Ebb and Flow

As a writer by nature, it’s easy for me to put something down on paper or to type something on the screen, but I know the difference between feeling divinely inspired and rambling on with nothing to say.  So, in all honesty, this post will be short.  I’m not feeling it.  Thoughts have come to me for blog posts, but I haven’t been making note, following through.  It’s time for some soul tending.

For me, the tide may have receded for a bit.  I have a chance to get things in order.  It’s time for me to be very present to the needs of my family, home and self.  After much work within the unconscious, I’m not surprised by this; we can’t stay underwater forever.  Now is the time to set some goals, make some plans and follow through.

The water’s still here.  My feet are still wet.  The well has not run dry.

How are you doing this day?

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Are You Happy?

This is an extremely loaded question.  There are many levels to a person’s well-being.

What I’m wondering is if you’ve given thought to your own happiness of late.  How do you define being “happy”?

When I was in high school, my senior year I gave posters to some of my closest friends, duplicating by hand 365 reasons to be happy around and around the posterboard.  I don’t know if they still have the posters tucked away somewhere, rolled up in a closet, or if they trashed them upon one of their many moves.  I wish I had kept that list.  I’d like to look it over, see which ones still apply 10+ years later.

I think I’m due to make a revised list.  Feel free to post a comment adding your reasons.  When we get to 365, I’ll make a separate new post with 365 reasons to be happy.

By feeling happy, I mean having an overall sense of well-being, feeling in accord with yourself, others and the world, following the “right” path.  For me, it’s that overcoming rush or shiver that spills forth, and I could just sing out in operatic song “life is so good!” if, indeed, I could sing in opera (which I can’t and don’t).

I’ll get us started with five:

1. Watching my healthy, sleeping children.
2. Belly-laughing about something my husband has told me.
3. Finding a rainbow with the family — bonus if it’s a double rainbow.
4. Having no late fees, penalties — bills paid in full, on time.
5. Helping a mother recognize her own accomplishments.

Like I said, feel free to add yours in the comments.  I’ll add some, too, and when we reach 365 (or more), I’ll make a new post.  You have reasons to be happy; share the love!!

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Life of This Parent

celebration_champagne_cheers_240063_l.jpgNew Year’s Eve doesn’t mean a fancy night out to dinner and then a huge party with friends, drinks and loud music for this parent.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a celebration on the last night of the year.  Maybe that’s why, with four kids in tow, I’m not terribly resentful that my plans for the night include a homemade dinner, sparking grape juice, a dvd and leftovers from a 6 pack of pear cider (my fave) for the hubby and me.

Everything in due time.  It’s a good lesson for me.  Be patient.  Enjoy every moment.  Take my time.  If I can’t enjoy it, change my perspective until there’s something to be grateful for. 

I’ll toast to that, if we’re still awake.

(photo from everystockphoto.com, by a_glitch)

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Season of Christmas

Weeks leading to the season of Mystery.  Joyful days of Christmas, living into the heart of the mystery itself.  The Church’s New Year begun.  Days left on the calendar year.

Where to go from here?

Quite obviously, I took time away from the blog-front to finish up the last-minute gifts.  Now I have to deal with the consequences of house neglect and the incoming gift explosion.  But more than that is the continual contemplation of my life as it is.  My husband says this next year is “the” year.  It’s his 30th.  I think I thought the same for my 30th, too, but that has come and gone.  I’m hesitant to say life is what it is with a sort of resigned sigh, but that’s what comes to mind.

Unfortunately for me, I have a hormonal challenge to overcome this week of weeks to bring back the optimist in me.  I hope to make the right lists, the right resolutions and the right choices.  I’m barking at the kids to make the right choices.  They know what is right and wrong (i.e. be kind, put things back,etc.).  I know what is right and wrong, too, supposedly.  Often, though, I don’t make the right choices, either.

So, here’s to getting the funk out of the system, to making the right choices and to living lovingly and simply.  Our T days this week will include lists, lists that I hope will help me in the coming year.  If they help you, consider it a late gift.  🙂

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Hands of Love

Our heating unit has been sporadic at best, so at night we make sure the kids are dressed warmly and snuggled underneath layers of sheet, quilt, comforter and random blankets.  This night in particular, I knelt beside our youngest one’s bed.  She was too fussy to cradle hold and rock and sing to sleep, so I tucked her in, topped off with her “baby” and hummed softly.

Her eyes blinked slowly, heavily, for just a few moments before closing for sleep, but she reached her arm out toward me and felt my hand lying nearby.  By this time the cat had joined us, purring warmly, deeply, as a black cat does.

