Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Carrying the Load

They say that it isn't the size of the load but rather how you carry it. I have thought a lot about this phrase the last few weeks. My load feels very heavy to me, and I need to find a better way to carry it.

This phrase must have originated from people actually carrying a load. A load of lumber, a load of grain, a load of gravel. Physically people had very large loads to carry, and when it was too heavy they needed to figure out how to get the job done.

Today there are tools and equipment to help with the physical work of carrying a large load. Time and experience have made this job easier and offered more alternatives to help. Today people have a much harder time carrying their mental load, their emotional load.

If I had a large load of lumber to carry how would I do it? First I would try to carry it myself using my own strength. If that didn't work I would ask for help. If no help was available I would try to figure out a way to be stronger, lift from the legs, push not pull, pile the load on a different way. If all that failed I would need to become physically stronger and work at that until it happened, perhaps carrying a bit of the lumber each day.

How can I relate this to carrying the load of life that is becoming so heavy? Really its doing the same things. Its trying to do it yourself, its asking for help, its doing it with your strength, and its working at it getting stronger. I need to carry my load from my strength, not my weakness. You use your muscles to carry your physical load, your strongest body parts. I need to use my mental muscles to carry my emotional load, use my strongest parts. I need to use my confidence, not comparison. I need to use my faith and not my fear and I need to use my love and not my anger. I need to recognize those things that build up my strength and take the time to do them. It might seem quicker to carry the load before building up my strength, before building my muscles. But I won't be able to carry it as long as I would have with strength. For me building up my strength means spending time with GOD every day. Its running every day. Its taking the extra 10 minutes to pick up my house and make my bed and make sure my laundry is at least not taking over the bathroom. Taking the time to write and read and watch great movies makes me stronger. Spending time with hubby and making myself go to girls night makes me stronger. These things that I always seem to sacrifice or put on the bottom of the priority list are actually the things that will help lift and carry this load and this life. It is time well vested into the bigger picture. So many people, especially women are trying to carry their loads from their fear, their anger and their comparison with other women. Looking at that its no wonder why more women are putting up walls, crumbling emotionally and spending so much time depleted, hurt and angry. We need to help each other build up our strength. Carry life with strength, and if we don't have strength we need guidance on where to find it and how to build it up.
My intention in writing this blog was so my girls would be able to read about my life as a mom and a woman right in the moment, in the heat, with the hopes it would be helpful to them when they get to become women. So I would say to my girls, life is hard and life is amazing. It is both. You will need a lot of strength to be able to carry you through life so start building it and banking it. Find what makes you feel alive and do it. Find what makes you feel confident and do it. And find what fuels your love and make that a priority. Fear and anger will always compete for your time and energy. It you don't build up your strength they will take over and your life will be carried by them. Work hard to not let that happen. Carrying life with love, confidence and faith are worth the time it takes to build that. Take the time and build those things and it won't matter the size of the load but how you are carrying it.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Rain drops dance across the deck

The house is quiet.
Calmness surrounds me.
Rain falls fast outside.
Momma birds gather worms for their young.
Rain drops dance across the deck

Skies darken.
Trees sway and rain falls from their leaves.
The soil drinks deeply.
The dripping rain bounces loudly off my roof.
Rain drops dance across the deck.

The dog wipes his wet face across the couch.
Grass turns greener right before my eyes.
Outside smells of damp earth.
All my  to dos wait as I sit and listen to the heavy rain.
Rain drops dance across the deck.

Children sleep deeply, nuzzled under their warm blankets, their minds and soul unconsciously cozy.
Coffee is stronger, more tasteful, more savored.
Blankets already lumped in chairs seem to set the stage for the day.
Beat, beat, beat goes the rain.
Rain drops dance across the deck. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Taking back my love of food

I love food, always have. Many, many holiday memories are centered around the cinnamon rolls that we only had at Thanksgiving and the chocolate pie we had at Christmas. I love the smell of something homemade baking and I love the handed down family recipes from my mem of molasses cookies and crazy cake.

I have loved food up until I became a parent of three girls and started listening to the "experts." In this country it is a shame to love food unless of course you are thin, then its a compliment that you can eat all you want and never gain weight. We are told to eat for fuel and that is the only reason for eating in the United States. You should not eat for pleasure, you should not treat yourself with food. If fact now there are methods to eating, vegan, green, clean, paleo ( I have no idea what this one is) and while yes I agree we need to eat good food, healthly food, locally grown food, I also think we making people feel guilty and shaming those of us who simply eat to eat and enjoy it.

Having three girls means eating disorders are forefront in my mind. I spent a large amount of Caitlin's childhood worrying about under eating, and now the switch has flipped to overeating. I have found myself shaming my kids for eating too much of a food they enjoy and eating for pleasure. I let the experts' opinions out weight what I believe and stand for.

