See ya 2013

ImageI’m really excited to say goodbye to 2013. This past week I started to write 3 blogs that all bored the hell out of me so I deleted them. I’m bored with this year and ready for the new year to present a chance for new beginnings.

Recently, I’ve been reading about life running on 7 and 12 year cycles. I’ve read about 12 year cycles coinciding with astrological time lines, (which is eerily true for me) but far to in depth to write about here. I also read about 7 year cycles, starting at birth. I attached an interesting article below so you can look where you are on your supposed cycle. Cool article!

The premise is- over a period of 7 years, every cell in your body is replaced at least once. So at least every 7 years you are a different person on a cellular level. The article goes on to describe life themes; emotional, spiritual, intellectual etc. that are typical for age groups, broken down into 7 year periods.

I have been feeling like I was at a place of endings and beginnings and this article really put that feeling into words for me. So, I am wrapping up the 28-35 cycle. This age group takes stock of themselves and figures out what they actually like..etc. I definitely think I’ve spent just about the past 7 years doing exactly this. Perhaps my feeling of impending new beginnings is real. I’m not done being 35 yet, but I feel something coming to a close. Lots of transitions, particularly in parenting and owning my personal life views. With parenting, I’m exiting the Mom of little kids phase. Life is speeding up again. Less waiting around for little kid stuff. I never was great at that anyhow..soo slow mo. In terms of owning personal life views, I’ve really come to accept that everything I do is my choice. I create my whole story. Neither my past or my current circumstances dictate my ability to choose for myself.

So, I started looking at the information on my next apparent 7 year cycle for some inspiration while I came up with my New Years Goals. 35-42 is supposedly marked with inner restlessness and an unfolding of self. I made my goals with this in mind. I’m going to put them down here for accountability.

1. I have to take steps to get my body strong and healthy.

-exercise-sigh!

-drink more water and less beer- sigh!

-Be more mindful with diet-sigh!

I’m going to quit referring to health stuff as a boring nuisance. My lack of health has caught up with me this year. My body is waging war with me, giving me all kinds of problems. It sucks, I’m relenting. 

2. I’m going to get back to taking classes. Not sure what yet, but my brain needs it. I miss studying and I enjoy having school in common with the kids.

3. Spend lots of 1 on 1 time with the kids. Holy Crap, Luke is leaving here in about 6 years. We’ve got a lot to talk about and learn before they fly the coop & Dave says they have to go… lol

4. I want to continue embracing creativity. Creativity, Art, Music…We didn’t do this stuff when I was a kid. That’s fine, but I’m loving these beautiful things these days. More Beauty and Art.

5. Take the time to read about and enjoy the subjects I love. Psychology, spirituality, relationships, learning about people, oh and anything funny that makes me laugh. I know that last one is out of place in the list, but I love humor.  I’m going to make more time for these things I enjoy.

6. Finally, I’m pruning! I’m being more intentional. I am spending my time and energy on the people and things I enjoy. I’m getting selfish. If it doesn’t enhance, it’s getting cut. I think I’m actually done with the lingering compliant big sisterly role.

So, If you would like, read the article on life cycles below and share what you relate with about change, resolutions or whatever. I love hearing!

http://dreamhawk.com/body-and-mind/every-seven-years-you-change/

A Letter to my kids regarding the season

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This holiday season has been overwhelming and crowded. Despite trying to keep it decluttered, the meaning escapes us. Perhaps, trying  hard, is yet another block.. Hopefully we’re getting better, but just need more practice. 

I’m desperately wanting to get some message to my kids, but I’m still learning myself, so I decided to take to writing them a Christmas letter. One day, hopefully, they will at least look back and see what I wanted so badly to express to them, whether it sounds wise and mature or not. Maybe they will see my heartfelt intentions, because my impulse is strong and I feel responsible for at least trying.

