Posts Tagged With: hope

hopeful and organized beginnings

This papercrumbs post spoke to me this morning.
On this the tenth day of the new year I’m still feeling a bit off kilter. Of course the holidays were hectic and with the mad weather, getting into the back to school routine was shot all to hell. So it makes a kind of sense to me that I’m still in that ‘waiting for the new to begin’ feeling to kick in.

I’ve completely reorganized the kitchen cabinets, drawers, pantry, and laundry closet. I reorganized the linen closet. I feel so peaceful now that these things are finished. I’m serious y’all. I feel peacefully content down deep in my soul.
This organization is one small part in the beauty of beginning again. Perhaps it makes it simpler for me to begin again when I have the comfort of everything being orderly? Perhaps I just can’t handle perceived chaos?
Whatever the case may be, I do know this. I feel more ready to begin again since accomplishing those tasks. Even with the chaos of snow days, early dismissals, and delayed openings, I feel more able to get back into the swing of things at school too.

It occurs to me as I write this what’s beautiful about beginning again and again is that it feels hopeful. Hope that however tiny, each new beginning can bring adventure, or comfort, or a new way of learning, or something I may not have even though of yet!
When I feel hopeful, I’m inclined to begin again.
Sometimes a beginning blows up in your face. But with hope, you take what you needed from that beginning and decide to begin again a different way. Sometimes a beginning is more than you could have hoped for, and you have exactly what you want or need. You needn’t begin again, but you want to, to see what’s next.

To begin again and again, as many times as you want is really a gift. To begin after disaster is scary. To begin after perfection is also scary. Being scared is OK. Being scared is natural. But, it’s important to remember you always have hope in your pocket. To me the saddest thing is choosing not to begin because you’re scared. You don’t have to be brave to begin.
Just begin.
Bravery will come to you.
Hope will remind you that it’s in your pocket.
Begin.
You might fail. That’s OK too. Keep the important bits you needed and begin again.

In my life, I had many beginnings. I had some pretty epic failures. I have learned so much. I have been scared. I forgot hope was in my pocket. Or I found hope in the pocket of something when I wasn’t even looking.
I began again, and began again, and began again as many times as I wanted or needed. But mostly with prep work. Mostly organized. I do not function well in perceived chaos. I need to feel like I have a handle on the beginning.
Of course this isn’t always a perfect scenario, sometimes I must begin without being organized. That oftentimes leads to some sort of new mini beginning.
But that’s OK too.
I believe in the importance of beginnings.
I believe in hope.

In an excellent book about beginnings, Dr Seuss wrote:

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

and

“Out there things can happen, and frequently do, to people as brainy and footsy as you. And when things start to happen, don’t worry, don’t stew. Just go right along, you’ll start happening too!”

Each night promises a new morning. An opportunity to begin again. And again. And again. As many or as few times as you like.
Organize yourself.
Hold on to your hope.
You’ve got this!

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Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

love and light at the Cathedral

The day after Christmas we went downtown to the creche exhibit at the National Cathedral.
For the first time in many years, the sun was out on that cold, cold day. (sorta kinda)

We walked the long way around the Cathedral College on our way up the hill to the Cathedral.
Thing 2 especially loves this building, the tower with the ivy vines. I think it has something to do with her love of the Disney movie Tangled…though she might not agree. It was important to her to bring boyfriend J to this place.

I loved this glimpse of colored glass! It wasn’t until I viewed the window through my lens that I realized there was a pane missing.

The Cathedral is my absolute favorite building the the whole of DC. I mean to the point that I began to breathe differently when we drove up Wisconsin Ave and I could see it. The building is truly awe inspiring, but more than that, it’s just a lovely, peaceful place. God’s house for everyone.
I was pleased to see the Advent wreath in the Bethlehem Chapel!

Though they were beginning to look a little worse for wear, the Christmas trees were dressed with a garland of hydrangeas. A few jingle bells and, boom! You’ve got yourself a gorgeous tree.

The sun was shining brightly as we made our way through the chapel and the stained glass positively sparked!

The “Space Window”.
Inside that little white circle is a piece of moon rock given to the Cathedral in 1974.

