Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Do I Deserve An Inground Swimming Pool?

I have not written many posts this year.  Sad face. What's up with that? I miss it.
And Liz Gilbert said unused creativity is not benign.  Hmm.  I believe I do have the creativity in me, and I need to write down when the thoughts pop in my head because if I don't, they are now GONE!  I love, love, love to work out life writing this blog.

Today's missive revolves around the project that has been going on at my house for the last few months.  We decided to build an inground pool back in August.  The fact that we had an above ground pool for 5-6 years might have indicated that we would use one.  We only toyed with the idea of putting one in off and on over the years.

There was a small (destructive) voice inside of me that said, I was not worthy of a pool.

My view on December 27th, 2015

That same voice said we shouldn't buy a BMW or other "fancy" car.  I had a hard time buying our last vehicle which happened to be top of the line.  Something about a pool or expensive car says excess. Or is it that I'm not worthy?

It's interesting to pay attention to the thoughts around this.  And I have learned that I have for years told myself stories about my worthiness which were not true.  And I am cracking open those thoughts slowly but surely.  It's not easy work of course, but evolving never is.

But this time we went for the pool.  Refinanced and upped our mortgage a bit, and away we go.

First "spa" experience on 12/10/15
And after a few months of much mess and noise of digging, rebar, gunite, more concrete, plaster, banging, sawing, hammering, decking,  etc. the fantastic pool and roof area is finished.   The whole family (including reclusive teenager) swam on Christmas Eve! It was 75 degrees outside and we only had to heat the pool around 15 degrees.  And we swam again the day after Christmas and yesterday.  Although I have watched this process very intimately and worked with all of the different workers, I still can't believe we have a pool!!  I have looked at this site every day intimately and discussed issues with all of the workers of different specialties.  And I still can't believe we have a pool!  Being able to swim in it these last few days, and getting to know how it feels is phenomenal.

This is our backyard!

Mallory said it feels like a neighbor's yard and I concur.

And I'm going to enjoy every moment of it, including cleaning the blasted leaves out of the pool!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

We Suffer and That's Okay

A friend posted this on FB and it struck me.  So here it is.

This is true everyday but especially for me now during Christmas - too much to do.

"The next time you catch yourself in a maelstrom of comparison, anger, self-doubt, worry, or judgment, take a breath and ask, 'What am I practicing?' Be gentle with what comes up (no judging yourself for being judgmental) and notice if in embracing your experience with tenderness, compassion has a chance to blossom. Know this: It’s impossible to practice love and patience all the time. That kind of every-second-of-every-day bliss was not built into us humans. We suffer, and that’s okay. And when we can be compassionate with ourselves when we’re practicing things other than love, our heart softens, our grip loosens, and suddenly we have a greater access to the love we were seeking all along." ~Jamie Greenwood

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Learning to Live with The Energy: Donald Trump, Susan Boyle and Christmas

Over the last 7-8 years, I have taught myself how to feel my feelings again.   The years during infertility and especially postpartum depression really affected me.  I cried so much during that period of time, it was exhausting and I recall the despair very easily. I did not want to go down that rabbit hole of darkness and despondency ever again.

When I showed up in therapy (to lose weight) (smile),  I didn't know that I had made an unconscious decision not to cry anymore.  I learned over the next few months and years, that wasn't a good move.  It was protective, but not healthy for my soul at all.  Most of our society runs from it's feelings and compulsively avoids them at all costs.  It runs the gamut:  alcohol, shopping, religion, sports, legal and illegal drugs, food, cleaning, hoarding, perfectionism of anything, and the latest one, electronic devices which are all used to avoid the energy that is part of life.

How many times have you heard that it is a bad thing to cry?  "I'm sorry I made you cry." "Please don't cry."

I am learning to make friends with that energy that comes my way naturally every day.  And make friends with all of it including the so called negative emotions of anxiety, grief, fear and sadness.  As well as the "positive" ones: joy, laughter, and fun.  It was most surprising to me that when you block feelings and stay numb, you block all of them even the "good" ones.

I have had to learn how to have fun, be playful again because having fun made me extremely uncomfortable too.


Life is full of despair.  It will come again.  That is guaranteed.  As does the joy.

In therapy, I lost my religion, gained a loving relationship with God and most importantly learned to let go of fear (what I was running from avoiding the feelings) and embrace LOVE.  Hence, the title of my blog.

It takes so much practice though.  And it's very uncomfortable in the beginning and at times, I still freeze up.

But life will give you practice.

Death, Sickness, Terrorism, Donald Trump for President.  (grin)

In decorating for Christmas, thoughts turn to my mother in law.  She loved Christmas especially knick knacks.  We went through more of her belongings this past weekend and let go of more Christmas knick knacks.  As we played holiday tunes on the way to school this morning, I had a thought that I should have held on to some of those knick knacks.

Yet, I hate knick knacks.

So as I was cleaning up, I felt myself in that most uncomfortable place of sadness sitting on my chest.  How do I let it flow?  Hmmm.  I had pulled out Christmas CD's the night before. What music will make me cry?

I put on Susan Boyle and listened to "Perfect Day" which did the trick.

"Oh, it's such a perfect day
I'm glad I spent it with you"

The tears fell.  I felt like Ga Ga was with me.  And she was.

And the energy has passed for now.

Some more will come again.  That is life.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

For Good

Mallory and I started watching Broadway at the White House, did I tape this?  How did it get on the DVR?  But it was there.  I must watch it.  I was just there at the White House.

I love theater.

And then this happened.

I love this song.

Compassion, Love and Forgiveness.

I always think of my mother in law when I listen to this song.  I went into the ugly cry.  Mallory patted me and said it was okay.

It's okay to cry and it's okay to miss someone and remember how they changed your life.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Haircuts and Life Lessons

A while back during a school break,  I scrambled to get the girls' hair appointments on a Saturday, as it was long overdue.  Salon appointments are still new to us as we have frequented kid haircutting places and we haven't settled on a regular place yet.  It still seems like a big deal  (to me!) to have a real shampoo, cut AND blow-dry.  As I sat and watched them have their first haircut since August, I had a verklempt moment.  This is not going to happen forever.  Having both girls getting their haircut together and in this moment they are not arguing.  Woo Hoo.


And even mores that we are in the same place doing the same activity.  Riley will be getting her license in a few short years.  They are growing up.  I now drive and drop her off without getting out the car.  Plans are made with her friends by texting and parents are just informed of where, when and how much money.

I see other friend's children growing up right before my eyes.  Attending dances with dates, driver's licenses, high school graduations, and dropping them off at college.

It seems to be happening faster and faster.

After Riley's hour and a half cut which is about and hour and fifteen minutes longer than a trim at the kid's place, she was in a state of shock.  They had cut at least 7 inches off.  The stylist was very thorough with Riley's thick long hair.  We then chatted about how important it was to communicate with the stylist and that was lost as it was Riley's hair but she wanted me to do the communicating.

Unhappy feelings ensued.  Riley was none too pleased and expressed that fully.  And the next morning as we drove to church, I heard again from both girls that too much of their hair had been cut off.

This is life.

A picture perfect moment and exquisite thankfulness followed by much turmoil and not so much thankfulness. Life runs the whole spectrum of emotions.  I'm learning to ride the ride of all the emotions, and know they won't harm me.

This is the stuff that life is made of.  I have a very hard time just sitting with other people's disappointment, frustration, anger and over time, I have learned not to take it personally.  Sometimes, they just need to vent. AND I don't have to solve the problem either.  People just need to be heard.

