Posted in Seasonal Sunday

A rocky start

It was a rocky start. The baby crowned and then receded, not once but twice. I remember the discomfort as the doctor reached in to relieve her shoulder from the constraint of the umbilical cord. And then she was born.

She was healthy except for a few bruises on her face from her dramatic entrance to the world. There were people pressing on my abdomen and novocain shots in the most excruciating place, and stitching. And the mother thing didn’t kick in right away.

Then the nurses came in and out and the family swarmed and gave her the first bath and the first diaper change and the first swaddling. They put her to my breast and they watched to make sure it all worked the way it was supposed to. The doctor came and left.

When they told me it was time to go home, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know why. I just needed another day or week or month.

Once the home care instructions were given, my bags packed, the papers signed, like a magic spell everyone disappeared. Nurses went off to dote on other patients. Family left for home. Her dad went to get the car and we were alone, she and me.

I turned her to face me on my lap. I looked in her puffy dark blue eyes and I asked her if she was ready to come home. I told her about the alphabet border I painted around the top of her bedroom wall; about the clothes and crib we had readied for her arrival. I explained that we had never done this before, and that I understood it was all new to her too. I promised that I would always be the best mom I could, and that sometimes it might not be good enough, but that I would always love her with all of my heart.

Suddenly and without warning I was ready to go home. Though she’ll never remember it, she gave to me the greatest gift of motherhood, and I’m ever grateful she saved it for just the two of us . . .

she and me.

 

Posted in Friday Finds

Messages to our daughters

I can’t tell you how many different ways this makes me sad. While my daughters grew up, I dieted incessantly. I stepped on the scale daily — at least. I kept logs and charts on my weight, menus listing points and calories. It was not a body positive household. And the messages I learned were passed to me from my mother.

In their teens, as my schedule grew to include a career, there was less time for meal planning, point counting, and self-loathing. I finally learned to love my beautiful self. I can only hope they absorbed some of that message, too, and maybe even restored some of the damage.

As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s my wish that every mom can see herself as the beautiful life-giving Goddess she is. We should all see ourselves through the eyes of those who love us most. After you’ve watched the first Dove video, check out this one from Dove, too.

 

How do you describe yourself?

Peace . . .

Posted in Seasonal Sunday

Earth knows no desolation

“Earth knows no desolation. She smells regeneration in the moist breath of decay.”
– George Meredith, 1828-1909, English novelist and poet

Is there any better metaphor for faith than spring? Whether your faith rests in God, Nature, Love or Self. The proof that life emerges after strife —  indeed, because of it — is ever present in the warmth of spring.

Peace . . .

Posted in Meditative Monday

Mindful grief

I wore a brightly-flowered skirt and matching blouse to my father’s funeral. Immediately upon entering the church I knew I was inappropriately dressed. I’d forgotten funeral etiquette. After giving birth two months earlier, I had nothing to wear that fit, and I’d gone shopping in a haze.

When I tell this story, most friends usually try to comfort me and say I chose something that would make my dad smile. Actually, if he was looking down, Dad would have thought my skirt terribly unbefitting. Yet there I was, in front of the whole congregation competing with the alter gladiolas.

I made no apologies, and to this day chuckle at the misstep. I was young, consumed by grief, drunken with hormones, and a mother of three. If anyone was allowed the mistake, surely I was.

There may be five common stages, but we all move through grief at our own pace and in our own way. There’s no right way to grieve. It’s a personal thing. Even when faith, culture and etiquette dictate one right way to mourn, it’s crucial we show self-compassion and honor whatever it is that helps us to heal.

By accommodating our own process, it affords us the ability to do the same for others. It may be easier for us to feel empathy for the one who cries than for the one who didn’t attend the funeral. Yet, it’s entirely possible that the one who didn’t show feels such pain they can’t leave the house. It’s possible the one who is angry has hurtful regrets. It’s possible the one who makes jokes is afraid.

We can’t know what stories are deeply buried in another’s heart. Sometimes we scarcely know what’s in our own.

May we feel deeply for all affected by death and open our hearts to love and compassion for their healing.

Peace . . .
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Posted in Meditative Monday

Everything I learned about body positivity I learned at the dog park

Sabbie runs into the park in circles. It’s all about the ball.

Throw the ball! Throw the ball! Don’t just stand there, throw the ball! What are you waiting for? Throw the ball!

Mosh gets so excited he can’t believe they’re actually there. He drives Sabbie nuts.

Sabbie! We’re at the park. Can you believe it? We’re at the park! Play with me! Play with me! Come on . . . play with me!

As he settles into it, it’s clear all Mosh ever really wants in life is someone to chase him. He doesn’t care if your fur is white, or mottled, or toasty brown with the little burnt tips on your ears and toes. In fact, I’ve never met a dog who cares if another is purebred or a mongrel. It’s what’s under the fur that counts. We could learn a lot from our canine friends.

