It’s been a loooooooooooong time, lovelies!

How have you been?  Our lives have been in a delicious whirlwind for the last few months and I am thoroughly enjoying the many changes.

Change can indeed be challenging, but it can also be amazing.  So, so amazing!

For starters, we were blessed to have another beautiful spirit join our little family.  Jude (or as he is known around here, our Judaloo) arrived on a sweet and sun-shiney Thursday afternoon (Thursday’s child has far to go) in October.  I gave birth to him with great joy and an amazing sense of accomplishment.  But his birth story is better for another day.

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We sure grow them handsome!

Aside from that, my super-hot wonderful husband got a great job at a company he thoroughly enjoys.  He comes home every night with a smile on his face and an almost joyous aura about him, because not only is he in a field that means great things to him — environment and conservation, booyah! — but his position allows him to help other people be more environmentally conscious and save money! 

Which means *drumroll please!* I get to spend some time at home with my gorgeous-amazing-brilliant-inspiring little ones — Naomi, my beautiful little heartbeat, and Jude, my little soul buddy.  And I couldn’t be happier, being at home to take care of these amazing little spirits that demolish my house every day.  

Besides that, I am also able to delve deeper into my creativity.  I have waited a few months to heal, grow and get to know how to live in this larger family.  

But I feel like it is time to start breaking out the pens and paper, the paints and canvas, and start letting the Muse speak her volumes.

So you are likely to see a lot more additions on this blog in the coming months.  Besides my desire to write a novel this year, I also wish to paint, knit and develop my tribe.  So please feel free to share and explore it as I publish it.  Much love and appreciation to those who dust social media with my works.  And if you want to follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, please do!

My Family’s Top 10 Favorite Saints

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

In an effort to blog a little more, I thought I’d participate in some adorable blog carnivals for the fun of it.  Top Ten Tuesday from Many Little Blessings is one of my favorites, so I thought I’d share our family’s Top 10 Favorite saints.

I dig saints.  It’s like having a posse of the coolest kids in school as your best friends.

So I thought I’d share with you the saints I read about, look up, pray to and tell stories about most often.  One of the things that drags me down is how somber and mournful the Catholic Church can be.  Prayers that drone on, monotone hymns and bland, thoughtless promises in an effort to get some sort of redemption for your sins.  Sometimes the Church — and your own prayer life — just needs a bit of zip, a bit of spark.  And that’s when I turn to some of the awesome, kickass stories of the saints.

10.  St. Francis of Asissi.  Let’s start with my good buddy Frank.  Frank is my best saint friend.  We’ve been buddies for years and years.  In fact, Mike and I didn’t know that we were both friends of Frank (he should’ve introduced us sooner!) until after we met and started dating.  Frank has one of the most awesome conversion stories out there.  See, Frank used to steal from his dad’s store and sell the items and give money to the poor.  After his dad tried to publicly shame him in the town square, Frank dropped his clothes, handed them back to his father and told him that he no longer recognized him as his father, but that he was a son of God.  While standing naked.  In town square.

And that was just the beginning.  Frank did all kinds of wild and wonderful things.  He shared the Gospel with birds, he composed my favorite prayer, he convinced a wolf to stop attacking a village, he received the Stigmata (the first on record and one of the few men who’ve ever received the markings) and even attempted to become a martyr by going to Egypt and proclaiming the gospel to the Sultan (he failed to become a martyr, but he made a good friend in the Sultan).

9.  St. Patrick.  I absolutely love the story of Patrick.  Now this guy had some gumption!  Patrick was born in England and during a raid by the Irish, was kidnapped and taken back to Ireland where he was sold into slavary.  He became a slave to a man who gave him the responsibility of being a shepherd and he spent many a day on the hills of Ireland watching over this man’s sheep.  After awhile, he started seeing visions and was told by God that his “ship was ready”.  When his master refused to give him his freedom, Patrick got up, walked out the door and walked for days through the woods and hills until he found a port and saw the ship God had told him about.  He returned to England and his family.

