Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year Joys

Happy new year!

The last Full Moon and a brand New Year is looming, and Solstice, and the Holidays right behind me.  It's time to reflect a bit.

We had a pretty slow December, as far as meet-ups go, so we are ending with a bang -we had a full house of Mamas and Babes today, with three brand new babies, and ten kiddos running wild, ooh, what a treat.  I just love it!  I just love my circle of beautiful loving mamas and their precious super fun babes.

It's one thing I'd like to continue to build -a tribe and circle of women and mamas to grow, learn and expand with.

I am excited about the prospect of a whole brand new year ahead of me full of love and chances, growth and wisdom, sitting and running, peace and chaos.

I feel a shift in our world, full of love, and hope, where we're all thinking about what's best for us all, not just ourselves.  I believe that by taking care of our homes, we are taking care of the world.  Light your candle right here, and illuminate the whole world with love.

Last year it seems that the word of the year was discovery.  Discovery of myself, what I am capable of, and how to mother two boys, take care of everyone and myself at the same time.  I made it out alive and wits fairly intact.  Whew.

This year, 2013 it seems like the words that come to mind are trust and courage.

...that things happen with time.
...that things are as they are meant to be.
...that I am enough.
...that they are enough. myself. others. love.
...that I have strength and capability.
...that I can't push the river.
...that with or without a plan, it's okay.
...that my heart will guide my hands and actions.
...that what I need is right here.
...that the seasons will guide me.

COURAGE be. act when it's time. leap. fall, even without a parachute. take chances. learn new things. step outside of the box, or at least lift up the lid. get back up. be still. be vulnerable. be who we need to be without worrying about what anyone else is doing.

I'm excited to receive my word(s) of the year necklace, hand stamped by the lovely Stacy De La Rosa of Bella Wish.

I have stepped into a circle at home with beautiful women and mothers.  I feel surrounded by love, support, and family.  I am supported by amazing women, who unconditionally love one another without judgement, who can listen, love and get it.  Women who only want the best for everyone, and themselves.

I am a part of the SouLodge community, with Pixie Campbell, and numerous other incredibly inspiring, loving women, where I can grow further as a woman, mother, artist, wild woman, and naturalist and walker of the medicine wheel.  You have four days to join me!  Come join us under the flap.

I am also in the midst of the Apothecary Circle with Laura Emily.  I am excited to learn more about holistic learning, herbs, and healing.  I will have the opportunity to become accredited in many different areas.  I'll follow my heart and see where this leads me.  Please come in, you have until the end of the year to join us.

I'm excited to also release a bit of my grip and let Z explore some more, without Mama.  I am always by his side, and of course I always will be here, but he's ready to step into a few more things, and explore himself without me always watching.  It's not easy for me, but I sense that he needs to do more away from home, and still stay at home with me.  I'm working on it.

I'm ready to jump in.

I feel the pull of the new year, and the release of the last one, and it feels good.

How about you?

Do you have a special word for 2012 and 2013?

Do you have any special plans for the next year?  I'd love to hear it.

Love, peace and light to you.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice

Winter sun shining
 light a fire, burn your fears
darkness dissipates 

How will you celebrate the Winter Solstice?

Here's a few more beautiful ideas from the ever lovely Pixie Campbell.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Monarchs

It's no secret that I love butterflies and fairies, so of course I've shared that love with the boys.

Last Spring we were at my mom's friend's house and she had a lovely Mexican Milkweed plant with monarch caterpillars munching away.  In the background along her wall and fence were gorgeous green chrysalises adorned with gold specks.  I fell in love, while Z peeked around and fell in love with her cats, Butterball and Loki.

My mom called a local garden center, The Great Outdoors, and waited until they had some Mexican Milkweed in their nursery.  We were stoked and headed down there with the boys.  They only had a handful left so I got one yellow and one orange.

We headed home to plant them after wondering around the gorgeous plants, discovering friends from the park while meandering, playing near and feeding koi in their awe inspiring pond, and admiring the wind chimes that are as big as a small car.

I put one in the boys' garden and one on the side of the house.

We lovingly tended to it all summer long, and awaited the return of the Monarchs as they migrate from up North through Texas on the way down to Mexico for the winter.  It's an amazing sight to behold during October as thousands upon thousands of monarchs flutter through town and stop to chow, pollinate our lands (thank you Monarchs!), and lay their eggs.

Since the Mexican milkweed is their host plant, and they loved all our other flowery plants, several came by and hung out in our garden.

This was the day after Z's fourth birthday, October 22

I was careful not to water the leaves as the eggs were delicately placed under them.  We kept vigil, eagerly anticipating the caterpillars and soon enough, the plant was crawling with them.

We watched them grow and grow, getting fatter and fatter, until one day most of them had disappeared from view and had built their chrysalises.  A few died, and we lovingly buried them in the garden.