This is a huge factor in life.  People want connection and to be heard.  And sometimes I do it better than others but I try to listen to my loved ones.

I'm learning.

(And they did end up liking their hair, it took a few days to set in... and we have learned the golden rule of really communicating with a stylist.)

Monday, September 28, 2015

It Brought Up The Time I Was Called a Happy Moron…

Riley has not played softball, the ONLY sport she likes, in two years.  However this year, there were enough girls interested in middle school to have a school team and we are rebuilding.  There are teams in our league that have girls that play year round, and we are mercifully thankful for the five run rule.  You should hear our cheering section get excited for every pitch that is a strike, every out that is made, and just getting the ball to the right place even as the opponent's runners are stealing bases all day long. This is the process of the players learning to play the game and building a team.

It's early in the season, and of this writing, Riley has been at bat only a few times.  On Monday night, we didn't even make it through the full batting lineup because it was three up and three down and our hour was up after three innings.  Yes, we lost.  On Tuesday night at her first bat, Riley didn't even swing and she was struck out by the pitcher. (Without any movement on her part)

I'm admitting here that it broke my spirit a little.

My mind begin a downward spiral of thought.

"Oh no, this is not good."  "She's going to be so disheartened."  "Was playing softball such a great idea after all?" "Will she want to keep playing?" "Is she any good?"  

The thoughts went downhill so swiftly, I can't believe I didn't fall out of the stands with the momentum.

Negative thinking, much?

The game went on and her second at bat came up.  We were behind the other team a few runs.  Unbeknownst to me, the coach had told her if she didn't swing, he was not going to let her use a bat in the future! On one of the first pitches, she swung and made contact with the ball.  It looked like an intentional bunt, but it wasn't!   The ball went two-thirds of the way down the third base line and stopped.  If it would have kept going it could have rolled out or the third baseman could have nabbed it more easily and gotten a runner out.

But it didn't.

Riley on First Base.
It was beautiful!!  I started cheering for the first time all evening.  I am a natural cheerleader at sporting events (when I go…) but I have been unsure as to whether my near teenager would be pleased with me yelling her name out loud...in public.  I was so elated, I didn't care anymore.  Our team began a hitting roll, Riley scored, as did a few others and we won the game, 8-6.

It was thrilling!

And that brings us to Thursday.   I went to a parenting seminar at school and several of our high school sporting coaches spoke about building character in the student athlete.  Before the presentation, the Middle School principal walked over to me as we had exchanged emails about the game and I told her of Riley's at bat story.  She told me to tell Riley that Hall of Fame baseball players strike out seventy percent of the time.  (ie. Their batting averages are in the three-hundreds.)

Ohhhhhh.  I forgot this fact.

And then the new baseball coach speaks.  He repeated a similar sentiment to what the principal had said about teaching the student athlete how to handle failure because it is going to happen and you have to get back up again.

And then my out of body moment came when he uttered these words:

"We have to teach them to be comfortable feeling uncomfortable."

Holy crap!  Did a baseball coach just say that?? Not what I was expecting.  Have I been dismissing team sports too easily all these years?  This is magnificent!!  This is one of my core areas for growth and I think about it all the time.  (A good portion of America avoids uncomfortable feelings by compulsive drinking, drugs, eating, running, cleaning, hoarding, shopping, and not to mention the devices in our hands or laps, etc. etc.)

As I write this, something is coming up for me (and I didn't know this is where I was going here.)  I didn't get this kind of message from my coach in high school.

There are memories that are burned in that you have that you will never forgot exactly where you were, what it looked like and how you felt.  During practice,  I vividly remember when I was told I was as "useful as a milk pail under a bull" and that I was a "happy moron."  Mortification set in and I wanted to disappear.  I also remember that when I asked the coach to hit another ball to me in the outfield for practice, it was hit so hard burned I couldn't touch it.  I chose not to play softball my senior year, even though I enjoyed the sport because I really didn't want to deal with that anymore.

I wish I would have had a voice back then.

This coach has passed on and I have let it go.  He did the best job he was capable of.  It left a mark though and will always be a soft spot for me.

I'm thrilled that what I heard at the seminar will be the kind of messages that my daughters will hear.   Even though my children are the ones playing, I am learning lessons and appreciating sports again.  You never know when or where or from whom the next aha will come from.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Yoga Class, My Dad and Intuition

I went to yoga yesterday which is always, always a good decision.  There was no background music during the class as the teacher's phone wasn't working.  There was just silence and the soothing voice of Carmen, the instructor.  The class was not as physically intense giving more time to let the mind and thoughts go...

Going through the motions and poses of class, I was aware that there was an older man next to me, During one particular exercise, we were laying on our backs and had to stretch out our arms and I had to look to make sure I would not hit him.  I also noticed he wasn't paying any attention to this.   Our hands were within an inch and a half of each other.  I had to hold my fingers up to avoid touching.

When I glanced at his hand, I saw his gold wedding band.  All of a sudden, the image of my dad's hands popped up in my head.  Emotion flooded me in an instant.  My dad's hands were thicker than mine and tanned from all of his time and work outside.  And I wished that I could look at them one more time.

Grief just seems to pop out of nowhere.

We were so close, yet able to finish that yoga sequence to completion without ever touching.  

I continue to be amazed at what emotion comes up in yoga and how it comes up so quickly and without any warning.  I am reminded that we store feelings in the body (and heart)  and that when we are quiet, or writing, or practicing yoga, "stuff" comes up.  And is it fun to feel this stuff??  Nooooo. (But it is healing and necessary to be whole hearted)

I don't want to go through the motions of life anymore, I want to have an open heart even if it is uncomfortable.  I'm learning to be curious and kind to all feelings that come up.  It is becoming crystal clear that mindfulness is the only way though compulsions.  And when one blocks or numbs feeling, you don't just block the so called "negative" emotions, you block joy and excitement and happiness too.

That afternoon, I head to Riley's softball game, I look up and there was Dad's cardiologist and my chest felt heavy again.  Really, today?!  This is not a coincidence.  (Holy Spirit!) We attend the same church but I don't see him very often but when I do,  I immediately think of dad.  I don't know him very well, essentially just through my parents and they really liked, admired and trusted him.  I felt called to go and speak to him.  We chatted for a while. He said what a nice man my dad was and when he took on Dad's case and looked through his thick chart and poor heart condition, how impressive it was that he lived as long as he did on peritoneal dialysis.  In essence, Dad stands as the poster child for living as long as he did under his complicated health conditions.

The most meaningful thing was that I was compelled to tell this doctor about the yoga class and the feelings about my dad that came up.  I took a risk yet he totally understood what had occurred as he himself had practiced yoga years back.  He knew what I was talking about.

I don't know why I decided to tell him what had been transpiring that day but I did.  I have learned my lesson so many times and experienced the blank stares from people who have not earned the right to hear my story and yet I tried to tell them anyway... I'm learning not to do that.

But today was meant to be. It worked out.  I listen to my intuition and I shared and was understood and comforted. It was a very precious moment.

(Listening to intuition is such a skillful practice and a God thing. This was a higher power moment. )

And the tears are still falling and the chest still gets heavy at times.  And it's not a bad thing.  It's a healing thing.  Who knew my dad would visit me in yoga?  I would never have put that together at all.  {smile}  After all, he had a good sense of humor.


Friday, September 11, 2015

And I Miss Her

Today is the day before Mallory's Tenth Birthday.  Tonight, I am having a slumber party for her and had invited nine of her fourth grade friends to attend.

