I Welcome the Silences

Skinny Love by Birdysunclouds

“And while she never felt quite normal, she just loved too much. Choosing to see the world through her heart, instead of her eyes.”

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I welcome the silence this morning just as I did last night after my home was empty and calm.  The fireplace cast shadows over the destroyed living room and in that place I found quiet solitude and reflections from the last year.  The big moments hit my thoughts first and the smaller ones trickled through like snow melting drip by drip in my mind.

Last night, out of the 12 plates I was using; my brother grabbed the last one and it was covered in bugs, it was disgusting (a year in the attic). We all sat at the table (unknowing this) with our plated food and he came, sat down with an empty plate of bugs. (Life, HA!)

There was a fire on my dining room table last night (a burning candle and wrapping paper) and in the chaos of it all and of course, after it was out…I had to laugh.  Life can change in a blink of an eye. HA!

People can be in your life and then their gone.  Life and death. Feelings of being lost or stuck, wondering who you? And then a fleck of sunlight peaks its delicate ray through the dark clouds and something changes. Maybe you jump off that cliff, go with your gut, take a leap of faith with a job change, meet someone that changes your perspective on the world, make a dream come true, get engaged, publish a book, take a risk you normally wouldn’t, meet someone you feel that gives you that spark (it’s real, it’s raw-pay attention to it), graduations, marriages, children; there is so much life to live.  So many places to see and things to do. As I get older I realize I want to have more experiences, I don’t need anything…there are so many other people who actually “need” in this world…in a strange way I feel that this is exactly what I need…. experiences, more of them…act on the experiences I crave and desire.  I want to experience life through helping others daily…make that be one hell of new year’s resolution (and of course, 15 pull-ups, 40 box jumps and 40 burpees at Crossfit)!

In my selfishness I want to pack a bag, throwing the camping gear in the car and just go…. just drive…. just explore…leave my camera at home (yes, I said that!) and breathe in the moments that I find myself soaking in, exist in them, actually feel “life” …. make the word “adventure” …an action word (for you, literary peeps)!!  Here is my last selfish thought…. when I get back from that trip without being on a schedule I want to fill that same backpack with clean clothes and start over on a plane and actually go to places on my soul’s list…help build a school, be an aide where there has been a natural disaster…. help them rebuild…. things happen everywhere every day and I want to give…give everything that I have to somewhere or someone in need; this is a great desire of mine. Other places: Africa, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Bali, Ireland, Nepal, Iceland, Paris (see where my mother was born), Australia (where my sister was born), oh’ backpack across Europe living simply day to day with no plan, oh’ and join the Coast Guard!!

Anybody in??

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(Back to last night.) A room of laughter can easily be turned into worry and fraught as people are too worried about who started the fire rather than get that shit out of my house…burnt paper dusted the carpet and tiled floors. Celebrating with family and friends doesn’t need to be just be on those scheduled days on the calendar. Most people will never give those up for “tradition” sake. But why not get off the forged path ahead and be spontaneous…do something different. Be together to just be.  Be together for no reason.  Be together for an hour two. Sneak off take that trip, commit and go for it, take that leap.  Live!

All we have the moments we exist in!  If you think about today, Christmas…really think about how long this day is; 24 hours, right!?!  But how long does this day actually feel to you?  Does it feel like it drags on and on? Year after year it flies by so fast, we hurry through this day not purposefully but because there is just so much too this day. Many days in life feel this way. Take that leap, experience more, when you feel moved to jump, do it, adventure, take the moments, steal them if you too, give them back in another way but do give them back, karma baby.

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“And while she never felt quite normal, she just loved too much. Choosing to see the world through her heart, instead of her eyes.”

Moments

Photograph by Nickelback

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I watch my kids whirl around me as if I’m in the center of a tornado, standing still. I watch them growing and circling me in an upward spiral going faster and faster and I simply cannot keep up.

I spend so much time not missing events: packing football pads, muddy cleats, backpacks that I can barely lift, now basketballs, building animal cells out of Styrofoam, “trying” to help with common core math, who needs new shoes, new math binders, conferences; there is so much “stuff” that kids need, use, and want but when it comes right down to it – the best thing I can give them is my love, my heart, teach them to be kind, polite, and well-mannered young men.  Beyond that, simply being with them in all their moments. My hope is that by loving them, it teaches them how to reciprocate love to others.