Instead of looking the cycle up, I thought we'd just observe like the scientists and existentialists that we are.  Every day we headed out to see if anything had changed.  

Then two Sundays ago our first big freeze was expected.  

I figured that Nature knew what she was doing.  She always does.  We usually have really cold weather by now, so rest assured, I headed out to soak the gardens and my plants so that I could cover them later, as usual.  

I noticed a monarch struggling on the ground.  

My first thought was, "Aaaw.  He looks hurt or sick."

Then, "Why is there a monarch here in December?"

I got down closer and saw his wrinkled wings and immediately knew what just happened.

This precious being had just birthed out of the cocoon.

All I could do was pause in awe.  And remember what an amazing journey had just taken place right in our yard.  There are miracles everywhere, but this one seemed so special, since we had watched and waited for over half a year, patiently expecting it.  I love Jena Strong's words about the metamorphosis process.

After a few moments I called for Z to come witness our blessing.

He ran outside and I asked him to gently put his hand out, and let it crawl on if it wanted to.  He was so eager, but so patient, and he did as I asked him to, and lo and behold, it did.  He was just giddy with excitement.

I explained that our first huge cold front was already on it's way, and the butterfly is ready to fly south, but it has to grow first.  I pointed out it's still crumpled wings, and then decided to witness the miracle, instead of talk about it.  There's always time for that.  It fluttered to the ground where I asked him to help me place it back on the Milkweed and it could finish the expansion process from there.

Before we knew, it had fluttered off, to continue it's journey.

I stood in awe the whole rest of the day.

Every day, we are born and reborn, so many times, in so many ways, in constant flux.

We grow, transform, expand, and spread our wings and fly when it's time.

We are the cycles of nature.

When we pay attention to nature, we are paying attention to ourselves and what we need.

I am so grateful that we witnessed it all.  Every single step of the way.

Gorgeous wrinkled wings, expanding and growing every moment

Z loving the Monarch

"Look, Mama, he loves me!!!"


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Hot Cocoa Incident of 2012

A friend passed down this camo outfit.  It finally fits!

Last night, Z wanted to go outside as the sun was setting, right as dinnertime was approaching, and Daddy was about to be home.  I suggested that we eat dinner, and go have a special hot cocoa night outside.  We could run around and play during the super cold dark night.  Sounds awesome, right?

He was stoked!

Dad came home, "Dad!!  It's Daddy-dude night and we're going to have hot cocoa outside!!!!"

These are the things we remember as children, the special things we do together as a family.

We ate dinner then I got our clothes ready.  Of course, even though he wanted to go out, didn't want to get dressed.  I reminded him a few times as I warmed the milk, and finally he was dressed.  Yes!

He asked which cup was his.  I asked which one he wanted.  I smiled and pointed, "That's your cup."

Our special Christmas hot cocoa mugs

The curious four-year old that he is, of course he grabbed it to look at it.  I wasn't looking, and hot cocoa went everywhere.  I guess I forgot to tell him his cup was full of cocoa.  Oops.  It splashed from his face, to his toes, into a puddle at his feet, down the counter, on the counter, and hit every dish on the way down.  Thankfully, it wasn't super hot.

He was devastated.  He was covered in cocoa, and of course thought he had lost all his cocoa to top that off.  Immediately, tears welled in his eyes, and I just saw the sadness.  I could feel my heart ache for him.  "My cocoa!!!  Now I don't have any more cocoa!!!  And it's all over me.  Aaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!"

I got down to him, "It's okay.  It's just an accident."  (A really sucky, super messy accident, but an accident)  "Take your shirt off.  Go get a new one.  I'll clean this up.  It's okay."  I smiled.  Tears continued to well up, and it just broke my heart.  He took a deep breath.

Daddy came in and witnessed the mess.  I could see the frustration.  I explained that it was an accident. He didn't want to go outside, "He doesn't even seem to want to go out.  Why are you pushing this?"

I knew he was tired and wanted to chill.  Deep breath.

"Because, he does want to go outside.  He just waiting on me to get the cocoa made, and get us ready, and then we'll go out."

He walked off to help Z find his coat, shaking his head and mumbling.  I just took a deep breath, and cleaned the mess, and it was a mess.

But that's what I do.  Mama Been: mess cleaner.

It was dang near Bodhi's bedtime by now, but he was feeling the energy and excited.

Finally, the cocoa was finished!

I snagged my coat, got Bodhi's on and we headed out.

They dashed out the door, ready to play under the stars on the wintery night.  I thought, "Bodhi doesn't even remember cold like this.  Damn, it's cold."

Bodhi was excited and ran for the bikes.  Z, my little dude with a sweet tooth, sat down for cocoa.

Itty bitty marshmallows.

Pretty tasty!

They were adorable, so bundled up, and so excited.  I took a few pictures.  I said to Daddy, "Keep an eye on Bodhi."  I went to snap a picture and BAM, Bodhi grabbed the hot cocoa and spilled it.

