Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sometimes My Love is Conditional

This past week has been thought provoking. I thought of not writing my thoughts down in the event that it will hurt some people.  I should know from reading countless articles that as a writer we can't control how people will react to the words that we write but I care.  I care a lot about a variety of people in our life. We have butted heads over LGBT issues and the current political events shared by the media.

I care so much that at times I have held my tongue.  I have turned the other cheek.  I have accepted their opinion and moved forward.  Then there are times like now.  That I can't stand to read one more post by someone whose opinion is so far away from mine that it hurts.  Their ideas and opinions stir up emotion and anger deep within me.  My mind will ask my heart "what the fuck is wrong with people?"  How can they be so heartless, cruel, and inhumane? They lose their status as a human and become animalistic.  I don't see them through a "friend or family" lens anymore.  I see them with caution, unease and disappointment. Social media has allowed us to witness a persons character, views, opinions and supportive nature with the hit of a like button.  We see so much more than we might to.  Honestly, I don't want to see it anymore.  It's too much.  It is changing my view of some good people.

I have thought for sometime about writing about this topic of unconditional love and how I don't believe it exist for most of our lives. I have to admit to myself that my love is conditional.  I believe my love, has been unconditional, a few times though.  At the meeting of each of our four kids.  That small window of time when they first entered this world.  So much love spilling from your soul that you can't imagine anything other than that moment.  You don't see the trials or struggles that you may have in the future.  Your mind isn't privy to their character, their desires, thoughts, ideas, emotions, or cares.

That newness of meeting and seeing each other with nothing but pure joy and happiness is unconditional love to me.  After this initial exchange our relationship starts to grow.  We start to evolve and our lives are subjected to the world.  We are influenced and sculpted into what our parents and society deem to be in our best interest.  We start to learn that love is conditional.

I learned as a child that holding on to the belief that love is unconditional hurt. A child trusts with their whole heart until they learn not to.  That trust and love did not always end with a feeling of acceptance, joy, friendship or togetherness.  I found myself in situations of being abused and hurt by people, who I thought should love me unconditionally, love me enough to not hurt me, but they did hurt me: emotionally and physically.  As an adult I found this idea of unconditional love poisonous when spewed by the wrong person in the name of their justified cause or reasoning.

Isn't love LOVE?

I have to admit to myself that it is not.  Love can be ugly.  Ask the abused wife or husband.  Love can hurt.  Ask the crying child, the gay child, the bullied kid. Love can deny.  Ask your gay neighbor.  Love can sting.  Ask yourself.

Love is conditional.

Love has two sides.  We do things in the name of love all the time.

I will love you if...
My love is wide and open but...
You are wanted and excepted when...

Love from our parents, siblings, extended family, communities or church comes with conditions.  We know how we feel when love is shared with us but then we realize that not all love is the same.  We receive and give love differently too. Putting my understanding of love under a microscope this past week has been interesting.

I know love is good.  I don't deny it. I've been on the receiving end of love that hurts and love that feels good.  I am learning that I give and receive love differently.  This is why this week I have acknowledge to myself that my love is conditional. I cannot pretend that my love is the same for everyone, every situation, or that it is unconditional. It simply is not.

What I do deny is that love is always the right venue to try to make your point.  Love is not one size fits all.  We don't all respond to the word love equally.  To some the word hurts.  To others it resonates joy and happiness.  I think the most powerful influence we can have in regards to love is to think first of the other person.

My love is conditional.  It's my truth.   Maybe this is the stinging nettle of love.  I am learning that a blanket of "love" thrown in the hopes that it covers all the hurt, opinions and pain can makes you itch with frustration from a word that emotes a variety of feelings. This word creates a dichotomy of opinions and reactions.

There is a lot of hurt and anger in the world currently and with so much pain I see myself going back to a basic principles of peace, charity and mercy: love.  I don't want to focus on the fear that terror and policy changes are creating.  For me, to better understand this love, I have had to tear it apart and get real and raw.

I am trying to not have conditions on my love but it's hard.  This week my conditional love has been tested. I struggle because I was raised to believe that love is unconditional and yet my heart says that it is not.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I Asked Myself a Question: Am I Happy?

Sometimes we have to ask for the things we want in order to find our happiness.
If we walk through life assuming that those around us know what we want we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and possibly a lot of misunderstanding.

Cory always tells me he is not a mind reader.  I guess for the first few years of our lives I really wanted him to be.   Sometimes it would be easier if we could read our partners minds.  Then I think what would we lose in our relationship if the concept to speak our own words were taken from us?

Words convey a message when spoken.  They can be harsh, soft, loud, whispered, sung, rhymed, etc.... Would we translate the message the same if we heard it in our thoughts and minds (reading only the words) and not with our ears which can hear emotion and tone?

I remember being newly married and wanting to please everyone.  Nothing has changed in 27 years other than I now know that pleasing me is also important.  I am happier if I speak my words. Let me say that again,  MY WORDS. Not  the words that I think they want to hear or even the words that I fear saying sometimes.  I am trying to keep our conversations honest and truthful.  Taking the emotion out of the conversation so that our ears are listening and understanding.

Finnley is learning to talk and communicate with us and so far we get cries and screams.   Thank goodness this is not how we communicate with each other through out our lives.  Can you imagine the amount of aspirin we would need each day? Her vocabulary is about 20 words.  She will wave if we say hi or goodbye.  I find myself reminding her to "find your words" and "speak your words".  I do this with Isabella too.  When Isabella feels that her answer is not what I want to hear she goes quiet and reflective.  I recognize that she is afraid to tell me the truth for fear that she may hurt my feelings or say the wrong thing.   Again, I find myself saying to her-speak your words, ask the question, and  answer the question honestly.  I remind her, "there are no wrong answers.  You are not in trouble."  

We have always tried to provide a safe home in which our kids can talk to us about anything and I mean anything.  We have had long discussion about all sorts of topics.  I won't go into details but they are profound, uncomfortable at times, loving, honest, and sometimes, eye opening.  They are not afraid to ask us any questions.  This is how we want our home to be.  This is how I should be with myself.  I should ask myself some hard questions to learn and find out what is buried down deep inside. may be surprised by your own answers.

