#5, 6,7…8

Continuing upon my 30 days of new, I present number’s 5, 6, 7 & 8.  While 5, 6 & 7 started out as part of this joyous voyage, 8 is quite bitter-sweet, hope you’re along for a ride.

#5 – My husband and I took our ten year old & 17 month old to the park.  No not for the first time, but it was the first time our tiny tot slid on a slide (in the lap of both overly protective parents) and glided through the air on a swing.  The first trip down the slide, the tiny tot had a look of WTF on her face.  So we quickly shifted to the tot swing.  First, her hands were balled up in front of her in the security of the enclosed swing… after a few slight breezes through her fine hair, the hands moved to the front of the swing enclosure and there were gasps of excitement that crept out of her mouth.  Then, after a few more careless glides through space, she grabbed onto the chains and the joy leaped from her lips!  A few more minutes into her swinging experience, she let go, thrust her little arms in the air and screamed with delight.  What an amazing experience to see this child so thoroughly embrace a new experience and swallow it whole.  All-the-while, our ten year old made friends, played hide and seek and seemed to have the time of his life all on his own… hmmmm.

#6 – Ash Wednesday.  This was the first time I’ve been to church in as long as I can remember.  I knew first thing in the morning I would be there.  But it wasn’t until the afternoon, when it was time to pick my ten year old up from school, that I knew I’d share this brief time with him.  In the back of my mind as we drove to the church, I knew this experience was for me, my son and two other people.  While I sat there quietly with my child, he had quite a lot to tell me.  He whispered things here and there while we waited for the service to begin.  Then I saw this man walking to the pews from behind the choir area in the front of the church.  For a brief moment, I thought to myself, what a pretty rose he’s carrying… I could use a flower today.  The thought was fleeting.  What seemed only a minute later, the man reached over my friend and my son and handed me the rose.  WOW.  The service was nice.  I liked what the deacon had to say in his short homily.  He praised all the parents that had brought children to the service.  That made me smile, I mean that just spoke to me.  Of all the days to go to church, then to decide I needed to take my son with me.

#6.5 – Post Ash Wednesday service, I dropped my son off and headed to my parents house to see my mother and grandmother.  I wanted to pick up flowers for that visit to my mother, but a generous stranger had allowed me to cut that extra trip out by handing me a single gorgeous red rose.  Upon driving up the long steep driveway, I smiled.  My mom had no idea I was coming, bearing a sweet smelling gift and ashes.  You see, religion is high on the priority list for my mother and my grandmother.  But neither has been able to attend mass for quite some time now.  My mother because she has been caring for my grandmother.  And my grandmother simply can’t go anywhere, it’s too draining.  As my mother opened the door she looked surprised.  I handed her the rose and her eyes lit up, before we crossed her foyer, I grabbed her arm before she could move forward, I hugged her, “I brought you ashes.”  Quickly she pulled back and brushed her bangs away from her forehead, I brushed my thumb across my forehead and carefully made the sign of the cross on hers…  I was going to do the same for my grandmother, but she was so peaceful in her chair and her eyes lit up with excitement as I entered the room.  My brain immediately told my heart, this isn’t the time to tell her she missed what would normally be an important mass for her.  So I kissed her cheek, talked about the day, asked how she was, filled her in on her great grandchildren… It was a quick visit because I needed to get home to make a birthday dinner for my hubby.  I told her I would be back with “blue eyes” (her nickname for my daughter) on Friday morning.

#7 – FRIDAY MORNING.  I texted my mother to ask what time I should come over.  She said it didn’t really matter come when I could.  That’s when I knew this visit with my Gran would be different.  I dropped my oldest off at school and immediately headed for the folks house with a little lady with a soiled diaper in tow.  As I changed my  baby’s diaper, my mother recounted how things had changed so drastically since 5pm the night before.  And holy crap, how they changed throughout today.  I spoke to my grandmother this morning, she was able to speak to me.  This was hardly the talk we had just two days prior.  My daughter sat sweetly on my knee cooing to her great grandmother, then she wandered off down the hall toward my parents voices.  I spoke to my Gran.  I could tell she had a case of dry mouth and asked her if she’d like some water.  She said yes.  I quickly stepped out of the room in a daze.  My father had to help my Gran to a sitting position and I could tell right away she was in tremendous pain.  I held a cup to her mouth and she sipped… two slow sips.  Then I told her that I loved her and I’d let her rest.

#7 on March 7th was not a first I had planned.  I went from 8am at my parent’s home, speaking to my grandmother, and she spoke back to me.  She sat up, albeit with help and in pain.  Then by 6:25pm when I went home, she wasn’t able to speak, only nod and look at me behind blue eyes that oozed pain of not being able to respond.  I went into my Gran’s room before I left, I told her goodnight, I told her how much I love her.  I told her that I spoke to my brother, and he told me to tell her let her know how much he loves her.  Her eyes wide, her mouth tried to move, and I responded, “I know you love me too, I know you love my brother and I will tell him for you.  I will be back with you in the morning.”  I only hope God gives me at least one more chance to look into her blue eyes to tell her I do love her, she’s meant so much to me.  She’s been there for me when I couldn’t turn to my own mother.

