Hitchhikers

There was a meteor shower last night.

Did you see it?  Did you notice them?  Were you, like my family, standing outside, looking up, ignoring the icy cold in order *hopefully* catch a glimpse of something magical?

We stood in the parking lot, the four of us, looking up.  We laughed and talked and danced.  Yes, we danced to stay warm.  We counted twinkles, identified constellations, and hugged each other while giggling about the possibility that if we kept our gaze up long enough, our necks might get stuck this way.

We connected and played and enjoyed each other, imagining dragons as we exhaled smoky white clouds of breath.  We talked about distant planets and galaxies and the undiscovered life that might be staring up at us at the same time.  There were jokes about aliens, stories of great Roman warriors who now live among the stars, and scientific questions about just what those stars are made of and why they appear to twinkle.

I saw one!  I was looking in the right  place at the right time, and I saw a star go from here to there, ever so quickly and quietly.  Before I could point it out to anyone, it was gone.  I mumbled a belated wish to the heavens, but the truth is that in that moment, with my tribe, I was already living my best life. What else could I ask for?

The Gemenid meteor shower came and went, and we lugged our chilly bodies up the stairs to our front door and into the warm, welcoming space we currently call home. Each of us tiptoed like baby birds to our respective nests, and without any more mention of stars, prepared for bedtime.

As I lie in bed waiting for sleep to come, I realized the depth and importance of what felt in the moment like goofiness…

Moments like this are what make childhoods worth reminiscing on.  Moments like this become memories that will amuse us, comfort us, remind us for the rest of our lives of the happy, silly time we had “that night”, looking up at the sky, cracking up at what the neighbors must be thinking about us, musing that we might be waiting for our mother-ship to come and whisk us away to the next universe. (Did we bring towels?)

Yes, the stars showed up and twinkled brightly for us, but it was we who brought magic to the night.

Shooting-Stars

 

 

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X-Ray Vision

My son sprained his ankle yesterday at school.  He didn’t tell anyone and the teacher didn’t see, so no one called me.  When he got home, he told me all about his day but he didn’t mention his injury.  In the evening, when he was winding down, he finally mentioned his foot pain.  After some interrogation I got the story and proceeded to perform Mommy Triage.  Everything seemed ok, just a bit swollen, so I gave him Motrin and an ice pack.

Everything was fine.

Until.

An hour or so later, my son walked over to me and began to cry, almost inconsolably.  He was cold, he said.  So cold it hurt and he couldn’t get warm. I took his temperature, expecting a fever, but what I saw was the opposite.  His temperature was dropping.  His skin was cold and clammy to the touch.  I carried him, still crying, back to his bed.

As a mom I feel like I’m constantly walking a line between not reacting ENOUGH and TOTALLY FREAKING OUT.  There is not much in between for me, unfortunately for my calm, collected, level-headed husband.  Husband, of course, thought our son was overreacting, but I had a feeling he was telling the truth.  His tears, hot and streaming down his face, were real.  The fear on his face was real.

Externally, I tried to comfort him by saying things like “It’s going to be OK”.  Internally, I was making a list of who to call, what to ask, and what to pack for the hospital.  I called my mom, who is a nurse, and with her guiding me, checked his pulse, his temperature, examined his body for bruising, and put a heating pad in his bed to help him get warm.  After watching a couple of episodes of Transformers on Netflix, he fell asleep. I took out the heating pad and left the room, still feeling some anxiety in my gut.

I checked on Emmett every two hours until the morning, taking his temperature, feeling his skin, and watching him breathe.  I felt very strongly that he should get x-rays, since he just sprained this same ankle a month or so ago.

Early this morning we arrived at the Pediatric ER. The staff was courteous, if a bit incredulous that I wanted x-rays on what was obviously a sprain.