This had me on edge all week.

Or so I thought.

I know it's just a party yet there are lots of details, and work and noise, some merriment and maybe a little drama.

All night.  In my charge.  In my house.

So I woke up several times a night for three nights in a row with what I thought was anxiety about this party.  And I put little shame on myself because it appears I can't handle a measly sleepover for ten.  But then I started writing in my journal which is a newly acquired practice.

When I began to write, it flowed to thoughts of my mother in law and the tears started to fall.  She basically lived at our house on the weekends before she got sick and helped out whenever and however she could.  She died on March 4th, 2012.  I wanted to think I was done grieving.  I had checked that box off.

But I miss her.

She would have been here, helping me pull it all together.  I can see her in the kitchen.  She worked slowly and methodically and got the job done.  And she would be getting chocolate stains out of Mallory's clothes, still.  And been just as excited about a party as Mallory is!

I miss her.

And now, we have five fourth graders attending.  The number that I think I can handle.

We will see.

All will be well.  (even when it's not)


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I found that with my intentionality to focus on my body ( hunger, fullness, and moving more) I also found my thoughts compulsively going to, "Am I losing weight?"  I found that I wanted to feel my empty stomach and every morning when I woke, I thought, is it empty...and then...did I lose a pound? And I wanted to weigh myself.

None of which will help me in the least.

And then Friday, I had to give consequences and listen unconditionally to my eldest.  Those actions woke me from my new diet obsession because I had to focus on something bigger than myself.  I needed that.

Over the weekend, I moved back to the overall design of moving more and eating less. And paying attention to hunger. This is going to have to be a slow mindful process and I'm okay with that.  I don't do well with any kind of restrictions.

One day at a time and sometimes, it is one hour at a time.

So here goes:

I am a conscious parent and a mindful person who is now paying more attention to my body - the body that exquisitely works together every second of the day to keep me moving.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Now, I Want to Pay Attention to My Body

For the last few weeks, it has been on my mind that I want to lose weight.




I went to a therapist nearly 8 years ago for that.  LOL.  And I never lost weight, I gained weight.

But I found myself.  I dug into my childhood, and my thought processes.  It was not pretty, it was painful and I grieved.  I also found out that I need to be authentically who my higher power made me to be.  I discovered that this higher power is a loving God and began the work of letting go of fear and embracing LOVE instead.  Mindfulness became a practice. And, oh so many areas of learning along the way.

But now I need to focus in on my relationship with food and my body, which is my relationship with...myself.

I listend to some podcasts by Brooke Castillo and I was ready to hear them.

So here I go.  I don't know what this will look like, but I need to pay attention, be curious and not be judgemental.  And learn to sit with feelings, and to change my thoughts in regards to those feelings.  I have been doing this in practice with other people and things and now it's time to zone in on my body, myself.

Here we go.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Big Freaking Goal

This is my goal.

It so fits with shifting from fear to love.  

It's a lot of freaking work though.  

Today is one of those days, where it seems really hard and unlikely to happen.  

But I know that will pass.  It will seem easier to do another day.

Grieving The Only Way I Know How

Saturday was the year anniversary of my dad's passing.  I didn't even remember until the afternoon the significance of the day.  I had stayed busy all morning with kids' activities and dog sitting but evidently it wasn't on my mind.

And I think what is wrong with me?  (I feel everything now! I cry at any tender moment)

Later in the day I noticed that some relatives had posted their tributes on Facebook.  Yet, I felt... nada, nothing.  And then shame entered in the picture because he was my father after all, I should feel something.

And then a friend pointed out an Anne Lamott quote: "You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” 

And it's not that dad behaved badly, he was who he was.  I went back and read what I wrote in this blog shortly after he died, about our relationship.  The gist is that I always wanted more from him.   I did not feel connected to him interpersonally.  We never chatted one on one. He never called me.  He was a physical presence.  He was not able to give any more than that and I grieved and I was angry and I grieved some more and over time I learned to accept him for who he was.  I did this especially knowing he had multiple medical issues and our time was most likely limited.  And in the very end I came to the conclusion that his lesson to me was authenticity.  In one of the only heart to hearts we had, he had told me, he wasn't going to change, he was who he was.  And so my positive spin was...I've got to be who I am. 

I'm so glad I re-read what I wrote because I needed that reminder to be authentic again.  We can only be who we are and if we don't do that, it's a miserable life following other people's cues.   Owning who I am and stepping out to do the things that interest me is the opportunity to connect to others who are my tribe and that is an amazing occurrence. That is where wholeness and healing begins to occur.

So on Sunday, I went to church. And it was still on my mind that I hadn't felt much of anything upon the anniversary.  And then...the song in the Call to Prayer was this:

And a few tears rolled down my cheek.  

I am connected to my father.  

It may not have been the way I wanted but I am.   A lot of my connection is through family heritage with land and trees and ancestors that I love to delve into.  I'm also connected by a history of growing up in the Methodist Church and through hymns and music.  I have very specific memories of standing in the tiny Ethel United Methodist Church on the back left row (!) and listening to him sing.  That is my connection. 

So, there we are, or rather there I am!  Not everyone grieves in the same way or in the same time frame. And sometimes, the people whom you want to connect with in the worst way, are not the ones whom it will be.   I can't make something out of nothing.  I can just be me. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


This is true.
What you believe, you will become.
I have always lived with fear.
Fear in every thought.
And every thought was so small.
Learning to live with HEART and LOVE now.
Slow painstaking process.
Makes all the difference in the world though.


Washing Dishes??

I enjoyed washing the dishes last night.

And the night before.

What has happened to me???   I have HATED washing dishes from the first time I was asked in the late 70's or early 80's.  Most nights, I will leave items in the sink that I can't put in the dishwasher until the next morning. I don't want to deal with it.

I find I never completely finish the project of cleaning the kitchen.  And my husband will attest to that. There are many activities that I don't finish but that is a topic for another day.

But for the last two nights, I noticed it was actually a calming activity.  (Could it be related to the fact that my youngest daughter had major meltdowns during homework on these 2 nights as well?!)  Time will tell.

I was alone in the kitchen, no distractions and I just focused on washing, and rinsing and stacking to dry. It was such a peaceful process.  I took time with each item until I was done.

I remember Oprah talking to Eckhart Tolle about being in the moment and that is just being with whatever you are doing, in that moment. They discussed walking up stairs and while doing so having no other thoughts about anything else.  It takes practice to do this.  No phone, no worrying about the future, no worrying about the present, no frustrations about the past.  Just thinking about each step as you climb.

This mindfulness "stuff" can really change your life.  I had gratitude for washing dishes.

Holy crap. : )


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Update on the Eye Glass Situation

A Follow up: There will be no chain for my eyeglasses...JS

Riley and I looked at some at a department store.
Can't do it.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

I Had to Let The Dust Settle Before I Hit the Publish Button (It's About the Duggars)

I wrote a very long post about the Duggars weeks ago but never published.

It was restrained anger with love.  (Yeah, it was mostly anger.) And I used a refrain of "Praying the Gay Away" with "Praying the Molestation Away."  It was very clever if I do say so myself.

As an LGBT supporter AND Christian, I don't agree with the Duggars' politics, religion and let's not touch the hypocrisy of Michelle Duggar's robocall and any of Josh's words... condemning anybody.

After I had written my blog, I read a very loving and sensitive blog and the author's point was really, really good, but on a comment in response, I went off in a restrained fashion letting loose on how this news pushed every one of my core buttons.  The author's  loving way to address the situation had stopped me in my tracks though and I did not hit publish on my blog.

