All You Need Is Twenty Seconds of Insane Courage…

Tackle football has now been added to the mix for my boys, along with 7th grade, and the amount of homework has tripled at least.

I pick my boys up every evening after practice. I have seen them for years play organized sports on many fields. The first day I saw them playing in full pads and helmets, I felt as if I was run over by a train that smashed through my chest.  I had a mom moment, if you are a mom you have had these moments.

All of a sudden my chest was heavy, I took a long deep breath in, and blinked rapidly to fight back the tears.  I wasn’t sad, upset, or frustrated—I was proud and wondered, how the hell did we get here?  WTF, they were just in diapers. And, will I be able to watch them get pummeled into the ground when someone else’s child is running full speed ahead toward either of them.

Okay, okay…I know my kids are not in the NFL but in my mind, that’s what I see…you know, the replays of the NFL tackles on game day where the feed is played in slow motion so every one can say, “damn, that was a hard hit”.  Their first game is next Wednesday and they are so excited…I am terrified! We will have to wait and see how that plays out…

I am told this is a rite of passage for kids…it kicks off their future years in sports that will carry them through until high school. I can already picture the excitement on their faces on game day.

I can still remember all of those days I had in school. I remember playing as a team and working together, what it felt like to when we won and also, when we lost.  Juggling homework, a job, and sports made me work even harder through school, it taught me how to balance my time and it forced me to be responsible to figure out what worked for me to keep all of it organized.

I know, my kids are no where near graduation day. However, each day that passes they get closer and I have to trust more that I have instilled in them what is right and what is wrong, to think about the decisions they make on a daily basis because that decision can have a positive or negative outcome (which they have to face either way). And well, for this momma I need to suck it up a bit and realize they will keep growing and nothing I do or say is going to stop that. No matter what happens next Wednesday on field, I will be one proud momma! But, every day between now and that day, I need to get my shit together because this will be the first of many games and I don’t want to be the crazy mom in the bleachers crying and cheering on the team!

 

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

                                                                                                            -Benjamin Mee

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.

 

 

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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Quiet Introspection

My Wish by Rascal Flatts

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Waking my children in the morning is my favorite part of my day. Maybe it’s because I can watch them in stillness like I used when they where infants.  They once shared a crib, swaddled together. Now they have their own rooms, full size beds, and their own interests cover the walls in photographs and décor, and shows in what they choose to wear everyday. In the quietness before I touch them to wake, I smile knowing they will always be the best thing I did this life.

One sleeps in the fetal position completely covered by one blanket and hates having a top sheet on his bed. He has wires, batteries, motors, duck tape, and nuts and bolts scattered about his night stand.  The night stand mirrors how organized he is in his bedroom, with his belongings, his locker at school, and his clear interested in engineering. His room is a beautiful mess.

The other rests in a queen bed, covered in Seattle Seahawks sheets, blankets, wearing matching pj’s, 5 pillows, and a light dusting of décor around the room for anything that has to do with cars, engines, and the Dodge Helcat. His arms and legs are spread reaching for the sides of the bed. I see his face and I see me. On his night stand there is a glass of water, a book, IPad, and a lamp his great grandfather made from an antique candlestick.

I still remember the crib. I remember what they wore home from the hospital and how it felt watch them sleep at night back then. They used to wake me.

Maybe this chance I am gifted with every morning is because of the opportunity for introspection before I take hold of another day just to help them get closer to who they will become.

Book Covers??

It is getting closer.  There have been some delays. Some stressful days waiting to hear that the phone didn’t ring when it was supposed too and the emails didn’t come when stated.  I am still learning about patience.  Another 7-10 days, I am not counting the time.

I was given three cover options because I requested the options. I wanted something to compare to what, I thought I wanted.  I should have gone with my gut right away.  What I thought I wanted is exactly what I wanted!! (HA!) These are the covers that didn’t make the cut – not my CUT! They are wonderful and were discussed but hey, you might get to see these illustrations again.

It has been months and months. I am done with the sequel and on to another book.  A different style of writing, a different voice, and a story I have always wanted to tell!

I am so blessed!

