beautiful, confession, creative, entertainment, family, gratitude, home, journey, Lately, list, parenting, Uncategorized

It’s friday, I’m in love…

Oh it’s that time again- Hello, weekend! These summer weekends are fleeting and I find this bittersweet.

This week was a BUSY one! Some moments I barely had time to compose myself and other ones were a little more intentional. It has been a weekend filled to the brim with stress and disappointment. You guys, parenthood is HARD. Adulting is HARD. Taking responsibility for screw ups is HARD. My week has been Die Hard with a Vengeance, minus the Bruce Willis/entertainment value/special effects/big budget stuff, and just loads of craptastic.

It is nice to take a few minutes to seek out the best bits of sharable…  I LOVED the links and little notes you guys sent last week! The best part of that was finding some new music. My readers have THE BEST taste! :)

Here’s my top five for the week…

1.) August is apparently the month for Random Acts of Kindness. If you know me at all, you know I am a sucker for RAKs! I absolutely LOVE this project and have been enjoying leaving intentionally written letters about my corner of the world.

2.) If you love Zombie movies, i HIGHLY recommend Train To Busan. (yes, it’s Korean, of course it is…) It was amazing, and by far the best Zombie movie we have ever seen! (also, it’s on Netflix, so that’s super cool too.)

3.) Quite awhile ago a friend of mine recommended the podcast Blue Babies Pink. Essentially it is Brett Trapp’s coming out story, told from his perspective as a now adult preacher’s kid, having grown up as a Jesus loving, well-adjusted youth. It is very interesting, very thought-provoking and at 44 (although super short) episodes, I am two-thirds of the way through and am really glad I make the choice to listen!

4.) I must clarify that i DO NOT own these earrings, but I also am publicly stating it right now: I really, really want them.

5.) Lastly, for this week… Coke Zero Sugar. I know, I know… I was just as sad as everyone else about the loss of Coke Zero. To be honest, my biggest worry was What will I drink at the movies now? And again, being honest, I am not certain they will even offer CZS at the theater, but I do like it. We still have plain old regular coke zero and did do a taste comparison. The two taste nothing alike. Chw likes the new better, while I still prefer the original. (likely because I HATE CHANGE!) that being said, I do really like the new. It tastes good by itself. It tastes good with a splash of lime. It tastes super good with a bit of crown. All in all, it’s a win. :)

Happy weekend!

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It is what it is, and I am where I am…

Home:

  • pack, pack, pack.
  • unpack it all, somewhere new, with less temporary attached to it.
  • clean, clean, clean.
  • paint and make a home.
  • keeping iced tea, infused water and cold brew coffee on hand to make it through the move.
  • eat sensibly, and think ahead, not resorting to convenience food.

Life:

  • maintain a routine of self-care despite the craziness of busy, change and relocation.
  • sit by the pool, soak up fresh air and read.
  • continue minimizing and striving to surround myself with only things which are loved or useful.
  • Intentional connection with valued relationships, both new and old friends; close and distant.
  • Capture moments that matter.
  • Continue to seek things to write about, and then write them.
  • Take a moment to mail out a few hand written notes and cards.
  • Remember to defuse oils, something I forget when I am busy, and later regret.

Marriage:

  • attempt to connect through the chaos.
  • be mindful that we are a team, a partnership, and are in this together.
  • Utilize the stolen and alone times intentionally, peacefully and honestly.
  • remember to appreciate my husband and build him up, he is an amazing man.

Family:

  • celebrate my mama’s 70th birthday.
  • celebrate my daughter’s 27th birthday.
  • honor my husband and the amazing father he is. Fatherhood hasn’t worked out the way he dreamed, on the onset and though he doesn’t hold my infertility against me, I will always struggle with that.
  • Celebrate Gen’s graduation and her at her open house.
  • Family meals, games, laughter, conversation and all of the good things that make us a family.

Spirit:

  • Continue my path with Theophosic Prayer.
  • the continued journey of minimizing. It is freeing for the spirit.
  • Meditation and yoga.
  • Water. Peace, in the water, and just being…
  • Remember to be grateful for everything. For the boxes and hands with which to pack, for the daughter who is healthy and alive, even when she is only giving me hatred, for the legs and arms (and brain) that works, even when Fibromyalgia tries to thwart me.