The Duggar situation hit way too close to home for me.

Between the fundamentalism, and anti-LGBT, that's enough to start.  The facts that the kids have no room to be who they really are,  because the family appears to have all the makings of a cult...allegedly.  Those parents produce children and they are expected to believe exactly as Jim Bob and Michelle.

So you can see where the veiled rant went.

But the most important point here is that me judging them, has my energy focused on the negative.   And I was judging.  I found I had to walk away and not read any more Twitter, watch any more CNN, nor finish the second Megan Kelly interview because it stirred me up and I became obsessive.  This was not positive nor a forward move nor loving.

And the bottom line is I want to put more love out in the world, not judgement, not hate.

I had to let it go.

Though I was very, very interested in the behavioral phenomenon of people, (politicians, preachers)  who come out and preach against something fervently, and yet they actually have the thing that they are preaching against going on within themselves (or their family!)  This is the phenomenon I wanted to know about and hear about.   I think it's called projection.

So here is my new blog about The Duggars.

Jim Bob and Michelle are doing the best job they can.  They love their children.  They love God, I love God and yet we have different rules.  I'm glad I'm not one of their children.   I really, really hope Josh Duggar has not relapsed and molested anyone else.  Molestation is really, really hard to address behaviorally and for the impulse to diminish.  More than likely, Josh was most likely molested himself.  And I'm glad that my family is not on television.

There, that wasn't so bad was it?  It still wasn't as loving as the other blog but it's more than what I wrote the first time.


Listen To Your Intuition Even If You Disappoint Someone Who Came Out Of Your Body

I volunteered to participate in VBS… again.  It's about 10-12 years now.

I didn't want to.   My overriding predominant feeling that was really, really clear to me was that I was done volunteering for VBS.   And it has taken me years to listen to that intuition.  I have written about this topic of VBS before.  There was only one person, maybe two, in my family who wanted me too.

 My eldest daughter said something to the tune of me destroying her life and "you have always volunteered."

I shouldn't do things because other people want me too.  Even the people who came out of my own body.

The dread set in last week.  I have pushed it out of my head all summer but it is upon us.  It starts tomorrow.


This is the opposite of being passionate.

One needs to follow their passion to be fulfilled.

I will put my game face on and do this thing but I'm so biding my time and waiting for this week to be over.  That is now how to live.  I know better than this.  Why do something when you just dread doing it?  There are many other things in life that are necessary that I may not look forward to and need to do. This is not one of them anymore.

Deep Breathing.

I will follow my intuition the next time.

Friday, July 10, 2015

It's Time for Another Thing: Burn Baby Burn

These are all of the medical papers from the journey it took for George and I to get pregnant.

Here they all are: Invoices, Claims, Denied Claims and Explanation of Benefits, from the gynecologist, the reproductive endocrinologist's office, the lab, two hospitals and our insurance provider. And then the prescription papers…

I had them all in a green file folder box neatly ordered with tabs. It was the most organized I've ever been in my life. And I've never been that organized again.  I wanted to be a mother so badly.  

This was a very ugly, hard time for me.  

I've decided it's time to let the papers go.

Twelve years in the making.

The girls and I had a ceremonial burn, while swimming in the pool.  (Mothers are always multi-tasking.) Riley really enjoyed adding each paper in.  There was a symbolism there.  The child that was so hard to conceive was helping me let go of my infertile past.

Mallory helped us flame the fire too but her thoughts turned to smores. We had enough graham crackers for one smore and Brinkley was even able to get in on it.

The papers burned, the ashes piled up.  George asked how it felt.  I really didn't feel that much except the heat of the fire.  I had been holding on to this papers for so long but they really didn't mean anything to me anymore.

How much more am I carrying around that is weighing me down that needs to be burned off?

How much more "stuff" is lying around that needs to be let go of?  I'm so excited to address this issue.   I am delighted to begin working through small areas of my house, one by one.  Who knew I would ever get so excited about cleaning.

The fertility papers are gone and it's time to move on
to whatever else is dragging me down.

Will it somehow lead to more chocolate for Mallory?

Will Brinkley end up getting a bite?

Stay tuned.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Inside Out

I saw Inside Out yesterday afternoon with my girls.  I had really been looking forward to it as the movie is about emotions.   Yes, emotions! The characters names are emotions!! Really.   How much more could this appeal to me?  The central character was an eleven year old named Riley.  


 I laughed, and I felt like I had to cry but couldn't.  I still feel blocked up about that.  I have been studying emotions for the better part of my entire life.  I've always been an observer.  Getting a Masters' degree in Counseling was just the beginning of my formal training.  I'm sure that it began earlier than that, in childhood.  Now, the last 7-8 years I've really been concentrating by using therapy, life occurrences and a passion to understand feelings.  Infertility and postpartum depression blew me away.   I felt so lost and alone.   Therapy helped me to begin to understand what was going on and to heal. 

Along the way, these are the issues that I have delved into head first:  dieting and exercise, eating disorders, compulsions, codependency, spirituality, religion, The Twelve Steps, mindfulness, perfectionism, self-esteem, forgiveness, acceptance, dying, and grief.  One has led into another and my life has opened up beyond measure.

But yet still I hide.  I feel like I hide. 

There are so many thoughts I have and I have spent so much time studying and learning, yet still I think I don't know enough.  I will always be a life long student but I do know some things.  I don't give myself enough credit.  

I am still afraid to tell what I really believe.  

I think one of the reasons that I do, is because I still label myself overweight in my head.  Because I have not attained perfection in my body size that discounts all of the thoughts in my head, my life experience, and the intensive study I have undertaken. 

So I still have low self esteem.  {chuckling}

I don't know what it is. But I feel like breaking out of this.   This coming school year I have less on my plate - less volunteering with things I felt I had to do.  There will still be volunteering just in another capacity - with less planning on my end.  I am currently feeling passionate about the following things: getting my house in order (clearing the way for a cleaner vision), practicing yoga, and planning time with my friends.  

Oh, and running a household and raising two daughters.  One being a teenager very, very soon.

I just can't sit around and wait for the phone to ring.  I have to get off my tuckus and initiate things myself.  

Here goes.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Random Thoughts from an 11 Day Driving Vacation to the Great Southwest

(And it's only Day 6 people…)

Traveling from LA through the massive state of TX, NM, AZ and UT with tiny, tiny bits of OK and CO

*It is very, very strange not to sweat when it's 100 degrees outside and you are walking in the heat with the sun glaring down.  As my husband says about living in South Louisiana, he sweats when he just thinks about walking outside when it's summer.  We are moist ALL the time.  Not just our bodies but also the frequent afternoon rain showers.

*My husband is a doer - go go go. There is a reason he made it through medical school and five years of a surgical residency which is one of the most demanding specialties.  He seems to like going and doing all the time.   Yet his wife and his two tween daughters do not want to go to EVERY stop in the 28 mile driving tour of the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert in 100 degree temperatures at 2:00pm when we haven't had lunch and I'm worried that we are running out of water and I'm not sweating.  And it's dry, dry, dry and hot. Our desire to see that last petrified log even though it is 6 feet in diameter and possibly a million years old dissipated an hour and a half ago. That became a boundary for me and I have to get over disappointing him.  It's hard to disappoint a loved one.  There are many books written on that one.

