books, chronic illness, entertainment, food, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, marriage, self care, travel

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

It’s just not possible…

I look outside my large Michigan window and curse life as I know it. The warmth that was Tennessee this time last week, while here, today, it is snow and bitter cold.  Again. So over it…

I am also battling a cold, and intensely sore from wild and crazy things like caving beneath the Smokey Mountains and a new workout routine, back here in the land of frigid. I am achy and congested, frozen-finger typing while I am bundled up in an oversized sweatshirt, scarf and yoga pants. Emma, my seven year old Aussie, is corralled in the bathroom due to some sort of doggy sickness that I honestly feel like I cannot muster the energy for and I am nursing my second Coke zero of the day (yes, I do realize it is only ten in the morning) because my throat is swollen and on fire and it just feels better to drink that over razor sharp water… My box of tissues sits to my left, stack of books to my right. Atop the stack, naturally, is my Let Go journal…

I feel miserable and terrible, and really pretty awful too.

Let it go, Misty

And maybe it is possible. Possible to feel all of the sad, bad, sickly things and still be a ray of shining something inside. Let’s try that, anyway.

Sharing the love, with you-

  • The husband and I went to Tennessee to celebrate twenty-four years since we first said I Do. The trip was wonderful! It was so great to take adventures together, just focus on BE-ing, and make new memories while investing in Us. The only really unplanned inconvenience was the traffic down, where we crawled at a snail’s pace along with EVERY SINGLE PERSON heading to Florida for spring break. Never would’ve thought, but now we know for next time… Among the AMAZING things we did in Tennessee, my favorite things to list (without making this an entire Knoxville area edition of the standard Friday post) would all involve Market Square, in Knoxville. Not only is trendy and yet somehow timeless, but it has an adorable little dog park right in the middle, and we got to meet lots of great little dogs! (It is safe to say that this part is not going to make Chw’s BEST list.) My favorite shop in the Square was the Knoxville Chocolate Company, not for what seems like the obvious reasons, however. The chocolate parts were more  earning of my husband’s adoration. For me, it was the artwork and gifts. They were featuring works from local artist Milk Moon House, and I fell head over heals for several of the pieces displayed!  It was a sad reality that they were pretty far out of my budget, and so with deep sadness I walked away… (also, shout out to the Blue Coast Bar & Grill for miraculously making the best french toast I have ever put in my mouth!)
  • When we first decided on Knoxville being our destination, a friend recommended a visit to McKay’s books. (If you’ve never had the overwhelmingly sensory experience of visiting this entertainment haven, you might want to consider a trip to Knoxville.) Nothing I can say would ever do it justice, and the place itself isn’t my second item here anyway. It is something I discovered while digging through their Vinyl. This album/movie is so fundamental to my childhood. You would have thought I’d dug and found a trove filled with gold and diamonds, for all of the enthusiasm I still have over this record.

The dark side’s callin’ now, nothin’ is real
She’ll never know just how I feel
From out of the shadows she walks like a dream
Make me feel crazy, make me feel so mean…

Moving on…

  • Because we love them and it’s what we do- the husband and I caught a movie at the local cineplex our last night in town. Him, (quite eagerly), and me (significantly less so) nestled in with popcorn to see Ready Player One. We had spent a pretty big chunk of the day adventuring through underground caves and I was feeling pretty tired. On occasion my inner grandma has been known to come out and nap through movies, and I was pretty certain this would be one of those naps. It was not. By principal and taste I pride myself on not being much of a Sci-Fi lover, but this movie… So crazy good.
  • I love to read. I don’t always have the time, but I am trying to be more intentional about picking up books. One thing I cannot do is read in the car. I just can’t. And my husband loves to listen to audiobooks, but the one thing he cannot do is read physical books. Something about holding a book just inspires his inner grandpa to pop right out and drift to snoozeland. Neither one of us can justify the regular cost of purchasing Audio books because… well, they are ridiculous. (and yes, he listens through the library, but the wait list is often unbearable.) Enter Otto. Maybe you’ve seen it pop up in various social media ads, promising to be the Netflix of audio books. That’s how I first heard of it, and skeptically, I looked into it. You guys, it IS the Netflix of audiobooks! We listened to a couple of great books, on our trip. Our favorite was The Woman in Cabin 10. (sidenote: I am surprised the consumer reader reviews aren’t stronger because this book HAD IT ALL…) Feeling super crummy this week (as I mentioned), and not playing entirely by-the-book with my Dirty Keto life, I have been self caring by some more reading. (We all need some self nurturing…) Am absolutely loving listening to This Is Me and recommend it to every woman/girl/person.)
  • I don’t usually watch New, midseason TV shows. (They aren’t usually very good and they also stand a greater chance of getting cancelled, so why commit?) I am a major fan of Zach Braff though, and as an Office lover, also adore Jenna Fischer. Their new shows Alex Inc. and Splitting Up Together are actually really good. I don’t know that they will get renewed because these are pretty smart and not the normal trendy types that do well… Fingers crossed! (Plus Emily Kapnek is bringing us Splitting Up Together and she was the brilliance behind Selfie– a show I deeply loved, that was gruesomely cancelled even though the internet went to war to save it! So you could say I’m a little jaded.)

