Trashy Tuesday

9 trash bags full of clothes

1 bag full of toys

6 trash bags full of trash

That is what left my house this past week. 

Part of me is very mad at myself because I did something to aggravate my rotator cuff injury, so I spent most of the week on pain medication with a heating pad.  I feel as if my well planned vacation with the girls was totally lost. 

But in my effort to make positive decisions this year, I am trying to look at the positive instead of the what could have beens.  

My youngest now can use her closet.

By letting go of all those clothes I am accepting what is and looking forward to the next stage of life.

My house is much less of a fire hazard with all those papers out of it.

My girls are learning how to give to others.

My girls have created a home for each of their belongings and can put things away without having to think or work too hard at it.

My allergies will get better without all the clutter.

I really do feel freer with all those things gone!

I  am less overwhelmed and can see the individual jobs that need to be done to continue decluttering.

The time resting this week did allow my body to recover from the stress of the last few months and has given me the energy I need to face the next few weeks of darkness and joyfully anticipate spring.

Motivation Monday – Taking the time for the imporant things

One doesn’t fall in love one grows into love,

and love grows in him

(author unknown)

Holding Hands shadow on sand

Image via Wikipedia

This past weekend Hubby and I had the chance to go on a couple dates.  The girls had a sleep over with a friend one night and then had a pizza party at my oldest’s Tae Kwon Do school the next.

Hubby and I did nothing terribly exciting.

We went to dinner where we imbibed in an adult beverage.

We got to eat while our food was still warm.

We rented a movie that was not rated G.

We slept in the next day.

We went to a restaurant and drank endless cups of coffee and compared our date-books and dreamed and schemed about paint colors and decorating ideas for the house.

If you had asked me 21 years ago what a perfect date was, I would have rattled off some grandiose evening with flowers and a fancy dinner and dancing and………

Now I have learned that my perfect date is about time and undivided attention.  It is about holding hands while saying grace over the meal.  It is about sharing jokes only he understands.  While falling in love with him was wonderful, growing in love with him is amazing.

Motivation Monday – Personal Growth Update

The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
Robert Cushing

 

Well, I did it.

I made it through the church social function.

I drove there – BY MYSELF

I entered the venue – BY MYSELF

I walked around all the tables and looked at the decorations – BY MYSELF

I initiated a conversation with a woman I had never met before – BY MYSELF

And you know what –

I had a great time.

A friend of mine showed up a little later and we sat together.  We had been friends at our old parish.  I did not realize that she was part of this parish until I ran into her dropping her son off at VBS a couple of years ago.  Life had gotten in the way and other than saying a quick hello, we had not had the chance to reconnect. She had encouraged a mutual friend of ours to come along to the event. All three of us sat together, drank wine, ate, laughed, and listened to an awesome presentation.  I even won a door prize!

After the scheduled part of the evening was over, my friend and I stood around and chatted for another hour.

We laughed some more, cried a little, learned how much we each grown over the last few years.  The years fell away as we shared as only women can.

Snow Falling at Night

Image by ♥ Crystal Writer ♥ via Flickr

As I walked out to my car it was snowing.  The world was quiet as it only is when blanketed by snow.  The flakes glittered as they passed through the street light beams.  I walked along, quietly humming Christmas carols, occasionally trying to catch a snow flake on my tongue, and praised God that He had given me the strength to meet this personal challenge and allowed me to find Him the heart of another woman.

Wacky Wednesday – Goals, Gifts and Memories

Goals

Yesterday I posted about a new goal that I am starting.  I even bragged that I had started a new habit.  Do you know how I know I have a new habit?  Do you even want to know?  Sure you do.

I use an online program called HabitForge.  It is a free program that allows you to set up your desired habit.  The program will then send you an e-mail each day asking if you followed-thru the day before.  It then has a little diagram showing how well you are doing.   I am one that loves to mark things off (to-do lists are my specialty, though I do have issues actually working them).  Being reminded each day keep me on track.  At the end of 21 days you have the option of continuing getting reminders for the next 3 weeks or ending it.