*I am a few short months from having a full fledged teenager in the house.  This summer she has done something this early rising family has never seen the likes of.  She sleeps until 10am or later!  Making her wake up at 5:30am to hike into the Grand Canyon, does not go over well even when she knew it was going to happen.  I expected complaining for at least an hour after she woke up.  My husband did not.  Which takes me to my next point...

*Vacations do not go smoothly all the time.  There are ugly moments or hours.  This is to be expected.  Vacations were not the norm when I was younger as my parents were not traveling people.  So, I had this idealized concept of vacations. They were wonderful and beautiful and fantastical all the time.


*My skin is very dry now.  My hands are scaly white.  I need to put more lotion on than I normally do which is excessive.

*I'm not a backpack girl.  I tried to start using a hiking one and I failed.  The first casualty was my reading sunglasses.  Too many compartments…  I am a purse girl.

*My family now knows just how obsessed I am with keeping our phones, iPad,  and laptops charged.  I admit I do not like my devices to run low at all.  Forty nine percent power begins to put me on edge.  Below thirty is just plan dangerous.  Below that is playing with FIRE!  I don't now why this is?  I think it goes back to being in hurricanes and tropical storms and losing power.  It is who I am.

*Letting go of wearing makeup and "fixing" my hair is so utterly freeing.

*The State of Arizona does not participate in Daylight Savings Time.  Confused, much? It sounds like everybody gets confused. Our bodies and devices were.  A few nights we were out cold by 8:30 pm.

*I learned a lot about the symbols for cell coverage on my phone.  E is not good.  It hangs up on the person you are talking to.

*We do not have unlimited data on our phones and iPads.  We ran out of data at least four times with 52 notifications that we were doing so on each of the devices it is used on and we would be paying another $15 for a GB of data and we burned through that.

*I am now back home.  Vacations are wonderful with the good, bad and ugly of it all.  We saw some spectacular sights and now, I am happy to be home once again.  And to say the least, Riley is happy to be back home.  She never, ever wanted to leave. She smiled once or twice while we were gone, but mostly to take pictures.


This Is Life

This is my Living Room.  All of Riley's bedroom furniture has been moved in there to accommodate painting her room.  It is a mess. The Living Room is my dedicated pretty room.  No one really goes in there so it stays neat. The furniture is clean, free of pet hair for the most part and the one room, I can walk through and think, ah, I don't have anything I have to do in here.
Riley has been waiting very patiently for us to start painting.  We picked the color months ago.  So those test spots have been there for months.  George told her weeks ago, that the Fourth of July would be THE weekend to paint.

So she and George went to a store and got the paint.  Moved everything out, taped, and covered the carpet.  And on July 4th, opened the paint can, stirred and it's the wrong color.  The store was closed for the entire weekend.  So although all engines were full steam ahead, now the process is shut down and we must sit and wait.
And my pretty room will stay an utter mess until this is completed.

I walked through the room and thought isn't this what life is all about! 

There is an obstacle whether it be a person, a situation or as I have come to learn, my own thought processes that stand in my way and they are not going anywhere until I learn to accept them for who or what they are.  The situation is not going to change and I'm going to have to LIVE WITH IT.

The big monstrosity will stay there until I accept it.  I have learned to walk away from certain people and situations and learn to live with some others through acceptance and it's a process. The very first step is awareness.  And then there's anger, denial, frustration, fear, sadness, grief,  etc.  This is not the way I wanted it to be AT ALL.   Yet slowly over time with attention and loving attention, the way you think about the monster will change. Living with what is uncomfortable will not be as uncomfortable as it used to be.  The pain will reside and acceptance seeps in.

We are bringing the paint back to get it corrected today.  And we will start the process over.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Deep Stuff That You May or May Not Be Interested In, But Rocks My World

"If you respect your own emotions and regard them with affection and a lack of judgment, and if you persist in allowing yourself to feel those emotions and to let them move ever deeper, you shall find that the gift begins to bear fruit as you feel yourself becoming more spacious within, more responsive to the deeper emotions. You will find that you are an alchemist turning disharmony into harmony, fear into love, darkness into light. It is a natural process and it begins with the disharmony, with the darkness. Such are the ways of spirit.
And that is why we say that things are perfect at all times, although they may be uncomfortable. Do not cringe away from your suffering, but rather cradle yourself as you endure through the natural process of the alchemy of the transforming energy, of the love in your open heart."

From "The Law of One" Books.
Never heard of them but this was a quote I saw and 

From someone who is learning to process every feeling that comes my way - this is so absolutely true.  From fear to love.  From the unbearableness and freaking uncomfortableness of it all to open heart. From dark to light. 


Monday, June 8, 2015

It seems, it's time…and what is cool anyway?

I have been wearing readers for a couple of years now. And the necessity of them has increased over those years.  Everything is blurry now, even my food. (sad face) I had to make the move to sunglasses with readers as well. And how many times do I try to see my iPhone while outside?  All the freakin' time!!   I guess if I gave up Facebook that would help.  But I still need to see to take picture and read texts, and email and see maps.  Everything on that tiny little phone screen.  I cannot zoom in any larger and see only three words per screen.

Going from indoors to outdoors all the time especially when traveling which we just did, I had to switch back and forth between my eyeglasses ($$$$) and my sunglasses ($$).  It's a constant joy to keep up with both pairs.   Sometimes I have the sunglasses in my hair with the glasses on my eyes.  Most times I end up with the eyeglasses stuck in the top of my shirt.  This is very dangerous activity.  I lost my first pair of prescription readers doing so but thankfully I had owned them for a few years and they were pretty scratched up at the time or at least that's what I told myself.

But where do I put them??

And then it hit me. It's time.

It's disturbing but I don't think I care anymore about my image…

I may have to get…

A chain.

This is what I picture from back in the day.  An older lady with grey hair and an eye glass chain? cord? I don't even know what you call it.  And it looks like she has a bun.  I wear my hair twisted on top of my head too… {look of cringe}

But these days - this is what the ad looks like.

I'm going to start a trend.

If you act like it's cool.  It will be.

And what is cool anyway?  My forties have been reinventing what cool is anyway.  Cool is what makes me happy.  Cool is what puts me at peace.

Because the forties are about not worrying what other people think.

Though some things are so deeply ingrained.  In my own thought processes, trying not to factor in other people, buying a cord for my glasses is ancient.  Really, really ancient.

But if my stomach is not turning over in nervousness at the things I do, there is no growth.  I'm just so tired of keeping up with the glasses.  And I don't want to lose any more glasses.

It's time.


And then there's this little nugget.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Why Does Crying Get Such A Bad Rap?

I had a big ugly cry yesterday morning, actually several of them, and it is uncomfortable for me to let that much emotion flow through. It's getting easier as I am learning to not stuff my emotions. The catalyst was bringing Mallory, my beloved nine year old muse, to the chartered bus to ride 7 hours away to her first overnight camp for 6 nights. I have never doubted she will have a blast when she decided she wanted to go and I put it out my mind.  BUT IT CAME BACK.

I was a little taken aback when the uncomfortableness popped up two days before we were to bring her to catch the bus on Sunday morning.  The night before I had an intuition that I might need to stay at home from church and let George and Riley go on their own.  But I got dressed to go and read the chapter I needed to read for my class and off we went.  But after hugging that precious girl (who had told me she was nervouscited herself) and watching her walk off and get on the big chartered bus, I lost it.

I had big sunglasses on but the tears were rolling down my cheeks. I tired to wipe them away so no one would see them.

In hindsight, I really, really needed that release.  We drove off to church in silence except that I explained that I would come back and pick them up.