I also had to learn that hearing the words yes or no were not going to make or break me.  I was okay with hearing no once I realized no is also an answer.  Not the answer I may want to hear or the answer I want but those two little letters that will no longer hold me back from asking the hard or simple questions in this life or of myself.

I recently have had to ask myself some hard questions about where I am going and what I want to do.  I realized that I have secretly been holding on to a list of things I wish to do... eventually.  I always tell myself: when the kids move out, when the kids graduate, when the kids are old enough, when the kids.... do you see a pattern here?   I wouldn't change having my kids for the world or being married.  It just seems that I need to fill my lamp.  The oil is running out and I need to do a few things for me.

I finally looked myself in the mirror and asked the reflection, "Am I happy?" It has not been easy looking myself in the eyes.  Happiness to me used to mean one thing.  Now it means a lot of things.  I am happy as a mom.  I am happy being a wife.  I am happy with my home.  I am typically a happy person.

BUT....there are holes in my happiness.


In the journey to put my family first and to try and ensure their happiness, I have lost myself a little bit.  I have forgotten to live a little.  I am missing out on small things that mean a lot to me.  My happiness has been on vacation.  Each and every time my heart would start to question a little desire or a need I wanted, my mind would shove it to the back of the line; not today maybe tomorrow is always the response.

My next question to myself was, "How can I change this?"  I recently read a quote that mentioned the word MORE.  I know that I am happy but I knew immediately that I could be more than just happy. I could be much happier with a few simple changes to my thoughts, actions and daily routine.

It is amazing how alive I feel and how happy I have become.  The questions just keep coming too.  It's okay to ask ourselves hard questions.  Sometimes we won't want to hear the answer and we won't know the solution.  Finding the right way to move forward will be different for everyone and I believe this is okay.

We all travel through this life at different speeds, with an array of goals, circumstances that alter our destiny, as well as, being pulled in many directions. Life can be challenging and it can easily slip away from us.  The older I get the more I realize that I am in the driver seat and sometimes I want to go slow and other times I want to speed.  Today I want to speed.

Take a few minutes to ask yourself a few questions and answer them honestly.  Allow yourself to explore your options and see things differently.   You may be surprised to discover that little changes, ideas and thoughts can lead to some very big adventures in your life.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Croup and Poop

Having a two year old in the house keeps me on my toes day and night.  This story involves poop; no pictures of said incident, thank goodness.   Even I don't take pictures of EVERYTHING.  I wanted to though.   I have included a few cute pictures to remind myself that time flies, she won't always be this fun age and to enjoy every event--even the stinky ones.

Yesterday morning I sensed the quiet and released my desire to check on Finnley.  How could I not?  A few minutes of uninterrupted solitude allowing me to dress, brush my teeth and reheat my coffee.  450 steps from one room to the next without a mini legion of sirens tracking my every turn.

I embraced the few moments to think.  To think about my weekend.  To reflect on my week.  To just be me for a few minutes.

Then IT happens.  I realize that it's much too quiet.  The fear and anticipation of finding the worst knocks on door number three in my mind and sounds an alarm. Big arrows flash with bold colors.  Something inside of me tells me to get my ass in high gear and soon.

I smell it first.  Poop.  Shit.  Holy hell its on the stairs.  Its on her hands.  In her hair.  Its smeared like war paint across her bulging baby belly.  I panic for a moment.

Inside I scream.  I can't scream out loud because I can hear Cory on a conference call.  Not just any call but one that he is in charge of.  I can tell by the way he is saying Andy's name that he is up next to give a report of the day.

Shit.  I say this inside over and over.  Then I laugh.  The older two kids are still asleep, Cory is on his meeting, Isabella won't be able to help much.  Just me.  I am on my own to deal with child number 4.  She is creative I have to give her that.  She was reaching for the wipes--a helper in the making.

I watch her from the top of the stairs and see that she is afraid I may be upset.  I react with a smile.  I gently grab her and take her to the bathroom.  The tub is the only safe venue I can think of to try to deal with the poop body art.  I think that maybe this is a sign and she will be our tattoo artist.

I wipe her down first, start the tub and sit by the tub watching our two year old. Potty training has to be on the agenda next.  This is the second time she has taken her diaper off and I am afraid to experience the next time.  You know there will be a next time.  There always is.

Cory comes up stairs and he can see that something of an epic occurrence has occurred.  My face says it all.  Frustration first then complete exhaustion from the two year old who is only being that: two.

I am determine to not have this happen again today. Although tomorrow is another day. The options of how to handle this flash through my mind: lock and key on diapers, duct tape (I hear it works for everything) or a bubble suit.  I opt for a Onsie that snaps. She has not figured out how to unsnap these as of today.

It works.

Our day ends with a night of croup.  All night, the seal bark reminds us that winter is right around the corner.  She is the first to get the "change of the season" cold.  Bark, bark, bark all night long.

I awake exhausted.  Having a two year old is a lot of work.  Living on no sleep is challenging.  Coffee will be a necessary side dish with each meal as I endure the next 10 hours before my bed beckons my return.

The good news is there will be no poop outside of the diaper today.  We have figured it out.  Snaps are our hero and for a little while we have escaped another diaperless fiasco.

I can live without sleep as long as there is no creative poop stories in my future today or tomorrow.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


I question my coffee after 4 reheats in the microwave.  I wonder if I am drinking a big old cup of damn radiation.

Rest assured I did some research and discovered that if I use my microwave correctly it should not harm anything that I reheat in it.  I found this site to answer some questions for me:  HERE  The key word here is SHOULD.  My fingers are crossed each and every time.  I am not sure this is what they had in mind.

Thank goodness the coffee is okay!  It's not that I don't want to drink a piping hot cup of coffee its just that my cup of coffee takes me about 4 hours to drink. Hence the 4 reheats.

I make the coffee.  Baby wakes up.  I reheat the coffee.  In walks the hubby to eat lunch.  I reheat the cup.  I forget about it as I run to do the laundry.  Reheat the cup again.  

By this time I should just get a new cup.  Who has time for this craziness?  I don't though.  I just reheat the cup again.  By this time I am down to one swallow.  I hope and pray that I don't find a fly in its final resting place.