Dear Luke, Sydney and Jack (my perfect gifts from God),
Merry, Merry Christmas! You are each a perfect gift to me and Daddy. Sometimes I  get distracted and I forget to show you. I’m sorry, I too am learning and growing. We all have to be patient. You may have noticed that you got less gifts this year. Don’t worry, I tried really hard to make sure I didn’t repeat past years and buy too much stuff. I didn’t do this because you were on the naughty list. I decided that you deserved more. You deserve more than plastic and electronics. You deserve love, tons of love.. and you deserve parents who can control themselves enough to show you what is really important in life. I wanted to return this favor to you, because you remind me daily what is important in life.

When you were born you came to this Earth with nothing and you were God’s perfect creation. We tried to figure out how to take care of you the best we could and we made a lot of mistakes, but you always trusted us. Thank you for being patient. You let us know, as babies, when you needed something; food, diaper change, cuddles or just someone to play. That’s pretty much all you wanted. You were really simple and so perfect. We lived in slow motion then, and it was good!

Time got away from us and we forgot some of these things. We need to get back to these simple times, except the diapers. wink. We need to be little and simple. We need to want less and be happy with what we have. We got sidetracked with the world; the material needs & schedules..the to do list. The world can spoil us. I think we have everything we need here…free!..like when we were babies.

So, when you’re let down receiving less “stuff” this Christmas..remember we have each other. We have bigger, better stuff. We have stuff that lasts into eternity.. the love of a family, memories, history, friends.We are the luckiest people in the world because we have this! Not everyone gets these gifts. I love our story and I love that you are my precious gifts forever. I didn’t do anything to deserve you’re beautiful faces. I just got so lucky.  Our life together is so much more than anything on a Christmas list. We are a family filled with love! What more do we need? We have it all!

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder

 

 

Parched Soul


Today’s readings from church are resonating deeply. Isaiah 35 1-10 copied below..
I can always tell when I’m getting closer to embracing a lesson or changing because once I quiet down and open myself up the Bible speaks so clearly and intimately to me. It’s truly life-giving, and the words are alive. It amazes me how the words can at once seem foreign, vague and unrelatable, and then later spring to life serving up incredible soul food.
I started teaching CCD on Sunday mornings 3 years ago. I teach about The Old Testament to 6th graders, Luke’s grade. It is one of my favorite activities & they get into it because the Old Testament is exciting and dramatic. It is so fun to teach to this age group. & these kids are incredibly intelligent and spiritual. They really pull meaning from the stories and relate it to their lives.. The OT is full of family stories and lots of sibling rivalry.. They eat it up! But the thing I love most about the kids is that they’re so confident that they are loved. They have no issue saying God loves them, and there’s no shame attached.
I love the imagery and symbolism from Isaiah below. I know what it is to be spiritually parched. The wilderness mentioned below is a lonely place I’m familiar with and it can be found within the walls of my home and in my heart. And the flower not blossoming…I want to burst into bloom.
Although the verses could be simplified into a poetic talk on nature..I believe it is a message directed to each of our souls. It’s a beautiful love note. And this love is beyond any love here on Earth…its a divine love offered to everyone, unconditionally, 100% of the time.
Many times I read the Bible and the words escape me. I don’t care about them or my mind is so preoccupied with ME that I don’t stop and answer that gentle call back to my maker. I choose to do it my way rather than bask in that perfectly warm love. Why would I minimize this love that is always available to me? I’m convinced it’s because I am selfish. We’re all selfish, and we block ourselves… I worry, I obsess, I procrastinate,I take matters into my hands..(and I do believe these actions are self-important and small-minded, but mostly lacking trust in God) Today, I’m saying, Stop! to myself. I’m putting my way aside and accepting this invitation to come to him bravely and trust that this love is real and meant for me. The kind of trust my kids have in knowing that I love them and would gladly lay down my life for them. I’m going to rest in this AMAZING Fatherly Love that is so rejuvenating and freeing and peaceful. I’m going to accept this Love that’s offered to me at no charge. I hope you do the same..

Isaiah 35:1-10 NIV
The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness.
The unclean will not journey on it;
it will be for those who walk in that Way;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
nor will any ferocious beast get up on it;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
and the ransomed of the Lord will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Im going to make the worst Christmas ever..and reset this wasteful way of life!