Not long after that, Patrick had a dream in which hundreds and hundreds of letters appeared, and the whole of Ireland cried out to him to return to them.  Patrick got up, packed up his stuff, and returned to Ireland!  He actually went back to Ireland, to the people who had once enslaved him, in order to save them.

Among other things, Patrick is credited with chasing all snakes out of Ireland, with avoided an assassination attempt by rightly predicting there was poison in his cup, and of using the three-leafed clover shamrock to describe the Trinity.

Not all saints have wicked stories.  Some are saints because of somber, horrible reasons.

8.  St. Maria Goretti.  This little lady has a sad tale to tell.  Maria was a poor young girl who spent her days keeping house and watching her infant sister while her widowed mother and siblings worked in a nearby field.  One day while she was busy at her chores, her 19 year old neighbor, Alessandro Serenelli came to the house and demanded her submission.  His intention was to rape her.  Maria denied him and swore she’d rather die than commit such a grevious sin.  Alessandro then stabbed her 14 times before fleeing the house.

You might think that’d be the end of this sad tale, but it has a beautiful redemption.  On her deathbed, Maria forgave Alessandro and prayed that he would go to Heaven with her.  She passed away after having undergone surgery without anesthesia.  Alessandro, unrepentant, went to prison for 30 years.  By the time he was released however, his heart had greatly changed and he went to Maria’s mother and begged her forgiveness.  Maria’s mother, who had pleaded for Alessandro to not be put to death for his crimes at the time of his trial, forgave him and attended Mass with him the next day.  Alessandro even went so far as to become a Friar himself and attended both Maria’s beautification and her canonization.

7.  St. Monica.  If there ever was a person who had the proverbial patience of Job, it was Monica.  Oh this woman had it rought for a long time.  Monica married a foul-mouthed, abusive, unrelenting Pagan man who cheated on her and was not loving towards her at all (why again, did she marry him?).  They had three children together, the eldest being a son they named Augustine.

Monica was one of the most devoted women in the town and prayed fervertently for her son and her husband’s conversion.  Not only was her husband a troublemaker, but Augustine himself was lazy, beligerant and difficult to be with, and swayed away from the teachings of his mother’s faith.  Monica prayed long and often, begging God for the souls of these two men.  And as it turns out, her prayers won out.  Shortly before his death, her husband turned around and became a Christian, and Augustine went on to become St. Augustine of Hippo.

“I’m sending you a saint.”

6.  St. Andre Bessette.  Brother Andre is a Canadian saint Mike told me about.  We actually have a relic of Andre’s from his temple.  He was a sweet, kind hearted man who was very close to St. Joseph, Jesus’ adoptive father.  He arrived to the Congregation of the Holy Cross with a note from his priest saying, “I’m sending you a saint.”  Andre’s devotion to St. Joseph invoked the healing of many people, and during an epidemic in Montreal, Andre’s activities as a nurse resulted in no deaths while under his care.  He steadfastly denied any part in the healings, saying “St. Joseph cures.”

Although his outward demeanour was one of quiet and kindness, he was not entirely serene.  One one occasion a woman who had come to be healed by him was turned away as he chastised her for wearing clothes that were too provocative.  Many people believed him a liar, a quack and a charlatan, and there was great concern when thousands of sick people flocked to him for healing.  St. Joseph’s Oratory, where he did most of his work, is filled with crutches and canes from people who were healed.

5.  St. Joseph of Cupertino.  This is a friend of Mike and Frank.  Joseph was not the brightest star in the sky.  In fact he was originally rejected from the Franciscan order because he was too simple.  But they took pity on him and eventually reinstated him to the easiest job they could think of for him — care of the order’s mule, earning himself the nickname “Brother Ass”.  Joseph was a pleasant, happy fellow, although frequently absent-minded and forgetful.  However, like Frank, he was skilled at speaking with sheep, even to the point of going through Mass a herd of sheep when all the villagers were too busy to attend Mass.