Sounds gross but our new house collects dead flies.  Our home has a corner that is warm and filled with large windows.  On any given day I see and hear the final stages of a fly's life.  My floor is scattered with dead fly bodies.  It can be shocking for new visitors.  I do my best to stay on top of the "great fly suicide" so as not to offend anyone.

On this day there are not any dead flies.  Thank you universe.

Drinking coffee makes me funny.  I snort as I have this thought.  Not really but I think it does.  My thoughts are always on the move.  They like to flitter about like a butterfly.  Coffee is not needed.  I just like it.  I need it.  I want it.

Every day I want one cup.  Not two.  Just one.

Like a school girl with a huge crush I write in my green notebook:


To say that I love it is a true statement.

I just do.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Walking Alone

I have anxiety attacks.  They randomly occur in strange places: trails, beaches, or on college campuses.  I don't know where the anxiety or fear comes from.  It just exist and presents itself at odd times.

This past week the weather has been ideal.  I talk about our second summer in the post before this one and how delightful this time of year is.  Warm with cool undertones.  Still and fresh.  The perfect blend of summer as it bumps into fall. Both season representing themselves with acute differences as well as an indistinguishable likeness.  I forget if it is summer or fall.  The weather is perfect.

My pulse quickens.  Screw the weather.  My thoughts change and I am brought back to the idea of taking myself for a walk around the campus.  The prospect of walking the campus by myself is about to send my blood pressure through the roof.  Over the edge.  Into despair.  Sweat is rolling down the inside of my shirt.

Like a flash my mind wonders if I am wearing deodorant.  Just as quickly it replies--Shut up!  Who cares!

It would be easy to stay inside and let myself succumb to the anxiety I feel.  To listen to my crazy mind convince my heart to skip a night outside exploring the college campus that I adore.

The light is dimmer than when I arrived to the gymnastic center.  The air is crisp.  I should have worn a sweater.  Damn.  I tell myself to get going.


 I do it.  I get up and walk outside.  I am driven by Isabella's desire for a slice of cheese pizza.  Pizza will make me feel better.  One foot in front of the other.  I walk to the center of the walkway and look straight ahead.  I see students, teachers, other kids.  Smiling.  Heads held high.  Confidence in each stride.  I feel like a fraud.

They can't hear my heart skip and dance like a fast cha-cha.  Nor do they notice my clenched fist.  White knuckles hugging my phone like a security blanket. Nervous eyes.

I mimic what I see.  I walk.  Look confident.  Find my destination.  The pizza place is right before my eyes.  I made it.  I am here.  I order what I need.  I do NEED pizza and find a seat.

Isabella will be happy after practice to see that I have managed to make her dinner dreams come true.  While I sit I think.  I question where the anxiety comes from.  Why does it happen?  I write in my journal. This helps to read about my experience. It's silly.  A bit embarrassing.

Aging is a mind game sometimes.  The years of experience exist deep inside.  That experience and knowledge allows me to have a loud voice.  I need to be strong to fight the real-time reality that creeps out of the darkness and into my life.  This time in the form of an anxiety attack.

The anxiety makes me feel like a prisoner.  I am learning to use my strong voice to coach me through these times of self doubt and fear. I know this is helping because a few years ago I would have sat for three hours on a hard bench waiting for Isabella to be done with practice.

I beat the anxiety today.

On Thursday it never crossed my mind to sit and wait.  I dropped Isabella off and left the training facility alone.  I walked 4500 steps that night on campus.

Another night down.  Walking alone is still scary for me.  I fear being lost.  It makes me nervous to meet new people in strange places.  Mostly though, the anxiety is a result of fear and being lost.  I don't like to be lost.

The college campus is large.  I am learning my way around.  This helps a lot. I am learning to enjoy the silence.  The alone time.

I am finding that I enjoy my walks alone on campus.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Abandoned Sandcastles

Our beaches draw thousands of visitors each weekend.  The Oregon Coast invites families, couples, and singles from all over the world to come and explore our beautiful coastlines up and down scenic highway 101. Newport sits on the Yaquina Bay and feeds into the Pacific Ocean.

We have officially ended what is known in our tiny town as the "tourist season" and gently rolled into our second summer.  Second summer is something we learned recently from a local update we subscribe to.  We get a few weeks of warm summer-like days that are sprinkled with rolling fog, misty mornings and cooler nights.  The days are delicious to our souls.  We savor each one with the knowledge that soon we will be cold and our homes will be hit with high winds and rain...lots of rain. Ten inches of rain in one month.


Our nights find us walking along the beaches at low tide in search of finding treasures from the water.  We find shells, drift wood and the occasional flip flop. We find toys, shirts, shorts, dead birds, bits of jelly fish and abandoned sandcastles.

On Saturday we headed to South Beach State Park over the Yaquina Bridge to check out a new beach.  The beaches have similarities but each beach also has its own personality.  Yaquina Head State Parks beach is covered in basalt.  Little black rocks covering the shore.  This creates a "shhhhhhh" sound as the water passes through each rock.  Nye Beach has dunes for the kids to run up and down on.  

 We have so many beaches to explore.

South Beach has shells.  We are discovering stretches of the coastline that do not have shells.  If they do, they are often busted and in pieces.  This beach has a bit of both.  I usually return home with a few "whole" shells.  I clean them and add them to the table in our living room for the kids to touch, see and admire. I love bringing the outside indoors.  

My home is filled with bowls of rocks and shells. Vases with driftwood.  Fake beach grass.  Anything to remind me that we live at the beach.

While walking, I stop and notice the sandcastle that is posted at the top of the page.  It is covered with crab shells and a few broken sand dollars.  I stand there for a moment looking and inspecting the sandcastle.  My mind drifts in and out of our own family's escapades to the beach and building sandcastles.  A smile gently rises to greet the warm feelings I am remembering.

Heading to the beach empty handed is never an option.  We must come prepared for epic expectations of building the largest sandcastle in town.  Cory hauls our wagon through deep sand,  laden down with shovels, buckets, sifters, rakes, gold panning pans, and towels.  If we are lucky we return home with our beginning inventory, if not, then we have shared a bit of our family with the next beach dweller.  It happens.  

Abandoned sandcastle sounds so lonely and deserted. It expresses the circumstances that most sandcastles meet at the end of a fun weekend or a single westward excursion to find some sand.  We don't build sandcastles with the thought of leaving them behind at the end the day.  We dream about the imaginary lives that will be lived inside, the battles that will be fought, and victories won.

