I’m working on a book. It’s a pretty involved process, and I am learning a lot as I go. Thrilling, exciting, and … anxiety inducing. Talking about the anxiety that used to run my life kinda makes me jittery. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a relapse, as much as it is recalling some of the old triggers that sent me into a tailspin.
The last few days I have been thinking a lot about religion in my life. Growing up Catholic and attending a Catholic school, I took it all very seriously. I took for granted it was all true. Even later, as an adult in the Southern Baptist church, I was a player in an elaborate game of Follow the Leader, even though many times I had no idea who that was or where we were supposed to be going.
Eventually my husband and I had a falling out with our church – or, more specifically – our faith. I have read accounts of others who have moments in their lives similar to what we had – an awakening, a change, growth, transition, you might even call it spiritual death, triggered by a great trauma or catastrophe. For others, it’s the opposite, and such an event actually moves them towards the church.
Seeking answers, seeking truth. Looking all around us for anything that makes sense when all that is comfortable and familiar has crumbled. I think it’s human nature to want to assign a higher meaning to things that are tragic, and I certainly did. When what I call the Terror came into my life, I learned pretty quickly what Christians do. My friends, my Sunday School mates, they supported us. One bought us groceries, one encouraged me to read my Bible when I was afraid, another class donated money so that our bills would be paid. It was lovely to feel so encouraged in a hard time, and it lasted about two weeks.
The Terror would last much longer than that, and as our time of hardship wore on, the Christianity wore thin. Our friends lost patience with us. They withdrew their assistance. Life goes on, right? Some of them encouraged my husband to take the kids and leave me. Some said to have me committed. One person told me, quite matter-of-factly, that the things that were happening to me would not be happening, were my faith only strong enough. Pray more. Really mean it. If it doesn’t help, you don’t really mean it. Suddenly, I felt all alone in this “family”. It was as if I had spiritual leprosy, and the entire community took a collective step back from me so as not to catch it.
Looking back, it was a gift. These people who removed themselves from our circle, and pushed us out of what was known and comfortable, forced us to explore other possibilities than the ones we had blindly clung to for so many years. I started reading things that had previously been “forbidden” to me, started considering possibilities that I had always dismissed as impossible and ignorant. I used to pity people like me, people who didn’t worship Jesus and meet up at church to talk about all the ways we were going to save the world.
Out of necessity and desperate for relief, I began researching alternative therapies. There’s actually a pretty thin line between medicine and religion, and as I learned about healing the body I also found out a lot about alternative spiritual practices. Meditating, EFT, chakra balancing, crystals, astrology, numerology, reiki, essential oils, burning sage, prayer bowls and beads and moon ritual and tarot cards and more have made their way into my consciousness and I am a better woman for it. I walk barefoot and talk to the moon if I feel like it. When I talk about animals and spirit guides, no one makes fun of me.
The irony is, by taking the first step into a spiritual truth that feels so much more aligned with who I am, for the very first time I am actually changing the world. If everyone had the courage to be their authentic, unapologetic selves, the world would be a different place entirely. Now, I feel free. I am growing in new and exciting ways, without limits and without guilt. New and trustworthy friends have filled the voids left by the people who couldn’t deal with our pain. Best of all, by dipping my toes into a spiritual ocean I had never been allowed to visit previously, I feel united with every other person in the world.
Losing my religion became the catalyst for finding myself. I’m a better wife and a better mom because I no longer operate from a place of “not enough”. Instead of trying to force myself to fit into someone else’s box, I’ve broken free of all the boxes and I make my own way. I am more than enough. I am everything I was created to be.(Yes, I still believe in Creator/Source.)
The path I am on is one of total joy and truth. I have met so many fascinating and kind people. I continue to learn about other beliefs, world religions, and I feel connected to my fellow man. There is no judgement or pity in me for them. Instead, there is love. REAL love. Unconditional love. I am stronger, genuine, and aware. Where once my life was a nightmare, it’s now a dream. I am finally awake.
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.
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.
Sitting cross-legged in my bed tonight, I’m staring at my computer screen while my 7 year old is sleeps right next to me. This last week he’s had trouble sleeping in his own bed, which is on the other side of our apartment. I’m not sure what’s causing his dis-ease, I just know I’m doing my best to help him find peaceful rest and security. If I had to guess, I’d say there are two things on his mind:
A scary cartoon he watched without permission last week. This I take full responsibility for, I was distracted and didn’t realize he had floated from something authorized to something that might frighten him.
