Spring is here, and has taken up residence in my face…

Happy Monday morning, to you!

And of course, happy Spring! Hopefully you are fortunate enough to live in an area where Spring is actually Springing. The jury is still out on our little corner of the world, here in Michigan.

I am currently deep within the throws of a sinus infection. After making it through thirteen nearly sleepless, new-puppy nights, and managing no real headaches to speak of (MIRACLE!), I of course have a whopper of one now. We made it to see Beauty and the Beast yesterday, and then I was done. The rest of the day was spent dying on the couch (ha, not really, but you know) while Gen binge-watched 90210. I got to the point where I didn’t even care if the puppy had an accident, which he did not, so that was a win.

I did manage a phone conversation with my husband, who is luckily stuck deep within the mountains in Utah, suffering through a business trip. I say suffering because he gets a hotel life, mountains all around him, a weekend in Park City, mountains, eating at some of our favorite restaurants (that we don’t have), and then there are the mountains. (you are smart, you can likely guess which part of his trip I am the most jealous of.) He’s pretty lucky to make up and drink in the ranges every day, but I am pretty excited for him to be home at the end of the week all the same. Missing that guy, for sure. It has been nice to have my little guy here to assume the role of man of the house in Chw’s absence. Knightley does a good job of keeping us girls in line, I have the bloody scratches and teeth marks to prove it. He’s got me wrapped around his paw, that’s for sure. His adorable little bow-ties do me in, every single time.

How is it almost April? HOW? I have many things to do, this week, including getting a new driver’s license and baking a massive quantity of cupcakes. Alas. my face feels like a rhino is stampeding through my left sinus cavities and the very idea of wrangling a puppy AND being productive feels overwhelmingly impossible. Also, I have a mystery in my life. We have a coupon for Bucca De Beppo which reads “for dine in or carry out only.” As opposed to??? My sinus swollen brain cannot understand this. I need sleep. And a cloth for my face. And a puppy nanny. And a housekeeper.

And the mountains outside my window too.

 

On Marching forth…

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Awhile ago I wrote about battling my own demons regarding what was happening last year, around this time, versus now. I think that maybe I had it all figured out, in my head, that by this point in my life, I would know more. (and let’s be honest, be more…) When I think of a 40 year old wife and mother, there are a series of things that I personally feel shouldn’t be in my plan. (in yours, or anyone else’s, its fine.) How after a 22 year long relationship, I we should not have separated. Sure, life would happen, and there for about a year it would happen BIG, but by that point shouldn’t we have it figured out? Or, how after losing 138 lbs, I shouldn’t gain 20. That doesn’t even make sense. What about how, after so many years, we shouldn’t be living in a tiny apartment crippled by debt.

While it would be true to say that I had other plans, the more accurate reality is that I had other expectations, for me.

Between you and I, I am trying so hard to work through those things and deal with life differently. I don’t want to live with the weight of the feelings that accompany the disappointment in my life and where it’s at. Have I made mistakes? Yes, of course I have. Have things happened which weren’t my fault? Again, of course. At the end of the day, however, it simply doesn’t (or shouldn’t) matter.

I feel like my head is a little clearer, and my heart is a little less muddled and stuck in the hauntings of the past year. This is due some to praying about it, some to talking with friends and Chw about it, and due to just realizing truths about myself. This life, until the day I no longer take breath, will be a journey. There will be peaks and there will be valleys. We expect and accept this within the boundaries of the shared stories from the lives and journeys of others, but when it comes to the way we perceive our own life adventures- our expectations are tremendously different.

This month I am journeying forth a little differently. March is always BIG for me, big with the sentiment and big with the pressure. March is my birth month and my birthdays and I have always been without peace. I wanted to share with you how I plan to take control of this journey (in a healthy way) and move forward, navigating through it, to something better…

Me:

  • Do a photo of the day challenge on Instagram.
  • Do a 31 day Scripture writing challenge.
  • Read a fiction book, a memoir and a nonfiction book.
  • Be a better breakfaster
  • REALLY celebrate my birthday, how I want to celebrate it.
  • Choose books or gentle creativity on those days when life (and fibromyalgia) make major functioning too difficult, instead of turning on the tv.
  • continue striving to be intentional in the relationships I hold most dear.
  • Journal. It doesn’t matter how, just that I do.

Home:

  • keep fresh flowers home, when I am home.
  • experiment more with essential oils.
  • keep wholesome and delicious things made so that my family always has something good and desirable to eat.
  • continue the journey of minimizing and striving for less.

Family:

  • celebrate my grandson’s 6th birthday.
  • spend quality time visiting my daughter.
  • celebrate my son’s birthday, though he is far-far away.
  • celebrate my youngest daughter’s crossing into adulthood.
  • make moments momentous, without the aid of stuff.

Create:

  • experiment more with photography.
  • make significant progress on a writing project I am doing.
  • Play around with baking, here and there.
  • Do more with my hands.