Both boys cried.

The crying stopped when Z realized it wasn't his cocoa, and Bodhi realized it wasn't really that scary.  Whew!  Thankfully only his hand and a small spot on his pants was wet.

It was my cocoa, of course.  That's fine.

Dad was done.  "I'm going inside."

We chalked it up to just a crazy night, and ran to swing under the stars.

We drank cocoa in the tiny house, climbed the playscape, slid a few times, went to swing on the big swing together, all cuddled and bundled up, and by then sweet Bodhi was super tired, and hands and face were so cold.

It's a funny thing about little people.  They strip their gloves, and hat, and feel the cold.  It's so new to them, even if it's a little uncomfortable, they appreciate the novelty of it.  I love seeing the world through their eyes, with their great appreciation for such small things.

We called it a night, and with the promise of heading out again in the morning, dawdled all the way to the door.

I could see the tired smile on the boys faces, and it brought a smile to my face.  We peeled off the layers, and headed up to get ready for bed.  Bodhi fell asleep first, then I headed in to read with Z.

He fell asleep a happy boy.

I've never been a fan of cold, but when there are two small boys reveling in it's joy and mystery, it makes me love it.  There are so many things I didn't appreciate, and overlooked, and made up opinions about, without ever feeling it, before I had children.

I love these boys.

They open my heart, and open my eyes, and see everything as special and something to appreciate, especially the simple stuff, and even when everything is covered in sticky hot cocoa.

Helping brother with his hat

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Love = Attention

Mama and Z riding the ferris wheel together at the Christmas Fair

In the last several months, and especially the last several weeks, Z has said "I love you" with increasing frequency.  So much that the last few days I really paused to reflect on it.

The other afternoon, I noticed that he does it especially when he knows that he has my full attention.  He feels my presence, and we are doing things together, not just side by side.

It's also his way of expressing gratitude.  He's saying, "Hey, I'm glad for this, right here.  I love you.  Thank you for being here."

He says it when I am listening to him, taking into account his point of view, and not forcing feelings or my point of view on him.

It comes out when I respect him, and his space, and allowing him to make his own choices, and learn through mistakes and trial and error.

He utters it when he knows that I see him as his own person.  Not just a son, a brother, but Z.

He says it out of the blue.  Out of pure love.

This shows that love really is attention.

I love this boy more than the universe.  He has my heart in his hands.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cooking & Baking Season

My favorite spaghetti sauce

During the summer, I must confess, I am not super inspired to cook.  Staying indoors, over a hot stove and near a hot oven, in a hot state, while just plain hot, drains me.

Plus I'm slow, and even with prep, it takes a while.  You can't rush awesome, and if it's made with love, it takes time.

Of course we also have to account for tiny hands, requests, fusses, and messes, 'cause that's how we roll with two tiny boys!

To top that off, who wants to be indoors when we can be playing in the sunshine until dang near bedtime!

Enter the Fall Equinox, and the Winter Solstice that looms ahead.

The slowing down begins.

The winds shift.

The cool Fall breezes come, we're back into the full swing of preparing, and loving hot meals and baked goodness of all kinds.  We're not just scrambling for leftovers and what I have in the freezer, or (gasp) getting something to-go.  Ahem, sometimes a little too often.

We're ready to slither indoors late in the afternoon, after we've soaked up as much radiant sunshine as our sweet faces can absorb.

Our bodies demand warmth, and hearty nourishment, three warm meals a day.  Warm breakfast and dinner are the best when the cool weather slows us down.  It fills our belly, and we relax, and release, and prepare for our slow beginning or nightly mini-hibernation.

Just like my Grandmothers' homes, ours smells like food all day.  I just love the idea of the boys living in a home where we do all the work, and they bare witness to the being a part of the mysteries of our rhythm, and preparing that which nourishes and sustains us.

So far this week, we've cooked up a rich vegetable soup, fresh veggies, put the Thanksgiving Day ham bone to good use with a huge pot of butter beans, and just finished a huge pot of beans and rice.  I'm ready to make another huge batch of spaghetti sauces -one veggie and one meaty.  Most of the pie is gone (wipes tears) so we'll be making sweet something soon.

We love it.

Warm hearty meals are so good for the soul.

What are your favorite hearty wintery meals?

Thursday, November 29, 2012


When we're sick or under the weather, our world slows down.

And we stop.

We take care of only the bare necessities, rest, and whatever we have left, play around with.

I was taught how to take care of myself, and my little ones by my loving, caring Mom.

I remember getting scolded when I worked for actually staying at home to rest when I was sick.  Imagine that!  I remember thinking people that came to work sick, when they didn't have to, were a little nuts, and risked getting everyone else sick.  But I listen to my body and my gut, and when we're down, we stop.

