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??

*******

(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.

*******

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

Not All Gifts are Wrapped…

pinkie-fingerI spent time with a friend yesterday morning, we exchanged gifts, chatted, drank coffee, and laughed. Family members stopped by and as I watched the kids buzz around together, I realized that although the gifts were wonderful and thoughtfully planned, in that moment – just existing was the best part of the morning.  Laughing, a few tears, the huge Christmas tree in the corner, everything was beautiful but the beauty of being in that moment was just being there together.

It felt like home, sitting and talking with her.   And playing with her youngest; the most precious little guy…I am blessed to be his Godmother and when I think of the rest of her children there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them.

This amazing human being, I have known for awhile. Our kids played soccer together years ago and it was their unique bond that I was gifted with this new friend.  She isn’t the kind of friend who is going to come into my life at the time- it is convenient for her, no way! This is going to last for life! I will be in a walker with my dentures, my polyester pants and still will knock on her door and she on mine. She is the kind of human being that everyone should be so lucky in her presence.

I don’t know if everyone will understand this or admit to it but friendships at my age are hard to come by and it’s the people I choose and (they choose me) that is so important. Sometimes you just meet someone and it clicks and a precious seed is nurtured and a friendship begins to grow.  For me, friends are no longer about the quantity you have but rather the quality of the relationships you have together.  I have said it before but (the tribe) you create for yourself is a protective shell.  Sometimes you meet people and there is just a spark, neither parties understand it but there is this magnetic pull that keeps you coming back together.

It is a gift to know this woman.

 

 

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!!

******

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.

It’s Been Awhile

0bbf3c536ed968a7be8fa69315951ec7It’s been awhile.  Harvest is always a terribly busy time.  Every year I tell myself, “I got this” and every year near the end of harvest, I am trying to keep my head just above water for me to breath and the statement “I thought, I had this” always comes rushing back.  After nine years, I still feel this. I write things down every year in my own secret “diary” so to speak, of ways I think I can prepare for the next year, what I could have done different this season, and I honestly have not perfected it yet.  I don’t know if I ever will but I wasn’t raised to be a quitter. There is always hope for next year and I have eight months give or take, to make a new plan.

Inevitably everyone can apply this feeling, this sense of drowning– in their lives, careers, next chapters, finances, and relationships, etc. At some point, I believe most adults have felt this way in their lives. But it is up to each of us to decide whether we will sink or float.  Sometimes it can be an agonizingly long process because the decisions need to be weighed equally, both sides need to be looked at and mentally calculated with precision and the time comes when we have to un-tie the cement blocks around our ankles and kick like hell to get our heads above water.

And as the tip of our nose, lips, chin, eyes open and we gasp for that first breath…that is the moment our decision has been made (take the leap, shit or get off the pot, or whatever reference works for you) is where instinctively, we know which decision we are going with…of course, there will be an adjustment period but moving forward with our gut feelings is what we all should pay a little more attention too.

Once we take that first step, we may be knee deep in the dark unchartered waters pulling those cement blocks forward again but our heads are above water.  We have chosen and in that choice we all begin to create a different and new sense of comfort.

There is an infinite amount of decisions and choices we can make in our lives, they will affect the people around us and that is always something to consider but in my last days I would hope that my decisions were unselfishly chosen, my family always felt love from me, that I never intentionally tried to hurt someone, and most of all, that I was proud of the way I lived.

Grandpa’s Orchard

Pick up your copy for the holidays @ Barnes & Noble.com, Amazon.com,

Desperado Boutique in Bend, OR., The Find, Monmouth, OR.

Grandpa’s Orchard: Based on a True Story of an Oregon Family Farm –June 21, 2016

by Darcy Thomas Kirk (Author)

Hardcover $20.00   –     Paperback $14.00  (Amazon.com)

Every year on the hazelnut farm, magic happens. It’s a place where stories, music, good food, family, and friends come together year round–but as summer comes to an end, things begin to change. On this working farm, the boys watch Dad and Grandpa do the tasks that need to be done as they head to the arbor to play, climb trees, and dream up new adventures.

The totes are stacked high on the farm, and the tractor and harvester are ready for Mother Nature’s sign. Even the young boys know that great care must be taken to keep the orchard floor clean and prepared for when the nights become cooler and the nuts begin to fall. Suddenly, harvest time begins and so too the flurry of activity on the farm!

Grandpa and Dad are hardworking farmers who have learned how to care for the land. They pass on respect of the hazelnut farm, the place they call home, to the next generation as youngsters watch and grow like the trees on their family farm. Someday, these little boys will be the adults, and then, it will be their turn to work hard and care for the Earth’s many treasures.

“A fun portrayal of a multi-generational farming family and farm life told from a youngster’s perspective. Grandpa’s passion for farming and desire to pass on the tradition is genuine and heartfelt.”

–TJ Hafner, third-generation family farmer, agronomist

 

Pay Attention

2012-02-09manual-typewriter-0209stockHow do we talk about the the things we need to say without breaking down?  So, many think tears directly relate to weakness or being broken.  Sometimes this is true but for me I can try to hold them back but everyone who is close to me knows that my eyes well up when I am happy when I am laughing, and also through the difficult heartbreaking shit too.  Sometimes I cry out of joy, and other times to put it simply – I have an extremely tender heart and I usually underestimate my strength. Letting the tears fall is a release for me – some have told me they can’t talk to me because they don’t want to see me cry.  If we are going to split hairs about it – I will suck it up and not cry but also stop yelling at me and talking down to me in ultimatums.

