Twilight 

This time of day, 

after the shoulds, the musts and the have to dos are done.

The kids are tucked.

The dishes are running and the laundry is drying. 

This time of day is for me. 

I open the bedroom window, 

to a chorus of frog song. 

I feel like a queen on her balcony saying goodnight to her adoring subjects. 

I turn on the bedside lamp, choose a book from the 23 in the pile, 

and flop down on my queen bed. 

I fluff and snuggle until all the pillows and blankets are just so, 

and then, 

I exhale. 

And read. And revel in today’s beauty. 

And give thanks for the blessing of today. 

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Too much

Too much. There is too much on my plate.

I don’t even know where to start. Work is a full-time plus job. Three kids by myself with activities galore, sure that’s a lot. It’s my youngest son’s birthday this week so I will be belaying 8 boys at the rock climbing gym and then they will be all sleeping over. There is no time to get the food or clean the house because I am going to work and to hear the results of my mom’s cancer tests in Seattle tomorrow. But don’t worry, i’ve got it all, just like I always do.

But you know what I have to say to that? Not cool. Not cool that I am doing this all. In fact, it’s a miracle that I am holding all of this together. Tonight, I just lost all energy. I picked up kids from piano $80, after picking up my car from the shop $1569, ordered pizza $45, sat on the couch and ate 4 pieces, washing it down with a glass of wine and cup of chocolate chips while ordering tickets to my son’s concert on Saturday $66. Too much. Too much money, crappy food, work, stress, and lack of down time. Too much raising kids in isolation instead of a community. Too much sadness in my heart that doesn’t have time or room to release. Too many dishes, granola bar wrappers and dirty socks.

Too much.

So, you might be thinking, what is she going to do about it? Right?! Great question.

Well…

  1. take a bath with candles
  2. drink water (instead of the coffee I have been drinking all day)
  3. write it out
  4. make a plan
  5. go to bed on time
  6. show myself some compassion
  7. listen and express my feelings 
  8. Trust God 

I am so angry. Angry that I am in this situation. Angry that my mom has cancer. Angry that my house is a mess and I don’t have anyone to back me up. Angry that I keep up appearances, so that everything will look pretty and no one will worry. When in fact, i’m pissed. My room is a mess, no amount of buying clothes or watching TV is fixing the fact that my mom has cancer and I’m scared. I’m scared of losing her. I want time to stop and time for me to catch my breath and just sit and hold her hand.

Logically I know that pizza, tv or dessert will not numb the sad and scared feelings. But some part of me just wants some kind of comfort and respite from these feelings.

I should go for a walk, or pick the clothes off my floor but just have no motivation to do that. Because, why should I things be better for me when she has cancer. Why do I deserve more than she is having right now. I can’t take the cancer away, but at least I can be miserable too. (that is some crazy logic now that I write it down). Who am I to be powerful, strong and bold when she is uncomfortable.

Would I want my daughter to stop taking care of herself because I wasn’t well? Heck no. That is not a sign of solidarity, that is a sign of depression and self sabatoge.

Dear me, this moment is hard. It totally sucks. And, you are stronger than you know. Be strong for your mom and yourself.

So, as this moment comes to a close, I take a deep breath, feel the feelings and thank God for the beauty that is my life. In any situation, ALWAYS, there is room for gratitude. And #trustgod

 

 

 

Thank you for letting me love you… 

  I always knew I had a lot of love to give, 

but until you, 

I didn’t know how much.

My daughter, your tiny toes, auburn ringlets, and natural curiousity melted my heart from the start. 

Thank you for letting me love you, my heart has grown bigger because of you. 

Then along came a little brother, plump like a berry. You came out snugly, with strong sense of justice, and a laugh that lights up the world.

Thank you for letting me love you, I have grown as a Mother because of you.

And then you came baby boy, my angel. Such a gentle spirit, community surrounds you because of your kindness. 

Thank you for letting me love you, you have shown me peace and helped me build resilience I did not know I had.

They say the heart expands because there is always enough love to share. 

My family, my heart. 

There are not enough words to say how much I love you all. 

But I promise I will keep trying to show you, 

Everyday. 

Dear grumpy, meet gratitude.

I sit here tonight asking myself, “What is your problem today?”