I'm not one to push us really.  We know our pace, and the pace of nature, and we honor and respect that.  We're rarely rushed, and hardly over-scheduled.  And we're happy that way.

We can do things according to our calendar, but easily take up an offer that makes us smile even bigger.

Another way to say it is, we play by ear.

Monday we felt a off.  Just not totally there.  We chilled around the house, rested around, and played outside.  Then that night before bed I thought "I wonder if we are getting sick?"

Sure enough, on Tuesday, I woke up to an unhappy, sad and extra tired baby, and a not so spunky boy.  I felt tired, so we took it easy, played downstairs after not hardly touching breakfast.

Before I knew it, sweet Bodhi was laying on the floor on a toy and said "ni ni", closed his eyes, and started to fall asleep.  At 9:30!  Beyond a doubt, I felt what was coming.

I held him and he nursed, and as he fell asleep in my arms, and rested long and deep, while Z and I built a whole city, complete with every superhero you could imagine.  I also made some vegetable soup, so that we could just call it a day!

Then, the sweet baby woke up with a fever.

Sick babies are so so sad.

I nursed him, and we rested, rubbed on some Thieves Oil and Oreganol.  Ate as much as we could, and on and off, we napped, and lazed around.

It always drives a mama a little nuts when her boys don't want to eat, but they know how to listen to their bodies, admittedly, better than me sometimes.

Thankfully, yesterday, we arose with timid smiles, and Daddy was off, so the day was good.

I am grateful that we honor our body's rhythm.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How Do You Do It?

Picture is courtesy of Z's friend

As a mother of two small children, I am often asked, "How do you do it?  Aren't you tired all the time?"

I love, play with, adventure with, feed, bathe, tend to, problem solve, prevent meltdowns, deal with meltdowns, keep them occupied, encourage, observe, help sleep, help go back to sleep, cuddle, nurse, clean a 2,000 square foot home, find tiny snippets of time for myself to relax, and create, and organize, and a few breaks here and there, and heaven knows what else, for about 14 hours straight each day.

My first instinct is to laugh.

There is no response but, "Yes.  You just do."

It really is as simple as that.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day!

Happy Thanksgiving to you, and your family and friends!

Best.  Dressing.  Ever.
Making a vegetarian version. 

**Order among chaos.
Being organized, so that leaves room to help
and not flip out!!**

**Making tons of dressing, mac and cheese, green bean casseroles, pie and a ham, 
and it doesn't feel so much like work, but just what I do.**

**Neighbors taking family walks.**

**Children playing.**


If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Twenty-One

**You -friends, and family.**

**A husband that loves to spend time at home, and with his family.**

**Two gorgeous boys, that are growing as sweet and kind, as they are beautiful.**

**Our comfortable, beautiful home.**

**Good healthy food for our table, and a growing garden year round.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Twenty

**Heart-felt smiles, returned from a stranger.**

**Strangers that go out of their way to help you.**

**People that pack groceries right.**

**Being *this close* to finishing that huge to-do list.**

**Making the time to sit on the cushion on a busy day!!!**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Nineteen


**Silly boys.**

**My children will eat anything, and love healthy food, and despise most junk food.**

**Daddy is off for a whole week!**

**A freshly mopped floor, by one wonderful husband.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Eighteen

**Birthday love from near and far.**

**Delicious birthday dinner made by Mom.  
Vegetarian lasagna, gorgeous salad and orange chiffon cake.**

**Mysteriously the Apothecary Circle group began on my birthday eve!
This is one of my birthday presents and it officially starts on the New Year!**

**Lovely new Herb Book.**

**Gorgeous Fall Flowers and silly cards.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Intentions + Thanksgiving, Day Seventeen

Today is my own personal new year, my 32nd birthday.

I am grateful for my life, my children, family, friends, and all the beautiful, amazing people and creatures that I share this life with in this gorgeous universe.  Every moment, whether up or down, truly is a blessing.

The Universe provides me with quite a beautiful show each year with the Leonid Meteor shower.

Also, for my birthday I signed up for this Apothecary Circle (thanks Mom!), and surprisingly, even though it doesn't start until the New Year, a group was created on my birthday eve, and the invitation sent to dig in already.

I'll also be enjoying a home-cooked veggie lasagna and orange chiffon cake made by Mom tonight, on my beautiful new dishes.

What a lucky girl I am; I couldn't be more elated.

I'm also celebrating by setting my intentions for the year, and reflecting upon the intentions that I set last year.  They were a silent guide, that I checked back in with from time to time.  They were with me every step of the way, and will be the remainder of my life, because they are a part of me, and always have been -I just have to remember them sometimes.

Intentions seep out of my heart, and deep into the marrow of my bones, to chart the course for what lays ahead.  They're remembering what's important, and where I've been and where I am going, as well as where I am right now.

These intentions are purposely open-ended, with space around them, accepting and ready for what comes my way.

Every day is a new day, and we can never have too much love in our heart.