This view stopped me in my tracks. I honestly cannot describe the beauty my eyes saw, and this photo is a sad representation.
But not so sad that I wasn’t asked by a local online culture and lifestyle magazine if they could feature it in a current coolest pics article.
Go me!

This little beauty was waiting in the observation tower.

Here’s a view of the Bishop’s Garden from the observation tower.

Down on the crypt level is the chapel of St Joseph of Arimathea. This is my absolute favorite space in the entire building. I always stop for a moment (or longer) in this chapel to talk with God.

The teeny chapel where we normally light our candles in prayer.

Much to our dismay this little chapel was otherwise occupied. Who dropped off an organ in there? It actually brought Thing 2 to tears.

So we went back up the the Bethlehem chapel to light a candle in prayer. I finished my conversation with God before Thing 2 finished hers and I shot this pic without her knowledge. Seeing her like this moved me so.

I saw many lovely nativities at the creche exhibit, including one from Norway in which both Mary and the baby had red hair! Like, what’s that!?!
But this one is my favorite from this year.
From the collection of Mr and Mrs Harold R Amos, Jr, painted on wood by Miami folk artist, Flor Larios.

We left our coats, hats, and gloves in the car to avoid having to carry them around the Cathedral. Not the smartest choice when we decided to visit the Bishop’s Garden. Though the beauty of the dappled sunlight nearly made the freezing air bearable.

My Cathedral experience (as always) ended with the Cathedral Library.

I love this building. I long to get in there and oodgey-goodgey, only it’s never open when I’m there.

This Christmas is over and I find myself feeling that natural sadness. But in a positive ‘comfort and joy’ way. That beautiful sense of anticipation during Advent and the childlike joy of Christmas morning has moved through me and now I find myself ready to say a hearty “Bye Felica” to 2017 and see what kind of shenanigans 2018 will bring.
YBW and I are already talking about going on a mini-break for Christmas next year. Neither of us are sure how we feel about that…leaving home for Christmas, but we’re considering the idea, and it feels kind of fun.
I think I’m in a place within myself, he’s in a place in him, and we’re in a place together that we’re ready to make some changes to better suit the ideas we have for each other as we move through our life. And that’s very exciting! Perhaps ‘just we two’ will be even more fun that we can imagine!
Blessings of love and light continue to wash over me.

Categories: me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

the spirit of Christmas

I got an email this morning about listening to Christmas music, and geographical facts about the North Pole, and finally, how “Santa’s house at the North Pole is allegedly in Alaska just off Route 2″…
(In the immortal words of Deadpool, “What in the ass?”)
deadpool

So this got me thinking about Santa and his reindeer and the elves…
Which in turn got me thinking about the Christmas spirit…
And here’s what I wrote in response…

Santa doesn’t live in Alaska! He’s not American! He’s of no nationality! He’s just Santa. (Yes I know the origins of his story, but we’re discounting those for the sake of this conversation!)
I know you’re getting all technical about the North Pole…but I believe Santa’s home and workshop are…well…a load of crap if you want the truth.
(It actually surprised me when I wrote those words!!)
santa-north-pole

I truly love the idea of Santa.
Santa is the spirit of Christmas! The spirit of giving and love and well, even hope. Because some folks who don’t really dig the baby Jesus do dig Santa. Anyway…it’s fun to think of workshops and elves and the like. But I sort of feel like we all carry the spirit of Christmas in us…that we each have a little bit of Santa in us.
I don’t know…

I remember when Thing 1 asked me about Santa, she was eleven and in 6th grade.
She asked if I was Santa.
I asked her what she thought.
She said, “I think you’re Santa.”
I told her about Santa being the spirit of Christmas and giving, and love. I explained that I believed so strongly in Santa, the spirit of Santa…but that a fat man in a red suit didn’t bring the presents into this house.
She paused for a moment, and she said, “I’m going to believe in the spirit of Santa too, Mommy. But I know who brings the presents into this house.”
And then we hugged for a long time.
I made her promise not to tell Thing 2 and we went along our way.

The spirit of Christmas is what I love above all else.
I do believe that the world waited for a light to enter? Absolutely!
light
Was that light really a little Jewish baby called Joshua (later mistranslated to Jesus)? I honestly don’t know. But I love the idea that a baby could create that much hope. That much love. That much light.

So, maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with the baby Jesus at all…(though how could it not?)
Maybe the spirit of Christmas really is just love and hope and light.
Maybe the spirit of Christmas is simply the idea of Santa Claus bringing these gifts.
Gifts chosen by someone who loves you so much that they work hard to make sure you have the right thing, beautifully wrapped so you know how much you are loved. So you know how much love and light and hope is in the world because someone loves you.
Anyway…that’s what Christmas is to me…for the most part.

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“You were always a pretty badass mom.”

Sometimes when things are absolute shit, something lovely occurs to spark a little hope in your heart. This happened to me in the form of a text conversation with my own Thing 1.
We were talking about the little boy she nannys for after she sent me a snapchat of him dressed as Batman and generally being kind of adorable. He’ll be two in November.

Thing 1:
He has started holding actual conversations. It’s so cute.
Me:
Oh that’s the BEST!!
Thing 1:
It makes me want five kids.
(then we talked about education for a bit)
Thing 1: That’s cool. I’ll probably look into good schools before I make a final decision. I mean I have all the time in the world.
Me:
Either you’ll be a mom or you won’t. Either way as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters. And if you are a mom, you’ll be that much better at it than I was!!
Thing 1:
I doubt that. You were always a pretty badass mom.
(After everything we’ve been through, that made my heart take flight!)
Me:
Aww! Thanks, bear!! But I’m a better mom than Grandmommy was. You’ll be a better mom than I was. Your (maybe?) girl(s) will be better mom(s) than you…does that make sense kinda?
Thing 1:
Hahaha I don’t know how you think I could be better than you. That’s just crazy talk.
Me:
Thank you for saying I was a badass mom. I often times feel like I failed you. All I ever wanted to do was be your mom. I’m glad the bigger percentage was good for you.
Thing 1:
Hey, if anybody got failed parenting, it’s Thing 2, but I’ve kinda said that from the beginning. Ever since she almost died, I think you were afraid of her mortality and it made you really really soft on her. And of course, Dad was no help to either of us.
Me:
I’m sorry your dad isn’t a better parent. I do believe he loves you.
Thing 2 was an eyeopener for me. She deserves better, but I can’t fix what’s past and I can’t help her now. She’ll have to come out of it on her own with just our love to help her.
Thing 1:
I know he does in his own weird little way. I just have to make a serious effort to keep from getting irritated with him most of the time.
Yeah, pretty much. She’ll figure it out. Eventually.
Me:
I don’t know if you truly know how much it pleases my heart that you and I found our way back to each other. You, my very first girl. My own sweet love. You were always your daddy’s…but I got to love you too.
Thing 1:
I’m very glad we did too. It makes me so happy that I can talk to my mom without fighting with her.
Me:
Oh, me too Bea!! Me too!!
I know it was crap! In my defense, I was scared and miserable most of my adult life. I was raised by a woman who loved me but wasn’t real. I didn’t know how to do it…I just learned as I went. I wanted you to be strong and independent. And guess what!?! You ARE!! I’m proud of who you are.
screenshot_2016-09-28-11-56-12-2
Me:
Shit, some days I’m like, am I even a real grown up? Seriously! Even after all this time and practice.
Thing 1:
I know. I just have to find that perfect balance between adult and kid at heart.
Me:
You will…you’ve only been an adult for a hot second.
(We talked a few more moments and then ended our conversation.)

That girl is the human embodiment of every hope and dream I’d had since I was a little girl.
We lost our way. Turned our backs on each other in the most cruel and horrific ways. But time heals all wounds. Time and distance. And perspective.
I think she understands that all I ever wanted for her was to have the best foundation upon which to build her life. Sure, I went about it poorly on occasion…but I didn’t know how to be a mom. Do any of us know how to be parents? We know we must keep our children healthy and safe from harm…that’s instinctual. And it’s the easy part! The tricky part is navigating everything else! Parents are bound to bugger it up…we have no choice. We’re flying by the seat of our pants trying to hold onto this kid while we’re doing it. It doesn’t matter how many parenting books you read, you’re never truly prepared. So you cross your fingers and follow your instincts and if you’re very lucky, you parent with another human being that thinks the way you do.
My girls didn’t always have the best grades.
Thing 1 dropped out of college.
Thing 2 left high school to get her GED and hasn’t yet gone to college.
But you know what? My girls are strong and capable young women who stand a real chance in this world. They’re not waiting around for some man to come take care of them. They’re going to make it their own way. The best they can.
That’s more than some parents can say about their kids.
Both my girls have discussed going back to school. This pleases me simply because they’ll have a better chance of being properly employed with degrees. They’ll make more money with degrees. Money isn’t everything…but it keeps you from being hungry, and homeless. And having a bit of extra money keeps books on your shelves and shoes on your feet. My girls need that.

