Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mother's Day (yes I know I'm really late)

Sometimes the day just doesn't work out like you want it too and there are UGLY moments. This was mine. My children did not want to cooperate to take a Mother's Day picture with me. After all it was after 3pm, after church and sunday school, after picking up GaGa and wheelchair in her current condition, after lunch at a white tablecloth restaurant, after a drive to get my new favorite dessert (cakeballs), after being told to play the quiet game because the adults were getting irritated by their exuberant voices in the backseat. It was too much for them, but it was Mother's Day and I realized I wanted to take a picture.

We have to get up earlier next year.



So this was the worst picture out of three that we managed to take. This is one for FB right? We did have some wonderful precious moments with sleepy eyed greetings and cards, and those I can treasure. And I'm learning to treasure the ones from taking the pictures. Being mad is okay and that is part of being a family.

My aha moment came the next day. Mother's Day or any other holiday that I consider holy?! that I try to make emotionally perfect just can't be. I believe that most "negative" emotions were held in during my childhood right on up until a few short years ago or they came out passively aggressively. In the beginning, my therapist told me that my feelings were not right or wrong, they were just feelings. I had no idea what she was talking about because this was not what I had come to understand.I am just learning how to express "negative" feelings in an acceptable manner.

It has taken a while for this particular truth to sink in because there are just a few holidays that come around each year but now, I realize it applies to EVERY day of my life. I really desire to be "at peace." And there just can't be plain ole' peace. Life, and family are just roller coasters. Like that scene from the movie "Parenthood" I know that there are bumps and bigger bumps along the way but unconsciously I thought that I could do those "in a perfect way." Even under the most stressful situations, I wanted to handle them well, and not be depressed, or feel sad, or feel completely overwhelmed and need to cry. How freeing!!

Wow, I get it now. But next year, I will take the Easter picture BEFORE we go to church...

This clip is missing the funny line where Grandma who speaks life's truth, goes and gets in the neighbor's car.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Living With the Mighty Mississippi



The Mississippi River is at it's highest levels here in Baton Rouge since 1973 or 1927. In 1927, one million homes were flooded. Both dates are mentioned and I'm not sure which is accurate at this point in time. I became obsessed with watching the coverage especially last Saturday as the decision was made to open the Morganza Spillway and flood rural areas making the flood danger lower here in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. I read a couple of articles about living close to a river of the magnitude of the Mississippi. Mark Twain was quoted. The gist is that the Mississippi River is a force to be reckoned with and men can only do so much to contain it or try to harness it.

I finally bought flood insurance although we do not live in the flood zone. Each hurricane season since Katrina and especially Gustav, I have thought, I need to do this, just in case. Back in 1927, the river came up as far as Highland Road which is less than a mile from here, but you never know. There could be another tropical storm that just pours over us for days which has happened before. You cannot fight mother nature as seen in Missouri, Alabama, Japan, Indonesia, Haiti and the list goes on and on.

We went to see the water downtown last night. I have never been to the levee and seen police tape. (That is the top of USS Kidd in the background) No one is allowed on the levee. The water IS at historic levels. You can also see the orange tube structure, the Tiger boom, that was added to increase the height of the levee.

After Gustav, I don't take the force of Mother Nature for granted anymore. Katrina could have done it but I was not affected in an up close and personal way. With Gustav I was. One hundred mile an hour winds and subsequent destruction in our area, I was left with no power, trees down in the yard, 2 young children, no generator, no ice, 90+ degree temperatures, an elderly mother in law and a husband planted at the hospital, Gustav did me in. I can still see the parking lot of Walmart in my mind, when we went to find ice. It was unreal and resembled a third world country but everyone was in a car. People needed gas, food and ice. We had no idea how long it would take for them to reestablish electrical power, so the girls and my mother in law headed to my sister in law's in Atlanta. I had never driven that far by myself but I wanted to get out of town. I say by myself because the three other passengers could not drive and have no sense of direction so I was on my own in that sense.