The funky thing is trying to hide the emotion from those other parents in the parking lot or in my own car.   I did tell George and Riley that I needed to grieve her and some other things.   I NEEDED to let this out.  I really, really needed this release.

Sometimes the catalyst that tips you over really isn't the entire reason why the tears come.  And I don't need to analyze why, I just need to let it flow.  Be kind to myself and embrace the tears or whatever emotion it is.  No judging that I'm a wussy, or that I'm crazy, or that I feel too much.

 How many times have I heard someone say in real life or on tv, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry?")

Why does crying get such a bad rap?

I cried off and on all morning.  And I still have to tell myself it's okay to do so when I don't see others doing the same thing.  In the back of my mind,  I still judge myself a little for not keeping it together.  My husband is not going to feel the same as I do.  The other moms are not going to feel exactly as I do.  {codependency no more!} Learning to own my own story and allowing that story to be just as it is, has been a big hurdle.

While the tears were flowing, I know I was also grieving other things.  My engagement ring is missing (appears to be stolen) and my Dad's estate is being settled and I've been involved with the legal paperwork.   Dad is reaching from beyond his death to love in his own way.

I did have headaches in the afternoon and evening and this morning but that is O-K too.  It feels like such a relief to let all of that blocked energy flow.  I have low energy this morning and I need to nurture myself.  There is always something that needs to be done and I will do what I absolutely have to and then rest or wait to see what happens, I may be surprised.

I'm learning to roll with the flow whatever that is and be kind to myself while this is happening.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Summer Reading Time Again

This is how we roll in our house. It is not yet June and the girls and I are all signed up for Summer Reading at the library.  Riley registered in the Teen section for the first time.

I love books.  I fell out of love with reading after I finished grad school. I didn't want to HAVE to read anything ever again.  Slowly but surely the love has come back.  My children have it. We read every night when they were little and my nine year old has been asking me to read to her again.

I have never had any difficulty with them reading for AR points at school.  They flourish.  And this year, I plan to turn my form in on time, to get my goodie bag.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Didn't Remember That I Loved This Mama Cass Song!

Last night was the season finale of The Middle, a hilarious family comedy.  Sue Heck graduated from high school!!  Sue is the middle child who never gives up and always has a smile on her face.   She tried out for everything and didn't make anything.  She created her own cheerleading squad for the wrestlers with a band of misfits. Kids at school didn't know who she was even after four years of high school.   I got teary eyed watching her montage.  They played this Mama Cass song which I have not heard in a long, long time.  I had really forgotten about the song.

But I knew every word.

Why did I start to cry at the end of the montage?  I went around with a smile on my face all the time like Sue.  I don't know if I had perseverance (?) but I'm learning to be like Sue now!  You have to follow your own pathway, especially if the normal or regular one doesn't work for you.

So now I'm making my own way and sometimes it is very lonely.  I don't fit in with a crowd.  Whatever a crowd is anymore?  There are things that I just don't care about anymore.  But it's come to my attention that I must do it my way.  That is the only thing that lets my soul sing.  And once your soul has sung, you can't go back.  You can't do what doesn't work anymore,

Here's to the year of Sue and Making it your own way however and whatever that is!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I Love Yoga, I Resist Yoga, I Love Yoga, I Resist Yoga

Big aha today.

I attend yoga classes, but I usually don't decide to go until thirty minutes or an hour before the class starts.  I procrastinate, big time.  Yet EVERY time I go, I am filled with utter thankfulness that I practiced once again.  I feel strong, centered, calm, clear headed and if it's the advanced class, my body feels like jello, in a good way.  And every time I go, I think why don't I do this every day.

I thought the reason I resisted was because I look at yoga as exercise and that's a dirty word.  I have spent the last years letting go of the diet mentality and diet is a dirty word. Diets don't work and my goal is to learn to listen to my body, and what it is telling me it needs as fuel.  (And healing my soul along the way!) And my body will tell me what it needs.   My therapist said that when you let go of dieting, exercise can go through an overhaul in the thought department too.  I now refer to exercise as movement, because it is more user friendly for me.  And I hear my body calling me to move quite often.

So here's the aha.  While discussing the topic, my good friend asked why do I not see yoga as something good for my body?  She thinks of it like massage.  And I thought, "Well maybe I need to reframe that."  I'm all for reframing my thoughts. Yet, I kept talking trying to explain myself to her.  And as I kept talking, it finally dawned on me why I resist yoga.

Yoga is like therapy.

And therapy is not easy.  It's requires bravery, vulnerability, and experiencing the pain of events that occurred long ago that come up, and yet in the end, even though you're limping, you are so grateful you showed up for it.

The limp does go away.

I go to the yoga mat, and it's quiet. There's nothing in the way.  It's just you, the instructor and your body and your thoughts via your higher power. (And a roomful of people that you learn to ignore because this isn't a competition.)  Your body carries residual emotions from times gone by.  These are things that you unconsciously shoved down because they were too much to experience at the time.   Dr. Christiane Northrup told Oprah in an interview that:  "shame produces small amounts of an inflammatory chemical called IL6 that lodges in your body and lives in the fascia - the connective tissue. The fascia holds our belief system into place so when you do yoga or massage (something with resistance flexibility) you are releasing that (inflammation) - you are getting new life in the connective tissues."

And isn't inflammation the building block of diseases?

Dr. Northrup goes further: "That is why we have to use our bodies and be with our bodies. Goddesses grieve and rage and move on….You have to feel to heal."

(And yes, Dr. Northrup's new book is "Goddesses Never Age."  Haven't read it but just this snippet is enough to enlighten me for now).

The first time I felt the need to cry in yoga, I had no idea what was going on. This was exercise, you don't cry in exercise?  I wrote about this topic on December 8, 2009, "A Few Tears on the Yoga Mat."  In reading that blog from nearly six years ago I understood this notion of toxicity in our bodies and working it out AND that therapy and yoga were very similar.  Evidently, I needed to revisit this on a deeper level now that I've practice more yoga and more therapy!

I need to reframe yoga.  I have to move away from calling it exercise, although my body benefits.   It is using the body and baring one's self and being quiet and letting all that is lodged and stuck come up.  I need to let myself know, there is no shame in having tears on the yoga mat.  It is in fact the toxic shame coming up which I very much want to release.

(And thankfully it's dark at the end for shavasana anyway, which is when the tears tend to roll.) Not going to worry about what other people think.  This practice is for me.

I'm  so glad that this aha came around to me again.  We will revisit this again in 2021!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Unceasing Judging of Ourselves and Making It Stop!

I recently volunteered to serve at a Mother's Tea for second grade at school.  I have attended two of these teas on the receiving end and it is a sweet, sweet event.  By the time I got there... I was very happy to serve.  (You know the party that you don't want to go to, but in the end you have a great time!)  Several moms and teachers thanked those of us who served. As we were walking to our cars, a Facebook acquaintance said something to the effect that she sees me volunteering a lot.  And in my head I immediately downplayed anything that she might have noticed that I have done, and thought, it wasn't really that much.

And then I remembered she is a single mom who is busting it, to try to spend quality time with her kids around working and providing.  And she is judging herself for not being able to volunteer more or be with her kids more.  And I'm judging myself saying that I don't volunteer enough, I should do more (and... that it doesn't look perfect enough.)

Now, I am speaking as a woman and a mom, why are we so hard on ourselves?  But yet further, it really doesn't matter why- because I just want to stop the judgement!