There is an experience that happens between the time a decision to build a sand castle is made and the final moments of realizing you must leave it behind. Minutes are devoted to the design, hours to the building and a few seconds left for goodbyes.  It all happens so fast.  Time does slip away when making memories in the sand. Our kids never want to leave.

We don't want to leave either if I am being honest. 

Our sandcastles are abandoned as the weekend draws to an end.  They are empty because families must return home to their busy lives.  Adults work and kids have school and everything in between. Each builder leaves their sandcastle reluctantly, with a backward glance, as the tide slowly rolls in.  A long day spent digging, packing sand, carrying buckets of water, and finding adornments.  It ends.

It is over.

The deserted sandcastle will not be there in the morning.  The tide will roll in and take back each grain of sand. The waves that have brought the sand to shore, pulls them into the water.  Pushing them farther and farther out to sea until all that is left in its place is a memory.

Each day these memories are made for locals and visitors on the beaches of our Oregon Coast.  At the end of each day or long weekend, we take with us the memories of building our sandcastle.  The memories of time spent with family, friends and the sea.

Next weekend will bring a new idea.  New designs.  New treasures to decorate with.

More abandoned sandcastles.

Coming Home

We arrived in Oregon after driving 3000 miles in 6 days.  Our house is a week away from closing and I have never felt happier to be home with my sisters and family.

It's been 30 years since I graduated from this little towns old brick high school (which doesn't exist anymore) and the 1st time that coming home felt right.

It took that long for me to grow up beyond the expectation of others, to learn forgiveness, to value where I came from, to see that a simplier life is a great life, and finally, to be okay with the little country girl that lives inside my heart.

I am writing this from my phone sitting underneath an old black cherry tree. My view is the old red barn that my brother in law grew his prized 4H pigs in as a kid.  I am surrounded by acres of Christmas trees at all stages of life.  A few even dead and left behind.   I haven't sat in front of a computer in a month and it feels great.

I love Oregon or maybe I just love home. A place where they know me and yet still accept me with all my flaws, bumps, and rough edges.

Being with my sisters is a treasure box of memories, ideas, and moments of pure laughter.  It's been 20 plus years since we all lived in the same state.

Our trip to Oregon took us 6 full days. We had 1 flat tire in South Dakota on a pretty hot day in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately we were towing our extra car.  We unhooked and the girls and I hit the next little town for lunch.  We ended up on an  Indian Reservation at a local grocery store.  We bought lunch and they directed us to a park where we soon met up with Cory and Drake.

We continued on to Cory's aunt and uncle's home for two days of fun and family stories.  In Montana the temperatures reached over 100 degrees. We stayed cool by the pool during the day and enjoyed the cooler nights with our windows wide open.

Coming home is a journey; physically driving here but mentally wanting to be with my family too.  I can say it is worth every mile we traveled.

I have been cooking up a storm but nothing new.  Just simple homemade delicious meals.  Sitting outside under the shade of the huge oak trees and just outside the flower gardens where the hummingbirds and bees never stop buzzing and fluttering.

It's good to be home.

Being Crumb Free

Release the negative and move forward.

Stop shoving things under the carpet.  Like I did this morning. The flakes of cereal that I didn't feel like sweeping at that very moment I lifted the rug and swept them under the carpet for no one to see. I was wrong. I should have gotten up right then and retrieved the broom to take care of my mess. Instead I pushed the small pieces under my huge living room carpet with the intention of dealing with it at a later date.

The problem is that no one sees the crumbs;  even I can't see them, but I know they are there.  The knowing is worse than the actual deed of getting the broom and sweeping it up. It is a constant reminder to my subconscious mind that I was putting off something that I could have easily fixed by grabbing the broom and dust pan.

What if a later date never comes and we have all of these crumbs of our lives shoved under  the carpet of life?  This is not what I am striving to do each day.  I need to focus on being the best me.  I want to be crumb free. There in lies the challenge.  Trying to be crumb free each and every day.

These little life lessons that I am becoming aware of daily in my life are so rewarding.  When I first began writing I focused on my past. Those stories the shaped me as a person, a mother and a wife.  I thought all of my writing time would be spent dealing and sifting through my past.  I am learning and discovering it has nothing to do with my past but more about my present. My now.  Today.

I can only control this very moment.  I make choices that define me and my family with each waking breathe that I take.  Wasting any time on the "crumbs" of our past leaves us empty and deflated.

I am seeing life differently because I am looking for it.  I am not hiding it under a carpet with the intention of finding time  at a later moment to clean it up, explore it, move it, shape it, or discover it.

When I release the need to "put off todays crumbs until tomorrow", I enjoy life more.  Release yourself from the what ifs, the what fors, the wonderment of a better day, a brighter future, a future plan.

Live today.
Act now.
Be mindful of everything around you.
Stay connected. Live.

The crumbs of our lives have a way of holding us back.  It took me a long time to realize this.  Sometimes I still struggle to remind myself that this simple idea is key to a happier way of living.

I sweep my floor about four times a day.  I am always amazed at what I find in the dustpan and how much crap I sweep up every day.  I hate carpet.  I don't like to use that word very often but I do dislike carpet with a passion.  Carpet hides so much shit: dirt and crumbs.  Have you ever taken carpet out of a home and were surprised that underneath the carpet was a whole village living and functioning on its own.  Scary huh?

I am reminded of the movie, Horton Hears a Who, and how they had this complex life living on a dust speck.  What if that is us?  We have this complex life and we live on this dust speck and yet we choose to see things on a larger scale when in reality we are small.  Very small beings trying to do the best we can with what we have.  Eating our bread and leaving a trail of crumbs behind us.

Should we leave a trail or should we clean up our messes?  This is one of those questions of our lives that leave me scratching my head.  To clean or not to clean is not the question here.  To live presently or to live in the past is.   Spend your days channeling the present.  Stay connected to the now.  Find a way to let go of the excess baggage that your ego feels defines who you are.  These past crumbs do not make you who you are NOW.  They led you down a path but you are still walking the steps that are guiding your body during this lifetime.

