Monday, October 31, 2011

inbox inspiration

"Self-acceptance comes from meeting life's challenges vigorously.
 Don't numb yourself to your trials and difficulties,
 nor build mental walls to exclude pain from your life.
You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems,
but by confronting them courageously. "
this quote arrived in my inbox today.
it is timely
as i work hard to sit in the present
to accept all that comes to me
to not try to rationalize too much
or avoid.
i am learning about sitting with pain.
sitting with discomfort
and fear.
and translating that pain and discomfort and pain
into the gifts that they are.
i like the line
"don't numb yourself to your trials and difficulties nor burild mental walls to exculde pain from your life"
that resonates with me.

i am filled with an optimism that seems wierdly misplaced if thought about too much
but really,
imagine the outcome of all this learning and stretching and undoing and becoming
that is going on for me!
i anticipate the me i am becoming.
i really can't wait to meet her.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

my goal.

"my goal is to change the world one heart at a time"
-mary mackenzie-

starting with mine.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

currently loving

white pumpkins

anything and everything written by Mary Pipher

vintage family photographs

my HOPE mug

soul photography


affectionate nieces

lazy weekend mornings

this quote:
"today will be joyous. for the beauty slamming against my face is unwilling to be ignored"

Friday, October 28, 2011

craving consistency

i like to consider myself
a go with the flow kinda gal.
flexible. spontaneous. free spirited.
i imagine myself in some other life
being a garden dwelling hippy type
(but i would shave and not smell like patchouli)
 i notice that when my life
becomes a little more trying than usual
i start to crave consistency.
i find comfort in order. in knowing what will come next
i want to segment my day and evening into little
bites of activity and rest.
i want to have a menu plan on the fridge
and a day calendar all filled in neatly.

when i become less and less able to control the people
around me
(not that i am a particularly controlling type
 but enough that i like
to keep my ducks in a know,
know where they are, what they are doing
basic kinda stuff)
i start to control what i can.
which, suprise, suprise
is really only me.

yesterday i wrote out a life line list
to refer to for the next few days
until our family is all together again
(yes, i have a runner and yes, it is the hardest thing ever)
it includes things like daily email/text contact with a few close people.
i am so grateful for the daily little drops of encouragement that are coming my way
(thank you)
and it will include daily journaling so that i can figure out my emotions
rather than spreading them here, there and everywhere.
my craving for consistency seems to also include
sweeping the floor all the time.
and stacking the magazines alot.
there is also some serious baking going on
which i find curioius.
and being here.
writing to myself.
writing to you.
keeping some sort of history of this time for us
so that it can be remembered and learned from.

i am finding that i want to order my days.
and seek comfort in the steadfast and predictable
no matter how mundane or small it may be.
the rhythm of putting on E. outside clothes
brings me comfort each morning
and the ritual of making tea is soothing to my heart.
there is alot to learn from seeking other ways of doing things
for a time, or a moment only
and so for now,
this free flowing gal is going to tighten up the ship a bit and
prepare for the storms that are crashing all around us.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

that feeling.

you know that feeling?
when you just want
to curl up in your mother's lap
and sob.
that's where i am today.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

a love note to Autumn

dear Autumn,
i just want to say that
i love you.
there is something magical
about being surrounded
by beauty and colour
everywhere i look.

i love that the leaves
change colour and flutter to the ground
laying me a carpet
to crunch and swoosh through.

i love that hidden under dying vines in the garden
there are round, plump pumpkins
waiting to be discovered
by inquisitive hands.

i feel so blessed when  brilliant blue sky
is the backdrop to the
tree filled with yellow and orange leaves
outside my kitchen window
and i feel hopeful.

thank you for the warmth of the sun
that still allows me to sit outside
every morning.

i love you follow
such a busy summer
and allow for a slowing down
as it stays darker later
inviting me to remain cosy under my blanket.

i love that you are a great reason
to wear lots and lots of layers and warm boots
and wool hats

the markets and stores fill up with your bounty
and i just can't resist
buying your bumpy gourds and oddly shaped squashes.
apples simmer on the stove and
root veggies become my stove's best friend.

but mostly
i love you because of all your colours.
the leaves are my favorite part
of you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


being i am not sleeping much these nights
my mind has been remembering
all sorts of details.
last night
in a brilliant
but unsuccessful attempt to sleep
i decided to
journal at 2 am
and i found myself
listing memories from

my earliest memory
that my parents have told me
actually is true
is when i was 3 years old
lying in my crib.