Today the kids are home for a teacher workday. We have pretty much wandered through the day aimlessly. To much Minecraft!.. Jack just came to me beaming with excitement and said, “The new Minecraft update is epic. Now I can get two cows to fall in love and breed another little baby cow. Just find one cow, 2 pieces of wheat, and click on another cow. Hold down on both cows and then hearts come out and they’re in love and have a baby cow. It’s marriage.”   Ha, that simple. I’m wondering how the wheat contributed to this amazing event??

Minecraft, Jesse episodes, the Kindles in general- have changed our home. I’m to blame because they’re convenient babysitters, but they’re just out of hand. I reluctantly agreed to get them each a Kindle over the past year for Christmas and birthdays. I’ve created a monster. All the kids put $250 Ipods on their Christmas lists. Luke wants a laptop. What for? A more intense and new Minecraft experience, more music and all those wonderful mind numbing apps. Jack lost his DS in Williamsburg last year. Sydney spent $150 dollars of her own saved $, on whatever IPod costs $150 when we went to Michigan this summer..& she lost it!!! They don’t care. They think everything is replaceable, heck maybe they can score something even better.

I’m determined to shock them this year at Christmas with a lot less in general and no electronic anything. It’s going to be the worse Christmas ever for them. I can’t wait! I fully expect them to open their gifts and say, is this all? ..completely ungrateful. They will ask why Santa has less toys to give? I’ve already told them that Santa has been experiencing the effects of a bad economy too. I also told them that the elves have Minecraft on their Kindles and Santa can’t get them to do anything.

Sydney is the only one who has mentioned doing anything for anyone else this holiday season, &and that’s only because she wants to go shopping. Frankly, I’m not that interested in giving this year either. Everywhere I look I see excess. We’ve never really been good at this living simply thing anyway, so I can’t say we need to get back to old times. Every day we complain about the house being a mess…It took 4 hours to clean Sydney’s little room the other day. What a waste! It’s just all too much. I would be crazy to acknowledge that we go through this every day, and then turn around and add an abundance to their existing hoard.

We have to get this overwhelming home under control. I don’t need perfect, but better is necessary. We’ve all become lazy. Like today, wandering around this overwhelming “home” unable to start anything…It’s just overwhelming. When I peel the kids off their devices they complain there’s nothing to do and get all high maintenance. Seriously kids, look around…what is all this stuff then if there’s nothing to do?

There’s my answer! We’ve handed our lives over to this stuff. I see our creativity being squelched. Our enthusiasm, exhausted. They hardly play nicely when they’re not interacting electronically. They’re losing that sense of wonder that’s innocently excited about life. They never use to have trouble entertaining themselves, without devices. They’re wonder and curiosity is being crowded out by constant outer stimulation.

This is my responsibility in it. We’ve developed these habits that have stopped us from playing together, working together and connecting. We are losing those moments, those teaching opportunities that come with connection. And then obviously everyone starts to behave badly. Myself included, because they’re just harder to deal with in this state & I check out!  She’s done!

2014 is going to bring change and mostly I am going to be stepping up & changing my expectations! We’re pruning our life this winter and getting rid of this tired old way.They generally follow whatever Dave and I teach.

So…
We are going to talk nicer. We are going to connect, by disconnecting. We are going to get rid of stuff. We are going to work on our house together. We are going to be a Team, and there’s no “I” in team.. <- cheesy! 😉  We are going to get the creative, life loving spark back. I'm going to get back to taking my kids on dates individually. We're going to talk more. We're going to read more..I want to read the Bible with them again, and pray, reflect & question life more with them . We are going to push reset and get a lot happier by delaying immediate gratification. I am 100% determined! Now, I guess I need to tell Dave what we're doing. 😉 I have no doubt he's going to be up to it though.

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At first you may not understand why I attach this video link below. It’s one of my all time favorites inspirations. Its so simply, inspiring. It sums up where I want my consciousness to go…one day before I die!..and what I want for my beloved people too. All of you! http://www.ted.com/talks/louie_schwartzberg_nature_beauty_gratitude.html

Life follows us.