Crumbs are messy.  They deserve to be attended to and not swept under the rug. Our lives and families deserve our very best at every second of the day.  There are times when those crumbs will hold us back or keep us distracted but they shouldn't define us or take away from those that we love.

Start lifting the rug and sweeping out the crumbs.  Release yourself from the weight of mistakes, failed attempts, mangled relationships, judgement or anything that you deem a crumb in your life.

Just let it go.

You deserve to be your best.

Being Something

To become something you must first become nothing. In nothingness will you find the will and drive to do something and eventually, becoming something if not the nothing, keeps us moving forward.

It is a vicious cycle of chasing our tails. We want to be and then we don't.  We want to do and then we stop.  Our goals change and shift until we become stagnant and lithless.  We struggle to find peace and balance only to discover that we flourish in chaos and adventure.   

Our attempt to walk the tight rope that connects our sanity to the insanity becomes thin and wayward.  We move in the wind to find our balance and then shift our feet to continue in one direction or the next.  Which direction we are walking in is only beholden to those who are watching.  We don't see within ourselves the way of our world.  Our senses are in turmoil as we try to navigate this thin line under the weight of our consciousness.

Crazy is a state of mind that requires work and effort.  It is lazy then to want to be anything but mad and driven by the chase of reality.  Listening to the voice that constantly tells us to be something but realizing that it is easier to be nothing.

I am reminded that I need to constantly hold a vigil within my inner self to keep my mind open and moving.  I cannot stop or try to understand the restlessness that drives my thoughts.  I must be open to the flow of energy that keeps me grounded.  

To reflect on the past only causes the demon within to rise to the challenge of finding the thrill in a world of nothingness driving me deeper within myself until there is nothing left.  

Fighting the whole time to stay above the thunder of my own souls screams as it agonizes and tries to define who the real person is that drives this body, mind and soul.  

Seeking for serenity has become a challenge that is met with resistance and failure.  Looking for something to help me out of this feeling of nothingness is a greater challenge than anyone can imagine.  

Finding a balance and being perched in the middle is the safest place to be but this idleness leads to its own sense of insanity.  Repetition and doing the same things over and over are mind numbing.   Change is what keeps the fire flame alive.  When the wind blows it ignites the coals.  When it stops they die.  

Changing something will allow us to channel our way out of nothing.  In my nothingness I am reminded that, to others, it is something.

Looking into my eyes is not the same as seeing my view from behind the two brown eyes that guide my vision in this life.  I am not on the inside who I appear to be on the outside.  

Therefore two people must reside inside this earthly body.  One to be seen by others and one to be seen by only me.  Together we fight this battle and struggle to stay balanced and centered.

It is a dance of passions, wills and desires combined with responsibility and need.  Twirling in rhythm with a song that plays the same tune over and over. Will the song change the dancer over time or will the dancer make the song new again?  

Do I believe I am crazy?  Sometimes I do.  Sometimes I want to be crazy so that I can be nothing.  The reality is that I am not and, for this reason, I must do something.  The fact that I recognize that I am not crazy or insane allows me to become what ever I want to become without fear of being nothing.

Rattling on and on about something, when in reality, this is nothing but the idle thoughts of a Mom who spends too much time washing dishes and changing diapers.  

This drive to do something keeps me from the fountain of nothing.  I can't help the fact that I am driven to do.  To be.  To want.  To desire.  With this desire comes errors and confusion.   Choices and decisions.  Failures and triumphs.

So be something already. 


Or... be content to do nothing.

In what ever the decision love, acceptance and happiness must be present.   I look at my so called day of nothing and realize that I did something.  I fed my family.  I cleaned our home.  I exercised.  I did some writing.  I taught Isabella.  I read to Finnley.

I did a bunch of little things that add up to something.

When the lens is turned, my nothing, is in reality....something. My perspective changed.  Oh what a difference it makes when we see the little things in life and realize that our nothingness is something after all.

Reset Buttons

I talk about finding balance in all things.  I do this because it is a constant reminder to myself to follow my own prompting.  How do we achieve this though? For me trying to figure out how I reset my energy levels or my mood wasn't difficult to figure out.  The trial comes in trying to find the time to reset each day.

The ocean has always calmed my high sprung soul.  The presence of trees has cleared my mind. Wind is another source of comfort to my inner self.  What I am trying to say is,  nature speaks to me.  It has a way of engulfing my thoughts, feelings and desires and making them stop.  I have a lot of chatter in my mind. My mind never stops writing.  I absorb the energy around me and this triggers a response to write relentlessly.  My kids know that when they hear the clickity click of the keyboard that I am releasing, sharing and giving my words to paper.

There are days that I need to reset myself though.  I get too caught up in the emotion of the moment, the story being told to me, and the rush of tingling exhausting rise.  When this happens I need to exit and recenter myself.

I have an odd collection in my house.  I collect beach glass.  They are all sorted by color.  I have bowls of it through out my living room: brown, white, colored, new and old.  I have sea shells that we have found along the various coast lines that we have walked.  Pieces, large and small, of driftwood rest on my pictures, against my fireplace, in piles on my piano.

It wasn't until recently when walking after a particularly hard chat with a friend that I recognized that I needed to figure out a reset button for me.  Where ever I go-- people talk to me.  Complete strangers talk to me like we are old friends.  My family is used to it.  If I don't return from a bathroom trip in a few minutes they know that I am listening.  It is not uncommon for me to reenter a room with my arm around a new friend.  A connection exist and this has brought me great joy but along with this ability to listen to others,  I also hear and feel their heartache, loss, trials, sadness, and broken souls.

Before I would take it and process it.  Never giving a second thought that I could "listen" and then reset myself.  I am learning that this is possible.  I am seeing that by me bringing the beach inside of my home that my home is a huge refuge of safety for me.  I feel the smoothness of the shiny pebbles I collect. They remind me that with each ragged emotion there is a counterpart that is smooth and soft.  The drift wood reminds me that not everyone is lost.  We drift at times in our lives and thats okay as long as we find our way back.  The wood is remarkably light when I always think and imagine it heavier than it is.  The glass is my most precious find.  It represents the spectrum of color that exists in this life.  It teaches me to love no matter the shape, color or size.  I am reminded with the aged beach glass that the water has created this beautiful piece of art work.  The glass was aged through the process of the water and the waves.  The constant back and forth motion rubbing up against the fine sand on the coastline.  The edges are smooth and not sharp.  They don't hurt when touched.

