Surrounded by Beauty

Enjoying the beauty I am honored to live around – except today, today it is snowing. Yes, I know it won’t last long, but I’m just a smidge tired of snow and minus eleventy hundred (slight exaggeration) degrees Celsius.

Choosing to focus on positivity, I’m posting a picture or two from one of my many walks in this beautiful land I get to call home.

Go chase ants

If I may offer any advice to all parents out there, it’s to allow yourself to slow down with your children. A lesson I never fully learned until I became a grandmother.

It’s ok to stop to track bugs, look at pinecones and explore along the way. I know it seems daunting; you have so much to do. Those sleepless nights that last for a month, with a teething baby, do not seem short at all. Like at all. And you certainly don’t feel like watching ants while you need to be worrying about supper or laundry or washing your floors.

As I reach my mid-forties and my youngest (biological) child nears 16, I look back on those years and they are but a blip in my life. I constantly find I am contemplating the following quotes:

“How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr Seuss

“The days are long, but the years are short” – Gretchen Rubin

I was a single parent twice in my life. The first time to a toddler while I was barely in my twenties; the second time was in my thirties and I can’t say I was a legitimate single parent as my ex had the kids 50% of the time (until they chose to live with me full-time and by then I was in a relationship and they have an amazing step-dad).

Every day was long. Every night was longer. I felt I couldn’t do it at times, that it would never be “easy”. I worked

Now those kids are adults and teenagers and although it still isn’t “easy”, I have come to the realization I wish I could have been more mindful in my moments with my children.

I know I did the best I could and they were very well cared for. My thoughts on this are geared to my needs more than theirs but also realize I wishI could have been more attentive. I wish I had been more mindful during those cuddles I was getting in the midst of those nights of broken sleep, the moments where my children were excited to share their discoveries of earthworms and beetles. I acknowledge that I was in survival mode due to my own circumstances and that I should cut myself a bit of slack. To be fair to myself, due to that survival mode, there are many gaps in my memories…fragments of time my brain doesn’t want to, or chooses not to remember (this is common for a domestic abuse survivor). Perhaps my situation is a bit more extreme and complicated than others.

The main point I want to make is this: cut yourself some slack. You’re doing the best you can. Those dishes can totally wait if you want to enjoy singing your baby one more song or chase butterflies for 5 more minutes. Just breath, parents. Breath and enjoy.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, this handsome dude and I have some ants to follow….

Allowing myself to heal

I need to remember to give myself credit more. I have lived through a lot and survived. I am a work in progress….what was once broken is being stitched together – by me.

In the midst of my healing, I make mistakes – some toward myself, sometimes towards others. I hope they can be gracious with me as I occasionally do or say the wrong thing, misread intentions as I look through eyes that have witnessed far more than was welcomed, and sometimes respond in ways I likely don’t mean…

I have lots of layers of healing to process and grow through and allow myself to work through. I have to learn to control my emotions during unfavorable situations. I’m so thankful for my little family that we jive so well together, creating a beautiful sanctuary for us all to thrive in. ❤

Please be patient with me as I am learning to piece myself back together and as I grow into the person I wish to be – full of kindness, love, respect and positivity.

Making time

Beauty and “magic” are all around us just waiting to spark joy within our souls.

I think sometimes we are so busy rushing from task to task and day to day that we forget how amazing it was to explore as a child.

Looking for the little details in something (or someone) helps me to see the beauty in it (them). My grandparents always encouraged me to see the positives, to look for the helpers. I find their lessons have become my nature as, in the midst of tragedies, my focus is not on the chaos but on the helpers.

That mindset, of finding beauty, has followed me in many avenues of life. My walks, for example, I am continually looking – whether my eyes are to the sky or ground…seeking beauty.

I want to encourage us all to look for the beauty, even in those situations that seem endless and daunting…there is beauty there – somewhere… I truly find this act of mindfulness the best self care available to me.

Memories

As my granny had a huge part to play in raising me, living on the same farm and all, I think of her often.

Spring especially.

When I see and hear the birds coming back, the butterflies, the crocuses…she is one of the biggest reasons I have adored nature my entire life.

I enjoy these gorgeous symbols of a woman who was the epitome of bravery and strength – a woman, who at 9 years old, was tasked with raising her younger and older siblings, and care for the household after the death of her mother. Who had to quit school, at 9 years old, to do so. Who taught herself through reading, life and hard work. That, ladies and gentlemen, is strength.

