this part of her speech I had just remarked that, though I have never actually met Elizabeth, she truly does seem like a genuinely kind person. I also had pointed out that her name had been referenced, in gestures of gratitude and accreditation, from the stage just 1- 2 times more frequently than Oprah’s and Oprah’s name was mentioned a lot. ( i mean, she is Oprah)

This small story within the awards show, (ironically, a show for and about stories) became a large and multi-chaptered one for me. In these few words, and the expression she conveyed as she looked to her mother to speak them, portrayed a life time of love and relationship. I am sure there were door slamming days when this now seemingly sweet girl likely told her beloved mother she hated her. I am sure there were hard teenage daughter times, just like in nearly every home across our great nation at one time or another. But those slams and screams do not comprise their story, nor do they do nearly as accurate a job as her one beautiful sentence tonight did.

Forget the dresses and hairstyles, the borrowed jewels or petty little dramas between celebrities, the meat of the moments are when we see these larger than life celebrities as what they really are: people. And this mother’s lesson is one we all need to put into practice and live our own lives by…

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…

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.