**Honoring every being, space and moment as sacred.**

**Unconditional love.**



**Sensing. **

**Gratitude. **




**Not rushing, or being too busy.**

**Offering help, and not being afraid to accept it myself.**

**Taking care of what's in front of me.**

**Non-judgemental awareness.**

**There's always time, space and room.**

**Know that no matter where I am or what I am doing, 
that I am right where I'm meant to be, and need to be.**

**Know that this is enough, right here, right now.**

**My life is my practice.**

**I am whole.**

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Sixteen

it's the things that you do over and over,
countless times,
that you sometimes don't want to claim is life.
but it is.
so you do it.
and that's all there is to it.
you can carry on,
less effortlessly,
less mindlessly,
more mindfully,
whatever you want to call it.
but you carry on.
i'm grateful, so grateful, to carry on
another year
another month
another day
another moment
in this life
as it is
right now

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Fifteen


**The peace I feel when I paint and create with the boys.  
Watching them love it as much as I do.**

**Seeing the world through the eyes of my children.**

**Pixie Campbell & my SouLodge sisters.**

**A new little baby girl coming Earthside today.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Fourteen

**Playdays where every awesome Mama and babe makes it.**

**Surprise delicious lace chocolate toffee cookies.  Thanks, Grandma!**

**Jena Strong, and her perfect, timeless words.**

**Red tailed hawks soaring by.**

**Finding gorgeous striped feathers.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Thirteen

Me and Mom

**My mother's birthday TODAY.**

**My mother's unconditional love, compassion and caring heart.**

**Being blessed with motherhood myself.**

**Heart flutters.**

**The sweet look Bodhi gets when his eyelids flutter to sleep
as he peacefully nurses and cuddles me.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Twelve

The view from the road down the mountain to Mountain View,  Arkansas.

One of the best trips I ever took was in the Summer of 2007
with Grandmother and Mom.  We explored my roots in Arkansas.
I am so grateful that I stayed up every night to record our day trips in my journal.
She was an amazing woman and storyteller, and had a pretty awesome life.






If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Eleven

We planted our Mexican Milkweed in the Spring,
and awaited these beautiful Monarchs who arrived last month on their way to Mexico.
Just this week the plant is swarming with caterpillars.

**Monarch caterpillars on our Mexican milkweed.**

**Doing nothing, which is often better than something.**

**My boys' uncles.**

**Fall breeze.**

**Karen Maezen Miller.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Ten

Rest in Peace, little buddy
**Remembering our sweet boy, Paco,  
and the fourteen years we shared with him.
Last year seems like yesterday**

**A three day weekend with Daddy home.**

**French Press coffee.**


**Gorgeous clouds.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Nine





**Trees and plants**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Eight

**Going to bed early, and not waking up tired.**

**Hanging with a good friend, and her adorable girl.**

**Gorgeous deer, that stop by to say hello everyday.**

**Our growing garden.**

**When things don't go as I'd like them to or someone does something I don't like,
I can choose to be accepting and forgiving,
instead of expect people to be only as I wish they were.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Seven

**The American People.**

**The illusion of division.**

**Four more years.**

**Unconditional love.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Six

**Waking up to a smiling babe, and family cuddles.**

**A new day.  Every day.**

**Playing in mud in November.**

**Giving and receiving smiles.**

**Letting things go.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Four & Five

**Special birthday dinners for an amazing husband, and best friend,
at a nice restaurant.  Just the two of us.**

**Surprise ice cream cakes, brought by mom.**

**Having a migraine, asking for help, and not having to worry.**


**Beautiful flocks of birds, playing in the yard, on a sunny Fall day.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Three

**Beautiful surprises.**

**Grandma brought us breakfast, then we got to go hang out at her house.**

**Dinner with old friends, from out of town, and anticipating their move back to Texas.**

**A quiet peaceful night, with a little time alone.**

**Recognizing anger and frustration, instead of over-acting or acting upon it.  
Or acting upon it, and recognizing the emotions, and suffering, that comes from my own actions.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day Two

Thanksgiving, Day Two

**Being married to my best friend, who loves me unconditionally,
and supports me no matter what, as I do him.**

**Z is becoming an awesome big brother, and more patient than I ever expected.**

**People that make me think.**

**Knowing without a doubt that we are all deeply connected to one another.
Even when it seems unlikely, we all have a lot more in common than we think.**

**Friends that come and play at the last minute.**

If you are curious about my gratitude journal, here's Day One.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thanksgiving, Day One

Everyday is good for giving thanks, but November is such a special month.  Not only do we have Thanksgiving Day to celebrate, we have five major November birthdays, right on the heels of Z's October Birthday.  Grandma, Daddy and Mama all have November birthdays, as well as Uncle Beau and Papaw.

Whew!!!  This is an awesomely busy time of year.

I thought it would be nice to do an online gratitude journal, in addition to my regular old hand written one.  So here it goes...