So, I now believe in the force of mother nature. I watched the house in an adjoining neighborhood slowly rebuild after Gustav and it took them at least 2 years. It was a weekly reminder and I still think of Gustav as I pass it. I had to feel it up close and personal to REALLY believe. My lovely house that I fill with our belongings and decorate and get just right, can be gone in an instant or a matter of minutes. And hopefully, I would be left with what matters most, my family and God that I can rely on to get me through.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Firework - Katy Perry

This is one of the songs we listen to in the car at present. I love the message and the positiveness and there are no curse words I have to pretend they are not hearing or will repeat. I asked the girls if they understood what it was saying. They didn't. I am working to empower my 8 and 5 year old to figure out who they are and I realize, you can't do that passively. You have to interact. You have to go there. You actually have to engage them in conversation on the issue. Why did I think they could "get it" by just listening (and they are a little young?!)

I told them that they were each fireworks and in their own way. We read a book about the light that God puts in each of us and every year it gets brighter. And they can do anything they set their mind too. Firework is just a funkier new version of "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine."

I am learning the same lessons now that I am (learning to) teach my children. Con current learning, better late than never!!

Now it does crack me up to watch fireworks come out of Katy Perry's chest. That's just a little bit funny?!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Motherhood is not for Sissies


It's that time of year again. Riley and Mallory have six and a half days and then school is out for SUMMER! Not that I'm counting.
The thoughts of summer conjure up both dread and excitement. It use to be all dread and my friend says my voice doesn't sound (as) panicked as in past summers. Yet I am steeling myself mentally right now. I am grieving my alone time. I love my quiet time. At this moment, I am sitting in my beautiful new living room and my windows on this mid May South Louisiana day are open!! and it is breezy!! I hear the birds chirping and the wind chimes clanging. Both cats are sleeping near me on the new furniture. : ) It is blissfull and I am soaking it up.

I love my girls with every fiber of my being, yet 24/7 just makes for very loooong hot summer days. There will be boredom, bickering and the need for patience, patience, patience. And George's work is unyielding. In the past I did not know how to take care of myself fully. I felt guilty for needing time away and judged myself so harshly. Now I know that it is the best thing for everybody. Being present with my children means I have to take care of myself so that I can be available. I need to schedule time away. I have scheduled some activities for them, joined a pool and plan to keep us busy but also have downtime in our own home. I am recognizing that I have to expend their energy especially Mallory's, and yet keep order. I want them to have fun, but be respectful of me, each other and their surroundings. That's a tall order when you are eight and five. And lessons that have to be repeated over and over again ad nauseum. Being a parent is not for sissies but I LOVE IT. I just can't imagine not having these beautiful children in my life. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love seeing the world through their eyes and it is exhilarating when my eyes even with all of my adult worries are childlike again.


Mallory and I recently went to see Toy Story on Ice downtown at the River Center on a Saturday afternoon. There was a lot going on downtown. The Mississippi River is at a record high and we walked to see it from the levee. We walked back and in the middle of the Blues Festival concert, we spotted these ducks in a fountain. It immediately takes me to the book, "Make Way for Ducklings" which was given to us by my sister in law. It's one of our favorites and we even visited the statues dedicated to the book in the Boston Commons on a trip a few years back. And then on Sunday, George and Riley wanted to see the river so we went back again and I was excited to remember to look to see if the ducks were there. And they were! My heart was thrilled to see the Mama duck and the duckling....ducks! I was thrilled to see ducks??!!

To me that it was life is all about now. I am slowly moving away from the material possessions and desires of things. We all need some material stuff to some extent but what makes my heart really full is my family and the ability to have excitement about the simple things.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Oprah Countdown


There are 15 shows left as of today. Oh NOOOO! In my journey To Golightly, I have come to accept that I can now say I love the Oprah Show. A year or so ago, I did not want to say that out loud because I saw a "friend's" post on FB talk about Oprah starting her own religion. I could go on to explain her religious beliefs as I have come to know them but instead I can say it
more succinctly, that's their opinion, it doesn't work for me and we can agree to disagree.