I have trained myself to deal with many things by hiding and digging deeper to bury the things that have become patterns in my life.  I have spoken up but it is always when I have reached my explosive point.  I carry on and keep moving forward but at the cost to myself and who I am. I can fundamentally disagree with some and just sit there and listen to them but in the last five to six months I have started to voice my opinion – not to disagree or cause an argument but to get into the habit of speaking up for myself.

There are two sides to everything, every relationship, and every choice we make.  We need to be conscious of this and the people around us, we need to build each other up instead of tearing them down.  Give back when you can and live on a little less that day.  Don’t buy that cup of coffee for yourself but give it expecting nothing in return from the shivering person sitting against the building outside covered in a trash bag trying to stay dry.

I used to write with a pen and any piece of paper I could get my hands on, I have notebooks full of words, love letters, poetry, and stories.  Now, I stare at a screen when I write – the passion I had for my pen and paper fades because typing seems so easy and more efficient.  As a child I remember my grandfather typing on a typewriter – pushing back and forth as he would reach one side of the paper or the other, the ding when he hit the return key, and when he would manually feed a new sheet of paper in the machine – and the hunting and pecking of his typing skills.  I hardly ever hear that sound any more but when I do it brings tears to my eyes – it brings back a heartfelt memory back and a reminder that life used to be very different.

 

 

 

 

We All Have Scars

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I have scars that remind me of old stories.  Some happened so long again I can barely remember; I know if I asked my parents about them, they would surely know some of the answers of were my external scars came from.

I have two scars on my right hand from trying to do hand stands when my friend and I challenged each other to how many we could do each and when we collapsed to the ground, she scratched me.

Another scar, on the inside of my right knee where the corner of the screen door ripped through my skin after my father had repeatedly told me that was going to happen if I didn’t move from where I was sitting.  I didn’t move and I now have a six-inch scar on the inside of my knee.

I have a scar just under my belly button about 10 inches long from a C-section running from left to right and just beneath this scar…there is a scar I can’t see which runs up and down about 10 inches due to my C-section being an emergency.

I am sure if we all thought about our scars we could list them.  I have created scars on my body…self expression…designs and patterns that I want to be remembered.  They are all apart of my body now and on my skin for all to see.  I chose each of them for a very specific reason and they will forever be on me.  Would I do this again…yes.  Am I currently planning too, yes.

Scars are easy to spot or see on most of our bodies somewhere. There is an entirely different type of scar that may scar us so deeply they we see the world different because of these scars.  These scars strip us down to core, make us define our ourselves and create an entirely new way of looking at the world.

These deep scars flip our lives from the inside out. They break our hearts, tear us apart, and make us wonder if we will ever survive.  These scars, I believe are more than one sided…there is a cause and effect to everything and there are always two different ways to look at everything.  I believe that these scars require conscious decisions…backed by some type of faith.

I have made a handful of these types of scars inside of myself and because I have made them, they in turn have effected others around me…and scarred them as well. We cannot change any of our scars but we all can make the conscious decision as to how they will affect the rest of our lives and how we look at them in our current lives.  We can change how we react to them in the here and now. If they happened years ago, we can still learn from them. We can allow ourselves to keep them close but at bay as long as we keep moving forward.

Do not dwell on things of the past, we will never get those moments back and who wants to move forward constantly looking over their shoulders?

 

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)

 

Grandpa’s Orchard

For as long as I can remember I believed myself to be a writer.  It was, has been, and is what I am most passionate about.  I believe the power of one’s voice and think that everyone is capable of writing something great.  Everyone has a unique story to share with the world or simply a story to share with one other person.  However, there are very few people who would sit down and spill their guts out on to a piece of paper and feel like it is worth something.  I feel that everyone’s story holds merit and value even if its just for them; to hold on to.

When I was younger and people used to ask me what I wanted to be I would always answer a writer or an author.  I can’t think of a time that I ever answered anything else. Today, I can say I am a published author but I could also say that years ago when I published a poem about my Grandfather and in the last 12 years a magazine article about “my husband and being a dad”.  There were times since high school that I grew a part from my pen and notebook but I have always found my way back to what I am most passionate about.

I left my job of seven years last November and while focusing all my energy on my children and their education, I did start to get a few moments to myself and I found my pen and paper again.  I found my voice.  I also found my first Apple computer which I love dearly.  It holds all of my words, my secrets, my contradictions, my dreams.

I started writing everyday for hours at a time.  I changed my surroundings often and frequently changed perspectives in nature to gain a different focal point. There was a lot of journaling and free writing in the beginning, hours of sitting in my nook with the tiny fireplace I got for Christmas. It created a wonderful ambiance in my nook.  Everything that was and is me is inside this small space.

I would say that I frequently suffer from insomnia which if I get up and walk around, drink a glass of milk, or write a bit; I can generally get myself back to sleep within an hour or two.  However, this does not work all the time.

Since, I had started writing regularly my insomnia grew more frequent and I could not get back to sleep so waking up at midnight meant I would be up until morning and it was getting very annoying. This became a new standard in my life which I didn’t like because if you know me, you would know I need my sleep.

On a Monday night in January, I woke up and remembered my dream I had just had about my family on the farm.  I laid in bed for an hour tossing and turning and I ran through my dream over and over in my mind.  After about an hour, I got up turned the lights on low, I tore some sheets of paper out of a journal I kept and started writing.  I couldn’t get the words out fast enough.  I wrote sentence after sentence and could not slow down.  It was as if the words were spraying out the end of my pen like spray paint.  I can say it wasn’t my best writing or the neatest but it was the story of Grandpa’s Orchard. Yes, I did some editing and typed it all into a my computer the next day but it was my dream in its entirety. After four hours of writing, my hand ached and I became very tired, I feel asleep on the couch and when I woke in a few hours, I knew this was the story I was going to publish! Grandpa’s Orchard all started in a dream.