Loneliness. He was an only child for 6 years before Kid 2 came along, and it’s tough being the Big Brother. There are times he feels (and is) brushed aside a bit because baby screams are priority. He misses his time with his Daddy and me. Exacerbating this, his room is clear on the other side of the apartment from ours, so I’d imagine it feels a little uncomfortable for him to make the long trek over there, be tucked in and kissed goodnight, and then watch the rest of the family go back to the other side of the living space.
I am not an expert Mommy. I do not always get it right. In fact, I screw up on the daily. It does not feel good, but I do the best I can to keep moving forward. To be totally honest most of the time I feel like a trapeze artist who is working without a net. My parents didn’t teach me how to parent (which is a blog series for another day). Basically what I say, how I act, what I’m aware of, it’s all guesswork. Every bit of it of every decision I make comes down to equal parts research (thanks, internet and Mom Bloggers), what I imagine I would want or need emotionally if I were in the situation as a 7 year old, and blindly attempting to calculate the most logical answer to whatever scenario we are currently knee-deep in.
All of that said, I do have compassion in spades and with a sensitive child like mine, it’s basically my super power. In this tender moment between my son and I, a question formed in my mind: What is courage?
The word courage brings to mind many different images, from soldiers fighting in battle, to patients who battle diseases like cancer, all the way to Mel Gibson’s blue-painted face in the movie Braveheart, in which he portrayed the great warrior and freedom fighter William Wallace, who was willing to give his life for his ideals and his people.
What if courage manifests in other ways? I mean, what does courage look like to a 7 year old? Well, for a child this age, courage might look something like jumping off the monkey bars, or standing up to a friend who is being a bully. Maybe, though courage is having the guts to verbalize fear and ask for help when you can’t sleep and you’ve tried thinking positive thoughts and now you really don’t know what to do. Maybe courage is walking out of the room and risking chastisement in order to escape a yucky situation.
Yep, I think for my boy to pour out his heart to us and then ask to not be left alone tonight took some serious guts. I mean, let’s be honest, many of us adults have trouble doing this! I’m proud of him for speaking up.
So on nights like tonight, when it’s been a long day and we all just want rest and the dishes can wait because my hip is hurting and I still have an article to write, when my husband texts me from the living room to say “he is out of bed again and refusing to go back”, I have to get this right. I have to match this courage with benevolence.
This consideration – the idea that kids are people, too – is something I think about fairly often in my job as Mommy, mainly because it’s not something I was given as a child. On one hand, I don’t want my son to think he’s too delicate to face minor challenges. On the other hand, I refuse to invalidate his feelings just because he’s 7. They’re his feelings, and they are real to him.
I walk quietly into the living room, around the sleeping baby, and take my oldest boy’s hand. We walk to his bed, where I plop down cross-legged and begin to investigate (as moms do). He is in tears before I can ask the first question, so I change tactics and just hold him for a while. A few moments later, I try again. He says he’s not sure what’s wrong, but he doesn’t want to sleep by himself tonight. “That’s ok”, I say without hesitation, “you don’t have to”. I continue to speak life to his little spirit, saying what I believe are helpful statements like, “it’s alright to feel afraid” and “you are safe here”. I don’t know if this is right, but I’m trying my best, against the loud sighs coming from my husband, who has been working to keep his annoyance hidden while we get this sorted out.
((Side note: My husband is not a man who thinks guys have to be “macho”. Thank goodness, he doesn’t say things like “boys don’t cry”. He is, however, a man who works very long hours at a demanding job and greatly values his rest time, so the quicker this gets resolved, the better.))
We arrive at the bed that my son and I will now share this evening, him promptly crawling beneath the covers and me grappling with the idea of being kicked, punched, and snored at all night. I know this is right, I tell my husband. I know that when I was a child and I was afraid, all I wanted was for someone to tell me I was safe. I wanted someone to say “you don’t have to be alone”, someone to validate my feelings and not force me to lie in bed, terrified of whatever thought was tormenting me at the time. Being a kid is tough enough without having your protectors leave you feeling exposed and vulnerable.