I am trying a new approach which is eating more like the French. The French, like a lot of other countries take pride in their food. They teach their children about food and its importance. They use meal times to connect and enjoy the food and the company. Real ingredients are used and calories are not counted. Food is savored and appreciated. In my home meals have become another item on the to do list, they are rushed and stressful. We are often rushing through meal time to get to the next sporting event or social function. Meals in other countries are the social functions. They are not an item to be crossed off but rather cherished as family time.

 I am going to make great meals and we are going to enjoy them. I am going to offer my kids dessert and be happy that they love it. Yes I will have limits and it doesn't mean there is an open fridge policy. Its more my attitude I am trying to change and set as an example for my kids. This country is one of the most obese countries in the world, its also is the one of the most diet and exercise crazed countries. . What gives? I think we teeter between overindulging and depriving ourselves. We let the experts put emotions on us such as shame, guilt, and fear regarding eating. We overindulge and then exercise our ass off and starve ourselves. Then we overindulge again and feel guilty and ashamed while doing so. I am sick of feeling this way and DO NOT WANT my girls on this American food teeter toter any longer. In my opinion the expectations are unrealistic and from the looks of the numbers of obese people in America it isn't working anyway.

I want to take back the love of cooking, eating, gathering and connecting with people over a table of food. I want my kids to have wonderful memories of the food we baked together at Christmas and Thanksgiving. I want pancake Saturday mornings and ice cream cone summer nights. I don't want to overindulge until I feel like shit, or deprive myself to unhappiness. I want middle ground. And I trust it is in that middle ground where we will find balance for our mental, emotional and physical health and where we will feel the strongest.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Are you a doer or a thinker?

This vacation I spent all my time making plans, without actually carrying any of those plans out, simply because I was so busy planning. I tend to be on either end of the extreme, flying by the seat of my pants having no idea what my next move is, or being so involved in making plans I actually don't do anything. I am naturally inclined to lean more on the fly by the seat of my pants side, but once in awhile I get all obsessed with being organized and making  plans. Neither extreme is where I want to be. Neither extreme feels present and productive. I need to be in the middle of a thinker and a doer.
I have spent this vacation sitting at my kitchen counter planning our activities, planning my work and planning my time. In all that planning I never actually accomplished anything and I wasted a whole lot of time. I have spent most of 2014 thinking. Now its time to spend some time doing.
Instead of thinking about going to church I need to go to church.
Instead of thinking about losing weight I need to lose weight.
Instead of thinking and planning when I will organize my pictures, I just need to organize them.
Instead of telling myself every day I need to write more, I just need to write more.
Instead of making a list of all the books I want to read to my kids, I need to read them.
Instead of choosing paint colors in my head, I need to buy the paint and put it on the walls.
Instead of telling myself I should be running, I need to get off my ass and run.


I have had a few times in my life since having children that I have felt really together. Like the stars aligned and I was able to be it all and have fun doing it. I was productive and rested. I was present with my kids while also planning the future. I was 100% in all areas. I was flowing in the current, not fighting against it. If I think back to those rare times I think what they all have in common is that I didn't have time to think. Those were the times when there was the most going on. My kids were toddlers, we were moving, I had three drop off places each morning. And what is so strange to me is that is those moments of being pushed the hardest and DOING the most, I have the most memories. I was focused enough to soak everything in and remember it. Maybe I spend so much time thinking in the down time that there isn't room for anything else. That is reason enough for me to start doing more and thinking less.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My apology letter to Caitlin


 I wasn't the best mom to you the other night. I was overtired and overwhelmed and took those things out on you. I was impatient and far to angry for the situation. I'm sorry I wasn't able to put aside my frustrations to be a better mom. I'm sorry I wasn't able to let go of my needs to support yours.

I try, I really do, to dig deep and reach beyond my needs and feeling to be able to understand yours. I had reached my limit of doing for others last night and couldn't dig any deeper to show you any patience. I'm sorry you took the brunt. I'm sorry that your situation was the one that caused the lid to fall off and my emotions and frustrations to come pouring out.

