Friday, July 13, 2012

The moments that linger.

Beauty is fleeting.  Very often, it is just the whisp, as it fades to grey.  It is the thought that lingers, but doesn't stay.  It is the youth, too unaware to treasure.  It is the age, to wise to notice.   It is in life and pain.  It is felt and rejoiced in good, but it never stays.  It just whispers through the days.  Grasping we try to cling, to hold tight as it flits upon it's way.  But it is not forever, and laughing it floats through a clasping hand.

Treasure these days, these whispers, these dreams.
Treasure the kisses, the laughter, the gleam.

Tickle and chase, give way to the moment
It laughs, it's fickle, it will be gone in an instant.

Bless, never curse, your words last forever.
Don't waste the dreams, you'll regret, when they sever.


You are their mainstay, the mast, the anchor.
When they reject you, they'll watch to see if you falter.

Keep living, and being, the best, you can be.
One day they'll grow up, to be the best, they can see.


Enjoy this.  These moments.  Laugh wildly as they fly from your hand.  They are the treasure, we'll store in our mind, when all that is, will be what was.





-Cherylyn



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Granola-y Goodness.


I love a big pile of granola on a scoop of Cocount Bliss coffee ice cream.  Or in yogurt.  Or as cereal.  Or out of the bag.  It's just yummy.  I started making this about 2 years ago and it is a favorite around these parts.  It's perfect especially in the fall when you're looking for something to warm your house with cinnamon and vanilla.  Out on the coast and definitely on this rainy day, its just a good excuse to make something happy.

Granola

4 1/2 C old fashioned oatmeal
1C coarsely chopped almonds
1C coarsely chopped pecans
1C unsweetened coconut flakes
1C sunflower seeds
1C dried cranberries
1/2C flaxseeds

1/3C clover honey
2/3C grade B maple syrup
3/4C coconut oil

2 1/2t sea salt
3t cinnamon
2t vanilla

Bake at 300, for one hour, on a parchment lined baking sheet - stir every 15 min to prevent overcooking.

Then do a happy dance.

Enjoy.


 yes.  I mix with my hands.  Don't worry.  You don't have to.  :)

-Cherylyn

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Never Enough.


I have to admit that I put myself under quite a bit of stress.  I'm always certain that I should be better, perform harder, do more, be more.  It is very rare that I am able to just rest in the reality that this is who I am.  That I am exactly the me I should be.  That who I am, what I am, brings value to the world and those around me.

I bought the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD a few months back.  I have to be honest, I didn't expect it to literally destroy me, punch me in the face, telling me I've believed a false message of lethargy!  What the heck!  I thought taking the stairs was a good idea.  Regardless, I've been exercising.  Fully loving how it feels to get back in shape.  It's been a while.  My kids were too little, I had too much milk to deal with, etc.  The excuses were endless.  Until I was finally dissatisfied enough to pursue a change.   Getting stronger just feels good.

However. . . I signed up for Jillian's health and wellness emails and suddenly I was inundated with the idea that I need to eat less, eat low fat foods, cut out sugar, only drink water, don't breathe, don't frown (you'll wrinkle), be less, do more.  And.  Well.  It's easy to jump into that.  Especially when you're unhappy with how you see yourself and you want the change to happen right now.

I could feel myself stressing, 'OH NO! I ate after eight, I didn't stop when I was full, I had a peace of chocolate cake!  I am now going to be fat and I will never look like the hard bodies on pinterest!'  Sob.  Sob.  Gulp.

And yeah, bummer.

Law will destroy you.  Every time!

Yes, there are times that you need to be a little strict and push for a change.  However, if you are constantly living under negative self talk, stressing about everything you eat, you're probably not going to be successful, or you will - only to put it all right back on.

I thought I'd share a couple tools that have hugely helped me reach a happy, healthy place with my eating, my body, my weight.

I pursue loving myself.  It isn't easy for me to find the good in my looks or my body.  I tend to be uber critical.  But, when I start to focus on what I am good at, even if I can't see it, that I am beautiful.  Some of that judgement starts to fall off.

Live in GRACE!!  Don't stress if you binge, or you ate past a certain time, if you had one of your I'll 'never' foods.  It can be so easy to jump on a wagon and then devastating when you fall off.  Rather walk as close to the wagon as you can, then one day you'll realize you've been riding in it and it's no longer scary or forced.

I am absolutely not an expert in any way.  I mostly have a healthy diet.  I am aware of foods that I struggle with and I try to avoid them, but I'm learning sometimes I won't and that's okay.  I am okay.

After having my kids, I could feel the stress of trying to get all of the weight off.  Striving to instantly be back in shape.  Every article, person, doctor said to take my time.  I constantly heard 'you took 9 months to put this weight on, give yourself that long to take it off'.  It can be discouraging when the scale seems to move so slowly, but as you choose to continue changing habits and focus more on living fully, being healthy, and exercising - that number will move.  Don't worry.

I hope that everyone who is pursuing their health is able to enjoy each and every accomplishment without the weight of any little failures holding them back.  Enjoy your life, your day, you.




I was hoping to post my granola recipe - which is a little bit of heaven.  But, I realized last minute I need a couple things.  I'll do my best to have it up tomorrow.

Blessings.  Cherylyn

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A lesson in life.

Living in the NOW.

No, not the now network.

The right this minute, look at life, hello, here I am, type of now.