Let us take another story from the many that are found in the life of this servant whom God loved. Joseph had a special interest in the shepherds of the neighborhood; with people of that class he was always most at home. It was his custom to meet them every Saturday in a little chapel at a corner of the monastery grounds, and there recite with them the Litany of Our Lady and other prayers. His congregation was usually a large one, swelled by people from the village. One Saturday Joseph went to the chapel as usual, and found not a soul there. It was harvest time; shepherds and villagers were out in the meadows and had forgotten to tell him that that day they could not come. Joseph, knowing nothing of the reason, talked to himself about the fickleness of men in the service of God. As he spoke he looked down the valley in the distance. The sheep were in the fields, but there were no shepherds; only a few children to tend them. Joseph raised his voice.

“Sheep of God,” he cried, “come to me. Come and honor the Mother of God, who is also your Mother.”

Immediately the sheep all around looked up. They left their pasture, leaped over hedges and ditches, formed themselves into orderly companies, and gathered round Joseph at the chapel door. When all were assembled, Joseph knelt down and began:

“Kyrie eleison.”
“Baa,” answered the sheep.
“Christe eleison.”
“Baa.”
“Sancta Maria.”
“Baa.”

And so it went on till the litany was finished. Then Joseph stood and blessed his congregation; and the sheep went back to their pastures as if nothing unusual had happened.

Oh come on, you know that’s funny!

Oh, and did I mention he could fly?  Joseph would find himself in fits of ecstacy to the point that he would levitate off the ground and fly around.  I bet the other “learned” Friars of his order couldn’t do that!

4.  The Infant Jesus of Prague.  This one has a special place in the heart of my family, for a very specific reason, and rather than relate the story of the Infant Jesus himself, I’ll tell you why we cherish him so dearly.  When my brother was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Our father, terrified at the idea of losing his son, took me with him and went to see the priest that married he and my mother years beforehand.  He told the priest that his son was sick and asked him what to do.  The priest went back into his apartment and came out with a little statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague.  He told my father to put this statue at the head of my brother’s bed and he would be fine.

My father obeyed and after the surgery, my brother came through the surgery with no residual after affects.  He is a healthy, strapping young man who has never been troubled with headaches, reoccurance of the tumor, or anything.  And the statue was passed on to several other family members over the years who have gladly accepted it and come through their own health issues without problems.  Our family credited the blessings of the Infant Jesus of Prague to the health and success of so many surgeries.

3.  Naomi, from the Book of Ruth.  Okay, so she’s not technically a saint.  But Naomi is the namesake for my daughter.  A fiesty woman whose name means “pleasantness”, Naomi submitted to her husband and moved with her family to Moab, a town that, at the time, was considered unclean by the Hebrews, as it’s origins were that of Moab, a son who was conceived from an incestuous union.  Naomi’s husband and sons died while they were in Moab and she and her two daughter-in-laws were left in poverty.

Here’s why I love Naomi:  Ruth, being the main character of the book, gets a lot of credit, but Naomi stands out to me as being such a brave, strong woman.  She submits to her husband and follows him, and after his passing, she is strong enough to take on the responsibility of caring for her two daughter-in-laws while in Moab, then having the good sense to try to send them back to Moab when she decides it is time to return to Bethlehem.  She is warm, caring and motherly, a woman who, despite the fact that she was dealt a poor hand, does not cower from it, and announces that God has dealt bitterly with her.  She faces her challenges openly and reaps the rewards of trusting in God in the union of her beloved daughter-in-law, Ruth, to Boaz, and the birth of their son.

And then of course, there’s the Holy Family.