Gifts

No, this part is not about Christmas, or even about gifts for just me.  This is about the gift we can give our children – the gift of our time.   Kat over at Inspired to Action wrote about how to be a rock star to your children with 30 minutes and pink tablecloth.

Then she asked for readers to tell her things we do to become rock stars to our own children.  I submitted a few ideas.  Not only did she use them in her next article, Be A Rockstar…Today, but she even mentioned my name!  I feel like a celebrity!  She has 128 different ways to be a rockstar with your kids.  Check it out!  It really does not take much – but it means so very much to your child, and to your own heart.

Memories

The rest of this post is devoted to my youngest daughter and her First Mom.  Today our family celebrates that God blessed the world with the gift of our youngest daughter.  It is a bittersweet day for me and probably for her as she grows up.   I pray for everyone who ever was and is currently in her life. (Written last year on her birthday)

Misty weather in the low to mid 50s.

No indoor heat.

Labor pains.

The final push.

A girl – a healthy, perfect baby girl – lots of dark hair, little button nose, chubby cheeks, long fingers and toes.

A decision to be made within the next 48 hours. Not enough time to know who this little person was who had been growning inside her for 9 months.

Did she want to know this little person or was it easier to not know?

Does she cry for her little girl as her little girl cries for her years later?

Does she wonder about the woman who is raising her child as I wonder about her?

Does she wonder how her daughter tilts her head when thinking, or how she skips when she on her way to do something, or her ability to figure out math problems and sound out words?

Does she wonder what her giggle sounds like when her neck is nuzzled?

Does she share a love for all things pink and lavender with her daughter?

Today, as we celebrate with milk shakes after church, our table will filled not only with those of us laughing, but also by the shadow people – the people who gave her the precious gift of life, the people who live in the background only because we don’t know who they are and how to draw them out of the shadows and into the light of the love of our family, but more importantly, into the light of her eyes. They will probably forever live in the shadows because of circumstances beyond their control and our control – the victims of the politcal machine that controls the fate of so many in EBs birth country.

So today I send out prayers for the family who has no idea who this child has become, for the family that had to make a decision that I cannot even hope to comprehend from my warm and comfortable house in a country that does not have the same social, political, and filial pressures as theirs. I pray for peace in their hearts and in the heart of our little girl, for while she lives in my house, calls me Mama, loves me as unconditionally as I love her, she is not just mine, but theirs as well. I will say prayers of thanksgiving that they chose to bring this little girl into the world when her life could easily have been snuffed out.

Our little girl has so much to offer this world of ours. She is incredibly smart. She has a wickedly funny sense of humor. She is sassy. She is loving and giving. She is physically beautiful – saucy eyes, soft hair, long, strong limbs. She has a gentle heart, though it is often hidden by her childish desire to ALWAYS get her way. She loves to avoid manual labor, but will work for hours on an art project. She knows how to push her sister’s buttons and drive her crazy, but will staunchly defend her if someone is picking on her. There is so much of all 4 of her parents in her it is impossible to separate the characteristics that each of us have given her. Together we are creating and molding such a sensitive, wonderful young girl.

So when the flicker of the candles’ light illuminate EB’s face as she makes her wish over her cake, I know I will catch a fleeting glimpse of those people standing in the shadows. Maybe one day the light will reach far enough that they can step out of the shadows and we can fully share and enjoy this miracle that is our daughter.

 

 

Refreshed and Ready!