I realize now and can see clearly what was happening in my idea of a beautiful childhood.  I was loved and cared for in such a way, I was sheltered from the monsters under the bed. I couldn’t have asked for or been blessed with better parents, I love my siblings and I know whatever the status of our relationship is, in any day – everyone in my family would show up and I have NO doubt about that.  This gives me an incredible amount of courage and strength.

I am able to see life in a different way now.  A beautifully complicated mess of opportunities.  Living in the moments we have, today, tomorrow, and what happens in the next two hours or this evening.  We have choices to make and in those choices we choose to live in those moments or sit complacent and think about what they could’ve been like.   In my strongest and weakest moments, I strive to master perfection in these choices.  But this is where I have begun to see life and myself differently.  We all have these moments that can have an impact on our lives, that we will remember forever or maybe just an ember that blows from the campfire and disappears into the night. But I write to keep my moments, insignificant or not, alive.  I feel alive everyday through my moments and how I choose to use them!!

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When the twins were born, I can remember Cole’s entire hand holding the tip of my pinkie and being too afraid to even touch Austin.  Their chests concave, literally skin and bones, and the ventilators helping them to breathe. I was terrified, so terrified if they would live of die in those moments.

In nearly a month my twins will be 13 and damn, I am so proud and have been blessed by God that these two miracles are in my life. And seriously, where the hell have the years gone??

This morning, the house was in shambles, Christmas lights reflecting in windows, I was doing laundry, writing checks for the next sport (basketball), lacing new shoes, feeding the dog, loading the dishwasher, and like every morning trying to get Cole out of the shower (he never fails to take every ounce of hot water) and my heart was full.  Yes, this happens mostly every morning sometimes the tasks change but the basic idea is always the same.

Life can change from day to day. What you choose to do with your day is up to you but somewhere remember there are people out there who in their current state cannot control what is happening. Everyone needs time to digest, make a plan, and decide what is best for them and their families.

Go after what you want, remember where you came from and who helped you get there, don’t look back because we cannot change the past, if you want something different – something you feel compelled to do or change from your history – change it now, if you need a kick in ass to get you moving, I am sure you know someone who is ready and willing! And maybe if something or someone catches you off guard in a moment and you let yourself be with whatever it is; you may learn more than you ever thought you could. It could possibly change your entire perspective on life.

Children!?!?!

My son was sick this weekend.  He didn’t have the flu but he had stabbing pains in his stomach and I couldn’t do anything about it.  Even though my instincts told me told me that we just needed to wait it out, I couldn’t bare to watch him double over in pain.  Austin wouldn’t eat, drink, and was lethargic. If you know my son, this is not him.  He goes 100 miles an hour and that brain of his is always thinking of the next project, the next thing he can take a part and in his mind he always two steps ahead of where he currently stands.

I watched him like a hawk, a mother bear, or whatever you choose to relate this feeling too.  Call me a mom who hovers but everything in me wanted to switch places with him.  I sat next to him on the floor for hours, rubbed his head, and although he was laying on the couch fast asleep and I was on the floor and I feel asleep sitting up…our heads touching on the same pillow.

There is something about being a mother that bonds us to certain other mothers, puts us in this world or category that no one else can relate too accept other mothers.  There is also something instinctive in our children that when they need something they go to their mother’s first. (Now, I am not saying children don’t go to their fathers because I still go to mine but there is something to mothers and their children and there is also something special between fathers and their children too.) I will put it out there and say that generally speaking: homework, discipline, food, clean clothes, hugs, whining, comfort, and getting my children to and from activities, and having sleepovers-are all activities I take part in actively in my home.

As my boys have gotten older and although I still do all the things above, they have shifted a lot of their focus to Dad.  We live on a farm with endless amounts of new things to try.  Both boys love this.  Although they may not realize it now but as they get older they will realize that they were so blessed to grow up here.  There isn’t any place they can’t go for miles around us, they know every trail, every nook in the trees, where the water is, and on four-wheelers everything is just better.

I watch my children discover new things in front of me.  I see that twinkle in their eyes…and each new discovery somehow thrusts them into their next idea. Children are amazing little beings that if you nurture them, they will turn into brilliant adults!

For me, being a mother is the most important job in my life, there are things in my life I struggle with but those are easier to ignore when it comes to building up and nurturing my children.

Have you ever loved something so much it hurts??

 

Footnote: (Austin is healthy again and he decided it was gas and he needed to go #2)

 

Family.

