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Cave to Cliff

One woman's journey from darkness to light

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Mother’s Day 2014

Traditionally, Mother’s Day has been a source of pain and chaos in our home. Old hurts weigh us down like anchors. Our fears and hurts about mothers and mothering rise to the surface and we attack. I attack. Sometimes kids attack with their words and actions. The day has been a royal pain. Last year I called my best friend from my van crying, “I am a horrible mother. These kids are hurt. I am hurt. I said mean things. I can’t make this better. I’m never going back inside.” Well, I did. I can’t make it all better, but I can try.

A few days ago as I was driving along the highway I came to the realization that I needed to deal with some unresolved feelings. So I started talking to God about that. I am sad that I don’t have a mom to celebrate. For many years I tried to stuff that sadness. I mean, she died 30 years ago when I was 9, surely I should be over it, right? Well, get this. Being over it doesn’t mean not being sad. I gave myself permission to be sad. I talked to my kids about that. I said, “Hey, so this Mother’s Day thing is hard, isn’t it? Well, it’s not going to be hard this year. I’m sad. It’s ok to be sad. I know that you might be sad, too, and that’s totally ok. It is not ok for us to hurt one another because we hurt. This year, we are going to rock this Mother’s Day!”

My mama and me. Look at that hair. Seriously people! Those are some pinchable cheeks right there!
My mama and me. Look at that hair. Seriously people! Those are some pinchable cheeks right there!

I became a mother when I was 21. Christopher changed the way I looked at life. Suddenly I had this little baby who would quickly grow into a man. I felt so honored to be the one chosen to raise him. I still feel that way even though I fall so short. I thought that having a child meant that my Mother’s Day would be magical. I had an unrealistic expectation and because of that ideal, I was often hurt. However, my first one was very good.

A page from my scrapbook. This boy wasn't thrilled with the sand, but he got over it.
A page from my scrapbook. This boy wasn’t thrilled with the sand, but he got over it.
A close up of little Christopher. Look at his cheeks! Oh, that boy. I am still smitten by him. He has always been such an incredible gift to me.
A close up of little Christopher. Look at his cheeks! Oh, that boy. I am still smitten by him. He has always been such an incredible gift to me.

I think I’d mostly get money from my dad to buy mom some perfume or something.  However, when I was 9 years old I decided to do something a little different. I remember heading down to the local department store. I’m sure it had an official name, but we simply called it “The Department Store”. You could buy anything there! I chose a light blue felt rectangle, some googly eyes, white yarn with a silver thread running through it, a fake flower, and a needle. I have vague memories of my best friend, Peggy, being with me. I don’t know that she did the same thing, but we were often together. I can’t imagine that I did it without her there for at least some of the process.

I didn’t know this would be the last Mother’s Day gift I gave to my mom. [hug your mom, your friend, your kids, blah blah – no really, do it – i think these are things we say when we’re getting to be about 40]

I have NO idea why I wrote "We Love Mom". Who is we???
I have NO idea why I wrote “We Love Mom”. Who is we???

I was so proud of that thing. I had never done anything like that before, or since. (Though I sometimes imagine I’m a fantastic embroidery artist. I just think it’s something I would enjoy doing as long as I could do it well!

So, this year rolls around and we’re going to have an awesome day. I didn’t entertain the thought of it being anything other than spectacular!

Guess what??? It was! My kids blessed me in so many ways!

We went to the Cheesecake factory and walked around Washington Square. We met lovely people at Lush.

This is a card from Sage. I thought it was the most adorable thing ever! He loves me more than the rest of them! Haha!
This is a card from Sage. I thought it was the most adorable thing ever! He loves me more than the rest of them! Haha!
Ireland's card. The "raining" part is supposed to go with the "love". She asks me, "Do you like the raining Love part, mommy?" Yes, sweet one, very much.
Ireland’s card. The “raining” part is supposed to go with the “love”. She asks me, “Do you like the raining Love part, mommy?” Yes, sweet one, very much.
What a little gift giver Ireland is. She made me a calm down bottle. It's glitter and water. When you're angry you shake it and wait for the glitter to stop swirling. By then you should be calm. Hilarious. She knows I need it.
What a little gift giver Ireland is. She made me a calm down bottle. It’s glitter and water. When you’re angry you shake it and wait for the glitter to stop swirling. By then you should be calm. Hilarious. She knows I need it.
Breakfast of Champions & Warriors. Oranges, scrambled eggs, and ice cream prepared by Ireland. She had the first and last bites of my ice cream...and several in between!
Breakfast of Champions & Warriors. Oranges, scrambled eggs, and ice cream prepared by Ireland. She had the first and last bites of my ice cream…and several in between!
Christopher made art for me. (He tells me this picture is upside down.) I love that he made me this.
Christopher made art for me. (He tells me this picture is upside down.) I love that he made me this.