Health:

  • I reiterate: be a better breakfaster.
  • try, try, try to do the ACV thing.
  • experiment with DIY tooth polish.
  • Be more active.
  • Lose 10 lbs.
  • Be more intentional and deliberate with Yoga.

Spring is such an encouraging time of year. Already I am feeling motivated by it. What about you? What are you working on or looking forward to, this spring?

To move to…

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Early on, in 2016, I created a spotify playlist entitled To Move To… As anyone who knows me knows, I am one of the worst “namers” in the history of naming things. To me, at the time, it seemed a clever way to label my workout list. As the year progressed however, this playlist morphed into my motivation for many areas, not just fitness. It is pretty amazing that this long-ago list worked it’s way into birthing the only word which made any sense at all, for this year.

MOVE.

It is a powerful word. It means a vast degree of many things. It reaches into every area of my life, from health and fitness, to writing, to education, to parenting and marriage. MOVE. Stagnancy kills. MOVE. Even if it’s a step in the wrong direction, it is better than nothing at all. MOVE. Move. move…

My word for this glorious fresh and unwritten year is move.

This isn’t my image. It belongs to Vimeo actually. When I saw it though, I knew it fit my vision for this year, my heart for this year, in a thousand different little ways. Move. To move in such a way that the place where my feet were is left better after my time there…

I do not do resolutions. I commit to goals. Typically, but not always, these goals stem from my word. With a word as huge as this year’s, I don’t think there is a goal that would not apply, somehow.

Goals:

  • To read two books (minimum) per month.
  • To learn one new thing, every month.
  • To complete my passion project More.
  • To complete and self/indie publish my novel.
  • To lose those 50 last pounds I need to lose.
  • To literally move to a more conducive home for the next phase of my life.
  • To expand my freelancing/writing income.
  • To enjoy my family intentionally, in simple and life affirming ways.
  • To visit somewhere I have never been before.
  • Find my writer’s tribe and flourish within it.

Move.

Where are you seeing yourself, this year?

On reflections…

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October was an incredible month for me. Not only did I get to spend so much precious time with my older daughter A and her boys, but I also got the chance to spend an awesome week with my best friend Kozzette. As if those things weren’t enough, I had the privilege of spending 9 days road tripping through New England. My eyes have never drank in a more beautiful October. In that adventure my spirit reset, inspiration seeds were planted deep within my soil and an undiscovered personal dream was born. (Is it wrong that I want to do it again every October?)

I am going on six months of being back in Michigan and it has been an adventure. Ups and Downs. I have seen that persistence really can pay off, and sometimes it is better to let go. I have come to realize my position as a mother, both what that does mean and what it does not. This year has possibly been the biggest leg of my journey. The truths I knew November 1st of last year are not the truths I know now. The difference would, of course, be that last year I knew only to view things through the filter of how I felt in that moment. Today I know to look at life in the big picture and step out of how I’m feeling to look at life objectively. (I have also learned that calories, when your life is upside down, are not equal to calories when your life is getting back on track. This may seem ridiculous, but it’s true!)

I took this photo in Sandwich Massachusetts. I love it because the reflection is crisp and yet, somehow gentler and more beautiful. This struck me. I want my reflection (in all senses of the word) to be just like that. I want others to see me as an authentic reflection of who I really am. Sometimes life may ripple that, and the grace is for that to be accepted. For me to accept it, and for those who I allow in my life to as well. I do not want to fall apart emotionally when my reflection isn’t crystal perfection for others to see. The health of the pond will determine the health of my reflection. Life is that pond. Life organically works out, when we let it. Sometimes there is rain, wind, hail, fallen branches, murky water… I am just kind of rambling here, with nonsense that probably only makes sense to me and that is ok too.

Here’s the truth. I am not perfect. I am not beautiful. I am not popular. I am ok with those things. I have amazing friends that I wouldn’t trade for the world. There are people, honestly many people, who I have not kept within my circle. Either they could not be honest, or could not value me and stuck around only so I would shower them with support and love. I don’t do that, and I have never pretended otherwise. I have an amazing sense of loyalty to the people in my life, but after a time that loyalty dies if our relationship is not mutually maintained.

Here’s the truth.. I never had a child from my womb. The ugly possibility that this happened because I was not cut out to be a mother is one which will speak to me, deep within the shadows of my mind, forever. I fought hard to be a mother and fought like hell for my three kids. I have unique relationships with each of them and do fear that my relationship with my youngest will not be a life long one. There are many resentments and issues and jealousies within her heart. I used to believe their existence were evidence that I was not a great mother. While I do not recommend separating from your child, even temporarily, I can honestly say that doing so has saved my life. It happened twice and each time I learned immense lessons about my motherhood. I am far from a perfect mother, but what I am is a damn good one. There are a few who have judged decisions I have made, and believed they had the authority to do so because of their age or spiritual opinion of themselves. The one thing I am most proud of, in my motherhood, is that I have loved my kids regardless of anything and always from a place of raw honesty. The second thing is that I do not compare myself to other parents or judge what may feel like their parental failures.