Sure I started work at 7am with no breaks until 5. Yes, I had frustrating meetings with two of my staff who are behind on their deadlines. Yes, my mom has cancer, my dad is being passive aggressive and my sweetheart is away and I’m not sure when he is coming home. Yes, the organization I have been courting for a year just gave a 1.5 million dollar gift to an organization that I don’t resonate with.Yes, it rained all day long and the scale said I gained two pounds this morning from the chocolate I have been stress eating. Don’t even get me started on climate change or politics.

But my children are great. Adorable, kind and talented. I have someone who will listen to me whine when I need too. Carpool worked today. The concert at school was fun. The guacamole at lunch was amazing and the bath I just took was lovely.

I tell my kids all the time, “it’s not a bad day, just a bad moment”. Some days have more bad moments than others. But generally, we are very fortunate and it is so important to remember that. I had enough food to eat, I didn’t have to walk to work in the rain, I laughed more than I cried today.

What do you do you go from grump to gratitude?

  1. It always comes back to gratitude. There is always something to be thankful for in any situation. I bought garbage bags today. Yes, that might seem like a tiny thing but the meaning I associated with it was, “I am taking care of my family’s needs”. So much of our suffering is what we tell ourselves, isn’t it? What are you grateful for today?
  2. How about a little grace towards ourselves too? When I look at the list of today, I can’t help but take a deep breath and give myself a hug. It’s been a full and multifaceted day. What would you say to a friend who had a day like this? I bet you would show them some compassion. How about sharing some with yourself? It feels amazing.
  3. How about some basic self care. Did you eat tortilla chips or ice cream for dinner? If so, ok. Maybe make a different choice tomorrow. Are you exhausted? How about some well deserved rest.

As you design your personalized formula to get from grump to gratitude, remember these ideas. Enjoy finding your own way and then, pass it forward. We all have things to learn from each other, that is one of the things I am grateful for.

 

This moment 

This, 

right here, 

is one of my favorite moments of the day. 

The dishes are washed. 

The kids all tucked in, 

secret handshakes and all. 

I pull out the fuzziest socks and hoodie I can find, 

and finally… 

Sit down. 

Today was full of operational goals, retreat agendas, capital campsigns and scholarships.

Of conference calls and midday dentist appointments for three kids. 

Of crockpot meals, mini tuxedos and holiday concerts. 

It was abundant. 

Reflecting on this day, 

I notice many moments of joy, courage and love. 

As I put on my fuzzy socks, 

I breathe deeply in gratitude, 

for this day, 

for the love I felt sprinkled throughout it,

and this, 

this moment. 

Love is 

Love shows itself in so many ways. 

It’s the phone call to say the doctor’s appointment went well.

It’s the call from an upset child who doesn’t want to help with the surprise but will anyways, because. 

It’s the singing boy on the car ride home. 

It’s the email left unanswered because we both don’t know what to say next. 

It’s the rainbow after the storm today. 

It’s the hands that keep working, even though they are tired.

It’s my cell phone staying on so I can write this even though it says 1% battery left.

It’s the whispered “I love you” sent on the wind.

It’s the tuck in of sweet kids and the extra snuggle, just because. 

Love is all of this, 

And so much more. 

May love light your way,

Always.

You will not break me 

Today was a day full of challenges.

Rude privilege,

Entitlement, 

Disengagement.

Clouds,

Mishaps,

And traffic jams.

On top of all of it, 

After hours of work,  

And piles of paper, 

And messages from loves of  the past, 

I came home,

Made dinner for my three kids, 

And said gratitudes. 

I walked into the bathroom 

To put on my well earned pajamas,

Flushed the gift someone left in the toilet, 

And it overflowed, 

Everywhere. 

I have dealt with this before, 

But today, 

It 

Will. Not. Unclog.

Not after 15 minutes 

Or 30 minutes. 

In my half work and half pajamas, 

I fall on my bed,

In exhaustion and despair.

Where is someone, 

A partner,

When you need them? 

And then, I remembered, 

I have been through harder things. 

This sucks, 

And… 

It will not break me. 

I am made of tougher stuff than this. 

I am made of stardust, rose petals and laughter.

I come from generations of fierce warrior women.  

I will never allow, 

Anything, 

To break me.