 

I was loved on and well cared for this Mother’s Day.

Total win. Choices matter.

I chose love over fear.

Love Wins.

Always.

 

Duck Faced Pub Mamas

Close friendships with women have eluded me for many years.  According to some other blogs I’ve been reading over the years, I’m not alone. I saw this amazing thing happening in the blog world of women. I saw real friendships growing over the internet and spilling into every day lives. I learned about suffering and joy. I began to learn how to really give more of me in my friendships by watching women I had never met.

Then one day I was invited by a friend to join a group on Facebook that was just a place to ask for prayer. I stayed in it because I liked hearing about what was really going on in the lives of my friends. I knew most of the women, but there were several I didn’t know on there, too. I was going through some rougher times a couple years back. I was scared and desperate. I began to share my story and ask for prayer from women I didn’t know well or had never met.

Something amazing was happening when I began to pray for these women I didn’t know well or at all. I felt a love for them. I actually cared about what was going on in their lives. They began to care about me, too.

I keep wanting to use the word amazing, then I refrain because I don’t want to over use it.

However, my God is AMAZING!

I decided that Chani and I would go on a retreat in Canada with other mamas of adopted kids. I didn’t have the money so I did something so out of my character. I asked friends for $10 to go. I needed over $500.

Guess what happened? 23 people joined forces and gave me a total of $576. 12 of them were part of that group, too. I don’t think they even realize how much that still blesses me. Going to that retreat made me feel normal.

It planted a seed of hope.

The facebook group isn’t still around, but there are a few of us that message one another and do silly things. One day we freaked out the teens by posting pictures of us posing with duck faces. Christopher kept asking, “Is this a thing??? It IS a thing!!!! Someone else just posted a duck face.” It was pretty awesome.

This group makes me laugh. The day we thought of that was a day I needed a good laugh. It had been a hard day for me and I was sad. Laughter healed my heart. We get some good laughs, but we also get in plenty of prayer and support. We speak the truth and encourage one another to look to Jesus.

One day we decided to get together. Actually, one day we decided to get together about a month after we decided it. A few of us were able to make it and it was great. Love you gals!

the group

Snippets

My days are filled with laughter and crying and yelling and squealing and silliness and seriousness and busyness and harsh words and kind words.

That’s a lot of “and”s.

It has been a whirlwind of a day. My sweet Danae finally had her baby today after 48 hours of labor. The baby is in NICU because he’s not breathing well. Please be praying for that. I haven’t even met him yet, but I love him.

I felt kind of stressed through the day, not in a super bad way. There was just a lot to manage and I was concerned about the baby and Danae. It takes a lot of energy to keep reminding oneself that worry does nothing and that God is here in this. My thoughts are like 2 year old kids constantly needing to be re-directed.

My day is ending splendidly, though. I have this zany group of friends that I do know in real life, but we really never are all together. In fact, one of them I’ve known for years and I’ve only seen her at Grocery Outlet. These friends make me laugh so much and I am so very thankful for them. I needed them today in that way and I didn’t even know it until it was all over and done with. We pray for one another and we laugh with/at one another.

It’s life giving and a saving grace.

 

Peace out, friends!

October and Jesus

japanese_maple

It is dark and quiet outside. I’m drinking tea and listening to good music.

One of my very good friends is in the birthing center laboring to bring her baby boy into this world. I’m so excited to hold that boy and look into the face of my brand new mama friend. I will write about her someday.

My house still smells of chicken. The kids watched White Fang while deboning 3 chickens for me today. Now what is left of the carcass is in the crockpot making broth. My kitchen is a mess and I’m half hoping that the cat will come in and lick the chicken juice off of the table.

My birthday is in 6 days. Some friends and I will be running a 5K called the Color Vibe that morning. [By running, I mean that I’ll be dying trying to jog and they’ll be leisurely walking along side of me.] I’m excited and nervous about that all at the same time.

