Women

I love women.

I love how women take care of each other.

I love how we care for kids and build community.

I love women who love their families.

I love how empathetic we are to each other and how we can really feel each other’s joys and pains.

I love how smart we are.

I love our beauty and how we admire each other.

I love our strength and how we endure pain.

I love how we help one another.

I love how we offer to bring meals, to pray, to visit, to call and text, when one of us is suffering.

I love when women are filled with grace, especially when we are hurt and we give up our need for control and accept what is.

I love that we love.

I love women, especially the women in my life who embody these truths.

Thank you for being wonderful you.

Carry on BeLoveD Warrior Women!

Namaste.

IMG_0649.JPG

Got Grace?

I saw this on a bumper sticker today, and it stuck on my mind.

I think it’s the secret to overcoming tragedy, frustration and darkness. We don’t always get to pick the life we wish to experience, and when it changes as it always does, let’s hope we know what grace looks and feels like and can hold on.

I’ve been thinking about grace all day, and wish this for all who are suffering, at this moment, with the hope and knowledge that this too shall pass and life does and will get better again.

Sometimes the world is dark and chaotic and we’re not sure how we will get through the craziness. Grace is that calmness that takes over our body and leads us quietly forward as we navigate through the unknown, one foot in front of the other.

Grace allows us to positively face our fear and not lose control, and is something we can cling to as we figure out how to care for ourselves going forward, even when we are scared.

Grace is what saved me in my darkest hour and grace is what I wish for you, when you’re not sure of the way. Just remember, this too shall pass, and you are loved.

Namaste.

20131213-204605.jpg

So What?

This is another one of my mantras. You might not like it. But if you think about it for a minute, it might make sense.

Life happens. It just keeps coming. Lots of times we react to It, whatever It may be.

Sometimes drama pops up and we are filled with emotions trying to make sense of life event A or life event B. Can you tell I’ve been helping with math homework?

Sometimes we are angry or sad or crazy because of something that happened to us, or our kids, or our well being is just shaken. Sometimes it’s something serious, really serious, and sometimes it just feels serious. And we react. And sometimes keep reacting in a negative way.

My response is… yep, you guessed it…. So what?

So what, really? Really, does it make a difference how you feel? The event just happened. Usually you can’t change it. Sometimes you can and then it makes sense to think of what you can do differently. But most times you just have to say “So what?” Deal with it. Cope with it. Make amends and accept what is as fast as you can so you can go on living and accepting and enjoying the present moment whatever that may be. Accept your new normal and adapt. The longer we feed the drama, the less time we have for joy in the present we might experience.

When Charlie almost died, I had to say so what. What could I do? There wasn’t much I could do to help him and it was out of my control. I had to let go, and let the doctors work their magic and pray to God that His Will would be done. Don’t get me wrong… I tried my best and worked so hard and was at the hospital day and night, and did everything possible to care for him and my family as we went through our personal hell. But when I let go, and stopped trying to find the answers and surrendered to the process and the journey, I found peace. I found grace. I found joy despite the fear and sadness and worry.

And I’ve never wanted to let go of this feeling. I’ve used this strength to help guide me through life and not to react as strongly as I normally would and I’ve practiced saying so what when things didn’t go as planned. And geez, things usually don’t go as planned, do they? So what. I’m going to live the best life possible and so are you. Right?

Really, I think it works for just about any situation. My dad always says, “In 5 years, are you going to remember this moment.” Or, “In 10 years, will it really matter that event A happened?” This is just another way of saying “So what?” Really. Just acknowledge and accept what comes your way and adapt and change and move on. Keep moving forward and finding your happy place. Sometimes it takes a bit longer, of course, but we need to find peace in life. And I think peace comes more quickly when we let go of trying to control what we’ve been handed and just say “So what” or whatever other expression helps you to let go and move on. And please, don’t think for one minute I’m saying that whatever has happened to you isn’t tragic, or scary or sad or miserable or painful or any other negative feeling that you’re experiencing. That is real. It’s just our reaction to the pain is what we can control.

I wish you peace and grace and love. So what?

20130919-220326.jpg
Let there be light… It’s a full moon tonight.

Day 102: Slowing Down

Image

Every day I play cards with my mom, while she’s here.  We can just sit, chat, joke, laugh, reminisce, and drink something hot or cold, and JUST BE together – playing cards.

 

How often do you slow down and just relax? I’m not that good at this. I feel like I’m always in a state of movement and have a really hard time sitting still. I have a hard time reading a book, because that means I have to sit and focus and do only ONE thing, and that feels like a luxury, and usually I get distracted or feel like I should be doing something else!! I think I have ADD!!