There is a verse in Jeremiah - I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans of good and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

I have quoted this verse over and over in my life.  Usually its a reminder when things are hard.  That God loves me, he has a plan, that things will get better.

But, when things are good, I mean, when they are awesome.  I forget to look and say - 'hey, thanks God, for keeping your word.'

I forget sometimes that my present is the good that God has promised.

There's a book, 1000 Gifts.  It's amazing.  You should read it.

But, I have to admit that I read it during a very difficult season in my life.  During a season where I couldn't find anything good.  I wanted to give thanks, I really, really did.  But, I'd try and then I'd just get mad.  I felt so frustrated, feeling as if I weren't learning anything, that I'd been dropped in the wilderness and left to die.  I felt fully and completely abandoned.

I wanted to say thank you, but I only felt bitter.  So I complained, and whined, and cried, and woe is me'd, until I am amazed that my husband didn't run screaming for the hills.  He probably should have.

Then, like only God can. . .  I began to hear myself.  I began to hear the groaning and despair.

I realized that, here I was, in my very own wilderness and I was making the Israelites look good.

I began to take to heart the idea of giving thanks in any and every circumstance.

I looked for the blessing and stared at it, until I couldn't see anything else.

And somewhere in the midst I began to settle.  I began to exist in the goodness of God and in the presence of God.  I learned about the now God and that he and the future God are the same.

The promises for tomorrow can be taken in hand today.  It is thankfulness for what we can't see.  It is Thank you, Thank you, Thank you - until the cry of our heart is an overwhelming, rejoicing shout of HOSANNA - THANK YOU, GOD!

                                                                                                         Photo by the amazing Lacy Fontaine
His goodness is revealed, to those that praise him for it, before they get to see it.

I have known this.  Long before books were written.  I had watched as thankfulness in my life opened doors that had previously been closed.

I learned it in the small things, but I failed - when it felt as if all of life had shattered.

When saying thank you, couldn't get past the bitterness.

How grateful I am to the King who promises and delivers.


Who holds his hand open with all of the goodness we need.  We are sustained, as in the midst, we praise.
                                                                                                       

                                                                                         


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Living in the Sun, even through the clouds.


Most days in this little coastal hamlet, I find myself desperately searching for a glimpse of blue sky.  The fog hangs low and melancholy through the year.  Taking a welcomed break in the fall months, when stretches of blue and 60 degrees make one feel as though they've stepped into a drug induced state.

Today, however, as I walked through the throng at the farmers market.  The trendy mothers in their striped sweaters and BOB strollers, jostled by the tattooed men hampered only by their mane of dreds, each seeking the fresh organic goodness, served up by the local, sustainable farms.

My children run wildly on the grass, glee and youthful abandon enabling even the most rigid of souls to find joy in their antics.  This is especially good when locals have to hurdle their little rolling bodies.

I sit on the grass, the sun warming my back, my mouth filled with the weight of a gluten free strawberry scone.  Arise bakery, a local gluten free bread shop sells their wares in the center of the square and I must confess I come as much for the produce as I do for their little bits of guilt free heaven.  :)  Perhaps I shouldn't say guilt free as the rich butter flavor couples perfectly with the bits of dates and fresh strawberries.

It is these moments, these days, that the sun peeks out to say 'hello', that my children laugh with abandon, that I sit in the peace of the moment - that my heart fills with a great and unending THANK YOU.

So much in life demands our attention, strips us of our joy, and holds a mirror of never enough before our faces.  As much as we can remove ourselves from the barrage of negativity and step forth to rest our face in the beams of grace we can see clearly.

For it is in joy, in thank you, in mercy, and grace that truth is revealed.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Living with sugar. or without.


We all know that I love sugar.  I do, I do, I do.  


I wish my husband shared my addiction.  

I wish I could eat one cupcake.  (not all the cupcakes)

I wish vanilla cream and chocolate did not have a voice.

I wish that snickers were health food.

I wish that donuts grew on trees.  I would be sure to eat only the organic ones. 

I wish that sugar didn't override my 'off' switch.

I wish that sugar could be banned, not sold at stores, not sitting in my pantry, not wafting through the air at the fair.

If only my wishes could be reality.

Unfortunately, I am one of millions of people who live fully addicted to sugar and sweets.

About a year ago I wrote a post, confessions of a sugar addict.  I have to admit I've been shocked at the amount of views that one post gets.  Since so many of us seem to struggle with this, I thought I'd share more about what I am doing to free myself of this addiction.

Last year, I tried ridding my diet of all sugars/sweets.  I managed to do so for about 2-3 weeks, but then fell into a bowl of ice cream and just had to take a bite.

After being off of sugar, reintroducing it to my diet, at first, is met with complete rejection.  I usually can't eat much and it makes me feel pretty sick.  Then, slowly it begins to build -  the need for more.  Until I'm once more groaning on the floor, pulling one more powdered sugar coated eclair into my mouth, barely finding the strength to chew.  Not even tasting it's delicious sweetness.

Have you seen Something About Mary?  No?  Well, I won't recommend it, but there's a sub story about a guy who was off of coke and his friend gets him to take a drink of a beer, telling him of course this won't restart your addiction.  Which it does, because we are all just a moment away from being coke heads - duh!  (Don't do drugs - you will be addicted to heroin if you smoke pot!  yes, I believe this.  It's kept me drug free.)  
Anyway, back to the coke guy - who is also one of my favorite actors - he eventually gets eaten by his python.  

And that, folks, is what sugar will do to you.  It's just one bite between you and python crushing death.