Fast forward to lunch time, and my sweet boy is in a splint.  He has a distal fracture of the fibula that, due to the location of the break, did not present as such.  The break is on the growth plate, which means we will see an orthopedic doctor next week to discuss next steps.  His “just a sprain” turned out to be a broken leg.

[On the bright side, his cast is red and festive.]

This was a sneaky break.  A painless fracture.  There is internal damage on a pretty important part of the body.  Fluid has pooled in his ankle and heel. The fracture wasn’t visible, so no one I talked to believed it was there. Only after looking inside did they realize how seriously he was hurt.

Considering this, I am reminded me to be more conscious of others.  What I can see with my eyes doesn’t often betray what’s going on underneath.  A person may look like they have it all together when they are crumbling on the inside. They may not look to me like someone I could befriend, when we actually have a lot in common.  NOTHING is  ever what it seems on the surface. While I don’t have X-Ray vision, I do have opportunity to dig deeper. I have an obligation to look deeper.  To investigate.  To find out what’s going on in the heart, the mind, and the spirit.

Finding out about an injury is the first step to healing.  Knowing a person, really understanding them takes time, but it is the first step to helping them heal and grow.  Stepping out of comfort zones, crossing invisible lines we’ve drawn for ourselves, choosing to let go of old beliefs in order to embrace new friends.  These can only lead to good things – things like love, peace, and community.

I am grateful for this awareness, particularly at this time of year.

This holiday season, and always, may you see others –  and may you be seen – for the magical, powerful, gorgeous creature that you (we, they) truly are.

Happy Day!

I’m vegan, and part Native American so tomorrow is a different day for me.  I’ll still be gathering with my lovely family and eating LOTS of things, as well as concentrating on being thankful and in the moment.

No animal products, and a prayer for those who lost their lives in the “civilization” of our nation.

Here are some links on gratitude, veganism, how you can support the remaining tribesmen and women, and blessing loved ones with love and light, if you’re into that sort of thing.  If you’re reading this, I love you and I hope your day, however you choose to spend it, is full of joy, fellowship, and delicious food.

Ball of Light Blessing (Audio Only)

30 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

Native American Rights Fund (NARF)

Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary

One last thought: In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, please remember two important days that come AFTER Black Friday.  The 25th is Small Business Saturday, a day to support small businesses, shop local and purchase thoughtful, sustainable gifts for loved ones.  The 28th is Giving Tuesday, a day designated for supporting whatever causes you believe in, so please choose a charity near and dear to your heart and rain down love and affection (and generosity!) on them.  It will come back to you tenfold.

You are light

You are love

You are MAGIC.

 

Thankful and Hungry,

Jenee

Losing What Never Was

Chemical Pregnancy.  That’s a term I’ve only learned just this week. What does it mean?  From what information I have read online in the past couple of days, it’s really just another term for miscarriage.  Some people use “chemical pregnancy” when describing the loss of a child in the very early weeks of pregnancy, because technically it is not the miscarriage of a fetus, or baby, yet.  Something about the word “chemical”, at least when I hear it, seems to imply that the pregnancy is somehow false or fake, or all in one’s head, and I don’t believe that is true.

When a woman has a chemical pregnancy, all of the expected pregnancy symptoms are there.  The list is wide and varied from woman to woman, but many of us are familiar with the most common early pregnancy symptoms:  nausea (morning sickness), sore breasts, and a missed period.  A lot of times (most times?) with a chemical pregnancy, a pregnancy test will result in a positive.

For women like myself, there are certain “tell tale” symptoms of pregnancy.  I have been pregnant a few times, but only carried one child (my son who is 5) to term.  However, each time I KNEW I was pregnant from the get-go.  My body does things in pregnancy it wouldn’t DARE do otherwise.  I get yeast infections (sorry) in pregnancy.  I have vivid dreams, many times of the pregnancy or child itself, like I am meeting him or her.  My boobs HURT like my bra is made of sandpaper.  I get tired.  I get emotional.  Very, very emotional.   Truth be told I am an emotional person by nature.  But when I’m pregnant, it gets ramped up to 11.  My feelings go to 11.  High five if you get the ST reference.