When my son thinks back over his life, and when he remembers our relationship and what kind of mom I was, so much of it won’t matter. It won’t matter what we had for dinner tonight, but it will matter that I cooked and we all sat at the table and talked and laughed and connected. It won’t matter what kind of car I drove, as much as it will matter that I was there every afternoon after school, happy to see him. It won’t matter one bit that this apartment is not always clean and sometimes (ok, at ALL times) there are clothes and toys strewn about, but it will matter that this place felt like home to him. It will matter that he felt safe here. It will matter that he had (and for as long as I’m living, he will have) a place he can go and just shake the world off. A place where he doesn’t have to live up to anything, he never needs to feel embarrassed, a place where he’s not pressured to fit into someone else’s idea of who he should be or what he should think or feel. It will matter that he didn’t have to question whether he was part of our tribe.
Deep in the depths of my soul, I want that. As a mother, it is what I strive for above anything else.
Again, I ask: What is courage? Courage is the soldier, the cancer patient, and William Wallace. Yes, all those people are brave, possibly beyond measure. But in MY life, in MY circumstance, what is courage? For a mom like me, courage is the willingness to give my boy what his soul thirsts for, even if no one else understands it. Courage is parenting him and him only, without stopping to think about what other moms (or even my own) might think. Courage is stepping away from traditional beliefs and from how I was raised in order to do it better, in order to raise a whole individual, fully functional and free from emotional baggage.
So tonight, clacking away at my old laptop with my firstborn snoring next to me, I rejoice in this budding courage – his and mine – and in the knowing that this time, I got it right.
All that panicking over Hurricane Irma was for nothing, folks. We have lots of water to drink, which won’t be a problem, and BOY am I glad we didn’t buy anything else in bulk. Thankfully we never even lost power. That said, being stuck inside with hubs and kids for a couple of days, I was probably more in danger of losing my sanity.
Menu: Vegan-ize all the things! After my second bout of stomach flu in about a month (I know, right?!) I decided to go into “Immunity Improvement Mode” and eat all the fruits and veggies I could get my hands on. I generally feel better when I cut out meat, which I do a few times per year, sometimes for weeks and sometimes as longs as 6 months. Normally I do it as a cleanse or as a way to raise my energy and vibration. Try it, it works! Even the mood is lifted, which I think has something to do with the hormones in our food and the emotions of the animals before and during their slaughter. I know what you’re thinking and yes, I’m basically the Mister Wizard of nurition. Sha-zam! [All of that said, I’m really not promoting one way of eating or lifestyle over another and I don’t call myself vegan at any time because it’s offensive to people who actually live it 100%.]
Music: Tchaikovsky! Particularly the Sleeping Beauty Ballet. If you’ve never heard or seen it, that’s basically a crime against humanity and your parent and/or guardian should be punished. Allow me to rectify this situation:
Also, I learned this week that the song in Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, when Aurora is singing in the woods, “I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream…” is from Tchaikovsky’s Ballet. Isn’t that cool? Yes it is.
Travel: The Great Wall of China has just been added to the list. As I type this, though, I’m reminded how badly I’d like to go and see Hadrian’s Wall, which stretches across parts of Ireland and England and has great historical significance as well. It’s also the wall seen in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Hmm. Which Wall? I guess it depends on where Kevin Costner is at the time?
Gym Rat: I took a break this week and did mostly yoga and sleep. It was glorious.
Soul: With Hurricane Irma being in the forefront of everyone’s minds this week, I wondered (out loud) whether in times of crisis people are more or less in tune with each others needs. I think both are true. Some of us are natural caregivers, so when disaster strikes we are even more empathic than usual. Others of us are selfish, and panic amplifies that selfishness to a degree that makes it difficult for us to even see other people. Just my opinion, though.
Dreams: Nothing I’d like to share this week.
Photographing: Also nothing to share. (What? We were prepping for a storm!)
Movies and TV: Law and Order: SVU and all the marathons on all the channels. What can I say? I love it.
Library: Aside from GQ magazine, not much. The current issue has an interesting interview with Steven Soderbergh and a pretty good profile on Robert Pattinson. Both of them are pretty talented and I enjoyed reading.