 

Bumps and Bruises

Rise Up!  By Andra Day

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I watched them love each other, an untouchable kind of loved. They could finish each other’s sentences, when one stepped the other stepped, when they laughed it was in unison, when they sat together, their bodies seemed to melt into one, I was envious of their love and connection. It seemed perfect.

We all know perfect isn’t real, it isn’t possible. I think, people can get damn near close to perfect for themselves, what they desire in their life but I do not believe in perfect. Whether we have lots of questionable friends, no friends, perfect careers, no career, great relationships or one that’s on the rocks, too skinny or too heavy, fighting a disease, or all the in-betweens of these things and so many more scenarios.  I don’t believe in perfect.

I think I did believe in perfect as a child. However, things change as you get older. You get wiser, you see people come together and people fall apart. You see people thrive and you see people die.  People succeed and they fail.  I don’t believe people would ever start any of these things knowing they would end in an imperfect way. Because why would anyone try anything knowing the outcome they wanted so badly would not happen.

So people try, believe, and act on faith that they will be successful but the outcome isn’t always so.  There is a time for everyone, for every person, and every place on this earth.  I wish I knew why things happen as they do, I would sure sleep more. I try to have faith in myself and mankind that we can get as close to perfect as possible with a few bumps and bruises along the way.

What Does Joy Look Like?

Years fly by!  Lucas Graham – 7 Years

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Joy is something amazing.  I see it every day, it could be between strangers or siblings or children or even in my spouse, its something that warms my soul– to see.  I can be an outsider looking in and I see it from far away or close up and know…..now, that is JOY!

The definition of Joy: is a feeling of great pleasure and/or happiness.

Synonyms: delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, triumph, glee elation, bliss, rejoicing, etc.

Lately, I have felt very lucky and an extreme amount of joy after going after my dream of getting published and now working on the sequel (where I might say, I have total writer’s block). I need to find some joy and inspiration to get myself going on this sequel. Or it is going to end up in the trash can…..but I have faith it will come to me!

My sister-in-law, Tara took this photo in the last week, I think and I just can’t get enough of it.  This photo is what JOY is to me…..It isn’t more or less joy to my adorable nephew or my brother who has a big tough exterior.  His son has turned him into mush in this photo. They are both full of Joy-so much that I cannot put into words. It is all over their faces!

We all have good days and bad, we all have different days where we struggle to find “our joy” but most of the time– we can.  For people who struggle with finding Joy- reach out and find someone who can help you….let it out and find someone who you can talk too….this is a big step toward finding your joy!

So, this Sunday evening I caught myself looking at this photo for hundredth time and a smile washes across my face and know that this photo is Joy!  Pure, raw, unforced joy! I hope that in my new nephew’s life he sees Joy in this same way.

And Congrats to my brother, Tara, Allie and Max for showing the rest of the world your JOY!

 

 

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USS IOWA

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I walked up the large, steep, steel ramp. I slammed my foot down and it vibrated up my leg.  I was forced to take a silly picture against a  green screen and I was given a map. Yellow arrows were pointed out on the floor to me by a Vet. His jacket covered with patches, three metals, and a cap he wore with honor, tipped down over his left eye.  The wrinkles around his sunken eyes and creases at the corner of his smile pointed me ahead, I wanted to stop and sit, ask him questions, listen to him talk about those years on this ship.  I smiled and said thank you without looking back.

I left my heart sitting with him on that bench….now a retired director on a ship he loved and served his life on-no one would ever understand where he had been. Today, tourists walk by excited and busy without even seeing him.  This man of honor and steel.

I followed the yellow arrows around and under, up stairs and down stairs, in bunk rooms, in senior officers rooms, kitchens, mess halls, the Captain’s quarters. I peered through the same port holes, ran my hand down the rough steel exterior of a gun that I couldn’t possibly image going off. I laid on a bunk….three high and once in the bunk, I could not get out or down.  How could a full grown man fit in that bunk?