Yesterday ended a brief, happy, hopeful couple of weeks that evidently was a chemical pregnancy.  To be clear, miscarriage is real, and chemical pregnancies are not “made up”.  I am 100% sure I was pregnant, at least for a little while.  I spotted at implantation time.  I got a raging infection – seriously, I could not walk for a couple of days – around what would normally be ovulation time (and this is when I became sure we had conceived).  I began having dizzy spells.  My complexion was “glowing” and my step-mom randomly asked me if I was pregnant.  I wasn’t ready to think it possible yet, so I just said no.  My boobs… well, I already went over that.  They don’t hurt me in a normal cycle, and this time they were swollen, with blue-ish veins and lots of pain. My belly was a little swollen. I cried at everything.  Literally.  Happy things, sad things, all the things made me cry.  I had several dreams.  Mid-month, a dream that featured an “old-timey” nurse in a candy-striper outfit and a white hat, holding up two positive pregnancy tests and asking me “are you sure this is what you want?”  Another featuring my son’s soon-to-be-sibling, cuddled up next to me on the couch, my son cuddled with us, taking our first photo together.  My favorite grass-fed beef smelled and tasted funny.  (Meat aversion was something I suffered when pregnant with my son.)  I allowed myself to think.  Then to hope.  I prayed in the shower, “God please if you allow this to happen, I promise I will love this child and be the mother he or she deserves.” Then I began to get excited.  Yes, I was definitely pregnant.

Yesterday, I ceased to be.

I am sad.  Of course, sad does not begin to cover what I feel but I find this whole thing difficult to articulate.  I have cried hot tears and choked on my own heartbreak.  I prayed in the shower again, this time through sobs and snorts, a different prayer.  “God, I hurt.  Please heal my pain.  Your ways are higher than my ways and I know you want what is best for me. So, it is well.  It is well with my soul.  It is well with me.”

{side note: Not even an hour later in church, our worship pastor decided to “switch things up” and play an older hymn.  The name of that hymn?  It Is Well With My Soul.  The man who wrote it, he said, wrote it after and despite losing his three daughters.  He still wanted to praise God and say that God is still good.  Oh, my heart!  God was speaking directly to me and my heart received that message!  You must know, dear reader, that God sees all, knows all, and LOVES us with a love we cannot even begin to fathom.  He is a great father.}

Now, for several reasons I suppose I should have been with not being pregnant.  My son would be 6 when this baby was born.  That’s a large gap.  My husband and I hadn’t talked about, or prepared for, more kids (although I know he would be fine with it).  Financially, I don’t know if we could have afforded a baby right now.  Age-wise, I don’t know if I could handle the up-all-night sleep deprived routine again at 35 like I did at 29 (and survive without murdering someone). Body-wise, I know that pregnancy and birth wreaks havoc, and recovery was a long, slow road for me last time due to an emergency c-section that was NOT a part of my birth plan.  Still, the older I get the less I worry about my looks.  It’s what’s inside that counts, and what’s inside me right now is a heart that longs to be a mother to more children.  To love them, feed them, hug and kiss them, see my husband be the most extraordinary father to them.

I told hubs, who I had largely kept it secret from (until I got a positive test), and though I expected him to laugh at the idea of being parents again, he didn’t.  He comforted me.  My incredible, compassionate life-mate listened, wiped my tears, held and hugged me, and encouraged me to eat ice cream and sleep and be easy with myself.  He said we could try again, we could continue the discussion, we could even look into adoption, if we felt God leading us that way.  What a precious gift he is!  And he’s right about one thing: Our son is a gift, and even we are never blessed with more children, we have this amazing boy that God has entrusted to us, and each day we are with him is a blessing.  He is pure sunshine: bright and kind and sing-songy and darling.  Every day I am thankful for him.