Day One:

*Still happy about Halloween and trick-or-treating.*

**Honoring our ancestors as we celebrate Dia de los Muertos today.**

**A gorgeous warm and sunny Fall day with clear blue skies.**

**Visit from a Red Tail Hawk.**

**Delicious fettucine alfredo with spinach pasta.**

And by the way, my handwritten was inspired by many of you, but especially Awesomely Awake.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Four -The Birth Story

Next Sunday I will be the mama of a four year old.

What an amazing journey this boy and I have had for four revolutions around the sun.

It's a time where I reflect deeply on how much has changed and how much change there is to come for that beautiful boy, and myself.

Last night he asked me to tell him the story of his birth.

This has made me quite uncomfortable in the past, because my the births of both of my boys surrounds me with both love and darkness.  They were both caesarean sections.  I induced with Z, at almost two weeks past due, out of fear, and not having as big of a support system that I do now.  I didn't know then what I know now.

So instead of let this be something to tie my stomach in knots and place a lump in my throat I dove in head first, lighter than ever.

"Well, you stayed in my womb for a long time!  You must have been pretty comfy because you didn't want to come out!  (He laughs, that big belly laugh of a four year old)  So I asked the doctor about you and he said maybe we should try and get that boy to come out!  (He laughs more)  So they gave me some special medicine one night, and you sure must have thought it was more comfortable in there, because at first you just stayed put.  Then you wiggled, and twisted, and pushed, trying to come out, and my body tried hard to help you come out, and the doctor tried hard to help you come out.  But you were just too comfy I guess!  So the doctor said, "Mama, are you ready to hold your boy?" and I told that doctor, "YES, I am ready to hug my boy."  So he had to give me a little cut on my belly here (I show him my scar), and helped pull you out into the world.  We were so happy to see you we just cried, and cried, and everybody was there to meet you -Grandma, Grandpa, your uncles, and aunts, and cousins, friends, everybody!  You are the most beautiful special thing that ever happened to me, and I love you with my whole heart.  Then Daddy helped weigh you and measure you, and they brought you back to me and you nursed and nursed and nursed, and I never wanted to put you down.  Everyone asked me, "Mama, are you ever going to put that boy down?" and I'd answer, "Nope.  I love him.  And our hearts belong together."  And that's how our story began."

It was the first time I had ever told him our story without tears of sadness, guilt, or shame.  There's obviously a lot more to it.  I had a horrible, gut wrenching, scary induction, and caesarean.  But that's not important anymore.  I don't need to re-live the trauma.  I've done that too many times to count.  He doesn't need to hear that, especially at four years old.

There sure can be a lot of those emotions around non-natural births, and as one beautiful soul said, the "dogma around natural birth".  I am blessed because here at home, and through Momma Zen, in the Autumn SouLodge, I have met a group of beautiful supportive, unconditionally loving, amazing, mamas and women that know how to make a sister feel loved and whole.  I have finally, in the last year, sought out more and more support from friends, mamas, and communities of Soul Sisters.  I have told my husband how I feel, really feel, and he is beginning to get it.

I have met so many beautiful mamas with opposite experiences from mine, and some of the guilt, shame and sadness crept in, some told and some untold.  I've also met a lot of mamas, in real life, and some online in groups, that made me feel that their way of giving birth was superior.  But really, it's not.  We mamas have to stick together and be there for one another, support one another, and share stories, and experiences, no matter what they are.

Then I finally built myself up to it, and watched The Business of Being Born about a month ago.  Something shifted, and I cried and cried and sobbed like I can't remember.  I thought, "Why didn't I see this five years ago?"  But then it hit me over and over, and I realized, that I can't change my past, I don't need to change, or make my story better or worse than it is, it is my story, in my voice.  I didn't write it all, it wrote itself in a way, and that's fine.

I have put a lot of thought into it all.  I feel like I am in the final throws of letting go of the negativity.  I am sick of judging my story as bad.

My boy is about to be four.  That's a lot of time to carry around such unnecessary harmful judgements that serve nothing and no one.  I will deal with the feelings as they arise.

If you met us you would have no idea that I had such emotion surrounding our birth story.  Truth be told, the moment I held him, my world shifted in a way that is nearly unexplainable.  I fell so deeply in love, like never before, and none of it mattered until some moments where I sat alone and over-thought the tragedy around inductions and caesarean sections, and not having the birth I had dearly wanted.  We are deeply close and attached to one another, in such a special bond, and isn't that all that matters?

My boys are happy and healthy, and so am I.  This story can make me stronger, not weaker, I just have to let go of some of my ideas.  Not feed the negativity, but not ignore it, and in time it weakens and subsides.