Without knowing,  I have been collecting things that I can use to reset and bring the balance back into my heart, mind and body.   As I mentioned above, I returned home from an emotional chat with a friend a few months ago.  I was sad.  My husband is great at recognizing when I need to regroup. He suggested a walk.  We walk a particular route as often as we can each week.  On this day he suggested that we go to the pier for a few minutes.  Normally I am in a hurry.  Finnley is usually sleeping and I always want to make sure we get home soon so that Rye doesn't have to baby sit for too long.   This day I listened and let him guide me to the water.

The picture before me was breathtaking.  The water was calm.  I felt as though I were seeing a huge painting before my eyes.  I felt the tears start to well up with in.   I let the water draw me to the edge of the sand.  I took the first step into the sand and heard the silence.  There were no waves.  It was quiet.  As we walked toward the water we discovered a huge log washed up on the shore line.  Inside of this log was a dip.  Inside the dip was sand.  Laying, in the shape of a circle, was a group of small white smooth rocks.  I picked them up and held them in my hand.  They were warm from the sun.  I left Cory on the beach and decided to spend a few minutes by myself.  I held onto the pebbles and released my sadness into each one.  I found comfort in this.

Continuing on our walk I felt good. I walked into my home and realized that my years of collecting from our shoreline was a way I could reset in my own home. I reentered my house with a lighter heart than when I left.

Reseting after a bad day, bad year or even after a few bad minutes is a skill that I believe is important and one that I am only recently understanding the unique roll it plays in my own life.

I think that with the essence of nature I also connect and find joy in quilting, drawing and cooking. These are all activities that lend themselves to me expressing my emotions and desires into something else. I don't have to keep everything bottled up. I am able to pour it into something else. Maybe that is why the water is so clearing for me. I see myself "pouring" myself into my family, my work, and most recently my writing.

Do you have certain things in your life that you would associate with the idea of a reset button?  I am curious, if you are willing to share, what they are.  Or maybe it is just one thing or a person.  It could be anything that allows us to center and move forward.

Written by Sherron Watson

Am I listening?

Looking out my window I can see that the leaves on our trees are thinning.  As I look at my computer screen my eye will catch the slight movement of one leaf falling slowly to the ground. One at a time. Right on cue, as I type these words, one slips to the ground.  One leaf lets go and then another and another and soon I will have a ground covered in crispy, dried leaves.  Then what?

The big question at my house is do we rake or do we not rake?  We are torn.  The process of trees shedding their leaves is natural.  The piling up of leaves on the ground is natural.  The process of releasing and letting go is also natural.  

Our arguments range as to how we should take care of our HUGE leaf problem. One child mentions that we should leave them because the ground needs the nutrients provided by the leaves when they break down.  Another disagrees because of the amount of leaves.  She states that too much of anything tends to create an unbalance spectrum.  The wind will take them is another thought that gets tossed around.  Oh, but then our neighbors have to deal with our leaves and this makes me uneasy.  

The falling leaves are something that we can't avoid each year unless we cut down the huge leaf bearing trees in our yard.  Will that solve the problem though?  I don't think so.  Our neighborhood is full of these beautiful trees that provide us with an exceptionally amazing Spring.  They offer homes to the birds and squirrels during the cold Winter months.  I would miss them.  They have come to be a part of our yard and landscape.  

I gain great joy from seeing the trees in my yard.  The texture of the bark.  The changing color of their leaves.  The rustling the squirrels make as they hop through the piles.  I would miss watching the trees shed each leaf as it makes and finds its final resting place in my yard. I would miss the gentle reminder that our lives ebb and flow like the seasons or the trees in my yard. 

I imagine myself as a tree.  Am I shedding the leaves of my soul as this change is coming over me? I feel wonderful.  I am opening to my true self.  My mind, body and soul are enlarging to accept more. My heart is softening.  Changing not who I am but actually listening and turning with a greater desire to realizing that I am finding my path in this life.  I am finally able to navigate through the piles of leaves that I have discarded with the anticipation of what is before me.  Knowing that as the trees in my back yard will once again bud, bloom and become full; so will I.  

Shedding a few leaves isn't a bad thing.  It opens up a chance for us to grow.  To start over.  To refresh.  To live.  I have fought this change for quite some time.  I can't avoid it anymore.  

I didn't realize how closed I had become.  Protecting my inner self became a full time job.  Wearing an armor, like the bark of a tree, to protect my heart, my feelings, and eventually my sensitive soul-- instead of just being me-- caused me to be distant, aloof, and vague.  I have made the decision to stop hiding.  Stop blending in.  Stop fighting the urges, the small whisperings,  and of late, the strong desire to listen.  I won't hide behind a tree anymore. 

Writing about my experience of quitting Facebook was a challenge for me to understand at the time, but I couldn't fight the urge anymore.  I had to listen to the prompting.  The reality is, it turned out to be one of the most honest pieces that I have ever written; with great responses from friends and readers that were feeling the same vibration too.  I connected to a group of like minded people because I let my inhibitions fall to the ground.  The desire to act at that moment was inspiring.  I listened and I poured my heart out in my post.  

The events of this week have only confirmed to me that listening and acting and following through are an important part of who I am as a Mom, Wife and Writer.  I can't worry about what others might think or say because all the matters to me is getting the message out.  I sit at my computer and the words just come.  Hope, love and kindness are messages that are needed in this world of hardship, loss and struggle.  Finding the balance in our lives is important.  There is a beacon in my life that I have avoided for a long time.  This innate sensitivity, that I have had since I was a small child,  to offer love, joy and kindness is too overwhelming for me to hide anymore.  I need to listen and share through writing my thoughts.   

I started Sifting Through Life as a way for me to write honestly and openly.  Even with the knowledge and prompting to keep this as authentic as possible I have still been holding back: afraid that some will find me different, crazy or weird.  Too forth coming with information and an honesty that makes others feel uncomfortable.  Honesty that comes from a place of love and longing to share that we are all unique, valued, of worth, and sacred.