I'd rather live! and be beautiful while doing it.  There is nothing more toxic for my complexion than sweets.  Even knowing this and just imagining what it must be doing on a cellular level, it's been incredibly difficult to keep away from them.

As of today I have been off of refined sugar for 5 days.  Yay for me!!  However, unlike last year I am not doing a complete ban of all sweets.  I will happily indulge in any treat made with honey, grade B maple syrup, molasses, sucanot, rhapadura, or agave.   (I am careful with agave and maple syrup, because both of these tend to cause me to overeat - just not quite to the caramel dripping off my chin - eyes glazed over - state.)

I think we need treats.  They're like medicine to a long day or a special splurge for a job well done.  However, choosing to eat only the best sweets helps hold them in higher regard and keeps us from those very embarrassing moments, such as when you're husband comes downstairs at 2am only to find you in the middle of the kitchen, pie tin in hand with the whole carton of ice cream in the middle.  Oh, that hasn't happened to you?  

Here's to my quest for a healthy body, beautiful skin, organic energy, and invitations to more events - now that everyone knows I won't be writhing ecstatically in the middle of the dessert table.  It's always a little awkward when that happens.


And. . . yesterday at our small group get together - I didn't eat a brownie or lick the pan or sneak one when no one was looking or come home and have a giant bowl of ice cream or take a bite of the whipped cream and chocolate on my husband's frappaccino.  Can you believe my level of self control?!  I am amazing.   If only I knew I were invincible.  But I know I'm really just a sip away from that python's stomach. 



Friday, June 22, 2012

Stepping into the sea of trust.

Trust.

It is something that can be given, abused, treasured, broken, retracted.

How often does someone hurt us or lie to us and we respond with, 'now my trust is broken!'  It leaves one lost and separated.  There is not an easy return from broken trust.  The simple reason being that we leave the responsibility of repairing our trust on the one who harmed it in the first place.

I forgive you.  I just don't trust you right now.

Is not forgiveness the full return of trust.  A giving away of grace?

Danny Silk from Bethel Church once said that 'trust is a choice'.

That is something that has stuck with me.  I process it.  I try to live it.  It's taken me quite a while to understand how to exist, choosing to trust.

My past is a constant blunder of pain.  There would be moments that things would seem to flow in a small sense of security, then my world would turn upside down.  When it righted itself, I would be left desperate to preserve my safety and my peace.  Trust was left trailing far behind my need to protect myself.

I was able to talk to an amazing friend, Charis Scofield, a few weeks ago and she said very simply, 'you need to trust that God has good for you'.

And like I do.  I  pondered and mulled on that one statement.  God, what is trust supposed to look like?  In my experience, the moment I let my guard down and trust, I am met with heart rending pain.  What does it mean to believe that you have good for me?  My experience doesn't line up with that.

I have hedged myself in, desperately trying to guard against the worst possible scenarios.  Allowing what could hurt me most- to play often through my thoughts, that I may be prepared for the times that pain will come.  Because it will, pain will strike.  It will blind, break and make us bleed.  It is a guarantee of life.

I stand guarded.  Clenched and ready.  I am always prepared for the blows to strike, the friends to leave, the lover to dismiss me, the sickness to come.  I'm waiting.

And because we cannot exist in this state.  I have been breaking.  My constant stance against pain, causing me to only be aware of the very worst things in life.  I cannot see joy when I am looking for suffering.  I cannot believe there is good, when I am only waiting for bad.

Attempting to control my world, desperately trying to protect myself - has left me broken.

They say that when someone falls from a high height, the only way to sustain the fall is to be completely relaxed.  When you clench and prepare for the hit, you break every bone.

I want to share the little I've learned about trust.  I am not an expert - just a sojourner seeking peace, hungry for truth.

Trust is.

A resting place.  In my mind it is lying in a cool stream.  Head back, the hand of God beneath your neck, fully supported.  Knowing that waves of pain may come, choosing to rest and breath through them.  You cannot float if you are tense.  You have to completely let go of fighting the water and as you do - your body lifts, weightless, to rest on top the sea of life.

When you live as though trust is a choice you take back your power.  Choosing to believe the best and the good.  If someone wrongs you or fails you, don't search for it.  Allow it to come in it's wave.  Then wash off of you.  Step back into trust.  It is a great tool in your hand.  It is not meant as a weapon.

Trust is a place of peace, safety, and security.  All of the things, that in my life, I thought had been broken, were only taken because I rebelled against trust.  I refused to rest through the pain and instead sought to protect myself against it - this only caused me MORE pain.  I created the very thing I sought so desperately to avoid.

When you clench and struggle, you drown.  Every time.  Sometimes it's better to be punched in the face so someone can save you, then to carry both of you under.

There have been moments that dark imaginings and doubts creep so quietly through my place of trust.  I start to feel myself tensing, falling into old habits.  Then I pull back my mental wanderings and I choose to remember that I am letting my fear go.  I am resting in the stream of life.  My place of control is what I believe, and I believe that the promises are good.

People may fail me, but I am not going to set them up to fall.  I am not going to look for their mistakes or their struggles, to hold in front of myself, to remind me not to trust.

Rather, I live hand and heart open.

If joy is to come then I will dance and sing and live in the moment without fear of the shadows growing on the horizon of my mind.

If it is pain then I will let it wash over me, I will scream and cry, then let it go - let it run it's course and continue, even through the process, of resting in trust and peace.

