Sunday, December 26, 2010


Wow!! What a crazy couple of weeks!

Family, bathroom reno’s, cold and flu, Christmas…the list goes on…whew, I am tuckered!

I have had many moments of, “tonight I HAVE to write”; out of need for a release, desire to express certain emotions and events and yet, not once did I find myself with an opportunity to enjoy the silence and solitude which would allow me to find the words and record them. As it is with the multitude of pictures that I captured, it is going to take some time to process it all!!

At the end of the day, I can only say that I am grateful for all of the time we were able to share with our families. We had a wonderful Christmas, with a delicious dinner to top off the day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Comfort, Learn or Teach...?

An old friend, someone who I have mostly lost contact with, but still care about a great deal, seems to be going through a difficult time.

Her statements on Facebook surprise me, and yet echo within. She is vague, but I can only assume that she is speaking of serious issues within her marriage. She received a lot of feedback; leaving her to delete the whole post, re-word and add that some people should keep their opinions to themselves.

This girl was a very close friend many years ago, and sadly, we lost touch for about 14 years. Although we have both expressed desire to see each other and reconnect, we haven’t. So, what I now know about her is formed from pictures and statements via Facebook, or assumed/deemed to be in my mind. That being said, my opinion literally would mean nothing.

Instead, I feel as though my fears were correct. I remember my friend, and the amazing person that she was. I remember her strength and courage, her humor and early wisdom. I also recall the similarities we had in our taste in men; and I know that means difficult days kept silent until you explode.

I think I know from what I see/read, without actually knowing, that she is that same woman today. I imagine, that as it was then, we are still very much the same in some of our hopes/dreams/expectations. I wish we were closer, and yet am afraid of pushing too hard. I sent her a private message, reminding her that I was here for her and hoped she was ok, but haven’t heard back. I feel inside myself that I should be there for her, that I have the silence as well as the empathy to comfort and guide her gently; in her own time and way of course. I don’t know why I feel compelled to be there for her now. She obviously needs her own space to sort out whatever it is that is happening in her life right now; and yet, I feel I have SOMETHING to offer her!?! As it was then, our similar experiences gave us something to relate to with each other; knowing someone else had truly walked that same road. Now, I know our paths since then have been VERY different, and yet, I sense that they have also been very similar.

I think that I may be starting to LOOK deeper into many “relationships” from my past lately. Necessary or not? If I feel the urge to pause and turn around for a moment, I can only assume that is on purpose; I am required to gain something that I missed in the past.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gratitude Journaling Day # 14

1. I am grateful for the creativity that can sometimes be found within me!

2. I am appreciative as always for all my husband does; freezing cold weather, pain/injury it doesn’t matter, he gets out there and gives it his all.

3. I am thankful for cuddles and kisses from my daughter; her new thing is to gently “pet” my head as she looks into my eyes! SIGH…!!

4. I am grateful for the ability I have to read, write and learn.

5. I am thankful for the growth that has allowed me to begin opening up about what I have experienced and who I am inside.

Stepping into the Past to find Gratitude

I was on Facebook the other night and a photo album of a friend caught my eye; more accurately, a vehicle I recognized captured my attention. It was an old photo, taken 16 years ago, and yet instantly I was taken back, fully. The emotions of the time; the people that were involved and the timing of the photograph made my heart race as though I was 16 again!

These were pictures of people that were in my “circle”. The pictures were taken at a time when a “friend” that was a few years younger than myself set her sights on a guy that I was off and on involved with. This obviously presented a problem for the 3 of us and in the end they decided to proceed together, and I walked away from them both. So, these pictures captured for me what I had already only imagined and created images of in my mind. They had gone on a camping trip, one that at the time I felt was supposed to include me. I laughed to myself as I looked deeply into the young faces that stared back at me. Some of us were just as I imagine/know we still are today, and others, such as the “friend”, looked like babies. I thought of the range in ages of the people in the group, and I thought of our lives at that time; the things that kept us all together, what drew us to each other.

Then I looked down at the comments on one of the photos. There was comical interest in recognizing the un-named faces and then the tone changed to that of sadness. Someone commented that seeing the pictures made them feel sad, and they added a question; did they hear about a friend that was connected to everyone, but not actually in the picture? Comments end there.