2.  St. Joseph.   How can you not love this guy?  The warm, loving earthly father of Jesus.  I really love to see a man who has the strength to not only care for his own children (like my own Handsome Hero) but who would also take on the responsibility of caring for some other man’s child.  I once knew a man who refused to adopt children after he and his wife discovered they couldn’t have children because they weren’t his.  I countered by saying, “Jesus wasn’t Joseph’s son!  Look what he would’ve missed out if he hadn’t taken on that responsibility!”

I can imagine Joseph guiding and teaching the young child Jesus.  Can’t you just imagine toddler Jesus hanging out in the woodshop with Joseph, babbling on as toddlers do while Joseph sands and cuts and whittles away?  Or maybe a strapping young lad piling wood as his father chops it beside their house?  How about the warm tender embrace as Joseph passes away, with Mary on one side and Jesus on the other?  If you ask me, Joseph doesn’t get enough attention for the role he played in the upbringing and life of Jesus.

1.  The Virgin Mary.  This one should come as no surprise to anyone.  Of course our family loves the Blessed Virgin — we’re Catholics!  But the thing that I love most about the Virgin Mary?  Naomi has chosen her as her patron saint.

We had a picture of her up in our room when Naomi was a little girl, and one day after I’d put her down in her crib for a nap, I heard her babbling away.  I peaked in to see what was going on and discovered her standing up in her crib, starring intentedly at the picture, having a grand ol’ conversation!  She also has several pictures and small statues that her grandmother and great grandmother have given her over the years, and she loves to take them to bed with her, talk to them, and talk about Mary.  She frequently recognizes Mary when we’re out and about.  “Look Mama!  That’s Mary!  That’s Jesus’ mommy!”  It’s so sweet to see our daughter have such an innocent regard and love for the Holy Mother.

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

The Handsome Hero Goes to the Garlic Farm

My handsome hero and I have great dreams and aspirations.  One of those is a pretty little hobby farm in the country with goats, chickens, maybe a chubby little pig, and lots of room for babies to run around.

We see acres of gardens, a small apple orchard, a lovely woodland setting behind us, and a small barn on the property.

We see canning jars, woodstoves, Bible stories, and rocking chairs.

But this weekend, we saw garlic.  Lots and lots of garlic.

 

We’ve been participating with a group called Transition Bay, a movement from the UK that advocates a more self-sufficient, community-based lifestyle.  We have learned so much from these people, especially about gardening.  Mike has not only been gardening in our back yards, but has also participated in a community garden and has been helping out in a non-profit garden that will be harvested and given to charity later this season.

Did I ever mention how hot he is with a farmer’s tan?  I think I’m developing a thing for farmers.

Anyway, as part of this group, he volunteered to help a local farmer work on his garlic farm.  He spent five hours over the course of two days (through a 4-day heat wave that broke records set back in the 90s)  cutting garlic scapes (I’d never heard of them either before this year) and he ended up coming home with probably about 10 lbs. of garlic scapes.

Oh, and 211 bulbs of free, local, chemical-free garlic.  

We spent two hours in our basement setting it up to dry.

On ladders.

Tied with yarn.

It takes up almost the entire basement.

This is what self sufficiency looks like!

Our basement smells like an Italian restaurant.  It’s awesome.  We’re both those kinds of nerds who would happily eat garlic on everything.

So now we have a year’s supply of garlic.  We’re waiting for it to dry and then we’ll do up some braids of garlic and have it in the pantry for the winter and spring.

By the way, we have garlic growing in our garden that hasn’t been harvested yet either.  Excited!!!

Knock Knock!

Hola!

It’s been a wild few months.  Right around the time I started this blog, and started having fun with it, I got wicked sick.

And I mean, not just me.  And not just sick.

I mean, the whole family was major-super-kick-your-ass-til-you-beg-for-mercy sick.

It was horrible.  For a week the three of us lay comatose in our little haven, unable to work, unable to clean, unable to write, function or do more than go back and forth to the bathroom.  It was bad.

But then we got better.

And then I got sick again.

But this time, it was just me.  And it wasn’t a bad sick.  It was morning sickness.