Something has also been shifting in me in the last months.  Between Bodhi's first birthday in July and Z's fourth birthday, which is a month before mine, I feel that I am coming to see things for what they are, more than what I make them to be.  I am paying attention to my heart and intuition more than ever, and more than that, being okay with it and trusting it.  I am learning to follow that which matters, and let things that no longer help or serve me fall away.  Layers are shedding, shadows are being explored, with less judgement, and I am opening up further.  I am holding fear's hand, treating it tenderly with love, instead of letting it lead and break me down.  And it feels good to have a community and a practice, which supports not only the light but the dark.

It feels beautiful to be a woman and a mother.  More now than ever before.

I have also realized that I don't have to feel guilty about staying at home.  Like I need to be doing something more. -these unfortunate feelings creep in from time to time.  I'm learning to tell it like it is.

I am thinking about how things happen in time, in my own pace, and how I can't push the river.  I am not behind on  my path.  I am on my path.  I don't have a lot of time for my own work and creative journey, but little by little I am exploring it more.  An hour here, 15 minutes there.  Sometimes I just have to ask for space, and not feel guilty!

The wheels are cranking in my own creative work, thanks to my Creative Courage course, Ordinary Writing Prompts, and of course SouLodge, among other amazing people in my life that are following their hearts and living their dreams.  I am blessed to be right here, right now, at this time in my life.

I took these courses, and tasks on, to remind myself that it's okay to think about what I want to do in life, even if I don't have time to focus on anything for myself too hard or long right now.  I am learning some new tools on how to ask the right questions, and explore things deeper.  I am learning how to make the most of my space and time, and not just spin my wheels, and procrastinate, some days doing what I feel is a waste of my time -worrying and thinking without action.  It's also when I know that I need to sit on the cushion more!  Sometimes I need a little structure to guide my tired mama brain, without making me feel overwhelmed.

I also just read these beautiful words and feel that they are perfectly fitting.  Thank you, Stacy at Clover and Sage.  Yesyesyes!:

Vision (soil prep|seed planting) 
+ Action (cultivating|nurturing|weed pulling)
+ Trust (Harvest|Gathering|Bounty) 
= Living your vision (restoration|nourishing|reflection)

So this was a lot, a lot to set free, out of my mind, and into space.  Kind of a double birth story.  The one of my sweet boy, and the one of a mama coming into herself.

I am eternally grateful for my path.  As long and hard as it is.  Because it has made one strong mama with a ton of love in her heart.

I am grateful for my support, and my two little teachers.


Friday, October 12, 2012

This Moment

{these moments} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by SouleMama.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beef Stew

Grandmother gave me many gifts, which have been handed down for generations.  Simple family secrets about how to nourish your body and soul.

I imagine that every mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother before her passed them on by silently working side by side with every future generation, whether they were paying attention or not.

They are a part of my soul.  They are in my blood.  They are who I am.  They are who my children will be.

One of them arrived silently the first time I made beef stew all by myself.

She had written down many recipes, had given me her recipe books, and prepared many Sunday dinners as I watched from below.  As a child, she never told me the recipes, but she guided my young hands, and showed me what to do.  I can't say I recall any measurements, much less seeing her measure much of anything.  She just knew what to do.

I heard many a story about her mother, and Grandfather's mother, and the mothers before them, as they grew up in the countryside of Arkansas.   It was where Grandfather said, "you never knew where the depression began or where it ended."

She grew up on a farm, her father gone most of her earliest years, sick with tuburculosis.  As the story goes, he snuck out of the hospital and she was conceived.  Blondie Raye was born in a blizzard on Valentines Day, in a small home on in the mountains, into the hands of a thirteen year old girl, as her young older sister sat nearby.

Her life began the hard way, as future generations didn't.  They killed their own food, and canned, and froze goods for the winters and future seasons.  She struggled and treaded water most of her life.  Grandfather worked in the family's Gowens General Store, and eventually together they ran the Rainbow Cafe before they set off to make a life of their own.

She carried every secret with her on how to make good country food.  She knew how to improvise, and make something out of what some would see as nothing.  She probably baked thousands of cobblers, cakes and dinner rolls.  Stirred countless beef stews and chilis.  And when it was time shared it with me, her only grandchild, a the female, born of one of her two sons.

Before I had children, I could burn cereal.  Baking was another deal altogether though.  I luckily had that gift from early on.  But, after getting pregnant I decided I had to learn how to cook.  Some of my fondest memories were sitting in my Grandmother and Nana's kitchens.  They always smelled like food, home cooked meals three times a day.  I wanted the same for my children.  I love that they can sit side by side as I make hearty, healthy food to nourish us.

So a few years ago I decided to make beef stew.  The hard headed woman that I am I decided to take it on alone, and see what I could pull off.  I gathered the ingredients, searched a few recipes to make sure I had it all right, because I had no idea about the spices.  I always figure the simpler the better.  I wanted to surprise myself, and her.

