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.

 

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, 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.
beautiful, gratitude, home, journey, Lately, marriage

Humanity lives beyond phone screens…

Friday evening Chw and I had a hot date to sign some papers and do a small Costco run for a few produce staples. We are completely wild and crazy now that we are empty nesters… The plan had been that I would meet him at 6, at the paper-signing place, which incidentally happened to be located halfway between his work and our home. I spent a good chunk of the day Friday hanging out with a friend, which was lovely. I noticed as the afternoon progressed and the air pressure was getting more intense. (yeah, I’m one of those people with super powers known as chronic illness, and can sense such things.) By the time the clock shown 4:30 I had this pounding headache and I KNEW that it would be unsafe for me to drive. I texted my husband and the following exchange ensued:

M-Hey, My head is all of a sudden killing me. Do you want to reschedule or would you be able to come home and us go together.

C- I’ll come home and pick you up. I love you!

He’s pretty cool like that, right? (Please realize here how stupid I felt asking for such a dumb thing, and how bad I felt that he would have to do so much driving. Although, at the same time, what he was going to do for an hour while he waited for the appointment, I wasn’t sure.)

At 5:05 Chw texted to let me know he was on his way and at 5:15 my headache completely dissipated. I felt like a jerk! It was a very obvious disappearance. I sat still for about 5 minutes wondering if it was really gone, and it was. Since the route he takes home is completely different from the route to our meeting place, calling him and telling him I could make it would have only complicated things. So, instead, I putted around for fifteen minutes taking care of small chores that he usually does, in an effort to make it up to him. (Guilt driven, on my part.) I then decided to wait outside for him so I could just hop in the car and we could head out.

At 5:38 my husband calls me…

Hey, I just nearly hit this guy. He was coming at me so fast, in his car, in the wrong lane. I don’t think he was conscious. He slammed into the pond and I’m not sure what to do.

M- oh my gosh, did you call 911?

C- yes, they’ve been called. His car is sinking but people who live by the pond are telling me not to go in, that it’s not safe. I’m not sure if 911 will get here fast enough.

M- oh my gosh. Why isn’t it safe?

C- It’s pretty gross and there could be glass and stuff in it. You can’t see a thing. Wait, this guy showed up and he’s going in. I’m going in.

M- ok! Where is this pond? (because obviously I wanted to go there.)

C- in our neighborhood. I’m going in.

M- ok. Put the phone down first, I love you! (I said this only because his voice was real jittery and I worried he wouldn’t think about it in all of the chaos.)

I immediately began walking in the direction of our neighborhood entrance. I had no idea, to be honest, that there was any sort of pond. Then, as I’m walking, I remembered a few weeks back when we saw these kids walking with fishing poles and Chw said “I hope they don’t eat fish from that pond, if it even has fish.” And I remember wondering what the heck he was even talking about.

Turns out it is really easy to find a pond when everyone is hanging around it. As I get there, my husband is treading water in a 10 ft deep pond, keeping a CAR afloat while another guy is cutting the seatbelt to get this guy out. Once the unconscious man is out of the car, Chw lets go of the car (which sinks pretty rapidly) and swims over to help the guy bring the unconscious man to the bank.

The victim is on land and awake before emergency response teams appear. He has no idea where he is at, or what has happened, and possibly not even who he was, he’s so out of it. My beautiful, brave husband is covered from neck to toe in grey-green sludge. His clothes had to be ten pounds heavier. It was a pretty intense experience and still my husband is having a tough time with it. We have different perspectives, he and I, and this experience has been a clear example of where his mind often goes… The one thing we do see the same is that the entire experience restored my faith in humanity a little bit. I kept saying that, throughout the evening. Of the dozen plus people out there watching, high on the emotion and adrenaline of the situation, not one person was filming a thing. No one was Facebook living or documenting that this was happening just beyond his or her front door. I am not going to lie- I fell in love with our neighborhood a little bit.

The facts, as I see them, timeline a little like this:

 

  • Chw wasn’t even supposed to be there, we were supposed to be meeting up somewhere else.
  • Around the time that I would have been leaving, is when this guy plowed through the oncoming traffic lane (would have been my lane) and nearly missed a home before slamming into the pond.
  • There was a woman walking her dogs on the sidewalk. One dog was dragging, out of character, and the speeding car missed her because of that.
  • To anyone who could see the area where all of this occurred, that he made it from the highway to the pond without hitting someone/something/a home/fellow drivers is unexplainable.
  • The entire crowd of people, who live on the pond side of things, was urging my husband NOT to go in, when a guy appeared out of nowhere (no one knew him) and once the victim was on shore, the stranger once again vanished. Of all of the people watching from their patios, from the crowd, no one could explain where he went. Dozens and dozens of “he was just here’s” flowed through the crowd.
  • Minus the mystery guy, and my husband, no one else wanted to go in. A few people helped in their own way… A guy had a knife to cut the seatbelt. Another guy produced a shovel for Chw to hold on to for leverage to swim the car closer to the bank.
  • My husband is a hero.

My husband’s take on the event is that he should have done more; That he shouldn’t have questioned it and just gone in; That he should have been more helpful; that he shouldn’t feel on edge or nervous when he’s driving now; that his involvement wasn’t a big deal so he doesn’t know why he hasn’t slept great and has been on edge since Friday evening.

We left before the news came. He didn’t want to be interviewed and I completely understood. (also, he looked like a swamp monster and so no one would have believed it was really him anyway.) (I’m kidding, of course.) Knife guy stayed and told the story well. Saturday the sheriff called my husband and left a beautiful voicemail. I was in an aisle of Target when my wide-eyed husband played it, choked up, and then handed it to me to hear. Fat tears filled my eyes because this man was really proud and grateful for my husband and I knew exactly how he felt.

I explained to Chw that trauma comes in all shapes and sizes. That what he experienced was traumatic stress, first from narrowly avoiding colliding with this guy (and we’ve all been in those types of situations and it is JARRING) to watching this horrible situation unfold (the car went airborne twice, you guys!) and then the very process of saving his life. It’s a lot. And the aftermath of stressful, traumatic situations is a lot to navigate through. He’s catching a yoga class tonight and I really hope that helps, but mostly this will just take time.

Make what you will of my headache, our change of plans or the disappearing stranger, my opinion is not going to change. It isn’t the first time that unexplained things have happened to my husband. (have I told you about the couch and the stairs? No? Perhaps, most recently, his bumper? also no? Another time, perhaps…) I just wanted to share the story and how extraordinary my husband is, and to give a huge shout out to this small corner of the world who did not prioritize social media over humanity.