Tech: Two new apps this week: Stone, which is fascinating and wonderful and very, very useful if you are into and own a lot of gemstones (which I do). Stone is a user-friendly guide to gemstones, with photos, historical factoids, and what each gem can be used for. The other is Golden Thread Tarot. It’s a fun digital tarot deck that does much more than just give general readings. It explains each card and even allows the user to log and journal about cards and readings. I don’t know anything about tarot, and I like being able to choose emotions to go with my daily card, like “hope” or “frustration” and knowing I can later search for cards or readings by emotion.
Nosh – Red meat. Lots of ground beef with A1 (what makes me love A1 so much? I think it’s the Raisin Paste.) For Labor Day, Dad cooked ribs and barbecue and then after that we had leftovers with A1. It’s seriously delicious.
Tunes – I hate the new Taylor Swift song. I don’t meant that ironically. I don’t love it so much I hate it, or hate it so much I love it. I just hate it. At work I’ve been switching the Pandora station from Smooth Jazz to Beethoven for Studying. I love Beethoven. The channel features a variety of talented composers, and many selections remind me of attending the symphony with my grandparents. A favorite for me this time of year is, as I’ve mentioned on the blog before, Moonlight Sonata. For some reason it always makes me think of Christmas.
Wanderlust – We surprised my Dad with a trip to the Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival for his birthday. It’s an annual event hosted by Callaway Gardens, but none of us had ever been. Riding in a balloon was a “bucket list” item for my dad, and I have always wanted to see the balloons up close. A fun time was had by all, though I will say that I definitely prefer having my feet firmly on the ground. Aside from the balloon rides, they also had Disney’s Up! playing in one of the auditoriums, live music and fair food, stilt walkers, and a huge Classic Car Show. It was great fun!
Fitness – Yoga, particularly head and handstands. I have a great fear of anything upside down, so this week I’ve been practicing kicking up to headstands and just being at peace with the feeling. I’m hoping to get much better at it and progress to the next yogi level. Whatever that means. I basically just made it up.
Spiritual – Christie Marie Sheldon has some great videos on YouTube on energy clearing and raising vibration. I’ve been vibrating lower and lower, as the universe has kicked me in the teeth a few times this week, so I googled and found these gems. They are insightful and inspiring, and I highly recommend.
Dreams – UPDATE ON LAST WEEK’S DREAM::: MR. DECKER IS MY FRIEND ON FACEBOOK! He was one of my favorite teachers ever and I’m so happy to be connected with him again. Also I had a dream last night that I was in some old town in Prague or perhaps Croatia. Some Eastern European city with rich history and beautiful buildings. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was there, and he asked me to dance in the street. We also had some inside joke going about me wearing a tiara, but I can’t remember why it was funny. Anyway he wasn’t Jaime from GoT, just Nikolaj and it felt very real but then I woke up. I wonder if it was one of those dreams where your spirit and someone else’s spirit meet up (astral projection) and you get to hang out for a while, and then you go home. I’m going to let myself believe this, anyway.
Photos – Balloons! Obviously. Also, my eldest son, The Dragon, just passed his High Blue Belt test at karate so like the proud and slightly overbearing mom that I am, I took about 1,000 photos of that.
TV and Film – Beautiful Creatures on NETFLIX. If you love the idea of an eccentric Jeremy Irons in a cream floor-length coat and a thick Southern accent, who may also be a warlock of some kind, you will like this movie. The film isn’t centered around his character, but he sure makes it watchable.
Between the Pages – On a recommendation, I’ve started (today!) reading a new book called The Disappearing Spoon (And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements). Available on Amazon here So far, I’d give it a 5/10 but I’m only about 17 pages in. I’m hoping the promised mischief, intrigue and charm are just around the corner.
Tech – Debating this week the iPhone vs. the Android. My dad got an iPhone and he hates it. I like my iPhone, though at first I thought I’d never learn everything or get used to it. My husband has an Android phone, though, and swears by it. So which is better? Livewire breaks it down.
My family and I (minus the tiniest guy) went to Chattanooga for the weekend, not knowing what to expect, but full of excitement. We all enjoy an adventure and I have a serious inexplicable need to see and touch every part of this country and other countries. I would like to put my two (bare) feet on the ground in every city in every country on Earth, if I could. I am comfortable at home, but I have a nomad’s heart.