Talked with a friend tonight about troublesome old family dynamics and learned behaviors. The dances we perform that root in childhood. As adults we move on, so we think, but they haunt us. Some situations come up & we find ourselves dealing with them as our child self. Our inner child can nag for answers. I, personally have struggled with this. I like to imagine I’m a completely mature adult & then something takes me back to old ways I thought I left behind. 

Being the oldest child, I know we internalize deeply, when perhaps we should ignore. I think, on average females hold onto the naive oldest child role more than males, given gender stereotypes. We were raised to follow suit. Often, we were with only our parents for some time & we learn how to appease them. We become experts of their adult ways. If there’s dysfunction,  we carry that on. I speak of oldest girl only because that’s me. 

So, when we have situations from childhood that were dysfunctional & unresolved, we carry that on, until we process it. Often, the processing is not straightforward. It lingers..because when processing a toxic family member there’s not always answers, sometimes just survival.

So for me, I removed myself physically in my twenties, but there’s still lingering repercussions. I still play big sister from a messy past. I enable! I look for the best, despite obvious realities. I nurture people who don’t appreciate my efforts. But mostly, I believe everyone is good. This idea haunts me. I hold onto the idea that people are in my corner, even when proven otherwise. This is a ridiculous concept that I believe, despite my natural practicality. I have faith in everyone, ignoring my better judgement.

My point is, I think we can get stuck in childish ways of dealing with present realities. We revert to old ways that aren’t productive. We coddle, or rebel, act perfect, or appease others naturally. But I wonder if we’re reverting in these instances, or are we acting as our past self? What childhood habit do you have to release? I will share mine. 

Trust. People can be trustworthy, but I trust to a fault. I learned this from being told to trust people I didn’t trust as a child. I was told to smile always. I was told to live and act what I didn’t agree with inherently. I learned to deny my judgement. I’m unlearning this, but the past holds on tight. I will trust my own judgement.There’s no time for excuses.  Now is all we have. We must rise to the occasion as conscious, present adults. Rise above that inner child, unless your upbringing was perfect..otherwise you may struggle too. Share your experience.

 

quiet reflection

Today was a quiet day at home, just the family all day. We stayed in our jammies for a good part of the day. It was just relaxing. So nice to not tend to obligations.

I’ve been thinking about connection & bonding lately and I had some time to read and research today. We had a snow day & Dave was off work so we were all together in our warm little home. I realized today, just how much I tend to disconnect & withdraw. Recharging is not something I can accomplish in a two hour window. I might need to go away alone in a mountain cabin for a month to experience self realization. Not happening any time soon.

Often, I feel like every moment is requests from outside of me..even though I get down time.Its overwhelming. Shame.Today I wanted to escape, but I called myself back.
Sydney was outside playing in the snow alone for over an hour. I watched her from the window but didn’t want to take the effort to go connect. Eventually,I couldn’t take it anymore so I suited up & went out. When I got out I realized she was lonely..playing, but lonely. I related to that& had a lot of sympathy for how lonely it can be as a human, even a child. I played with her. We built a snowman. It was fun. 

I read earlier today about self discipline & how we need to discipline ourselves to do the things we ultimately care about & I also read about being in the moment. This day gave me clarity. I can obsess over my needs because I’m buried, I am!  But what matters has to be priority. I can come up with a million to-do’ s to avoid connection, but connecting is what matters. Being there in the moment-present for those you love. Our people have needs and wishes too. They must be honored. Everyone wants to feel special & since our children can’t articulate that we have to rise to their needs. It’s hard! They will let us ignore their needs because they’re perfectly innocent, but what is more important? Feel ashamed that I don’t always appreciate the amazing blessing family is. What’s more important than family? Huge blessing…huge!

Train up a child in the way they should go, even when they’re old they won’t depart from it. Proverbs

Receiving a spark!

