Be Holding Nothing Back

Allowing my heart to feel deeply, in the joy and the sadness.

Tears on the edge of my eyes.

Not just hearing but really trying to listen.

Using the expensive dishes.

Feeling the sun on my face.

Giving my hands time to feel the soil.

Being still and looking into my boys eyes.

Not waiting until… the renovations are done, this person responds a certain way, I am thirty pounds lighter…

Live.

Life.

Every day.

Each moment.

Every emotion.

Breathe by breathe.

“Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.”
(Mary Manin Morrissey)

Be Pizza-ing, Moving Playgrounds & Puttering in the Yard

I am happy to admit that I asked for help. Yup, this do-it-yourselfer and type Aer is official reformed. Our socks have been blessed off this weekend. My heart is full.

We ask a few of Sexy Neck’s friends/work colleagues as well as a friend of mine/neighbour to come over and help move our huge play structure across the yard.

20140427-134136.jpg

20140427-134149.jpg

20140427-134157.jpg
We had a dump truck load of top soil arriving shortly after so we asked if the three families wanted to stay for pizza. They did and it turned into an awesome night. I wish I had gotten a picture of the ten kids around our kitchen table as well as the parent standing around them.

20140427-134306.jpgThe help we got was awesome. The people amazing.

Asking.

Helping.

Life giving.

Community building.

The gift of time and self.

Full of gratitude.

The next day we asked our friends from Vtown, Princess P and Papa B if they would share their landscaping and gardening gifts with us and help us with a few projects. They stayed the whole day helping us AND allowing our boys to help them. They were the most caring teachers showing ALL OF US how to do things. These two have the joy of angels and patience of Saints. We got to play with all of Papa B’s landscape tools. It was a beautiful day! Once the turf is in you are going to have to checkout our yard.

20140427-134646.jpg

20140427-134655.jpg

20140427-134700.jpg

20140427-134708.jpg

20140427-134715.jpgWe shared dinner together. PB and PP brought gelato and talked about their upcoming trip to Italy.

20140427-135402.jpg
A day outside.

With friends.

Dirty hands.

Faces.

Feet.

Full hearts.

Big smiles.

Roots being drawn deeper.

Watered with friends love.

In this place God had brought us to.

Sun on our face.

Playground.

Pizza.

Puttering.

Grateful for help.

Be Keeping Moving (and Surfing Photos)

I went to the grocery store today and wanted to lie down in the aisle when I walked by mom’s favourite balsamic infusion salad dressing… but I didn’t.  I walked on by, asked God to help me and kept on moving.  

Two steps forward.

One step back. 

Still moving.  

Tonight, I looked through some of the surfing pictures that a photographer took while we were in Hawaii.  I can’t get over my boys smiles.   They warmed my heart.    

Holding tight to memories.

Looking at smiles.

Loving my amazing boys.  

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

 

Be Reflective About the Last Year

Last Saturday as I was folding laundry, yet again, I cried out in anguish as the waves continued to pound me down. I cried out to Jesus, “I need a friend and I need someone now! Please Jesus save me!”

As I finished my last sentence, a car pulled up in front of my house. It was a very good friend from my first days in Vtown and paddling. She was driving past and had to stop in. She threw me a life preserver as I grabbed her and bawled my eyes out. She saved me from drowning. Her small action helped me tremendously. It brought me back to my life and got me thinking about the last year.

Last night, I went for a hike around my favourite mountain with an old volleyball friend and now new neighbour. We got a good sweat on and my mind worked a few things out. Throughout my life, I have found moving my body quite often moves my mind into new thoughts and patterns. I have the tendency to get on ‘the hamster wheel’ in my mind when I am worried about a relationship and situation. Exercise helps me to spin those thoughts right out of my hamster wheel.

After my hike up Knox last night, I spent time hanging out in my holy laundry room folding laundry. I love this disorganized, warm place where I can let my thoughts ‘hangout’. Since the day I laid on my laundry room floor this space has become a safe place for me. I find that as I grieve there is nothing I can ‘do’ to help this process along. Each day, I go through my day and I never know when the next wave of grief will hit. This last week has been pure torture for me. It started off seeing my son’s birthday card with only ‘Papa’ signed at the bottom. The first card without Nana’s name on it. This started the pounding waves of grief as things kept coming up day after day. I couldn’t catch a breathe. The waves in this storm kept pounding away.