Word to the wise: A trip to the mountains – any mountains – is refreshing to the spirit. If you’ve ever felt like your soul needs to take a good, long, tingly fresh breath, the mountains are the place for you. If you don’t believe in that mumbo jumbo, well quite frankly, Chattanooga may still be the place for you. After all, some things are true whether you believe them or not. *wink, wink*
The drive from our house to the Noog (as some of the locals call it) was an easy, painless, traffic-free 5 hours. I love a good road trip and I always like driving through Atlanta and daydreaming about the people who live and work in the beautiful buildings there. (I see you, Tyler Perry.) We arrived and met up with my step-dad, and then promptly drove over to see Mom at her wordplace. Now, I’m going to keep this place anonymous in order to protect her, but we have this running joke that she actually works at a CIA Front Operation (ala Sydney Bristow in Alias) because there is no way any workplace can be this wonderful. It’s a beautiful glass building that sits on a cliff overlooking the river, complete with coffee shop and neatly manicured courtyard including infinity waterfalls, where she’s encouraged to take yoga classes ON THE CLOCK because wellness matters. I mean… WHAT?! This alone is reason to move to Chattanooga. We took a tour of the building and I tried to get the elevator to go to the “bottom” floor, but it wouldn’t. Probably because I don’t have the security clearance and wasn’t willing to do a retina scan.
Since our trip was just for the weekend, we had to try and squeeze a lot of activity into just a few hours. We were up to the challenge, and we started with Rock City on Friday Night. I have been to Rock City once, but it doesn’t count, because it was the middle of winter and I didn’t get out of the car. My 7 year old son has been once before, so he was my official guide. Rock City is one of the most well-known attractions in Chattanooga, and I recommend it. Because we arrived somewhat late in the evening, we pretty much had the place to ourselves, which was great because we could wander and chat and it felt very relaxed. There’s a lot of walking through beautiful foliage and ancient rock formations, and at the top of Lookout Mountain, you can “See 7 States”, which is really rad. There are garden gnomes all over the place and a rickety bridge that unfortunately doesn’t come with an alternate route. I felt a little like Indiana Jones, if Indiana Jones was a complete coward.
(At the end there’s a small gift shop that has some really kitschy gifts. I chose an agate slice to use as a coaster on my writing desk, and some small vials of blood stone and citrine, which I’m very excited about.)
Saturday morning started early with a 6:30 am wake-up to run in the city. I had planned to go alone and use my MapMyRun app, but Mom wanted to run too, so my step-dad drove us over to the Walnut Street Bridge and off we went. Firstly, the weather was fantastic! We started just before sunrise, and I tried to take some photos of what I was seeing but the photos don’t do it justice at all. It was cool, not humid at all (a big change from home), clouds hovered around the mountains and there was a nice breeze. Ideal running conditions. Walnut Bridge itself is fun to run, it’s made of wood and forgiving on the joints and it’s over half a mile long. My legs felt fresh and breathing was easy. Excellent way to start the day, and running is a wonderful and underrated way to explore a new city. We ran through the Bluff View Art District and Coolidge Park, saw several interesting works of art, and smelled tons of baked goods being prepared for the day. The run was so good, we repeated it on Sunday morning!
That brings me to two other great things about Chattanooga: The food and the architecture! The amount of coffee shops and bakeries here is mind-blowing and extremely pleasing to the fat girl inside me. I’m sure I could eat my weight in delectables at Rembrandt’s Coffee. (If you’re ever there, try the Nutella Macaroons!) Many of the buildings in C-town have a German feel to them. I lovingly refer to them as gingerbread houses. My husband lived in Germany for several years as a kid, so I was particularly excited for him to have the opportunity to see something familiar and tied to happy memories.
Beyond patisseries, there are LOTS of places to eat in Downtown Chattanooga (we mostly stayed around the downtown area for this trip). We chose to eat at Sticky Fingers BBQ, and it was a magnificent choice, if I do say so myself. Here in Georgia we use Sticky Fingers sauce and until we drove past the building, I didn’t realize they even had restaurants. I chose a sampler plate that included a pulled pork sandwich, ribs with sauce (you can also choose them dry), veggies, and sweet potato soufflé that will make you say Hallelujah. The food was satisfying, the ribs in particular were very well cooked – tender and flavorful – and the sweet potatoes were some of the best I’ve ever had (which is saying a lot, given my affection for my aunt’s Senator Russell potatoes) and our server was very friendly. I can’t wait to go back and have more ribs.