Autumn rested her hand in mine, and I let the energy flow back and forth between us.  I was letting go of my crap from the day, hoping it was going somewhere else than to her.  I sent up a prayer that I needed Divine Love to flow into her.  I was empty.  I just wanted to be a channel.  I didn’t have to be the wonderful mother I always hope to be; I just wanted her to receive and be filled with Love that was greater than us both.

Through our hands, I wanted her to experience love.  In that warmth I hope she felt the comfort of what I call Christ’s love, though you can call it Love or Grace or any other name.  To even give it a name is limiting what it really is, for in truth, it can only be experienced.

Exchanging this type of love doesn’t have to be between a mother and child or even between just family and friends.  Every time we shake hands, offer a smile or look sincerely into another’s eyes, we have to potential to exchange the energy of unconditional Love.  It’s all about intention and surrender.  Sometimes it’s easier when we already feel beaten and exhausted.  When we feel like we’re at the top of our game, when our ego is doing just fine, it’s easy to believe we’ve got it all under control.

As much as I hate to admit it, I appreciate the lessons that show me I have little control in this life.  There are forces greater than me at work.  The best I can do is be the conduit for the Love that binds us all.

I am grateful to my little one for giving me a glimpse of that this night.

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My First Hat!

I’ve looked at a couple of hat patterns, and I already had some circular needles.  I just hadn’t used either!  I took the needles, some leftover and some new yarn and went to knittin’ while hubby drove to Austin for the Maker Faire.  (I will be oh-so-glad when I can knit without having to look at my hands!  Carsickness be damned!)  I just finished it recently, finally using an upholstery needle to tie off the top; my daughter’s plastic knitting/tapestry needle couldn’t be found.

I learned I still don’t really know what I’m doing when I’m knitting.  Some instruction and more reading would probably greatly increase my skill level.  For now, though, it’s a hat I would and do wear.

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The benefit of making your own wares is that you can say, “I meant to do that.” 🙂  I don’t have to tell everyone where/how I “messed” up.  It’s a hat a mother can love.

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Maternal Lit.

Obviously writing is one of those things I just do, but this craft/trade/hobby/talent is not mine alone.  For those of you who share my passion or maybe are just venturing into the realm, I thought on this craf-t day I would provide some links to some literary mags specifically designed and provided for moms like us.

  • Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine (not a terribly original name, but self-explanatory!)
  • Literary Mama — I subscribe to their e-zine and have for years now
  • HipMama
  • Brain, Child — They’ve redesigned their site since last I went there.  Probably a great zine for my fellow brilliant mamas
  • TheMomCrowd posted about literary magazines, too.  I thought the site was nice, so take a visit to see her comments about a couple of other sites I’ve not listed here.

Now, to actually submit some work to them.

* * *

Pick me!  I took a bold step and have my site up for nominations under Best Parenting and Hottest Mommy  Blogger for a Blogger’s Choice award.  The more votes I have, the closer my site is to page 1, and the more likely I am to reach other women who might have something to share.  Pass along my site to your friends, and we’ll see what happens!

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Cuddly Shark

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“That’s the cuddliest shark I’ve ever seen,” was the first comment my daughter received upon taking her short-finned mako shark to school . . . the day after Mother’s Day.  Guess what I got to do all Mother’s Day night?  Never again shall we wait till the day before to make sure a project is complete, and I plan to stand behind that.  Feel free to hold me to it.

You, too, can make your own shark, so long as you can sew a seam and have the following.

Materials

  • fabric — how much and what color depends on how big you want your shark to be and what kind of shark it is, of course
  • pencil/chalk
  • scissors
  • thread
  • fill — I used both Poly-Fil (because it’s cheaper, for the bulk) and the more expensive variety that doesn’t clump for the fins
  • buttons — for the eyes
  • textile marker
  • fabric paint
  • glitter glue — because ours has metallic coloration

As with all my crafts, you get the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, make-them-up-as-I-go steps.  Read them to get a feel of it for yourself, then go make up your own process.  🙂

  • Decide which shark you’re going to model after, determine characteristics, size, color, etc.  We made ours larger because I wanted to use most of the fabric I had.  (Can you believe I had a fish-patterned fabric on hand?!?)  Also, ours is two-toned, so the bottom is the white — for camoflauge, naturally.

  • My daughter’s teacher said all sharks start as an oval.  Good advice, but I think whales also start with an oval.  So, maybe start with a skinny oval, an ellipse, maybe.  Ours ended as a rather overweight mako, I think.

  • Sketch outlines of parts and cut, which is great for the kiddo to do.

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  • Since we were transporting pieces back to our house, we pinned labeled fins in place so as not to lose anything or mix up pieces.  This was a great refresher shark physiology lesson for me.