The person referred to was my first boyfriend; the tie that brought me to most of these people in the beginning. In complete honesty, my heart lifted slightly as my heart raced and my mind asked “Is he dead?!” as I read the question. I wanted more, I wanted to know the details of the conversation that ensued. It piqued my interest and I wanted to comment back, “No?! What happened?!” I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t (as of yet…?!) even ask anyone else that would likely know or be able to find out!

I talked to my best friend yesterday, itching to tell her about my finding, and when I did, her response was the same as my own; only she verbalized what I only said in my mind! She proceeded to encourage me to enquire within the larger circle of “old” Facebook friends that I have.

This guy in question; he, for me to vaguely say, had serious issues at the young age that we met him at. He was only 17 then, but already had severe family issues that he was the perpetrator of, although I didn’t find out these details until near the end of our relationship. He was in a foster home and didn’t have much, if any contact, with most of his family. To be blunt and to the point, I will say that aside from the anger, control issues, insecurities and many other things, he had an appetite for young, inexperienced girls. He worked his way from me, to, secretively, my best friend and her younger sister, with another of my younger friends in between! Without further details, I will only say that he was a sick little puppy in those early days of his life.

A part of me feels sheepish as I write; as I confess to such a dark response inside of me. We aren’t supposed to wish ill upon anyone, and certainly not with such finality. It’s not that I actually WISH that he was dead, although, again, I will admit I have had those thoughts in the past. It is more a feeling of relief that he would not be out in the world continuing to have seriously negative impacts on the lives of those around him.

I find myself being captured by the strangest things these days; things from my past seem to come up, begging for attention. Obviously a whisper in the ear that there are details requiring re-examination; as I grow, I need to look a little deeper for the lessons that were there for me to learn. Sometimes, 16 years later is the perfect time to finally “get it” in some cases?!

This time, for reasons that I still explore, I received three nudges in the same moment; three people with meaning came back for a visit and I need to know why. What in my life right now calls for the guidance of the experiences that I lived with these people back then?

Trust; I learned many things about both sides of trust from these three.

Strength; individually, I was forced to learn different things from the them.

Acceptability; as I sit here now, I can see many facets of this that I faced with these individuals. What is and is not acceptable in my life. I also learned about what makes a person “acceptable” or “unacceptable” in the eyes of certain types of people.

Doing wrong to another that is close to you; Ha! With the people in common, where would I begin on the things that I was taught?! How easy it is for some people; they either don’t truly care or they are so blinded by things in their life that they can only operate in ways that fill THEIR own personal “need” in a given circumstance.

I sat explaining my feelings, or considerations, on this subject to my husband last night, and I was relieved to discover that he related to what I had to say. It didn’t seem strange to him that my thoughts were swirling upon the finding of these photos and the heavy/confusing comments that were involved. In some ways, he made me feel more justified in my curiosities; as though I didn’t have the right before?!

While I still have some work to do to understand it all, I will offer gratitude to the universe for these people; the lessons they taught me then and the things that I seem to have to learn from them now.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Gratitude Journaling Day #13

Well, AGAIN I have not been keeping up with my gratitude journaling. I don’t even have a REAL excuse! Sure, last night was a little hectic, with the bathroom reno starting, but still…

1. I appreciate the chats with my best friend; we are THERE for each other and I always gain different insights into motherhood; her own and those around her.

2. I am grateful for the positive things happening for my husband in his work; he works harder than most people that I know and is finally being recognized for it.

3. I am thankful for the mild winter weather that we have been enjoying (knock on wood or my hubby’s noggin!), with hopes that it doesn’t take a drastic turn anytime soon!

4. I am grateful for the pride and awe that my daughter inspires in me every day; her learning and growth is awesome to be a part of!

5. I am thankful to my brother for going out of his way to bring our dad here for Christmas.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gratitude Journaling Day # 11

1. I am grateful and so very thankful to be talking with my youngest two step children right now!! It has been far too long, and joyful tears are a wonderful thing!

2. I am thankful that my oldest step daughter will be coming over in the morning! Brunch and some shopping…it is wonderful!

3. I am grateful for the joy it brings my husband to be able to talk/see his kids again.

4. I am thankful for our amazing daughter, and all the joy she brings to every minute.

5. I appreciate the ups and downs in my life; the prolonged ecstasies that ultimately come after a difficult period…I am grateful for the learning that always entails as well…

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day #7 Gratitude Journaling

1. I am thankful for a quiet day at home today.

2. I am appreciative of the phone call from my sister-in-law this morning to re-assure and re-excite me about Christmas plans.