I couldn’t get over how things have changed since April 2013.

One year ago:
🔹living in Vtown, not KCity
🔹seeing my mom every day.
🔹mom was getting ready to go on her cycling trip to Spain
🔹my dad was still working and living in PG part time.
🔹 our close friends had just moved to the Island
🔹 our dear family friend O’Wen was just talking about moving back to PG but still living in Vtown and a huge part of our life.
🔹Our family had an incredible group of people that we would eat with, play with… PP, PB, DD, our church family…
🔹our neighbour, Lizzie, was just across the street encouraging via window phone calls and ‘street talk’.

20140422-205119.jpgIntroducing Liz, who came to hike up Knox with me a few weeks ago before the latest wave.
🔹every day we would have one or two people drop by our house as they walked by or dropped something off.
🔹Sexy Neck was in the first year of his new job.
🔹I was going to the gym with my mom
🔹my mom and I took turns volunteering at CC’s preschool and JC’s kindergarten class.
🔹 I was involved with an incredible group of women who met in a book club once a month.
🔹A neighbourhood friend and I would prayerwalk together once a week.
🔹I attended an awesome Tuesday night bible study.
🔹I could walk downtown and ‘know’ at least three or four people.
🔹I loved visiting my ‘school’ friends at work.
🔹My mom would often pop into our backyard on her bike as she rode around town.
🔹We ate at least one meal per week with mom, and dad, if he was in town.

Now, I sit.

Alone.

A lot.

We have infrequent visitors.

A new city, school, house, neighbours, community.

Creating friendships.

Finding where to buy bread.

Yearning a life past.

Trying to find a future.

Painting.

Digging.

Talking.

Growing roots.

One day at a time.

The waves will come.

But I have learned that God will throw me a life preserver.

Through new and old friends.

Through sweat.

Through nature.

Through His Holy Spirit all around me.

20140422-204959.jpg

Be Celebrating Easter

Gratitude.

Family.

Triumph over death.

Jesus is risen.

Fact or fiction?

This is for everyone to decide.

Alone.

With themselves.

And God.

Today, we celebrated Easter. We celebrated the North American way with chocolate bunnies and hunting for eggs. We also celebrated Jesus’ last days on earth through pictures Sexy Neck drew and books we read together. We walked with our cousins in nature. We finished the day with a campfire outside.

What memories did you choose to create today? In my ocean of grief, I was intentional about creating so great new ones.

20140420-205131.jpg

20140420-205143.jpg

20140420-205152.jpg

20140420-205201.jpg

20140420-205218.jpg

20140420-205229.jpg

20140420-205243.jpg

20140420-205251.jpg

20140420-205300.jpg

20140420-205311.jpg

20140420-205319.jpg

20140420-205329.jpg

20140420-205344.jpg

Be Really Real (no juice here!)

I am finding it difficult to write. I deeply desire to be positive, uplifting, encouraging, but I feel none of these things.

20140417-222304.jpg
(Me and my journal!)
I really want to string some pretty words together but my heart is swearing! My mind is screaming. My body is weary with grief.

I feel hurt.

I feel despair.

I feel anger.

I feel frustration.

I have become aware that my words on this blog evoke emotions. My photos, especially the one of my lying on my laundry room floor in January, are difficult for some readers.

I have to admit that this blogging thing started off anonymously with twenty people I didn’t know reading my blog daily. One year after starting and during the height of my mom’s cancer journey, there were over eight hundred people checking my blog daily!. This is a strange sensation knowing that the audience I now have before me knows me and uses this blog to ‘see how I am doing’!

Now the second thing I will admit as I sit in my red chair, the rain pounding down, as I reflect on this blogging journey is that I have been serving you juice.

Good old apple juice.

Showing you a side of me that I think you want and need to see.

Keeping the information rated G for the general audience.