#8 – I didn’t have that one planned either, but it was another first, all in the same day as the gravity of #7 is setting in.  I sat with my mom all day today.  I gave my grandmother medicine when my mother wasn’t physically able to.   I didn’t shed many tears and held it better as best I could.  I don’t have the best relationship with my mom.  But I’ve been working on that in my own way lately and thought I was doing good with it.  That was until she rocked my world and told me she didn’t want to waste anymore time with me.  I didn’t need to hear anything else, I don’t think I need to go back to my counselor.  Just acknowledging that there has been wasted time is enough for me, that’s a first.  That’s enough.

I wish I could put more thought, more animation and gravity into this post… but after today, I just don’t have it in me.  Looking forward to the next of my firsts, no matter how difficult they may be.  Today was the toughest day, but it was a great day.

When It Rains…

When It Rains

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# 2, 3 & 4…

A conglomeration of a few firsts during my 30 days of firsts

#2… I’ve made coconut curry two weeks in a row.  For some of you, this may seem rather redundant, cooking the same meal two weeks in a row.  For me, nope.  I have my go-to recipes that I make 2-3 times per month.  But those are no-fail recipes, meals I’ve been making since my teens and I know they are crowd family pleasers of finger-licking tasty goodness.  Last week, I wasn’t so pleased, mainly because I failed to trim my chicken and it disgusted me when I ate it.  Granted I had the best of the best I could have purchased from Sprouts, but the fatty parts on the boneless thighs just turned me off.  So this week, I did a variation of the sauce and trimmed my meat.  While the finished product both weeks were great, I still was turned off by trimming meat before-hand.  What a conundrum.  While I feel blessed to provide my family with a vastly different meal from the “norm”, I still can’t get over the meat issue.  GROSSERS…

#3… I made my oldest child (ten next week) do a 30 minute time out in the corner.  PSSST… HE DID IT!  Originally I had said 1 hour, but I bargained… He could trade 30 minutes for chores.  Wouldn’t you know it, that little booger that was back talking me chose chores, and you guessed it… I gave him a long lack-luster list.  More to come on this…

#4… I talked back to my mother.  Not in a hateful way, no, I’m just not going to go down to a nasty level.  I talked back in a way that I think just may have spoken to her.  You see, not every parent-child relationship is all bliss.  That’s a hard thing for me to say, and a hard thing to swallow.  I see friends, acquaintances, and strangers interact with their folks, and it always makes me wonder why I don’t have that.  Not to say I’m not close to my parents, I am.  I love both my parents to the depths of this broken soul.  But I’d be lying if I said my relationship with my mother is like any others I’ve observed.  It’s just not.  The funny thing is, the older I get, the more I understand her.  Yet, when I was younger I was so forgiving.  Now, not so much.  We can choose to divulge ourselves in the past, in the wrong-doings forced upon us, or we can learn and move on.  I am moving on (not without her, just have to live my life).  I’ve tried, tried, tried to stick with my mom in this quick sand recipe of hurt, loss and what might have been.  I’m old enough now to know better, yet still young enough to know, I won’t repeat that cycle.  I won’t repeat it for my husband, my children… but most of all, for ME.  So today, she sent me a metaphor via text… “There’s a chink in my Armour, but I’ll soldier on.”  My response, “You should go see the welder or the blacksmith.”  No response… Metaphor delivered, received & digested?  I wish I knew.

One of my mom's songs.

One of my mom’s songs.

My apologies that 2, 3 & 4 aren’t more eventful, but I plan to share more about these topics as I can (ummmm, curry, probably not so much though)!  Number 5 should be a bit more interesting… Can I do 100 miles in March?  It all depends on the wind, family schedule, oh yeah – and the biggest thing… MOTIVATION.

30 Days

ImageI like a lot of things.  Love many.  I like to write (however intimidating it may be), I love music, I love hanging out with my kids, I love to admire my husband when he doesn’t know I’m watching, I love to cook and create great things to eat, I like getting to spend time with my family, beer, running outdoors, learning new things, making people happy… the list really does go on and on.

But what happens when you continue to wake in a fog and each day seems to fade into the next?  The things that you can list that you love and like just don’t seem to get into your daily routine.  I’m quite certain I’m not the only person who feels this way.  How we find our way to this *funk*, they’re all different stories and circumstances; some harsh, some fickle.  But whatever the reason, the funk needs to be taken out to the curbside, and it’s imperative to get back to the like’s and love’s.  

Recently, I’ve been immobilized by the haze.  Then I think how lucky I am to just be here.  From a very young age, I got to know death.  It’s finality never ceases to amaze me.  For that one brief moment, when you’ve found out you’ve lost someone, whether it be a loss due to illness, old age, accident, suicide or murder… It never gets any easier to swallow.  But still we carry on.  Days become weeks, weeks become months and before you know it a year has passed.   The hurt takes a backseat to the day-to-day.  But when there’s silence, that hurt creeps up.  And it’s not even in physical death.  We mourn the loss of friendships and other relationships that just don’t serve us anymore.  The thing about loss, physical or emotional – it stops us in our tracks for a bit.  It makes us look inside, it makes us look outside.  Never at a more poignant time do we evaluate where we’ve been, where we want to go… then routine tends to creep back in.  At least that has been my experience.  I’m on a mission to make each day count.   