I am amazed at the freedom I have found here.  As what once controlled me, no longer holds dominion over my thoughts.

Each day is a sweet treasure of peace.  The promises are - yes and amen.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Even in this.




I have an amazing husband.  

I know this.  

I don't always appreciate how blessed I am.

Then this week, as I have writhed in pain from a calcified rupture pressing on my sciatic nerve, I have been astounded by the man that I have married.

When this happens, which it does every few years, and will continue, until I am ready to undergo surgery - I turn from a happy, healthy woman, to one screaming in pain.  As I lie, writhing on the couch through the night, I imagine the relief I could get from slamming my head into the tile floor.  Anything to relieve the desperate, shooting sparks flying up and down my leg, the charlie horse of hell- constant throbbing in my back. 

Unfortunately there is not a position that doesn't bring pain.  My bed brings more.  I alternate between the couch, the floor and popping pills that don't come close to kissing the edge of pain.

I am so thankful to not be pregnant or nursing, this time.  I have previously not had the luxury of chemicals to relieve the agony.  The fact that they aren't working has been discouraging, but it feels good to try.  The bottle of wine I drank, dulled the sense of the pain, but not the pain itself.  The vomiting left me feeling as though death were lurking in the night as I tossed myself into the oblivion of hell.  

Through this.  My husband, the man who didn't know all he was getting himself into, has gently taken care of me.

He has woken to tend to the children, taking them to the park, to the store, giving me space to writhe.

He has stood through my fears, my insecurities, as I question and blame.  Lost in my pain I see only myself.

He has left work to take me to chiropractic appointments, massage therapy, woken at 3AM to massage the knots that form.  

And I am humbled at his love.

I am amazed at his gentleness.  

I am wooed by care.

We don't expect the bad things in life. 

When they come, as they come, and character and truth are put to test - I find myself a little shaken by the depth of promise made.  The valor of the man who stands to care.  Who puts his family first.  Who gently loves and firmly lives.

I know.  I believe.  That there is an end to this.  

I have shaken the strength of his patience, screamed as I pushed away, gasped at the hands that supported, and bowed at the love that remains.

To say that I am blessed misses the depths.

I am loved.  

And in return, I love.

Through sickness we remain, faithful.  

In health we rejoice.  Free to run in this life - with joy.



To the man that I married, I am thankful - the day you said forever, the promises you keep.  This life, together, we live.

 





Friday, February 24, 2012

Beauty is not a fantasy.

YOU are BEAUTIFUL.

The words slip past.  Quiet on the breeze.  They are for another, and needless I push them away.  YOU are beautiful.  Ignored, they fade, silent in the whisper.  You are BEAUTIFUL!  I pay no head.  And like a shooting star, their sparks fall to nothing.


Then a hand cups under my chin.  "Can you hear me?  Will you listen?  You ARE beautiful!  Nothing I have created is without value or purpose, everything I have created is beautiful.  Will you see it?"  

Shamed I hide my face.  Ridiculous and foolish every unattractive person I have ever noticed, flashed through my mind.  I think, point proved. 

"EVERYTHING I have created is beautiful.  Who are you to judge it's worth."

Scolded I want to retreat, but I am held in the hand of my King.  There is nowhere to run, my soul is simply bare.  My wickedness is all I see.  I can feel every bit of me cringe against his compelling grip.  I am not worth this, don't deserve it.  I want to shout that I am UGLY!  I am without VALUE!  I am WORTHLESS!

But it echoes through me, EVERYTHING I have created is beautiful, has value, has purpose.   

Then I know it is a lie that I have believed.  It has twisted in me.  It has grown it's roots around my beliefs, my thoughts, my dreams.  It has blinded and demented me.  It has placed itself into my water source and it has been drinking in deep, greedy gulps, the sweet spring that was made for me.  It has left poison, for me to suck through the cracks in myself.  Death has encompassed me.  Spinning it's evil into every thought, pass by the mirror, pursuit of a goal, it has held me captive.  I have allowed it to grow.  I have pampered it, nourished it, and sacrificed for it, thinking it was a part of me, that it WAS me.  

As he holds me and his gaze grips, I feel my eyes begin to open, begin to see.  

I am Beautiful.

I have purpose.

I have destiny.

I have value.

"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them."  Psalm 139:14-16

No matter the opening that I allowed, the realization that I have believed such a debilitating lie staggers me.  When you can see clearly, you become responsible for the truth.  

And with a victory CRY I take my AX to it's roots, until I have pulled forth every sulfurous pit, that the sweet springs of life might once more flow through me.  

I am drunk in his love, in his intimacy, as the crevices of my thoughts and beliefs are filled with the water of truth.

I stand, no longer running, shamed, or afraid.  Simply open.  Looking clearly through the beauty that he has made.  All darkness, stains, wickedness wash away, leaving His flawless creation.  Made by the hands of my master, my KING.  

"I am my beloveds and he is mine!" 
Song of Solomon 2:16

His eyes twinkle and his hand slips around me as he pulls me into his embrace.  "My daughter, my love! Happy the day I formed you!  Joyous as I saw whom you would be!  You are my delight, my great pleasure."  

His presence fills me and I marvel at his great love and mercy.  That my Lord would lead me through each moment of darkness of pain, to reveal that his creation is great.  It is beautiful.  That I am his.

I am BEAUTIFUL.  And the shout resounds that all my see and know.  