In that moment after I questioned the veracity of this friend's statement,  I decided, LET ME TAKE IT IN!!  (Huge moment!)   I glowed in it for a few seconds. I acknowledged to myself,  I do a lot with my kids, volunteer and otherwise.  (And this friend does too!)  And volunteering has been on my mind a lot lately.

Our conversation them morphed into a heart to heart about God providing what we needed, but not necessarily looking exactly like what we were praying for.   Wet stuff started coming out of my eyes because I have found this to be so true and this was a Holy Spirit moment (or the universe rising up to meet you whatever works for you!)  I'm so glad that I didn't fight her acknowledgment and I allowed it to soak in and our conversation went on.

For some reason, as women, we get a message that we are never enough: we don't look perfect or thin enough, we could be better mothers, spouses, daughters, friends, our houses need updating and are never clean enough, etc. etc.  There are endless ways we can criticize ourselves.  And that self- criticism seems to go hand in had with criticizing those around us.  Letting all of the judgement go is so freeing.

I have been learning to let the "oh so critical" thoughts go, baby step by baby step.  When a negative thought pops in my head, I first have to recognize it for what it is - fear.  All things boil down to fear or love.  And I'm all for love now baby! And this is critical - we can't change what we don't see.


Until I mastered awareness, I couldn't even begin to dismiss it.  For example, I use to simmer for hours in thoughts that I'm not thin. ( I'm not even going to use the F word.)  But slowly, oh so slowly over time, I dismiss most thoughts within seconds.  And building this new belief system, the negative thoughts don't pop in my head nearly as much.

Yet there will be times, that something will occur (a trip to doctor's office and the official news that I have gained a few pounds) and that can set me back, but eventually I will get back to I am not my weight.   Or my other favorite: All will be well, even if it's not.

This takes a lot of practice. Intentionality. Over and over and over again.  The  negative thoughts took years to put into place.  It takes time to reprogram that voice to be loving.

I am very thankful for those words shared by this friend to me.  It is amazing what one simple statement did to my awareness!  I didn't know I needed to hear that.


Friday, May 1, 2015

My Last Blog Condensed To 2 Sentences…

Wow - This was in my Facebook feed this afternoon.  This is exactly what that last blog was about.
But put succinctly in two sentences!

How I Relate To Bruce Jenner

(This was written prior to Caitlyn's unveiling yesterday - so Bruce is still referred to as a he.)

A few weeks back, I came home from a wedding and sat on the edge of my bed watching the recording of Diane Sawyer's interview with Bruce Jenner earlier that evening.  I was mesmerized.  It was so well done.  Bruce was finally able to tell his truth without interruption and with compassion and a little education added in from Diane.

I've watched him on the Kardashians.  I was done with it until Bruce began emerging in his truth.   I was interested in him (I remembered him as the Olympic champion - hubba, hubba) but as I watched him through a few seasons, he was not who I thought he would be.  He was much more passive but also seemingly sensitive, kind and loving.  He was the sane one.

He told his story to Diane so fluidly as obviously it was sixty-five years in the making.  That is a long, long time to wait to speak your truth.  On a different level than gender identity, I identify where he is coming from in terms of being true to one's self.   For me, it's about staking my place as a left leaning Christian living in a Bible Belt South Louisiana.  I grew up surrounded by guns, camouflage, LSU Football, attending church revivals, and nary an examination of feelings anywhere.  And later on, my dad had either Fox News, football, or a Western blaring in the background. None of it sat well with me.

I can tell you what I'm passionate about.  I LIVE to examine who I am and my thought processes!  It makes me giddy. That is when I feel closest to God because when I am quiet and let all of the other thoughts and distractions go, that is when I am able to recognize the eternal loving presence always INSIDE of me.

And Jesus is the biggest consciousness person out there.  Be still and know that I am God…from Psalms. He was all about renewing the mind. And renewing the mind is about working on your thought processes.

So I don't identify with things that are really celebrated around me yet I am absolutely passionate about my consciousness journey.  And it has taken me to my forty-sixth year of life to really own it.  It's been done in baby steps.  I did touch upon it in May 2009, entitled "Uncomfortable Religious Moments."  It was very truthful for me to write it yet I worried about acceptance from those around me (even though I told no one and just posted it to the world wide web!! LOL)   Over time it has sunk in that I can't worry about those around me, I have to be true to my own soul.  And that's how I identify with Bruce and wish the best for him.  It is going to be strange to see him as a woman, but the strange factor is overtaken and overruled by knowing I have to be who I am and allow those around me to be who they are.

So on a certain level, I understand what Bruce has been communicating ever since the Diane Sawyer interview.   For me living in a really Red state where Governor Bobby Jindal is issuing executive orders against LGBT, LSU Football reigns  and Duck Dynasty is celebrated, this does not sit well with my soul.  Until the last decade or so, I didn't even examine who I was enough to know where I stood because I was so fearful.  I went along with the crowd because I was too scared and it feels very isolating and lonely to step out on my own.

But it is not for me to go with the flow anymore.

If you are not aligned with your soul, the world is a pretty miserable place to live in.

And when you allow yourself to be who you are, as hard as that is, the universe rises up to meet you and you eventually find your tribe and it feels so right and LOVING with your soul and God.  I know, this is where I am supposed to be.


P.S. I used a lot of black and white language (right and left)  in this blog to get my point across.  The media paints the picture of right wing, left wing, red state, and blue state.  I don't think people fit in these categories as neatly as I used in the examples. And I don't think we are as divided as it appears or feels.  At some point, I had a big aha that my higher power was the same God that others believed in.  We just have different rules and language which seem to create a big divide. Well, and the fact that they think I'm going to hell doesn't bother me anymore.  {grin}

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lessons learned from Easter Break Trip 2015

The girls and I took a last minute trip to the beach  in Orange Beach, AL for two nights.  It was originally to have been an extended family girls' trip but it fell apart.  I really had my heart set on it, so after  2 days of deliberation we decided to go on our own and out of my comfort zone.  For some reason, I have to break out and learn to do fun things that involve leaving the city that I live in.  There is an alarm that goes off if I try to leave the perimeter!  But off we went!  Yes!

Here are the things I learned:
~Weather forecasts can be wrong.  I almost didn't go because the rain forecast was 70-90 percent for the 2nd and 3rd days we would be there and it didn't rain at all.  It was overcast but I LOVED that!
~My eldest does not like the beach at all, let me repeat…she doesn't like the beach at all.
~My youngest loves the beach and the waves and boogey boarding.  She is attracted to the water immensely and can't walk to the beach without getting in immediately.
~We don't have to eat out at restaurants  and spend $$ all the time.  The girls were happy to buy Lean Cuisines and eat in at the hotel room.  Thank you Hampton Inn fridge and microwave.
~Two nights were sufficient and gloriously refreshing even for driving four hours and fifteen minutes each way by myself.  (Can't wait until Riley can drive…did I really say that??)
~The application of Jergens Natural Glow Medium to Tan Skin Tone is evidently too dark for me.  My hands, feet and elbows were orange after the second night of application.  I had never had this happen before, and I never knew any tanning ever took place.
~I forgot my makeup and it was so freeing.  Not one, "oh no."   I did have my tinted moisturizer with SPF and it's the best.
~On the beach, not really being able to read while looking up every 45 seconds to make sure Mallory is above water, I use the time to examine my moles, age spots to make sure nothing looks askew. There are a lot of moles, and light and dark age spots to keep me busy for hours.
~I could not wait to see the waves and put my feet in the sand and hear the waves.  It did not disappoint. The weather was overcast and not too hot and the breeze was fantastic.
~The lesson was learned that I can leave my house and drive outside of the perimeter, have fun and relax with the two girls by myself.  I'll call it baby steps to "How To Have Fun 101!"