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I AM PREGNANT!

And in being pregnant, and all the amazingness of that experience, I totally forgot about this blog.

Boooo, bad blogger me.

But I remembered it now.  And I want to write in it more.  I haven’t had the energy or stamina to pay much attention to me or anything else lately besides just getting myself through the ongoing weeks and months of morning sickness that always plagues my pregnancies.

(Remind me why I want more children?)

Sleeping Bean

(Oh yeah, that awesome love thing.)

But I have lots to share, lots of ideas to discuss, and lots of love to pass on as we await this amazing little spirit growing inside me to come forth and join our happy little home.  We are looking forward to greeting him (oooooooh, did you catch that?!  I said him!) in October (another Scorpio!  I’m doomed!).  And I look forward to growing and blossoming in various ways throughout the time.

Last time, I nearly beat myself to death trying to be the “perfect mama”.  Within the first few months of that, I was exhausted.  I spent the first three months of my pregnancy sitting on my couch nursing my babe and watching DVDs of Sanford and Son and Father Ted.

Crappy shows where every joke is just another sexual innuendo just don’t cut it for me.

I was furious at myself all the time for not being able to keep the house perfectly clean and praised God everyday for whoever invented the crockpot (can we attribute that to Edison as well?  Seems like he invented everything else — phonographs, light bulbs, spaceships, whatever).

This time, I am expecting nothing til sometime next year.  Baby Jude and I will spend the rest of 2013 and early 2014 nursing, cuddling, reading books with Super Sister Naomi and doing very little except getting aquainted with each other (and still worshipping our crockpot, without whom we’d likely starve).

How to Make Room for a New Project

The Sand Bucket

Photo by downing.amanda

A child at a beach is happy with nothing more than a bucket and a shovel.  She sits, cheerfully filling the bucket, each scoop showering into her little bucket like diamonds sparkling in the sun.  She giggles and wiggles her toes in the soft warm sand around her.

The sand in the bucket brings her joy.  She wishes to continue filling it with sand but she has reached the top.  No more sand can be fit into the bucket.  So she stands up and starts to toddle around, carrying her heavy little bucket of sand with both hands.

As she wanders around the beach, her mother approaches with a beautiful seashell, a bright pink conch shell.  She marvels at the opalesque interior and the intricate grooves and lines on the exterior of her beautiful new prize.  She wants to carry it with her, but has no way of carrying it and her heavy bucket of sand.

So she sits both shell and self down, and takes her scoop.  She empties her bucket of enough sand to add her beautiful new shell.  Shen she continues on her adventure, the sand behind her forgotten, and moves on to her next discovery.

It’s important when you do take on a new project, that you make room for it in your life by releasing something else.

Creative people are often likely to jump into a new project with both feet, without checking on how deep they will find themselves.  And when you take on something new, oftentimes that means that you are neglecting something else.  Sometimes that means the laundry doesn’t get done til the weekend.  Sometimes that means you stay up far too late completing a project.  Sometimes your friends get angry at you for not going out with them again.

If you want to take on more, but your bucket is full, you have no choice but to let some other thing go.  You cannot juggle everything.  So take a good hard look at what you have going on in your life and figure out what can be released and what must be kept.

Figure out what you must absolutely keep.

This is particularly important when it involves other people.  You cannot and must not sacrifice your relationship with your spouse, children and friends for the sake of a project.  They are people who have made a commitment to you to love you through all things and to not give them the same commitment is unworthy of them.

If you find yourself saying to your children, “Mommy has to work right now, sweetie, we’ll do something tomorrow” every time they ask, you will see a hurt in their eyes that you cannot take away.  If your spouse says “I am feeling neglected”, and you find yourself trying to defend your latest project instead of sympathizing or appologizing, see this as a sign — you are in over your head.

These are the most important people in your life — do not push them away, or you will have no one to share your triumphs when your project is complete (or your sorrows if your project should fail).