What have you been loving lately? PLEASE share- I need all the joy I can get right now!

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chronic illness, entertainment, family, gratitude, journey, self care

The Miracle Season…

When I was very, very young I would travel from the very southern bits of New Mexico, up to a children’s hospital in Albuquerque. From such an early age I remember both loving and hating these visits. The road trip, complete with fun music and McDonald’s (a luxury we did not have in our small town) made the trip an adventure. To top it off, we would stay in a motel. As if my young little self didn’t have enough to be excited about, the motel was the icing on the cake. I still, nearly forty years later, remember the details of this dilapidated brick structure. Knowing what I know now, this place was likely a dump, but then it was just awe and wonder…

The hospital visits, on the other hand, weren’t so magical. They consisted of painful examinations, serious conversations (that I did not understand) and humiliating “tests” where I would have to run down the hallway, while a team of staff watched me. Because I have a hip disorder I was growing extremely pigeon-toed. As you can imagine, those “runs” were mostly me falling and being yelled at to get up, again and again and again. I would return to the hotel room covered in bruises, sitting with ice packs and being massaged with Ben Gay. In addition, my weight did not sit correctly upon my feet. At 8 and 9 years old I had more times than I can remember of having to quit riding bikes or walking because my right hip and foot were in so much pain that it was unbearable. I eventually began to understand that most other kids my age did not have such chronic pain. Most other kids didn’t have to stop on the walk to school and sit in the desert, because the pain was just too much. The dream of maybe playing sports one day was an unlikely one which I didn’t really allow myself to have.

As I have mentioned before, I went to live in a group home when I was twelve. The group home required several tasks of routine hard labor and some of the things (bucking hay, for instance) were brutally painful. There were no exceptions and I had to learn to move through the pain. As time passed, and I moved in to high school, I also faced the fact that team sports (through our private school) was also not an option. Volleyball and basketball were expected, and painfully I complied.

Some practices were nauseatingly pain riddled, especially where basketball was concerned. The hustle expected, honestly wasn’t really possible. When I tearfully would offer my best, I was torn down so eventually my most logical response was to stop trying. This led to a lot of consequential actions being administered before I was finally benched. Volleyball though, the game of volleyball I loved. Some practice and games had pain, but eventually I worked through it. I loved being a part of a team. That part of it, the belonging, the needing and the being needed- that was exhilarating. (Plus, the sport itself was fun, which helped.) Basketball had always left me feeling like I was letting my team down, and in actuality I was. I was sick and angry with myself over it then, but I can admit it now…

By the time I graduated, I was a pretty descent volleyball player in our small private league. (also, if you’re curious, I grew to love the exertion of doing hay and my body, though it still hurt, had adapted to appreciate it too.) I pushed through my pain and began jogging several times a week, and though I knew I’d likely never make it as a “real” athlete, I had grown to really appreciate how far I’d come. Over the years I have had to learn to listen to my body, as well as admit that pushing through wasn’t likely always the best choice. Even so, I learned a lot from the effort and the trying, and I learned so much from being part of our team.