Here I am, in this foggy haze.  The only thing I know for sure right now, I’ve got to make THIS day count… The nice thing about fog, in the physical sense, it’s quite mysterious (unless you live by the ocean, otherwise, you might be used to seeing it).  I’ve always lived in the desert, so when I see fog, it’s this big billowy bright unexpected excitement that fills me.  Something new, light, fluffy and brings a smile to my face.  So why does mental fog not evoke the same feelings???  Perhaps I’m looking at it all wrong.  Maybe the mental fog is indeed meant to be bright and billowy, a chance to realize something’s got to give…

From one day to the next, I never know what I’m going to get.  But I’ve become to expect stress.  Surely that’s not the way this life was intended to be lived.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not so naive to expect that there won’t be challenges and obstacles as we age.  No, trust me, I actually thrive on challenges.  I work best under pressure.  But when you relive your day in the evening, every day should not be a blur of a circumstances in a pressure cooker waiting to explode.  With this thought in mind, I know I need to make some changes.  

I’m a one-day-at-a-time kind of person these days, so that’s just what I’m going to do for the next 30 days.  I’m challenging myself and anyone else who would be inclined to join me to do something new every day for 30 days and reflect upon that experience.

What I will do on day #1?  I have no idea, but I’m sure my crazy imaginative wild mind will come up with some fun stuff.  

For now I’ll leave you with this…

Looking for a good thought provoking read?  Here you go…

http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/02/17/beast/ 

What adventure are you going to make happen tomorrow?  Can you handle something new every day for the next 30 days?  I sure hope so, I’d love to hear about it….

http://youtu.be/DVgk-0dvvCo

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#16 – LEARN THE SKILLS & FINISH WHAT YOU START

From 101 Revolutionary Ways to be Healthy #16 – Learn the Skill: Healthy, fit people have learned how to be healthy.  Learn those skills, practice them, and you’ll be healthy, too.  

and

 

 

from Robin Sharma – Finish what you start.

I think these two statements can really compliment each other!  So as a semi health-nut, definitely a foodie and an amateur runner – I have learned how to be healthy for me.  I’m not a gym rat, I love to take rich-tasty-calorie loaded recipes and turn them into healthy family favorites and I adore being able to run outdoors (preferably on a trail, and occasionally I like to find a team to compete with).  <—in a nutshell, is how I maintain my health.  I’ve observed others, researched best practices and then applied them to my own life to make them work for me.

I love to cook by nature, but I wasn’t always good at it.  Luckily for me, my mother always cooked a home-meal for dinner, and withoutstovetop fail, her meals were A-mazing.  Learning to cook like my mother was super difficult for me, she doesn’t follow recipes; rather she follows her tongue.  A little of this, a little of that – then she’ll taste and add some more of whatever until she achieves the flavor she’s looking for.  What I’ve learned from my mother is the ability to use my palate to replicate recipes, and then tweak them to cut the fat, carbs and calories – yet those cuts and substitutions are never at the expense of flavor.

TreadmillIn addition to eating well, I know I need to work my body out.  I hate the gym.  No, I LOATHE the gym.  I can’t run on a treadmill – partially because I am so clumsy, but even if I get a good rhythm down, I will be five minutes into a treadmill run and then search for a window.  I would much rather be outside running.  Whether it’s hot, cold or the perfect temperature, I like to be on trails, on roads…I like to see the fall leaves or the bright colored and sweet smelling buds of spring.  Swooping birds, flashy cars, road kill…you name it – I want to see it.  I especially fell in love with outdoor runs because it has given me a chance to explore new trails, new areas,trail running but at the same time I can get lost in the music I love for an hour or so without interruption (always a bonus).

But I am guilty… I don’t always finish what I start when it comes to my health.  My love of running ebbs and flows.  I’ve been out of that groove for well over a year now and I really want to get back to where I was.  I’m desperate to get back to where I was, but it seems that life gets in the way.  I’m in a serious transition – trying to decide whether or not to take over a family business, raising children and nurturing my marriage… While I realize none of those are excuses to leverage why I am not making the time to get out and do something healthy for me – I’m doing just that!  So I guess it’s high time to finish what I started (I FEEL A #30 DAY CHALLENGE IN MY FUTURE)!

I’m excited to share more about these two topics!  As I continue to “Learn the Skills” I will most definitely “Finish What I Start!”

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT:

What new healthy skills are you learning and practicing?  What are you going to start for your health that you WILL finish?

If you have a recipe you would like some help making more healthy, but still rich with flavor, please let me know!  I would love to work on it with you!

Next time #17 – Reap the Rewards & Remember that your diet affects your moods so eat like an athlete.