The same goes for pets, a job out of the home, and your regular household maintenance.  Sometimes things can slide a little — if the lawn doesn’t get mowed for a week or two, or if you eat take out pizza a couple times more a month than normal, this isn’t a huge deal.  But if you can’t stand being in your kitchen because it stinks, or your having to buy new clothes because you’ve put on too much weight from eating take out, you are sacrificing the wrong things.

Figure out what is negotiable.

We all have hobbies we enjoy — knitting, cooking, reading, etc. — that are not necessarily involved in our creative life.  These are things that can be moved aside should we need to focus more deeply on a new creative project.  Unless it is a project you previously promised someone else (a wedding cake, a Christmas present, etc.), set it aside and use that time to focus on your new project.  It will be easy to pick it back up again at a later time.

Figure out what can be totally released.

If you lost interest in that article you were writing or haven’t picked up that mosaic you started months ago, you don’t have to complete them.  You have no idea how many novels I have started writing over the years that never came to fruition, simply because I lost interest in the story.  These are projects that just don’t have value to you anymore.

Don’t feel guilty or angry at yourself for wasting time and money on them.  They’re projects — they don’t care.  Release them to the world and let someone else have them.  Pass that dress you were making on to a friend who is learning to sew.  Hand over your uncompleted painting to a young child who wants to work on their art.  Delete that poem from your computer.

Let them go.

And now, you have room to focus on the project at hand!  You can commit the proper amount of time and effort to it without compromising on the important things in your life.

5 Ways To Wake Up Joyfully Every Morning

Morning Rays through trees

Photo by Rosanne Haaland

How do you wake up every morning?

I wake up at 4:30am every morning.

Seriously.  By choice.

And I wake up with a smile on my face.

I don’t drink coffee either, by the way.

I wake up to a morning routine that I dearly love every day.  

Here are some of the tricks I use to make me smile every morning when I get out of bed.

1.  Wake up to good sounds every morning.

Every night, I go to bed listening to my favorite comedians on my iPhone.  And every morning, they are still running through their best material in my ears.  I love when I put a random mix of their work on because I never know what joke is coming up.

Why not try adding a favorite comedian, storyteller, podcast or even favorite music on as your wake up call on your smartphone?  Or set it up to play your favorite song as your morning alarm (something soothing and gentle, so you have an easy transition from sleep to awake — don’t pick something like “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who).  If you don’t have a smart phone and have an alarm clock, try putting it to your favorite station.

2.  Do something simple that wakes up your mind first thing in the morning.

Pick something quiet, and something you can easily do in the dark.  I have been recording my morning temperature to help track my fertility and health for over a year, and this is a great and simple way to wake up.  It’s almost like a snooze button.  My alarm wakes me up, I pop in my thermometer, and go back to sleep.  In a few minutes, the thermometer beeps and wakes me up.  I then am fully awake and ready to move on with my day.

A quick detour:  Ladies if you are not tacking your morning temperature (or your basal body temperature), it’s a great way to monitor your fertility health and prevent unwanted pregnancies when you and your family are not ready for it without the invasive addition of chemical birth control methods.  May I suggest Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.

Okay, back on track.  Other simple things you can do to gently wake up include simple in-bed stretches, a guided meditation, taking vitamins with water previously set out the night before, or do a gentle foot massage to stimulate circulation and get your blood flowing.

3.  Have something pleasant waiting for you when you get up.

The night before, I set out my yoga mat and have my video ready to go.  I do 15 minutes of yoga first thing in the morning when I get out of bed in my basement.  I rush downstairs and turn the heat on in my den, then I turn on my video.  It’s only 15 minutes, gets my blood pumping and my body stretched, and I am ready for the day.  I also get to spend an hour or more writing (I either get to write love letters to you! or I get to work on my eBooks).