30a42e0ecfc93ebfbf49395ccb624c56There are times when family comes together whether it be for Labor Day, Birthdays, or the most celebrated holidays like Christmas but then there are other times that you plan to see each other for no other reason but to just “visit” my family often says.  It is the event of just “being” in the same space, same moment, just laughing together…even if you had plans during your time together to forage the bounty of agriculture around you, go to a famous water park, or finally have family photos taken because you are all together.  It is these moments that the days and hours don’t matter.  Just take that cliché’ term and really “relish in the moments” you have together.  No one really knows how much time we have left in this life.

There are so many “holidays” to be together but what about all the months, days, and moments together??  My family was together over the weekend…two birthdays and an anniversary celebrated together. There is hustle and bustle, getting to this place and that, everyone having their own idea about what should or should not happen when we are all together.  But that all falls away when you come together with the people you KNOW will always be there.

It was in the moments of sitting in my living room reading “meme’s” from the internet with my sister and our kids in the back room playing that I looked over at her and realized I could just be in the same room with her and know that my life could be peeled back like the skin of an onion and all “my tribe” would be in those layers.  In the same space with her makes me feel whole, understood, and complete. She is of my “people”!

Over the years I have gained and lost people in my life…sometimes for the best and for the worst of reasons but these people were placed in my life for a purpose.  I have celebrated the holidays with these people.  Some are easier to let go of than others.  I have learned that other than a few select humans; my family is what is–still, concrete, and steadfast in my life.

I have been told by many over the years to “not over think it” but that is just part of who I am and I don’t think it is necessarily always a negative quality but with some, I think this is how they see it.  I admit, to thinking about the consequences of my actions, the things that I say and what will happen even before I have said them, way too much.  I think about the words I am wanting to say to someone and then spend too much time trying to figure out if I am going to say them or ask them too much and often, I spend days going back and forth and thus, torturing myself with this second guessing and draining behavior in my life.  This was all self inflicted!

There were times in the past that I spent endless amounts of time biting my tongue and trying to be the way I thought others thought I should be because I hate confrontation.  I hate the feeling that others might think I am being rude or confrontational. However, who I was, was coming at an expense.  There comes a point where you must say what you need too because it begins to tear you apart as a person. This can be where you start to lose who you are or were. So, don’t it! Please don’t!

There are very few people I let into my life some riskier than others but I trust, have faith, and believe the best of them.  I will not lie but yes, I do get let down.   I will still keep risking this because the value of a relationship/friendship sometimes can change your life forever.

The one true thing I know is that family will always be there.  No matter what the circumstances.  I could call anyone in my family and if I needed them, no matter what the day. My family is steadfast and loves me unconditionally.

 

 

The World Can Wait…

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There were times when we had trouble together.

I lived one way and you the other but

We lived under the same roof

Shared chores, the same dining room table

 

Taking you to school seemed such a burden

Trying to keep track of you

I felt so much pressure around you

I was afraid to take a step this way or that

Our personalities so different

 

Today, you are grown

With a family of your own

 

I see photos of you with your son,

Your wife to be, and your step-daughter

 

Where did this softness come from…?

I always knew you loved our family

But the love for your own…

Takes my breath away

 

I always wished you would have this

A special gift waiting around the next corner of life

But you waited and it came to you…

 

I keep hearing in my head

“the world will wait, my son”

And my eyes are wide open

My heart full…

 

Life will not always be perfect

Marriage and being a parent is hard work

But I am thrilled you have found your

Family…to complete you.

You always said you would protect us

Now, them…

 

Your life is full, my brother

“and the world can wait”

for you to relish in today

Shadow

By Joshua Radin

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Castle like rocks stretch the lining of the west side of the water

casting a shadow across the left side of the canyon

the shadow slowly climbs to the top of the ridge

a warm breeze blows the hair across my face

trees scattered about the canyon walls

and I can count the ones that circle me

 

the stair steps of the rock that cascade around us

now shelters the water from sun

the gray flicker of water rocking the boat

back and forth

back and forth

Darkness cannot come fast enough

 

Trees show off their reflection to left

To the right

I rest in the middle of this beauty

 

Wet hair dripping lake water down my back

observing…

being in this moment

 

 

 

 

My Children

My children are pretty wonderful! I know I am biased but when they go to their grandparents for a night or two and they jump out of the car upon their return and run to me arms wide open. I know I have done something right.  My children are loved deeply and they themselves know how to love. They run to their dad in the same way.  My kids come running full speed ahead and wrap their arms around me and squeeze like it could be our last embrace. Every single hug I get from them is this way.