This is for you, Grandma.

Slow down

I hope your week was as amazing as ours.

We slowed life down this week, stopped and enjoyed the little things and the discovery of said little things.

We walked barefoot (honestly, such a great way to keep yourself grounded; it is rare to see me in shoes once the weather gets nice, unless I have to be).

We played.

We stopped to watch bug activity.

We were simply mindful in each moment.

Under the Light of the Moon

As I have stated before, I’m my most relaxed in nature. Tonight was no exception.

I’ve always been drawn to the beauty and magic of the moon – especially a full moon. As the full moon is tomorrow and I am so fortunate that we get to watch our grandbaby tomorrow, I thought a moment (or ten) of this big, beautiful moon was just what the doctor ordered and a brilliant way to start off our holidays with the kids. ❤

On self-care and hiding in the pantry

Mamas (and Dads), raising children is hard. Maybe “hard” is the wrong word. It is beautiful and rewarding and, by far, the best thing I have ever done. Maybe “complex” would be a better choice.

Perhaps it isn’t even raising children….perhaps it is simply the act of parenting. For a group of people who are just winging this and sitting at the parenting version of the prom, hiding in the corner because everyone looks better than we do, we sure cast a shit load of judgment on other parents who are just as lost and just as uncertain as we are.

Natural birth. C-section birth. Home birth. Hospital birth. Breast fed. Formula fed. Jarred baby food. Homemade baby food. Cloth diapers. Disposable diapers. Home school. Public school. Private school. Parent. Step parent. Foster parent. Adopted parent…….the list and options are endless.

In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter? All kids, regardless of the choices made in parenting, are going to pick their nose on the playground and become Olympic athletes in eye rolling at your lame jokes.

So, now that I started my thoughts off on a goat trail, let me re-group.

I am a firm believer and proponent of self-care. Honestly, we don’t have time to not make time. Nothing needs to be complicated, costly or timely. Taking even 5 or 10 minutes, on a chaotic day (more when you can) just for you is a necessity. Meditate, walk, yoga, lock yourself in the bathroom or hide in your bedroom closet 🤣. Whatever you do, simply be in that moment and let your thoughts still and your breath energize and heal you.

Can we do that? For real?

Yes, we have to. For our sake. For our family’s sake. Do something for yourself where you are not thinking of next week’s meal plan, tomorrow’s grocery list, when you have to switch over the laundry, whether the dog was walked or the cat fed, if notes are signed or….well, you get the drift.

For me, any time out in nature allows me to re-focus, to still my thoughts and quiet my soul. In a pinch, any “outside” will do but, let’s be real, for myself – a farm girl stuck in the city, being outside of the city is definitely ideal.

I am a toes in the sand, barefoot in the grass, ride the horse bareback through the pasture, smell the soil and the rain on the air, wolf howling in the distance kind of gal.

Growing up, the howls of wolves and coyotes were my lullaby and that howl still has a way of sweetly lulling me into relaxation.

So, get out there! Play in the dirt. Jump in the puddles. Kick off your shoes. Hide in the pantry with the bag of cheetos….whatever! Just go do something for you. You not only deserve it, you need it.

P.S. even if you are not a parent, take care of yourself. If you don’t, who will?

We all make mistakes

I’ve made mistakes. We all have. I would love to see anyone who truly believes they have never made a bad decision, said the wrong thing or lead with reaction over wisdom.

Making mistakes doesn’t make me bad nor does it make me an evil entity; just as you, the reader, making mistakes doesn’t make you bad, evil or dangerous.

As a mom, step-mom, daughter, sister, friend….I’m not perfect and don’t claim to be. I think facades of perfection simply put too much pressure on a person – internally and externally.

The only option, for me, is to pick myself up from the dirt, dust myself off, get back on the horse and try to not get bucked off again.

Be gentle with the people in your life who make mistakes.

1. you don’t know what all they are dealing with.

2. I bet, with most certainty, they have offered you much grace for your mistakes.

3. we are all just doing the best we can on this trail called life…and this hike didn’t come with any navigational equipment. Be gentle when footings slip.

Just as Alexander Pope stated “To err is human, to forgive divine.”