I’m going to be 39 and I don’t mind one bit. I don’t mind that I’m going to be 40 next  year. In fact, I’m excited. I like myself more than ever before. In fact, 2 years ago I wrote about how I wasn’t looking forward to my 37th birthday. [That month I wrote every day as part of a blogging challenge, you can find those links HERE.] I wrote all about me and I just have to say it was kind of depressing.

Yet, it was also joy giving.

Here’s why: I am not that scared woman anymore!!! 

So many things are the same, but so many things are different. My perspective has changed. I’m no longer looking at life through a lens of hopelessness and fear, but of hope and joy. You heard me, I said JOY. I have plenty of bad days, shoot I had a bad 6 weeks recently, but I found my way back. I am not so desperate as I once was and there’s only one answer.

JESUS

There is so much I could say right here. Too many things, actually. But I’ll stop.

Ok, maybe I won’t. It’s relationship with Jesus. It’s believing Him and walking with Him and trusting Him and listening and taking risks. Scary ones. They’re not risks if they’re not scary. It’s choosing Him every day and all that comes with it. We don’t need fortune tellers or horoscopes to give us direction. We need the Word of God.

He is Faithful.

Now I’ll stop.

Inspired

20130601-152153.jpg

John and Cindy Rodgers and kids
San Diego, California.
First iLA conference.

Can I just say how very proud I am of my very good friends? I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I am so proud to be part of this company, Inspired Living Applications. This is the first official day of the conference and I have met some amazing people! I’m learning so much. I can clean see how God has led me to this point right here. I was once so afraid of many things, I thought I’d be afraid to meet people. Guess what??? I’m NOT!

Favorite Quote(s)

There are so many great quotes out there, how do I choose? I’ll tell you that the first thing that came to mind.

Dr. Seuss

My favorite book to read aloud is “Fox in Sox”. You should hear me read that thing. I used to practice every day. I’ll start practicing again, if  you want me to! Really, I would do that for you because I’m that awesome.

As I think of having a favorite quote, though, I gravitate toward “Oh The Places You’ll Go”. It’s optimistic, yet honest. He speaks of how great things can be and how hard things can be. Well, and it rhymes.  I’m obviously a sucker for rhyming.

ohtheplaces

 

 

Check out some more favorite quotes from some fabulous bloggers on Story of My Life.

What are your favorite quotes?

Sweet Days

Bea and Dusty getting applesauce ready to go into the waterbath canner.

Autumn is here. I know that it’s tradition to Spring clean, but I always get  more of the bug in the fall. I think it’s because we’re getting ready to hunker down for the wet winter. It’s harvest time, which means it’s preserving time. It’s been years since I’ve canned. This year I was given pears, apples, and plums. We also have a pear tree out behind our house and I couldn’t just let those go to waste. We now have some pearsauce, applesauce, dried plums, and pears waiting to be canned next week. I plan on trying to gather as many free fruits as I can. Apples and pears grow in abundance around here, so it isn’t too difficult to do so!

My kitchen is full of dirty dishes and the fruit flies are in fruit heaven. Right now they’re mostly hanging around my kombucha, though.

Ireland is outside squealing with her friends.
Sage is backpacking with some friends of ours.
Christopher has begun Nutcracker rehearsals.
Dusty is wandering around the house and yard being bored.

I’m about to set my timer and start cleaning. I tried to use last Saturday as a “do nothing” sort of day, but it all backfired. I ended up feeling discontent and unsatisfied, which isn’t restful at all. If I remember correctly, there were grouchy kids involved in that mix, too. This time I decided there would be some relaxing and doing nothing involved, but not to the extent of last week. I also won’t order my kids around and try to get things super clean. I will do what needs to be done, but mostly I will rest my mind. I won’t think of the things that stress me out.

I will focus my mind on the things of God.

I will take the time to listen for His voice in the hubbub of life. I will stop to jot thoughts down in my journal. I will pray to the One who holds all this in His hands. I will go to His word. I will write down how He blesses me daily.

Pears – friends – 2 weekends away in October – apples – the ability and the equipment to can – words of friends to bless me

OMSI +

A couple of days ago the kids and I went up to OMSI. We have a membership that’s about to expire and tickets to go see and omnimax movie or go on the submarine. [We still have enough to do one of those things again.] For this trip I chose a movie. We watched the movie Born to be Wild about 2 amazing women in 2 different parts of the world taking on wild orphaned animals and raising them to go back into the wild. My kids were in awe.