I am still, though not a sports player, an avid team player. I derive a lot of strength from my support system and offer myself, in every way capable, as a supportive player. When I was deep in the trenches of my struggles with abandonment, being a part of teams (both in sports and drama) met the needs I had and allowed me to contribute to the symbiotic system with others. I would not be the person, wife, writer, friend or woman I have now if I had not learned those things…

Have you seen the trailer for The Miracle Season? Based on the inspiring true story of West High School girls’ volleyball team.  After the tragic death of the school’s star player Caroline “Line” Found, the remaining team players must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach in hope of winning the state championship. The Miracle Season is in theaters this Friday (April 6th) and I am excited to see the hope and encouragement that this amazing story will share with its audience.

This trailer gives me chills EVERY SINGLE TIME.

The easily critical (myself sometimes included) love to criticize the emphasis and attention that we American’s put on sports. As I mentioned, I am guilty of this too. With a son in the Army, it kills my heart to see how our service men & women are compensated and treated while our Athletes are often worshipped. Even so though, I have to admit that whenever these truly impactful true stories of teamwork come out- I am exceptionally moved. And I must not be alone because we keep telling these stories, and the audiences always show up…

Have you ever been a part of a team, which impacted your life?

 

gifts, gratitude, infertility, journey, marriage, writing

This is twenty-four…

Dearest love of mine,

Twenty four years ago, today, we were children playing dress up, at the very front of the most beautiful church we knew, while the world swarmed in chaos just beyond us.

I was a broken girl looking for someone to fix all of the damage which other broken people had done. Sadly, looking to a boy, barely older and no less damaged was unfair. It was not the right thing to do, but where my heart was concerned, it was genuine love.

I love you then, so incredibly.

I love you today, so much more, my husband.

So many full moons later, the scent of you still stirs my inner being and in every sad or absent moment, that connection which my spirit longs for, can only be found in you.

Sometimes it feels as if these struggles we’ve walked- the barren womb, the absent attendance around us, the hardships (the life ships, the adult ships, the titanic-sized-hurt ships) have often kept us just a reach beyond drowning…

But, my love, my lover, the keeper of the very best of me- When I think of any of the quick-sand-bits, the darkest shadows and the moments which were rusted-out-tear-stained and unfair, there is no one else whose hand I can fathom holding. There are no other eyes I want to search for anything outside of the bad, and no one else’s delectable smile I want to see the happiest rays in. There is no one else whose warmth, whose voice, whose deep-belly laughter speaks the language my heart sings to…

I am proud to be your telekinetic Pictionary partner, for now and always.

Always…

I’ll be there, till the stars don’t shine
‘Til the heavens burst and the words don’t rhyme
I know when I die you’ll be on my mind
And I’ll love you, always

My love, my husband, my Christopher, there is not another soul I want to wake up beside and if we were to manage one hundred and twelve more years together, (twelve- always twelve) it still wouldn’t be enough of you…

Thank you for sharing this journey. Thank you for growing with me, for accepting the gigantic mess that is me, and for being the very best of the best. Twenty four years and hindsight reflects the honesty that there has always been more beauty than sad. You are my heart, and I love you. The ugliest bits have been but nominal blips, fading father away, the moment they die. The good, the things which I am most grateful for-

the love-

that is the everywhere which remains.

M

adoption, books, chronic illness, family, friendship, gratitude

This is forty-two…

Yesterday my youngest daughter turned nineteen. At nineteen she represents herself, to us anyway, as the authority of all things, and that’s pretty normal. At nineteen, lifetimes ago, I am sure I did the same thing. Adulthood is still new, the real complexities and woes of it are yet to really hit home. In most cases, the biggest “grown up” problems you’ve had to face are pretty nominal in comparison. At nineteen we know more than we’ve ever known so naturally we feel pretty wise…

Forty-two is completely different. I woke up this new age, and yet don’t feel very different. While nineteen seems so long ago, (and in a galaxy far, far away) with it is that feeling of knowing or understanding anything at all. I literally have nothing figured out.

Nothing…

One year ago yesterday felt like a car accident. One that I should have seen coming, but didn’t. While an adoptively rocky relationship with my daughter had always been so much, it wasn’t until that day, last year, when it really hit me- we will likely never have a real relationship. It was devastating to finally acknowledge that this child whom I had given up so much for, and invested so much of myself in, wasn’t genuinely invested in me at all. I know there are so many friends saying Misty, come on… You should have known. But I didn’t. I feared it. I worried about it. I honestly believed that if I loved her enough, forgave enough, did enough that one day it would be enough. And then I had to realize- that day wasn’t going to come.