ImageI’m glad for this blog, because I think about 5 people look at it. This is great, because I can say what I want. Today I slowed myself down, partially from sheer exhaustion. When I slow my brain down which isn’t a lot recently, I read! Today I stumbled across a quote from the late Virginia Woolf. “I am rooted, but I flow.”-taken from her book, The Waves. Holy wow!.. that struck a cord. I was speechless because it seemed a women wrote these words for me in 1931. It was that powerful. Then again, I love words! I’ve never seen or read the book, but apparently it follows 5 people through the stages of their lives, from childhood to old age.

Those words really got me, I am rooted, but I flow! I never do these two actions at the same time. Lately, I’ve been flowing but I’m not rooted. For me, this means I am having a lot of fun. Flowing is easy. I also flowed a lot right after high school. I flowed so much that I got myself into predicaments that were very overwhelming. Fun can be a fools gold, when that’s all you’re doing. Currently. I’m flowing to a lesser extent, but still overflowing, nonetheless. I learn from flowing, but I take it to the point of painful and unnecessary lessons. Changing does open new doors.. Last time I HAD to change, I literally created such an impressive mess I had to flee. I packed up and moved to Virginia with one suitcase and a pile of debt. The physical and emotional debt was heavier than my suitcase. I moved in with my aunt and her family that she nannied in VA. Very humbling, but very exciting. At 20 I had hope & help. Then within a couple years I had Luke. Done Flowing…completely.

This is when I rooted for the first time. Shit really got serious for the first time EVER. I got rooted really quick. As much as Im ok with with ruining my life, there was no way in hell I could impose that on another human. Straightened up, completely. I was very rooted for years.. I fully embraced taking on the mother load at 23. When I had him, Mom brain was in full effect. Most beautiful day of my life. I can feel exactly what it felt like then. No words can describe holding your first baby for the first time. Life altering. We must change on a biological level when we have our first baby. So I spent about 11 years being rooted and married and having Jack and Syd. Perfectly motivated, committed, enduring and loving it. I was fat and happy. I had purpose.

Brings me to now, or the past year at least. I lost it. I got bored. I reluctantly endure on auto pilot. I lost that contentment and enthusiasm somewhere along the way. I have been having tons of fun. Flying by the seat of my pants. Not caring about what anyone thinks. & I cant say I just hate it. It feels natural.. but now I’m looking around and saying, Is this all? Yes, it is easier now to make friends & enjoy. Its just easier in general, but I’m not content. I cant be trying to redo my twenties now. Gone! It’s really hard to be rooted and flowing. Rooted gets boring, but its productive and rewarding. Flowing is fun but less rewarding. When I flow I fall apart physically and mentally. When I’m rooted, I’m bored.

My mission is to marry these two ways. Since I read a lot tonight I close with a quote by Terri St. Cloud. “She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was go forward and make the whole beautiful”

I think looking for beauty in life marries being rooted and flowing. It makes me think of a flower.

questions, why question?

I’ve always contemplated life & it’s meaning. From a young age I’ve asked, why? Always wondering if I’m alone, messy, screwed up. I literally drive myself crazy, still..as an adult. I have to analyze everything, to a fault. I appreciate wholeheartedly those who seem real to me..those who tell it how it is. Sometimes the person is relateable but sometimes not. Random! I recall being in the grocery with my kids several years ago. Jack was tiny. Outside the grocery was a man, clearly homeless & desperate. Something said to engage him…I considered the danger and how odd it may seem, but something pulled me, I related to his loneliness in some way.So I went up to him.. I told him I would buy him a meal if he would accompany my kids and I through Martin’s. Truth is, I was needing company as much as this homeless man. We talked through the whole store. Yes, I bought him a meal, but he gave just as much to me. He spoke of his daughter, whom I apparently reminded him of…This sweet, vulnerable man years ago…I wish I knew more. I wish I could have dinner with him and listen to his life, the life that was last seen by me begging outside the grocery, desperate. I conclude we’re all so equal.He helped me, a young mom, as much as I helped him. Actually more! I just bought some food. I sought that old man remembers our encounter, but that homeless man left an impact on me & my children.

Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.