Monday, April 6, 2015

Friday, March 27, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Another Way To Be

I have been transitioning to a new thought process.  It's been a big freaking fundamental change for me.  I know I've written about it before and the longer I practice it sets in more deeply and I think - Wow - this is the bomb!  (I really can't let go of the 80's…)   I keep chipping away and extinguishing the negative self-talk and thoughts bit by bit.  You know the running commentary that goes on in your head while you are awake. The thoughts I have been working towards are definitely so much brighter than those that went through my head during the first forty years of my life.  These two mantras help.

Here goes:

Everything is going to be alright.

All will be well, even if it's not.

These are simple phrases. But over the last six years, I have been leaning in to them and learning to live in that way.  It's not a simple process to do.  It requires a lot of intentionality each day, sometimes hourly and some days the work is done minute to minute.  It required digging into all my old baggage and wounds that I carried.  We all carry some.    This is where a therapist comes in handy especially depending on the level of the wounding.   I remember a 2-3 month period where I really felt unloved and just had to hold on for dear life.  But slowly the tide changed, and I began accepting things bit by bit over time, left and right about people in my life and especially about me.  I learned that some people just love poorly.

Now, when an event, feeling or energy comes that I find uncomfortable or unwanted or unliked.  I don't fight it, I sit with it and watch it go.  Being curious instead of resistant allows it to flow through.  And I learned something very, very, very important and very, very, very necessary.  Boundaries.  Don't leave home without them.  Don't be without them. Period.

It means also, that I feel my feelings all day long.  And they come and go and I am less fearful of them.  I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I cry and am joyful much more easily and I numb myself less.  (Our society numbs itself in so many ways - the list is endless)

And I live in the moment much more than I ever did.  It's a good and beautiful thing to live in the moment because not only do you experience the unpleasant but the joyful, fun ones too.  Some days, as corny as it sounds, hearing birds tweet is a beautiful thing.  It pushes me to gratitude.  And gratitude is a far more wonderful place to dwell than victimhood.

It is a work in progress and will be for the rest of my life.  Wounds still come up and they always will. But this is a much preferred way to live.


I did not realize how much anxiety I lived with on a daily basis.  And until I began to free myself, did I know there was another way to be.


Friday, March 13, 2015

My Induction Into The Tribe

My daughters are growing up.  Yes, they tend to do that.  Sometimes they seem to undergo metamorphosis overnight.

My oldest daughter is staying up later and now comes to my bedroom to say goodnight. This is the opposite of the well ingrained last twelve years of me "putting her to bed." This past week, I have watched when she turns to walk out my bedroom.  She is almost as tall as me now and her body is long and lean but with curves.   She now has a teenager's figure.

How did that happen?

She now takes much longer in the bathroom getting ready.  She has been voluntarily taking showers for months with no reminder from me.  On and on, there have been subtle little changes.

And everything beyond teenage body changes is going on too:  attitude, distancing,  independence, deafening silence, or one word answers and what in our house, we call caving. (Caving: going into a space to be alone)   I deeply understand the need to be by myself after I have been with others for periods of time.  And I can especially see that after a long day of middle school.  But for brief moments in time, I painfully miss the little girl who use to cry loud and long for me when I dropped her off at the nursery.

And sometimes, I'm happy for the reprieve.

It's a transition for sure.  Mothering is the transition from this little baby who looked at me for every single thing she  needed to now, her slowly learning how to do for herself and me backing off.  And this will continue throughout the upcoming years.   It's a wonderful, positive growth but one that I need to batten down the hatches for.  As the sales woman in a clothing store with two grown daughters gave me the sign of the cross over having a tween, it was an induction into the tribe.

The tribe of a mom with a teenage girl.  Well, almost.  I've got 7 months officially.

I've been told to give it a few years, and they will one day walk back in as they had previously been (nice temperament), like nothing ever happened.

This morning as I was working Middle School Carpool, and a daughter stomped off ignoring what her mother was asking, I walked to the mom's open car window and gave her the sign of the cross.  She said, "You have no idea."

 I told her that I did understand nodding my head, "I have a twelve year old."

Monday, March 2, 2015

Thirteen Year Old Pee Sticks

While trying to find something under the bathroom sink…found these.  I knew they were there. The memories of infertility do not go away.  They are pregnancy tests with ten and thirteen year old urine on them.  (Yes, pretty gross!)

And yet, I still can't let them go.

I did throw away three of them and kept just one from '02 and one from '05.  These sticks represent two years of trying to get pregnant.   I peed on a lot of sticks waiting for lines to appear that never did.  I waited and waited.   I even peed on ovulation sticks that would not turn positive.

These sticks were so disappointing on so many levels.

They never worked for me.

And that was the problem.  I didn't ovulate.  So I went through a lot of treatment to work to make my body ovulate.  I have indentations in the creases of my arms from all the blood draws.  It was a tumultuous time.  There was a lot of emotional upheaval.  There was a lot of grief for the loss of what wasn't occurring. And that was hard for me and for other people to understand.
I was not an easy person to live with.  Poor George would walk through the door to see what state I was in.  If I was laying on the couch, not good.  If I was upright, then it was better.

Will I ever be able to let them go?  I don't know. Still not ready yet.  I haven't gotten rid of the insurance or prescription paperwork from the same time either.

Maybe one day.

A Little Planned Screaming Is A Good Thing, Right?

I have been on Girl Scout cookie overload for the last week.  As the cookie mom and co-leader, 1200 boxes of cookies were ordered and disseminated a weekend ago and this most recent weekend, we had two cookie booths selling out each day.  It was fun but tiring and there was a little pressure to want it to go smoothly, etc.

On the way to the first booth, I was a little tense and frustrated getting it all together and running late, and that never helps.  So I announced to the girls, that I needed to have a little scream.  It's been a long while since I've done this.  I want them to understand that it's okay to get frustrated and yet, figure out how to handle it without taking it out on other people.  I want them to know it's okay to feel all feelings, that is so NORMAL and try to allow the feelings through but without harming others, or harming the house.  (You know what I have learned up close and personal the last 6 years)

So I counted and then screamed for a long time.  It felt so good.  I have learned not to do it too hard because I can strain something in there that makes things more painful but it was a good release and I hope, a good example.

Then on to this Monday morning, Mallory realized she had forgotten some things regarding school and she complained about how the cookie booths had taken up our whole weekend.  I had to pivot really hard here, because twice I had asked her about her school assignments for the weekend during the weekend, but she was too involved in game playing to plug in.  Yet, I have to cut her some slack, she is only nine.   So I told her, empathizing with her that yes, the booths took up a lot of time and I too was frustrated this morning at what I did not get done.  At some point, she threw her binder down and started kicking it.  I said, with no judgement, just empathy, we can't kick the binder.  We have to find another way to get our frustration out.

And then Riley piped up and said, there will be no screaming in the car.  LOL  Evidently it is a little unnerving for her to hear me scream even though I announce it and laugh about it before and after.

But this is what I'm so excited about - I'm so ecstatic that we have these kinds of conversations.  It is now open for us to talk about how to handle our feelings.  What is the best way to allow them through?  I have learned so much but it has been hard for me to speak up and share these truths with my children. The inability to voice my thoughts is still difficult, but…this area is breaking wide open.

It felt like such a solid moment.

So freaking happy to have this moments.