I Found It

I only had to write 200 posts…and travel this journey of self-reflection and facing fear and coming to know and like myself to do it.

If I’d known the process would be so simple and so freeing, I would’ve started years ago.

In the midst of a world clamoring for attention, with everyone shouting here and there, I lived in more of a state of absorption, uncomfortable putting myself out there.

I used to be okay with who I was. Now and then, I get a glimpse of that girl–poised and powerful. She existed in a world all her own, able to make up the stories as she went, experiencing every dewdrop of life.

She-existed-in-a-world

Then, something happened. Several things, actually.

Instead of letting them go, I internalized the trauma. I let the words of others drown me. I gave up my power. I became a mirror of the words and actions of others. My words became silent, poured only into volumes and volumes of journals and diaries–my personal sanity. Some days, I couldn’t even share myself within the confines of those pages for the fear that someone may someday discover me.

But, at some point, I decided to follow Kelly Clarkson’s advice belting through my earbuds when I ran around mountains and hills for the second time in my adult life. “Out of the darkness and into the sun….

I began a blog. It wasn’t my first, but it was my own. I participated in NaNoWriMo for two years. I did hard things. I faced my fears. I climbed higher and sailed longer and swam deeper and prayed harder than I ever have. And I started singing again.

The need for silence was so heavy at times, pressing upon me. Other times, I wanted to scream from the rooftops (& I tend to have height issues). People around me fought against changes. I even yelled for about a week, needing to get words out of my body and into the warming air. (I have since stopped yelling, thankfully.)

But, I found it. I hope it’s here to stay.

I’m writing consistently.

I’m singing daily. I even auditioned for a solo (& got it)!

I’m happy.

I have found my voice.
Out-of-the-darkness-and

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Deadlines…

So, I’ve been working on a project that entails several components…and the process has been a bit slow at times and brilliantly filled with energy at others. (Such is the creative process, eh?)

Well, I’m on the last leg of this…and the most-involved…and could use a little positive energy to send me whirling through this last step before I say goodbye to this part of my journey. 🙂

While I’m here, though, let me share a few points I’ve learned through the process:

1. Feedback is not only appropriate, it is beyond necessary and extremely important.

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2. Friendship and family support are invaluable.

Friendship Day
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3. Inquire. Ask questions. Ponder. Think. Ask again. Find the clarity you seek. Then, move forward with your goals.


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4. We each have individual roads to walk. Don’t judge others on their paths and don’t seek their approval for your journey. It’s yours. Own it.


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5. Feed your body (with good food, fresh air, and exercise) and your spirit (though connection, meditation, prayer, and study).

6. Let go of your past. Conquer your fear. Live in the moment.

7. You can do this.

leap of faith

8. Be happy. 🙂


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9. Enlist the help of others. They have skills. So do you. Share the love.

How To Love
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10. Keep a positive energy flow. When you start to feel down, pull yourself back up to a place of positivity. Post affirmations; create a mantra–whatever works.


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***Above all, have FUN! Life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured! Find your happy place and roll!!!!!***


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Well, I’m gonna get back to work. I have a deadline, you know?

🙂

A Change of Heart

Over past months, I have pondered something I wrote more than a year ago. The subject is one that lays heavy on my heart and affects my every day and night. The topic is motherhood, and more specifically aligning the way I mother more with the way I want to mother.

I’ve been tired. And I’ve been frustrated. And when my twins were born to an already child-filled home, I found myself with more than I could handle (my husband and I had already been blessed with three children ages five years and under when two more were born). I lost myself in the name of basic survival. I would consider a day’s successes in the fact that the children were all fed and in bed (never knowing what nighttime would bring). I lived in fear of illness, knowing whatever would come would make its way through the ranks–often at varying intensities–and could easily recycle itself through the family before everyone was well again. I tried to cuddle as much as I could with these precious little people, but some moments I craved space. I needed distance. I needed a moment to regroup and pull myself back together. I was grateful for the blessing of health (physically and emotionally–as much as was possible given the circumstances), but I found myself living in a new paradigm.

Gone were the days of meals we prepared together, with children around the kitchen island stirring this batter or tossing that salad. Over were nights filled with cuddles and cozy blankets and whatever our favorite bedtime stories were that week. I had no time to even notice–much less mourn–for those days, since I was overwhelmed with caring for two high-need infants–nursing, changing, consoling. I stopped singing. I barely read. I couldn’t keep a journal to save my life. I don’t even think I could cry.