Your morning treat can be any number of things.  Get a coffee maker that you can pre-program and enjoy your favorite morning cup of java (or hot chocolate in my case) or a hot cup of tea.  Then find something you love to do to start your day.  Read a book or a piece of scripture, go for a walk, knit, paint, dance, work with clay, play a musical instrument (so long as you have a quiet place where you won’t disturb your other sleepers).  Find something that motivates you to get up.

4.  Take some you time.

For me, this could be the only private me time I get the whole day.  So I enjoy it!  I grab a glass of lemon water, and I can either watch a television show I enjoy or I can read from my favorite blogging ladies out there.  And you don’t have to feel guilty about your special private you time because it’s too noisy for the other sleepers in your home for you to be doing noisy chores anyway!

So curl up with that ridiculous show you love but everyone hates (chances are good you can find it streaming online somewhere).  Or enjoy a book, or eat a healthy breakfast, or call a friend in a different time zone who is up at as well.  There’s all kinds of things you can do for yourself now.

5.  Go to bed early.

Remember, this is only going to be successful if you actually get enough sleep.  Since getting up at 4:30am, I’ve been going to bed anywhere between 9 to 9:30 every night.  It has allowed me to still get the sleep I need and feel refreshed in the morning.  

You might not need to get up that early to do your own thing before work but once you find your time, adjust your bedtime to comply with your mornings.  You are no good to your family, friends, coworkers or your art if your morning time is stealing away from your ability to get a good rest.

Carpe diem!

The Movie of Your Life

vintage video camera

Photo by Chelsea Davis

A former coworker used to laugh at me when I would get frustrated over the little things at work.  The insignificant stuff that doesn’t really matter, and that is beyond my control.  A patient was late, someone messed up a message or we couldn’t find a file.  I’d be seething at the inconvenience the mistake was costing me.  Our clinic was exceedingly busy and we were seeing six people in an hour — these little mistakes often meant our patients had to wait and we would be behind.

My coworker would chuckle and say to me, “Nada, relax.  Think about it — is this going to be in the movie of your life?  And if not, then don’t worry about it.”

Years later, I still hear that phrase echoed in my ears when I get frustrated by a moron driver on the highway, or a silly arguement between Mike and I, or an offcolor comment I hear in passing.

Is this going to be in the movie of your life?

If Penny Marshall (because she directed A League of Their Own, which is one of the cutest movies ever!) came to you and told you she was going to do a movie of your life and to give her a script, what would it contain?

It would contain those pivital, life-changing and person-shaping moments that one would expect in a movie — the moment you fell in or out of love, the conception and birth of children, the peaks and falls of your career, the funny moments in which you were formed into the person you are now.

It would contain life changing, gut-wrenching, piss yourself laughing, awesome moments in your life.

It would not contain the trivial, foolish moments that are not worth your time and effort being angry about.  The friends and lovers who were there for a fleeting moment and disappeared.  The ongoing cattiness of the women you work with.  The speeding ticket you got from the arrogant alpha male cop.

None of the silly moments you waste so much time dwelling on would make it into the movie of your life.  Because they don’t matter.

And if they don’t matter to a director, to a scriptwriter or to the actress telling your story, chances are they are not important enough to give you concern either.

Look back on the movie of your life.  Let the moments flash by you and you’ll realize that only the good, raw and real parts are worth watching.

Then turn the camera forward and see the rest of your life through the camera lens.  Record only those important moments as they come up.  When you finally become a paid artist, or you admit to your lover you were wrong, or your child takes their first steps out on their own after you struggled so hard to keep them safe and healthy.  These are the moments that should be recorded and dwelt on in your soul for years to come.

The rest is fluff that no one wants to pay to see.  

My Little Painting (And the Three Things It Taught Me)

photo (15)

My Artwork!

So you may ask why I’m showing you a silly painting by my toddler?

Actually, I’m not.  I painted this.