The falling leaves, floating pass my window, are gentle reminders that shedding
my old self is only preparing me for a better experience in this wonderful life I have.  My journey to this point has been filled with pebbles, stones, rocks and even boulders tossed with great force in my direction.  Those will no longer be the deciding factor as to my freedoms to write what I think and feel.  My knowledge comes differently than for most.  I can't fight it anymore.  

My happiness this past week has been an awakening experience with my family.  I feel like they are seeing me for the first time.  I am not hiding anymore. I have never hidden my intuitions from them.  It is kind of a joke around our family. A secret that we share within the walls of our home.  They know and love me anyways.  Oh I do love food.  I love cooking, creating, photographing, and editing.  Food has led me to this place in my life by offering me a branch, if you will, to open up and to share thoughts of encouragement through the stories and lessons in my own life.  

I am listening.

Listening and writing, not for the masses,  but for the one.  If one person can gain a smile, a happy thought, or a feeling of value; then my efforts will be worth the few moments I take each day to write and reflect.   I have been reminded that there is a duality that exist on this earth.  When we are not in balance things have a tendency to shift and slide.  Finding a balance in our lives is important.  My balance involves writing, accepting and acting on my thoughts.  If I don't then the voice in my head does not let me rest.  Today my thoughts are quiet but only after I sat and decided to write a post.  Not knowing what would come but watching the process unfold just feels right.  The simplest of reactions to my flow of writing is listening. The words just come.

Listening is learning.  I am learning to listen and to share my thoughts with the hope that a connection is made.  Connecting with people and listening to their stories is something I have done my whole life.  Through listening to others I am learning so much.

Are you listening?  I believe that each of us has the ability to feel and to know for ourselves the plan that we helped create when we came to this life.   We have a built in data center that allows us to hear our own direction and insight.  The key is knowing the "song" that is being sung and tuning into the right frequency.  Sometimes we are too busy to hear, our lives are too noisy to pay attention, or we just need to be reminded to pay attention.

This is that reminder.  Be mindful of your life now. See what is happening.  Recognize if a change is needed.  Listen to how you are feeling at this very moment.

Listen.  Then get real quiet and listen again. In this space of deep quiet is where you will find guidance, serenity and peace.

Written by Sherron Watson

You're Good Enough

Holding hands with Cory we set out for our daily walk.  We have a route that takes us 1 hour to walk.  At the half way mark we sit on a bench and rest.  We sit and watch the water.  The water has a temperament of its own: we never know what we will find.  Is the tide out or is it in?  The waves are loud as they crash onto the shore.  Our view is often clear for miles and sometimes filled with the occasional passing cruise ship or cargo carrier.  No matter what we find when we arrive it is good enough for us.  We will take the beach, the water, the sand--just as it is.

Our walks are important for us to reconnect.  Our best conversations happen during this intimate hour of alone time.  For this hour we talk.  On this day we headed out with our phones in hand.  We always have one phone just in case.  In case Finnley wakes up, in case we need a ride home or-- and this is the big one-- we need to fact check each other.  Crazy shit huh?  Well, after 26 years of marriage sometimes we need to know the facts and this actually saves us from arguing.  I like the truth.  Not that Cory is not truthful, he just likes to embellish his stories at times.  I like to know if when he uses words like "everyone" and "all" that it is the case.  Does that make sense?

We are in great spirits.  I share my day and he shares his.  As we hit the quarter mile marker our conversation turns to his book purchases at Barnes and Noble.  Our family loves a good book.  We are all avid readers and when in town it is not unusual for one of us to stop at the book store and return home with a new purchase.  Cory was excited because he had bought two books.  I was thrilled because he started the conversation with expressing a desire to read something fictional.  

My inner self just jumped for joy. It wasn't a self help book.  In the next breadth he said he was distracted by a book on Tapping.  My whole body deflated.  My eyes glazed over.  I went to the place that I tend to go when the words "self help book" enter into the conversation.   My inner self just shut down. 

Cory has read so many self help books.  I have no problem with reading self help books; honestly, I don't.  I just wonder what drives a person to constantly want to change.  I was worried.  I thought to myself that somehow we, his family, had not made him feel good enough.  I took his desire to improve himself as a token of my inability to make him feel that we love him just as he is.

Our exchange of words for the next 30 minutes was enlightening.  I am going through a phase of my life with my kids and husband in which I don't want them to ever wonder about my feelings and thoughts towards them. I am trying to express myself.  I took his enjoyment of reading self help books personally; I thought in some passive aggressive way he was reading self help books to secretly help me overcome a weakness or improve.  It wasn't.  I thought the years spent in the Mormon church had created this sense of him trying to evolve into a perfect individual and he was struggling to let that go.  It wasn't.  I thought he must think we don't think he's good enough.  It wasn't.

I was upset.  I finally had to admit that, at that very moment,  I hate self help books. I hate them because I spent many years with my nose buried in self help books trying to fix myself from the years of sexual abuse, low self esteem,  divorced parents, freckles, being too skinny, having red name it and I was trying to fix it.

Jeez! It was tiring.   I didn't want him to feel that we didn't think he was good enough because he is. He is perfect for our family.  He is a great Dad and a wonderful husband.  He is the kindest man I know.  He is my best friend and I wanted him to know that I don't want him to spend his time trying to change.   

The problem is I am associating his self help experience with mine and they are two different experiences.  He doesn't feel like he is trying to change himself.  He is improving what he already knows.  He is learning.

Learning?  DUH!  I am a crazy bitch for sure...LOL A light went off and I reminded myself that I also like to learn.  I read books to learn all the time. I don't see them as self help books.  Not the kind I read at least.   I read about Yoga, Quilting, and photography.  I am learning to craft and cook.  He is learning the art of Tapping, how to meditate, manage our money, studying religions, and how to be a good boss. Here I was thrusting my self back into my past 25 years ago and thinking that he was feeling pain, hurt and betrayal.  

The conversation is heated by this point of our walk because he felt that with each and every (and there have been a lot) time he brings up a new book of "learning", I shut down.  I did, but I won't anymore.  I asked him to give me a list of his top 5 books that he found to be worth a read and I would read them.  We agreed to read a book together.