I hated the fact that my children, who had always brought such joy into my life, were now more of an item on a to-do list, an obligation, a responsibility. I lost myself, and I lost time building essential connections with my little people. I lost myself, too.

Recovery has taken years (especially considering that life’s journey isn’t stagnant–that we’ve continued to deal with personal and family illness, relocation, and other varied experiences that just come with life). Each step has brought blessings, but I wanted more. I wasn’t content to let time pass without gaining ground into becoming the mother I (still) want to be.

I’ve had great examples of mothers over the years–both women who have mothered me and women who have mothered my children. I’ve known women who have connected better with my little ones at times than I could. I’ve been blessed by women who have found joy in my children when I had none. I know they were sent to help me see I needed to get out of the state I was in–a state of mourning for the past, a state of dwelling on what time was lost, a state of sadness with what was my new life–a life I had agreed to live without knowing what the experience would entail.

And I needed a change. I needed a new heart–a healed heart–and a fresh start.

I have spent time in prayer over the last several months. My request has gone something like this:

“Heavenly Father, please bless me to understand and know the needs of my children. Please strengthen me with desires to meet their needs and bless their lives.”

I have tried to be more engaged. I have tried to work more with them. I have tried to listen to their stories and concerns. But I have still been tired. And frustrated. And disconnected.

Over a recent weekend, something changed, though. I felt like my prayers were finally answered. I woke up on a Sunday morning with a new strength and desire to bond with and teach my children. I still can’t explain what happened, but I know that something changed…and I think that something was my heart.

My heart has been filled with love for my little people–and not just my own little people, but others’ little people as well. My joy is full in my children. I have had energy and desires to read to them at night, to teach them to prepare today for tomorrow, to know what they are thinking and saying and feeling.

I feel like myself again. And I feel like a mother again…only with a little more wisdom.

I still have moments of frustration. My children still make poor choices and get upset. They still push their limits (especially if I am distracted). But they are my children, and I am their mother.

And I am happy being their mother.

Finally. ❤

artsy heart 2

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(I chose this heart image because my heart is filled with love for so many. The love pulls my heart this way and that, but the pulling gives me direction and energy I missed before I allowed my heart to change. Much love! xoxo)

Failure…& What Follows

Did you get one of these for Christmas?
Official Rainbow Loom Starter Kit Set MEGA Hot!  Guaranteed 100% Authentic!
No?

Well, I didn’t either. But one of my kiddos did. And, a few nights ago, I was schooling myself on YouTube trying to figure out how to create a “starburst” pattern on the loom.

I tried and looped and grabbed and crossed each band according to what I thought was the right way.

Guess what? When the time came to peel the woven bands from their temporary loom home, we only had two of the six starburst shapes that were even somewhat in tact.

Oops.

I failed at doing it.

Still, I searched over YouTube once again in hope of helping my child. We located a different video…one that was a bit longer, and created the second time what we thought we created the first.

This time, I was prepared for disaster. My daughter offered an audible prayer as I began to remove the twisted-band creation.

Fortunately, this one worked beautifully. And I thought how, on this first day of 2014, I was given a gift–the gift to know that I will fail.

All of us will. You know that list of goals or resolutions you made just a few days ago? Well, review them often. Try. Accomplish. Try. Fail. Try again. Learn and move on…and become better. Become better at life and living and loving and going and doing. Improve on the glorious you that you are already.

You can do it. And I can, too.

By failing at the beautiful rainbow loom bracelet, I was able to work more particularly the second time. My second attempt was nearly perfect. (My third one was a bust, again, though…while the fourth one was amazing.) But, I kept going…and working…and trying…and doing.

So, allow yourself to live and fail and succeed. You will find happiness in the long run for simply trying…and you might just pick up a few skills along the way (like Rainbow Loom bracelet creating). I know I did.  🙂

I Thought I Was Different

I recall bygone days filled with moments of his pleading for me to come eat lunch with him. I remember tying his little shoes in double knots because he didn’t know how to tie them if they came untied at school. I can still see him standing on a chair by the counter as we creamed butter, measured and poured in brown and white sugars, counted the eggs, and mixed in flour, baking soda, and salt. He always wanted to pour in the vanilla. I always placed a few extra chocolate chips on to the counter, just for him.