EVERYTHING He has created is BEAUTIFUL.  Has PURPOSE.  Holds VALUE.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

ReFinished.

Well, I did it.  I finished it.

I started what I expected to be a simple project of refinishing my dining room table and six chairs.  Only to find myself in the midst of tears, soul searching, ridiculous frustration, and life altering chaos.  You could say that therapy for me, is a paintbrush in hand.

Previously I didn't consider myself to be a perfectionist, until ever glob of paint that refused to stick had me cursing in frustration.  After 18 hours, my online scouring convinced me that I was using the wrong primer and should sand off the two coats already applied and go with an oil base.  In hindsight, I would have been fine with the latex.  More cursing as I realized this now 25 hours in.  I think they may laugh at me at the paint store.

I was told countless times that I should just throw the whole thing away.  There were points in this that I wanted to consider that an option.  Maybe just setting the whole thing on fire.  hmm.

Apparently I do not handle things well when they don't go my way.

I did not toss it, burn it, or destroy it.  I sanded, wiped, primed, painted, distressed, sealed, stapled, cut, padded, finished.

I'd say I'm about 100 hours in.  For those of you who do this, I'm sure I did a million things wrong.  However, I learned a lot as well.  I'm happy to say that I persevered and it felt good.

It took me a year to complete this project.  I may be a little insane, but I'm getting ready to start my next little task.

I love working on furniture.  I love refinishing.  I love watching something horrible become beautiful.  I think I may have caught a bug.

More than that I love proving to myself that I can finish what I begin.  That I am faithful.

Who knew there was so much to learn from wood and paint.  :)

Technically there are still two chairs left to finish, but the pads are on, I'm just waiting for more oilcloth.  There was a moment that I was going to cover the chairs in burlap, but after a day watching my kids exist, we switched to the easily cleaned oil cloth.





Happiness is, not using a table cloth every day.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

saying hello to change.


There's a shift happening.  A firm wind is blowing.  I can feel it swirling around me.  A shudder of anticipation mixed with fear shakes me.  Change.  It's staring me in the face and I cannot look away.  No matter how desperately I wish that I could.

I love change.  The way most of us do.  When it's happening to anyone else.  Unless, your shift effects my life, then let's be frank, not such a fan.

Even good change takes work.  Settling in, learning a new way.  Forming different habits.  I am a creature of habit.  Truly.  When I wake up, I want to stumble half blind to the kitchen where I brew a big cup of coffee and spend the next hour shooing my kids away.  This is not fully realistic.  In actuality I have to carry two growing children down the stairs, make them breakfast, get them settled, then have my coffee.  Which at this point I typically feel I deserve, and to enjoy it without having balls thrown at my head.

Have you ever been committed to something, to the point that even when it's causing you pain you'll continue?  There have been many harmful things in my life, that I've struggled to walk away from.  I have to say, the biggest for me swirls around food.  I LOVE junk food.  I can barely make it out of the grocery store without raiding the candy next to the checkout.  I'll fill up on ice cream then moan on the couch.  My poor husband often wonders why I continue when it makes me so sick.  I guess the truth is that it wasn't making me sick enough.  Until lately.

Suddenly, or maybe it's been getting worse the last few months, or years, my kidneys ache, my body can barely function, I'm crippled with exhaustion, my skin is broken out, and now if I even touch wheat my stomach cramps for hours.  sigh.

You know how people can be too educated?  This is one of those areas that I knew too much, but didn't want to change my diet.  I knew that how I ate was hurting me, but I just didn't care.  I could eat junk without gaining weight and while I frowned at my complexion I wasn't motivated by it.

My mom is a health food nut.  Though her education in food and vitamins and minerals stemmed from a need to heal herself, she raised us knowing how to protect and care for our bodies.   I hit 18, bought a couple spray cans of whipped cream, some coke, a few snickers and ate myself silly.  As, I have continued for the last 11 years.

Since having children, I am much more careful about eating junk food and prefer the closet approach to letting my kids in on my binge.  There've been some moments as an adult that my family has been g/f, s/f, and d/f, but after a few months of clean living and even feeling amazing I've found myself returning to my old habits.    Mainly because I haven't seen (or felt) the absolute value and necessity in it, until recently.  As I feel the pain from every bite so distinctly, I'm losing all desire to continue in my ways.

For a long time it was just about restriction.  How, I was never going to eat such and such foods again, usually after a late night ice cream feast.  This is more of a plan on what I will eat.  How I'm going to do things differently.  Carefully choosing how I'll nourish my body and the growing bodies around my table.

And so change blows itself through the door of my house and we square off in the kitchen.  I can feel the fear of failure, the sense that it's going to be harder than I realize.  I could just give up, but that option is no longer on the table.  I want to have complete health, I want to be the best version of myself, I want to live long, because this life is no longer about me.

I thought I'd share with all of you, as I will probably be posting more about this new adventure.  I'm scared.  But, I'm more desperate than I've ever been and that's exciting.

Welcoming change.  It's a deep breath.  A shift that has to happen.  A blank page of adventure.

Blessings.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nothing lasts forever. Nothing ever could.


My children are resting.   One to sleep and dreams, the comfort of peace.  Another, pursuing the imaginative journeys of a small boy with his books.  It's a grey day.  There's a slight drizzle that brings the earth and it's lush scents to life.  I can stay right here in this place.  This is a perfect moment.  My children are safe, they are secure.  We are warm.  We are fed.  We feasted on hot nourishing muffins and rich cups of tea.  We are abandoned to our good fortune, licking it up like spoiled cats their warmed cream.

