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… 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.)

books, confession, journey, Lately, rant

When do we say enough?

Coming off the weekend, I found notes scattered with an array of things I wanted to write about here. Somehow though, the weekend killed those desires, or at least numbed them. Monday’s are my big home day. The day where I catch up on laundry and household chores, the day I get some reading done, take care of phone calls I need to make and knock out a good chunk of work. Usually, I’m sad to admit, this is work related stuff I am a little behind on. This, of course, leads to loads of guilt when I don’t actually catch up on anything.

Except laundry.

Laundry is always done.

I am currently listening to an audio book that I’m not loving. Reviews of this book are GLOWING, which leads me to wonder what my problem is. Readers rave at its humor and easy reading, but I find my ears choking it down (if ears could do such a thing) and have not laughed yet.

I am not usually an audio book fan, but have found they help on the laundry/chore Mondays, as well as the longer moments in traffic. Somehow I lie to myself and tell myself I am maximizing my time that way. And sometimes the books are so great, but this time it isn’t. Perhaps it is the narration? At any rate… I read, on Saturday, the tale of this particular books author. The article mentioned that she’d simply entered a competition and won. Her manuscript was passed on to Penguin and a book deal was given. The article’s author seemed to be awed by not only the book’s author’s luck, but the fact that she is over 40. What? Is it more likely for such magical things to happen if one is under 40? What difference does 40 make anyway? Does being 41 mean that my life’s goals and dreams as I know them are screwed and I may as well select a coffin and begin planning my memorial service?

I mean, really… Just when our society seems to make great strides of progress in some areas, women decide to march around with vagina hats on their head and we have nazi gatherings. (While one is obviously NOT as garishly grim as the other, I’ll still admit it is embarrassing.) Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Trans, White, Black, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Athiest… Over 40, under 40- why can’t we, as a people, just get over our radical fears and judgements and just love each other? These things are getting worse because we are so adamant about taking sides. My side is community. Humanity. Can’t that just be enough? This division is being driven by bigger, governing forces and we just play along and people die. PEOPLE DIE…

We need to stop.

And also, let’s give props to an author for writing something that resonates with people, (even if I’m not one of them, I still applaud her!) and admit her age doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it…