Now he can make cookies by himself…and tie his shoes that aren’t so little anymore.

He doesn’t ask me to meet him for lunch at school.

I thought I was different.

I knew other mothers around me who often shared this tell-tale caution openly: “They grow up too fast. Treasure every moment. Some day he won’t want you around as much.”

As he prepared last weekend to attend a dance with friends, I wanted to go so badly. I wanted to watch him experience the thrill of the dance floor, the upbeat music, the connection with friends. I wanted nothing more than for him to create amazing memories that would carry him through his youth and into adulthood.

He picked out his clothing and worked on styling his hair. When his ride arrived, I knew that moment so many mothers had cautioned me about was really here.

And, I wasn’t different after all.

But I have worked for over a decade to prepare him for these moments, and knowing he is learning each day to become a man helps to ease the separation.

I do hope that someday, maybe ten years from now, he will invite me to lunch again. I will sit across the table from him, and he will be grown and living on his own. I will tell him I am proud of the decisions he has made. But I will still hear echoes of that little kindergartener, so many years ago. I may shed a tear or two, as I am now.

But I will also smile in the happiness that we are not so different after all.


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Do We Eat Words?

While chatting with the preschooler today over markers and paper, I noted the letters my little one was drawing in rainbow colors across the tablet of white.  I remarked, “I like your letters.”

Preschooler:  “I LIKE letters.”

“Me, too,” I responded.

“I like words.”  Then, looking up from the markers and papers, these words spouted from little lips:  “What do we do with words?  Do we eat words?”

I smiled at the innocent question. “We don’t eat words.  Sometimes we spit words.  Sometimes we say words….”

I know that sometimes people talk of “eating their words” when discussing having to take back words or admit they were wrong…but try explaining that to a preschooler.  🙂  The question has given me pause, though.

In current parenting circles and educational venues, children are encouraged to “use [their] words” instead of acting out with their bodies in frustration or other emotions.  Sometimes the phrase “use your words” is used to promote verbal communication.  I have used it many times myself with my own children and with other little ones.  I find words intriguing, marvelous, powerful tools!  I love to use them to describe, to console, to communicate, to empower, to compliment, and to strengthen.  And so I leave you with this same question today as you consider life, liberty, and your personal pursuit of happiness:

What do you do with words?  🙂

(And, because every post is better with music…here’s “One Word” from Elliott Yamin that I found on Spotify to share with you…because we all know I love a good, upbeat, positive love song….)

Christopher Columbus…he sailed the ocean blue!

Well, following a teacher work-day Friday, the “normal” weekend (which, around here, is often anything but normal), and Columbus Day yesterday, I was a happy mommy to kiss my kiddos goodbye this morning for them to spend a day learning and bringing home bags full of papers, reading books, and various other homework items.  🙂  And, with the advent of Columbus Day, I am often reminded of a little poem (forgive me for not knowing the author) that we used to sing when I was in grade school:

Christopher Columbus…he sailed the ocean blue./He found a continent in 1492.

That little poem I learned way-back-when helped me numerous times when I was called upon to answer date questions in later history classes.  🙂  So, today I want to give a shout-out to all teachers…young and old, mine and yours…and everyone else’s (& especially today to my children’s current teachers).  All of you are amazing to devote your own education, time, efforts and energy to the teaching of our next generation.  Thank you for who you are and for all that you do!  You have touched my life, my family, our communities, and our nation.  Your impact will be felt for generations!  What you do each day is worth all the work, long hours, and frustrations.  You are making a difference.  In years to come, we may not remember your names or faces, but we will remember some little couplet or phrase, some tidbit of information or life lesson we learned while in your presence.  Under your tutelage, we became better individuals, more responsible citizens, and more equipped to face further educational and vocational opportunities.  Just as Christopher Columbus had people who supported and believed in his revolutionary ideas, you have supported and believed in us…sometimes when no one else did.  With your help, we enlarged our own minds and perspectives.  We may not be discovering continents, but we are engaging in various other efforts to bring continents and people together through diplomacy, friendship, and building a world of love and peace together.  Thank you, teachers, for believing in the impossible!  You have opened new continents of knowledge and enlightenment to us, empowering each of us to live better, more educated lives.  You are amazing!