 

 

confession, family, gratitude, parenting, Uncategorized

Taking care…

A few months back I sat within a circle of women, sharing my journey as a daughter. Some of you are aware that my mother is mentally ill and our years together have been rocky, at best. It has been a journey of various forms of abuse and abandonment, along with many unhealthy scales of unbalanced responsibilities, overcompensation and every other unhealthy thing one can fit in the mix. Currently, my mother lives in a home suffering with dementia. While many of her behaviors are classic to such an illness, so many of them were present, due to her damage and mental health, long before such a label. Sitting among those women and sharing was a painful leg to my journey because it had been eleven months since I had seen my mother because she had deemed me as dead to her. This had involved an ugly court experience and many, many hateful things.

Being my mother’s daughter has always left me heartbroken, in every instance. This is something I have never surrendered to, as a victim, though I can honestly say I have also never come close to perfecting my role as daughter either. I am flawed, but have at least always tried to be there for her to fall into.

Around the time, of this day mentioned above, my mother had sent word that she wanted to see me and heal our relationship. This idea was an overwhelming one, for me. My husband was adamant that he did not support this reunion and that if I chose to follow it through, he wanted no part of it. He had been there and seen the damage she had caused. No one but myself had been there to see the dark spans of time where I sat in the bathtub, razor in hand, willing me to end it all because I could no longer take that woman confirming in me the black wickedness of of the unworthy human being I was.

I expressed my heart, again, post the meeting, to my husband. He relented to go with me, uncomfortably, because he loved me. He admitted he felt hatred to her and was worried about me.

I went.

Three months later I continue to go. It is nurturing and about her, not me, as our relationship has always been. For the first time, however, that is appropriate. I love my mother and I still fall asleep, most nights, praying for her to find some peace and happiness. Since I have done this for as long as I have memories back, I am not sure if I do this because of habit or something else.

Today is National Caretake Day, and I am so utterly grateful for these people who care for my mother. Of course it is a flawed home and things happen that frustrate her, and me, but at the end of the day these are people who deal with what I could not, every single day. I can’t reward them as much as I would like to, but I can at least acknowledge their efforts and my gratitude. While I am there, today, I can hug my mom extra tight. Not because she has done just the right thing, or always been there, but because she is my mother and I am not responsible for what she has or has not ever done- I am responsible for me.

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working the muscles…

I, like the rest of our country, could sit here and list out the hundreds of thousands of reasons why last year was a total nightmare. Of course, the reasons vary by the person penning the list. At any rate, most of us stand in agreement of one thing: 2016 was an unnaturally horrible year. By the time the last two months hit, we were all so jaded and exhausted that any effort to redeem it seemed a waste and overwhelming. Here we stand now, four days into our blank canvas year. I keep reminding myself (ever the Realist) that 2017 will also hold its share of tragedy, heartache and horror. This is how this life goes, and we really have little choice but to accept it. As such, I continue to ask myself what I can do to ensure my perspective stays secure on the gratitude and positive perspective… To answer this question, I had to go back and consider the brighter parts of last year.

My older son and daughter each give me grandchildren made the obvious high point list. Coming home to Michigan to be with my family. So much time with my older daughter and grandson. My younger daughter recovering from her overdose in May. My marriage growing and healing, bit by bit. These, naturally, are all positive things. These too are the easy things to look at and feel grateful for. What if I were to dig deeper?

Getting to spend two precious months with my beautiful dog, before she passed away. As painful as it was, it would have been incomprehensible to imagine, had she died while I was still in Idaho.

My daughter’s overdose. While she still has a long way to go, it did open her eyes to some things she needed to see and it woke my husband up. These are beautiful things for which I will still be grateful when I am old and grey.

The passing of someone who has been so very dear to me for 16 years. While her death is a terrible tragedy, I was so fortunate to know and love her. I was also fortunate to travel to her memorial service and have some healing time with others who loved her.

The thing is, life is like this too… Beauty intertwined with the horror, but we have to be willing to see it. I can honestly say that I wasn’t always, but this year I want to do better. No, I WILL do better.