I can feel the clenching of my hands.  My fingers tightening their grip, even as this is slipping away.  Each key stroke marks the clock, as minutes tick tock by.  Before I'm quite prepared, little bodies will throw themselves at me.  Awake is like a shock of water thrown on an unsuspecting victim.  One minute quiet, the next shrieks of joy and laughter.  I could not tell you which I prefer.  Only, that in the stillness I can linger.  Here, they are young forever.  Here, I am just a mother.  Here in this place, we will never age.

When the silence is broken, we must advance.  Each to their tasks, me the parent, the chef, the referee, the tickle monster, the teacher, the reminder of truth.  They to pull every piece of the house and their world into imagination, to be taught, to be kind, to play as hard as they can until they fall exhausted into their beds.  Before I'm ready this day will be finished.  I'll pull together the chores saved for solitude.  I'll kiss little cheeks, knowing that one day they'll be grown.  I'll pause a moment to rub my nose against the perfectly smooth, round cherub face with their bow mouths and lengths of lash.  I'll sweep some hair to the side.  I'll pull up the blankets.  Then I'll flick the last light and this scene will be filled with darkness.  And each of us will grow in the night.



Tomorrow we will be one day older.  One more day of change.  It will never be the same as today.  Tomorrow we will all have grown up.  But, I'll cherish the quiet.  The moments.  The peace.  So thankful for the overwhelming blessings of today.  I'll put off a little longer, until I wake and it's upon me, the moment they are gone.  When goodnight is to an empty house ringing of voices and cheer.  The echo of life that grew up here.



But somewhere in my youth, or childhood. I MUST have done something GOOD.

(Sound of Music)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

To all lost in life.


Sometimes, the world stands against us.

Sometimes, fear stares in our face.

Sometimes, we stand against ourselves.

Sometimes, dreams aren't worth living for.

Sometimes, life is hell.

Sometimes, all we can do is cry.

Sometimes, we want to give up.

BUT.


Always, God is for us.

Always, heaven is waiting to invade earth.

Always, there is hope.

Always, life is worth living.

Always, truth remains.

Always, peace can be had.

Always, after mourning there is joy.

In the middle of chaos, in the middle of despair there is a battle that is being fought.  It is bigger than what we can see.  We can find ourselves swept away in the ripple effect of life, wondering how we can even begin to stand.  Depression, fear, hopelessness can loom bigger than truth.

Truth doesn't come in the torrent.  It doesn't come in the whirlwind.  It is in the still small voice.  It is in choosing to believe that whatever pain, whatever overwhelms, it is temporary.  You can sustain.  You can hope.  You can look to tomorrow and the day after and the day after that.

Your dreams are important.  You are valuable.  You have purpose.  Destiny.  Hope.

Right where you are, you are okay.

Peace to you.  and when you can receive it, Joy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lounging.




Do you ever notice that it takes you a little while to settle back to life after being away from home?  

I definitely don't fall right back into rhythm.  

I lounge around, with half emptied suitcases, a rug that needs to be vacuumed, beds that need to be made, but the dishes, those will be clean.  

If we didn't constantly travel, this may not be so annoying.  Considering that on average we're out of town 2 weekends a month, I am feeling a little lazy.  

I don't usually have a lot of room or grace for laziness.  It drives me crazy and stresses me out.  I'm not typically someone  who can nap, because my brain doesn't shut off.  

Yet, in the last year that we've lived here and the demands on my time have dwindled, to, well, none.  I find I indulge a little in lying on the couch with tasks that are waiting to be accomplished.  

It's interesting how committed we become to the things that drive us.  The need to perform.  Our concern with how we're perceived.  

Then, overtime, we find it being worn away. 

I don't really want to be lazy.  I don't want to lounge.  

I want to be demanded and busy.  I want to list my accomplishments.

That's just not where we are right now.  We're resting.  I think we're growing.  

I'm learning that when nothing's going my way and my triumph for the day is making dinner, I'm still okay.

In fact right here, where we are.  We're good.  We're blessed.  We're filled with joy.

May your day be as well.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Train up your child.


It would be nice if there were a perfect formula for parenting.  A nice patented book that told you what to expect when and what the appropriate response/action would be.  

I would title it: How to raise perfect children following A through Z.

It would have lots of always do this and never do that.  If there were exceptions they would be very carefully itemized with complete outlines so that you were always able to follow the appropriate guidelines. 

This would help when your child gets down 25 times from the table and then throws food or spits bites all over you.

It could be used when your 4 year old thinks that the television is the only thing in the world they should play with.

Necessary when your child seems to prefer peeing on the floor than the toilet.

Or when your two year old slaps you in the face after smashing a play laptop over your four year olds head.                   
                                   (these are just random ideas, I don't know anyone who's kids would do the above)
                                     
A book.  That could outline exactly what training and discipline would be most effective and universal for all children.


That's the thing, isn't it.  Not all children are the same.  They each respond differently to communication.  One child may be heartbroken at a stern look, while another child could tell you the spanking didn't hurt.  

We have tried countless forms of training, discipline, etc and sometimes still shake our heads and really wonder if any of it works.  

It does.

I know that it does.  Even when I want to throw my hands in the air and run away, I know that I am being effective.  

Training takes consistency.  It takes a lot of work and effort.  It's not easy, but there is a reward.  It will pay off.  