This is forty-two… waking up, one year later, having seen the fruition of that. Having to come to terms with it, grieving the loss of what I spent my motherhood lifetime hoping would be the family I ached to have. Pushing aside the this is not fair feelings that bombard me when holidays, milestones (and yes, even this birthday), come around… It is no coincidence that Let Go chose to be my mantra for this year of my life. I am brutally learning to let go.

Letting go of the dreams of my home filled with my children and my grandkids. Letting go of that next phase it seems like everyone else experiences, of whole-healthy families coming together for the important moments… One year ago today I still dreamed this fantasy (for me) possible, today I know it is not. This is forty-two.

I do not know a single person who fought as hard to be a mother. I have three amazing kids whom I love INCREDIBLY, and not one of those relationships came easily. In each situation it was like I had to push against the world, just to make it so. Somewhere in the back of my (human and needy) mind I knew that I was fighting to bring together the family that I had spent my own youth begging for. And I tried. I did do my best, despite the vile stories floating around that someone wants people to believe about my motherhood- I do know I did my best… But it wasn’t enough. Not enough to have that family I thought I was making. Not in the way I so deeply wanted anyway.

And there in lies the miracle of it all. I wanted… I didn’t need it, even though it felt like I did, (and still honestly feels like I do). I deeply, desperately, cravingly ached for it- but it was never vital. Letting go… This is forty-two.

Looking back at the opportunities I set aside and sacrificed and feeling like now I am so far behind, but not too far behind. It may be harder now, but still possible. This is forty-two.

The journey from forty-one to forty-two has been perhaps the most brutal of them all. I am tired, weary and emotionally feel done. This added challenge of letting go is trimming my heart in ways which I was both  unprepared and are long over due. With the good-bye to forty-one, I send with it the tiny fragments of innocence which had remained.

Just because we desire something, that does not mean it will happen.

Just because we love sacrificially, with everything we have- does not mean they will love us back.

I could fill this list with a thousand lessons learned throughout this year, but the most important one (for me) is that I am ok. I do not need the things I thought I needed. I will also no longer accept the things I might have then. Someone is either all in, and willing to make effort or they aren’t. These things are not my responsibility and there is nothing I can do to motivate them for more. I do not need to prove myself to motivate anyone to find me of value, and those people I value have had me demonstrate such in infinite volumes.

Having feelings for someone does not equate to love. love requires selfless action, intent, honesty and vulnerability.

Apologies are nothing without the actions of love.

The age limit on achieving anything is societal and not reality based at all.

Those dreams and desires our hearts are built on, aren’t real either. Gravitating towards them will not make them so. Sometimes things are just really impossible, and being real about that isn’t pessimistic. Lying to ourselves (or anyone else) “optimistically” is still lying. It isn’t encouraging. It isn’t comforting. Well, maybe it is comforting in that way that you feel super sad so you eat an entire pan of brownies and a pint of ice cream. As the sugar-drug soothes, you might feel balmed… Not too long later though, you’ll either be crouched over a toiled puking your brains out, or wish you were. Not better at all. False hope, the little lies we tell ourselves because the truth is to bleak- this is the very same thing. The outcome of such dishonesty only makes us all worse off.

I am done dreaming about my future. I am done imagining a full life, of a house filled with love and laughter and the people I care about. Dreaming up the vacations, holidays and the dinner parties and all of the things I was so certain this stage of my life would be filled to the brim with. These things belong to so many other mothers and grandmothers, but not this one. Not this time. Thousands of tears have been shed over such things, but nothing ever assured me that was the place in which my motherhood journey was headed, and it’s time I let go of the emotional energy holding on to that and just move on. Whether I was not enough, did not do enough, or whatever the reasoning- it does not matter… This is forty-two.

I walk through life in a near constant headache, with a chronic illness on my back. I love some of the songs and films I have loved before, and many I do not. I enjoy doing a lot of things that I seem to never do. I live a daily life that resembles nothing I ever thought it would- and that’s ok too. This is forty-two.