We started our own book club. Our first book is "To Kill a Mockingbird".  We chose this book because neither one of us has read it and our it is our daughter's favorite book.   I confessed that the years of reading books about healing and self love left me jaded to a certain genre of book. A few days later I was having a hard time.  Cory suggested Tapping.  I was being given an opportunity to learn.  I became engaged in his instructions.  Cory enlightened me to the ins and outs of tapping. This time I did not glaze over.  I had a new perspective of his interest and I found myself engaged in learning and listening without the voice in my head feeling confused and on guard.  I am learning the art of Tapping and discovering that it has a soothing affect.  

Bless his soul, he is a good man, to be married to a red haired ball of fire.  I just want him to never forget that he is good enough just the way he is.  I tell my kids all the time that they are good enough too.  I feel that my kids are balanced when it comes to learning and improving.  As parents we have tried to provide them with a happy home.  I am sure there were times we could have done better but I hope they don't find themselves ever questioning our love, our sentiments or care.  

We all need to find our balance in this life and be okay with who we are.  Improvements are important but accepting who you are is important too.  Our significant others hold a key to our hearts and through our relationship we can make or break each other.  I love that Cory is trying to improve himself.  I am grateful that our relationship is open enough that we can have honest conversations about our feelings and thoughts.

Honesty in any relationship can become a challenge when the other person is not open to hearing the truth.   I know that in the past, I created a facade of what I thought Cory wanted me to be.  I felt that who I was inside, down deep inside, was not good enough for his vision of us together. I spent many of our first years together trying to conform to what others thought, what the world would project and how I believed I should be.  The reality is that I was already good enough I just needed to let my light flow with clarity,  honesty and love.  I had to love myself first before anyone could love me as I am.

Peeling away the layers and years of life to discover that down deep we all start off as good people with good intentions is something I know for sure.  Our lives carve out a certain flow to who we will become.  The first 20 years of my life were hard.  The past 26 years of my life have been a blessing.  Cory has always been my number one fan expressing that I was good enough for him.  I didn't have to change or be someone else.  Over the years I wondered if maybe I had not sent him the same message.  On this walk, I felt so strongly that I needed to confirm to him that change was not necessary on his part.  He was good enough.

I recently heard a quote and loved it.  The quote is, "You're a star.  Stars are meant to twinkle".   My family is my universe.  I see each one as a star and I hope they understand that who they are will always be good enough for me.  One of my greatest joys in this life is watching them move or twinkle and grow.  Seeing them learn new things brings joy to my soul.

Life is about learning and growing.  I forgot that for a few minutes as we set out on our afternoon walk.  Cory reminded me that learning is not always about healing.  It can be more than that.  Maybe this was not about Cory but more about me reminding myself that I was good enough.  Something he never doubted in me from the beginning.

You're good enough too.   Sometimes we need to tell ourselves this and, at times, we need to uplift and remind our husbands, kids and families they are also good enough.

I hope they never forget, that in my eyes they will always be.....

......and so are YOU.....


Written by Sherron Watson

Stop Apologizing for a Messy House

I have friends that stop by and the first thing I say when I greet them at the door is, "sorry for the messy house".

I found myself saying this again this morning as I looked around the living room.  The next thing that came to my mind was the phrase, "you're going to miss this someday". We all know that I have a long ways to go before I see those days of empty rooms and an organized house.  Benefits of having a baby at 45....ha ha ha.

But it's true.  I wouldn't trade these days for anything and yet I am always saying sorry about the toys, the bathroom that is messy, the dishes in the sink, the dust that says "dust me woman", and the cat food that never quite makes it into the bowl sitting in our bay window.

STOP I say.

What is the alternative?  I don't like thinking about that.  There was a time that I thought I would be living in a spotless house, not by choice, but because my body decided to wait a few extra years before I had babies to hold and snuggle.  I had wished that my house would be filled with little feet, messy hand prints and dirty floors.  Well, I didn't really say dirty floors but it's a given with little feet running around.

Now, when I talk about my house being messy or dirty, I am not talking about the hoarding-rat-infested-cat-poop-in-the-corner dirty.  I am talking about the "living " proof that our family's live in our homes.  The shoes by the door, the toys all over, the books pulled out of the bookshelf by Finnley, the dishes in the sink--you know-the proof that a family of six lives in this home.

Stuff.  I swear it multiplies at night.

I only have so many damn hours in a day and they are stretched.  The last thing I have time to do is dust.  I hate dusting.  I hate cleaning the bathrooms.  In fact, if the truth must be told,  I hate cleaning but I love a clean house and so I do it.  I clean and organize when I can.  Sometimes it is late at night and other times it is early in the morning.

I am picking up stuff all day long.  I pick up the same friggin' toy a hundred times and put it in the toy box only to run up stairs and step on it one more time.

I might have company for Thanksgiving.  This sends a pang of terror to the depths of my stomach.  A combination of being an introvert, perfectionist and a laid back homemaker.

 CRAP--MY HOUSE IS NOT READY FOR THIS! I run through all of the "sorry this and sorry for that"  thoughts about my house being lived in and not picture perfect.  I start nit picking.  Seeing all of the things I can't seem to find time to clean or organize.  STOP!

Seriously, it's two months away and I am already starting to fret about the little nooks and crannies where the dust bunnies are turning into mammoth sized balls of hair developing their own sense of style.  The sneaky spider webs that are looking down from my 20 foot ceiling.  The stickers that are stuck to my hardwood floors.  You know the ones.  They are from new shirts or new glasses for the kitchen and they get turned upside down  and stuck to the floor. You think to yourself as you're running out the door, "I'll get that when I get back" and , well, you don't.  Then you mop over them a few time thinking that will remove them;  and it doesn't.  Now they are almost part of the floor but you really should get down on all fours with a scraper and remove what is left of the once recognizable Hello Kitty price tag.  Sounds fun, huh?  Welcome to my life on most days.

STOP STOP STOP--Is what I need to be telling myself.

 My number one job is raising my family. Having four kids, two parents that work from home,  cooking from scratch, homeschooling and 3 animals makes for a very lived in home.

Yes, it gets messy and unorganized but I will no longer apologize for living in a home that does not look perfect every second of the day.  I don't want to be the parent that thinks having a "pretty room" is more important than having a laid back home filled with comfort and ease.

I have issues with "pretty, perfect rooms".  I will save that rant for another day.

Written by Sherron Watson