Last night at the dinner table I asked the kids what they enjoyed about OMSI. It was so much fun listening to their answers. Dusty really loved the Life Hall where she could practice balancing or jump roping. Christopher loved a lot of things. A couple of them were learning that an octopus can disguise itself as a lion fish, sea snake, sting ray, and one more thing I can’t remember. He also enjoyed learning about nanotechnology. [Of course all that reminded me of was the replicators on Stargate.] Ireland liked playing the games about food and health. I thought that was interesting. She also liked the ball room. Sage liked seeing the car body that was on display. Whenever you’d look through and move around these screen things they showed the parts bigger and would tell you about it if you wanted them to. He like the Australian bird, whose name I can’t remember, that could imitate lots of sounds including a chain saw! Personally, I enjoyed watching my kids explore. It was exasperating at times with all four of them wanting to come see something, but it was fun. I enjoyed the National Geographic Photos that were displayed. Some were absolutely breath taking.

Things are so tense in our family that it’s hard to have fun. I have to be constantly aware of triggers, that while they may not act out right on the spot, it will come later. That was evident in our car ride home. Sage started yelling at Ireland because she was touching him and she wouldn’t move whatever body part that was touching him. I can’t see back there and I don’t actually care so I just pulled over and said when there is peace in the car we will continue on home. Dusty actually played a part in the peacemaking. She offered to trade places with Sage so he wouldn’t have to sit next to Ireland, but he wouldn’t answer her so she traded with Ireland. I thanked her for being a peacemaker and told her it was a blessing. That’s a new thing.

We were at therapy and I told the therapists that I think this LENS thing is actually working. [You can follow the link. It explains it better than I do or can.] It is simply weird and amazing. I don’t even try to understand it exactly. I had just decided we need help. Our brains are wired differently and this helps to untangle some of the wiring. Here’s the thing, our life experiences affect how our brains develop. If there is trauma, injury, chronic pain, etc. it will affect how active our brain is and where that activity is happening. I’ve had 4 sessions so far and I think it’s making a difference. I am more calm than I was before. I can deal with my kids’ behaviors much better. I have seen some small improvements in Dusty. Sage has only had 2 sessions and my other 2 kids aren’t doing it. Sage became defiant immediately after his session yesterday and it lasted the whole day. That just means we’ll do less sites next time.

Hey, check out my astronaut kids!


Oh Canada

So excited to be going to Canada. Chani and I are clueless about what to do when we get to the border guard. I REALLY wish I would’ve fired off a picture of him before noticed. We were sort of giggly. We were happy.

Chani: Um, we don’t know what to do.
Border Guard: When was the last time you were in Canada.
(pause)
Me: Um, 20 years
Chani nods
BG: passports
We looks at me and says, “Put the camera down”
It was NOT even pointed at him. AT ALL.
I kind of laughed when I put it down.
I tried not to. Really.
BG: Where are you going?
Chani: Ummm, Canada
Me: Vernon, Silver Star
BG: Why are you here?
Chani: We’re going to a mom’s retreat.
BG: What do you do?
Chani: Ummm, we’re….moms
BG: Where are your children?
Chani: With their dads.

So, my memory is fading and it’s WAY more funny when we’re telling the story. It was unreal. I couldn’t believe how serious he was. I decided that if I’m ever a border guard that I’d be nice and funny. I laughed for awhile after crossing the border. What are we gonna do? Go terrorize Canada? And why would we do that? Tim Horton’s is good, but not worth causing trouble.

On the way back into our beloved homeland the friendly border guard asks us if we had any food. I forgot about the dill and ketchup chips, but I did ask him, “Um, do we need to declare our timbits?” He chuckled and said, “No.” To which I replied, “Good, but we’re prepared to stuff them in our faces right now.” He laughed.

So, who works at the border. Americans or Canadians? Are we funnier?

I have a lot of thoughts about our trip. They are not ready to be released. It was good and I want to share soon.

I loved my time with Chani a great deal. A lot. The time passed quickly, sort of. We talked a lot. We never get a chance to do that. I loved watching Criminal Minds with her late into the night.

Chani, you are a gem. True Story.

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