Stew meat, carrots, potatoes, onions, beef stock, pepper, salt, rosemary, parsley, and corn starch sat out on the counter.  I browned the meat, added the spices and stock and simmered it about an hour.  Just before the timer went off I thickly sliced the carrots, potatoes, and onions, and prepared a few teaspoons of corn starch to pour in.  There were no measurements, just the thought of getting it just right.  I simmered it about another hour and during that time the kitchen smelled like my Grandmother's home.

I haven't ate meat in years but decided to taste it.  Somehow, the recipe was in my bones, in my blood, and I had pulled it off.  I made Grandmother's stew.

That's how so many of our gifts come.  Invisibly, silently, handed down from heart to heart, hand to hand, full of love.  They are given when we aren't even looking, and aren't sure we're really paying attention. Then one day, we look up, and they are there right in front of us.

It reminds me to be careful of what I do and what I share, because it will linger for generations to come.

Last night, on a cool Fall evening, we sat down around the table, and all my boys shared Grandmother's stew.

Thank you, GG.

What are some favorite gifts passed down to you from generations ago?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Even Daredevils Get Scared

Z is a daredevil.  That kid makes my heart race like nothing ever before.  He will climb, jump and explore anything that he physically can.

I'm the mom that gets stares at the park because, "Should he be climbing that?"  "Yes."

Scaling the uber slide

If he can reach it, he will climb it.
He'd attempt this before he could do it.

I let him push boundaries, safely of course.  He won't learn if he doesn't try.

It makes me happy that he's so daring, because I really wasn't as a kid.  He has taught me so many things, and being fearless is one of them.  It's not that he isn't a bit afraid or weary to try, but he will try anyways.

"Courage is not the absence of fear.  It's acting in spite of it." 
Mark Twain

So yesterday, we got a huge surprise.

We went to the Pecan Street Festival, and were having a blast people watching, snacking on fair food, and enjoying all the handmade crafts, gorgeous art, and unique vendors.  We found an Angry Birds hat.  Great music.  We even found his uncle!

Then we spied a tiny carnival just for kids.  A little ferris wheel, bouncy houses and slides, a giant slingshot and itty bitty carousel.  Score!

Z saw the huge ferris wheel from a mile away.  He smiled, his eyes gleamed and he yelled, "I want to ride that!"  The best part was, that he was big enough that he could.  We waited for tickets and as soon as we approached the ride, they took a break.  He was bummed, but the huge bouncy slide next door called his name.  The anticipation mounted as we peeked over to see if it was about to open up.  

Finally, it opened back up, and we raced over to the line.  He eagerly got into the tiny cage with another boy and we sat on the sideline waving and smiling.  I had my camara ready sure I would capture some huge smiles and waves.  

He got one full circle, with a huge smile the whole way.  I could see that he was soaking in this new experience, so happy he was there, and so curious, and so high up.  Then the ride stopped with him at the top.  Immediately, his face went from happy to unsure.  Very very unsure.  The guy running the ride had to get four more kids in the other cars then he would start again.  

Z looked at me and Dad to see if he was okay.  I could sense that he wanted out, but didn't want to freak him out.  I felt his nervous energy, and it was highly unusual for my little Danger Boy.  

The other kid was way rowdy, and bouncing the cart all over, and smiling and banging on the wall.  Z looked at him as seriously as he could and said, "Sit down."  The kid could sense he was nervous, so he sat down, but continued to yell.  (Thank you, kid.)  Z just looked at me.  I waved and smiled with a look like "you're okay".

Z stood up and walked to the door, and said, "I want out."  I replied, "It's okay.  Sit down, please.  The ride is about to start, he just has to get these kids in.  Okay?"  Again, the look of confidence, as best I could muster.  He trusted me, and sat down.  I could see it in his face he didn't want to.  

If he was seriously scared, or freaking out I would have done something, but he was learning his boundaries, and what he can handle.  The big thing is that he trusted us.  And he gave it a chance.

If the ride had just moved he would have been fine, but he was stuck at the top, for a little over a minute, with a rowdy kid, swinging, and trapped.  It broke my heart.  I very rarely see my boy scared.  I want to always be able to comfort him when he needs it, and gladly I was able to as much as possible.

The ride started again.  He was better, but not as happy as he had hoped he would be.  He barely waved.  I didn't want to force a smile from him, ignore his feelings, and pretend he was just fine, because it wasn't to him.  I did want him to know I thought he was okay.

And he was.

It was also sad to see my happy boy so forlorn.  He was so excited, then so quickly disappointed.

The ride stopped, and he stood up immediately.  He got out, and did not want to ride it again, as I thought he would before.  He didn't want to talk about it, but said something about not liking to be stuck at the top.  I said I understood, and smiled.  

On the way out of the carnival area, I saw a mom struggling with a few kids and handed her the rest of our tickets.  Hopefully they would have more fun on it than us.

Ever have an experience like that with your kid?

Did they demand escape or make it through?

How did you handle it?

It's so sad.