My life has been a mess of hotness lately. Between my own personal struggles and the struggles in my relationship with YBW, I’ve been feeling awful about my life. About my ability to ‘adult’. About my ability to parent. About my ability to be in a relationship. About my ability to be a “stepmother” to two partially grown young men.
Thing 1 gave me hope this morning.
I am a badass mom! And, perhaps that means I’m kind of a badass woman. And if I’m a badass mom and a badass woman, perhaps I’ll be able to sort my struggles and come out the other side with my badassness intact and been able to learn another important lesson.
I’m crossing my fingers as I fly by the seat of my pants.

Categories: love, me, on being a mom, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

thanks, Roald Dahl

matilda

Like Matilda, I am not alone. For I have books-a-plenty.
Thanks, Roald Dahl for this hopeful and comforting message.

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Warwick Avenue

How about a little Duffy this morning?
Please listen responsibly.

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happy birthday to Thing 2

Today is Thing 2’s nineteenth birthday!
My sweet angel baby has been in the world for nineteen years.
She is a miracle. She almost died twice before she was eight weeks old. She’s a fighter. A survivor.
I went into the NICU to see her before she was even twelve hours old. I reached to touch her little hand and she grabbed my finger so tightly. In that moment my whole life changed. I fell in love in an entirely new way. In that moment I knew she was going to be fine. She was so strong, that tiny little girl.
She is my gift from God.
She is light and love and deep dark feelings. She of the waspish tongue and deliciously dry wit. She is hopes and dreams even though she’s forgotten how to hope and dream.
I love her more than the moon and the stars.

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hope. (an essay on redhaired girl)

The new year has me thinking.
Thinking about hope.
Which reminds me of ‘An Essay on Man’. Only I’m thinking of it as ‘an essay on redhaired girl’ because I feel hopeful. I don’t know why, but I do feel it with every fiber of my being.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle I, 1733

In feeling hopeful, I’m considering practical ways that my hope can translate to practicalities in my life, and the lives of the ones I love.

I’m feeling hopeful about my health. That my brain will finally find a way to heal itself. That I can put this struggle to be well behind me. Even though the swelling is no longer increasing because I’m responding well to the meds, my brain is still swollen. I’ve kind of decided this is the new way of being. That may sound a bit defeatist, but that’s not how I mean it. It may simply be acceptance.
I trust that I can have acceptance and hope together.

I’m feeling hopeful for my children.
Thing 1 and fiance N have had a bit of a rough patch. N was hurt on the job and has been out of work for almost a year. They’ve been living with his mother, which has been hard for all of them. He had surgery on his knee and has a clean bill of health from the doctors. This was what they were waiting for. Working with the VA, he’s in a program that helps find a home and new employment. He has a few job leads and they’re moving this week into their new home. The program will also assist in education for a career change, he’s very eager for that.
Thing 1 has a lead on a job working at a horse stable. How wonderful for her to earn a living doing what she loves!
They’re talking paint colors and she’s asking for my help finding things she needs. YBW and I are gifting them a new set of cookware. She’s so excited!
They’re finally getting their life together back in gear.
One thing I love about where they’re living is that it has not just a major state university, but several smaller colleges. I’m hoping this will entice her to go back and finish school.

I’m feeling hopeful for Thing 2. She’s in a living situation that isn’t as positive as it could be and I worry how it impacts her psyche. She’s being the “mom” of so many “lost” young adults and it seems to be sucking the life from her. Interestingly enough, she’s the youngest of all these friends.
She’s finished being stuck and tentatively starting to move forward. Her fear and anxiety are her worst enemies. I’m hopeful that her determination will overtake them and she’ll be stepping into the life she chooses to create for herself.
I have concerns that she isn’t comfortable about going to school. She doesn’t know what she wants to study, she doesn’t want to waste time and money. I don’t care what she goes to school for. Even trade school would be fine with me, a certificate to do whatever is enough that she’ll be able to take good care of herself.
I feel hopeful that with love and support she’ll be able to break the cycle of spinning her wheels. I’m hopeful that she will be able to start working towards creating a new life for herself, even though she’s not sure what she wants. Taking the first steps will get her moving forward and the rest will come as she goes.