But the good thing about writing this blog, is that every night I stop and focus and think about what I’m thankful for or what I’ve learned or experienced that had meaning to me. I never plan what I’m going to write. Usually around 11:30 pm or 12:30 am (or last night it was 2:30 am!) I finally sit and think and rest and write. Sometimes I reflect on what my friends and family are experiencing and spend a moment thinking about their journey and say a prayer for them, or I think of ways I could help or offer support/love.  I guess stopping to reflect is a form of meditation and grace. It gives me time to be thankful and mindful for all that IS. (I was going to say good, but sometimes things are bad, or funny or sad, and they just ARE, and that’s ok, too.) I’m learning that life just IS, and it’s how I react and adapt to life that matters. And stopping to be really present is a gift that I kinda like. And for some reason I’m sharing this publicly, which I don’t quite understand why, but I do love that you read my story and share along with me, and sometimes even smile.   Namaste.

p.s. Something to share about Holland – stores are typically closed on Sundays, except for the first Sunday of the month and then it’s shopping Sunday and the stores are open. So today we went shopping for warm clothes, especially for a warm, winter coat for Charlie. There are few choices and stores to choose from, and we only had to visit a couple until finding the right one at the right price!  We went to the Makro, Perry and The Decathlon, and chose just the right coat at Perry. Lucky me, the one I chose was on sale with an extra 20% off. I still love bargains!!  Afterwards, we walked into the Woon Mall – a large, indoor, mainly furniture and home wares mall, that also has the best ice cream in Holland. If you’re looking for good, premium ice cream (that isn’t gelato), then go try Australian ice cream. I know we’ll be back!!  It was creamy and smooth and delicious, with the most fresh, crisp, cones!  Mmm….

Oh, and while we were at the Makro, we bought food stuff to make a Boerenkool Stamppot for dinner. Basically, it’s a dutch comfort stew/mash with potatoes, kale, onions, bacon and something like kielbasa sausage. It’s very delicious and warms you up on a cold night. This is so Dutch, too!  Mom made some brown gravy to put on top and we put spicy mustard on the sausage. Mmmm… I’m starting to feel hungry again!!  It hit the spot!  It’s nice having mom here to cook.  😉

Day 29: How did you Enjoy Your Family Today?

I’m not busy. 

Ya, right. I’m so busy that my head is spinning. I just ate dinner at 10:30 pm – does that say anything? I haven’t checked voicemail and haven’t really read email and just returned a text or two.  But that’s not really important.

I could go through the checklist again, but that’s kinda boring and not the point either. Plus – we are all busy – even the 2 year old and the 84 year old. We’re all busy with whatever we’re doing today otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it. So what?

But what I really want to share and think about is how did you enjoy your family today? Did you slow down and if so, how? What did it look like? What did you do together?

You see – my friend suddenly lost her husband at the age of 48 this week and she has asked us to stop and enjoy our family, in honor of her husband.  She doesn’t want us to send flowers, but rather an email telling her what we did together. She wants all of us amazing families to spend some time appreciating one another and slowing down to enjoy the ride. I love that!  And she is my new mentor because I always have mentors in my life. And sure she is struggling with the biggest challenge of her life, but she’s reaching out to us and asking us to slow down and share our journey with her. Can you believe that?

So I did. 

I am.

Here I am.

I called my sister on the way to pick up the boys from camp. I am going to miss our daily chats. The little one made my day with her cheerful voice.

I stopped for ice cream with the boys on the way home from camp at Dairy Belle – CJ’s favorite place since he was little. I had one too because ice cream is good for you. Image

And at 5 pm tonight, while I was finally washing the dishes from dinner last night, J called from April’s to see if S & J could come over to play. Since I didn’t have to leave for 45 minutes, I said sure, of course, come on over. Once they got here and the kitchen was almost done, they asked if they could make snow cones. (REALLY??)  And I said sure, of course. We can make snow cones and clean up in  30 minutes, right? So I was a few minutes late – so what? Check out their faces and smiles!  

Image

On my way home from my meeting, I made a call to a friend who shared AMAZING and heartfelt news. I’m so glad I called even though I’m “busy”.  

I also called my mama to thank her for the spaghetti sauce that we shared last night and that I was glad she was with me in spirit. And when I finished putting the kids to bed and sorting more baskets, I finally ate dinner: Left overs from my mama – the best comfort food on the planet!!  Thanks, Mama.

Image

And thank you for the challenge to enjoy what we have and what we’re doing right now. I’m thinking of you (my mentor) and wishing you peace and grace. 

xo