After our exhilarating run, we headed over to the Tennessee Aquarium. For my son, the Otter Whisperer, this is a big deal. We arrived to see that the Saturday Market was going on right outside, so that was fun. We shopped and met local artisans and crafters and I was reminded that we humans are creative. We are wildly imaginative and talented, and I’m proud of us. High five, homo sapiens! Inside, the aquarium was a little crowded but the place is huge so the crowd moved freely. There are escalators to the different floors, which is nice, and the air was on “Arctic” setting, which after standing outside in the sun for a while was a welcome break. Sadly, the otters didn’t feel like playing, but we did see penguins and the gator feeding show, and I pet something! I honestly do not remember WHAT it was, probably because I was terrified, but on coaching from my son I put my fingers in the water and touched some kind of gross fish! Check that off my bucket list! It was softer than I expected, and kept swimming back for more loving. It acted like a cat, but was definitely not a catfish. I learned some new things while there, which I love doing, about jellyfish – the Sea Walnut (which reminded me a lot of a flux capacitor) and the Upside Down jelly, in particular. I also was a magnet for the Sea Horses, which just reaffirms my belief that I am Snow White. Even though it wasn’t an outside activity, this aquarium was one of the highlights of Chattanooga for me. If you get a chance to go, please do!
I touched it!
Sea Walnut Jellyfish
That night we went by Publix, ate at Mom’s and watched Jurassic Park. It was lovely to get a rest and some family time just relaxing. Everyone slept early, which was also nice.
Sunday after the run, we packed up and went to Shoney’s. Step-dad wanted us to go and Emmett is nearly dumbfounded at the idea that you don’t have to wait for your food, you can just go get it! The breakfast bar was delicious, and I ate way too much. For our last stop before driving home, we hit up Build-a-Bear at the Northgate Mall. We don’t have a Build-a-Bear Workshop near us, so this is a special treat that Emmett gets each time he travels to a place that has one. After some deliberation, he chose a Pokemon outfit for his bear, and we hit the road.
The Noog was fun, refreshing, and educational. I really have nothing negative to say. Some things were a tad bit expensive, though someone pointed out that it might have been due to large crowds traveling up to view the eclipse. We didn’t get to see Ruby Falls because of an enormous crowd, and I’ll also blame that on the eclipse. The great news is, the tickets we purchased are good for a whole year! So we’ll be back to Chattanooga in the Fall to see Ruby Falls and Christmas lights. There was a LOT of art and friendly people (and dogs!) and we walked 4-5 miles each day. We saw the Trail of Tears and a handful of other historical places, and I got a hug from local radio DJ Joe Cook, my mom’s friend who I’ve known and loved since I was around 5 years old. Shops like All Things Groovy have a special place in my heart, and while I didn’t photograph them I did shop them. Highly recommend the Chattanooga experience to anyone who wants to feel a mix of down home and big city, shore town and mountain hideaway, hipster-friendly with an appreciation for history.
A La Carte: Let’s see… A lot of my focus has been on cutting out snacks and sugars. Pure Protein bars are an “old school” favorite of mine, and I’ve had one with a piece of fruit or some cherries every day this week. Also EAS AdvantEdge shakes are great. As far as ACTUAL food, sweet potatoes are life right now. Any way I can get them, especially fries.
Tunes: Elvis! That’s right, I’m tuned in to the King this week. My 7-year-old saw a book at the store and said, “Who is Elvis?”, and I knew I had done him a great disservice. So this week we’re blasting favorites like “Teddy Bear”, “Blue Christmas”, “All Shook Up”, “Viva Las Vegas”, and “Hound Dog”. I have fond memories of dancing around to Elvis in my mom’s room, and we’ve had a fun time re-creating it at our house.
Where I’m Going: I want to go somewhere new for Christmas. Well, maybe not ON the day, but for Winter. It doesn’t snow here. I’m fantasizing about somewhere white and romantic. New York? Paris? Heck, I’d even consider somewhere out west. I like to ski! Maybe Aspen? I could ski with Tom Cruise and we could discuss our mutual disdain for vitamins and how we both do our own stunts.