I’m hopeful for this life I’m making with YBW. Being married feels a bit different than not being married, but the life we lead is essentially the same. I feel hopeful that we’re heading in the right direction.
We have three “grown” kids and one that’s quickly growing. We need to begin to decide what our life will be like without kids at home. How do we want to live? Maybe even where do we want to live?
I’m hopeful that we can begin planning for our future while we’re working to successfully live in our present.

I long for everyone I love to feel as hopeful as I feel.
I want those of you who read these words to know that I feel hopeful for you.
My heart is filled with love and hope. I wish the same for everyone.

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Christmas is about hope.

I found a new charm for my bracelet.
After I wrote the santa baby post, I went to Tiffany’s website to see if there were any cute charms for my bracelet.
Well it turns out there are many, but this is the one I want most of all!
christmas-tree-charm-33874413_938839_ED

Of course it’s too late to ask for it because all the shopping is finished and mostly wrapped and under the tree.
I have no expectations at finding this in my home on Christmas morning.
I just like to look at it and smile.
It’s a pretty little bauble that makes me happy to look at.

When we were little, Grandaddy used to say to us: You’re old enough for your wants not to hurt you.
He had a point.
I absolutely adore this charm.
It would be lovely on my bracelet.
Do I want it? Probably.
Do I need it? No.
Can I live without it? Absolutely.

Christmas is about hope.
The hope a baby brought to this world.
When I think of it that way, hoping to have this charm on my bracelet one day seems trivial and selfish.
Hope is lovely, isn’t it?

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dog and pony show

I’ve been known to say: Weddings are nothing more than a dog and pony show. But I’m all about the most perfect ones for my daughters.
Well as it turns out I’m planning one for myself and YBW…
It doesn’t feel like a dog and pony show. Perhaps that’s because we’re going low key. Less than sixty people, just our children as attendants. Teeny church we’ll pack to near full even with so few. Intimate reception space. Good wine, dearest friends and family, s’mores bar…

I’m torn between that feeling of excited anticipation and the desire for it all to just be over.
I feel exhausted and overwhelmed from planning.
I am so joyful that our most beloved people will come together to celebrate with us.

Later this morning, Thing 2 and I will have our final dress fittings, drop off extension cords, the napkins and wine charms and response book to the decorator. I think these are the last errands to run. At least I hope they are. I need to do a quick tidy before Thing 1 and the guys arrive tomorrow. But other than that I want to lie low. Do my best to relax so I can shake the exhaustion and feeling of being overwhelmed.

I went to a meeting about a job yesterday. I was leery of scheduling it for this week, my fear of not having enough time gripped me like a noose. But I took a big breath and went. I’m glad I did, because I believe it was successful and I’ll be getting an offer while I’m honeymooning.
It was weird to do something non-wedding related.
My head was bad yesterday, but I was able to dazzle at the meeting.
Thing 2 and I camped out on the sofa yesterday afternoon when we got home from errands after the interview and watched our favorite Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus.

I’m tired of waiting. I’m ready for Saturday. I couldn’t have said that last week, there was still too much to do. I don’t want to rush this week along, but I’m at that place where I’ve spent so much time working on the wedding that now that I’ve nothing to do I’m almost more anxious.

I have a great deal of head pain which removes sleep from the equation but I’m going to try and go back to bed for a few hours and see if I can start again.

I have planned and planned and coordinated until I can’t anymore but I haven’t really focused on how lovely it will be to stand in front of God and the people I love most and join my life to YBW’s.
Just writing that sentence helped.
The idea of the love of the people in that room to support and bless us brings me great hope. Saying the words I wrote just for him, being prayed over, and sealing it all with a kiss really makes it feel worth the anxiety.

If it is a dog and pony show, well it’s our dog and pony show and that’s all that matters.

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