3. I am even more grateful the phone call I just received from my brother himself!! Christmas plans are a GO!!!

4. I am, as always, amazed and thankful for all that my hubby does for us; he doesn’t stop, it doesn’t matter how many brick walls pop up, he pushes through. Thank you baby.

5. I am grateful for my wonderful Shamos; Shamoobafoo, Boo-Boo, our “Ca-Dog”…Our 10 year old cat is such a wonderful little buddy; comfort, love and that crazy soft white hair that soothes in an instant!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Letting go of "Angry"

Anger and frustration are snaky little “emotions”. It can be seemingly easy to allow anger to take over and control our actions and reactions, but aren’t we only succeeding in adding unnecessary chaos into our life?

When I was a teenager, I was full of anger and frustration; aren’t we all at that age?! I came to a point where began to believe that I achieved more of what I “wanted” when I portrayed myself in that manner; a hard shell that was easily provoked. Being mad was normal then and at times showed up as violence as well. Of course, now I see the reality of those days, feelings and the role I created for myself, they only succeeded in causing more things to BE angry and frustrated ABOUT!

Then, I moved onto where I am now; the anger and frustrations can still exist, but I don’t allow them to show their faces in the way I used to. Now, I hold them tightly inside, where they fight with each other for space as each continues to grow. Sure, I get mad, but now I keep the frustrations of it all quiet, only letting loose at times that tend to appear out of the blue.

Because it is! I let go when I am caught up INSIDE myself with OTHER thoughts, and so, as the story goes, I am not releasing that which is really bothering me!

It is a dangerous little path to follow. When we really have other things that are on our plate, instead of voicing those problems, giving a name to them and acknowledging them, we end up exploding on those around us in a situation so un-equal to that which is playing in our minds. We leave those around us shocked and confused.

I certainly don’t need to hold onto any feelings of anger, I know that is pointless. Frustrations are another story. I am responsible for any frustrations I have, I make the choice on how I will be affected by a given situation; If I don’t like it, I have the responsibility to myself to do what is required to make the change. I also don’t desire to hurt those around me with nasty words that have nothing to do with them.

I know I have work to do but I also know that there are many others who should get to work as well! And it will take some time to really get there. I need to learn to not blame others for situations that I may very well have contributed to as well, and accept that we all have things to work on within ourselves. I need to DEAL with what bothers me or LET IT GO instead of keeping it all inside where it has the ability to pop up at anytime.

A little more compassion and understanding; acceptance and thoughtful insight; we are all learning, and sometimes, we just need a little help to see that.

Gratitude Journaling Day #6

1. I am so thankful that we were finally able to see my step-daughter! She came by for a few hours, had dinner and it was so wonderful to be with her after so many years.

2. I am grateful for the smile on my husband’s face; after so many years of not seeing his daughter, this is a pretty special smile! It brings a smile to me just to see the joy the reunion has brought.

3. I am grateful for learning and growing enough in my life to know when a battle is not worth fighting. There are times when words will just not help, and it is important to be able to acknowledge when you really need to just keep it to yourself.

4. I appreciate the beautiful sun that shone all day.

5. I am learning more every day about family and the dynamics that exist; the roles, the drama and the connections.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day #5 – Gratitude Journaling

At the moment, I am full of negative energy. Throughout the day, I have constantly thought of and been given reminders of noting the things that I am grateful of, but tonight, a simple phone call slammed me into a brick wall. I will only say that, anticipated holiday visits could possibly be impacted, and I am blown away. It is now late, and my hubby is dying to get to bed (yes, we typically go together!), but I insisted that in order for me to try to push my way through these dark feelings, I get to something positive; the light and warmth that will come with my recognizing the GOOD of the day.

1. I am grateful that we made it to the mall on time for Santa pictures tonight. Ahh, a whole other post! Our girl is amazing and BEAUTIFUL!! She did so well with her visit to Santa, so friendly and accepting.

2. Gratitude and appreciation fall slightly away, as I search for a stronger word…We are FINALLY going to see my step-daughter tomorrow!! Thankful, thankful, thankful…

3. I am appreciative of the wonderful dinner that I anticipated cooking, but my hubby took over and completed, deliciously!

4. It was warm’ish today…of course, I didn’t really experience it until later in the afternoon, but I wasn’t BUNDLED up layer upon layer!!