i remember that we had spent the weekend
at my uncles house and i had been to the beach.
i can remember playing under the dock
and the crunching of the stones

somehow i managed to get a
very serious sun burn on my thigh
and so,
there i was,
lying in my crib,
with a bandaged leg
and there were all these grown ups looking down at me
and talking about my leg.
i can still sense their presence around me
speaking softly and smiling.
they seemed so caring and full of concern.
it must have been evening
because they were wearing their coats
 to go home.
my room was just beside the front door of the house
and my crib was along the wall that shared the hallway.

why do i remember this of all things?
why do we remember some experiences as so significant
and let others go forever?

last night i was able to remember
at least one significant
(to me)
memory or experience
until i reached about age 10.
then i forgot.
and then around 12
 i started remembering  again.

i have decided to explore
these memories
and see what they hold for me.
perhaps nothing or perhaps something.
it is a curiosity.
i like curiosities
and who better to be curious about than ourselves.

Monday, October 24, 2011

quiet looked like this...

kicking through falling leaves
and hearing them crunch

sitting in the hot tub and then sitting in it again and again

moving from the hot tub to the bed

eating and drinking all sorts of food that
i really shouldn't but just wanted to anyhow so i did.

watching "breakfast club" with hannah and owen
and remembering just how tricky it is to be a teenager

working in my art journal,
taking two days to arrange a pile of chairs on top of each other
with a glue stick

playing card games with everyone
and driving Thad to distraction
with my relaxed card playing ways

just sitting and listening and being present with my family

cuddling on the most comfortable bed in the world
with hannah, owen and gid

having the grace to listen, just listen

allowing everyone the space to do as they needed
be that sleep, talk, eat, play, read.

celebrating owen's birthday with the quietest of gratitude
for the amazing man he is.

watching the peacocks

not taking even one photo.
not one.

being disconnected from facebook and internet and email
and enjoying that  "forced" break
 for the kids as well.

being woken up to a torrential rain fall
and then experiencing rain and hot tub together.

slowly easing into the return to home
and the realities of what the week will hold.

i am grateful for the rest.
most grateful

Friday, October 21, 2011

this moment

this moment
is like no other.
don't miss it.
remember it.
love it.
and if you don't love it,
change it
and if you can't change it
then learn to embrace it.
this moment
has something amazing
right now.
 i know it does.
and i want to capture it.
this moment
isn't coming back.

i am being forced
to sit in the moments.
forced because eventually our bodies tell us what to do
by getting stronger or getting weaker.
either way,
our bodies carry alot of influence
and mine is telling me
in a most firm voice
that sitting is the only option.
and so i am
sitting in the moments.

yesterday, when i was forced to sit in a moment
i found myself surrounded by four small souls,
all hugging me at the same time.
it was a little love fest
and my heart soaked up that lovely goodness.
oh my,
it soaked it up.

i am sitting in pain
and allowing my dear Thaddeus
to be my hands and feet
and he is going to be surrounded by that loving goodness.
being forced to sit
prevents me from being in control
chasing after the wandering lost one
i am having to trust more than ever before

having to sit
is clearing time for me to pray.
to seek. to ask. to wonder. to thank. to marvel. to gasp.
to be.

this moment is full.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


i can feel it today.
the constant dripping
or pounding
the relentless force that is being tossed my way.
moment by moment.
the cracks start to widen
and the shoulders feel tighter.
and then,
you learn of more suffering or heartache
and share burdens with others

and then it comes again,
in the form of words or actions or lack of either
and the cracks become deeper
and all the
doubt and blame and fear
starts to find easy ways to the surface.
no, no you say fiercly,
stuffing them back down,
but to no avail.

hot tears. tight chest.
open wounds.
erosion of the person i am trying so hard to be.

is this something that can be stopped?
or even prevented in the first place?
and is there not so much good that comes
when we allow ourselves to go where we are meant to journey?
yes, it is painful.

but i know that pain
is not to be shyed away from or feared.
doesn't make it any easier.
but i know that i know
that pain, like any other emotion
is doing what it needs to do in my life.

erosion is altering what exists
and something new arrives
i can't wait to see what it is.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

not feeling the brightest...

not feeling the brightest
is what my one child said to me today as a reason
to not go to school.

fair enough
i thought.
 i wouldn't want to go anywhere if i wasn't feeling the brightest either
and then i started thinking.
thinking about the words we tell ourselves
over. and over again.
i "work" pretty "hard" at being positive
and reframing situations to see the "good"
i am able to
"turn that frown upside down"
for the most part.
but i am aware that
phrases like
"not feeling the brightest"
easily slip through my
positivity radar.