DSCN0639There are dogs in wheelchairs and three-legged dogs, and blind dogs too. The great thing about dogs is that they don’t leave anyone out. Everyone with a nose and a butt are welcomed to join their circle.

Ever seen a dog tease another one about his age? No, I didn’t think so. If you’re willing to play, join in! If you need to take a break and watch, that’s fine too.

I’ve seen little terriers humping (or trying to, anyway) Great Danes. The heart wants what the heart wants. More importantly, I’ve never seen any of the other dogs care.  Why do some people care so much who someone else loves?

Are female dogs concerned with their body image? No way. They know they’ve got it. If she swings her tail in just the right way, it doesn’t matter if she’s the shape of a German sausage, she’s going to have that boy-dog on a short leash.

A dog doesn’t care if you’re sporting a diamond collar or a fleece sweater or little rubber boots. Well . . . okay, those boots are kind of weird. But he knows your human put those on you, and those humans? They have issues.

Peace . . .

Posted in Seasonal Sunday

I’ll take what she’s having

I took my cup of coffee from the window like any other day. The young woman, a long red braid flowing down one shoulder, beamed out at me. I thanked her and told her to have a good day, as I had countless other women leaning out of countless other drive-through windows.

She replied, “It’s a beautiful day.”

I settled my cup in the hole between the seats expressly made for such things. As my attention turned back to the wheel, I glanced up toward the sky and around at the view. Clouds hung in a monotonous flat grey blanket. Trees stood silently as a few flakes drifted aimlessly toward the earth. Buildings echoed the color of the asphalt surrounding them.

It wasn’t a beautiful day through the lens that the rest of us were seeing it. An immediate smile came to my lips. New love. I’m quite certain there isn’t anything else that brings sunshine to a grey day like it, and her eyes shone with it. I was at once full of hope and sympathy for her. Passion is a fire; thrilling and bright, but it burns hot. It isn’t until the flames have died and the embers glow that we can settle into love’s warmth, and grey days are nothing more than grey days again.

In the minute while we waited for the barista to finish making my latte, she glowingly suggested I try the Cinnamon Almond Milk Macchiato. And why not? Next time,

“I’ll take what she’s having.”

Peace . . .

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Posted in Well-being

The View From Here

I’m a firm believer that walking can be a metaphor for anything in life. A journey of a thousand miles . . . the path less traveled . . . it’s not the destination, it’s the journey . . . the straight and narrow path . . . two steps forward, one back . . . am I right, or am I right?

I’ve been on a bit of a journey lately, and frankly, I was afraid to take you along. I thought you might jinx it. I felt fragile. Like writing about it might break it and I’d have to go back to the start. Besides, the introvert in me likes to travel alone, and you might talk too much. You might disturb my inner thoughts or suggest a different trail.

Well, I decided it might be good for me, and maybe even you, if I tell you where I’m at, what the terrain looks like, how far I’ve come, and maybe where I think I’m headed.

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The trail is called Intuitive Eating, and there’s a book by the same name. There are many books by other names, and social media pages you can find by Googling Body Acceptance, Self Compassion, Body Love, BoPo, and Anti-Diet. It’s a movement that encompasses bodies of every size, age, color and ability. It’s about inner peace and love, and you know I’m all over that.

I’m not a stranger to beginning a journey. I began anew every morning and by nightfall felt lost. I cried alone in the dark. At daybreak I’d set out again. It’s a cruel circle. I’m talking about dieting. I was a self-proclaimed, out-of-the-closet diet junkie. I’ve described it as trying to stand still in the surf. It’s impossible.

Wading into the water, there will come tides and surges. There is no controlling it, only adjusting to it. And sometimes you need to let the waves carry you in or out a little bit before you find footing again.

Dieting isn’t that. Dieting is willing yourself to stand still. Most of us just end up face-planted in the sand wondering what happened. Then we wake up and try the same thing the next morning, maybe from a different spot on the beach, exclaiming over the roar of the surf that, “Today we will stand!” And expect a different result.

I’m afraid I’m mixing up my metaphors, but let’s just imagine this trail meandered somewhere along the ocean and opened up on a beach. And that’s just it! I’m not sure exactly where this trail is going to go next. But I do know it’s already taken me to some awesome overlooks and some really rough terrain.

unnamed-1So if you can stand the poetic metaphors, I invite you to lace up your walking shoes and join me. If you just want to sit at home and read my posts from the couch, that’s okay too. I’m not a trail expert by any means, but I am an expert on the steps I’ve taken. There are historical centers and information booths I’ll point out along the way, but if you ask me, all I can tell you about is my own experience and send pictures of the view from here.