5. While I am NOWHERE near where I hoped to be as far as preparations for Christmas, I am OK with that. I know that as long as everyone is healthy and together, that is all that matters most; the rest would only be a bonus.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gratitude Journaling Day #4

1. My husband waking up with Makiya this morning…a little extra snuggly, sleepy time in bed is wonderful!!

2. Learning a new tip from a CHILDREN’s cooking show!! When cooking breaded chicken/pork: flour, then egg, THEN the batter…seemed to work quite well when I utilized the advice tonight!

3. I am thankful for helpful in-laws thinking ahead for Christmas Dinner-haven’t managed to talk to her yet, but, my sister in-law is getting us a “free” turkey for the LARGE family dinner!

4. I am grateful for the coffee that I sooo needed to wake me up this morning, yes, even after getting an “extra” hour of rest!

5. I am VERY grateful for the feedback I receive on my writing; I am filled with a warmth that fills my soul and I appreciate every word so much.

Ok, I admit, I DID miss out on writing my list yesterday, and fully INTENDED to fix that this morning, but…eek! Won’t let it happen again!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Silent Appreciation

This journey, this life; what an incredible, amazing gift. It is hard sometimes, to fully recognize what we have, right there at our fingertips, within our grasp. We get so caught up in the daily chaos that we can’t see the lessons and gifts that are given to us in every instant, even the difficult times.

Marriage and motherhood can be hard, each in their own way and combined, whoa!!

There is no handbook, nothing that can prepare us for the unique situations and ups and downs that we will face and endure in our own personal ventures. There is no one person that can give the perfect advice that would solve every issue in our daily grind; and so we push forward. We open our eyes each morning, swing our legs over the edge of the bed and push on. There is no other option, we get up and face the day; whatever it has to offer, good or bad.

We love our spouses, turning our cheek at times, because that is what we pledged to do; in good times and bad… Our children offer the brightest light in those early hours of our day, innocent and eager, ready with full enthusiasm to face whatever comes to them.

We have those days; you know the ones, where you question your sanity, the days you wish you could crawl under the covers or wake up in a year that has long past.

Then we lock eyes with our husband in the quiet, dark hours of morning, or we go to get our child out of bed; this is where we should be, where we want to be, where we cannot imagine not being.

Day #2-Gratitude Journaling

1. I am so grateful for the recent contact with my step daughter! It is so exciting for her dad, I miss her so much too, and I am so hopeful for her to meet her sister!

2. Mmm, the smell of a delicious dinner of chicken, potato, onion, butternut squash and apples, rosemary and garlic….cooking all day in the crock pot; little work required early in the day with a perfect, simple dinner as a result.

3. TIME with my daughter; to learn her characteristics, her stories and her style of communicating.

4. I am appreciative of the surprise visit from hubby/daddy at lunch time; a nice pause in the middle of the day, for mom and Makiya!

5. I am so very grateful for the abundance of food, the ability to “stock up”, the extras we have been able to afford recently; a simple thing, yes, but having a freezer full is something that should never be taken for granted!

I am excited to be giving attention to these “little” things in my life, the wonderful things that flow in, sometimes without a second thought. What an opportunity for growth and understanding, and obviously, the chance to welcome MORE of all that I love and appreciate!

Amber Starfire and my mom, Linda Hoye, are the wonderful ladies that put me back on this journey of journaling my gratitude, so, I should add them as #6 on my list of Gratitude today!

31 Day Gratitude Journaling Challenge

Today, I give thanks, and I pause to reflect on all I have in my life to be grateful for.

1. I appreciate my husband and how hard he works for our family.

2. I am always grateful for baby girl; an abundant supply of smiles and laughter!

3. I am thankful that, while financially difficult at times, I am able to stay at home with Makiya, to experience every minute with her.

4. My wonderful best friend; our connection, understanding without words and our similar, yet different, minds.

5. I am full of gratitude for my mom who has, as it was when I was young, ignited (or re-ignited) my passion for writing and introduced me to a wonderful world of connecting, learning, Blogging and sharing…

I hope to keep up with this Gratitude Journaling. I tried once before several years ago, and quickly gave it up. No reason in particular, my life just took me away from it at the time. I have learned so much more in the years since, about Gratitude/Abundance and how if we only offer the respect that is warranted, we will enjoy so much more of the things that we can be grateful for in our lives. For a look at the inspiration behind this and some exciting information on the benefits of gratitude, I encourage you to check out this page.

PS. Wrote this a little late last night, but it is for December 1…

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