Now, I can say, that I am sad it is going off the air. I feel a twinge of sadness when I go to her website, they are counting it down. On the other hand, my DVR is too full and I can't keep up with what is taping now. But as I make my way through some of the shows, some of them are fluff, but some of them have such meaning to me. I see other people that she is interviewing having the same struggles and it makes me feel not so alone. So many people keep things all bottled up and I just can't do that anymore. I don't know who is going to come along and be able to do interviews like she does. There doesn't seem to be anyone to take up the mantle right now.

YET...

We have the Oprah Winfrey Network!! You might have heard about it. So far, The Judds who I was anxiously awaiting are not disappointing at all. You know any show that has therapy as part of it's makeup is right up my alley. I'm looking forward to Shania Twain's show especially as I heard about her "losing her voice." Making up now, for not having a voice for so many years, her story intrigues me. The Behind the Scenes of the Oprah Show have been enlightening and entertaining. Peter Walsh has had new shows and you know I love to declutter! Rosie will be coming on as well. Oprah's Master Class was interesting, most especially the ones about herself. I love to learn what makes people tick. So now Oprah's teaching will continue in a different format. I will miss the Oprah Show!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The..Best...Revival...Ever

I never thought I could say those words but they popped in my head after my weekend seminar with Father Richard Rohr. My fundamentalist baggage is lessening as I am beginning to joke about it and THE signpost that I am moving past it. My blogpost from May of 2009, entitled "Uncomfortable Religious Moments" covers some of it. To sum it up, I'm not a fan of believing the bible literally, or that there is a reason for everything, and most importantly, I have come to believe that a relationship with God is more about love than fear. It's about relationship not rules. It's not about I'm right and you are wrong.

This is a HUGE hurdle for me to overcome. Isn't it ironic that my journey to God is the same as my journey to my authentic self, moving from fear to love...

A few weekends ago, I attended a 2 day seminar led by a Franciscan priest named Richard Rohr. I could do a whole bit about him being Catholic but that would show off my dualistic thinking. More to come on that later. I had never heard of him before but found him in a quote on FB and the quote resonated with me deeply. I looked him up, found a book and started reading. A few weeks later this same man was coming to OUR CHURCH. I didn't sign up first thing, that would have been too easy. I hesitated and was placed on a waiting list. But I made it and it was fantastic.

Sitting in my church book study (aptly titled Spiritual Quest) on Sunday night after the seminar, it hit me that this was THE BEST REVIVAL I had ever been to. (Big Smile) Revivals in my youth left me scarred. They brought me no closer to God but to be scared that I didn't respond to the tactics being employed. As I said the "revival bit" aloud to our small group, the young woman who also has fundamentalist baggage, laughed and knew exactly what I was talking about. There were no stanzas of hymns over and over to goad me to come up and be saved. No hellfire and brimstone, finger pointing talk. This was my thinking person's dream revival. I hung on to every word that this man spoke. Everything he said resonated deeply within me. Okay, not the history so much but that just made me understand the context of where we are today as followers of Jesus.

To sum the seminar up in my opinion, it is how Jesus's teachings became all about religion and knowing the answers and following this set of rules. Not the much needed curiosity of practicing a meditative journey and seeking our own answers within ourselves and which, drum roll please...come from God. And even further than that, there might not be an answer. And being able to live with that! Jesus would go off for days and days to be in prayer and meditation. And if Jesus had to do that...well. My human self needs renewal and regeneration. I now treasure my quiet time instead of feeling lonely. This seminar was one more of my aha moments along the journey To Golightly. I am seeing magnificent truths that I am so grateful to learn and they make life so much easier to live.

We are reading Father Rohr's book, "The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See" in the book study. I am amazed that as I read, I completely agree with many of his statements and it was as if he was reading my unconscious thoughts. I didn't know they were my thoughts until I read it and it made complete and utter sense to me. I knew this all along. I know I am in the right place, on the right path and this is THE journey for me. And that is MY kind of revival. Thanks be to God! : )

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