Today, I am not crying, but it still stings a little, which part of me thinks is silly.  How can I be sad over something that never was?  How can I cry over a baby I “made up”?  I don’t know.  But I can.  And I do.  However, I have chosen joy.  I have chosen to be grateful for my life as it is, and for God, who does not make mistakes.  He even winked at me in church and let me know he is aware of my struggle.  I aspire to model his parenting with my own kids, no matter how many I have.

Movie Dates and Southern States

This weekend my husband had a *rare* day off work, so we decided to take our littlest guy to see a movie called “Strange Magic”.  It was playing at our local “cheap” theater (tickets are $2.25) and we had a gift card, so after concessions we only paid $5.00 for everything.  Totes winning.  (Thanks, Carmike Cinemas for having a more affordable option in our town!)

Usually I have to really pump myself up to see animated films.  I know the theater will be packed with kids talking and/or crying, and I would really just rather take a nap.  However, Strange Magic is the second movie I have seen this year that surprised me with its greatness.  This movie is delightful.  Delightful, I say!  It’s a musical, which I did not expect.  The Bog King (voiced by Alan Cumming)is totally my favorite character.  The plot is not extremely predictable, the animation is good, and the songs are so enjoyable.  At certain points I was singing, my husband was singing, our son was dancing… it was a wonderful time!  I’m telling you, there’s nothing so sweet as catching glimpses of a little one’s face while they are completely entranced in a story like this one.  Half the time I was watching the screen, and half the time I was studying my boy, sitting on the edge of his seat, smiling, fascinated.  Why can’t all movies be this good?!

The rest of our weekend was filled with house cleaning, workouts, and car shopping.  Two things we always do on Sunday (or I do alone, if my husband is working): Church and Fried Chicken.  Almost every week.  On both sides of my family Sunday is a day of eating.  My mom’s mother is French, and makes bread by hand every Sunday morning, then we all feast on it after church.  My dad’s mother makes country-style meals with fixins.  In my house, we do fried chicken.

As we were sitting at the table looking over our Sunday lunch, I felt overwhelming gratitude.  The South, particularly the states I have lived in most of my life – Georgia and Alabama – takes a lot of crap from the rest of the nation.  It is the butt of many jokes, and is criticized on the regular for not conforming to what is normal everywhere else.  But I am SO grateful we live here.  Grateful to have been raised here, with front porches and rocking chairs and sweet tea.  With tire swings and creeks and Sunday Service.  We worship Jesus and we say ‘yes ma’am’.  We say grace and we walk around barefoot and we make our biscuits from scratch.  I cannot imagine life any other way.  I cannot imagine raising our kids any other way.  If you don’t live down here, well, y’all just don’t know what you’re missing.

Pity the Fool

Hello, Dear Ones.

So much has happened. So much to say.  Where to begin?  Apologies if this reads like a “random thoughts” post.  It sort-of is one.

There have been at least 4 separate occasions in the past 2 weeks that I told myself to put my “ass in chair” and get some writing done.  Did it happen?  No.  Life keeps getting in the way.  It’s a shame, too, because I have so much to write about. Funny things, serious things, cooking things.  Mmm… food… there’s always something more that can be said about food… but I digress.