I have to admit I am closer to the end, than the beginning, and there are days when I question if the end is significantly closer than I’d like it to be. That is grim, and maybe where the thoughts of this age tend to drift. I don’t know, I’m new here…

I am drawing closer those good things & people who reciprocate my time and effort, and releasing my grasp on those which don’t. It seems cold to the ones released, but I just don’t have enough strength to be the majority any more. This is forty-two.

It is honest, it is different. It is ugly and motivational. It is lonely and self-assured. It is lessons learned and ignorance with a whole lot in-between.

To celebrate this birthday I will run a few errands, drink another cup of coffee, turn my phone to silent and keep my eyes looking forward. At what, I do not know. Where I will be at forth-three I have no clue. I have hopes, but they are like clouds which change shape and drift away. I won’t pretend to have it all figured out, and I will finally admit that I have no guarantees. I spent forty-one years of my life crippled by the fear of isolation and a solo journey, and now I see that I’ve been riding this horse alone and I am ok after all. This is forty-two.

None of my favorite bands have songs named for this age, unlike 41. None of the books I am drawn to offer solace for this stage. This stage, for me, isn’t the same as it is for others. We each have our own stories and I can no longer hide my eyes from my shaping tale, simply because I had hoped and prayed for something different…

This is forty-two, and that is ok. I am ok. All false (destructive) optimism aside, I am moving forward and each lesson is a stepping stone for something real, and real is far better than an imaginary bliss any day.

I am ok.

I am not sure any birthday before had me sitting deep in the saddle of that knowledge.

entertainment, food, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, list, marriage, Misc., self care

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

I had so naively hoped that I could rave about how gloriously beautiful the weather was, now that it’s Spring and all. In reality though, so far Spring is pretty much just like Winter, and let’s face it- many are open for disappointment…

I do enjoy saying that it is Spring though.

It is Spring. Spring!!!

So far, though Spring is on my naughty list, and therefore NOT making this cut, this week, I am cautiously optimistic at it’s potential in weeks to come…

1.) Around November, this woman that some of you may have heard of, (her name is Oprah, just in case you’re one of the few) released a list of her Favorite Things. I have, in all honesty, never found many things in her list to be things I loved (especially where the book club aspect of things fell) but still, curiosity spurred me to check it out. I cannot remember anything on that list, save one thing in particular. While I may have been the last person around to learn what an air fryer was- I knew instantly that I needed this miracle machine. Funny thing about new, well-reviewed products though, (especially when they make Oprah’s list) they are out of stock. For a long, long time. So, we saved our pennies, and waited. And waited. And waited. And then, one week ago today, the heavens parted and I was alerted that Macy’s was having a ONE day sale, and they had ONE in stock. And then, as strange as it may seem, that 40% off little miracle, was tucked away in the back room and no one knew why. (I did! It was meant for me! Happy birthday, to me! Air fried chicken for everyone! (and bacon! And everything! Let’s fry it all!)

2.) While at the miracle sale, at Macy’s, (A store I NEVER shop at, and reminded me of my Dillard’s employee days as soon as I walked through the doors) a display for these little diffusers was sitting by the register. As a part of the one day sale, it was $20. TWENTY dollars! I picked up a few other goodies from the Ellia table, and brought home this amazing little gem. I love it so much! I sleep to sounds of the ocean, and it runs beautifully… Plus, let’s be honest- it’s gorgeous.

3.) Today is the day! Season two of Santa Clarita Diet is here! I am thrilled! We LOVE T.O. & D.B. so much and the combination of them in such a metaphorical way is absolutely genius!

4.) Ok… Southern Sweet tea has saved my life, this week. I don’t want to hear about the sweetener in here being not super Keto friendly. I literally do not care. I drink Coke Zero, which also isn’t keto friendly, and this tea is probably better for me than that… At any rate, I LOVE sweet tea, and this tea is carb and calorie free. So yeah… And it is so incredibly tasty!

5.) I literally stumbled across this song by Needtobreathe this week and I have to say it really hit me right where I was, like an arrow to the pit of me. Thought I’d share. :)

As always, I love hearing what has stirred your soul and made you smile, this week.

Happy Friday!