A book would be great.  But, there's something about knowing and understanding your child that takes commitment and focus.  

Parenting can bring you to your knees faster than just about anything.  One moment you can be rocking a screaming child, crying with them, not knowing the answers or how to respond.  The next you can be dancing wildly through the house falling in a heap of laughter.

If I were to write a book for parents I would tell them to trust themselves.  Believe that what they are doing is going to work and affect change.  Everyone will criticize you when you become a parent, your child will have you doubting yourself.  It's a little like being an animal trainer, the only way they'll respect you is if you both believe that you're in charge.  It's the same with kids.  You have to trust yourself and your actions, if you want them to.  

Even when you do your very best, you may feel like you failed.   You didn't.  You are valuable and important.  You are the best choice for your children.  Keep pushing forward.

Let all of the past failures and struggles fall off of you.  Believe in yourself.  Know your mind and your heart.  React in love.  Live in peace.  Be strong, unbreakable.   You will succeed.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Life happens.

Photo by the amazing Heather Armstrong.



I try very hard to be a good mom.  It's important that you realize this, because I didn't plan to be a mom when I became one.  It just happened, like these things do and bam, I was pregnant.

Weird.

I feel like a teenager.

I was so young and I didn't realize.  All of my life I had tried to be older.  This annoyed my friend, because she was very mature and enjoyed every stage of her life.  She was so good at that.  I, on the other hand, lived fully in my future, shunning the rites of passage, because I decided to jump ahead and just live how I wanted, as an adult.  When you are 16 and your parents are not fully aware of you, this is possible, it is not however, a good idea.

When I was 24, I married the most amazing man.  Then all of a sudden, as I was just beginning to grow up, I got pregnant.

Then I grew up really, really fast.  Because if you're having a hard time understanding what it really means to be an adult, nothing will get you there faster than having to work for a demanding infant.  

I was always shocked at the amount of care necessary, it really was a round the clock, full time job.  There were no breaks and less gratitude.  Then because I was in it, we said, hey let's add another to this mix.  Just as it started to get easier, it got harder again.

So I grew.  I grew and I grew and I grew.  

Not in the way that many others are able to.  

Not with my stellar talents and amazing good looks.

Not with my mark left shining through the city.

Not with my degrees.

That was not my path.  I learned, as many do, in my own way.

Through broken hopes and dreams.  

Through setting myself aside.

Through pouring out every bit of me to the lives that needed it.  Then finding more and giving that too.

Through loving my husband, my children more than all I wanted to accomplish.

I let it go.  

I opened my hands and gave them to cleaning bathrooms, making dinner, washing clothes, holding babies when they cried, welcoming my husband after a long days work.  

All that I thought I was and thought would bring me value, flowed like water down the drain.


I think in moments like this, I could say I lost it all.  It's only here, I realize how much I have gained.  I didn't follow the traditional routes and am now working my way back through.  I am growing next to my children as I teach and train them.  

Life doesn't always follow a well charted path.  It dips and curves and bends.  

If you only pursue the end, you'll miss the amazing journey you've had in the process.

I have become a wife and a mother.  I've learned to let go of what I thought was the most important.

I've learned to live in the day and in the moment.  

I've learned to love more deeply and passionately than could be described.  

Here, I can say, I am living my dreams.  It is not in the tomorrows, but in each day.  The holding of my child's hand as we cross the street.  Juggling screaming children through the grocery store.  Learning to ignore the stares and sneers.  Laughing at the judgments oozing from others, because I used to judge.  

My life is not perfect.  I don't have everything I want.  

I do have everything I love.  And that is truly what counts, so you could say, I have it all.

Photo by the amazing Lacy Fontaine. 

So blessed by all of the incredible photographers I know!!  They're talent is extraordinary.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Yearning for a Baby.


I have baby fever.  I want one.  Oh I do. I do. I do.

but.


My husband does not.

We have the perfect pair.  Our boy and our girl.  They are both amazing.

but.


It feels like something is missing.

I don't know if we have another baby if that will be filled or if I will just always want to have another.

Life is good right now.  Our baby is 2!  Two is big.  Two can do a lot of things on her own.  Our oldest is 4.  Four is an adult.  He doesn't need me at all.  Maybe he needs me, a little.  Mostly to cuddle.  I am a great cuddler.  It's because I am warm.  Judah likes to tell me he can't sleep without me because his bed is cold and I am the only thing that makes him warm.  I like this.

If we had another I would need a bigger bed.

More babies cost more money.  This is my husbands hiccup.

We have also been doing babies and kids since we got married.  A break would be nice.

but.


I have baby fever.

If we are done having babies then that season is over.  It's a hard season.  When you are in the middle of it, the lack of sleep, the lack of accomplishment, can leave you very empty.

but.


I think that I am more okay with that than ever before.

If we have more kids then the ages get all mixed up.  Right now our kids are pretty much happy to do whatever, with us, with each other.  It's a balanced dynamic.

but.


I have baby fever.




My body aches to carry one more life.  I love being pregnant.  Don't remind me of this when I am pregnant.  I love giving birth.  I really, really want to do this again.  Avi was SO easy.  Labor was cake.  Fine.  Not really, but compared with Judah's, it was definitely cake.  I want another labor like that.

but.


I can be very, very happy with life right now.  I can enjoy the moments.  Appreciate how we are growing.

but.


It will probably always hit, hard and in the gut, this yearning for one more.

but.


I can only wait, until this desire is shared.

for now.