Flesh: Elliptical cross-training! I forgot how much fun the elliptical can be. The ones at my gym have a setting called “X Train Backwards”, and on this setting you go 4 minutes forward, or regular, and 4 minutes back. It’s great for working quads and hamstrings, and it’s FUN. If you know me, you know fun is a necessary component in fitness. Life is too short to have it otherwise! So if there’s an elliptical at your gym and you’ve never tried it, please do! Challenge yourself with the settings, too. I like to go to the very highest level for a minute, then turn it way back down and get high reps, and repeat. (It’s a lot like doing intervals in spin class.) Another bonus: The elliptical simulates skiing motions, so you’ll be prepared for that ski date with Tom!
Soul: I did a blog post the other day about the small eclipse this month, and already I have seen a few eery things happen (ALL good) in my life. I’m reading about the BIG eclipse that’s coming and doing my best to prepare, without stressing or planning everything. I like for things to happen organically and naturally, and not be forced.
Dreams: Both dreams I remember this week took place in my grandmother’s home. She is heavily on my mind this week, and I am supposed to go and visit her, so this is probably why. I’ve also been researching our family tree and thinking about getting some oral histories from her. One final explanation is that I miss her and her home, and the time I lived there, terribly some days.
Photographing: SCHOOL IS IN! My phone is full of photos of my big 2nd Grader.
Movies and TV: I have discovered a show for children called Pocoyo. It is available on Netflix and it is adorable. Very simply animated, and narrated by a man whose voice is quite similar to the guy from Winnie the Pooh (from the 80s), it’s the only thing my toddler will pay any attention to. Before this, he would not watch TV at all.
Library: My own book. Two years ago I wrote a book to honor my grandfather and to process some of my own grief. The end result has been sitting on my computer since, and I’ve been inspired by some writer friends to go ahead and self-publish on Amazon. The issue I’m having is that it’s full of religious/spiritual references that I’ve moved on from, and I don’t want to be a phony. I’ve attempted several different edits, but none of them feels authentic to who my grandfather was. So… I’m stuck. I’m sure it’s only temporary. The next step will be figuring out how to format from Word to e-reader, and so far I can’t even get a successful download (thanks, Firefox!)
Tech:Duolingo is my best friend. I’ve been sitting up at night becoming fluent in French, in preparation for our inevitable Paris take-over. If you want to learn a language, consider using the Duolingo App. It’s fun, free, and easy to learn. Duolingo offers a variety of languages, and the lessons are short and fun. You can track your progress, earn rewards, and share Fluency percentage with friends or even have it posted on your LinkedIn profile.
Nothing I can say, Total Eclipse of the Heaaaaaaart….
Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.
As many of you know, tonight we will see (or some of us will see) a partial lunar eclipse. It’s actually not going to be visible from the US, so we ethereal goddesses and moon lovers on this side of the globe will have to use our imagination when it comes to wishes and such. I’m very imaginative, so this will be no problemo. In fact, I have a small list of things I’ll be doing tonight during the min-e-clipse. (See what I did there?)
Preparing my gems and coins that I keep in a homemade gris-gris bag (this contains a couple of gem stones, some coins, and some names on paper collected during my visit to the ever-enchanting New Orleans, Louisiana. You can add herbs, oils, whatever speaks to you or your purpose.)
Watering my plants – This is just something I do for my succulents on eclipse days. As living things, I believe that they are affected by certain phenomena as well.
Clean out my money bowl – I have a blue and white ceramic bowl in my kitchen. It keeps our spare change and the occasional lottery ticket. During eclipse time I clean it, fill it with water, and ceremoniously drop silver coins into it under the moonlight to attract “coin” to my purse and to illustrate gratitude for the money I already have.
Speak to the moon. – I do this before and after the “coin” bowl. In general, I don’t speak about myself, but for others.
Feel free to get creative! If your heart or spirit says to do something or not do something, go with that. Your intuition should be your guide.
This partial eclipse is just a precursor to the solar eclipse set to take place on August 21st. Eclipses always come in pairs, so this isn’t a unique occurrence, but this smaller eclipse is a great time to practice for the larger one, by cleaning out junk (literally land metaphorically) that no longer serves us in our current lives, getting real about what we want to happen going forward, and really allowing our dreams to take flight.