Peace . . .

Posted in Lore

Real Paper Notes

Here I am at my coffee shop, sipping on a non-fat latte with an extra shot, or moosed, as our local chain likes to call it.

The damn dog woke me up at 6:30am on a Saturday morning. Lucky for him, he raced out to relieve both his bowel and bladder. It’s the mornings he goes out to bark at the birds that I could just as easily cut him loose. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people who can effortlessly go back to sleep, and so like I said . . . here I am.

There was a time when I used this blog as therapy. I must have worked through several of my issues, because I just don’t seem to need it like I used to. This morning brought back memories of rising early,sneaking off for coffee and writing before Bubba wakes. And so it seemed only natural I should log in and click “Add Post” while the sun slides up in the sky.

A friend sent a note a week ago. Not electronically. She made it with real paper, with a hand-drawn fish on the front. She wrote a few words, not many. “How’s it going?” “What’s new?” but the card said so much more. It made me think about her. She lives on the coast, and fish are ever-present on her mind. Big fish. Like whales. Drawing a fish on a real paper card is so like something she would randomly do, eagerly dropping the envelope into a mailbox on the way to the rocky shore to look for shells, or jellyfish, or whatever the sea rolls in.

I can’t say for sure, but I imagine her finding the little oval cards with their matching envelopes at a humble second-hand shop or old-fashioned drug store. The price was right, and she knew she’d find some way to make someone’s day brighter; the thought of their smile involuntarily igniting one of her own. She has this crooked little grin when there’s something she’s thinking but not saying.

Perhaps she stared out over the waves when she decided what to do with the notecards, or maybe she was pulling weeds in the garden. But I know she spent some time contemplating. I know she thought about each person who would be on the other end while she drew. She undoubtedly laughed at her illustration of a fish swimming through the weeds. And she sent it anyway. Because that’s who she is.

And in this age of email and text messages, what kind of person does this random act of drawing a fish on a plain pink card and sending it in a matching envelope through the mail? It reminded me of how much I miss her unapologetically real and honest soul. If we asked her, she’d laugh and say she is quite unremarkable. And perhaps she’s right. Maybe we want to believe it takes a certain someone to make time for this simple deed. Maybe we’re afraid of learning that if we slow down for just a minute, we, too, hold the potential for honesty, love, following our dreams, and sending real paper notes through the mail.

This little card reminded me just a bit of who I want to be. When was the last time an email did that?

Peace . . .

Check out my friend’s Instagram Account to know her better:

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Posted in Lore

BOGOs. More Evidence that the World is for Twosomes

Instead of clipping, sorting, and filing newspaper ad coupons every week, I watch for coupons through member perks.  Everyone has a membership program these days.  I have three coffee shop apps that track my activity, send me coupons, and even let me pay, all on my phone.  Everyone from convenience stores to Chinese restaurants message me to stop in and pick up the latest special just for the trouble of showing them the text.  

Text coupons are convenient.  They don’t clutter up my purse.  I always have them with me.  There is nothing to throw out when they expire.  The problem?   Half of these coupons are BOGOs.


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Technically, I’m not a single.  I’m not married, but Bubba and I are a pair.  Two peas in the same pod.  I’d love nothing more than to take him out on one of my BOGOs and spend a lazy morning conversing over two cups of coffee, one of them free.  Except he doesn’t like coffee.  He doesn’t like hot chocolate, frozen blended drinks, or teas — neither hot nor iced.  The only thing he wants from my coffee shop is a muffin and a Coke.  And he doesn’t want to laze around watching the sun come up while eating his muffin.  No.  In fact if you blink, you might miss seeing him eat it at all.  So I happily go alone.

When my kids were in school, they sold coupon books for fundraisers.  My mom would probably have bought one, except they were mostly BOGOs and she was a widow.  When they were both alive, Mom was a loner, and had no problem seeing a movie or stopping for lunch by herself.    A BOGO would have gone unused even then.

I get what they’re doing.  They want your business, but they also want you to bring someone else.  That way they can get more add-on sales with food, beverages or desserts.  They’re also trying to double their pay-off for the marketing.  Except they are excluding half of their audience, so in a way I really don’t get it.

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For Valentine’s Day, my coffee shop sent out a BOGO text.  I wondered how irritating that is to those who have no valentine, or for those who have loved and lost.  It’s not enough that I have to listen to those horrible diamond commercials on the radio.  Now I have to consider buying two small lattes in the drive-through, drinking them both on the way home.

How about they just give me a percentage off my entrée?  Or a free dessert?  What about buy a coffee, and get a free muffin?  Now that’s something Bubba could sink his teeth into.  Or swallow whole, whichever comes first.

Peace . . .