Well, I survived last week.  For me, that is gift enough.  It was a long week -

3 TaeKwonDo sessions, one of which was a graduation for Hubby and my oldest – they got their green belt.  1 surgery on hubby’s elbow.  I guess I was much more worried about it than I admitted to myself, because when it was all over it took me a couple of days to “recover”.  1 recovering hubby, who is not that pleasant when he does not feel good.  A 6 hour training session for a program that I will be facilitating at my church (more to come about that later).  I needed to find care for my girls during that training so hubby did not have to have total responsibility for them (thank goodness for Mrs. Sports who took my girls for the day!).  1 dinner with my cousins.  They are always able to make my day brighter!  Then today at church I got to see “my” baby boy and his big brother.  They both always make me smile.  Not only that, I was asked to watch them Tuesday evening!  So I get baby time and my girls get a playmate for a couple of hours!

So – what did I pull out of this chaos of a week?  A LOT of blessings -

1) My parents who watched the girls while hubby was in surgery

2) My girls have been wonderful this week – helping out and fussing over their daddy.  (that is not to say they did not have their moments, but their good moments by far overshadowed their bad!)

3) Hubby’s surgery was successful, they found exactly what they expected, and recovery has been relatively smooth so far.

4) My oldest was publicly praised  by her TKD instructor during graduation

5) I stepped out of my comfort zone to accept the challenge of facilitating this program at church and attended the training without knowing anyone else that was attending, and ended up  making a couple of new friends.

6) The sure knowledge that we are slowly but surely building a supportive group of friends at church.

7) BABY SNUGGLES!!!!!!!!

8) Priority focus – I will talk more about that this week, but I was so glad for it, even if it was provoked by fear.

9) The ability to pay the mortgage for another month.

10) The realization that I sincerely missed blogging, even if there are only about 5 people who read my meager writing!  Those people cheer me on and keep me accountable and focused.

So I am ready to hit this next week and the beginning of the holiday season with joy and hope.  Even the winter blues are not scaring me right now!

Life IS good!

 

Flexibility

Magic of Elegance

Image by khalid almasoud via Flickr

I really wish this post was about how wonderfully fit I have become and how flexible and strong I now am.  Unfortunately, that is not the topic.   Today I am writing about life flexibility.

We live in a 2 story house.  The top of the stairs open into a loft area which acts as our playroom.  My office door leads directly out into that loft.  I often finish up my work day after the girls are home from school and my youngest is occupying herself with her dolls.  I have been privy to doll conversations and serenades of Selena Gomez songs.  Tonight I am sitting in here listening to both of my girls and the little girl from across the street who is here for a sleep over.

This afternoon as I finished up work I had no idea that Dove would be riding to Brownies with us.  Her mom sent me a text asking if I would mind.  I did not mind at all – I was honored that she would trust her daughter with me.  During some free-time during the meeting my oldest and Dove came up to me arm in arm and asked if they could have a sleep over – at our house.   My immediate response was “sure”.   Phone calls to Mr and Mrs Bird were made and arrangements were finalized.  Driving home, listening to them alternately whisper to each other and belt out “Morning Report” I contemplated how my evening went from minimal plans to an extra person sleeping over.

I thought back to my childhood.  Sleep overs were not something that I ever really did.  I honestly did not have very many friends until I was in 4th grade.   I am not sure I had even been to a sleep over at someone’s house that was not a relative until I was in 5th grade.  I never felt that I could just ask someone to come over at the drop of a hat.  I am not sure if that was my personal insecurity or if I was picking up something from my parents.  Either way,  doing something spontaneous like that was not something that seemed welcome in my family.  In my parents’ defense, my father worked shift work since he was a police officer – so our family time was governed  by his schedule.  It was not like he had every evening off, so we made the most of the ones he did have off by spending the time together.  It was precious.  But I learned something that I don’t think my parents intended for me to learn.   Family time was not to be intruded upon by “outsiders”.  If they were not from the family (I have a massively large extended family), they were not to be relied on.  As an only kid, that made for some lonely times because I did not develop a strong social network until I was much older.  That leads to the question is my social awkwardness and shyness a result of not having lots of social interaction as a child, or did I not have those interactions because I was socially awkward and shy?  But I digress – that is a topic best left for another day.  I did not perceive my parents as being very flexible, able to roll with the punches of a changing schedule.  Maybe they had enough of a changing schedule with dad’s work.  Maybe it was just how they were.  (I will say that they are MUCH more flexible now that I ever remember as a child!)