All I can do is to apologize and try harder next time. Everything has a lesson and in this the lesson is to create boundaries and to not allow people to take advantage of them. You will someday be a not so great mom to your kids. And that is okay, its human, its a learning experience. So I write this to you so you can know its okay, you will still be loved and you will still be a great, loving, kind, compassionate mom. All of us knock our lids off and become imperfect. I want you to know that it is okay that everything isn't perfect, but it is still amazing and so are you. These imperfect times strengthen you and deeper your character. You will become MORE in everything from the lessons you learn during the hard times. Those times you need to dig deep, admit when you are wrong and humble yourself build compassion and forgiveness. Cherish those times, learn from them, and then pour yourself a glass of wine.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The year of small details and moderation

I am not a detail person, and I am not a person who does things in moderation. Its go big or go home. Its work or play. There is no grey. I think this isn't working in the season of life I'm in right now. The season of life I am in NOW is multitasking, kid shuffling, and too many ball to juggle. I am awesome at juggling but only when I have time to focus on it. I have decided that 2014 is going to be the year of small details and moderation. Something that is like a foreign language to me. It will take self discipline and commitment but I am determined to see if life flows a bit easier using this method. Both the small details and the big picture are equally important. When I got married I could have cared less about the details of my wedding. My mom planned all of those by default simply because I chose to ignore them. What kind of flowers did I want? Who cares, I wasn't going to be paying attention to my flowers. What color bridesmaids dresses did I like? Who cares I wasn't going to be wearing them. I only cared about the music, the food, and the people. My sisters wedding was quite the opposite. The small details were what she deeply cared about. A candy bar for the kids, Boston Red Sox seating charts, a photo collage of all the grandparents wedding pictures, and her most important detail Ben and Jerry's for dessert. All of these things were the memorable parts of our weddings. I still have no idea what my bouquet was made on but I remember the music and all the wonderful people that I focused on. I am sure my sister and most of her guests remember the small personal details of her wedding. So I am at one end of the extreme and I need to move a bit more towards the middle. Maybe a thirty minute trip to the grocery store with one child is actually a time for some one on one that can be memorable. Maybe letting one kid stay up thirty minutes later and just hanging with them would actually qualify as quality time. It doesn't have to be grand each time. I don't need Jay Peak Water Passes in order to have fun with my kids. I don't need an entire day to have quality time with my kids. I need to look for these little windows of opportunity and take advantage of them. I need to keep my FOCUS glasses on to be able to see these. Really I am a happier more balanced person when I have a bit of everything in a day. When I am able to have time with GOD, time with my family, time to myself, a good run, and some reading at the end of the day that day is a complete day. It doesn't need to be a 10K and I don't need 8 hours to myself, just a bit of each throughout the day. My heart knows this, but my head screams NO. Its training my head. Its purposely working on moderation and searching for the small details, windows, and opportunities. This is going to be a challenge. Each morning I am going to have to change my mind and focus on my goals. I will need to seek quiet and alone time to be able to stop multitasking and focus. 2014 Goals Find Quiet Focus Search for small details/opportunities Discipline myself for moderation.

Monday, January 13, 2014

At the end of your life will people be thankful for how much you lived

I went to visit my grandfather today, who is dying. Someone who is dying is always a sad situation, I can't think of one time it hasn't been. Their life is winding down and they are getting ready to move from this life to the next. Goodbyes are coming, and goodbyes are always sad.
I am thankful for the life my grandfather lived up until now. He is an old man who had a very full life. I sat and looked at him thinking about his life. He has had his share of struggles. Health struggles, personal struggles and family struggles. He had to crawl his way through some and lean on others through some. But he made it through them. He is a feisty spirit who if full of grit and not much could knock him down for long. He created a family and lived a blessed life surrounded by them. He knew how to work hard and how to have a good time. As a kid I couldn't wait until I was old enough to attend one of the famous New Years Eve parties he threw. Those winded down and I never did get a chance. But the man knew how to throw a party, whether it was a New Years Eve party or a family reunion- it was always big, always grand, and always a great time.
He lived big. He lived a life of hard work, passion, family and friends. He had activities that he loved and was determined to do them right up till he got sick. He surrounded himself with family and friends and business associates that became friends. He appreciated good food and good people. He had a feisty opinion that he wasn't afraid to voice and passion behind it.
The man lived. And sitting there watching him I realized just how much. Yes its sad he is dying, but its also a blessing he is dying with so much life under his belt. So much drive, grit, passion, family, friends, and determination. I can only hope to live as much and as big as he did.
We need to learn to live big. And by big I don't mean with huge houses and fancy toys. I don't mean with a large bank account or a high paying job. I mean living in joy and hope. Living in trust in the good and determination to get through the bad. I think so many of us are just stuck in getting through. We are too distracted and too overwhelmed to know how to live. I don't believe we have more "on our plate" than our ancestors did, but rather we spend more time looking at it. Analysing it. Yes we all have crap, we all have struggles and we all have problems, but that doesn't mean we need to get stuck in them. We are the generation of being stuck. We don't know how to crawl our way out or get through. We just stay stuck, distracting ourselves and not living. Living is crawling through. Living is looking the problem in the eye and fixing it. Living is the hope that this too shall pass and gritting our teeth until it does. Living is continuing to enjoy life and surround yourself with people and things that you love even while struggling. Living is a verb- its an action- its movement.
We need to learn to live big again.