I'll live with baby fever.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Already Passing.

photo by the amazing David Walden.

Quietly it falls, fluttering to the earth.  Leaves drop from the trees, leaving an empty waste of darkened branches slashed against a misted sky.  Winter comes in it's biting cold, vicious in it's brevity, to heighten the intense pleasure that comes at the warming dew of spring.

We can get lost in the winter, the short, lonely days, huddled at home, waiting for the end.  Forgetting that this is only a season, we begin to submerge ourselves in the discouragement of time.  Longing for the moment we can emerge.  To rid ourselves of the weight of coats and layers, to leap through green meadows, breathing the flower scented air.

It will end.  Pain, loneliness, heartbreak, sadness, will end.  They come in their seasons.  They come hard and quick, before you fully realize you're pushed under the weight.  There are times when it can seem to last an eternity.  When you forget who you were, when everything in life was right.  When every day was like music and you danced your way through.

A friend wrote a great post on this.  Charis Scofield.  She has such a way with words, with perspective.  You should read it.  Remind yourself that wherever you find yourself, it is a fleeting moment.

The hard times can be treasured, they enrich who we are.  The interludes of beauty are those that allow us to live out of the depths that life has carved for us.  When we're able to reminisce and enjoy the sweet reprieve that is just a moment away.



Even in winter is joy.  Christmas comes and snow.  Light steals it's way in and refreshing good happens when you're least expecting.  The cardinal comes to rest on the stark branch, the early morning frost turns the world to glass, the smoke curling from a chimney.

Immerse yourself where you are.  Remember it is already passing.  Today will never come again.  Embrace it, fill yourself on it.  Breathe it deep.  Stare at life as you live, wildly abandoned to it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Baring breast.


There have been murmurings in the media, as there are, every so often, about a woman baring breast to feed a hungry infant, in public!  I thought that being a woman, having breasts, having children, having nursed, I should toss my two cents into the pot.

It seems interesting to me that in a society obsessed with sex we should frown on such an act.  I daresay, some would be more comfortable catching a glimpse of a couple engaging in the act of making a child, before they're able to tolerate a woman nourishing one.  This said, because often, while watching a romantic comedy, even as innocent as PG13, you'll be hard pressed to miss a bedroom scene.  There's no need for X ratings if you want to check out bare breasts, they are happily shown to your teens.

And yet a woman uncovering herself to nuzzle in a hungry infant, this is outrageous!  Someone please call the police, there is a child being fed here!  Oh goodness, we are a mess.

We hang posters of naked women barely covered by strips of lace in our malls, allow teenagers to pose provocatively for the camera, then sell the rags by the checkout, and allow our actresses to accept awards while revealing all behind mesh.

Please, stop the nursing mothers, they are taking our country straight to hell!

I wonder how many who carry on about the women caring for their infants, go home to google search daddy loves boobies (porn).  

It is a hypocritical debate and carries very little weight, if you want to know my personal opinion.

Yet, here again, our country finds itself flinging comments across, those who are pro vs. those who find it awkward, embarrassing, shameful.

There is a need to understand the weight that is carried, when a child cries for it's mother.  When you hold a tiny being close, that your body created.  It does not cease to be flesh of your flesh, simply because it was birthed.  Your entire being responds when your child cries.  Your milk flows down in a torrent, protective pads are sold for a reason.  There's an avalanche of milk to combat at the slightest whimper.  Much less, the horrible moment you realize there is no where to go, no quiet place to feed a quickly hysterical child.

Let me just say this now, the bathroom.  Not a viable option.  Next time you want to suggest this to a mother, please go eat your dinner in there, sitting on the open toilet, with half your clothes on the floor.


I realize that in the latest incident the mother was asked to remove herself to a Target dressing room.  And, I get that.  I understand that there are places you can go to nurse that are private, less upsetting to the general public, than a woman sitting on a bench covered with a blanket.

More often than no, there really isn't a better place, than to carefully cover yourself and nurse, where you are.  With my second I would nurse while grocery shopping.  It was only awkward when someone would come and try to pull the blanket aside to see my baby.  I would happily inform them that I was breastfeeding, but they could see if they really wanted.  Okay, I didn't, I just said no.

When you have pushed a life out of your naked body, writhing on a  bed with a handful of men and women watching, you lose a little of your self consciousness.  Then you have men come and watch you nurse and tell you that you're doing it wrong or right and you lose a little more.  It's nice when it's a women, but many of us aren't that lucky.

For the women who have made the choice to breastfeed, many have gone through countless hours and excruciating pain to learn to attach their infant properly.  Unfortunately it's not as easy as lifting them to your nipple and they drink deep.  You have to find the right hold, use shields, put yourself in ridiculous positions, just to encourage your new baby to suck.  Often you can feel like a failure when this doesn't happen right away.

Many babies are able to alter between nursing and bottles and many are not.  My son went on a nursing strike for a while, wanting only to drink from a thick plastic nipple.  So, we took them all away, got him back to only wanting me.  This wasn't an easy process, but nursing your child isn't simple.  It is filled with highs and lows, pain and joy, shame and delight.  If you see a woman nursing her child, leave her alone.  She is doing the very best that she can.  Your issues are very simply your own.

A woman breastfeeding is following the American Academy of Pediatrics and giving her child the best possible nutrition.



Because of the foolishness of many, this issue probably won't just disappear.  As we heighten our awareness and educate ourselves, may this fade where it should, into the rubble of ignorance.