not feeling the brightest today.
i think,
that i am tired.
don't really want to have to think  or do
more than necessary.
need to be gentle with myself and others.
strip away anything that isn't vital or affirming.
do only what needs to be done.
let the rest go.
connect with loving people
and wrap up in a big blanket as soon as work is done.
allow others to make dinner and tidy up.
rest. bath.sleep.

looking at it this way,
in light of all that is going on here in this body and soul,
that sounds like a very bright plan...

perhaps the brightest.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

getting out.

i created this little lady at a workshop on sunday.
a workshop that i had no intention
of going to
and that i staggered into
after a tough
weekend with my health
and a wonderful saturday night with my owen.

it is pure desperation sometimes
that drags me out of bed on the weekend.
desperation to feel like an adult.
to connect with owen over more than dinner and chores.

to create something for the over three year old set
is also something that i desperatly need to do sometimes.

so much of my day is spent in the delightful
mindset of young freedom.
there is alot of wonder and delight
and accomplishment and emotional outpouring
going on at my house all day long.
and i love that.
i love the love. i love the wonder. i love the exchanges.
i also need to stretch myself somehow too.
i need to feel the challenge of getting out of my sweats
and venturing into the world that i am a reluctant part of.
why do i need to do this?
because i miss experiences
by spending all my days and nights in my own four walls
i miss connections with people
i don't get to stretch myself in ways that can be fun and liberating.
i miss out on the beauty that is all around me.

lately gideon has been taking photos with his iphone
for me.
how sweet is that.
 my man boy is coming home and  announcing
that he saw a ladybug on the bus today and took a photo for me.
capturing his day.
like i do.

i have ladybugs in my backyard as well
but i also want to meet them
in the suprising places
the cracks in the pavement outside the book store
in the folds of my jacket after a stroll along the water's edge.

this weekend helped me.
there was alot of beauty
in places
that i had no intention of ever going to.
i am glad i went.

Monday, October 17, 2011

need to remember.

gideon making lemon bars with me and cracking eggs with his big hands was the highlight of my day.
i am missing hannah's daily.hourly.frequent  texts so so much
it was so sweet this morning listening to madison tell me i am a wondeful girl just like her.
the warmth of the sunshine today while sitting at the picnic table was a bone warming, therapeutic love fest.
 i am reilizing that wanting to just do an art journal and not canvases is perfectly wonderful and okay.
i am safe. i am safe. i am safe.
being surrounded by nature and living things is important to me...i am drawn to the life that is represented.
i want to print off a stack of my histograms to use in my new journal but how? they will be too big. i need to figure this out. soon.
books soothe me.
i can be this tired and keep on going..i was this tired a year ago and i am still going. it is not ideal or easy but it is not impossible.
it is okay to say no but it is also okay to say yes.
having a plan is part of surviving. make a plan. even if you don't stick to it i think the very making of the plan is therapeutic.
get yourself to therapy lady! talk it out. or maybe not.
i love her..she is my beloved daughter who has so much amazing wonder about her. i choose every day to look at the good...look at the good...look at the good. i am blessed to be on this journey with her.
friendship is tricky. very tricky. not in a bad way. i know it's important. i need to figure it out. soon.
sometimes just being in the presence of family is enough. no doing. no fixing. no talking even. just being.
there are lonely days. lonely is a way to make friends with myself perhaps.
i like the smell of butter on my hands and the thought of baking in the oven.
i don't like being hungry. i think it worries me. i don't need to worry. i am abundantly provided for. always have been and always will be. there is comfort there.
 i am drawn to words today. seeking them out, reading them, writing them, looking for them...restless with thoughts.

perfect love cast out fear.

so many of my reactions
can be fear based.
fear really is at the bottom of it all
unless we remember
perfect love.
the kind of love that you feel
when you are surrounded by
majestic trees deep in the forest.
the type of love that washes over you
when you gaze into a newborn baby's eyes.

you know the love?
the love that we sense in the crashing surf at the ocean
or when warm water washes over my toes in the tub
or while wandering
 through a garden
 overflowing with wild splendour?

that is what i am holding onto right now.
the belief that perfect love
casts out fear.
and if i can cast out the fear
that is starting to lurk in the corners
of my heart
then everything will be okay.