Tonight, I am giving you a good old gulp of red wine on the eve of the remembrance of Jesus’ crucifixion.

The night before Jesus died he washed his disciples feet, served them bread and wine, symbolizing his body and blood.

On this night I feel like I want to die. I am listening to the rain pound down hoping it will clean me up. I want to curl up. I don’t eat nor drink. I burst into tears during a children’s storybook, at the lack of communication, through this pouring rain. I HATE RAIN!

I cry out about the missed moments. Why didn’t I stand closer and notice how mom made her jam, lasagna, apple pie crust…

I am overwhelmed by the differences between men and women as I sit surrounded by males including Sexy Neck, my boys and my father. Oh mama, where are you?

I have so many questions rattling around in my head that I want to ask my mom. I can’t breathe as tears streak my face.

My mom, my first teacher and the teacher I modelled my love of my students after. The women who showed me how to spend weekends preparing for the week, lunch hours to meet the needs of the students less socially inclined and going above and beyond in many ways. To be watching my son’s teacher with her systems, testing and explanations that end in ‘I could show you the research!’ ,my legs want to run straight to my mom for a chat in her garden. My mom had such insight about schooling. But I am alone to figure this one out. Utterly alone.

I feel sick to my stomach when I see the sad faces of my friends when I talk about my mom. I see what an impact her life and death had on them I want to talk about her but their faces make me stop.

I have never felt so lonely in my life.

20140417-223635.jpg
Deeply missing the times I took for granted.

Tearfully desiring all the times my mom was so beautifully present, unassuming, supportive and there.

Mom cannot be replaced. Absolutely nothing in the world can fill this gaping hole. I will continue to sit in my grief as this is my season. There is nothing another human being can do to erase my pain. Don’t feel sad for me. I am not drinking my feelings away nor shopping or eating them away.

I am sitting.

I am noticing.

I am hoping.

I am waiting.

For the rain to go away.

For a glimmer of sun.

To create a new way.

A new life.

Without my mom.

Damn this hurt.

So, if you don’t hear from me for awhile it has nothing to do with you. If I don’t know the answers nor want to organize things remember I am building new neuron brain pathways. Many of my pathways led to my mom!

I am exhausted.

Overwhelmed by waves.

I am doing my work.

Rowing my boat.

Staying afloat.

On the ocean of grief.

Waiting for Jesus to walk on water.

20140417-223648.jpg

Be Eating Outside

Do you think food tastes better when eaten while camping, on your favourite restaurant patio or simply in your own backyard?

Tonight, I am going to have to say definitely “Yes”! It was our first meal outside since our insane autumn. It was delicious and sunny.

20140413-214350.jpg

20140413-214355.jpg

20140413-214401.jpg
We even enjoyed Lindt chocolates on the lawn sent from our good friends in Germany. Sweet!

20140413-214448.jpg
Now I am wondering do our taste buds change depending on our location? Hmmmmm… I think we will have to try this experiment again tomorrow.

Be Living Quotes

I have always been drawn to quotes.

In high school, I started a black journal where I wrote down every interesting quote I read in a book or heard. This was the days before the Internet so finding quotes was not as easy as a click of a mouse.

20140413-090057.jpg
This love of quotes has continued but often now these quotes come in the form of silly things my boys or I say or the inspiring quotes my friends put on Facebook.

20140413-090030.jpg
These are a few quotes that I have saved on my phone in the last few days.

20140413-090240.jpg
In my daily life, I don’t want to just read quotes. I want to live them. Breathe them. Soak them in and then pour them out.

20140413-090344.jpg
A new physical and spiritual season is beginning for me with its new growth, beautiful flowers and grass beginning to grow. Rain showers will come, I know, but I will continue to read my quotes, take them in and pour them out.

Words without action are meaningless.
Words are cruel like a sword.
Words can soothe a baby’s cries. Words are power.
Words can create change.
Dishonest and action-less words are a mere cloud floating by on this beautiful spring day.
Do what you say. Say what you do!

20140413-090621.jpg
Yup, keep the faith.

In God.

In the goodness of people.

In myself.

In words.

In being.