But that leads me to the person I am today and the person I am trying to become.  The interesting part of becoming more comfortable with myself and establishing more routines and organization is that I feel freer to deviate from those very routines.  I find that I am more flexible because I am willing to embrace the moment.  Embracing simplicity in my life is allowing me to concentrate on other things.  I am not as encumbered with all the things that are not getting done.  I am not drowning in and being overwhelmed by all the undone things around the house.  Dove does not care that the floors are not mopped, that the carpets were not vacuumed this afternoon, or that I don’t have a gourmet breakfast planned.  My girls are not paralyzed by what Dove thinks of our house.  They just enjoy being together.  And I am so happy to be able to give them that time.

Slumber Party 1

Image by jstownsley via Flickr

So tonight I am smiling as I listen to the girls giggling right outside my door.  When I post this I will go make sure they are tucked into their sleeping bags and encourage them to go to sleep, knowing full well that it will take a long time for the whispers and giggles to quiet into the deep breathing of slumber.  I am so thankful that I have been given this moment in time.  I am grateful that I have learned to be flexible and embrace the special moments when they come.   I am grateful that I have chosen to set out on this journey of discovery – about myself and about the perfect gifts that can be found along the way.

Healing through writing

Ellen at fatgirlwearingthin wrote a post the other day that really struck a chord with me.  She was talking about gearing up for winter.  Winter is not  my favorite time of the year.  Even though I love the holidays with the family gatherings, the food,  the music, the lights, the traditions, the advent wreath, the wonderful Christmas Eve Mass,  I DON’T like winter.   Where I live we basically live under gun-metal gray skies from November until late March.  Those are not pretty months for me.

We have had awesomely sunny weather recently.  Very, very unusual for this time of year.  I am really, really thankful for it.  But I have just been off kilter for the last week.  It is just a sense of constant unease – like things are about fly apart.   I can’t explain it very well.   But as soon as read her post I understood where a lot of my feelings were coming from.   Here is the comment I left on her post:

I have been really bummed this week, Ellen. I have been trying and trying to figure out why. I had a terrific weekend. I have had a good week so far. But emotionally I am just really off track. It is like you have been in my head, rooting around for the cause. It is the time change and the change in weather. It is still sunny, but I know what is coming. I know how horribly depressed I can get. I have my light on my desk (which is visible on clean desk photo). My desk is situated so that I am exposed to whatever sun there is all day long. I am now pretty much in the habit of getting up and taking a shower each morning. I am doing better about eating (though I still have a huge way to go). While I was at my parent’s house I found my goal picture. It is a picture that was taken the year hubby and I met. I was at the weight where I felt my best. I loved how I looked, and I would like to get back there. So I am trying to figure out where I need to post it. Hubby and I are trying to figure out how to divide time so that I have the opportunity to work out. We are working on meal plans. I am making all the right changes. But I am still really in the doldrums. I think it is truly fear. Fear of the darkness that I know is coming. Fear of falling into that hole of depression that can suck me down so far. And anger that I have to be on medication for SAD which is one of 2 major roadblocks in adopting one more child from China. That anger is then turned back on myself and I fall deeper into that hole.

As a result of that comment she and I have been shooting e-mails back and forth.  Through writing her I have been able to clarify my feeling more and to recognize a lot of the stressors that I am currently experiencing.  I find it amazing how the simple act of writing something down can be so therapeutic.  So for today I am going to recognize a couple of gifts -

1 – my new friend, Ellen.  I hope someday to meet her in real life.

2 – the desire  to and miracle of writing.  It has been my companion, my friend, my confidant.

3 – that after every winter there is a spring.  It may take a while, but it will happen, and it will be beautiful!