After my last post – “I Jumped”, my son fell ill.  It’s not abnormal for a child who is new to daycare to catch things, so at first we weren’t alarmed.  Only when he stopped eating did my internal alarm go off.  He complained incessantly of tummy aches, and that’s not something he’s ever said before.  We took him to the pediatrician, who said nothing was wrong, and lectured me on “good eating”.  We took him to the peds ER, who said he was constipated and sent us home with some laxatives.  We took him BACK to the pediatrician, who said it’s the flu (even though flu and strep tests were negative) and told us to give him tylenol and liquids.  Finally, after 2 weeks of this, my son was 10 lbs down and too weak to walk.  Frustrated and crying, I picked him up from my husband and went back to the Peds ER.  (The pediatrician, tired of seeing us, refused to see us so the ER was the only option.)  He was immediately admitted after triage, which scared me.  They started IV fluids and took us to our room, where we’d live for the next week.  Turns out my sweet boy had bronchitis, a raging infection in both ears, and was severely dehydrated.  Our hospital stay took a toll on me, but he was a real trooper, watching SpongeBob and making jokes.  Thank God for my husband and family, who visited and brought us contraband snacks.  It goes without saying, I was and still am pissed at the doctors – numerous doctors – who examined my son and sent us home, each time sewing a seed of doubt in my mind.  Am I going crazy?  He seems really “off”.  Lesson learned, my Mommy Instinct is RIGHT ON THE MONEY and I will not doubt it again and I will not take no for an answer in the future.

In happier news, Thanksgiving was rad.  We spent the day in Atlanta in my Uncle’s castle.  He calls it a house, but I swear, all it’s missing is a moat.  Gorgeous abode.  The food was good and the company was even better.  Took pictures, chatted, ate, laughed, listened to stories and dreamed about the future.  So grateful for experiences like these and for our loved ones.

I looked at microfilm for the first time yesterday!  I’m in what feels like a never-ending search for my husband’s biological father, so we went to the local library last night to search through records.  I spent an hour looking for birth records in the local paper.  I found nothing and left frustrated.  It wasn’t until about midnight last night that I realized I’d been looking at the wrong year.  On the one hand, damnit, I am tired.  On the other hand, hope renewed!  I can go back and look and possibly FIND something next time!

I was accused of something at work that I know I didn’t do.  Today I was vindicated.  Yes, I’m still leaving, but I had prepared to fight.  We don’t mess around with this girl’s integrity and reputation, mkay?  Happily all was resolved to our mutual satisfaction.

Went to my first comic convention with my brother. It was TOO much fun. Got to meet some guys from the Walking Dead. I don’t watch the show but apparently it’s a big thing.  I am a nerd at heart, and a super huge sci-fi/trekkie girl, so I was in my element.  We are now committed to going to Dragon Con in Atlanta next year and it can’t get here soon enough!  I need ideas for costumes though – there are 4 of us.

FRINGE is one of the best shows I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Engages my mind while entertaining me.  I am a little bit obsessed.

Christmas shopping is just about done.  I have a few small things to get, but for the most part, I am done and it’s all wrapped.  This is the earliest I’ve ever been done, the most  I’ve ever spent, and the most FUN I’ve ever had doing it.  (Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals were a bust.  Deals? I see no deals!?!)  Anyway, I enjoy the spirit of Christmas and I can’t wait to see everyone around the tree.  We spend Christmas at my brother’s house, usually beginning with a great big breakfast buffet (everyone brings something) and culminating with naps.  This year I’m bringing chocolate covered bacon.  Oh, yeah. I don’t say EPIC a lot but man oh man, this Christmas morning is going to be one for the record books.  So excited!

Running, my love, I’m so happy to be reunited with you. Let’s go farther, faster, stronger in 2014.

Paul Walker.  I didn’t like him as an actor. I mean, not that I’d seen anything besides the movie where Jessica Alba’s butt is so famously not part of her body while snorkeling for treasure, and the F&F films.  HOWEVER I am sad about his passing, like many people.  Some are annoyed that it’s getting so much press, saying that people die every day, soldiers and firefighters and the like, and aren’t so “virally” recognized.  Yep, that’s true.  The thing is, Paul Walker’s impact isn’t about him being an actor, and him being an actor doesn’t diminish his nobility.  By all accounts he was a good person with a big heart.  I think the reason people have responded en masse to his passing is because of that, and because he is someone we can all relate to and felt connected to.  Kinda reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s passing.  For me, at least.