The steps, the stairs, the arrows, getting lost even with the arrows and the map, the history that was in front of me and behind me, so much life once happened on this ship….everything around me, underneath me…..I couldn’t breath, couldn’t catch my breath, I was so quiet, I could hear everything. Tears rolled down my face…

I was so moved. I could hear mates shouting , I could feel the exhaustion in me trying to imagine what these men and women sacrificed for us, for our country, the emotional burden of what it might be like without a family, I stood on the port side of the ship, wind on my face and whispered, “thank you.”

As I followed the arrows back to the exit ramped, I shook hands with every officer I passed-making sure to look into their eyes.  Without saying any words. Their eyes told me years of stories. They showed me their wounds, their losses and their wins and how proud they were to be a officer on the USS IOWA.

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A Silk Tank and Cowboy Boots

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I spent the day getting ready.  Primping, finding just the right clothes, and imagining his eyes when they met mine.  Tight denim clung to my hips, cowboys that amused him, and a silk tank sunk low in a V to just above my breasts. I knew he would peak at any moment. He wanted me and I wanted him with the same urgency.

I checked myself one last time in the rearview mirror…nerves fluttered from my throat to my toes and I could hardly swallow.  All I had to do was get out of the car, my hand trembled as I reached for the handle……swallow…..deep breath…. and finally the warm summer air swirled around me. Engulfed in the evening sunset, I grabbed my cooler from the back of the car and came around the cabin and there he was.

Our eyes met but he did not come over to me.  I talked to everyone before it seemed that we made our way together by force. I hugged him, I was shaking, he trembled and I could feel his soft sweaty palms through my silk shirt. We both wanted to hold on but even then it may have seemed a second to long.

He gave me a cold one and moved back around to the other side of the fire pit.  He kept his distance but every time I looked at him, he was looking at me. The same smile and spark in those blue eyes.

It had been years. So long since we looked at each other, saw each other’s eyes, and how it felt when just the two of us looked at each other.  So long……. since we talked and spent years talking, and not enough time showing each other how much we loved each other.

In an all consuming way, where nothing seemed to fit without the other.  Somehow, we carried on along side each other…watching and waiting for the other to take the first step.  There was never a first step.  Maybe a few seconds of hands touching, a mere kiss on the cheek, but later much later things changed.  Things evolved and it became clear to me.

The moment I knew, I came back from a run.  There was a  wet mist in the air.  I was feeling defeated by my week, all alone, and my mind found him waiting in the dark corners. I stretched, and rested after my shoes pounded pavement and it started to rain.  The kind of rain that washes away  your soul…my hair matted wet on my shoulders, my clothes stuck to every curve in my body like glue and just like that, I knew.

I wanted him and I needed him.

Forever.

 

 

Give & Take

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Do you ever get to place in your life where you are no longer getting anything out of a relationship?

For example; where silences get longer on the phone, a strange awkwardness when you are together in the same room, or perhaps something has happened between two people that simply can’t be undone. For one person it is not repairable but the other just continues on as if nothing has happened. This friend goes about her business and when it is convenient, she will resurface in your life again.

Sometimes, what breaks my heart the most is the idea that someone expects me to do something because it is what they want, with no understanding, what so ever that it might not work for the other person? I know there are takers and givers in every situation….in any relationship there should be reciprocal giving and taking. There will be days when one is just not strong enough to give and days where one takes more than the other.  It is the middle ground and equilibrium where the relationship should be steadfast itself.  The relationship itself should be able to balance itself on the tip on a needle…one will be overcompensating for the other but will understand that someday the favor will be returned.  Generally, in strong relationships, I believe this to be true. It is what I strive to practice.

I have struggled and I have loved in all my relationships, no matter whether we are friends or lovers. I have said goodbye and hello to people who have left my life and tried to return to my life. I do not pass judgement on past or present. I welcome the idea of moving on but I don’t want the same flaws to show up in the same relationships.  Automatically, my mind goes to “not this again”.

I have been have been braving a new path since the new year, working on my own dreams and taking care of my ever-growing 12 year old twins. I am working on projects that I don’t need to share with anyone.  I feel blessed to lean on the people who are there for me.  Who generally want to know about me?

Comfort finds me surprised getting your unexpected messages. I never know when they will come but each one puts me at ease.