And even though the yellow “stars” look like little blobs, and the corners got damp again after I set it aside to dry, and the top of my crescent moon got smudged, (by the way, we only had one crappy little plastic bristled brush and my daughter was using that, so I painted my whole painting with a small piece of household cleaning sponge) I absolutely love my little painting

I love it because it reminds me of who I was.

I used to paint quite  a bit.  I’m no Rembrandt or Monet and I never expected to be.  But I used to love to paint for my own entertainment and joy.  It was a creative expression I used to enjoy greatly.  I experimented with different methods that fit within my budget, and gave a few away as gifts.  I really enjoyed painting.  

My little painting makes me smile.  It reminds me that just because this is someone I once was doesn’t mean that this person is no longer me.  It means I can still enjoy things about which I had long since left behind me.

It reminds me of what I’d forgotten.

Between being too busy to keep at it, and not loving myself enough to see that I wasn’t doing it for profit or fame, I stopped painting.  I always prided myself on being such a practical person.  I never did anything for the sheer pleasure of it — I only ever did hobbies and entertainment that had a practical purpose, such as knitting.

And I was never highly skilled at it.  And if I wasn’t a great artist, why bother?  It’s just something that is taking away from other more important tasks, like housework and making money.

I had forgotten that it’s okay to do things for the pleasure of it.  For the creative release, for the fun of it.  But I beat myself up for “wasting time” and not “doing what needs to be done”.  Over time, my inner critic made so much fun of my paintings and gave me such grief for leaving dishes in the sink in order to paint, that I stopped doing it.  I don’t have a single painting left that I did myself — I threw them all away.

And it also shows me who I can be.

My little painting also reminds me that I can be myself.  I can be who I am inside, and not feel threatened or embarrassed.  I don’t have to paint again.  I could move on and never let it enter my mind again.  But I want to paint again, merely for the sheer pleasure and fun of it.  I see the works of art my toddler produces, and how she mixes colors and makes beautiful creations she calls “easter eggs” and I want to join in on the fun.

I never expect to make a dime off my artwork.  I never expect to let it leave my house.  But I intend to mix up some water colors and pick up a few canvases and brushes from the dollar store and give it a go.  Not because I’m good at it.  Not because I want to sell it.  Not because I have nothing better to do.

But because it’s fun.  And it’s an outlet.  And the Muse is calling me towards the colors and canvas.

Today’s Mission

Love

Photo by Natt Muangsiri

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” 
― Thich Nhat HanhPeace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Early Mornings with The Muse

Brown Gold

Photo by Laura

(Squeeeeeeeeeee!  Rainbow cup from the 80s!  I remember those!)

I’ve always been a morning person.

Then I had a baby.

Now I am more of a zombie — get up just in time to throw on some stuff and head out the door to work.  Work.  Come home, take care of house and family, put baby to bed, crash.  Repeat tomorrow morning.

I had no time for writing, no time for creativity.

But the Muse was calling me, beckoning me to join her and experience all that she had to show me.  So she asked me to wake up early.

Uh-oh, I thought.  This could either be really great, or really, really bad.

So I started waking up at 4:30 am every morning.  And it has been awesome.

I still am a morning person.  I still function best first thing in the morning.  But now, I wake up listening to my favorite comedians or audiobooks, take my temperature to chart my fertility, and go down to our basement, where I sit with my computer.  

I listen to Joanna Powell Colbert‘s morning grounding meditation (that I found in Leonie Dawson‘s How to be a Morning Goddess ebook), and do a wonderful 15 minute yoga routine that wakes me up throughout.

Then, I write.  I can usually squeeze an hour of writing time into my mornings, and sometimes on my days off, even more.

Then, I’m free!  I can watch tv, I can read emails or blog posts, I can get ready for work, or I can relax.  Everything is complete.

Some days I’m a little tired.  But I usually just go to bed earlier that night.  It feels so good to be able to express my creativity and writing first thing, when I’m at my peak, and not have to wait til I’m tired and worn out from the day.

Good habits will keep.  I intend to keep this one.