better than okay.
it will be exactly as it is meant to be
and i won't lose the lessons
because i am so busy reacting to the fear.

perfect. love.
casting out all that fear

(check out alexi murdoch's youtube video - it's only fear(lyrics)if you're the musical type)

Friday, October 14, 2011

good night sweetie pie...

it has been a long week.
there have been longer
and there will be longer yet
when i look back on this week
i can honestly say that there
has been way more good than bad
more easy than hard
more laughter than tears.

there have been tears..
quite a few
and there has been hard.
really hard.
but despite the tears and the hard
there has been an abundance
of goodness and grace and love and connection
and understanding and energy when there
isn't really any energy left to be found.
we were able to dig deeper than we thought possible
hold onto each other tighter than we maybe wanted to
and we have made it to friday

have a wonderful weekend!

dear maddy said to me as she went down for her nap..
"good night sweetie pie..."
that just
might have been the cutest thing i heard all week.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

slow down!

today feels like a marathon
racing along
being swept up with the
hurry hurry
of the crowd.

today feels like a mountain climb
pulling myself over that next boulder
grasping for the crack in the rock
to help boost my tired muscles.

today feels like a track meet
remember going from one activity to another
some of them were great and some were dreaded
but away you went
with the group,
doing your best, or not so best
to collect the ribbon at the end.

that's what today feels like.
a whole lot of busy.
a whole lot of exercise.

a whole lot of racing.
i am looking for the finish line
to show up now pretty quick.
(and i don't even want the ribbon)

i would be very happy to just put my feet up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

swirling of emotions.

anyone who knows me very very well
understands that i am a big believer in the power of grieving.
sitting with our emotions.
allowing the "stages" of grief to cycle through
and take up as much time as they need to.

of course, reading about grief and the
five stages
(or in some cases 7)
makes it sound neat and tidy
and slightly clinical and
"all will be okay soon"
but i know this  not to be true.

the  pain and heartache from years ago
can resurface today and perhaps again tomorrow
and that is how
 yesterday morning
started out so balanced,
by last night
i was mourning
a loss from 17 years ago.
and at the same time
hiding in my room
trying to contain the anger
that was competing for center stage
as a result of my current grief with dear girl.

grief is circular i think and very
intertwined with our daily living
and if we give it the voice and space needed
      i shouldn't be suprised when strong emotions
visit me.

i know that our family is
grieving right now.
every single one of us
for the easy comfortable family that we have been in the past
we are grieving
simpler times and yet,
as we bounce around between denial and anger
and bargaining and depression
we walk closer to acceptance.

or do we?

i am having to explain to an older brother
that the tightness in his chest
is not from the flu,
it is from love and concern and loss.
i watch as another
comes home far more often and sits at our table with us
and shares stories of his life to his younger sister.
i see yet another come along side me
day after day
quietly asking how i am.
this is not acceptance.
this is grief -
a sharing of a burden.
i am not there yet.
not even close to acceptance.

i find myself overwhelmed with anger
at these difficult teenage years,
not at the teenager herself
(most days)
while in the same breath
i become aware that i have moved past denial
very quickly
and i know bargaining is a waste of breath
so that leaves me
 anger, depression and acceptance.
and while i prefer to not ever have to choose
i know that i will allow them all to visit me
and we will spend time together
and i will attempt to
befriend all the emotions
regardless of their strangeness
and rough edges.

in the meantime the grief
for the child i never held
and the grief for the child who for now
refuses to be held
exist together in my heart and my soul
and my body
and i sit with
the swirling of emotions that are all around me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


my family is small
and i married into a family that is
yesterday for thanksgiving
there were 19 of us
and 7 were missing.

i also do not have sisters.
owen has alot of sisters and this took some getting used to.
what does one do with sisters
when one hasn't had them before.
they seem so friendly and connected
and lovely
but what do you do to join that?
i wondered this often in the beginning.
but slowly,
with lots of time spent together
and conversations
and holiday gatherings
and walks on the beach
and exchanging of ideas and dreams and struggles
i have figured it out.

sisters are very lovely for alot of things.
they can exchange clothes with you
they can bring food to your house potluck style
and this is okay
( i am just learning to embrace the potluck gathering)
they can share laughter and tears with you.
sisters are great fun to facebook and blog with
and sisters supply you with babies when you are done having your own.
sisters fill up your dining room table
 with delight and acceptance
and laughter
and empty cups of tea.

for years,
 i genuinely mourned the fact that i didn't have a sister
and now i am blessed with 5!
how awesome is that!