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, 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.

 

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?

beautiful, entertainment, family, gifts, gratitude, journey

Red Nose Actually…

There are times when I get so overwhelmed because the state of the world, and the needs of so many people are so huge, that it feels like it is impossible to make a difference, and to help at all. Then I am reminded that our world is made up of people doing what they can, when they can, and differences are made. The reminder of Red Nose Day does that for me. It is a fun, easy and amazing relevant way to make a difference and join with others for a larger impact. Recently quite a few celebrities went out to spread both education and the word, here is a touching video with Julia Roberts, that I’d like to share with you. (Here’s another with Ludacris.) You guys, these are American cities… And it isn’t just Phoenix or Atlanta. I am currently in the Detroit Metro area and this is reality just miles from my home, as well.

As we near the start of summer and think about vacations and time off with families there are others who are not nearly as fortunate to enjoy those luxuries. On May 25th NBC television will air Red Nose Day, a live telecast aimed at ending child poverty. Join me Thursday, along with so many others, in watching the Red Nose Day telecast. Post your selfies and give however you can, whatever you can. If one million people each pledged $1, that would be a million dollars. Well more than a million people will tune in, proving that NO GIFT IS TOO SMALL… (extra incentive, one of my FAVORITE movies, Love Actually, has a mini-reunion sequel airing that night!)

Red Nose Day is unique in that multiple charitable organizations will benefit from the three-hour live program that night. The event is all about coming together, to have fun, and make a difference for kids in need.  The goal is to end child poverty, here in the U.S. and around the world — one nose at a time.

The fundraiser began in 1988 by U.K. director, Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral) and recently started in the U.S. Red Nose Day raised over $36 million in 2016, and over $23 million the previous year, totaling over $60 million in its first two years in the US.

The two charities among many others that will benefit from Red Nose Day are Covenant House and charity: water.  These are just one of many organizations that everyday work tirelessly to make a difference here at home in the U.S. and around the world. What’s staggering with the statistics is that this is happening right here in the U.S.

 

We’ve learned from Red Nose Day charities that:

 

  • 1 out of 5 young people live in poverty.

 

  • Every Year, More Than 2 Million Kids in America Will Face a Period of Homelessness.
  • 57% of homeless kids spend at least one day every month without food.

It’s heartbreaking with regards to the homeless kids and youth as it puts them in such danger of human traffickers – something I know so many of our churches and organizations fight against.  We have an opportunity to make a difference and keep some of these kids away from the streets.

We hope you will consider taking the time to help those in need and checking out both ministries and finding a way however big or small to support them. We’re called to help those in need and we often forget that although we are fortunate to live in a country that provides us with a lot – there are many children right in front of us who struggle to even get a meal a day. We hope you’ll think about ways you can help our youth and even join in on the fun and put on a Red Nose and post to your social channels with the hashtag: #rednoseday

 

Red Noses are available at all Walgreen locations.  For those wanting to do something fun and get involved, stop by Walgreens and buy a red nose.
We do believe that if we can all raise awareness about this issue – we can all end child poverty one nose at a time!

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!