The last thing I did was think smaller. Maybe not smaller as much as more shallow. What things did I find, last year, which made even a small difference in my quality of life? I have to be honest, as I started pondering, it was really difficult to think of even a few. True to expectation however, the more I tried, the easier it got. And there in lies the lesson: Gratitude is like a muscle. We must be intentional to work it, before it will become our second nature.

As for that list?

  • Clinique Matte foundation For nearly the whole of my adult life, I have had a hate/hate relationship with foundation. When I was trained as an Esthetician I felt like I really needed to make peace with this. The journey of ELEVEN foundations later, and it was a total fluke (after I’d given up) that I stumbled upon this. For me, it is PERFECT. For someone else, it may not be. Skin is like personalities, everyone is different.
  • Reusable paper towels I flirted with the idea of these for a couple of years, and bit the bullet this year. Not only do we save a lot of money and eliminate waste (*note: we still buy paper towels for grosser clean up, like dog vomit, etc.) but they are cuter too!
  • Hempz triple moisture lotion I was working at Ulta when I found this gem. It’s pretty spendy, but so worth it. I have perpetually dry skin and this lotion helps that tremendously while also smelling fresh and not overly fragrant. LOVE this lotion!
  • DoTerra essential oils This is honestly the only thing that helps my depression (yes, even seasonal), takes the extreme edge off of headaches and that is just the tip of it.
  • Deva Curl Curly haired girls will get me… It has been a seldom pleasant journey to get to the place where you find a product you are happy with. Much like my foundation quest, I had given up on this too. Then someone turned me on to Deva Curl and I’ll be honest- I did NOT believe it would work for me. It does. I LOVE these products.
  • Buxom lip gloss BEST Lip Gloss. Hand’s down. There are days I simply moisturize, throw on a bit of mascara and call it a day, but I NEVER skip this gloss.
  • Wool Dryer Balls They are kind of everywhere right now. Indie shops, farmers markets, etc. They seemed more hype than good, but honestly I’ve fallen in love with them.
  • Honey If you don’t use Honey, you should. Anytime you are shopping online, Honey will automatically scan the item(s) in your cart and tell you the best price. At Christmas, Honey was a real asset!
  • Blue Q Socks a girlfriend introduced me to these socks. Some of them are pretty crass while others are just funny. I remember when I was in driver’s ed, my teacher said “always make sure you’re wearing cute underwear. If you get in an accident you don’t want the EMT’s to judge you for your granny panties.” Looking back I’m just thinking this is ridiculous for an adult to say to teens. However, as a woman, there is something really confidence building about wearing nice undergarments. I am not kidding, the snark in these socks has that same effect. It may seem ridiculous but there have been days when my Blue Q socks, (even when I was the only one who knew they were there) kept me a little grounded in sanity.
  • Swell Bottles The knock offs aren’t the same. Honest. And yes, these bottle are spendy, but as one who HAS to have ice-cold water at hand- having my bottle stay icy through hot summer days in the car, through the long migraine riddled nights, etc. BEST WATER BOTTLE EVER…

Can you think of your best 2016 bits? Be they memories, silver linings or products you discovered, I’d love to hear them!

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it is important, but not for why we think…

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We were all squished together, in a booth at Chili’s. Where as, a week or two before, such close proximity may have felt uncomfortable, on this day it did not. On this particular day we were scared. Our friends to the left had been trying to have a baby for a few months. It was there that they confessed to how glad they were that they had not conceived and quietly agreed they would never have a child now. Across the booth were friends with a newborn. A Newborn whom they loved but sobbed actual tears over the terror ridden world we now lived in. The date was September 15, 2001.

Those things, the fears and feelings, they were real. Real and relevant. Beyond us, our conversations and our choosing to feel them though, they meant nothing. It was not a fear that brought about progress or healing in communities, but rather stepping into a community with those around us. Yes, it took a long time. It has been a long journey and we aren’t there yet, but we are better than those who were so crippled with terror. It was choosing to love others, work together and be that walked us all through a horrible recession, (which many argue isn’t quite over yet.) Our friend’s baby has grown into a beautiful young woman and our childless friends did go on to have two great kids. Fears subside. At that dinner, at Chili’s, we all imagined a world more like those existing in Post Apocalyptic movies than the world we have now. This America of iPhones, an abundance of Marvel movies, TV on demand (and at our fingertips, to boot) and a black president- this America was unfathomable.