As you have probably figured by my writing, I have twin boys who are twelve and my husband is the eldest of 3 brothers.  The gene pool is heavily weighted on my husband’s side…its something crazy like 36 grandchildren and all but one is a girl!!  Now, to me that’s a pretty loaded pool of testosterone.

When I got pregnant I remember thinking I wanted a girl but down to my core I knew I was having boys.  At first, babies were babies to me-a lot of work and they must be taken care of or literally they wouldn’t survive.  As months and years pass now, I have two pre-teen boys  that are somewhat independent, love to succeed and want to succeed, desperately want their parents to be proud of them as we both are. And I find myself loosening the reigns a bit, I don’t want to do this because they will always be my babies but they aren’t babies any more.

Each of my son’s have strengths and weakness and their uniqueness to each other and others their age is something for them to be proud of.  I have heard for years that my child is different in this way or that and I often cringe at these words where my fists unconsciously squeeze together.  See, the word different has a negative notion to it and it defiantly does to my son.  So, when someone calls him different I turn into momma bear and in my head their face hits my fist. Now, I am a rational person and do have my best moments when protecting my children’s right in school.  But when they are violated I come running in like a bull in a china shop.  I am proud of the advocate I am for my children.  I would help anyone out their if they struggled in this area.

All of us are unique, special, gifted and some things come easier for others but what someone else struggles with you might succeed at.  It is my job to show and teach my children to step in and help others with regard to this.

It is a constant battle for me to remind my sons that I want them to have a strong work ethic, a heart of gold, kindness, how to be gentlemen, and it is ok to fail as long as you get up and go after it even harder than the time before!! I want both of my sons to understand that the reward takes work, back breaking work and you will reap great reward from hard work.  There is a time for each of us to win and each of us to fall short.  I want them to know graciousness and courage as they move to their teenage years!

Turning Over a New Leaf

There are times when situations are put in our path and it is up to you to pay attention to them or not.  As individuals we have the opportunity to make choices daily.  We decide whether to go left or right, forward or backwards, or pick door one or door two.  It’s as simple as saying yes or no but it is never that simple, is it? I think most people tend to over think things and sometimes I am one of these people. However, I am trying something different lately.

I think many people live in the realm of actions cause reactions and choices have consequences so we get so wrapped up in what if this or what if that… that we don’t ever just go with living in the moment.  Living in the moment comes more naturally to some people and not so much to others.

I crave more spontaneity in life but often I find myself trying to make a plan or a list of tasks to accomplish things.  I am a planner by nature but am realizing lately that I don’t always need a plan. I would like to think I am always prepared but that doesn’t really jive with living in the moment.  Why is this?  Does life really require a schedule?  In my mind, I am trained to create this schedule but when it comes to relishing in the moments, life won’t end without a schedule.  It would in fact bring more spontaneity into my life and this is what I crave.  I want to try new things and test my own limits.  So, I am going to stick to this way of thinking for awhile and see what happens.

Last week my sister called and asked me if I had plans for this weekend.  Normally, we are both booked weeks in advance.  But not this weekend. Her spontaneous suggestion of getting away to McMenamins for a few nights and getting a few more stamps in our passports was a brilliant idea. So, I decided to jump at the chance and booked our room that day.  I always need sister time, heck, I would live next door to her if I could.  She is one of my favorite people in this whole world.  The laughter, honesty, and trust we have is limitless.

This new leaf I have turned over is to live in the moment and get out of my head, so to speak. Spend less time worrying and more time living.  More time with experiences and less time planning them. I will keep you posted on this works out for me.

How do you look at life?

Small Delicate Moments

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A Happy Man by Thomas Rhett

I am constantly reminded of how precious life is and how important my perspective is on life.  I will admit that there has been a chunk of my life that I have flown through without reminding myself to keep things in perspective and to take those extra moments to not rush through life.

It is so easy to let the negative out weigh the positive and to pass over small delicate moments for the big ones.  All those big moments rush through and often, are over dramatized… and in seconds, they are gone.  I want to slow down my moments and pay attention to what is right in front of me.  The moments to follow will come in time, so why rush them?? Why rush what will happen anyway?

My perspective is often to get through the tasks of today, tomorrow, and the next day systematically and to always complete them even if at the cost of one of those moments that I should have relished in. Slowly, I am changing and realizing how important spontaneity is to me and how much I love being surprised by life.