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  • Once home, I had daughter help sew the fins.  She’s not sewn before, but relatively straight seams are a great place to start.  This is her project, after all, and she stayed up with me as late as she possibly could!

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  • I continued with the sewing while she started stuffing fins, using the good fill.

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  • I started sewing the small fins first.  Initially, I sewed around the edges to make a continuous seam along the edges of the fin.  However, this make the fin look like a breast . . . seriously.  So, much to my delight it was actually easier to take the stuffed fin, pin it and sew it straight across, making sure it was in the right direction and right sides to right sides.  Much better than the boob, though my daughter did get a late night delirious giggle out of it.

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  • Deflated shark with all but the tail fin attached.  Time to stuff.  (Daughter snoring now.)

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  • Maybe I was getting delirious, too, but this just looked hilarious to me.  I was too lazy to hand stitch, so I put my machine to the test.  Wouldn’t you know that the first go I forgot to put the presser foot down?  I made two more passes just to make sure he wouldn’t lose his tail.  (Before pinning I just folded the body side in to make it straight and fit the tail just inside.)

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  • I sewed on the button eyes and used the marker for the nostrils (can’t remember the fancy name my daughter kept repeating) and the mouth.  Then I used the slick paint for the teeth.  Nice effect.

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  • Next morning I had daughter draw his gill slits . . .

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  • And help me add the glitter for the metallic effect.  We just squirted it on and spread it with our hands.

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  • She was quite proud of our creation and plans to keep him around as a pillow.

shark13.jpgBesides the fact we waited way too late to start the project, it was fun.  Regardless, there should be no school projects due the Monday after Mother’s Day!

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Time for the Kids

Summer break gets closer each day and the feeling that it will be great, calm and relaxed fades as the kids seem to be fighting more intensely these days.  Rather than sink into despair, though, I’m going to do some positive thinking and visualization, mixed with some good ol’ fashioned planning.

I have three weeks to cut clutter in the house.  This will simplify cleaning and help clear the energy — a number one help for me.

My activities these days are already becoming heavily kid-centered.  Morning times are fast becoming preschool/story/playgroup time nearly every day of the week.  With lunch, snacks, errands and a little project, the day is booked.  Add in a field trip a week, swimming a time or two a week at the grandparents’ and the occasional sleepover, and we’re all set!  Summer time doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does need to be intentional.  I didn’t even mention gardening our future veggies and flowers!  Our summer looks to  be pleasantly busy, and that’s even without the t.v. and video games.

Hopefully by focusing on what the kids will be doing, we’ll help minimize the inevitable boredom and sibling aggravation for the kids.  Of course, just because I’m focusing on them for concentrated amounts of time, it doesn’t mean that all day I’m going to be completely absorbed in them.  Some of their activities will be self-directed.  Space is good for me right now, and giving myself a couple of solitary, uninterrupted hours a day for me whether during the afternoon or after bedtime is a very good thing.

If you have any unique summer suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.  I know there are loads of resources online.

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mes raisons d’être

This Friday post before Mother’s Day, I’m inclined to reflect on my
existence as a mother.

The commercial realm has
capitalized on the holiday. Beautiful flowers, cakes, chocolates,
clothes, jewelry, etc., etc., are everywhere, and I must admit, I’ve
thought twice about buying something impractical and not healthy.

But Mother’s Day originally came to be out of mothers’ love for their
children gone to war. It came from a cry for peace so that their
children wouldn’t have to be off fighting battles that were too great
for them alone and which pulled them away from their families. I’m sure
there are many now that cry for peace for such reasons.

I am blessed to have my family close, and my family extends beyond my
husband and children. We are fortunate to have a strong extended family. My aunts,
grandmothers, cousins, sisters-in-law, and friends are part of my
family, too. For them all, I am grateful. In this respect I feel very
young as a mother, feel very much my role as daughter. My grandmothers.
mothers and older friends embody a wisdom and beauty that only come
with age, time and experience.

As a mother myself, though, I can see how far I’ve come in my nine
years of this role. With each passing day, I learn something more —
mainly from my kids. Most days, I’m also given the opportunity to share
something with other mothers, and may this be my mother’s day gift to
you.

You are never alone.

All those before you and all those to come are with you, even during
your bad days, time-outs and moments when you wonder what you were thinking to have children.

daisies.jpgAll the flowers in the world and the shiniest jewelry will never match
the twinkle in your child’s eyes when they smile at you, their beautiful
mother,

 

Nor will they ever match the tearful, joyful pride in your own
mother’s eyes as she watches you and sees the mother you’ve become.

 

Rest on this your day.


Reflect on who you are at this point in your life,

And love deeply those you help make you the mother you are and the mother you are yet to be.

May you carry with you the blessings of the Mother, now and always.

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