And what about our president? 8 years ago my 9-year-old was so terrified of the election results. It was not from us, but from everyone so consumed with discussing the Anti-Christ known as Obama, with his illegal birth certificate, middle eastern ties and blah, blah, blah. We were leaving a friend’s house when we heard the election results on the radio. My NINE YEAR OLD slipped into a unconsolable blob in the back seat. She wanted to be married someday, and go to high school… She wanted all things 9-year-old girls dream of and she had to face that life was over and the world had ended.

And yet… Here we are.

The world is imperfect. It is an imperfect globe filled with imperfect people. I have kids not of my womb whom I have failed hundreds upon hundreds of times. I have woken up and wondered why I was a mother at all, some days. On those days I have questioned if they would’ve been better off without me. Does that mean that I should be crucified on social media daily, with my faults spotlighted for everyone to obsess over, (you know, instead of looking inwardly at their own character)? No. Don & Hillary are both people too. They each have really wonderful things they’ve done, really terrible things they’ve done and a whole lot of both that they have lied about.

Voting is important, because if we don’t then we forfeit the right to have a voice. Tomorrow we will wake up and life will look the same. It will feel the same. And the changes we are hoping to see for our country will still be up to us more so than the elected officials. How so? We get all bent out of shape because our gun rights are at risk. Guess what? Our gun rights are at risk BECAUSE OF US. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. True. But what people kill people? People without accountability, without community and with access to an entire underground market available to anyone ethicless enough to partake in it. 40, 50, 100, 200 years ago this was not the case. We need laws because we behave like we need laws.

I am a mother. I can hand my child trust and age appropriate freedom, but when he does something that breaks the first, he jeopardizes the second and suddenly rules are a little stricter. Happens again, the results happen again too. When a leader has millions of faceless people to work for, they will end up doing their job by statistics. Recently there was a little social media thing about the worst 10 towns to live in, in Idaho. Defensiveness happened because these said “bad towns” are beloved by many. Bingo! Beloved by people who know them. The people who love them and live their lives in them. The person who made the list was just doing his job. A Leader has no choice but to work on statistics, as they cannot possibly get to know each and every one of us in a way which would enable them to do their jobs better. We, the people do have choices. Be the community. Embrace our businesses, our youth, our other citizens regardless of whether we agree or not. It doesn’t matter whether our viewpoints all mesh well or not. Views and beliefs don’t play together on the playground, WE DO. It is up to us to behave. I grow so weary of religious people characterizing others by their race, religion or sexual orientation. Guess what, NONE OF THAT IS CONTAGIOUS.

We have to stop being afraid. Selling a wedding cake to someone who is different will only make you look kind. Thinking your opinion (or the truth you feel you know) is the only relevant one will make you look cruel. It truly is that simple. No one ever hung themselves because someone was nice to them, even though they were _______. The same can not be true of the latter’s words. Loving kindness prevails, always.

The outcome of today’s election may not be what you feel is best- but it is what someone else thought. Be respectful and move on. Be authentic and love others. The other people around the world who hate America don’t hate us because of our leaders. They hate us because of Americans. We are greedy, arrogant, narrow-minded and petty. We are a joke to many other countries and it is up to us to earn a better reputation. No president in the world could ever change that, but we can. Today I elect us, Americans, to be the heart of America. To listen without interrupting, or thinking we are superior. To embrace without condition of what’s in it for us.
If Americans began behaving like we expect our leaders to, we WOULD have less violence, less addiction, less homelessness, less abuse and less need for big government. My one voice may not make a bit of difference in this election, but it makes all of the difference within my community, and that can trickle and trickle until one day we look back and say “Wow, remember that year that ________ became president and the world kept turning after we were all so sure it would stop? That’s when we decided to take responsibility for our country, our mouths and our actions and I am so glad we did.”