Here’s the truth… I am a wife. I am probably not a great one, but I have done my very best. This I know for a fact. I have fought for my marriage harder than anything in the world and my husband has never had a single person pour more love, effort or uncondition in to him. That being said, I have hatred in my heart. Hatred for the women he has chosen over me, whether they are friendship or other. He has a group of women friends who caused significant damage in my already failing marriage and how they live with this is beyond my comprehension. I hate how he handled the situation. Whenever I see one of their names cross my social media paths, I am filled with so many negative feelings. This is my issue, and I completely get that. I know that as long as this is an issue, things will not be “ok”. I imagine these three women taking so much joy and pleasure from that. I need to be ok with that too. That is for them to answer to, I have no responsibility in their choices. Only mine. Today I hate them. I don’t want to, but I don’t know how to exist outside of the damage that was done to me personally, by all involved. It was easily the most painful experience personally and I just haven’t quite learned how to recover from it, though I try.

I am not the woman I was 12 months ago. For the most part I am healthier. I am definitely more grounded. I am also transparently journeying along. I hope one day I do not harbor hatred for anyone, regardless of what they have or have not done. I have shared here, in this space, that I lived a lifetime just aching for just one person to find me worth fighting for. Though that would still be a feeling I cannot imagine- I have come to see I have to do that for myself. I have fought relentlessly for my husband and kids because I NEVER wanted them to know that feeling of no one believing  them valuable enough. At times this may have been a mistake, and I will accept this. I have to.

New England was a bucket list adventure for me. Was it perfect? No. There is something sad about reaching a dream and realizing it is a mixed bag, just like every other aspect of life. I learned things about myself which is exactly what every journey exists for. Ultimately I learned about who I want to be, and how I want those around me to see that. I don’t want to live in a Pottery Barn looking world, while inside it’s really a thrift store shack. I want the picture above. I want to be the honest reflection.

Dreams…

I am a bookish sort of girl. My daughters both love literature and reading, which is something that warms my heart immensely. As I have grown older, I find that I have less and less time to read, which makes me a little sad. I hope that this does not happen to either of them…

Being a lover of books, I have always had a deep appreciation for the classics. I also enjoy poetry. Ralph Waldo Emerson is the person I most quote and the one whose words deeply stir my soul. These random announcements paint the picture for you to better understand why visiting Concord Massachusetts has been on the top of my wish list since I was in late middle school. Several years ago I had the privilege of facilitating a Mother/Daughter book club, for a year, inspired by the Mother Daughter Book club series written by Heather Vogel Frederick.  It was while reading about these fiction girls that my youngest’s dream to one day visit Concord was born. Every year as the leaves have turned, we would dream up our someday, and then yesterday the day was finally here…

We have, in our family, this thing we call The Niagara Falls complex. We used to live in Niagara Falls, NY and every time someone visited, the FIRST thing they wanted to do was visit Niagara. Every single time that guest state Oh, I thought it would be much different. That’s really it? Both Chw and I totally understood because the very first time we saw it, we felt exactly the same way.

Concord was definitely just like that. In fact, there is serious consideration being taken in renaming it the Concord Complex all together. And the reality is, it wasn’t some romanticized disillusionment. No, it is truly just Concord. Granted, we had imagine quaint little tea and coffee shops, small book stores and boutiques, perhaps even a few literary themed restaurants. Have you ever looked up Concord on Yelp? I can tell you it is one hundred percent accurate. The 2-3 actual restaurants that it has, (for the record, I do not consider a food counter a restaurant) had insane waits because, well, they were the only restaurants… They also had less than wonderful reviews, which I guess is irrelevant when hoards of people wait to go in. And the people. So. Many. People. And here’s the interesting part, the volume of people were ALL centered around the shops and restaurants. The streets around the shops were jam-packed and every single bench, rock and many curbs were filled with people eating out of paper bags and styrofoam containers. We had saved lunch for Concord, thinking it would be a nice treat. Instead we stood in LINE at three counters, (because an actual restaurant was out of the question) only to admit we were losing precious time and wound up at a pizza counter with the only decent yelp rating we’d seen, on the other side of town. The parts of Concord we were interested in were pretty empty. The unfortunate reality about the parts of Concord we were anxious to see were the “attraction” ticket prices. Orchard House, Emerson’s home and Wayside were $10 EACH, per person. That is just under $100 to walk through three houses… Yeah. It’s a bit exploitive and super sad. We did end our Concord visit at Sleep Hollow Cemetery, which was really lovely…

I guess that’s the thing about building up anticipation, dreams or what have you… You run the risk of disappointment when the real world does not quite meet up to those standards. In the Concord of my imagination it is peaceful and kind, poetic and spending an afternoon there is best when connecting with others, and leisurely. One thing I can admit, New England in the fall is absolutely not part of the Niagara Falls/Concord Complex. It is breathtaking and inspiring and I could happily stay here forever.