A few days ago, in the middle of those daily chores of mowing the lawn, walking the dog, cleaning the car, and spreading bark dust, I stopped.  I felt this wave wash in as my kids busily worked around me in the hot sun robotically, neither of them smiling.  It took me just a minute to see they were painfully passing through a moment that could have a touch of spontaneity in it.  I wanted to change their perspective and I wanted to see them smile in that moment. I went around the back side of the house and filled a few bucket of water and I went in for the hose.  I uncoiled a good 10 feet and started spraying high above and watched the water rain down on them. I taunted them with the full buckets.  They could have them if they could get to them.

In those insignificant moments of daily chores, I changed their perspective. Thirty minutes of spontaneous joy that lifted all of our spirits was enough to change the monotony of the ritualistic moments we were in.

As my kids get older, so do I and I can’t stop that but I can take more time to pay attention. Life throws all sorts curve balls our way and it is up to us to be able to adapt how we react to them.  I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. In the past, I have wasted time trying to figure out why and what it all means when I could have just soaked it all in like a sponge instead of burdening my mind and moments with trying to figure it out.  As for today and all the days in front of me, I am going to work on staying out of my head and relishing in the moments that really matter.

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Dream Big!!

At 3am on a Tuesday, I woke up suddenly, got out of bed after tossing and turning for an hour and came to the living room.  I tore sheets of blank paper out of a notebook I had and started writing about the DREAM I had just had.  Simply put, that dream is my first book, “Grandpa’s Orchard.”

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Dreams are important!  Dreams challenge you and force you to face your inner most insecurities. For me, with my writing I never thought I would be sitting where I am today.  I dreamt about being published and have openly spoken about it for years.  I wanted to write not just for me but for my family, my children, to share myself with the world and to leave something behind that could make a difference.

Having this dream for me, or anyone having a dream for themselves is about having faith that what will be, will be.  Taking a blind leap knowing you have prepared the best way possible and once you leap you believe and have faith you will land where you are meant to be.  In my experience, when we (my husband and I) have taken that leap we have always landed in a far better place than we thought we ever would. But for my writing, this was all on me.  Leaping on my own was scary.

In my inner circle it became something I just said and about a year ago I took a hard look at my dreams.  I knew that if I spent my whole life worrying about how to take care of everyone else’s needs and dreams (which I willing did), where would I be in another five years. Who would I be? Would I like that person?  I knew I would regret not taking a leap!! I would have always wondered. These questions alone made me start writing again.

This  

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I knew at the least that if I wrote I would feel more self-accomplishment, more fulfilled in my life, and more alive! And when I first started writing again it was not a children’s book, a children’s book wasn’t even on my list of things to write.

I still remember the day. I sat down in my writing nook, with a pen and paper and started writing from a writing prompt that was given to me years ago in high school.

“Now is Still Unknown.”

I have had numerous people in my life encourage me to keep writing, they would encourage me to write a book, poetry or short stories…just keep writing even if it’s just for you, they would say.  Deep down I always knew I was a writer, it started the day I entered my creative writing class in high school. I was given a chance with pen, paper, and I felt it running through my veins – like someone punching me in the gut.

For years, I wrote about everything in my life.  The intensity of my writing grew when I had great tragedies in life…I still write my way through some of these.  Someday, I want to publish these pieces of me that are raw, secret, locked inside – unknown to many but I want to publish them and share them because my gut tells me my words will help people.  I believe in writing what hurts, for me its about letting go of the past and if there is a lesson learned I can share to help even one person. I feel drawn to do so.  There is great power in this and great healing.

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On Thursday, I opened the mail box and found two very thin boxes inside.  I noticed the return address from “authorscript” which really meant nothing to me but as I pulled back the card board in disbelief my book revealed itself to me.  One hard cover and one soft cover in my hands. It was one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life. I tore out the the front door running across the farm to my husband, partially in tears I tried to speak and thrust the books forward in my hands.  I know I babbled something but I have no idea what.  In that moment, I had done it. I had fulfilled my dream!!!

My dream wasn’t a dream anymore; it was a reality!  This feeling I have had for the last 2 and half days is indescribable! I am relishing in these moments, taking it all in, I don’t want to miss a thing, I want to celebrate and shout from the rooftop. Now more than ever, I am driven to finish the next two books. And I can proudly say, I am an author.

Back to the pen and paper, friends. Dream big!!