I made sugar cookies that I saw in “Bon Appetite” magazine. I’d already been inspired by “Julie and Julia”, having watched it in the hospital one night.  Thank God for free movies, because those recliners are the antithesis of comfort.  There was no sleep. Til Brooklyn and beyond, I’m not even kidding.  The movie was way better than I expected.  I adore Stanley Tucci, he always gives a good performance and I was mesmerized by the love story there, and by Julia Child’s life, struggles, tenacity, warmth.  I think I love her a little. And more than that, I really felt like I could identify with her as a person, a woman, a cook, a dreamer, a lover of France.  Anyway… The cookies… I used pearl dust for the first time and was so proud, I tweeted the magazine to show them.  Who knows if they saw it or cared, but I was over the moon.  Here’s a photo:

Picasso Cookies
Picasso Cookies

On the way to a meeting today I heard “Here I go Again” by Whitesnake.  I laughed because it felt like a “God wink”.  Going in to the job to say goodbye to everyone and I hear THIS song?  Yeah. SO not a coincidence.  But it gets funnier/eerier.  On the way out of saying goodbye I hear “Home Sweet Home” by Motley Crue.  Two things to note here:  One, I listen to awesome music.  Two, I do believe I was hearing a message that I’m on my perfect life path RIGHT NOW.  Lately I am open enough to recognize and receive love and abundance.  This fills my heart with joy and excitement!

Painting furniture today, and finally, finally putting my hands to these keys again.  Feels good.  My dream is to live in a big warm home with my hubs and kids, and write for a living, and be home to cook and create and go on vacations whenever we like.  I give you my word, I am on my way!

Happy. Love. Peace.  xoxo

Let’s Go Viral!

Followers and readers and friends:

I have just opened an account on GoFundMe in order to raise money and give my husband (and yes, myself) the romantic honeymoon we couldn’t afford.  Even after being married, between jobs and no jobs, moving, new cars, old cars, a new baby and a teenager, you know, LIFE, we just haven’t been able to make it happen. 

We give a lot to charities, in the form of time, money, and other support.  This means there’s lots in our karma bank.  I am confident that this trip will be funded, off the kindness of strangers, so I’m thankful and excited!

Please pass along the link, please consider donating.  My soul needs to be in my motherland, and his soul needs a retreat.  As a couple, we would benefit greatly from such an amazing trip together.

HERE is the link to get started:  http://www.gofundme.com/4rt388

Thank you, thank you, thank you and love, love, love.  ~~~~ vibes to you all.

Changes ‘Round Here

Hello World.  It’s been a while since my last post.  Not so long that I’ve forgotten how to type, but long enough that I feel a quick explanation is in order.

I am working.

It’s as simple and as complicated as that.  If you believe in the Law of Attraction, as I do, you know that this is something I chose, whether consciously or unconsciously.  My dreams are coming true in unexpected ways.  I find myself in transition again, which is positive, though my cooking, photography, and my blog have been neglected as a result.

Change is good so I’m embracing it.  I’m learning to be meticulous with planning and much more organized in my daily life.  I’m learning how much I like not being accessible by cell phone all day long.  I’m learning to trust.  I have been given the opportunity to give of myself, my time, my knowledge and my resources, which is crucial to a happy life.  I’m learning to let go.  I’m learning to be uncompromising and to take an honest look at my priorities.  [At the end of the day, I could care less what’s on t.v., all I want to do is kiss my son and hear him giggle!)  I am full of hope, gratitude, joy, expectation.

A couple weeks ago I started a gratitude journal, and it has opened my eyes, my heart, and my mind.  I highly recommend writing things daily that you’re thankful for, saying “thank you” out loud when good things happen, doing positive affirmations and visualizations, really putting your whole self into a happy state.  As a result of doing this, I feel like the future is right now and it’s looking good!

I say all that, really, to say that I’m still here and I plan to post some mind-blowing recipes this weekend, so stay tuned!  And stay grateful!